Metaphysics -- what does the term mean, both on the forum and in the series?

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Francis Buck

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« on: November 06, 2014, 09:17:31 pm »
So a conversation arose in the Quorum when one of our members asked what people were talking about when they referenced "metaphysics". At first I thought it was fairly simple, but it has a little more depth than might seem at first blush.

In general it appears that people here use the term to describe the highest-level workings of the Bakkerverse, often (but not always) in reference to matters of the Outside. But then what exactly separates this usage from our real-world, mundane use of the word?

Is there an important distinction between the way it's used here, and the way it's used in real life? Are there even "non-meta" physics in Earwa at all?


« Last Edit: November 06, 2014, 09:23:25 pm by Francis Buck »

dragharrow

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« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2014, 09:21:22 pm »
Thanks fb. I brought this up because I took the term to refer to the fundamental nature of existence. Meaning it can applied equally to our world or earwa, even if you're a materialist. It seems to refer only to spiritual/non-material/magical here though. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphysics

Wilshire

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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2014, 12:36:31 am »
Meta: ") is a prefix used in English to indicate a concept which is an abstraction from another concept, used to complete or add to the latter.

In Earwa, on the forum, and IRL I suppose it means the same thing, to me. Physics, being mundane laws, such as gravity, anything that can be described as "natural" i.e science. Meta-physics would be anything outside of natural laws. Sorcery, Gods, religion, etc.

The Tekne, being derived by "science", or an extension of it, would not be considered to have "metaphysical" attributes.

Thats at least how I see it and what I mean when I type it.
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locke

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« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2014, 06:49:45 am »

mrganondorf

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« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2014, 09:52:00 am »
i get the feeling that at least some of what is called 'metaphysics' in Earwa is just a black box for the narrative.  Bakker needs some magic to get done, so the process involves 'metaphysics.'  the word seems to signify something and the effect happens, men boiled in their own skins and such and the fun goes on!

geoint

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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2014, 09:20:27 am »
Its where your magic comes from, duh


Im imagining all the cool stuff that can go into your wand in the Harry Potter universe   ::)


Seriously though, I think the guys here have already nailed it. Its the 6th sense/laws of nature/science that you alter/have to follow when creating sorcery.  Very logic based which is why Kellhus can kick so much more ass than anybody else. 

Personally, I wonder how strong Kellhus would be with the Psuke.  I know Moengus was weak with it, but he didn't have Kellhus' 'madness' (actually believing that the God speaks to him could have created some pretty strong emotions).  On the other hand, hes incapable of love even for Esmi or his kids so IDK. 

I also wonder if Kellhus could learn Tekne as it is derived by science, which follows rules of logic which Kellhus could easily master.  What if he could breed his own type of Sranc that defend humans instead?  Mans best friend 2.0, with swords! 

Wilshire

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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2014, 04:59:54 pm »
Psuke requires emotion, but we know not which ones. Its possible that Kell's un-dunyain-ness (his madness), might make him able to use it. I still, however, think that the Psuke has been lost.

It might be that Kellhus has already derived the Tekne, leaping forward thousands of years of technological advancements in his probability trance. However, he would have no real means to achieve this level to technology. The vast mining operations that would be required to produce more advanced tech would alone prevent him for achieve much in his own lifetime.

The Arc provides him with a means to achieve much. He can skip over mental/theoretical barriers, but the Arc allows him to potentially circumvent both physical and time barriers as well. Imagine, suddenly having enough anti-matter to fuel a matter/anti-matter reaction, and the reactor itself, to have an endless supply of energy for forever. Stockpiles of rare elements in quantity and quality that would take decades, if not centuries, to mine and purify.
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geoint

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« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2014, 06:38:58 pm »
Psuke requires emotion, but we know not which ones. Its possible that Kell's un-dunyain-ness (his madness), might make him able to use it. I still, however, think that the Psuke has been lost.

It might be that Kellhus has already derived the Tekne, leaping forward thousands of years of technological advancements in his probability trance. However, he would have no real means to achieve this level to technology. The vast mining operations that would be required to produce more advanced tech would alone prevent him for achieve much in his own lifetime.

The Arc provides him with a means to achieve much. He can skip over mental/theoretical barriers, but the Arc allows him to potentially circumvent both physical and time barriers as well. Imagine, suddenly having enough anti-matter to fuel a matter/anti-matter reaction, and the reactor itself, to have an endless supply of energy for forever. Stockpiles of rare elements in quantity and quality that would take decades, if not centuries, to mine and purify.

What about Meppa, he has the Psuke?  Ive read the theories about him being a plant that Kellhus actually placed and really liked that idea, but if that is the case obviously Kellhus had to teach him the Psuke.  Or if Meppa alerady knew it, what would keep him from teaching it to other sorcerers?  I imagine there would be strong interest in it.  I thought it was pretty clear from the first 3 books that the Psuke > Anagogic sorcery so I imagine the Saik, the Spires, the Mysunsai, the Vokalati, the Zeumi school (forgot the name) and any minor school not big enough to mention would love to expand their power.  Kellhus could just compel Meppa if Meppa wasn't secretly already an agent of his. 

Wilshire

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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2014, 09:15:18 pm »
I think the Psuke is too powerful in terms of plot hand-waving, ad hoc dues ex machina, unless its explained much more later on. I think as it stands, invisible limitless power with no drawbacks seems silly. On that note, Kellhus should seem silly too, but I've accepted him.

As for lost, I meant that no one has the faculty to perpetuate. I believe Meppa is something of a mystery to himself, and more so to those around him. Incapable of teaching it, even if he wanted to. This is probably a bias perspective.

Also, again, I feel like there has to be more to limit the Psuke, and having Kellhus learn it seems like way too much. Even if he could/did, he wouldn't teach it to anyone else. Kellhus can't see the Psuke the same as everyone else. He wouldn't introduce an unknown into the equation.

Maybe he would give it to one person as an elaborate plot, somehow able to transfer the knowledge without being able to wield it, and making sure that said person was unable to themselves teach others.

There really are just a ton of ways it could be used, but I think the theories get too elaborate and too contrived, so at this point I've personally dismissed the possibilities of it, for my own sanity.
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mrganondorf

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« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2014, 04:46:34 am »
Its where your magic comes from, duh


Im imagining all the cool stuff that can go into your wand in the Harry Potter universe   ::)


Seriously though, I think the guys here have already nailed it. Its the 6th sense/laws of nature/science that you alter/have to follow when creating sorcery.  Very logic based which is why Kellhus can kick so much more ass than anybody else. 

Personally, I wonder how strong Kellhus would be with the Psuke.  I know Moengus was weak with it, but he didn't have Kellhus' 'madness' (actually believing that the God speaks to him could have created some pretty strong emotions).  On the other hand, hes incapable of love even for Esmi or his kids so IDK. 

I also wonder if Kellhus could learn Tekne as it is derived by science, which follows rules of logic which Kellhus could easily master.  What if he could breed his own type of Sranc that defend humans instead?  Mans best friend 2.0, with swords!

thisthisthisthisthis

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« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2016, 07:12:29 pm »
When Kellhus is going over Nilnameshi metaphysics with Akka (214 TTT US paperback), Kellhus says,

"The God is always here, watching through your very own eyes, and from the eyes of those about you"

Reminds me of the Seeing Flame.  I wonder if, say, someone like Moenghus, could figure out how to look out through any eye.

EDIT:  Related?

Kellhus oratorizing the Holy War to Shimeh-level feels "he [Kellhus] glimpsed another circle, this one far different, where the Men of the Tusk as they stood now, only with their backs turned to him so that they looked outward, while he occupied the shadowy hear of them all--unseen, unguessed..." (278-9)

Kell-Onkhis ftw!

locke

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« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2016, 05:38:49 am »
Metaphysics as a term within the context of speculative fiction genre is often a term used as shorthand to describe the empirical rules of supernatural phenomena within the secondary world creation.  Thus, one could talk about the "metaphysics" of westeros and be primarily referring to the rules that govern blood magic, for example, because using the term gives empirical form within the secondary world to phenomena that are non existent and therefor impossible to have an empirical form in the real world. 

Ironicly, this rather common usage of the term metaphysics is almost the opposite of how metaphysics was meant in ancient philosophy, when they were still studying metaphysics as a matter of serious scientific inquiry. Metaphysics then was the science of how all phenomenon physic-al and non physical (consciousness for example) could be unified.  It was almost a conundrum akin to einsteins

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« Last Edit: February 08, 2016, 05:42:17 am by locke »

mrganondorf

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« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2016, 03:52:22 pm »
Metaphysics as a term within the context of speculative fiction genre is often a term used as shorthand to describe the empirical rules of supernatural phenomena within the secondary world creation.  Thus, one could talk about the "metaphysics" of westeros and be primarily referring to the rules that govern blood magic, for example, because using the term gives empirical form within the secondary world to phenomena that are non existent and therefor impossible to have an empirical form in the real world. 

Ironicly, this rather common usage of the term metaphysics is almost the opposite of how metaphysics was meant in ancient philosophy, when they were still studying metaphysics as a matter of serious scientific inquiry. Metaphysics then was the science of how all phenomenon physic-al and non physical (consciousness for example) could be unified.  It was almost a conundrum akin to einsteins

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:) for my part "metaphysics" mostly refers to "something i imagine is a really big deal but can hardly define"

looking back on Plato and co, they assumed that some part of reality was impossible to interpret via only a physical model, so they fabricated what tools seemed useful for mapping this imaginary realm.  hence Forms and the like.  like if someone got hit in the head with a rock and suddenly believed that uniforms were a necessary part of the global ecosystem so that they must think up ways that the unicorns have remained hidden and contributed to the overall cycle while nevertheless admitting that the 'unicorn problem' went beyond human intelligence.