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Replay Auditor | joined 18 March 2004 | 127 posts


On The Warrior Prophet posted 18 March 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Replay, Auditor

I would have to say yes, all morality is just a social construct. However, that doesn't demean it in any way, to my thinking.


I think this is quite a common argument made by many these days, and it is very easy to see how people come to such a conclusion.

The problem comes when you try to lump all of morality (or value which morality is an extension of), into one group. Whereas in reality is does not really work like that.

By looking at morality from only a social point of view, you miss the morality/value of the intellect. And if you look at it from only an intellectual point a view, you can miss the social (and then theres the biological and inorganic etc).

For instance, theres been talk of whether animals have morality/value. Well, from an intellectual--and to a smaller extent, social--it may seem that they dont. But from a biological? Well thats another matter. Does not an animal do all it can to survive? And are not those who do survive those of biological higher value? I guess you could say that is what the whole survival of the fittest is about (though perhaps a better name would be survival of the best, or even survival of the highest value).

From this i guess you could say that evolution is just a movement to higher forms of value. Which brings up and interesting point, and that is that value is not a fixed thing (well, in the relative world anyway). I suppose this is the cause of most of the problems when you try to define it (i certainly had a lot of problems just typing out this small post on the subject). view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 18 March 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Replay, Auditor

Yes, the i-am-right-you-are-wrong attitude is one of biggest causes of problems in the world today. But people love to set ideas and truths in concrete and cling on to them. I guess its a way to try and fend off the uncertainty of the world.

The thing is though, its in that uncertainty that true learning comes. Knowing that you can never have all the facts and that logic is not infallible, you can easily accept that what you hold true now, may not be so. You are not only open to any new information that comes along, but also open to the wonder of the world as it unfolds, instead of trying to force it into something else (which in the end never works).

p.s. I dont really agree with you that this is not a religious issue. This topic is at the very heart of religion. But then yours and my idea of what religion is probably differs quite a bit. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 18 March 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Replay, Auditor

Ah i see what you mean. Yes, that has been a problem with alot of religions over the years (not all though), and it is probably one of the major causes for people turning away from it. It certainly turned me away from Christianty, what with all the dogma and asking you to accept their word as law just on faith.

Funny thing is, it was that turning away and looking at other religions that finally allow me to understand Christianity alot better. It's not all that bad a religion once you cut away most of the crap (if your interested, you might want to check out some of stuff by the Christian mystics on the web). Plus from speaking to a couple of Christians lately, i think things are changing. They didnt seem so interested following the dogma layed out for them, and instead were investigating reality for themselves (or getting in contact with face of god as they like to call it). Guess that's that evolution at work again. view post


The conditioning of Kellhus posted 31 March 2004 in Author Q & AThe conditioning of Kellhus by Replay, Auditor

Theres an old saying that goes something like "When you understand yourself, you understand others". This would certainly be true for Kellhus who, having spent time observing his own mind in action, would come to understand how others minds work as well (though it is over exaggerated a little in the book).

Deep down humans are all pretty much the same, and all our thoughts spring from the same roots (it is only the individual thoughts which are different). Once you have observed and understood them for yourself, it is easy to see how they affect others actions. So, just because the Dunyain have not been in contact with anyone for a while, it does not mean they would not understand them. The only thing they would be a bit puzzled at at first would be the other land's culture. But with a bit of observation that would soon change (as i believe it does in the book)

My only problem with Kellhus is that i dont really believe he has understood these roots all that well (if he had, he would not be acting the way he is). Plus, while i understand where the author was coming from when he talking about that which comes before, if Kellhus had really understood himself, he would have had at least an idea of that which truely comes before. But hey, hes only a character in a story (and one of the best i have ever read), so these things are not really that important. view post


Hello to the author and everyone... posted 31 March 2004 in Author Q & AHello to the author and everyone... by Replay, Auditor

Zen and the art of motocycle maintenance is not so much a walkthrough of philosophical thinking, as it is an attack on it (well, on commonly held philosophy anyway).

It really is a great book though, and is in easy to understand language (Prisig uses his motocycle and the relationship of its parts to explain some points, which works well). It should interest anyone wanting to learn more about philosophy, or certainly those who wish to know more about value/morality, or perhaps just life in general.

I would advise reading it with an open mind though (and that also means not just accepting everything he says). Also remember that even though it is a very nice picture that he paints, it is still only a picture.

p.s. If you dont want to buy it, you can find it online in many places such as [url=http://bonigv.tripod.com/toc.htm:1wracemr]here[/url:1wracemr] view post


The conditioning of Kellhus posted 31 March 2004 in Author Q & AThe conditioning of Kellhus by Replay, Auditor

Yes, i can understand how you'd be concerned with that. I have been working on the idea for a series over the past couple of years (its about all layed out, i just dont have the skills to write it yet), and have come across a similar problem. It has a character who, much like Kellhus, has spent years training himself and has come to certain understandings, yet has misunderstood some vital points. The question becomes how to make that misunderstanding believable (as once a person reaches a certain point in self examination, it is almost impossible for them to act in certain ways).

I think that i may have worked that out for the most part, but have taken some liberties with it. After all, its is a fantasy book.

p.s. Forgot to mention it before, but congratulations on such a great first book. I don't read all that much fantasy, but when i do i like it to be of very high quality, and the TDTCB certainly has that. view post


Hello to the author and everyone... posted 31 March 2004 in Author Q & AHello to the author and everyone... by Replay, Auditor

In Lila he did seem to go against what he was arguing for in the first book (not defining it, which i think he should have stuck with (though can understand why he did)).

Have you checked out any of the stuff on [url=http://www.moq.org:t4lvz6ak]MOQ[/url:t4lvz6ak]? Its been a while since i last looked there, but there was some interesting stuff presented. view post


The conditioning of Kellhus posted 31 March 2004 in Author Q & AThe conditioning of Kellhus by Replay, Auditor

I agree that believability plays a big part in what makes an epic fantasy great, and it is also one of the reasons that i do not read all that much in the genre. There is nearly always some dark lord who has lived for millenia, yet never changes and continues to act evily just for the sake of acting evily.

I guess its a common problem with the fantasy genre, in that the writers can get so caught up in the great freedom they are allowed when creating their worlds and characters, that they often overlook just how believable what they have created really is.

The genre can be pretty forgiving though, esepcially if you have believability in other areas. Steven Eriksons books are a good example of this, where he has created such a vivid world and history, that you can overlook the fact that some his characters are hundreds of thousands of years old yet still act like spoilt teenagers (Kallor for example).

As for myself, the series i have been planning will be as real as i can make it in every single area. Even what you would call the magic can be considered in the realm of possibility. Of course, readers will still have to suspend belief while they consider the possibilites presented in the book, but i think thats a good thing as it is often where the wonder and awe of the world/story you have created seeps through. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 05 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Replay, Auditor

What is the fittest if not the best able to survive?

As for morals/value being a social contsruct, well your free to believe that if you want-- i doubt anything i say will change your way of thinking. All i would ask is for you to have an open mind and try an experiment: put your hand in a fire, and then keep repeating that there is no value.

Of course, youll probably come up with an answer to that that fits into your world view, the logical mind is clever like that (and also why it should never be relied on). view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 05 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Replay, Auditor

First off, want to apologize for my comment about the logical mind. I wanted to make a point about logic but it came out totally wrong, and in the end turned out to be more an attack than anything (which it shouldnt be, as i know i am just as susceptible to falling into its traps).

Secondly, you asked what does that experiment have to do with value? Well, i would have thought it has everything to do with it. If there was no value, you could keep your hand there and let it burn. Of course, that would not happen--you would remove your hand without even thinking about it. Why? Because your hand is more useful (more valuable) if is able to operate properly (which it couldnt if it was burnt to a crisp).

The pain sensors in your body were developed for this, so that the body would know when it is being damaged and be able to do something about it; so that it could continue to operate better (value again) than it could if injured.

In a way though, your right--morality is kind of a social construct (well a certain type of morality anyway). It is a way of behaving that makes a society better. But it is not the individual rules made up by society that are so important (though they are in a way), as these are sometimes open to change. It is the "makes a society better" part that is important. Because if there is no value, why bother making a society better? Because if there is no value, how is it even possible to make a society better? (especially since better just about equals value).

I could say alot more but im not sure if it would be good to do so. Its a very hard topic to discuss (you can get too caught up arguing over the individual manifestations of it, and end up ingnoring the source) and im certainly no expert on it. It might be worth you reading Zen and the Art of Motocycle Maintenance, as the author of that has a good outlook on value and morality (though i often felt there was something he was missing) and he explains it really well. If you dont want to buy the book, theres a link to an online version of it in another thread on this board. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 06 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Replay, Auditor

Quote: "Iceman":rcxtz54u
I never claimed that there were no values; of course there are values out there. I only said that there were no intrinsic values in evolution. You can’t say that a lion is better than a Tyrannosaurus Rex just because the lion exist today while the T Rex is extinct. They were adapted to completely different environments. But to go from “there are no values in evolution” to “there’s no values period” is a bit of a stretch.[/quote:rcxtz54u]

This is why i said value is such a hard topic to discuss. You get caught up in individual manifestations of value, and if you try and compare them you always run into problems.

Is a t-rex better than a lion? I've no idea about that. What i was trying to get at is that if you look at just the T-rex iteself, you can see how it evolved to become a better killing machine. Again, it is this 'better' that is important. Being better means its of a higher value than an earlier version of whatever the T-rex was doesnt it?

Basically, what i am saying is that nothing can evolve if there is no value. What is evolution except moving towards something better than it was?

Quote: "Iceman":rcxtz54u
Are you confusing ‘social construct’ with ‘social constrain’. That would make your apparent disgust about morality being a social construct meaning. But in case you don’t and actually think that the idea of morality as a social construct is repulsing, let me ask you a few questions. Do you consider culture to be repulsive? I don’t mean a specific culture, but the concept of cultures. Cultures are clearly a social construct.[/quote:rcxtz54u]

Im not really sure what you mean by this. I have no disgust about morality being a social construct, and certainly dont find cultures replusive (nor the concept of them).

Perhaps the problem is that we both have different meanings for the word morality? If you mean the laws, and what people would call the 'acceptable way of behaving' , then yeah, i can agree with you that they are social constructs. But the thing is, what is this morality except an extension of value? What are these laws and ways of behaving except an attempt to make the society better (of higher value)?

Of course, you can run into problems again at this point by looking at the individual manifestations. For example, a hundred years ago, the height of morality was acting like a snob, not having sex before marriage and adding flowery words to your speach. So you could say that since moral rules seem to be changing, they are therefor an illusion and worth nothing. The thing is though, these moral rules are just as subject to evolving into something better as anything else is. It is that underlying value at work again. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 06 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Replay, Auditor

Quote: "iceman":2zqkw7bi
If you leave out the ‘laws’ part, then that is an apt definition on what I mean by ‘morality’. What I don’t agree with is that there are some fundamental values behind. These ‘values’ are also just social constructs. If these values were universal, then every society would move towards the same goal. [/quote:2zqkw7bi]

Theres the problem i was talking about before, if you try and compare values or morals against others, then you find that they are not universal. The thing is, i agree that their not universal. People and societies are for the most part always acting out of conditoning, so as conditions differ, so will what people feel is better.

Again though, this still does not negate that there is something there called Value at work. Perhaps the problem is, is that it is very parodixical in nature, so very hard to grasp/explain.

And who knows, perhaps most societys are moving towards the same goal (if that goal is just to impove; to make life better for its citizens). As the saying goes, there are many roads that lead to Rome. This does not mean that those roads have to look alike though. Perhaps some roads even take two or three times as long to get to same point.

Quote: "iceman":2zqkw7bi
I also disagree with your statement that the society is evolving towards something better. That’s not always the case. Sometimes a society evolves into something worse. It’s now ten years since the Rwanda Genocide. If a society always moves towards something better, this would never have happened. [/quote:2zqkw7bi]

Your right its not always the case, sometimes it happens that dangerous people get ahold of power and then abuse it. But i bet over time this has, and will continue to, get harder and harder to do. When people realise they dont have to stand for it, and that there are better ways that they can adopt. A great example of this is what has happened in China over the past 50 or so years.

Theres alot more i could add to this, such as how their are differing viewpoints etc, but i think its best to stop here. I think that this is a subject where if you think to much about it, you could end up going mad <!-- s:) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:) --> view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 06 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Replay, Auditor

Quote: &quot;iceman&quot;:35hlf9to
I think where we might differ, Replay, is that I consider both Value and Morale as something that differs from society to society based on their spesific cultural history, environment, etc. [/quote:35hlf9to]

No i dont think we really differ on that point all that much. All i was trying to do was point to the source of those values/morals, though im not sure how well i succeeded with that.

I think perhaps its best we end this particular discussion here though. Its been nice talking about the subject, but i don't really think either of us will really end up agreeing.

Besides, i try not to be too attached to any belief or outlook--they tend to get in the way of learning and cause more problems than they are worth--and this particular one is one that i have been trying to drop for a while now (though i did enjoy exploring it whilst posting here). Better that i don't continue to feed it <!-- s:) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:) --> view post


The LOTR Films posted 07 April 2004 in Off-Topic DiscussionThe LOTR Films by Replay, Auditor

I liked the first film, but the other two did nothing for me. Whilst i can see that they did a fairly good job with them, i think the director just overplayed some of the scenes too much. There were just too many cheesy emotional moments in them for my taste.

Plus some of his changes were a bit dubious. He would have done better sticking closer to the book in some parts. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 07 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Replay, Auditor

I think things will always be in a muddle as well. I dont really think the logical mind can ever come close to grasping "it" (or whatever you want to call it: god, nature, the source, the unknown, or even that which comes before - though i think "it" serves better). Sure it can paint some pretty pictures, but that is all they are and not reality itself.

That is not to say it cannot be experienced though, especially if we are "it" made manifest. In a way, that is what most religions are about at their core (though some have strayed from it): reconnecting with reality/the universe through practice. Even the word religion basically means this in its anceint Latin form.

Philosophy can have its uses though--it can often point to the truth, even if it cannot grasp it--and i think it would be good to have a philosphy section on this site. Plus i think man has a natural love of wisdom and likes to discuss it. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 13 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Replay, Auditor

Cu'jara, from a few of your other posts i figured you didn't agree with nihilism, yet wasn't what you described in your last post exactly that? Or am I missing something? view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 13 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Replay, Auditor

So do you believe that morality is an illusion and meaningless then or not? view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 15 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Replay, Auditor

Ok, thanks for making that clear. There was some confusion over the way you actually wrote that recent post--it seemed more like you were arguing for nihilism.

I can agree with you that nihilism is a scourge of our day, but am not sure why you would say that evolutionary accounts of morality come down to that. Would you mind explaining a bit more?

Perhaps the problem is we both have different views on what evolution is, or are perhaps looking at it from different angles. That is always the problem with the discussions such as these--especially on a internet forum--it is always hard to know where the other is coming from.

p.s. Norsirai: Nice analogy with the stepsister. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 15 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Replay, Auditor

Quote: &quot;Cu'jara Cinmoi&quot;:3j3oo7ux
The evolutionary side is easy: no matter how much we 'affirm' our moral intuitions, the fact remains they're simply arbitrary, subreptive artifacts of an arbitrary evolutionary history.

The social context side is somewhat more tricky. But in the end, I would argue, it all comes down to games of power and control. Rightness and wrongness become the determination of dominant groups and their memes - nothing more.[/quote:3j3oo7ux]

I can kind of see what you are saying, especially from the social context side. For instance, just because someone in power says something is moral, it does not have to mean that it is. The problem i have though is that these points seem too much like blanket statements that leave out more than they include.

At a basic level i think morality is not really about power or control, but more about a way of living that benifits not only yourself, but others also. Deep down everyone wants peace, happiness, and to suffer as little as possible, and because we recognise that others are really no different from ourselves, we know that they also want these same things. So we have these guidelines which we call morality; guidelines that help make everyones lives better. For instance, you would not like to be robbed, killed or abused in any other way, so you do not do these things to others.

Im not saying that these guidelines are set in stone though, in fact i think they are as open to change as anything. We are always having new experiences and gaining new information that we did not have before, so can continue to refine what it means to act morally.

Again, on the evolutionary side i can kind of see where your coming from e.g. Just because evolution has made us act a certain way to help propagate the species, it does not mean we have to continue acting that way. But then is that not evolution in itself?

Once, all we cared about was surviving and did whatever was necassary, whereas today we care abit more about how our actions affect others (though there is still some conditioning left over from earlier times). So even though you could say evolution tells us to have offspring, is this really true? If it is, would it not also be true to say that evolution has made us see that perhaps having offspring wouldnt be the best thing? That our views have evolved and we can see that adding more to this already overcrowded planet might not be quite so good?

This is what i trying to get at earlier when i was talking about evolution. I think the problem is though that when you mention the word, most people tend to think of it in just a biological sense. But really, it is hard to see that there is anything that evolution does not touch. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 15 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Replay, Auditor

Yeh, i guess you could call it progress (though to me something does not seem right about that).

It is like if you have a view on something and then someone comes along with information that you did not have before. When you include this new information, your view evolves into something better than it was before.

Science is a good example of this. A while ago, what Newton said about gravity was the truth, but then along came Einstein who looked at it with a different view and gained more information. He then added this to the already established truth, and made a stronger truth about gravity. And then of course along came the modern physicists who have even more information about the world than Einstien, and are working to make an even stronger truth.

The same goes for societies: There is some kind of change, and if that change works out to be better, then it is adopted.

It is perhaps alot more complicated than that, but at its core, i dont think it is really all that different from the evolution that takes place in biology. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 16 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Replay, Auditor

Quote: &quot;Sovin Nai&quot;:3ruo2xyt
After reading the rest of the posts, I mus say I agree with you, RePlay. Cu'Jara, I don't think that is or ever will be a way to KNOW because there is nothing to KNOW. It all comes down to belief.[/quote:3ruo2xyt]

I can agree that in the ultimate sense, there is nothing to know (not that there is nothing there, just that it is unknowable--if that makes sense <!-- s:) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:) -->)

Im not sure it comes down to belief though. Perhaps what it really comes down to is experience/action. The problem is that it is nigh on impossible to accurately describe any experience.

Even if you take something simple such as a nice cold and refreshing drink on a hot sunny day, can you really explain that experience to anyone? Can words really grasp the fullness of what that drink was like? Sure, the logical mind can cut the experience to pieces; can perhaps start talking about how tastebuds work, or how the temperature of the drink lowered your own, but does any of this ever get close to how the drink actuallly refreshed you? how the drink actually tasted?

And what if that drink was lemon flavoured, and the person you were explaining it to had never even tasted lemon? How do you explain that? Of course you could bring up some similarities; some frame of reference from other tastes, but does that really tell you what lemon tastes like?

The only real way for someone to understand what that drink was like is to drink it for themselves. Years of debating over what it is really like is never going to compare with that actual simple experience. All you would really have is, as you said, a belief over what it is really like.

Now try and imagine what it must be like to try and describe something that has very little frame of reference. Something that doesnt really fit into our normal way of thinking/looking at the world. And just how do you go about explaining it to someone who has not had anything close to the same experience? view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 18 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Replay, Auditor

Hmm not really. If the sun is shining and your arms are warming up, is that a belief? Or is it just a simple experience?

Simple experience/action always comes before any kind of intellectualization or any kind of belief. Its when you try and intellectualize/grasp the experince with words that you run into problems. If you try and it explain it to someone who hasnt experienced it before, they could of course say its just a belief (and perhaps theyd be right to doubt you instead of blindly believing what you say), but if you place them in the sun and let them experience if for themselves they will say "oh, your right its not a belief, thats just the way it is".

I was not trying to compare the drinking analogy with anything, just trying to point to this very thing. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 20 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Replay, Auditor

Quote: &quot;Sovin Nai&quot;:1c70q29z
OK, I see now.

The problem is that there is no control over perceptions of ideas. You can't make someone experience one, only attmpt to guide them. That is belief, I think, although I must admit that I feel very unsure of the ground on this particular facet of our debate.[/quote:1c70q29z]

Yeah you can never really explain an experience to anyone, only point to it and let them experience it for themselves.

It is also possible that two people can experience the same thing and different interpretations of it. Then belief can come into it--each thinking their view of what happened is right. But this is only because of the intellect trying to grasp something that it cannot grasp. Its quite likely that before intellectualization the experience was exactly the same for both.

Also don't worry about being unsure of the ground on this subject, as you would not be the only one. After all we are talking about something which cannot be really talked about (not that we shouldnt try tho). From our normal way of looking at the world this doesn't make much sense, yet when we pay close attention we can get a hint of the truth of it.

Quote: &quot;Sovin Nai&quot;:1c70q29z
Actually, almost this exact topic came up in my government class yesterday. A girl in the glass had an interesting idea: what if morals stem from evolution? We talked about similar ideas, but not this. That there is a higher moral law we all must obey, but it is dictated not by a higher being but by our evolutionary history. I found it an interesting thought and thought (no pun intended) I'd share it.[/quote:1c70q29z]

I would say evolution has some to do with it, though not sure about it being dictated. Also as i said before, from a certain point of view you could say that morals are evolution itself. But i think we have said enough on this subject and if we were to carry on we would most likely end up going around in circles. Perhaps time for a new subject for discussion? view post


Truth, Lies posted 21 April 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionTruth, Lies by Replay, Auditor

What is truth? Well for a start i guess it all depends on your point of view. You can look at something from relative, the absolute, the subjective, the objective, even the pre subjective-objecive.

For instance, from a subjective point of view you could say that you create the world, since without you there would be noone to experience it. And from an objective point of view you could say that the opposite was true--that the world creates you, as without any world to experience there could be no you.

So which is the truth? Well perhaps in a way perhaps both are even though they contradict each other. They are both valid ways at looking at the world (as are others) and shouldnt be thrown away because of some conflict. Infact the more views you have (and perhaps the more contradicitions), the better. You can jump from one view to the next, and each one gives you a better picture of what you are discussing/looking it. Each view kind of acts like an arrow pointing inwards and outlines what is there.

As for truths such as the ones in science, well i would say that they are agreed upon facts of the highest value that are always open to change if new information comes along (that sentance is a bit of mouthful huh?). Like i said in the other thread, truths such as gravity are always changing/being made better as people start to look at them in new ways. Whether there are any truths that are more concrete than that, i dont know. Simple truths such as "everything changes" certainly seem to be though.

What constitues a lie? Well theres not much to say on this one. I think we all understand what a lie is even from an early age. Though i suppose there can be many different types of lies, such those that have intent to harm, those that have intent to spare a person suffering, or even those that you tell just because you have no wish to give another person certain information. Because of this, I don't think theres anything really bad about lying--it all really depends on the circumstances. view post


History posted 22 April 2004 in Writing TipsHistory by Replay, Auditor

I think it is something that needs to be done over time, as it is very hard to just sit down and create a history from scratch.

The first thing i did was to look at the history of a country in our world, and see if there is anything that i could use (after chaging it a bit). After that i just payed attention to things i saw on tv/read online and thought about how these littles bits of info would help flesh out the history of my world (again after changing) e.g. you watch a modern drama and wonder if it would work in a historical setting, and if does, you can use it as part of your history.

Another good way of fleshing out the history is to create a couple of well known writers and painters like shakesphere or picasso in our world. You can then reference to their works in your story, and its even possible to let their works be of historical importance e.g. a painting of one nation surrendering to another. Robert Jordan does this well in his WOT books. view post


Fantasy and Philosophy posted 18 May 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionFantasy and Philosophy by Replay, Auditor

Well i dont really think it gets people into reading fantasy, but in some ways i expect it can keep them reading it.

The good thing about fantasy (and scifi) is that it has such a wide range--almost anything is possible in a fantasy book. Because of this, authors can use just about any plot device they can come up with to explore an issue that interests them. They are not constained to using just the world as we currently know it (they can even change such things as the laws of physics if they wish). Of course there are downsides to this, in that if you take it too far it can become too unbelievable.

I think also another part that appeals to people is the setting of fantasy books. Even though the modern world has a lot of wonders, i think deep down people feel that it is missing something; that perhaps this fast paced way of life isnt the best way things can be, and something about the ancient settings in fantasy books appeal to this part of them.

Is this just an escape though? I dont know. Perhaps for a lot of people it is, even if they dont realise it for themselves. By reading a fantasy book they can lose themselves in a world of wonder for hours on end and do not have to face the real world which they do not find as interesting. This does not really apply to all though, and i've never been a fan of blanket statements. For a lot of people i expect they just like a good story every now and then and find fantasy a good genre to explore various ideas. view post


More shameless self-promotion... posted 29 May 2004 in Interviews and ReviewsMore shameless self-promotion... by Replay, Auditor

Interesting that you mentioned Dune as the book you would most like to rewrite. That is one of the few books that i feel would not need changing all that much if you were given the opporunity to have a crack at redoing it.

I know what you mean about seeing possibilites in books that the author missed though. There are quite a few i would love to get my hands on and be able to rewrite. The WOT series probably being at the top of that list. Even though it has its flaws (and quite a lot of them), it does have a lot of promise that the author never really lived up to. I think you could cut out alot of the crap and run off on different tangents with some parts and still condense the series in half.

Then again, perhaps it wouldnt work. Im not sure i could work with a series that had some much duality in it (creator/darkone, male/female halfs of the source etc) without pulling the foundations of it apart <!-- s:) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:) --> view post


Other authors you enjoy posted 05 June 2004 in Author Q &amp; AOther authors you enjoy by Replay, Auditor

Neal Stephenson wrote Snow Crash didnt he? If so its the only book of his ive read. Wasn't bad though, but think it could have been better if it wasnt all written in the present tense (it works well in some places, but a whole book of it can begin to give you a headache).

As for Mieville, i think hes more style of substance than anything else. Its a shame as well, as he certainly has some talent. The worlds/places he creates are extremely well done, and he seems to have a good imagination. Having to sit through 200 pages of description is too much though - hes even worse than Jordan in that respect. Plus, even though he writes his characters well, he doesnt flesh them out enough or make them all that interesting. It just always feels like he writes only to try and show off his literary skills, and that everything else is secondary. view post


Fantasy and Philosophy posted 16 June 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionFantasy and Philosophy by Replay, Auditor

Personally, i don't see the need to ever have faith in anything. Something either is or it isn't, and if you are unsure which of the two something is, then your are just unsure. No need for faith to really come in to it.

Like others have already said, faith is often just an excuse to not bother investigating the truth for yourself. Perhaps you could say that you have faith in say the Christian teachings enough to spend a lot of your time studying them, but is there really a need? Jesus either knew what he was talking about or he didn't. Just investigate it and find out for yourself.

Perhaps faith (and belief which is basically the same thing) is useful to a lot of people in the beginning of their search for the truth, as it certainly can help to sustain them a little where they may have faultered. In a way it is kind of like a blind man who uses a walking stick to help him stay up right and to prod things so that he gets a better idea of what is around him. But what that man really needs is for someone else to come along a kick that stick away so that they are left fumbling in the darkness. Then the search really begins. view post


Fantasy and Philosophy posted 16 June 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionFantasy and Philosophy by Replay, Auditor

Quote: &quot;Cu'jara Cinmoi&quot;:snvk01ab
But faith, in its myriad forms, is inevitable isn't it? Part of being human consists in not knowing, yet acting nonetheless. [/quote:snvk01ab]

I agree that part of being human is not knowning yet still acting, but i still don't think faith is inevitable. When you don't know, you act in a way which you feel is most right. There is no need for faith. It either turns out right or it doesn't. Your faith in the action really affects nothing. All you can really do is pay attention and learn from what you did.

As for certainty, do you honestly really need it? I can understand where you are coming from though, as i used to be the same. I often used to wonder what the meaning of life was, but not so much for the truth, but for an answer that would justify everything. I think this is a very common thing among people who ask this type of question, where what they are really asking is for an answer that will say that their lives have had meaning.

Over the years though, this question has dropped away. Life having meaning really no longer has any meaning (if that makes sense), and im just happy to live. And it is because of this, that in many ways i have answered my original question.

Certainty is nothing to chase after anyway, especially as i doubt you'll ever find it. Even if you did, who would really want it? Who would want to live in a world where everything is known and there are no surprises? A world where you already have everything labled so that you no longer have to pay attention to it?

Uncertainty on the other hand is a lot better than people may think. When you don't know, there can be wonder when something happens that you didn't expect. In uncertainty you are open to anything that will happen. And in uncertainty, everything can take on new meaning as you no longer have everything pigeon-holed in to some box or labled. Even something as simple as seeing the plants that you walk past on the way to your car can take on new meaning and become fresh in your mind again.

In Zen, there is a thing called Don't Know Mind (or perhaps sometimes called Beginners Mind or Primary point mind). In it there are no prejudgements and there is no certainty. There is no faith or beliefs. There is just a spaciousness that flows with what ever happens, and learns from the experiance. It is something all Zen students try to attain, and you be surprised at just how richer life can become the more you live in this state. view post


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