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91
Dr. Johannes Kleiner: Why the universe might be conscious

This is a pathbreaking conversation with Dr. Johannes Kleiner, a mathematician and physicist at the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy. He works at the cutting edge of an ever urgent question — is the universe conscious? He explains to Grin why the answer could well be, yes.

Quote
The crucial ingredient in constructing and studying mathematical models of consciousness is to represent conscious experience in mathematical terms. This is what makes mathematical models of consciousness so powerful. One can use what is called a ‘mathematical space’ to represents the content of conscious experience. Once provided with some mathematical description of the physical domain (e.g. of the neural network in the brain), on can then apply a model of consciousness to calculate which conscious experience it would have.

    Now the crucial ingredient here is that any physical system that can be represented mathematically (in principle) can be ‘plugged into’ a model of consciousness to calculate the conscious experience of that system according to that model. Next to brains, this could be a mathematical description of a computer, a large network or even a approximate mathematical description of the universe.

This is where the headline you have quoted above comes from. Mathematical models of consciousness allow us to calculate the conscious experience of all sorts of systems. And while a final verdict is still pending of which model of consciousness describes reality correctly, it is a possibility that the universe as a whole has some conscious experience.
     


92
The Unholy Consult / Re: Why would the Inchoroi fear damnation?
« Last post by SmilerLoki on May 18, 2020, 07:54:14 am »
Thanks! Let me preface my continuation of this discussion by acknowledging right here and now that I don't actually expect that I have or necessarily ever will be able to understand or solve the series or its metaphysics. Talking about it however is such great fun and even a great learning experience, so I want to bounce my thoughts back based on your replies.
Oh, for sure, some things are just too unclear to reason about them in any coherent way. It makes sense, though. Not everything is immediately relevant enough to find its way to the page.

And it's my pleasure talking to you!

I guess I think the simplest interpretation would be that Bakker is saying Ajokli knows in his way of knowing but due to Resumption his capacity to know (and/or exist) is diminished or diminishing.
Yeah, that's my take, too. The No-God does gradually diminish the capacity of the Gods to interact with the world, and the 144k is likely a critical threshold here.

I see your point regarding the definitions of madness but hasn't Kellhus' own sanity been called into question time and again due to his Ajokli-possession on this and various other media? Yet I can't recall a situation in which Kell truly acts illogically or as if he's what we would describe as insane...
This is an interesting topic. I would say it's about Kellhus having convictions he really shouldn't have. For him, said convictions (any convictions, really) should be a clear darkness, something that precedes him and thus must be fought, yet he acts on them still. It's insanity, he understands it, but it's not something that really seriously impacts his reasoning in day-to-day matters (create a religion, build an empire, become a genius sorcerer, go to Hell to look at the God, you know, the usual stuff we're all accustomed to). It's not about how he acts but about why he acts and what goals he pursues. Nonetheless, it ultimately leads to the Golden Room debacle.

I'd like to share that I thus far have believed the Outside is some type of a mindspace that does nothing more than reflect experiences of those who live/have lived/will live on the Inward.
Oh, it sure is. It's just it's more than that, since it's also connected to the God and a plethora of odd phenomena like the Judging Eye. But it for sure is also shaped by the Inside, and the Gods are reflections of beliefs. I always posited, even, that they are reflections of strictly human beliefs. This is why Earwan morality is arbitrary human morality, and thus is completely foreign to other races, like Nonmen, or Inchoroi, or Progenitors. Which is why Earwa is the Promised World - the root of the problem, humans, are there.

I suppose for the sake of discussion I might suggest it's possible that this since (if) this scene was occuring entirely within Kellhus' own mind the Ciphrang's speech may be reflected/provided by his very own thoughts (similarly that may be the case with summoners & Ciphrang).  I'm not convinced, but I posit the possibility.
At some point when something looks like a bird, flies like a bird, sings like a bird, and tastes like a bird, it can be assumed to be a bird in the frame of reference that insists with every given sense that it is a bird. In our case that frame of reference would be the world of Earwa as described in TSA.

Or, more clearly stated, a total illusion is, essentially, indistinguishable from reality.

As we know, it's actually somewhat the same for Outside - it can be changed, re-written. Retrofitted if you will lol.
So in truth, the tapestry is not, as we imagine the Gods might perceive it "complete" - and that makes complete sense if (perhaps - only if?) the Outside is indeed generated by/reflective of the Inside.
There is a key difference here, though. When the Outside is rewritten, it gets rewritten in its totality, there is no memory of the previous iteration. Unlike in the case of someone in the Inside, because they would remember themself thinking differently and making a mistake because of it. It would never be the case for an agency of the Outside.

I remember musing about it before in regards to the WLW:
Humans have ontological perspective of things, while the Gods have Eternal perspective. Being created somewhere in the timeline, the Gods then exist for the whole of that timeline, ensuring their own creation. The Gods act without time restrictions, so every action they take was always taken, is always taken, and will be always taken. When the universe somehow changes without the knowledge of the Gods (say, by the No-God), the Gods instantly populate new timeline differently. It accounts for any changes made, and also accounts for their previous actions (for example, Sorweel wasn't the White-Luck Warrior v. 2.0 while the first Warrior wasn't thwarted by Kelmomas, but the first Warrior was thwarted, so Sorweel was always meant to supplant him now that Yatwer is aware of the first Warrior's failure, and this turn of events already is incorporated in the timeline; at the same time, the first Warrior always existed, and so from Yatwer's perspective always should have existed, even if doomed to fail)
---

I agree, the Prophecy is definitely something! To try to turn it into something that supports my crackpot though, isn't or wasn't there some confusion or potential for the God giving this prophecy to actually be AJOKLI?
I always liked to say that obfuscation-wise this dream of Celmomas receiving his prophecy takes the cake. Everything in there can be interpreted in at least 2, but mostly even more, ways.

I do recall this but would note that Sorweel is only there because of K - meaning the power is there as you say, and the power itself is associated with/attributed to Yatwer, but the actual agency arranging/placing it there need not necessarily be ultimately associated/attributed to Yatwer.
The Nonmen are sure it's Yatwer, though. Like, so sure that it never even comes into question. They would fear any God equally, but they instantly jump to Yatwer, and this level of certainty that's never questioned in the narrative makes me think it's supposed to be taken at face value. It's also not really ever contradicted, on the contrary, it gets confirmed (or at least corroborated) time and time again.

DOES Kellhus not calling Sorweel out have to NECESSARILY mean "he was protected from Kellhus' scrutiny" (that Kellhus couldn't see it)?
There is a two-fold answer here. First, it's not only Kellhus who doesn't see Sorweel's intentions, it's his children, too, and on more than one occasion, which in the case of Serwa is even described from her own POV.

Second, it's also Kelmomas, who does see Sorweel's intentions, clearly and instantly, even contradicting Serwa and his father (who possesses superior faculties in every respect, by Kelmomas's own admission). This is confirmed when Kelmomas saves Kellhus by killing Sorweel. Kellhus would've been killed and didn't see it, only the fact that Kelmomas was there prevented it. Remember, from the Eternal perspective of the Outside Kelmomas cannot be seen. That would be true for Kellhus-in-the-Outside, too.

and I suspect this truth (& the Outside in general) may ultimately be malleable.
This is the part where it all starts to become really confusing because there is not enough data. Yes, the Outside is malleable, but when it's rewritten, its next iteration is still total in itself, encompassing everything it can encompass. Yes, the Outside is shaped by the Inside, but not everything that happens in the Inside has its Outside counterpart, of which the No-God is the most blatant example.

You're right that Sorweel is definitely not the same as we had seen before but that is true for all Men all the time. Sorweel was probably going to live some uneventful life, a princeling who would live then die and not do much of metaphysical significance... but his circumstances changed drastically, of course he was not as we had seen him before.
No, I meant the instant and clear switch in Sorweel's POV that happens sometime around the Last Whelming, if I remember correctly. One moment he thinks and acts completely like himself, a normal human being, the next he is exactly what the first WLW was, seeing into the future and the past through all of his actions combined as though they are already done, and always were.

Thank you again for the feedback!  I openly acknowledge my ignorance and the unlikelihood that I will ever attain the level of understanding of the events in these books that you and many others around here have.  I just absolutely love these books and the way they get my mind working, and I love them more and more when I read the discussions on this forum and am able to gain insight and alternate opinions and perspectives from other readers like yourself.  I hope my comments don't come across in any negative or know-it-all-ish way.
I can assure you you're not the only one whose mind gets stimulated by TSA! It's a great series in the sense that it contains and fosters original thought. I wish there were more fiction like this.

And I hope I don't come off as attacking you or impolite. I'm a big believer in brevity and precision, but, unfortunately, a precise brief statement of disagreement can often be read in a negative way. That's never my intention.

Also, like, if this is brief, imagine how my posts would look like if I wasn't trying really hard to make them short!
93
General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« Last post by sciborg2 on May 17, 2020, 10:58:45 pm »
"The Greeks had no depth psychology and psychopathology such as we have. They had myths. And we have no myths as such--instead, depth psychology & psychopathology. Therefore, psychology shows myths in modern dress and myths show our depth psychology in ancient dress."
    -James Hillman
94
The Unholy Consult / Re: Why would the Inchoroi fear damnation?
« Last post by Cyx on May 17, 2020, 07:14:05 pm »
@Cyx
Now I see your lines of thinking better. And you certainly shouldn't be worrying about not being educated enough or the like! This stuff is not rocket science (also, rocket science is not rocket science).
But so, there is a number of weaknesses in your arguments, and the most obvious ones are extratextual.

Thanks! Let me preface my continuation of this discussion by acknowledging right here and now that I don't actually expect that I have or necessarily ever will be able to understand or solve the series or its metaphysics. Talking about it however is such great fun and even a great learning experience, so I want to bounce my thoughts back based on your replies.   

For example, if we consider the way Bakker himself talks about the Gods, he ascribes them agency by default:
http://www.second-apocalypse.com/index.php?topic=2278.msg36488#msg36488

(Likaro's question) 2. Are Ajokli and the Gods still completely unaware of things with the Consult/No-God? Doesn't Ajokli have enough information now to infer that there are things that he cannot see ? I mean he was briefly right there interacting with the DunSult so he has to have some clue about whats going on. Or the God's just not reason that way?

(Bakker's answer) 2) Thinking from an atemporal POV gives me a headache. Ajokli 'knows' (whatever this means from an eternal POV), but it takes juice, divine intervention, steering the space-time continuum this way and that, and the No-God has begun gnawing at the joists between the temporal and eternal.

This was more or less a yes or no question, and the answer starts off "sure he knows in whatever way Gods know" (so, yes) and then he trails off into a "but" (?) which gets into the juice comment you had mentioned to me before... I guess I think the simplest interpretation would be that Bakker is saying Ajokli knows in his way of knowing but due to Resumption his capacity to know (and/or exist) is diminished or diminishing.

Just for shits and giggles I'll add that if my Ajokli-Kellhus crackpot is true this question would've put RSB in a shitty position to attempt to answer since Ajokli2 would indeed know and have always known, but Ajokli1 never would never have nor necessarily could have.

Here, you confuse definitions. What Akka means by madness is what we mean by madness - acting irrationally, without grounds, with little to no correlation with reality. A human condition.

What's happening with WLW is much more than that. He possesses real power, that has him acting completely rationally and allows for feats way beyond human capacity (like correctly seeing the future and besting Maithanet). He is not mad, he demonstrates agency. Later, we even find out that this agency is not his own, since nothing in his previous life would suggest that he is completely focused on killing Kellhus by using a power that can't be explained and, in fact, is never attributed to agencies of the Inside. Rather, the person that WLW had been before at some point ceased to exist, changed (was displaced) instantly and completely.

Essentially, the Outside leaking in and leading to madness doesn't turn agencies of the Inside into agencies of the Outside. To be of the Outside, completely atemporal, you need to die first.

Another weakness of your argument is the Ciphrang. They talk, they act, they have their own agendas and desires. And what they are is essentially Gods-lite - Outside agencies of a smaller caliber. We even get a Ciphrang POV in TUC.

You make very, very good points!

I see your point regarding the definitions of madness but hasn't Kellhus' own sanity been called into question time and again due to his Ajokli-possession on this and various other media? Yet I can't recall a situation in which Kell truly acts illogically or as if he's what we would describe as insane...

"Each man, he explained, was a kind of hole in existence, a point where the Outside penetrated the world. He tapped one of the beads with his finger. It broke, staining the surrounding parchment. When the trials of the world broke men, he explained, the Outside leaked into the world."

If we take the above statement literally there seemingly could be quite significant implications regarding the Outside and it's "spheres of influence" or whatever they're called if we then consider the possibility that a sufficient "amount of Outside leaked into" Cnaiur('s mind) during his lifetime to allow him/his immense hatred and rage to form a large enough bubble in the Outside to manifest as a new God, where with less madness/Outside it would have manifested some smaller level of Ciphrang.

On Ciphrang themselves, you again made great and largely irrefutable points!  I'd like to share that I thus far have believed the Outside is some type of a mindspace that does nothing more than reflect experiences of those who live/have lived/will live on the Inward. Even discarding that consideration, in some way everyone is actually always "of the Outside" to some degree and due to it's atemporal nature you need not die "first" as indeed the concept of "first" makes no sense in the context of the Outside.

In my headcanon of mindspace-Outside, a Ciphrang was a representation or echo of someone's acts/experiences in life, so a Ciphrang-in-itself would have no form nor capacity to think, and is "provided" or forced into both by the Daimos/summoner... unfortunately for me that doesn't jive too well with the fact that when Kellhus is in the Outside at least one Ciphrang speaks to him. 

I suppose for the sake of discussion I might suggest it's possible that this since (if) this scene was occuring entirely within Kellhus' own mind the Ciphrang's speech may be reflected/provided by his very own thoughts (similarly that may be the case with summoners & Ciphrang).  I'm not convinced, but I posit the possibility. 

Next weakness would be the Dunyain (be it Kellhus or the Mutilated) ascribing agency to the Gods. Their "intuit" comments don't mean lack of agency, they describe, the way I understand it, the difference between temporal and atemporal perspectives.

A person living in Earwa (in the Inside) thinks, reasons - they see time happening moment by moment. They watch events unfold gradually, being connected to each other, influenced by a variety of forces, etc. This leads to logic, categorization, theoretical models, you name it. But most importantly it means that knowledge is always emerging, it can change, it can be gained, it can even be lost. There is never anyone in the Inside who possesses total knowledge of anything. New data changes conclusions, leads to other theories, different acts and views.

Now compare and contrast the Outside perspective. An Outside agency is total in itself, it possesses complete knowledge of itself and its acts. Those are done, they were always done, they will be always done. There is no need for logic or reason, an Outside agency "knows" what it must do, because it has already done it, this knowledge is implicit, a kind of intuition. This is how the Gods act and see the world. But what's important to note here is, while each Outside agency is total in itself, it's not absolute. They have limits, they are bound by their own nature, and they compete among themselves. This competition (atemporal, already done in its entirety, always done in its entirety) is one of the things that define the Outside and its agencies - the God is fractured, broken into a thousand pieces.

Now, here I must note that there is a variety of issues with what I describe above in relation to how it's used in TSA. I do at least attempt to wrap my head around spacetime physics and math, and it very well might be that my understanding of this field exceeds Bakker's. Or he had a very bright idea that goes over my head, that's a distinct possibility, too. The end result is, I simply can't tell whether it's me not understanding Bakker or Bakker not working out the atemporal nature of the Outside to the point of me not seeing flaws in the concept. So I can only operate with my understanding in these matters.

I think I follow you, as you noted it kinda becomes rather hard to understand and discuss.  Most importantly: "There is never anyone in the Inside who possesses total knowledge of anything. New data changes conclusions, leads to other theories, different acts and views."

As we know, it's actually somewhat the same for Outside - it can be changed, re-written. Retrofitted if you will lol.
So in truth, the tapestry is not, as we imagine the Gods might perceive it "complete" - and that makes complete sense if (perhaps - only if?) the Outside is indeed generated by/reflective of the Inside.

Back on track, though. Another example of the Gods expressing agency would be Gilgaol giving Anasurimbor Celmomas the Celmomian Prophecy. Which is a real prophecy that Celmomas couldn't have spontaneously concocted at the moment of his death.

I agree, the Prophecy is definitely something! To try to turn it into something that supports my crackpot though, isn't or wasn't there some confusion or potential for the God giving this prophecy to actually be AJOKLI? 

Then you can remember the Nonmen of Ishterebinth being afraid of Sorweel. They see him being marked by Yatwer and are scared of her infiltrating their sanctum so easily. It's not them being delusional, it's them seeing the signs of power wielded with agenda, in an unprecedented way. They see agency.

I do recall this but would note that Sorweel is only there because of K - meaning the power is there as you say, and the power itself is associated with/attributed to Yatwer, but the actual agency arranging/placing it there need not necessarily be ultimately associated/attributed to Yatwer.

The Nonmen would have had no way to see, or reason to suspect, some super-high-level-Ajokli V2/Kellhus-manipulation of circumstances, so they'd naturally only be able to recognize what is recognizable to them (so to speak) and Yatwer would be the obvious assumption/enemy/threat/fear from their perspective.

The weakness of this argument is in the fact that from that moment on Sorweel is protected from the scrutiny of Kellhus and his half-Dunyain children by means that do not occur naturally and are time and again ascribed to strictly Outside agencies, the Gods. This power is never attributed to agencies of the Inside.

Following your argument further, denying that it was an act of Yatwer means it was done by the slave. Which, in turn, means that the Gods simply do not exist beyond the categorization of this new power. But this contradicts everything everyone who at any point wields a power like this says. Their collective experience is, the power was granted by a God (they even agree on what their respective God is, to an extremely coherent extent). This kind of corroboration simply can't be refuted. Sure, anything can be anything, but here, there is no reason to consider every character wrong.

Ugh, I hate that my argument/theory keeps needing to resort to this type of reasoning, but I still feel I have to say it... DOES Kellhus not calling Sorweel out have to NECESSARILY mean "he was protected from Kellhus' scrutiny" (that Kellhus couldn't see it)?  Couldn't it be the case that Kellhus did in fact recognize "the Yatwer"/WLW in Sorweel, and chose to let the course of events flow because they needed to for "his"/Ajokli's ultimate purposes?

That being said, I completely agree that the Gods are anthropomorphized. In fact, they are anthropomorphized by the narrative so deliberately and blatantly that I can only conclude that this is the intended perception telling the reader that yes, in the context of TSA the Gods are anthropomorphic. It shouldn't come as a surprise, though, since Bakker wanted to have arbitrary (but absolutely enforced) anthropomorphic morality in the series

Note how he describes the No-God as a perfectly nonconscious god. This is in contrast with the Hundred, and that contrast is represented by the way the No-God acts every time we see it. It is a p-zombie, it expresses agency without being conscious (and likely without truly being an agency, even, though that's a topic for another discussion), and this is where its odd properties originate. Since it has no connection to the Outside, the Gods can't see it, for them, it doesn't exist. But it also means that it cannot see itself - hence its litany of questions (WHAT DO YOU SEE? WHAT AM I?).

Its all too clear that the people of Earwa perceive their Gods the way that they do but like real life religions, massive number of believers doesn't necessarily equal reality. They may have it completely wrong.  But on the flip-side of that, the truth of Anthropomorphized Gods in Earwa may be specifically DUE to collective beliefs/thoughts/experiences; and I suspect this truth (& the Outside in general) may ultimately be malleable.

All of this stems from the No-God being nonconscious. None of the Gods act in such a way.

I think I understand the idea that the Gods exist, see all, and therefore ask nothing vs. TNG exists, sees nothing, and therefore asks all.

I guess my issue lies in the fact that we can't claim to actually know what "way the Gods act" because in the story we are provided no more than interpretations and assumptions by mere Men/Nonmen/Inchoroi.  (I almost suspect Bakker would say his goal was to confuse me with this... LOL)

In conclusion I would also say that we are given the perspective of the Gods, in part. The White Luck itself is a fraction of Yatwer's perspective (a fragment of a tapestry that she is). It's always the same, centered on the same result, even though it's expressed through two different hosts - the first WLW and Sorweel. I don't think there is any question that Sorweel-as-WLW is not Sorweel as we had seen him before.

You're right that Sorweel is definitely not the same as we had seen before but that is true for all Men all the time. Sorweel was probably going to live some uneventful life, a princeling who would live then die and not do much of metaphysical significance... but his circumstances changed drastically, of course he was not as we had seen him before. Even without being able to see time the way he did he may have done the same exact things, I actually see little reason to believe that he would or could have ever done differently; how could he not (whether or not he understood it at the time) take up the charge to be Yatwer's warrior and to allow himself to be "hidden" given the circumstances he was paced in. What would the alternate option be? Torture and death? SMH, I definitely need to do another re-read because I can't recall the specifics around Sorweel as much as I'd like right now.

Thank you again for the feedback!  I openly acknowledge my ignorance and the unlikelihood that I will ever attain the level of understanding of the events in these books that you and many others around here have.  I just absolutely love these books and the way they get my mind working, and I love them more and more when I read the discussions on this forum and am able to gain insight and alternate opinions and perspectives from other readers like yourself.  I hope my comments don't come across in any negative or know-it-all-ish way.


Edited to add: Oh yeah!!! A thought occurred to me today regarding the Angeshrael/Inchoroi/Tusk business and I wanted to toss it out there for y'all cause it's super interesting... I think it's a distinct possibility that if Kellhus were indeed somehow involved in this scenario and was somehow manipulating events, it may be the reason that one of the tribes (the one that starts with a Z is it?) remained in Eanna.  :o
95
General Misc. / Re: Politics
« Last post by TaoHorror on May 17, 2020, 01:14:03 pm »
I'm gonna check this out - something I've been mulling over for a while now - but not being a scholar of Rome, it was just idle speculation, but here's a read that might back up what I've been suspecting all along, that when a society becomes so successful ( economically, at least ) with no significant foreign threats, the citizenry turns on themselves.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/lessons-decline-democracy-from-ruined-roman-republic-180970711/?fbclid=IwAR0go81fCFiB-4c7wwxVUPK_QS7J-PtNCXpm0Vl-Kpj4vgW5pgD93zZ8j88
96
The Unholy Consult / Re: Why would the Inchoroi fear damnation?
« Last post by SmilerLoki on May 17, 2020, 06:34:34 am »
@Cyx
Now I see your lines of thinking better. And you certainly shouldn't be worrying about not being educated enough or the like! This stuff is not rocket science (also, rocket science is not rocket science).

But so, there is a number of weaknesses in your arguments, and the most obvious ones are extratextual. For example, if we consider the way Bakker himself talks about the Gods, he ascribes them agency by default:
http://www.second-apocalypse.com/index.php?topic=2278.msg36488#msg36488

Of course, it's not only that:
Madness is described by Akka as the outside leaking in, and that squares up well with what happens to a WLW, they "see" from an Outside perspective.
Here, you confuse definitions. What Akka means by madness is what we mean by madness - acting irrationally, without grounds, with little to no correlation with reality. A human condition.

What's happening with WLW is much more than that. He possesses real power, that has him acting completely rationally and allows for feats way beyond human capacity (like correctly seeing the future and besting Maithanet). He is not mad, he demonstrates agency. Later, we even find out that this agency is not his own, since nothing in his previous life would suggest that he is completely focused on killing Kellhus by using a power that can't be explained and, in fact, is never attributed to agencies of the Inside. Rather, the person that WLW had been before at some point ceased to exist, changed (was displaced) instantly and completely.

Essentially, the Outside leaking in and leading to madness doesn't turn agencies of the Inside into agencies of the Outside. To be of the Outside, completely atemporal, you need to die first.

Another weakness of your argument is the Ciphrang. They talk, they act, they have their own agendas and desires. And what they are is essentially Gods-lite - Outside agencies of a smaller caliber. We even get a Ciphrang POV in TUC.

Next weakness would be the Dunyain (be it Kellhus or the Mutilated) ascribing agency to the Gods. Their "intuit" comments don't mean lack of agency, they describe, the way I understand it, the difference between temporal and atemporal perspectives.

A person living in Earwa (in the Inside) thinks, reasons - they see time happening moment by moment. They watch events unfold gradually, being connected to each other, influenced by a variety of forces, etc. This leads to logic, categorization, theoretical models, you name it. But most importantly it means that knowledge is always emerging, it can change, it can be gained, it can even be lost. There is never anyone in the Inside who possesses total knowledge of anything. New data changes conclusions, leads to other theories, different acts and views.

Now compare and contrast the Outside perspective. An Outside agency is total in itself, it possesses complete knowledge of itself and its acts. Those are done, they were always done, they will be always done. There is no need for logic or reason, an Outside agency "knows" what it must do, because it has already done it, this knowledge is implicit, a kind of intuition. This is how the Gods act and see the world. But what's important to note here is, while each Outside agency is total in itself, it's not absolute. They have limits, they are bound by their own nature, and they compete among themselves. This competition (atemporal, already done in its entirety, always done in its entirety) is one of the things that define the Outside and its agencies - the God is fractured, broken into a thousand pieces.

Now, here I must note that there is a variety of issues with what I describe above in relation to how it's used in TSA. I do at least attempt to wrap my head around spacetime physics and math, and it very well might be that my understanding of this field exceeds Bakker's. Or he had a very bright idea that goes over my head, that's a distinct possibility, too. The end result is, I simply can't tell whether it's me not understanding Bakker or Bakker not working out the atemporal nature of the Outside to the point of me not seeing flaws in the concept. So I can only operate with my understanding in these matters.

Back on track, though. Another example of the Gods expressing agency would be Gilgaol giving Anasurimbor Celmomas the Celmomian Prophecy. Which is a real prophecy that Celmomas couldn't have spontaneously concocted at the moment of his death.

Then you can remember the Nonmen of Ishterebinth being afraid of Sorweel. They see him being marked by Yatwer and are scared of her infiltrating their sanctum so easily. It's not them being delusional, it's them seeing the signs of power wielded with agenda, in an unprecedented way. They see agency.

Saying "that was an Act of Yatwer" seems almost like the opposite of a p-zombie argument, doing so is potentialy anthropomorphizing & attributing consciousness and an action to what may essentially be a primal aspect of nature (Birth, fertility et al)
The weakness of this argument is in the fact that from that moment on Sorweel is protected from the scrutiny of Kellhus and his half-Dunyain children by means that do not occur naturally and are time and again ascribed to strictly Outside agencies, the Gods. This power is never attributed to agencies of the Inside.

Following your argument further, denying that it was an act of Yatwer means it was done by the slave. Which, in turn, means that the Gods simply do not exist beyond the categorization of this new power. But this contradicts everything everyone who at any point wields a power like this says. Their collective experience is, the power was granted by a God (they even agree on what their respective God is, to an extremely coherent extent). This kind of corroboration simply can't be refuted. Sure, anything can be anything, but here, there is no reason to consider every character wrong.

That being said, I completely agree that the Gods are anthropomorphized. In fact, they are anthropomorphized by the narrative so deliberately and blatantly that I can only conclude that this is the intended perception telling the reader that yes, in the context of TSA the Gods are anthropomorphic. It shouldn't come as a surprise, though, since Bakker wanted to have arbitrary (but absolutely enforced) anthropomorphic morality in the series.

Obviously we aren't provided any perspective from the Hundred; rightly so if they are NOT conscious; sneaky of Bakker if they are.
Lastly, here are a few more Bakker quotes:
http://www.second-apocalypse.com/index.php?topic=1755.msg27801#msg27801

Note how he describes the No-God as a perfectly nonconscious god. This is in contrast with the Hundred, and that contrast is represented by the way the No-God acts every time we see it. It is a p-zombie, it expresses agency without being conscious (and likely without truly being an agency, even, though that's a topic for another discussion), and this is where its odd properties originate. Since it has no connection to the Outside, the Gods can't see it, for them, it doesn't exist. But it also means that it cannot see itself - hence its litany of questions (WHAT DO YOU SEE? WHAT AM I?).

All of this stems from the No-God being nonconscious. None of the Gods act in such a way.

In conclusion I would also say that we are given the perspective of the Gods, in part. The White Luck itself is a fraction of Yatwer's perspective (a fragment of a tapestry that she is). It's always the same, centered on the same result, even though it's expressed through two different hosts - the first WLW and Sorweel. I don't think there is any question that Sorweel-as-WLW is not Sorweel as we had seen him before.
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General Misc. / Politics
« Last post by TaoHorror on May 16, 2020, 11:48:49 pm »
At risk of ruining our run of uninterrupted civil discourse of all things mind, I'm becoming a bit of a stoic in my age toward politics, more interested now in how people are political than being political, myself: the effectiveness of propaganda, the source/cause of cosmology, the parallel of increased political participation with partisanship.

This is pretty cool, you're political identity from the date you were born. If you were born 1950 - 1954, you're likely Democrat now, but before and after you're likely Republican up until 1980. The coming of age for those born in early 50's was the late 60's.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/07/08/upshot/how-the-year-you-were-born-influences-your-politics.html
98
The Unholy Consult / Re: Why would the Inchoroi fear damnation?
« Last post by Cyx on May 16, 2020, 11:32:37 pm »
Intuition is agency, but it's even more complicated than that. WLW's emergence is an act attributed and later supported by the entity Yatwer, its emergence required juice (as every act of the Gods does, I can get you RSB's quote on the matter), its emergence was later alluded to when Sorweel started slipping into his own possession (which is essentially Yatwer "speaking" to him), etc. On the level of the characters, who are intelligent and possess agency by default since they are the starting point of this discussion, this is an intelligent act of an entity that possesses agency.

I'm sure much of the issue is likely due to me not being educated enough on mind-stuffs to properly understand.

The Gods act of their own volition, pursuing their own goals. For all intents and purposes that's agency. Saying that it's just the appearance of agency is a philosophical zombie argument, which is embodied by the No-God in TSA, not the Gods.

But DO they act, have will and volition? Or are actions attributed to them and will and volition assumed/anthropomorphized?

I'm familiar with a philosophical zombie argument and I would agree it could be said that I was positing one IF at any point there was objective evidence provided of one of the Hundred (discounting Crocodillian Son) demonstrating consciousness via saying, thinking, or doing something and I were claiming "no, that just LOOKS exactly like they are saying, thinking, or doing something"...  but that's not what I'm trying to say, though I may not be smart enough to explain what I see as the difference... so for example, when Sorweel is with the slave that makes Yatwer's face in the mud and the mouth starts bubbling, could or would bubbles have came up no matter who had pressed their fingers rather than a slave (slaves being known to be loved by Yatwer)?  If some random kid had poked the same spot of mud with a stick rather than making a Yatwer face, might bubbles still have frothed up?  Madness is described by Akka as the outside leaking in, and that squares up well with what happens to a WLW, they "see" from an Outside perspective.  The Outside leaking into Sorweel doesn't necessarily mean that an entity/agency Yatwer chose to do this to him and took action, it could be entirely circumstance.  Saying "that was an Act of Yatwer" seems almost like the opposite of a p-zombie argument, doing so is potentialy anthropomorphizing & attributing consciousness and an action to what may essentially be a primal aspect of nature (Birth, fertility et al) simply due to associations (the slave, the face) VS. what an actual p-zombie argument is, positing non-consciousness in something that is explicitly demonstrating what equates to evidence of consciousness where there's no way to tell the difference.

To be clear I do mean that when our reference point is a soulled person who is seeing or hearing what they believe to be a God, what they are seeing and hearing etc. doesn't necessarily represent the truth.  Obviously we aren't provided any perspective from the Hundred; rightly so if they are NOT conscious; sneaky of Bakker if they are.  In the Outside scene we are given evidence of only one of the Gods speaking to Kellhus - Ajokli - despite him noting the presence of additional Gods/Other Sons.

You misunderstood me. Shae does not escape damnation by using his circle of wretches. He is, in part, already damned and suffering. That's why he's the only one who undertook this transformation. Others didn't want to condemn parts of themselves to hell, they were looking for a better solution. Shae was a Man, he had no choice when his body started to expire, but Erratics and Aurang are immortal.

That's true and a good point that I don't think registered with me, as immortals without immediate threat to their physical bodies the Inchoroi would have the time needed to find something better than Shae's soul trap.   That makes sense!

FWIW, I think that's a pretty great interpretation of things so far Cyx.

Thank you!

Aurang is still dead though ;). Call it his Moenghus Moment - Bakker just loves his anti-climaxes. If you're going to consider Kellhus alive and "winning", then you gotta at least let the Old Consult (Inchoroi and Shae) be dead.

I think you and Loki are possibly or probably correct about Aurang... but let Shae be dead?  :o Oh hell no! I'm in the Shae is residing in the Mutilated camp 100%.

I too wish we got more from proginators/IF/etc. in TUC. Really thought there was going to be some more exposition on metaphyics and backgrounds of our mysterious antagonists. Alas, at least there are supposed to be more books.

Sure hope so.  ;D Until then it's always fun to read and join in on the discussions here!
99
The Unholy Consult / Re: Why would the Inchoroi fear damnation?
« Last post by Wilshire on May 16, 2020, 10:10:25 pm »
FWIW, I think that's a pretty great interpretation of things so far Cyx. It accounts for and/or explaines a lot of things while still reamining within the bounds of the story (from a meta/themantic perspective). It does put Kellhus at the top of the pile, which I dislike, put you've managed to do so without making it seem cheap (like the theories about Moenghus Sr. still being around abd doing everything from behind the scenes). Nice catch with Angeshrael/Kellhus btw - this sounds like something that has been pointed out before but its so easy to forget.

Aurang is still dead though ;). Call it his Moenghus Moment - Bakker just loves his anti-climaxes. If you're going to consider Kellhus alive and "winning", then you gotta at least let the Old Consult (Inchoroi and Shae) be dead.

Yes, Kellhus knew Kelmomas was hearing voices. I kind of suspect this is something to do with the Dunyain, as wrestling with the darkness/voices/hunger is a key part of the training we see. Its definitely presented as metaphorical, a way to anthropomorphize our hungers etc., but it could also be taken quite literally given the events of TAE.

I too wish we got more from proginators/IF/etc. in TUC. Really thought there was going to be some more exposition on metaphyics and backgrounds of our mysterious antagonists. Alas, at least there are supposed to be more books.
100
The Unholy Consult / Re: Why would the Inchoroi fear damnation?
« Last post by SmilerLoki on May 16, 2020, 03:35:32 pm »
I might ask the same, what do you mean? What are you attributing/designating to be a conscious action that Ajokli/Yatwer/Gilgaol took?  For example, I don't think "Yatwer selects White Luck Warriors" - a WLW simply emerges and "Yatwer" "intuits it" like a rock intuits that it is in open air, under water, or covered in mud. If nothing else I believe their lack of agency is textually supported by both Kellhus and the Mutilated. My take is, without actual living people to attribute actions/events as "Yatwer is acting through these actions/events" (like whoever-WLW1 was, Pstama, Sorweel) there is no presence of Yatwer to speak of whatsoever.
Intuition is agency, but it's even more complicated than that. WLW's emergence is an act attributed and later supported by the entity Yatwer, its emergence required juice (as every act of the Gods does, I can get you RSB's quote on the matter), its emergence was later alluded to when Sorweel started slipping into his own possession (which is essentially Yatwer "speaking" to him), etc. On the level of the characters, who are intelligent and possess agency by default since they are the starting point of this discussion, this is an intelligent act of an entity that possesses agency.

The Gods act of their own volition, pursuing their own goals. For all intents and purposes that's agency. Saying that it's just the appearance of agency is a philosophical zombie argument, which is embodied by the No-God in TSA, not the Gods.

I get that a Synthese requires a body, I meant that whatever Shae does to circumvent his own damnation, it makes very little sense for the remaining Inchoroi and/or Consult sorcerers not to do the same. "Double edged sword" as it may be, who cares? I thought that the Consult would do ANYTHING to prevent eternal damnation because nothing could possibly be worse.  Why should Aurang and Aurax, as sorcerers, not take the same "way out"?  If Inchoroi have souls, they have the exact same stakes in the game as Shae, and if that is the case, if HE is willing to be partially already suffering eternally in hell, what logical reason do the rest of the Consult have to say "that is not worth it to me"?
You misunderstood me. Shae does not escape damnation by using his circle of wretches. He is, in part, already damned and suffering. That's why he's the only one who undertook this transformation. Others didn't want to condemn parts of themselves to hell, they were looking for a better solution. Shae was a Man, he had no choice when his body started to expire, but Erratics and Aurang are immortal.
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