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posts by Stephen Commoner | joined 14 Oct 2004 | 5

posted 18 Oct 2004, 19:10 in Philosophy DiscussionScience disenchanting the world. by Stephen, Commoner

"I know this: if the world is an illusion, then I no less am part of that illusion; and being so, the illusion is real to me. I live, I love, I laugh, and am content." Who's gonna argue with Conan the Cimmerian? Science doesn't disenchant the world. Pain and loss do that. And the day science excises pain is the day we lose the perspective that tells us what joy and love are worth. Or to paraphrase C.S. Lewis, it's interesting how many people say of a religious experience "All that [i:nwvc0vgf]really[/i:nwvc0vgf] happened was you heard some well-sung music in an acoustic room," but will say with no perception of contradiction about some significant feat of courage or emotional testing, "It's all very well to talk about it, but wait 'til you get into it and see what it's [i:nwvc0vgf]really[/i:nwvc0vgf] like." The emotional 'enchantment' of a particular experience is discounted as illusion at one moment, then held up as deterministically 'real' the next, depending on whatever point the speaker is most interested in making. view post

posted 20 Oct 2004, 15:10 in Philosophy DiscussionScience disenchanting the world. by Stephen, Commoner

[quote="Cu'jara Cinmoi":3vvw2fmt]Consider your 'experience of willing' (EoW), for instance. It turns out that we are very easily fooled into thinking that we will actions that we don't. It turns out that our EoW is [i:3vvw2fmt]inferential[/i:3vvw2fmt] - something that we learn - rather than intrinsic to the things we in fact do. It turns out, in other words, that our EoW [i:3vvw2fmt]follows from our actions[/i:3vvw2fmt], rather than, as we like to assume, [i:3vvw2fmt]initiating[/i:3vvw2fmt] them. It turns out, in other words, that our EoW is a cognitive illusion.[/quote:3vvw2fmt] Let me suggest this: What if the EoW and the actions to which it is related [i:3vvw2fmt]cannot be separated[/i:3vvw2fmt]? What if we decide to treat them philosophically as one self-initiating entity? To say that the EoW 'initiates an action' is thus to make a distinction as meaningless as which blade of a pair of scissors is 'really' doing the cutting: the EoW and the action [i:3vvw2fmt]are one experience[/i:3vvw2fmt], one entity, as entangled as two quantum-identical atoms. If quantum entanglement asserts as possible (and has proven in recent experiments) that information can be instantaneously teleported without degradation, and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle remains in effect, then the entirey of [i:3vvw2fmt]existence[/i:3vvw2fmt] is a form of cognitive illusion -- [i:3vvw2fmt]in which case the EoW is no less 'real' than anything else we experience.[/i:3vvw2fmt] Even an illusion is real if it exists as an experience, and if an experience influences an outcome, our will is as real as anything else we experience. view post

Gnosis vs. Anagogis, and sorcery in general posted 14 Oct 2006, 22:10 in Author Q & AGnosis vs. Anagogis, and sorcery in general by Stephen, Commoner

So we know that a Gnostic sorcerer can usually clean an Anagogic sorcerer's clock in a fair one-on-one fight. That said, is there anything [i:1ya1pv5r]specific[/i:1ya1pv5r] the Gnosis can do that the Anagogis can't? The Gnosis can be used to teleport, and it's hard to figure out how the Anagogis can do that as there's no physical model of teleportation in reality for the Anagogis to imitate... but then again, there's no physical model of telepathic communication either, and the Anagogis have Cants of Calling. Also, on a more general note, while it's obvious that sorcery's destructive powers are part of why it's so feared, why has nobody ever thought to use sorcery for constructive purposes? Blasting roads through mountains. Communications networks in times of war. I'm sure there are other mundanely useful purposes people can think of. (Yes, it's all seen as blasphemous and unholy -- but as the series itself shows, when something's sufficiently [i:1ya1pv5r]useful[/i:1ya1pv5r] people have a marvelous way of finding justifications for it anyway.) view post

posted 15 Oct 2006, 22:10 in Author Q & AGnosis vs. Anagogis, and sorcery in general by Stephen, Commoner

[quote="Twayleph":3mpkkhwc]Sorcery is all about assimilating the Truth, and what's hinted - although never explained fully - is that the Gnosis uses abstractions in order to understand Truth, whereas the Anagogis is restricted to analogies. The way I understand it, an Anagogic sorcerer will formulate in his mind what he knows of fire, and try to replicate it in reality, whereas a Gnostic sorcerer will understand what fire [i:3mpkkhwc]is[/i:3mpkkhwc], and conjure the essence of it.[/quote:3mpkkhwc] Fair enough -- but from a [i:3mpkkhwc]practical end result[/i:3mpkkhwc], both arts can produce fire, and it doesn't really matter [i:3mpkkhwc]how[/i:3mpkkhwc] it's done from the point of view of the person whose life is saved in winter (or incinerated in Shimeh). What I'm wondering is if there are [i:3mpkkhwc]practical effects[/i:3mpkkhwc] one Art can accomplish that the other simply can't. In general, the theme seems to be that if it can be done by sorcery at all any art can do it -- I'm wondering if there are exceptions to this, how they work, and why certain things (like healing, for example) can't appear to be done by sorcery. view post

posted 17 Oct 2006, 21:10 in Author Q & AGnosis vs. Anagogis, and sorcery in general by Stephen, Commoner

[quote="Twayleph":3ruavzxw]Blasting though mountains using sorcery is, I'm sure, a reference to the historical use of dynamite, yet I think there is a fundamental difference between the two. Dynamite had to be created by specialists, but it could be used by trained workers (I believe ; I'm not too savvy on the subject). We have seen a few sorcerous artefacts, but in the main I think only sorcerers themselves can wield the full devastating effect of sorcery, which means they would have to do all the work themselves.[/quote:3ruavzxw] This is a good point, but given the immense military and economic value of a good road, it's hard to imagine [i:3ruavzxw]some[/i:3ruavzxw] government not finding a way to make it worth a sorcery school's while to help out. (Maybe the Ceneian Empire used sorcerers; they had their own School, did they not?) [quote:3ruavzxw]I think sorcerers are far too proud to submit themselves to public works. As for using them to communicate at a distance, well we have seen examples of this in TWP (the communication between Xerius and Skauras) and in TTT as the Nansur and the Men of the Tusk used sorcerers to communicate with the homeland. I would think it's not widespread because : 1) they are proud - if you can chose between summoning dragons and serving as a human radio emitter, which would you do ?[/quote:3ruavzxw] I don't know -- how much money is there in summoning dragons? :D More seriously, greed often serves to overcome arrogance. [quote:3ruavzxw]2) they are the [i:3ruavzxw]Few[/i:3ruavzxw] [/quote:3ruavzxw] All you need is a Few. ;) [quote:3ruavzxw]3) sorcerers tend to serve their own interests first of all, as demonstrated by the existence of Schools[/quote:3ruavzxw] And enlightened self-interest would be more than capable of finding opportunities of mutual benefit, I should think. [quote:3ruavzxw]4) the use of sorcery in battle, as we've seen, is so exceedingly important that it tends to trump other considerations.[/quote:3ruavzxw] Well, in all fairness, battle tends to trump [i:3ruavzxw]all[/i:3ruavzxw] civic engineering projects, not just sorcerously-driven ones. view post


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