Words bitten back: Certainty

From here


I’ll give this one last shot and I’m done.

Do you think I’m wrong in detecting a ‘I’ll give this one last shot, because I’m absolutely certain I’m right on this…there is no room for doubt in my mind. I can not be wrong at all on this at all’

Even Richard Dawkins, who raves about Evolution, will actually provide you methods to disprove his beloved theory, like ‘Fossilized Rabbits in the Precambrian’ (I think that was the time period – it was definately a time period they shouldn’t show up in. Comments left will prompt me to find the reference).

I mean, I don’t think it means one more shot at understanding the details of any evidence against it, as the rest of the post is just trying to add more evidence for it, rather than asking questions or such.

Here’s a quote from me, which has probably been said in the past, but I have paralel developed it.

“The man who is absolutely certain is the man who does not care what happens if he is wrong”

‘Ella Enchanted’ made me think


That 2004  movie staring Anne Hathaway.

I missed most of the start before finding it in the TV guide. The premise struck me – a girl born with a ‘gift’ of obediance. She has to do whatever she’s told. It sounded horrific to me – and so my rubber neck drew me to it. It’s set in a whimsical fantasy universe and has a bit of the vibe ‘The princess bride’ has.

Now I’d kind of seen this engaged before, in the old ‘Gargoyles’ cartoon, where a character suffers a control spell (rendering him automaton like), and then the means to cancelling that spell is lost forever. The solution? One of the good guys who had managed to get control targeted on her commands the character to obey his own will, forever. So he obeys her, but in doing so, obeys himself. Effectively the spell is cancelled.

Here, in a climactic scene where the villain has told Ella to kill her love (and not tell anyone), with the blade held over his back, she instead commands herself to not be obediant anymore.

And I thought it very striking that all that time she had suffered others ordering her about, it was because she would not command herself.

“Geez man, it was a fantasy rom com, why are you thinking about it so much?”

Because it shows what you can get away with if you just stick with a few of the regular conventions. It’s a wolf in sheeps clothing, philosophically.

Oh, and yeah, the link at the start? I’m guessing google will spider this and hopefully find my other page. Hope it wasn’t off putting.

High production just makes followers/moth to the flame

I’ve been thinking that most of the games, whether it be video games or even table top RPG’s, have such alot of production and work in them that it’s a bad thing.

Think of it from your own perspective – there are these sparkly games that draw your attention and maybe spark your imagination. But do you have the raw production capacities to actually make one yourself? To various degrees, the answer is no. Perhaps if we rewind to early D&D, or to video games on the c64, yes. But otherwise no.

So your entranced and in love with something you can’t actually make yourself. This throws you into the position of follower only – you can’t lead, because you need to be able to make it to lead. You can only follow.

A mix of sometimes following and sometimes leading is alright, but always following? That’s a bad thing, if you happen to share any values I have on self guidance.

I’m looking at all these things again and thinking wow, all the fancy production just leads me into being a follower. Pah!

Edit: And why on earth can I google this new post I made only an hour or two ago, yet I can’t google my new blog?

Carrying real world morality into a mmorpg

This post, in regards to eve and ‘griefers’.


Can-flippers and ninja salvagers are thieves. Thieves are considered jerks in the real world, so it seems perfectly reasonable to me to consider them jerks in EVE as well.

CCP hasn’t constructed an environment where all actions a player may take have the same moral freighting. They’ve simply constructed an online environment where I need to take matters into my own hands if I want to avoid EVE’s various criminal classes or retaliate against them.

This is apparently genuine moral judgement on someone for what they did in a game.

Something they did only because it was possible to do so within the code the developers wrote. And they wrote it because they wanted it to be possible.

Not only that, but apparently CCP (the makers of the game) have apparently declared that in the game they made, actions don’t all have the same moral freighting. Oh, they have the capacity to decide that, do they? And lo if they decide it, it is true for all (and that’s taking it they have even said anything like this and this guy isn’t just purely inventing this).

Somehow, because CCP allegedly decided not all actions have the same moral weight, someone is literally a jerk for doing certain things.

And if CCP declared jihad, no doubt whoever they declare it on is most deserving of holy war.

Feeling first, asking questions latter never.

Free will – free of what?

There’s an old interview of an author I like, here, that I read again the other day.

On the other hand, I was dismayed to learn that at least one of the ‘future facts’ I pose in Neuropath has come true. Apparently, Professor John-Dylan Haynes at the Max Planck Institute devised an experiment where he and his colleagues were able to determine, via fMRI scans, what their subject’s choices would be seconds before they were conscious of them. Freaks me out just writing about it.

There’s going to be people who deny this stuff come hell or high water, just as there’s people who can’t abide evolution or the heliocentric solar system. Truth be told, I’m one of them. I believe there has to be something to my experience of free will, but all the credible evidence is piling up on the other side, and I’m not going to pretend otherwise. All I can do is stomp my foot and say, “No! It just can’t be.”

Because if it is, then nothing fucking matters.

This is just a sample and what’s been going through my head about his concern includes a bit more of that interview.

But basically, in terms of free will, what do you expect it to be free of? Free of connection? Free of links to anything else?

There probably is a part of the brain that’s like a random number generator and can generate impulses that come from a highly random source. That would largely be free of any link to anything else.

But apart from that, what did you expect free will to be free of? Everyone talks about the idea of free will being free, but no one ever says what they want it to be free of/thinks it is free of.

I mean, to put in a crude example, don’t you hug your loved ones? Or do you want to really be free of any real and genuine link to them? “Oh, but it’s a neurological path, an actual mechanical firing of impulses, that then fires more impulses in my mind and so on – it’s just machinery!”. Yes, it’s an entirely money where your mouth is set up (one might say no mouth at all) – it’s all deeds instead of words! It’s all machine doing that connection, instead of just thinking of it but being free of actually doing it. What’s important? How that connection is made or that the connection is indeed made?

Goals met. Goals that originate in impulses from parts of the brain that are said to do with emotion, yes, but goals met all the same. What’s more important, that the goal is met, or that it’s met via some whimsical, fantasy free will thingie? In terms of hugging loved ones as an end, does the means matter more than the end? If you can’t do it via a particular means, does that mean that particular end does not matter!? What sort of screwed up priority is that!?

Or does that make me speak from a place that’s like a character from his books, called Kellhus? (and PS: My god, how obviously close to callous…)

There’s a ‘good’ for Kellhus, which is simply what most effectively allows him to achieve his goals. He is the perfect practitioner of ‘the end justifies the means’ rationality, or what philosophers call instrumental rationality. For Kellhus, the only thing that makes acts good or bad are their consequences. Since we seem to be hardwired, and are definitely socialized, to think that certain acts are good or bad regardless of their consequences, this makes him seem ruthless and unscrupulous in the extreme – nihilistic.

Hmm, no, I don’t say the end justifies the means. But taking it that justifying is the process of not failing certain goals, I don’t think there being a mechanical process that delivers those hugs to loved ones fails at any particular goals I have, atleast.

Is the idea of theft, theft?

The idea of theft and that someone isn’t allowed to take your stuff.

Here’s a thought – why should someone with nothing support that system? What do they get out of it – they have nothing to protect, after all.

Taking it that the idea of a system is supposed to provide mutual benefit. But when someone has nothing, there’s no capacity for mutual benefit.

And if the idea of that system isn’t for mutual benefit – well, what’s the difference between that and feudal lords who demand taxes of their peasants, on pain of violence?

I think the traditional idea of theft doesn’t really give a rats ass about whether the other guy has anything. It’s just a self righteous conviction they can’t take these things and they should suffer if they try. Or atleast I’m examining what remnants of the idea are in me and it seems that way.

This also applies to obscene wealth relative to having, I dunno, just a few hundred in the bank – that person is expected to follow laws about not taking any of the millions the other guy has. But to what benefit? So if he had millions, he’d be protected? Bit of a BS benefit that one – it’s protecting someone in a way they’ll really never need.

I think in facing personal degradations due to lack of resources – well, if everyone else around you is in a similar state, well then in terms of system everyone’s getting the same benefit from not stealing. But when someone looks like the monopoly guy and the other guy is facing personal degradation, well as an equation the benefits the degradation guy get are cancelled by the degradation. So why should he subscribe to the system when it grants him no benefits?

It’s because the rich guy has the mentality of a thief and he thinks he gets to keep his money because it’s his and no one else aught to get any benefit in exchange for him keeping his money. Oh that and the gang in blue with the guns.

The feudal lords had more firepower than the peasants and that’s how they kept up the pattern they called a system. Those feudal roots are still very much present today, still expecting something for nothing (well, I suppose dishing out violence and incapacitation is giving something in return…)

Were you trained in school to run off of support…and now it’s not there?

Probably not interesting to anyone, but I’ve just kind of realised that I was making or attempting to make games with the firm impression there was a reward involved. Originally it was peer accolades, more recently money of some level.

I think because I’ve been thinking on the money, I’ve come to the perhaps obvious realisation that no one is going to give me anything for making a game. No ones waiting to do that. With the peer accolades, way back when I first encountered double dragon and wanted to make a game, I thought those peer accolades and pats on the back were on offer. Same goes for a traditional table top roleplay game and making one of those. I don’t think anyones guaranteeing (like any of you who work, are guaranteed to be paid) me any money to make a game, and I don’t think anyones guaranteeing me any peer accolades either. I just had the impression, a naive one, that it was. I wont blame myself for that – it comes from a child like part of me and I wont blame that into non existence in a hurry.

So perhaps that’ll help with my writers block? No ones offering anything. Perhaps after I make something perchance I’ll get paid or a pat on the back. But no ones guaranteeing me something for having made something – not even five cents – no ones giving me any sense of certainty or security/support in that way.

I think I can work that way, but my point with this post is that I think the idea that I was offered certainty on some sort of reward for work was sputtering and bleeding away. And so too was my productivity. I suppose I was stuck in a cycle of throwing effort at something with the idea I would get support – but at the same time I felt no…possitive feeling? I guess this is pretty childish, but this is what they teach you in your early formative years at school – the pat on the head and appreciation from teacher for getting the work done. There will be no pat on the head – at least not of a level that befits me as an adult now (and by befits, I mean not just my due as an adult, but in practical terms of supplying resources for my adult life).

I think I can work and produce without the idea of any such support. A more clinched, tight work, but work done rather than lolling in a sense of non inspiration (that absent inspiration being the absent support). It’s funny, one of my own phrases is ‘Praise subverts agenda’ and here it is again. Waiting on that praise can subvert what your doing.

And I don’t mean praise mayonnaise – I keep several boxes of it stored away in case of any sort of mayonnaise emergency. At 18kg, you can bathe in the stuff! I know I do! >:)

Train is over when it…HEY!

From the twitter of bbrathwaite,

Someone took a souvenir from Train at #g4c. If you inadvertently took it, please return it. It was a Terminus card. Thanks.

You might know of Brenda Brathwaites game ‘Train’. There’s a rule in it “Train is over when it ends.”

If you’ve been watching ‘play this thing’ there’s a few…I dunno how you’d put it? Don’t get what you started the activity for, games? An older one is “The Graveyard”. Another is “Vampires”. With a few others as well. “Fathom” has the subtitle of ‘pleasantly fucking with your head’ in the review, even (taking it the review is in tune with what the authors think of these sorts of games).

And I’m rather skeptical of what I consider to be a bait and switch for shock and awe design. Most notably BECAUSE the player has no way to affect the author at a similar level.

Until now, it seems.

As much as I can see art in a game that acts like it will give control but doesn’t (graveyard), or massively changes the theme to give a fixed message, I can see art in taking the card.

Mind you, the person was probably just souveniring/stealing. Which is a shame because I could see the art in it. Because when you start stripping away the boarders, you don’t just strip them away for the other person – you strip your own boarders away as well.

Prediction #1

Over here on the anyway site, Jesse Burneko says this in comment #28

So there’s all these fictional aesthetic calls that dictate how the dice move around. And yes, the GM has the final say over that. But it’s not *arbitrary.* It’s all usually very clear when it’s actually happening because the fiction is a much more powerful force than people give it credit for.

My prediction is that in five to eight years from now roleplayers will say of the following “Everyone knows that”: It is arbitrary – it’s as arbitrary as the GM is, or as arbitrary as the GM wants to be arbitrary. It’s just that the GM can try not to be arbitrary – he can try and syncronise with other peoples notions and prior narrations. And so can everyone else at the table. They can all try to support an illusion that it isn’t arbitrary, and most people can do a fair to good job of giving that, as much as most people can follow the instructions of a magic trick such that the illusion that magic has occured, is constructed.

People will say “Everyone knows” that the fiction isn’t a powerful force, but if everyone throws their weight behind it and acts as if it is a powerful force, then in terms of practical ramifications, it is as if it is a powerful force. The illusion it is a powerful force and many practical ramifications of it being a powerful force, will exist – if everyone throws their weight behind it. In the same way as votes for women or the abolishment of slavery exist as a powerful force with physical ramifications, if people throw their weight behind those ideas.