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The metaphysics of Eärwa - some thoughts posted 30 October 2008 in The Thousandfold ThoughtThe metaphysics of Eärwa - some thoughts by Thorsten, Candidate

The Thousandfold Thought - reality as a construct and emergence

But in fact, I think RSB does answer the issue. If we pose a question if A or B is real, and then an honest investigation of evidence reveals that A and B are both real, it simply means that we did not pose a meaningful question. The question we posed contains hidden assumptions about the nature of 'real' and in order to ask a meaningful question, we have to uncover and remove some of these assumptions.

In order to explain what this means, let us have a look at quantum physics, or more specifically the wave-particle duality. The question at hand is: Is the nature of light a wave, or is it a particle? The evidence is that in some experiments light behaves clearly as a wave, but in others equally clearly as a particle! The answer to this apparent paradox is that it is unreasonable to insist that light must be either wave or particle - in reality, it is neither (we don't acually know what it is, but we describe as a quantum state with a given wave function which describes everything light does). But according to our perception, the underlying reality appears to us as either wave or particle - it is the perception which forms the apparent reality from the true reality. In other words, the apparent reality around us is nothing but a construct of conscious perception. Only in confusing apparent reality with true reality do we get a paradox.

But we cannot actually see true reality unformed by perception. Quantum states are undecided - quantum physics does not demand that a door is either open or closed, it can be both at the same time. Perceived reality however demands that it is one or the other. Quantum evolution does not have a definite history - past events did not happen, but only happened with a certain probability. Perceived reality demands that a past event has either happened or not.

And this last discrepancy is at the heart of a seeming backward causality effect in physics: In a certain process, light is emitted from a moving particle. But an event which happens later to the particle can cancel the emission which happened before. If we insist in the truth of perceived reality, then this is backward causality at its finest - that what comes after determines that which came before. But the error in the reasoning here is that the true past was never fixed, although we could only see it as fixed. Instead, the true past state always contained the probability that the emission never happened at all, and all we do in the experiment is projecting into this probability.

So there is a very real conceptual framework in which both causality and seeming backward causality can be true, and in which conflicting pictures of reality can be reconciled. In fact, it is the foundation principle of our world.

RSB gives various clues that the reality underlying Eärwa is of a very similar nature. For example, one of the prerequisites one needs to do sorcery is described as the ability to see the onta, i.e. reality as it really is (TT, Gl. 'sorcery'). Moënghus describes the Thousandfold Thought in his meeting with Kellhus as a 'lie becoming truth' and draws analogies with the viramsata (TT, Ch. 16), which is nothing but the idea that perception shapes reality with an intermediate step - the lie shaping perception. But for this shaping of reality to happen, belief is not enough. It is too superficial. Simply to believe that something happens does not shape the reality of Eärwa but only the individual perception. Absolute belief is required to shape perceived reality. This is all but spelled out by RSB in the information that sorcery (which undeniably changes reality) relies on the concept of 'absolute meaning' (TT, Gl. 'sorcery'), which is nothing but the absolute belief in a connection between a given word and an outside reality. The role of absolute belief is also confirmed by the fact that Moënghus was able to grasp the concept of the Thousandfold Thought, something the Dûnyain have been unable to do for thousands of years. The reason is probably that Moënghus was surrounded by people who do not ask questions of cause and effect and are thus capable of absolute belief, whereas the Dûnyain isolated in Ishuäl were not in contact with any such worldborn people, they themselves being far too rational to be capable of absolute belief.

This leaves three different layers of reality: 1) the individual perceived reality through belief 2) the perceived reality (through absolute belief of a large number of people) 3) the true reality independent of perception. As for 1), a person might believe that Kellhus is a prophet, but an omniscient observer would disagree and say that the person is deceived about the true state of things. In 2) a person may believe that Kellhus is a prophet, and an omniscient observer would agree that this is so. Finally, in 3) there is no perception of Kellhus as prophet or not, the question does not arise.

But in order to understand the Thousandfold Thought, we must look at one more concept - [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence:1zwk77jw]emergence[/url:1zwk77jw]. Emergence is not an easily defined concept. Roughly, it means that in a sufficiently complex system, new phenomena occur that cannot be traced back to individual components of the system, i.e. the whole is greater than its parts. Thus, in order to understand the system, it is insufficient to analyze all parts of it.

As an example, consider an anthill. There seems to be purposeful activity, ants transport food into the hill, transport rubbish out, find new food sources, repair the hill, and so on. Yet if you mark a single ant with a white dot, there is no sign at all of purpose. The single ant just randomly seems to go here and there, it does not carry out any purposeful action. So, analyzing a single ant does not reveal where the organizing intelligence of an anthill actually is or how it works. The same with the human brain - analyzing the function of neurons does not provide clues as to how consciousness works or where in the brain it is.

The God (or the Outside) is in all likelihood an emergent phenomenon from the interaction between consciousness, belief, perception and reality - some kind of super-consciousness. Kellhus seems to have something like this in mind when he explains to Achamian that the Outside is rather a direction in the soul of man and that the God is looking out of the eye of every man (TT, Ch. 10). Of course, one should always be careful with explanations provided by Kellhus, which rarely are given with the sole aim of explaining anything, but the description seems to fit the evidence rather nicely. Moënghus describes the Thousandfold Thought indeed as a 'living thing' (TT, Ch. 16) which becomes the player using mankind.

The issue about emergence is not that it would not follow causality. It is unreasonable to claim that the behaviour of an anthill does not follow from the behaviour of individual ants when one cannot point to any outside cause. The problem is that emergence follows causality in a way that cannot be isolated, and hence it eludes the Dûnyain analysis. One can not point to a property of the single ant and localize the organizing intelligence of the anthill. It is caused by the ants, but it is caused somehow without a clear line, and this is where the analysis of causation and the predictive power stumble.

The various aspects of the concept known as the Thousandfold Thought then evolve as follows:

Initially, Kellhus wishes to dominate circumstance. Thus, his words and actions shape the belief of others, and his aim is that their belief changes their individual perception of reality, such that they accept him as a prophet, thus that the behaviour of people is changed because of their changed perception of reality. In a sense, he is the omniscient outside observer (so is Cnaiür) and he would state that the true state of affairs is that he is in fact not a prophet. In other words, Kellhus lies about being a prophet and purposefully poses as one. In his initial view, there is an underlying independent reality, and people can choose see it or not, but reality does not depend on whether they do or not.

Moënghus has in fact carefully prepared and anticipated Kellhus' path, since he has figured out one more step in the chain of Kellhus' words forming beliefs and beliefs forming perceptions --- he knows that absolute belief as being created in the holy war will bring about the Thousandfold Thought as an emerging living entity. In other words, he anticipates that he creates a new God in a sense, but he views himself as outside of these events, as their originator, and probably his plan is as Kellhus suspects to dispose of his son and to take over the role as prophet (TT, Ch. 17).

However, what actually seems to happen carries the chain even more steps further. The Thousandfold Thought of the Holy War does shape the God as emergent phenomenon. But in doing so, it actually reshapes reality. In particular, it reshapes (seemingly) the history of events leading to this point, giving rise to (seeming) causality violation. In other words, the events reach back into the past and shape the reality out of which the consciousness of both Kellhus and Moënghus is in itself an emergent phenomenon - and thus the neither Kellhus nor Moënghus are in any sense outside the Thousandfold Thought, but in turn influenced and shaped by the very events they have set in motion.

Thus, the somewhat paradoxical answer to the question of Kellhus is really a prophet is: Initially he is not, but in the end he always has been.

It seems much more useful to analyze the unfolding of events in terms of the evolution of probability amplitudes of events as in quantum physics than in terms of a timeline. This especially relates to the No-God - the mere possibility that he may be resurrected in the future seems to be causing all kinds of events and dreams in the present. view post


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