A Question about Engrams, Loa, and Free Will

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ScoSteSal118
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A Question about Engrams, Loa, and Free Will

Post by ScoSteSal118 » Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:00 pm

Here's my attempt at a very specific and limited bit of analysis of basic philosophical underpinnings of the current Loa culture. I would really appreciate it if this could be corrected, confirmed, and/or clarified:

Individualism and free will are big ideas among the loa. These tenets result in (or one could look at it as "they justify") the idea of self-determination that is, so far as I can tell, central to most loa worldviews. This is particularly clearly exhibited by their Five Inquiries, which function as a denial of Schopenhauer's determinist dictum that "[A sentient being] can indeed do what [it] wants, but [it] cannot will what [it] wants."

//EDIT:removed "p-zombie" from below paragraph at place where * now is because I misused the term and because the use/contraction of the word was causing confusion.
Therefore, loa see beings that cannot change their answers to the Five Inquiries at will as deterministic intelligences *. This is particularly clear in the case of engrams, where they have a personality that determines what they want and will, but they cannot modify that personality significantly (if at all) by the exercise of their will (if they have a will at all).
Last edited by ScoSteSal118 on Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Space Voyager
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Re: A Question about Engrams, Loa, and Free Will

Post by Space Voyager » Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:58 pm

My guess would be that you're completely correct. I don't think Loa see an engram as an intelligent being. More like a shadow of one.

That brings a question; can Loa have an engram pet? Or is it somehow against their beliefs?
ErinysSolForce Intelligence has great difficulty penetrating Liir society to that depth, for obvious reasons. fibioLack of scuba gear?

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Re: A Question about Engrams, Loa, and Free Will

Post by Eleahen » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:01 pm

My guess is it's like with humans.

Would you like an engram "pet"? Of an animal or a person?
Answers would differ.

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Re: A Question about Engrams, Loa, and Free Will

Post by Erinys » Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:01 am

A lot of these questions are pretty simple "yes" and "no" questions.

Do the Loa see engrams as zombies? No. They see them as ghosts, rather than living souls. An impression, a fragment of the soul. Not the fully living person.

Would you want a ghost for a pet? Hard to say. But Loa view engrams with pity, as a rule.

--Arinn
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ScoSteSal118
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Re: A Question about Engrams, Loa, and Free Will

Post by ScoSteSal118 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:03 am

I'm sorry for not writing my original post more clearly: I meant "philosophical zombie," although now that I think about it more I am not sure if that even works with "deterministic intelligence"... Sorry to all about being a hard-to-understand sophomore.

So, to clarify: Erinys, is the part about beings that cannot change their answers to the Five Inquiries at will being Schopenhauerian deterministic intelligences correct (basically the central idea of my post, still uncertain whether that was a correct understanding)?

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Re: A Question about Engrams, Loa, and Free Will

Post by Erinys » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:49 pm

Not enough of a Schopenhauer fan to analyze my own work in light of his, sorry.

In general, too much use of the word determinism, even in the case of engrams, probably represents an error in thinking. Some engrams represent excellent recordings of sapient consciousness, and the number of possible actions and reactions available to the engram is so large that it would still be very difficult to predict reliably, in every case, what they will do. Beyond the rough patterning of the personality involved, you may as well treat them as "people". The Loa would simply tell you that they are...dead people.

The difference between a living consciousness and an engram is that the potential of a living consciousness is functionally infinite. The potential of an engram is finite, but can still be vast.

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ScoSteSal118
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Re: A Question about Engrams, Loa, and Free Will

Post by ScoSteSal118 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:18 am

Der Mensch kann tun was er will; er kann aber nicht wollen was er will.
Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills.
On The Freedom Of The Will (1839), as translated in The Philosophy of American History : The Historical Field Theory (1945) by Morris Zucker, p. 531
Variant translations:
Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.
As quoted in The Motivated Brain : A Neurophysiological Analysis of Human Behavior (1991) by Pavel Vasilʹevich Simonov, p. 198

from http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Arthur_Schopenhauer#Quotes

That, and that alone, was what I was referring to when I said "Schopenhauerian determistic intelligences." I am not so well read as to have read his writings with any depth.

Does that principle (that is, the one quoted above) serve as a good distinction between engrams and "live" sapient consciousnesses in that it applies to engrams and does not apply to "live sapient intelligences" (or, at least, would the Loa say that that definition of the distinction is true?)?

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Re: A Question about Engrams, Loa, and Free Will

Post by Erinys » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:22 pm

*shrug* You can keep pushing the concept if you like, but I am unlikely to agree any more than I have.

A living sapient personality, carbon or non-carbon, has the ability to change and evolve. It has a much greater capacity for change and evolution than an engram does. But trying to reduce this notion of the soul's potential for evolution and change to a single catchphrase written by a philosopher who died over a century ago is unlikely to get us any closer to understanding.

There are Five Inquiries, and "What do I want?" is only one of them. Engrams find it difficult, if not impossible, to significantly alter their answers to these fundamental questions. A living person, on the other hand, can fundamentally "die" and be re-born as a consciousness a thousand times in a single lifetime. In fact, it is often a sign of poor health when at least some of the answers do NOT change.

We can re-define ourselves, change our allegiances, re-define our mission, make changes in what we will and what we want, and find that our aesthetic responses evolve over time, as we are shaped by our experiences. From the perspective of the Loa, this is what it means to be alive--a living, sapient being, regardless of whether your Walkabout is made of meat or metal.

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ScoSteSal118
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Re: A Question about Engrams, Loa, and Free Will

Post by ScoSteSal118 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:26 am

Ah, I think I understand. Thank you very much for spending so much time on this question I had. Have a good day!

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Re: A Question about Engrams, Loa, and Free Will

Post by Erinys » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:54 am

No problem. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful with the Schopenhauer comparison, but I simply don't know enough about Schopenhauer to say whether some aspect of my fiction can fit comfortably with his ideas. I could have said "Yeah sure whatever," but there's no point masking my ignorance and misleading you. I do not know everything about everything! :P

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Re: A Question about Engrams, Loa, and Free Will

Post by ScoSteSal118 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:37 am

Your honesty is very good and I appreciate it! Lately, I've been getting upset intellectually about the whole free will question and related questions about the nature of the universe and of consciousness, so I've been doing a bunch of Wikipedia-surfing and so gaining "enough knowledge to be dangerous." Even if my application of that particular idea here was correct, you made the good point that desires are not the only parts of personalities that change.

Anyway, how are things going with your injury, the pain it causes, your recovery from it, and your work generally? I saw a post of yours from January that mentioned a second SotS novel that you are working on, and I was wondering: how is that going, and would you please consider dropping a little information about it?

PS. I am reading Hamlet in school now, and your writing about how it in particular has been incorporated into Hiver culture makes so much more sense to me now. A lot of the stuff associated with royalty at that time (the sovereign standing for and in a sense "being" the land he/she rules over, the royalty being appointed to their posts by a higher power as part of the natural order), iiuc, fits so well with Hiver culture and society. One question, however: If Hamlet is a prince, who were Gertrude, Claudius, and the late King Hamlet (as in, which kind of Hiver royal)?

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Erinys
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Re: A Question about Engrams, Loa, and Free Will

Post by Erinys » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:58 pm

Gertrude is a Queen, Ophelia is a Princess. The late "king" was the Prince Consort to the Queen, and the current "king" is the new Prince Consort, who murdered his rival.

In the Hiver version of the play, the "ghost" of the king is not a ghost, but a zo'kan--a child of two or three, with some of the memories of Hamlet's father. (Specifically, the memory of bring murdered.) The child reveals this secret to Hamlet alone, and demands vengeance. Quite a creepy scene, given that the new Prince Consort has demanded that his former rival be reincarnated only as a Worker--a sterile and relatively helpless person who can never challenge him again.

--Arinn

P.S. As to personal matters--doing the best I can with them. Recovery is ongoing, some days are better than others. I will let everyone know when I have good news about ongoing projects.
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Re: A Question about Engrams, Loa, and Free Will

Post by ScoSteSal118 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:41 am

May your recovery continue to go on and maybe reach its destination sometimes soon [furrows brow in concentration, trying to discover latent psionic ability so as to be able to use Heal].

Wow, that is quite an original take on the story! A few lore detail questions about your statement:
Is the Prince Consort to a Princess or Queen that Princess/Queen's main mate/political ally, at least while he retains that title? If so, how much of the power of the Princess/Queen he is allied to does he have access to/limited control over?

Wait, so a zo'kan can be derived from multiple dead individuals? Creepy-tastic! Is that normal, slightly unusual, completely commonplace, a particularly bad way of disrespecting the dead individuals involved, or something else?

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Re: A Question about Engrams, Loa, and Free Will

Post by Erinys » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:52 pm

ScoSteSal118 wrote:Wow, that is quite an original take on the story! A few lore detail questions about your statement:

Is the Prince Consort to a Princess or Queen that Princess/Queen's main mate/political ally, at least while he retains that title? If so, how much of the power of the Princess/Queen he is allied to does he have access to/limited control over?


Yes, Prince Consort is a Hiver female's primary mate, and the Father of the majority of her children. A Queen may have more than one.

A Consort has as much power as he is given. Sometimes it is limited, sometimes it is enormous.

Wait, so a zo'kan can be derived from multiple dead individuals? Creepy-tastic! Is that normal, slightly unusual, completely commonplace, a particularly bad way of disrespecting the dead individuals involved, or something else?


No, a zo'kan is the reincarnation of one individual. But that individual could hypothetically have been re-born many times, and have the memory of many " lives" accordingly.

--Arinn
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