Book 2 - Text Updates 031

Book 2 - Text Updates 031

Some days bring bad news.

Other days turn into a relentless series of awful revelations. The shocks keep coming. You think they'll never stop hitting you.

Yet this day had started out so well.

Sizemore had awakened in a dewy haystack, to the cheery chirping of finches. Uhura had left a wooden bowl full of blueberries on top of a tree stump for him, but she was nowhere in sight. His rations of rye loaf, cold spring water, a hard-boiled egg and a strip of beef jerky had popped beside the fruit. He sat on the stump and ate with his fingers, watching the birds squabble and preen.

He thought about Uhura, who had chosen him as her companion for the evening. She was a smooth, powerful woman with mocha skin and a swirl of black hair. A Date-a-mancer. She was beautiful, and he loved her.

"Love" meant so little and so much. For the Hippiemancers, their casual Date-a-mancy was only one expression of the love they each felt for one another. Intimate, but to most of them it only meant the same thing as a hug.

Uhura had said she wanted him because she knew he was lonely.

"Oh, no," he had protested. "I'm happy enough just to be here. Don't feel you have to cure me of loneliness."

She had laughed. "I won't cure you! No, I just think it would be interesting to be with a lonely man."

And sure enough, as warm and wonderful as those hours of rolling with her had been...he was not cured.

But, he did feel better. Sizemore felt so much at home here. He loved her, as he loved them all. You couldn't help it.

When he had finished eating, he fished his jacket from the haystack and walked out of the little glen, pausing to rinse his hands in a stream.

It was not a long hike to the other side of the glade, and it passed through some of the nicest little meadows and wooded stands. The air was moist and cool, scented with wildflowers and moss. He greeted a few of the Hippiemancers along the trail, but did not see Uhura. He supposed it wouldn't matter if he did or didn't.

The first shock struck him as he stepped out of the woods into the main park. Janis was on the other side. He could see her sitting cross-legged, holding an informal group discussion under the topiaries. He raised his hand to wave in her direction...

And he felt the turn end.

Sometimes it was possible for him to feel completely at home here. With little need for him in Gobwin Knob, Maggie had secured him Lord Stanley's permission to do some study in the Magic Kingdom for four turns, of which this was the morning of the second. So aside from Janis' talk about the coming battle yesterday, he hadn't given too much thought to his side's affairs.

And that battle was to happen this morning, wasn't it? But it was so far from the capital, even by dwagon relay he would not have been able to reach it. If it had gone very well, it would still be a strange moment to end the turn early...

He frowned as he sat down in the wet grass, among the white clover buds and tiny toadstools. Janis welcomed him to the circle with a wink in her twinkling eye, but no words. A Signamancer was busy talking about the significance of colors, and had much to say.

Sizemore didn't participate in the discussion. Nor did he pay much attention. He couldn't make sense of the early turn end, and became more worried about it the more he thought it over. He rocked in place a bit, and stared at the grass, while the Hippiemancers joked and teased one another. Their words fell farther and farther away into the distance.

A soft hand on his shoulder made him look up. Janis stood over him, apologizing to the group for closing the discussion early. "I have need of Sizemore's services this morning, I'm afraid. The rice terraces should be shored up before they burst, and surely a dozen other things need some mending on the grounds."

Janis led him away down a narrow path. They had barely spoken at all when the second shock hit him. He must have gasped.

Janis stopped. "What's wrong?" she asked, turning toward him. But she could see: he had no Chief Warlord bonus. "Oh."

"Warlord Ansom?" Sizemore's jaw sort of went slack. He shook his head, looking at Janis with wide eyes. "Something went wrong at the battle. I'll...probably have to go. The rice terraces..."

"...can hold up for some time," Janis nodded. "Let's head toward Portal Park."

They did not hurry. Sizemore had no actual orders to return, and was reluctant to think about going. They walked the trails without saying much. He listened to the frogs and crickets, and fretted.

The third shock came as they stepped upon a wooden bridge. He tried to take it in stride, saying nothing. But Janis stopped and looked at him anyway.

"That's low," she said of his new Chief Warlord bonus. "Is it him?"

Sizemore nodded, though he didn't want to.

Janis' mouth got tight. "Sizemore..." she said, her voice pitching up. "Stay right here, please. Please stay in this spot and talk to no-one. Will you do that for me?"

He would do nearly anything for Janis, and said so.

"Good. I'll be back within one hour. Two at most. I need to talk with a friend." She gave him a quick hug, and walked past.

"Who?" said Sizemore.

Janis shook her head. "A...Predictamancer. She may want to talk with you. Please stay here." She scuttled off the bridge the way they had come, left the trail, and vanished into the trees.

A Mathamancer had once told Sizemore that bad news tends to come in threes. He was able to console himself with that fact for nearly an hour, until he received shock number four.

Via Maggie, Warlord Parson was ordering him to return to Gobwin Knob immediately.

He peered into the woods one last time for Janis, even shouting her name. But an order is an order. He crossed the bridge, and hurried toward the center of the Magic Kingdom, grimly recalling that the Mathamancer had said bad news also comes in fives, eights, thirteens, and twenty-ones.

Comic - Book 2  Text Updates 031

Recent posts... (See full thread)
Alfred Mele Florida State University, USA

Now THAT is a definition of free will (about the 8th one down for me). :D

P.S. The best part is, we haven't even gotten into compatibilism yet. Also.
Basically, it seems to me that this whole new avenue of inquiry started because of Carne's arrogant response to me that there was no such thing as free will. But at the time I was clearly talking about biological determinism (biology=destiny, man is completely determined by nature not nurture, etc), not ontological determinism ("the state of the universe at time T+1 is entirely caused by the state of the universe at time T"). I am an ontological determinist, but I don't see what it has to do with this whole discussion. The real issue is whether biological determinism is true or not.

As to whether free will actually exists or what have you, your position on the issue does not change the fact that people are what they are and do what they do. Whether you claim that people do have free will or that they don't really, it's simply a change of labels that cannot deny the facts already in evidence. You still have to deal with people and be respectful to people, or they will kick your ass. Whether it's determined or the product of free willed action, that fact of social causality does not magically disappear because you put a different label on it. Whether you respect free will or not, you have no choice but to respect what's actually happening.

In the same way, jumping from "sex serves the purpose of reproduction in other animals" to "the purpose of sex for humans is reproduction" or somesuch proposition is not just a denial of free will, it's a denial of that fact of causality that people use the tools of biology for different purposes, and it is a dehumanizing speech against those people, because it implies that they are not "really human." What would ever make some of you think that this is an acceptable thing to do to others? My only original point was that, if the post you are writing dehumanizes people, you probably shouldn't write it. I still stand by that statement.
Francois Tremblay wrote:
... ontological determinism ("the state of the universe at time T+1 is entirely caused by the state of the universe at time T"). I am an ontological determinist,

...

if the post you are writing dehumanizes people, you probably shouldn't write it. I still stand by that statement.


But, if "ontological determinism" is true then the poster has no choice but to post their dehumanizing post. No?

Ah, I understand now... you recognized this semi-contradiction before you wrote this, but you had no choice but to post your post in the way you posted it... either that or I misunderstood what you wrote.

I say, hold people accountable for their actions... if they didn't have a choice in deciding their actions than neither did you in holding them accountable for them.

Also, thanks for the "Also" link, Trotsky... neat paper!
Francois Tremblay wrote:
In the same way, jumping from "sex serves the purpose of reproduction in other animals" to "the purpose of sex for humans is reproduction" or somesuch proposition is not just a denial of free will, it's a denial of that fact of causality that people use the tools of biology for different purposes...


Would you prefer if the person had said that the original purpose of sex for humans was reproduction? Also, since when has use had anything to do with purpose? I'm pretty sure MacGuyver did not change the purpose of the items he used.

effataigus wrote:
Also, thanks for the "Also" link, Trotsky... neat paper!


Your welcome!
trotsky wrote:
Also, since when has use had anything to do with purpose? I'm pretty sure MacGuyver did not change the purpose of the items he used.


No, but if everyone and not just MacGuyver suddenly started using paperclips mostly for defusing bombs and rarely for clipping papers together and paperclip factories kept making them, that WOULD in fact change their purpose.
I think consciousness (that's individual consciousness, not collective) is quantum in nature. Humans are pretty quarky critters; we each have our own spin, our own charm (or lack thereof . . .), our own strangeness. We can be up, down, right, left, in multiple states simultaneously (I point out Tea Partiers as a classic example), or in no state at all (drunks and zen masters, either one). We are, individually, damned things whose behavior can be guessed at and predicted with limited accuracy, though as numbers increase, confidence in predictability grows, although never to unity (the upcoming elections as another classic example).

We are cursed with free will because we simply have no choice in the matter.
ftl wrote:
trotsky wrote:
Also, since when has use had anything to do with purpose? I'm pretty sure MacGuyver did not change the purpose of the items he used.


No, but if everyone and not just MacGuyver suddenly started using paperclips mostly for defusing bombs and rarely for clipping papers together and paperclip factories kept making them, that WOULD in fact change their purpose.


Alright then, what keeps sex from serving the purpose of both pleasure and reproduction, instead of only having one purpose, as is typically implied in these arguments? Duct tape can keep a box together, hold it to the wall, or a variety of things (some pictures are probably less then work safe)

P.S. Screw it, I'm going to stop discussing this hear and go "discuss" it with my wife.
;)
trotsky wrote:
Would you prefer if the person had said that the original purpose of sex for humans was reproduction?


"Original"? Original for who? I don't believe in Adam and Eve, if that's what you're asking (if it's not, then your question makes no sense to me).


Quote:
Also, since when has use had anything to do with purpose? I'm pretty sure MacGuyver did not change the purpose of the items he used.


Does your intentionality not impart a specific purpose to the objects you use? I think you're splitting hairs here. I think ftl made a good reply on this point already, although I would extend it further and say that ALL intentionality can potentially change the purpose or meaning of the objects that exist around us.

To take an easy example, think of all the nonsense that's on art museum walls nowadays. It looks terrible, but the fact that it is in a museum itself grants it significance, meaning and purpose. It is art BECAUSE it is on an art museum wall. If it was just lying on a sidewalk somewhere, no one would give it a second glance. In general, objects are granted significance, meaning and purpose simply by virtue of having been selected to be in a museum. But this is just one context: you can apply this principle in all areas of life. Every time we do any kind of selection or make something significant, we completely change its place within our worldview and imbue it with a new meaning and a new purpose.
Pointyleaf wrote:
Ashamam already hit on this, but yes, we can never find the precise values (not by anyone, not even in hindsight), but this doesn't mean that precise values don't exist.

Determinism doesn't have anything to do with whether *we* can figure out the course of the universe.. as you said, because of HUP, we never will. Instead, determinism is about whether the universe's course is preset, predetermined, without any random or outside influences that can change the future. If the particles subject to HUP have actual, precise values, then it's possible that the end results of their interactions are completely fixed, and the universe is just one big machine.. and free will is an illusion.
It's a bit naughty you narrowed it down again to emphasized "*we*" when the whole point of my post was to amplify HUP applied to "*anyone*". :D

What HUP does is show this isn't a scientific question. HUP rules that "The Universe is completely deterministic" will never be an empirically supported statement. I acknowledge this is a bit of a "science tangent" in a philosophy discussion. But in speculating about how our physical universe operates I would start with science and extend the gaps with philosophy informed by the science. For instance HUP contradicts any thought experiments based on comparing perfect duplicates; if you could perfectly duplicate anything in our universe you could violate HUP.

Now as per thread rules... everybody drink. :):o:D:lol::P:mrgreen:
Carne wrote:
The illusion of free will only exists due to incomplete data and the lack of accurate abstract modeling faculties of the average human. But rest assured, any truly external observer with complete data and exhaustive modeling would find the universe to be a very predictable place.


This is an old argument. It's a good one, but it's long been discounted by the scientific community. For reference, look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laplace's_demon. To summarize:

LaPlace was a French mathematician in the late 18th, early 19th century. He concocted a thought experiment that became known as LePlace's demon. Essentially, it posited exactly what you said. If an intelligence knew the precise position and momentum of every atom in the universe, it could predict the future with 100% accuracy. Essentially, that the universe was deterministic. That the universe was such a perfect machine that with the absolute knowledge of the universe in a single state, it could be predicted with absolute certainty.

Here's the thing. If you can run the simulation forward, then you must also be able to run the simulation BACKWARD. If the universe is deterministic, then it should be possible to run the simulation all the way back to the beginning of the universe. And that, my friends, is not possible. The reason why is one of the simplest laws of thermodynamics. The entropy of a closed system tends to increase. If you play this rule forward to its ultimate conclusion, you reach the concept of irrreversibility. In every reaction, work is expended. Energy is lost, or rather, converted to entropy, free energy that cannot be used for work. This means that you CANNOT run the process backwards.

The widely accepted Standard Model of quantum physics has uncertainty as one of it's basic principles. Someone's already mentioned the Uncertainty principle, but there's another one that bears mentioning, and that is the concept of OBSERVATION. The classic example here is Schrodinger's Cat. Nothing exists in a definite state until it is observed. The simple act of OBSERVING something changes that thing. Until that time, the thing exists only as a series of possibilities. Physicists use the term "Collapsing the waveform".

I won't get involved in the argument about free will. I'm already hip deep in one in another thread. But I can state that according to the most widely accepted and experimentally supported theories, the universe is NOT deterministic. We don't know everything. But everything that we have looked at seems to point in the same direction, which is that randomness is an integral part of the universe and is in fact, built into the laws of physics.