Symbols, Language Games, and Alchemy

To revisit the prior posted ideas in regards to the Alchemy system.  Of a system based upon the interpretation of symbols, and the application of derived meanings in that context.  I’ve been thinking quite heavily upon the notions of “postmodernism”, and the idea of a self-created “world”.  As a hobbyist game designer, putting effort into fictional worlds, and trying to create a believable atmosphere for players is interesting if viewed from this light.

The light is the notion that all symbols, all meanings, and everything in the world we take for granted is a construct.  A tool that has been created via another person’s effort in an attempt to find, and create meaning for themselves.  A language is conditioned, and taught into a child during their youth.  And if they’re lucky they may know more than one tongue.  Regardless of how many languages they learn, and some languages may not be even considered “normal languages” (think Math, Chemistry, Physics, Philosophical…etc notations) where to be fluent in said language opens up a new world of thoughts.

In that context, it is easy to recognize that by adopting tongues that are different from one’s standard fare.  One may realize that Reality isn’t quite as concrete as it is generally understood as.  For instance, consider a carpenter (or any craftworker) building an object.  Generally it is taken as an article of faith that the arithmetic and geometry one knows is sufficient to build the object.  And yet think of the rule of thumb, “Measure twice, cut once”.  This could imply that the world in which we are cognizant of is only a mental model.  A sort of, if my mind’s model was complete, and 100% accurate.  I would only need to measure once, and cut once.  For the communications between the realms of mind, and body would be 1:1.  There wouldn’t be a need to re-correlate information between the two.

Now we get into the point of the mind’s limitations.  Can it ever be fully aware of Reality?  To be omniscient?  I would say no, or at least not at all times.  For the status of omniscience would imply that all events are known, and how could an active agent still be active if the actions they were going to take is already known?  They wouldn’t be, such knowledge of what they’ve done via what they’re going to do would imply that said action has already happened.  As in its history.

Thus we are restricted to mental models that are always incomplete at some level, but the joy comes in when one knows this.  That they can invest energy in learning a new language to get a different perspective upon the world.  To change, and update their mental model.  Leading once again into the Alchemy game design.  If one is presented with an option that whatever they interpret the symbol as.  It leads to an ability to create “magic”.

How does one react?  That some little squiggle on a piece of paper is the symbol for “fire”, and by reflecting upon said symbol I can create “fire”?  How is this any different from the symbols above?  Squiggles that are construed as English, but if read and thought upon generate something “different”.  Ex;  Cookbooks, they follow an “esoteric” formula to make a product.  To those who aren’t kitchen literate it is complete gibberish, but to the those in the “know”, it’s not.


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