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Cu'jara Cinmoi Author of Prince of Nothing | joined 26 January 2004 | 836 posts


Radio Sarnia posted 14 June 2004 in Tour and Signing InformationRadio Sarnia by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

As much as we wanted to, it was just too much to organize with the wedding coming up. I'm still astounded at how labour intensive these things can be. Even still, we're hoping to do a repeat at the Arts Project in London for TTT next spring. view post


Is the No-God a Nonman? posted 15 June 2004 in Author Q & AIs the No-God a Nonman? by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

They're being released in tradepaperback in the UK and Canada, and in hardcover in the US, though I don't think TWP is coming out until January 2005 in the US. view post


THE THOUSANDFOLD THOUGHT posted 16 June 2004 in Author AnnouncementsTHE THOUSANDFOLD THOUGHT by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

OK. So I made my case, I showed them the poll here on the message board, and they've agreed to go with The Thousandfold Thought! It may sound strange, an author having to argue for their title, but many of the contracts I've signed stipulate the working title, When Sorcerers Sing, which I've never been all that comfortable with. The bean-counters get ancy, I think, at the thought of 'thought' in a title... Especially when the author at issue is a small fry like me. Remember how they renamed the first Harry Potter in the US, because they didn't like the word 'philosopher'?

I should say that I feel the poll on the board here played no small part in the decision - thanks to you all!

I'll likely have roughs of the cover within a couple of months. Too bad I couldn't say the same about the manuscript! view post


The Space Channel posted 16 June 2004 in Author AnnouncementsThe Space Channel by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Just yesterday I did an interview for the Space Channel, which is Canada's version of the SciFi Channel in the US. What they do is make little clips to use as fillers (called 'Shelf Space'), so there's no saying exactly when my homely and pendantic ass might float across your screen. You might want to have a blanket or the remote ready just in case. At the very least, send the children to their rooms...

Just a note: for some reason the guy with the camera filmed me while laying on the grass, so I might look as though I'm like, ten thousand feet tall.

It's just an illusion. view post


Fantasy and Philosophy posted 16 June 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionFantasy and Philosophy by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

But faith, in its myriad forms, is inevitable isn't it? Part of being human consists in not knowing, yet acting nonetheless. I've spent ten years chasing down the justifications/reasons for things without answering a single damn question to my satisfaction. The problem, it seems to me, isn't faith so much as certainty. Millennia from now our descendents will think we're as deluded as we think, say, the ancient Egyptians were deluded: this almost seems axiomatic. And yet most everyone is convinced that they somehow, miraculously, have the market on truth cornered - or at least more cornered than their neighbour.

To err is to be human. To deny erring is more human still. view post


Fantasy and Philosophy posted 16 June 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionFantasy and Philosophy by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I think I agree with you Replay, and the bit about Zen certainly (there's that word again!) sounds interesting. I guess I need to know what you specifically mean by 'faith.'

For me, all assumptions, whether implicit or explicit, are a form of faith - which is to say, beliefs without justification. But if I apply that definition to what you're saying, you seem to be suggesting that it's possible to get by without assumptions, which I think is not only demonstrably false (you wouldn't hand money to the guy at the movie wicket unless you assumed you'd get to see the movie - there are countless examples like this, both trivial and profound) but part and parcel of the same 'will to be certain' that drove so many philosophers (Descartes most famously) to seek an 'assumption free' philosophy.

Do you see what I'm saying? I think being baffled is simply part of what it means to be human, and I can't help but be suspicious of any position, be it Cartesian or Zen, that claims to either banish or 'dissolve' perplexity.

We should be uncomfortable, I think. It keeps us honest. view post


THE THOUSANDFOLD THOUGHT posted 17 June 2004 in Author AnnouncementsTHE THOUSANDFOLD THOUGHT by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

A coppery, bloodish red. view post


The appearance of the Sranc? posted 23 June 2004 in Author Q & AThe appearance of the Sranc? by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Hi Scytale. There are some references to the Sranc in TWP, but I think the most 'thorough' remains the one given in the prologue of TDTCB, where they are described - if I remember aright - as 'dog-chested and inhumanly beautiful.'

One of the things I like doing (and I've had more than a few of my readers curse me for it!) is allowing the story to slowly fill in the more enigmatic background details, with the idea of having the picture relatively complete by the end of PON. The Nonmen (and Bashrag), for instance, find themselves described in the beginning of TTT. view post


Couple of questions after a reread posted 23 June 2004 in Author Q & ACouple of questions after a reread by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Always such a bloody mincer, Replay! <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: -->

Fair questions, all. As for the why the Dunyain would spend so much time with faces when they're utterly isolated (and they are - almost), the issue is indirectly broached in TWP - chapter sixteen, I think. Otherwise, I would point to Kellhus's surprise in the Prologue, when he meets Leweth for the first time. The idea is that the Dunyain have developed this skill for training purposes (to root out passion, one must be able to detect it). The fact that it translates into the ability to dominate of world-born men is simply a happy coincidence (or as you say, Jack, a byproduct).

On the other side there is the strange feedback that occurs between emotion and displays of emotion - as evinced by those 'laughing classes' that seem to be sweeping the world. The idea here is that by mastering the display of the emotion (which is under your self-conscious control), you gain some measure of control over the emotion itself. The Dunyain are fond of control.

The form of the Kellhus flashback scenes ultimately comes from my days smoking fatties and watching Kung Fu with my grandmother, back when I was fourteen... How I loved that show. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 23 June 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Welcome to the board, Takloufer. Just a note (as much a question as anything else), I thought Michael Shermer and the Skeptical Inquirer people did a real number on Radin and the psi stuff.

I wouldn't argue the correlation between neurophysiologies and experiences is so much arbitrary, as you say, as it's simply inexplicable. I'm troubled by the ontological extravagance of approaches like Chalmers, flummoxed by Dennett-like eliminativism, skeptical of Searle's 'levels of description,' and very amused by the quantum approachs taken by Penrose. The bottom-line is that nobody knows what the hell is going on, which is why, like you, I'm inclined to think there could be room for the 'extra-material' (or, more pragmatically, 'something beyond the ability of science to explain'). The question is one of making meaningful inferences beyond this point, which leaves me stalled in my agnosticism.

What do you think of Nagel's 'double-vision' approach to the problem? view post


Descartes posted 23 June 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionDescartes by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

There's not many out-and-out Cartesians around any more, I'm afraid, though there are many Descartes scholars.

The epigraph to TDTCB is Nietzsche's famous overturning of Descartes' cogito: 'IT thinks, therefore I am.' Sartre also has his own spin: "I think, therefore I WAS." I always used to joke that Derrida, if he were to have his own cogito, would say "IT thinks, therefore I WAS."

Back when I tried Zyban to quit smoking I had what could be charitably described as a 'psychotic episode.' Zyban is simply another name for Welbutrin, an anti-depressant that has improved the lives of millions, but seems to drive a small handful bonkers. Quite the experience. 'IT' was thinking alright - the thoughts just seemed to come from nowhere (the 'darkness'). But what freaked me out more was the subsequent realization that the only difference between those thoughts and the thoughts I normally have was that I simply wasn't accustomed to them, and that if I had held onto them long enough, I likely would've have started identifying them as my own. Which led to the question: 'Just WHO (or what) is doing the thinking anyway?'

Kellhus, probably. view post


Descartes posted 27 June 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionDescartes by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I did manage to quit smoking, but it had precious little to do with Zyban.

The issues regarding selfhood become very abstract and very perplexing very fast - it really is like clutching at smoke.

The strange thing is that if it all does come down to brains and evolution, then this is the very thing we might expect. 'Self-consciousness,' whatever it is, seems to be a relatively recent evolutionary innovation. Given that our brains have had millions of years to develop circuits capable of tracking our external environments, we would expect our brains' ability to track itself would be far more rudimentary in comparison - that they would be 'blind' to themselves in important respects. From a naturalist standpoint, what we call 'self' might simply be the result of a brain that cannot see itself AS a brain - as just one more 'it' in the world. In other words, we might expect the brain to think of itself as standing outside the world in someway - as it must, it seems, if things like free will and morality are to make sense. view post


Descartes posted 27 June 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionDescartes by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Being a hyperchondriac helps - for the smoking, that is. I'll be rooting for you Replay!

As for the 'blind brain hypothesis' (which I hope to publish soon), the idea is roughly this: thanks to millions of years of evolution, the brain has powerful resources when it comes to processing changes in its external environment, but when it comes to processing internal changes within itself, it has a far shorter evolutionary track record, and thus, one might assume, far fewer resources. So even though our brain is simply one more physical object in our environment, we might expect it to have difficulty recognizing itself as such. In fact, we might expect it to have a very strange and blinkered self-understanding, so much so that when we study it as any other natural object, it seems impossible that it can be the same thing.

Take our sense of 'free will' as an example. Our brain is very good at tracking causal processes in its immediate environment, but it possesses only limited resources for tracking the causal processes within itself. Given this, one might expect a striking difference in the way the brain perceives external events (as possessing a causal history) as opposed to internal events (as arising ex nihilo). One might expect, in other words, that the brain would be unable to fully integrate itself in the causal structure of its environment, to think itself 'free.' view post


Curious if you... posted 27 June 2004 in Author Q &amp; ACurious if you... by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I agree. That 'out-Tolkien's Tolkien' line had me gnashing my teeth, as have the many other references to JRRT I've come across by various reviewers. I'm not sure there's any comparison that's been more abused, particularly when it comes to marketing fantasy.

As far as the book being more 'Dunish' than 'Lord-of-the-Ringish' overall, sometimes I'm inclined to agree, and other times I'm not. I like to think I'm exploring something inbetween, but then we all like to believe flattering things! view post


wotmania Interview with Scott posted 27 June 2004 in Interviews and Reviewswotmania Interview with Scott by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Very cool beans. Thanks yet again, Larry! view post


Curious if you... posted 28 June 2004 in Author Q &amp; ACurious if you... by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I think he was using 'romance' in its generic literary sense. view post


Descartes posted 28 June 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionDescartes by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Loof and Jack: I agree - insofar as the 'self-tracking' capability exists, it had to be selected for on the basis of some kind of competitive advantage. I've always wondered whether it has something to do with language and sexual selection. Whatever the case, it must have something to do with the social structure of early hominids... Imagine the reproductive edge of a 'Kellhus-robustus'...

Replay: The idea is that since the brain can't process its own causal processes, they don't exist for it, so that where it assumes that events in its external environment are caused, it assumes internal events are not. It literally can't fit itself in the picture of events it sees around it.

I actually have a line on getting the article published in The Journal of Consciousness Studies - I'm presently rewriting it with a much smarter, much better read, buddy of mine. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 28 June 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I should have said 'anomolous' causality. (Backward causality has to do with the precognitive stuff, doesn't it?) Either way, the sheer chutzpah of these claims makes Ockam's razor an enemy of parapsycologists (bigger even than the Amazing Randi!). All things being equal, the simplest most mundane explanation wins (pending further data, of course) - which in this case, is some version of experimental error.

I too believe there simply HAS to be intentionality, I'm just not sure there's any convincing way to silence the meaning skeptic. But this actually wasn't the thrust of my question. I actually have a hard time understanding how idealism can make sense of intentionality. What are our experiences ABOUT? Other 'meta-experiences'? Or nothing at all?

For instance, I believe I have a perspective IN the world ON the world. I'm not sure where to fit your metamind. Are you saying our perspectives are perspectives ON some kind of perspective? I'm not sure its possible to salvage an intelligible concept of perspective from this. A perspective, to be a perspective on something, must be one of many possible perspectives on something that transcends it - doesn't it? But if you acknowledge that our perspectives are on something that transcends them, my question would be: Then why not simply say 'world' like the rest of us? Are you willing to trust philosophical discourse (with its lack of regress enders) so far as to give such an extraordinary ontological content to what we experience? view post


Descartes posted 28 June 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionDescartes by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

The idea is that it tracks it (because of the lack of resources) in a 'low resolution' format, as when we say, "I got pissed off!" to explain an action. view post


The shortest path... posted 29 June 2004 in Author Q &amp; AThe shortest path... by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Thanks for the kind words Nicholas, and welcome to the board! Do let me know what you think of TWP - I sometimes feel that I write better at gun-point...

Only sometimes. view post


Chapters? posted 29 June 2004 in Tour and Signing InformationChapters? by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Loosecannon: I know for sure that I'm doing a signing sometime this fall at Oxford Books - I'll be sure and post the specifics when I receive them. Everything's been deferred because of my looming nuptials (insert ominous musical crescendo).

Damaen: Thanks for the invite, and welcome to the board. Hopefully Penguin will decide to do a repeat of the cross-country tour I did last spring. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 29 June 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

That was me, BTW. For some reason, I'm being logged out whenever I pause to make a cup of tea during a longish post. view post


Curious if you... posted 29 June 2004 in Author Q &amp; ACurious if you... by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

No worries. I welcome the comparisons, and see the books as being in continuous dialogue with LoTR and Dune. It's just the USE made of the comparisons that I worry about, because they might be misleading. view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 29 June 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Very interesting response! Though I'm not sure you addressed my worries, Tak. You never actually addressed my intentionality question (which is simply a version of the perspective question). What are out experiences of? You seem to agree with that the 'nothing response' is unpalatable (because it simply does away with the very intentionality you're trying to save). You admit the mental construct response is unpalatable to common sense (which you seem to need), but you never actually say what our experiences are about.

The metamind? You have to admit that prima facie, this smacks far more of 'fiction' and 'unexplained explainer' than good old fashioned matter. Moreover, there's a sense in which saying our experiences are on 'meta-experiences' seems a horribly ad hoc way of saving intentionality, particularly when you want to say that intentionality is not only the fundamental feature of experience, but your primary basis for abandoning materialism! Just think of all the questions: So if experiences are about meta-experiences, then what are those 'meta-experiences' about? After-all, they are EXPERIENCES, aren't they? Or are we talking about 'intentionless experiences' at this level? If this is the case, and intentionality is an essential characteristic of experience, then it no longer seems like we're talking about experiences, but rather about something more inert... more, matter like?

I really think that idealism renders intentionality unintelligible. You have to show me where I'm wrong.

Another point: the 'limits of science' (which I take as a given) comes up all the time in debates like this, and I can't help but think it simply misses the point. No one I know of argues the completeness or infallibility of science. They only argue that when it comes to the generation of reliable theoretical truth-claims, it really seems to be the only game in town. I'm open to considering competitors, but the field looks pretty bleak.

There are ways, BTW, of materially explaining why science can't crack intentionality - they just seem to lead to unpalatable conclusions. Colin McGinn has an interesting take on this. I have my own 'blind brain hypothesis.'

And lastly, I'm not sure how giving up on metaphysical commitments (and after over two thousands years, no less!) bears in any way on truth... Such resignation comes, I would argue, when you recognize the truth of metaphysical commitments! <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: --> view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 30 June 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Holy moly, Tak! All I can say is QED... <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: -->

Welcome to the wonderful world of philosophy, Jack! view post


Terminology posted 30 June 2004 in Author Q &amp; ATerminology by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

The use of archaicisms is a tricky thing when trying to find the right tone. At least I don't call it 'chainmail +3'! view post


Chapters? posted 30 June 2004 in Tour and Signing InformationChapters? by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

LOL! Will (definitely) do... view post


On The Warrior Prophet posted 30 June 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Finally some time for a more proper reply, though nothing, I'm afraid, that would justice to all the points you raise.

I'm not sure how you could get around the 'unexplained explainer' problem - certainly not with philosophy anyway. As it stands, you and I both agree 'there must be more,' but for me that 'more' must remain a blank posit. I don't share your optimism regarding philosophy's ability to make anything stick.

Regarding the Blind Brain hypothesis, I think I understand why you might raise the old 'Cartesian Theatre' objection, but it really doesn't apply. I pursued the argument, in fact, to TROUBLE my 'there must be more' stance, which means that you're quite right to point out the automaton model of consciousness it seems to entail. What it does is provide a naturalistic explanation of the why and how of intentional phenomena - explaining them away in effect.

But that's another story. If you want to explore it, we should probably start a different thread - one with a big warning sign! view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 02 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Hi Tak... Back from Canada Day shennanigans.

Regarding the unexplained explainer: The regress of justification ensures that we'll always bump into these, certainly - I took that as a given. What I was questioning was what warrants your 'mentalist' unexplained explainer. I need you to spell out to me, decisively (given the foibles of philosophical thought), how you get from 'Materialism is inadequate' to 'Mental monism is true.' Until then, your position strikes me as ad hoc at best: of the 'if it's not material, then it must be mental' variety. Why not something unknown?

Spinoza and Heidegger's 'frame complaint' comes to mind here as well. Whatever meaning we accord the term 'mental' (for Spinoza the term was 'God' and for Heidegger it was 'Being') arises from WITHIN the frame of experience. So the question is, how can we know that meaning is even remotely adequate for the frame itself. Now in cosmology we have comparatively robust emprical observations and mathematical models upon which to base our inferences (as well as a track record of breathtaking success). Here, on the other hand, all we have are metaphysical interpretations - which are doomed to be flimsey in the extreme.

I have some comments regarding the duck analogy, but they'll have to wait... view post


The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 03 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I've already acknowledged there's value in exploring 'frame questions' (my dissertation would be pointless otherwise!) It's your cognitive commitment to ONE answer - mental monism - that I'm dogging you on.

Regarding which, you seem ready to bite the bullet... Once you take the metaphilosophical picture into account, agnosticism really seems to be the only rationally defensible position. The fact is, we just don't know. view post


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