R. Milex

(no subject)

 
Salinity: Hello. *curtsy* I'm Salinity Vance, and this is Rachel,

Rachel: Yo.

Sal: And we're breaking the fourth wall today to talk about spirits, or our group's working understanding of them as of the beginning of the upcoming online graphic novelization-

Rachel: Webcomic.

Sal: -For the upcoming webcomic, Affect.

Rachel: Acronym For Future Electronic Comic Title. It's a work in progress.
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Matryoshka

2030's

 Random setting detail: As an unforeseen consequence of developing computer technology, the Internet spontaneously became connected to the Internets of alternate Earths. For a decade, people were confused by the increasing appearance of ghost-users and their sites, who exist for all intents and purposes online, but couldn't seem to be found in person. People who were in the same place but didn't see each other were both visible on GPS tags, et cetera, and some people even ended up in live Skype conversations to prove they're really there, and indeed observed many of the same events happening at the exact same time in their video feeds. Science began to catch on to what was happening in the mid-2010's, leading to breakthroughs in theoretical physics. In the 2020's, people were generally savvy to this fact and hardware became able to identify communications from worlds differentiated enough to interfere with offline interaction (in most cases, nearby worlds are similar enough that people you communicate with will be doing exactly the same thing on both sides, and thus successfully meet with no discrepancies. Technically, even in the 90's every online communication you had was across worlds in this manner, albeit to ones so close that finding any difference is impossible). It wasn't until the 2030's that the communications extended to far enough worlds for there to be significant differences on a large scale, but these were almost always a matter of post-millennial pop culture. This decade's culture is defined by the adaptation of para-retro fashions and entertainment.
Face

(no subject)

 Yay, I got a tablet! Bamboo Pen & Touch. Now I have to spend a couple weeks adapting my brain to it; It's exactly like learning to draw left-handed.

Face

High Five

Submerged in a world of strife, you think you've almost figured it out, then the world shows you how little you really know, how little you'll ever know. Later, you realize the context of all these things, outside of all the games, ad you know the meaninglessness of it all, and it all makes sense and you lay back and wait for death. Then you realize, that after this understanding, a whole other layer of illusion lay around you, and it became so clear, and you were freed from all the burdens of life and mind and karma, and you were at peace, above the trap of meaninglessness, and found perfect contentment with the march toward the future, whether you die today or in a hundred years, you were at peace. Out there, beyond the world, beyond the emptiness in which the world rested, one final mystery came to you. Thus, but not with fear or boredom or need, you set aside your enlightenment and stepped back down into the world of causality and mortality and clothed yourself in ignorance to live in strife. Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine.
Face

(no subject)

Just watched What the Bleep Do We Know. I don't have to get into how they edited up their interviews or what they did to quantum physics and general logic after clubbing them over the head and dragging them back to their basement; That's already been covered plenty elsewhere. What I want to address is that, when you take the conclusion, cut out all the pseudoscientific bullshit they wrote for it, and wipe off the sketchy semantics with a little bleach and elbow grease, it's actually close to ideas held by more discerning people, not to mention me.

What this is about is one of the biggest problems in human understanding and communication. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Almost all arguments between people are based in their speaking different languages and not knowing it, and thus working entirely in non sequitur and not even knowing it. This extends from simple differences like having been privy to different information and using different definitions of the same words  to differences in the entire way they view the nature and purpose of language, not to mention truths.

Imagine, if you will, the stereotypical argument between a Hollywood atheist and his arch nemesis, the straw Fundamentalist. The latter is quoting scripture to prove his belief, which of course means nothing to the former, who is astonished that the latter even believes that what he's even constitutes an argument. It never occurs to the Hollywood atheist that when he uses an argument based on empirical observations and rational judgments, and takes apart the logical inconsistencies with the Fundamentalist's texts, that he's making the exact same mistake in assuming his obvious logic even addresses his opponent's argument.

Now, this is one extreme, using strawmen. Stuff gets real messy when you start working with real people, who work with a big mixture of axioms which exist all along the scale on a bunch of different axes, all of which constantly move around throughout shifts in persona, mood, emotion, memory, etc (a fact they're frequently unaware of), and from there take what they're working with and attempt to reach out to another person's paradigm and clumsily attempt to use it to explain their own conclusions.

This is the kind of problem we encounter in WTFDWK, and all the other instances of New Agey literature whoring out "quantum physics" as their favorite buzzphrase. You get some people with an idea which may make a lot of sense in context, and it's essentially intuitive in form; It's an understanding using parts of the mind that doesn't work with words, and is dealing with a very large and abstract pattern. Problems start to come up when they attempt to communicate this information -- first, to the rational parts of mind, and then to other people. They'll frequently try to use words, which are notoriously ill-suited for such information, but an awareness of that limitation on both the part of the transmitter and the receiveand some skillful elegance can go a long way. You work with things like poetics and various other artistic forms, or you get things like my LiveJournal entries where I give you a pile of reminders that I'm being metaphorical and indicative of a general idea then proceed with vague descriptions, obscure jargon and frustrating noncommittance.

The result is that most people's eyes glaze over and they move on without worrying about it and people with a compatible enough mindset understand to some degree what is being expressed (or a different mindset which can interpret what they're seeing into something entirely different, something which makes sense to them, which is also valid as long as everyone stays aware of the inevitable distance between what their reality and other peoples'), which usually won't be too new of information to them (at least on the intuitive level) but it can help them consider possible adjustments, see how what they already know could possibly be expressed, and most importantly, remind them that they're not the only freak who thinks like that. That last bit is invaluable, because people with that sort of intuitive/artistic mindset are often starved for encouragement for a lack of ability to communicate what most of their life is really like, and their occasional forays into expression tend to be met with a lot of dismissal and occasional high points of incredibly hostile reaction -- heckling the weirdo, medicating and heckling the child, institutionalizing, medicating and heckling the delusional, and lynching the fag.

Then you have stuff like our movie here, where they try to take what they figured out with an intuitive mindset, try to reduce it to something they can express, and then attempt to reach out and explain it using the words more scientific paradigms, which they don't have a very strong grasp of. This will have the same result of connecting to people who watch it and understand the intuitive level of the message, and either don't know enough to dismiss the pseudoscience or understand that it's not actually about the pseudoscience. Meanwhile, the people who view it rationally, trying to follow it from evidence-to-conclusion will see nothing but nonsense and will be even more steamed to dismiss the conclusion if they ever see it anywhere else, even if it doesn't use pseudoscientific context. And of course, you have people like the interviewees, who were terribly offended when the creators took what they said, cut it up and rearranged it into something different to fit the conclusion they had already started out with.

They didn't have to do that, though. Taking a conclusion and rudely rearranging information to fit into it isn't the only way to form a top-down explanation of reality. People are learning to pay attention to the deeper, more abstract essences of their faiths, and see how they can reconcile them with the currents of science. Worldly details of physics, biology and psychology are seen as the means through which higher principles manifest, without being dismissed as incomprehensible or as an intentionally deceitful illusion. Most Christians these days don't believe the world was created in 4004 B.C., or that Hell is a fiery cave full of Doom monsters. (For that matter, most of the ancient Greeks didn't believe that lightning bolts came from a bearded dude on top of a mountain; The rap we got in elementary school about how ancient myths were supposed to be direct explanations for things people didn't know is a diaper full. Despite being currently unfalsifiable, not many people actually believe we're all wired into a robotic power-grid in a post-apocalyptic future with Neo flying around trying to save us, but The Matrix is still a very relevant illustration of some otherwise really heavy philosophical concepts.)

Of course, it is entirely possible that the creators of WTFDWK knew exactly how bogus the pseudoscience was and went through with it anyway. No, not just to make money or raise a cult... The pseudoscientific format they used just happens to be the form of artistic expression many people are most receptive to! This is why you have people claiming to be abducted by aliens in a spaceship from another planet, but wouldn't consider saying they had an encounter with spirits or fairies or angels or whatever.
Mona Lisa Overdrive

(no subject)

 Words, I say prettily, drawing lines around a point not within but throughout; There is nothing they convey, only the path which traces over them. I leave footprints in pleasing patterns, as suits my tastes, not to carry out any math; That was done the moment I was born.
R. Milex

(no subject)

Current vague idea:

We have a sort of otherworld with four human main characters, each with their own area that's a sort of memory temple or dream-like representation of the person's themes, converging in a central area where they can interact with each other and access each other's realms. I don't know if the central area will have very much space or its own sort of native inhabitants, but the characters' personal realms will have a mix of realism from their lives and fantastic elements to play in. There will also be a great deal of material that actually takes place in each of these people's Earthly lives, alternating with the adventures that take place in this other world and follow up on the real-life themes. For the most part, it'll appear that this otherworld is actually their dreams. Each of the characters' stories will trace their self-actualization through four radically different styles, sympathetically portraying the virtuous potential of both a radical, Chaoist, cyberpunk-esque character, an orderly, traditional religious and/or imperial-type figure, etc. It will eventually become apparent that this otherworld is actually more like an afterlife than a dream, and the story that takes place here will round out the lessons of each character's lives through the input of each of the others, aiming for a reconciliation of opposites towards a higher, all-encompassing degree of enlightenment. Indeed, the four characters will actually be four reincarnations of the same person, whose apparent objective will be a fifth incarnation in the 21st century as a sort of bodhisattva.

Later on, though, there will be the introduction of a fifth character in this world, whose life was indeed the sort of balanced, enlightened savior, born into the late 21st century. As it turns out, though, the world is not in need of saving at all. 21st-century history will reveal the emergence of a true, post-Singularity worldwide utopia, where exponential advancements in technology, fueled by the development of self-improving AI and corresponding advancements in the human mind brings a resolution of all of the old human problems, both in terms of material scarcity and emotional/existential fulfillment, with an emphasis on the decentralization of all sources of power and growth. Thus, the fifth incarnation character becomes a simple VR fantasy writer.

It ends with them manifesting a sixth incarnation who lives at some point further back in history as an utterly despicable sort of person, maybe a Caligula or maybe some small-scale idiot jerkass, whose apparently virtueless lifestyle and cruel actions toward others nevertheless provoke various chains of events which, traced far enough, prove to actually result in a massive amount overall improvement for a great number of people living in a dark age. This character had been mentioned vaguely earlier on, when one of the first four main characters, who's a psychic and capable of remembering past lives, mentions having lived as this one many incarnations ago, and obviously not having traced the chain of events they set in motion express gratitude that they've moved far beyond that incarnation's low level of spiritual growth.
Mona Lisa Overdrive

Metacognition

Whether those involved in any given communication are aware of it or not, all statements, everywhere, ever, in whatever medium they are communicated in are, whatever else they may be at the same time, 100% metaphor.

Keeping that metaphor in mind, mind that this post is by necessity entirely metaphorical, albeit in as clear a form as I can figure at the moment.

This is my best explanation of the factor most fundamental to my peculiar personality and brand of genius. However weird it sounds, what I'm describing isn't unique to me, but it's probably almost unheard of in the manner I'm describing it because of its extremely abstract nature.

I've always had a very strong form of synesthesia, in a manner which doesn't lend itself as easily to description as the well-known ideas of "colored letters" or "seeing sounds" (though even those descriptions don't entirely convey what's happening in those cases either, which is one of the reasons why so many synesthetes don't realize for a long time that synesthesia is what they have), though I suspect that all cases of synesthesia include some degree of stimulation across my primary medium (and for that matter, I suspect that all people have synesthetic senses, but usually at a level too mild to notice, not to mention with personalities that are frequently not as sensory-oriented). It is, however, in the nature of my primary medium of synesthesia to have a less intense echo out into every other sense, which is most prominent in the connection between audio, visual, tactile, proprioceptive and affective senses as those are the strongest senses for humans. So I'll see and feel, internally and externally, anything I hear, but more prominently I'll experience the stimulus reflecting into my primary medium and reflecting out from there into the other senses and vice versa.

I don't know of any word that points at my primary medium. "This is to the mind as proprioception is to the body" might be an okay analogy. It's a sense which reflects the flow of everything that's going on in my head, whether my sensory input, my verbal and non-verbal trains of thought, memories, exchanges between persona control, et cetera; A sort of quintessence of mind, if you will. In the way that you can describe sight, hearing and touch as all giving you a spatial image, I can describe the parts of this sense as having some manner of spatiotemporal interconnections, and I can describe the objects within this quasi-spatiotemporal field as having several spectrums of qualities akin to things having flavor, color, texture, et cetera, qualities which I think might be what the word "numinosity" points at. Emotions are closer in nature to numinosity than any physical sensation, as emotions are a property felt around internal thoughts related to objects rather than being a more kind of external, objective sensation. If you know what it's like to have intuitive or psychic information pop into your head, that is much closer. As another way to try to point in that direction, think of how the feeling of deja vu occurs on a level that seems somehow similar to an emotion, but different. Take the difference between emotion and that deja vu feeling, and keep going past it in that direction.

Another attempt to describe it is as an abstract medium of "events," kind of like the underlying narrative meaning behind the way things happen. As I sometimes say, "The laws of physics are consistent, but they are only consistent in order to evoke suspension of disbelief." It's the kind of thing people talk about when they describe the properties of the world as being a medium for carrying out God's will, such as in the case of theists who wholeheartedly support evolution and the rest of the scientific progresses which have fundamentalists crapping their pants.

It is possible that having an intense degree of the sense I'm attempting to describe, but in a lower "resolution" and with a less emotionally stable personality (and perhaps with less intelligence and a smaller knowledge base) is fuel for many forms of schizophrenia.

The result of this medium being more prominent in my consciousness than verbal and other forms of thought is that I'm oriented very strongly towards anything "meta." It allows me to accurately perceive patterns between things superficially unrelated, overcome opposites and paradoxes, approach problems from the root, appreciate art, understand why people are not evil, soak up meaning from spiritual systems and entertain stoners. It prevents me from focusing on most specialized skills long enough to great at them, but that's an acceptable sacrifice when I'm able to distinguish MacGuffins from actual happiness. It also leaves me with the bulk of my thoughts nigh-untranslatable into essay format, but there's not really much of a need to. The circles I write around the center are still somehow appetizing to people of certain tastes.
Face

(no subject)

 Copypasta from AIM.

These are these four eras, which are a way of dividing up the Information Age as a whole, and they touch on the fundamental shape of everything more specific - The arts, the sciences, the way people approach life. Their boundaries are blurry, and there are people who aren't aware of what's going on and are stuck behind the times, but it's shaped kinda like this...

The modern era had some early inklings in the Renaissance, when people started moving toward rationalism, but it had its peak in the late 1800's and early 1900's when people thought that science had everything almost all figured out. Its themes are industrialization, the power of science to clearly understand everything, and the development of nations into the forms of government we see today.

The postmodern era was foreshadowed by quantum physics, when the fundaments of our science were destroyed and we started to realize how little we really knew. It started coming into power, though, in The Sixties, which is what makes that decade so shiny, and got stronger and stronger going through the eighties, and today its themes are so ubiquitous that most children understand them instinctually, even though it was so bizarre to our parents. The themes of the postmodern era are the loss of any inherent meaning in a thing, and the replacement of these meanings by artificial images. It's exemplified by the concept of "the media." Celebrities, MTV, advertising, etc. The kind of angst people like us suffer is also a symptom, "existential despair," the meaninglessness and superficiality of everything.

That's becoming another thing of the past, though, even though many people barely realize it despite being a part of it. The next era doesn't have a widely-used name yet. "Post-postmodern," "transmodern" and "performatist" are words being passed around. Like postmodernism, it's an answer to the era that came before it, and its the key to overcoming that existential despair. This era had its first inklings with the invention of the Internet, and started to come to in the 90's, and started picking up speed through the 2000's. It's embodied by the Internet, and later developments within the Internet such as wikis like Wikipedia and TVTropes, YouTube, DeviantArt, Newgrounds, etc. What's going on now is that we're well-aware of the inherent meaninglessness of postmodernism, but we're no longer helplessly drowning in confusion and marketed culture. Now, the key is that we don't just receive our culture; We create it, intentionally, with an awareness of how ideas are taken apart. Anyone, of any level of influence, can create and spread art and information, and access the creations of every little nobody online. "Solve et coagula." Things were torn down so that we can understand how to recreate it in whatever way we want. Instead of despairing that we can't clearly understand the world, we are becoming more comfortable with the idea that we can create our own meanings, and that we can find and follow meaning with our intuitions instead of rational thought.

At some point later in this century comes the transhuman era. That's the point when our ability to manipulate our own genes, and to interface our brains directly with computers, will suddenly make people smarter, and thus more able to further improve themselves, which makes them able to figure out how to improve themselves yet even more, etc. After this point ("The Singularity") we don't know what will happen next, because it will come from a level of intelligence we simply don't have yet.