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Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« Last post by The P on February 07, 2021, 08:55:39 pm »
The Grand Design by John Marco (2)

Parts of this were pretty good, but I could barely stand any of the chapters featuring the main character.  The writing is serviceable, but rarely if ever rises above that level. It has the bones of a good story.  The count is interesting.  The alchemist/scientist could have been, as with the girl experiment, but Marco just uses them as a plot device without fleshing out the most interesting parts.  I was disappointed that the first book barely touched on the religion of Nar, so was excited to learn more in this one.  Even more disappointed that it is basically just a generic Catholic stand-in.  There are some potentially interesting differences mentioned in passing, but seemed mainly just there for the author to say, "see it's not really Catholicism."

I might read the final volume, but I am in no hurry.
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Literature / Re: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
« Last post by SmilerLoki on February 06, 2021, 08:24:01 am »
I really wanted to like this book, but like JS&MN the writing is good, the concept is great, but ultimately the book just didn't "do it" for me and I struggled to get myself to finish it.
Pretty much my relationship with JS&MN, although I still hold it in high esteem. But there is just too many words there that do relatively little, and certainly nothing for story progression.
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Literature / Re: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
« Last post by H on February 05, 2021, 02:25:56 pm »
I really wanted to like this book, but like JS&MN the writing is good, the concept is great, but ultimately the book just didn't "do it" for me and I struggled to get myself to finish it.
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General Misc. / Re: Crash Space or just politics?
« Last post by H on February 05, 2021, 02:21:13 pm »
So, the crazies, I mean the very nice people who follow Q and Proud and whatever, have they:

a) always been here, just variations of the same throughout human history
b) what R's been talking about for years now, chaos resulting from Crash Space

Well, I don't think these are separate though.  Yes, A has always been the case (because humans are still just humans) but B is sort of the case, because the environment (read: cognitive ecology in Bakker terms) is different now, more apt to exploit the fact of A ever more so.

Crash Space, from how I (mis)understand it is the psychological blow back of scientific discovery stressing religion. As more lose faith, it can lead to a trauma and to nihilism. The possibility of life having no meaning will trip us up and many may go crazy, doubling down on religious identity to the point of violent absurdity, failures of institutions and the like.

Well, yes, in a sense, but also not quite, since the "collapse" doesn't necessarily predict a "return" to something like religious faith.  The same result can come of overly secularized, Logo-centric thinking as well.  Take Bakker's summary:

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We’re conscripting heuristic systems adapted to shallow cognitive ecologies to solve questions involving the impact of information they evolved to ignore. We can no more resolve our intuitions regarding these issues than we can stop Necker Cubes from spoofing visual cognition.

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‘crash space,’ a circumstance where ecological variance causes the systematic breakdown of some heuristic cognitive system.

So, the crash space is where the cognitive "tools" we have been "given" through evolution, simply fail to be good enough to deal with all the stressors, factors, pressures, and gaming that we can now put on our heuristic cognitive apparatuses.  In other words, our thinking isn't immediate, or un-mediated, it is very much heuristic, meaning that we don't utilize anything like "reason" or "rationality" directly and our thinking is often just an approximation based on some "shortcuts" we have at-hand.  So, that means if we can game those heuristics, by preying on what information can slip past, or intentionally trigger the heuristic warning bells, we can game people's reactions and so game their behaviors.

So, what is going on?  We have the technology to exploit your supposition A and the result is actually something like supposition C, it's rather chaotic seeming.  However, because that exploitation is not just random, or scatter-shot, it is directed and so it is out to benefit those who would use it, so it ultimately isn't all that chaotic.  That's not some sort of shadowy conspiratorial thinking though, I don't think, because there is nothing shadowy about it, the exploitation is out in the open.  Vested interests have vested interests and are well out working on their behalf.
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General Q&A / Re: (TAE Spoilers) Ordeal before or after
« Last post by H on February 05, 2021, 01:33:42 pm »
I keep coming back to this thought, that the both Celmomas’ ordeal and Kellhuss’ ordeal are the exact vehicles needed to bring the correct soul to golgotterath and initiate the nogod. So which determines what comes before? It almost feels like the matrix, where the one is a design component of the system and must return to restart the program. Both ordeals feel like they were designed to do something similar.

Well, both superficially and actually, yes.  Both ordeals have the same goal in mind but consider, Nau-Cayuti doesn't end up in the Consult's hand as a result of the Ordeal really, he is delivered by Iëva's treachery.  So, in a way, it is of course history repeating itself, but not quite the same.

Also, I came across something in the collected sayings of the author that sranc and nonmen could have viable offspring. Is it possible nonmen and seswatha helped found ishual and the whale mother morphed due to sranc nonmen human hybrids ? (this one is out there ).

I'm rather skeptical on these sorts of things, because I see the whale mothers more as drawing the parallel lines of what the Consult was up to with the Tekne and what the Dûnyain project ultimately worked toward (and with what methods).  In other words, I think's narrative function is the highlight just how the Logos is not at all far from the Consult's methodology (and how, in a sense, they are one and the same).

That being said, I do think there is a hidden thread about the Anisûrimbor line having Nonman blood in the line, since it is mentioned fairly explicitly with Nanor-Ukkerja I's stated lifespan of 178 years.
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General Q&A / (TAE Spoilers) Ordeal before or after
« Last post by Cnair vs Karsa vs Drogo on February 05, 2021, 07:01:34 am »
I keep coming back to this thought, that the both Celmomas’ ordeal and Kellhuss’ ordeal are the exact vehicles needed to bring the correct soul to golgotterath and initiate the nogod. So which determines what comes before? It almost feels like the matrix, where the one is a design component of the system and must return to restart the program. Both ordeals feel like they were designed to do something similar.

Also, I came across something in the collected sayings of the author that sranc and nonmen could have viable offspring. Is it possible nonmen and seswatha helped found ishual and the whale mother morphed due to sranc nonmen human hybrids ? (this one is out there ).
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General Misc. / Crash Space or just politics?
« Last post by TaoHorror on February 03, 2021, 04:05:26 pm »
So, the crazies, I mean the very nice people who follow Q and Proud and whatever, have they:

a) always been here, just variations of the same throughout human history
b) what R's been talking about for years now, chaos resulting from Crash Space
c) something new, growing chaos from something ( rapid technological advances leaving people behind, killer robots, AI, etc )

I concede I'm not an expert on R's non-fiction reads, so I may be misinterpreting it ( my previous queries into this field, notwithstanding - I forget, get confused ). Crash Space, from how I (mis)understand it is the psychological blow back of scientific discovery stressing religion. As more lose faith, it can lead to a trauma and to nihilism. The possibility of life having no meaning will trip us up and many may go crazy, doubling down on religious identity to the point of violent absurdity, failures of institutions and the like.

If I got this Crash Space stuff right, I think there's something to it and what we've been seeing could well be the effects of this phenomena. We've "known" politicians can be goofy, but it was always kinda on the sly and though there was corruption, society seemed to move along - now we're seeing unashamed jelly-fish people lead us, just a naked self expression for power absent any concern for the consequences in broad daylight. Not sure which is worse, the cynicism of taking advantage of the mad herd or those who actually believe and fight for it. It's really something.
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Philosophy & Science / Could sea creatures unlock the origins of the mind?
« Last post by sciborg2 on February 03, 2021, 12:46:30 am »
Could sea creatures unlock the origins of the mind?

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When it comes to understanding the mind, philosopher, writer and diver Peter Godfrey-Smith suggests marine life may hold some illuminating answers. Among the vast array of marine life, shrimp, coral, and cuttlefish exhibit amazing levels of consciousness and the octopus with its many tentacles and 8 limbs-- functions as a creature with multiple “selves.”  What can we learn from the way these animals experience the world? Could sea creatures unlock the origins of the mind?

KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian talks with Peter Godrey-Smith about his new book “Metazoa: Animal Life and the Birth of the Mind” about his exploration of levels of consciousness and “self” among some of his favorite undersea creatures.

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Is there this problem of projecting our human way of thinking, our human way of understanding self on to these creatures?

Godfrey-Smith: “There is a problem there and this is a good point to talk about the octopus. One of the reasons octopuses are an important case in the story, is the fact that there's a kind of ‘centeredness of self’ that we humans, and probably lots of other mammals and vertebrates have as a consequence of how our nervous systems are set up and our bodily organization There's a ‘centeredness of self’ that might be absent or very different in some animals with different organizations and the octopus is the outstanding case, because most of its nervous system is not concentrated in the head between the eyes but spread through the body, especially in the upper part of the arms. There's a gigantic network of control devices and sensors in the arms, which is larger than the central brain.

So when we look at an octopus and try to imagine what it's experience is like, one of the big questions is how we should tackle these differences in organization that might imply differences in the kind of “selfhood” that's present there. This is another question, which I'd love to give a definitive answer on how to handle this but I think it has some very puzzling features.”
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Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« Last post by Wilshire on February 02, 2021, 07:44:44 pm »
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (1)

Brilliant. This book is as fun to read as it is confusing. There's a myriad of timelines, past and present, a narrator who is mad and terribly unreliable. Shifts in POV writing - First, Second, Third, maybe others but I lack the ability to identify them. Tremendous fun, horribly opaque, and a bizarre ending that holds true to form. Tamysn Muir is for me one of the most satisfying authors I've read recently. Though, that's probably a shame for her because I apparently enjoy commercially unsuccessful things with limited mass appeal.

The Locked Tomb series is a resounding must read. I can't wait for more from Muir.
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General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« Last post by sciborg2 on January 26, 2021, 07:12:58 am »
"...after so many names and so many unnamings, so many disappointments, so many dullings and dyings, what we nickname God must seem obscure and impossible.

That does not mean It will ever have been captured by the names of what has died."
   -Catherine Keller
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