Stone Upon Stone In An Allegorical Mental Construct.

To espouse my worldview a little bit more, and to maybe lend more basis to my thought patterns.  I shall try to establish a rundown of my mindset through allegorical terms.  Imagine for an instant a field, a field made of Nothing.  It (the field) is just raw matter, energy, monads, or whatever basis of Reality one so desires/believes.  Said field is clearly already there, but it isn’t suitable to one’s own needs.  Say there’s a boulder the size of one’s Ego in the way that keeps you from building a lovely house there.

Thus our lovely friend Nihilism (in its many forms, and varieties) comes along and says, “Hey your Ego is based upon some arbitrary construct that was conditioned into you.  Your sense of identity, body image, society, and your entire worldview is just make believe.  You’re living a lie my friend.  You aren’t Authentic because you didn’t lay those stones!”

Upon our blunt friend’s assessment, one generally (at least to me) falls into a state of despondency.  A sort of, “Curse you God!  Gott ist Tot!….etc” (shaking fist at supposed Heavens) which is exactly what our bastard buddy Nihilism was trying to do.  Get you to question the assumptions you’ve made in your everyday life.  To, for lack of better terminology, “Wake up”.  Thus our big boulder of an Ego starts to crack, and break.  “Hey”, one thinks in hindsight (clearly hindsight because the throes are an absolute pain), that big ol’ boulder is starting to crumble, and I now have a new clearing in which to raise my OWN edifice!  I don’t have to abide by the construct that was me, but I now am able to play my own game!  I just have to create the system of rules in which I wish to abide!

Now with the image of a plain with broken down chunks of Ego lying about.  One is left with the onerous task of rebuilding their Self-Conception.  One could approach said task as a jigsaw puzzle, “My world used to look like this, so does this piece go here?”, or one can say, “Screw it!  I’m doing Sand Art*! (*insert whatever metaphor you wish)”.

Thus our best of buds Nihilism, who stuck with us through cognitive Hell makes itself known as a way to deconstruct all sorts of notions that we personally don’t agree with.  “Hey that rock looks like your head!”….”Uh no, it’s a keystone!”.  Now we get to play with cognitive relativism.  My thoughts are completely different from your thoughts, but that’s okay.  I actually prefer it that way.  My morals are solely my own, and to pressgang others into following and/or believing in them is actually no different that the constructed world I was just living in.

Building upon the Field of Nothingness, with a Nihilistic reduced Ego.  One can build whatever structure they so wish because the dynamite (Nihilism) is ever so readily at hand.  This is some of the Foundational Logic behind my thoughts.  Building upwards, I’ve attached thoughts from Plato (My Plain is really a Cave, and I was seeing Shadows).  Descartes (Hey guys, looking for more “dynamite”?!  Cogito Ergo Sum).  Kant (If I can do it, Everyone can do it….Categorical Imperative).  And loads more, for this is truly the human condition!  To realize that one was actually suspended above the Abyss of Life on the constructed framework of Other’s Realities/Points of View.

….”I guess it’s a tower to the Heavens we’re building guys…, hopefully that Babel incident doesn’t happen again….”…

Cosmic Playgrounds, and Mental Models.

Well the concept of this post is a little terrifying, and also exhilarating at the same time.  This post deals with the possible notion of a supposed simulated universe.  Before everyone jumps to the Matrix conclusions.  I’d like to veer off from said mythos, and speculate, “What did Neo actually do with the Machine in the Matrix?”.  Did he upload himself into the Matrix once again, or did he become the “New Architect”.  A mastermind who laid the groundwork for a “New Iteration”?  I don’t know for I’m not him, and he’s a fictional character.

Anyways, a thought I’ve been running myself ragged over for awhile now is the notion of “Self-Divinity”.  Yes, yes, claiming to be a deity is full of hubris, arrogance, and a whole host of other problems.  This post is more or less meant as a thought experiment.  Take for instance a notion that as technology becomes more and more advanced leading into a reputed “Technological Omega/Singularity Point”….  what exactly happens (or at least could happen)?  A person could become more, and more embroiled in their personal “worlds/fantasies/self-confirmations”.  That they stop connecting with “Others”.  And a part of me wonders if that is the lauded end goal of “Sentience” (to create more awareness, and better awareness).  A sort of cataclysmic rendering where people are lost to their own worlds.  A branching point in the world (Multiverse?).  After all what are we doing now?  Surrounding ourselves by like minds, and personal preferences.

We are embroiled in the concept of Self, and is this a “bad thing”?  Consider Jung’s concept of Shadow.  It is the aspect that is supposedly refuted by a person, and consists of judgments and the road not taken.  In a sense that’d be our ultimate anti-thesis, and foil.  At least to whoever we think we presently are.  Thus one has to supposedly integrate their shadow, and come to terms with their “repressed side”.  Synthesis of Thesis, and Anti-Thesis to generate a new theorem, correct?  Isn’t this what we already are though?  A Synthesis of a Positive, and Negative elements?  A sort of Feminine and Masculine?  Tao?

Thus what is a person supposed to do?  Realize that they have “all the answers(tm)”, but only for themselves in their own personal context?  Sure, why not?  It’d make sense to reaffirm the Self after attempting what is essentially “Suicide” (destruction of the Self by the Self).  Sure a physical attempt may not have been necessary, but is there a strong difference between some of these constituent parts?

The Self so strongly struggles against its own demise otherwise there wouldn’t be a thing called survival instinct.  Otherwise we’d voluntarily walk into the cannonade of mortality.  The thing is, that I think a person only comes to terms with morality through experiencing mortality.  That it may be a Literal Death, and a Metaphorical Death.  Either of the Self directly, or via proxy (a projected Shadow perhaps?).  In essence we can Die in another entities schema, and/or be declared insane.  Although in our worldview we probably (possibly) are the only sane, and living one.  You know an instinctual response to destroy/deter any information that challenges our mentality.  The cognitive dissonance?

Thus what is Reality?  Is it our own impressions given back to ourselves?  An idea that once comforted me was that maybe, just maybe, I was the center of my own universe (narcissistic as hell perhaps), but the notion was extremely reassuring that whenever there’s a new-birth of a conscious entity.  It is customary to give to the new generation (think of the Children).  They may not look like you, and they may not act like you.  Hell they’ll challenge the shit outta you (feedback up the chain), but in the end they are a product of your own personal model (feedback down the chain).  They’ll have to realize and accept that.  Tear it down as much as they like, and rebuild their own edifice for their own personal utopia.  And then the system continues with their own children.  What’s not to like?  This is what ensures from an evolving/growing system.  A seed-point happens, a progenitor who realizes, “Hey this may work, and it works for me….”…, and the next one to witness/see it gets told to do so (Tradition at that point).

In the end though, these are all mental models, and cognitive edifices built by one self (myself) to make sense of a mutable, and ever-changing reality (supposedly).  The question for everyone who reads this is, “How is your mental model any different for yourself?”.  You take in stimuli from a reputably external (or internal) environment, and you construct the meaning for yourself that you give to yourself.  You build your house upon the foundation laid, and given to you via education either personal (autodidact), or formal (College, K-12…etc).  And yet, you shall live in that house forever.  The decor will change, but in all actuality, does it?

Language Barriers, and Cognitive Grasping.

Well, another month has just about passed, and I spent another week in the wonderful place called the behavioral health unit, locally.  ‘Twas roughly the last week of Sept in which it occurred, but specific details will be withheld.  In the end, I’ve come to some more realizations.  One being in such place has startling impacts upon a person’s cognition.  There’s probably a whole slew of bias/cognitive effects any psychological types may entertain/play with in said environment, but in essence it was a shake up of the “mundane”.  As a result of this recent shake up, I’ve come to some conclusions that psychological types may/may not find interesting.

Being that to accurately (or at least have an impression of accuracy) have an understanding of one’s mental processes.  One has to at some level take the Other as an Object (dehumanize them, or relate to them, but only with 5-10 minutes because that’s all it takes!).  The Other in this case being the patient, or the subject (eg Me in this context).  Now, supposedly, a psychologist/psychiatrist would understand the workings of the “human mind well”.  Apparently not as well as they’d think, for if one (me again) started arguing/posturing that they (said medical staff) are just using mental models to define/shape to their whim a person’s “future” (future being how they are treated).  That in essence they are fish swimming in water, but unaware of the water in the sense that they think they’re aware of it.  Although they’re really not because one can never escape their own mental model (cognitive bias for the win).

One comes to a realization that I (ego I…not self-referential) can never not be prejudiced.  Sure they may attempt to mitigate said behaviors, but isn’t said mitigation another bias against being prejudiced?  Double Bind!  And being that there’s no objective/empirical test for  schizophrenia.  It is at the basest, a “Word vs. Word”, and being that the med staff have the Rep…their word goes….which is sickening.  Chock up all counter opinion to “Psychosis”!  For how can one fully experience/understand another’s mind?  They can’t unless they are that person.  Thus I strongly feel that the whole field of psychology is sort of “moot/hookum”.  Sure it gives us a language in which to discourse in, but does it really affect said discourse?  Can the social sciences be used in a way that don’t treat subjects as objects?  Don’t know, not my field.

All I know is that it’s sickening being on the “negative receiving” end of this hammer, for there is effectively no actions that I may take to get out of this noose.  I don’t have the social rep/money to “buy my way out”.   There are studies that support the notion that anti-psychotics actually can, and do cause the symptoms of “psychosis” when being withdrawn.  Thus I’m effectively damned if I do, and damned if I don’t.  It’s a condition, I’m told, “I have to live with”.  All because I have ventured into/against the “unmarked boundaries” of social niceness (Sorry the SIGN wasn’t Legible), and probably have caused one to many cognitive dissonance events in some “Authorities” mind.

Trauma, The Catalyst of Awakening

So I’m not sure how much to actually share with this post, but in my eyes this may make a fairly interesting story (thought article).  Details will be left vague, but the general message should suffice.

In my transition to the days of college from the years of high school.  I had lost a friend to a tragic car accident.  This in itself isn’t entirely abnormal, but the circumstances and other loses prior is what makes this interesting.  As a fairly stoic person, and extremely quiet in the time frame of k-12 (due to varying stances of bullying/being a bully in some school years).  I had sequestered the emotions of years of judgement, and loss (or so it felt).  The traumas I’ve experienced may be worse than some, but not the pinnacle of struggle.

To abbreviate this a little more, a bullet list;

  • Deaths; An Aunt 2006, a Grandfather 2007, a Friend 2008, a Grandma 2011(2012?), a Great Aunt 2014.
  • Illness; Depression 2007(?) – 2016(?), Scare of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 2010, Mental Breakdown 2010, Schizophrenia Diagnosis 2010+, Insomnia 2009-2016.
  • Accidents;  Personal Car Accident x3 2010, 1 hr avoidance of College Shooting 2010
  • Life “Status”;  Social Isolation 2008-2010, Moved Between States 2009-2011 (moving for college, and return home),  Perceived Ethical/Moral Failure 2009-2010, Relationship Obsession 2009-2010 (due to social isolation, and cause of perceived Ethical Failure), Unintentional brush with “poverty” (I still had a roof & food, but nothing else really due to moving/buying car) 2009-2010, Survivor’s Guilt & feeling like a False Friend 2008-2010, Suicide Idealization 2008-2012 (actually came pretty close to doing it, had a loaded shotgun cause I was deer hunting 2011…, but a song “saved” me….this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RW3nDRmu6k ), and general abandonment/betrayal of social support 2009-2010.
  • Stress;  Being in College for “Science” (Engineering/Chemistry).

Overall, that seems like a lot, but it was my life.  I didn’t have time to sit and dwell upon “how to act” (I actually did, but I was too depressed to think straight).  Now that I do, I feel that it was one of the most significant periods of my life, for it caused massive maturity development.

This is a point I’d like to make with this post, that trauma when taken in to a person’s psyche, has a trans-formative effect.  A person can either integrate the problems, and cope with it somehow (sublimation of the “energies” ideally).  Or act out, and play/be the “victim”.  For a while I was fluttering between the two stages, but I think sublimation has won out.  Just like sublimation of “Hatred/Rage” happened throughout k-12.  Although I think that is already “published” information, that one has to find a way to positively deal/handle with emotions instead of being lost to the “feelings”.

In the end, I suppose I should say that all of this has made me who I am, and has shaped my worldview dramatically.  I realized that I was “alone”, or at least was for a bit.  And yet, I found my saving grace by reading historical treatises (philosophical works of Plato, Aristotle, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Kant….etc).  And having to argue, and defend my worldview from incrimination (the Schizophrenia diagnosis).  I’ve realized that No One knows what Reality actually is, but we’d like to think so.  The main message I’m keen on sharing is that one can either make a heaven, or a hell of their reality.  In order to do so they first have to go through some sort of hell though.  Much like Dante in the Divine Comedy, but to come out of said Hell, and not be lost is the saving grace.  Mine was the culture I had immersed myself in, and the meanings that others had bestowed upon their own lives.  The meanings they had created to give themselves meaning.

Decayed Laurels, is my method of meaning making.  I intend to finish it (when it’s done), but I will say that I probably won’t be making these weekly updates (or bi-weekly updates).  That they will probably become more infrequent because I’m trying to consolidate energy/focus to finish, and work upon my projects.  Thanks to those who read, and follow.

 

…And always remember, “There’s only Survivors in Life”.

A Cosmological Screed (Life Philosophy)

I don’t know how interesting this will be, but considering I never really know how interesting my thoughts are in the first place… I was thinking last night before I fell asleep about the notions of “my cosmological scheme”, aka my worldview, and how unorthodox they may be from my understanding of the general convention.  The standard convention being a religious outlook on life with its notions of an afterlife, and the like.

Well, onto the explanation of the scheme as far as I understand it.  It will be somewhat portrayed as a series of questions, and a return of thoughts (rebuttal to the question).  Kind of in the vein of old philosophical treatises, I suppose.  Along with other tangential thoughts, and maybe some deviations in structure as the article moves along.

-In the pursuit of truth, one must ask every question conceivable, for to do so the light of reason shows forth.  Asking a question as ridiculous as, “Am I Dead?”, leads one down this potential path.

-If I’m dead, I wouldn’t be aware of it.  My Consciousness, and sense of self would be gone.

-If there’s an afterlife upon death.  How can I verify that it is actually post death, and not the present life one is living?

-If a materialist approach of science is followed to explain things.  There would be no loss from a system perspective, for the Universe conserves; energy, mass, information…etc.  There is no escape from a closed system as far as I know, but the universe isn’t quite known to be closed.

– Then what is Death?  Is it a breakdown of coherency of a system?  Think of the notion of coherency as maintaining a set pattern.  A person’s body would be a pattern, and the breakdown of coherency at any level (molecular -> aging, physical reality -> limb loss…etc) would be death.  This holds true for energy, and information packets.  What gives an identity to a set “system”?

-Although if we are just patterns that are coherent, how’d I become to be originally?  I wasn’t aware prior to birth, and I won’t be after Death.  By definition of these terms.

-Therefore, what do I fear?  The notion of non-existence?  To be Nothing?

-Is this tied to the notion of limiting factors?  What is the limiting factor?  Finite Resources?  Over-consumption?  Although if virtual particles may become “real” particles simply by sticking around ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_particle ).  Then what is “Real”, and is there Loss?

-Where does the limitation begin?

-Is Death a ground state?  That one is less active/aware, but never truly gone?  Due to conservation of energy/mass…etc.  Much like an energy state in quantum mechanics?  A form of “immortality”?  If Death is Nothing, including an awareness that comes after expiring, awareness of Nothing.  Then what is Life?

-Life is the active/energetic state.

-Death is Nothing, it is the null set composed of that which is limiting/unbelievable.  The sinkhole, or perhaps “black hole” into which all is consigned that doesn’t work/agree.  Information feed into the “Nothing” is lost, but gained.  Black holes may be different “Universes”.  In which the loss is a gain.  One loses that which does not work, but gains a new possibility (a virtual notion that if worked with remains).

-Thus Death is the realization of stuff.  Mainly be the Self.  All because if the Self is gone, who’s to know?

-The possibilities of information relatedness is; Self, Other, Observer, and Unknown.  The Self is the integration of concepts, and components into the predominant perspective of “I”.  The Other is you, and every concept that hasn’t quite made it’s way into the the integration of Self.  An Observer is the notion of a detached perspective that witnesses the Transformation of components of Other to Self, and vice versa.  Whereas the Unknown, is the topics, and entities that simply cannot be deduced.  Either at present times, or at any limits of awareness.  It is true “Ignorance”.  It is like assuming that one is going to “Die”, and that there is “Nothing” afterwards.

-Belief is an assumption that I shall remain, but it can’t be verified except by the self.  Thus does one experience Death?  No, for to do so would contradict the notion of integrating thoughts from the Other into the Self.  It’d undermine Observer notations, and create a feeling of Ignorance/Unknown for those who aren’t the Self.  It can’t be explained.

-The catch is “Relativism”, I’m an Other to the Other’s Self.  Therefore I may die in their perspectives, but if said information ever reaches me.  I can’t accept it because it’d deny my “Self”.  Instead I may observe the processes, and deduce/enunciate possible patterns.  To espouse my beliefs, and assumptions thinking that they’re valid.  Much like the Realization of Truth for Plato with his Cave Allegory.  One is in a cave of shadows, beliefs that aren’t their own, or lies.  And once they realize this they leave the cave, but they return with their own Truth.  Trying to negate the lies for Others.  Although one’s personal truth isn’t necessary a truth for Others.  Thus creating another Shadow/Lie in the Cave.

-The limitation is the Self, what I can, and can not accept.  I can accept some truths if I can relate them to prior truths I agree with.  Thus integrating them into my world schema, but if they’re too far removed, or explained in a distant way.  I am lost.  The Self rejects said notions because they contradict, or are an affront to the senses of the Self.

 

Climbing The Ranks of Being, and Mentality (Incarnation Rank)

Within the Decayed Laurels setup is the notion of Incarnation Rank.  Incarnation Rank within this game is meant to portray the various strength levels that may interplay among species, and entities.  For instance an Incarnation Rank (IR) 1 being would be considered to have recently come about on the cosmic scheme.  As an individual they are unaware of the larger potentials that they may climb to, and are limited in scope to what they may affect in life.

At the other extreme is the IR 12 entity (Incarnation Rank is set up from 1 to 12 levels).  This level of being would essentially be an omniscient, omnipotent being, in short God.  In game mythos the only IR 12 entity to really be considered the “Star” is the Wandering God.  He never manifests fully within creation, for that would essentially destroy/distort his created reality to the extreme (to come later in the article,  notions of “Complete, or Inconsistent Sets” from Math).  Therefore, in the written mythos a Creator is always exiled from their creation.  This is for a sort of logical case that if they are within their creation, they can’t focus on the big/cosmic picture (they lose omniscience, and omnipotence).

In a sort of tongue in cheek manner, The Wandering God is my “Authorial Avatar”, or the avatar of the hosting Games Master (called Arbiter/Broker in my system).  His morality is meant to represent “my morality”, or the Games Master morality.  The Wandering God is considered N.C.T. within the setting, for he is just observing it all from “above”.  He only influences entities within the system from within the system through the characters, or qualia (notions of experience, information…etc).  He can’t fully “reach in” and do a “Hand of God” play, and change the system or waiver it to certain entities advantages (no miracles, or obvious Acts of God).  He favors no side within (neutral), and acts intermittently and incidentally.

He is the “external truth” that characters within the system will aim for as a notion of truth, but being that said figure is an Authorial Avatar.  His variant of Truth is set up to be subjective, and relativistic.  That there may be no absolute/objective Truth.  Mainly because I recognize that even now I am still learning/understanding Reality, and that my Dispositions/Understandings I have may change over time.

Anyways, onto the background theory that lead to IR development/implementation into the system.  The whole system was loosely inspired, and derived from the following notions;  Hierarchical Complexity (found here; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_of_hierarchical_complexity#Stages_of_hierarchical_complexity ), notions of Transpersonal Psychology (Google it), and Postformal Logic (again Google).

Tying these thoughts into the mathematics alluded to earlier.  There is a loose interpretation of Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems.  They loosely imply that a set of Axioms (may be considered as beliefs) can’t both be internally consistent, or complete in their development.  Ex;  If a person considers themselves “Good”, they can’t be “Evil” (Good, and Evil being complete independent classes of thought).  Thus a person as considered Good is inconsistent with being Evil.  One is either one or the other, and not Both (Good & Evil).  Although there may be a problem with this logic, it is a binary dialectic.  An  Either/Or from philosophy.  Good, OR Evil…  Taken a step back towards “Relativism” one can realize that one can be “Neutral” to both dispositions.  Ex;  Should I care, or act upon a notion of Aliens on the planet “Blatoo” killing each other?  Yes/No?  It depends upon how big my “empathetic sphere is”, but that’s another topic.

In essence, if one considers “Good” as a “thesis”, and “Evil” as its “anti-thesis”.  Neutrality would by the synergistic results of those two dialectics colliding.  Thus leading to another pairing, the results from the prior state into the adventures/misgivings that arise from the generated “answers”.  Thus one ratchets up the complexity, and thought models they use to understand Reality (hierarchical complexity model above).  Eventually one comes to a point where they can realize/think that if “I Am Reality/God” (an IR 12 being).  They then must realize that they contain contradictory elements within themselves because how hard would it be to be consistent over an infinite time (no “Growth”, or “Change”)?  Wouldn’t that imply “Death”?  Are you comfortable with being the root of the “Problem of Evil” in Theology?

But this is a Relativistic Morality system…Good may be Evil, Evil does Good, and Neutral is just laughing…

 

Taking a P.I.S.S.

The (P)erception.(I)deology.(S)tability.(S)ystem, to be precise, and to be more exacting.  The mental disposition (flaws, and perks of mental traits) model that is to be found in the Decayed Laurels manual.  Spun off the likes of the Moral(ity) Cube with its thought processes, and establishments.  The P.I.S.S, was built off the same 3x3x3 (3 axis) principles of the Moral Cube.  Except in the case of the P.I.S.S., the axis are labeled Perception, Ideology, and Stability….just like it says on the “can” (acronym title).

Perception is broken down into Fiction (F), Balance (B), and Reality (R).  Ideology into Despair (D), Realistic (L), and Hope (H).  Finally, Stability consists of the following; Irresolution (I), Moderation (M), and Conviction (C).

To begin to describe the P.I.S.S. in more detail.  I shall start with Perception.  Perception is how a character sees the world in the game.  They may see it through a lens of Fiction where they believe in the “made-up stuff” almost immediately.  Ex; consider a child with a disposition towards believe in Santa Claus, Easter Bunny…etc.  The opposite of this Fiction domain is Reality which is when a character only believes what they can actually witness through their own senses.  Ex; a cynic who’d have no belief in anything supernatural, or paranormal.  This may sound good, but it also denounces the belief in anything that one can’t readily integrate into their mental schema.  Ex; trying to convince a person of a theory like Evolution, or Gravity…that there are small little particles that make up the universe.  Returning to the “middle ground” is the Balance domain of Perception.  This domain allows a character to witness either/or.  To realize that it is better to be realistic in certain contexts, but that it is also beneficial to escape from reality.  To have flights of fancy, and those unfounded beliefs.

Continuing on into the notion of Ideology, there is the notion of Despair.  This state of despair is to be understood as seeing everything bleakly.  That there is no hope to be found in Life.  Hope is it’s opposite, that there are moments to be found that inspire, and uplift a person to stay motivated in Life.  Realistic, is again the balancing point between those two forces of despair and hope.

Finally, Stability is how strong a character is in maintaining their mental fortitude.  Irresolution means that they are half-hearted, and unwilling to follow through with their emotions.  Conviction implies that they will follow through regardless of the cost, and moderation is fairly self-explanatory.

Coupling these three axis together, one arrives at a three code schema like with the Morality Cube.  Normality is B.L.M, and it implies that a character is fairly normal to those within their species/psychological group.  The thing with the P.I.S.S. is that it generates 27 different codes for mental dispositions, but each code has three ratings itself.  Thus the Normality of B.L.M. would lead to a disposition level 1 of being just “plain”, or “average”.  A disposition of level 2 in normality would express the urge to always flock together, and maintain relations with those that are similar.  A fear of the Unknown.  A disposition of level 3 would imply that they actively squelch those who are deemed “abnormal”.  This delineation into three different levels for each code/schema presents a total of 81 “different mental characteristics” for players to witness with their characters.

To provide a further contrast of different schema.  There is Depression R.D.I, and Nihilistic F.D.C..  The differences between these two can be understood via their components.  Depression is “realistic”, and therefore it means that they can’t see through the present doom and gloom of reality.  They hurt, and are sad.  Whereas Nihilistic implies that they have a “fiction” perspective.  That there is no such thing as “value”, and “meaning”.  That their version of despair is more existential, and that there is no future to be had.  At least one not worth having.  Both share the same Despair category, but the final difference is the Stability.  Depression is irresolute, and Nihilistic is conviction.  Depression a person finds it hard to do something, or anything.  Nihilistic they may often resort to tearing down “constructs” or “edifices”.

This entire system is used whenever a character in the game suffers, and fails a Sanity Check.  It also may be roleplayed by the players, or ignored entirely due to the sensitivity that may occur when dealing with mental health.

The Nature of The Beast (The Morality Cube)

Running along with the nature of the last few posts, and with what seems to be a prevalent theme right now in my thoughts.  Is the idea of a relativistic morality system.  In the context of Decayed Laurels there is the Morality Cube.  It is premised upon the notion of a Rubik’s cube arrangement.  That of a 3x3x3 minor cube array building a larger meta cube.  Building slightly upon D&D with its two axis alignment system as alluded to before (Good vs. Evil, Order vs. Chaos).  I’ve thought up a three axis system that implements Alignment, Effort, and Degree.  Alignment is the classical values of Good, Neutral, and Evil.  Effort is how much a character strives towards their moral disposition.  Example; Does one actively try to do Good, or do they just do it when it’s convenient?  Thus effort is broken down into three sub-categories of Intentional, Incidental, and Unintentional.  Finally Degree is to what level does a character honor their commitments/desires.  Essentially it is how long is a character going to push towards a certain goal?  Degree is also broken down into three sub-categories.  That of Maintained, Intermittent, and Abandoned.

These three macro categories (Alignment, Effort, and Degree) are read/written in a three-letter code.  Example; N.C.T. reads as Neutral, Incidental, and Intermittent.  It is understood that way too.  That a character is just bystander who isn’t really involved in what is going on.

Now the fun part comes when the code is visualized in that 3x3x3 array.  N.C.T takes the central most position within that array, so it’d be 2, 2, 2 in its coordinates.  It is easier to visualize that the Good alignments are the top plane of the array 3, #, #, and that the Evil alignments are the bottom plane 1, #, #.  Thus a change in one’s neutrality via their actions can either bring them up to Good, or change them to Evil.  The same visualization technique can be used with a different chosen planar axis.  Alignment being the xy plane, Effort being the zx plane, and Degree being the yz plane.

The tricky part with the Morality Cube comes when it is centered on N.C.T as the origin.  Thus Good becomes 1, #, #, and Evil becomes -1, #, #.  That’s the simple part, the weirdness ensures when one takes the notion of N.C.T being the default code/morality for a civilization/species.  In the manual Humanity is centered on N.C.T. , but individuals may drift to whatever morality within that 3x3x3 array.  Essentially, the species is seen as neutral, and just existing to the perspective of those within that species.  That the good, and evil elements within a set group balance out to a neutral effect.

To summarize so far;  A N.C.T rating instills a sense that the species is just there, for those that reside within it.  Although individuals within that society may be anything from Good to Evil with varying shades in between.

Implementing other species/aliens into the mix.  They would be seen at different moral codes within the Cube.  An example of this would be a species that is seen as benevolent by humans, and thus would gain the notation of Good, $, $ ($ being used for $string/the other axis) compared to humans.  Although from that alien species point of view they’d see themselves as N.C.T. because they too just exist within their domain, and would have both saintly and problematic elements within their society.  Therefore the cube grows, but in the manual it is limited to a written description of the 3x3x3 array.

Thus we get to the notion of moral relativity.  My good is not your good, and even my neutral element is not your neutral element.  That every species and civilization see themselves differently, but to outside observers they may be seen as a threat.  A sort of does the Lion consider the implications of eating the Gazelle?  Event though the Gazelle would preferably not be eaten?  Lion morality is not Gazelle morality, but they both reside within the domain.  Both consider their actions to be natural, and not offensive to themselves.  And yet to each other their acts are offensive, and may be considered “evil” respectively.  Whereas to a human observer, who’d be the “neutral party”, it’s just life.

The Meaning of Nothing

This one may be a little “screwy”, but its premise is the value of the concept of Nothing.  It may seem like a nihilistic stance to go around stating, and/or proclaiming that one believes in Nothing.  That Life has no meaning because of what ever reason.  That one will die someday, that everything turns to “dust”.  Somehow this seems like a shortsighted position to take.  That stance, I feel is just a cursory understanding of what Nihilism can entail.  To truly delve into such Nihilistic thoughts via either rationalism, or emotionalism (however one proceeds about it).

Is to eventually come to a conclusion that all is truly worthless….except what I give meaning to.  By giving meaning to the stance of Nihilism, one essentially become a self-contradiction.  They apply meaning to a value that destroys all meanings.  How can one accept this?  It is through a route that Nothing may be in fact what is true Reality.  Just think about it for second, or awhile.  If one erases, and demote all concepts that they had inherited from their predecessors through schooling, or soaking up of information.

One would literally be aware of Nothing (ignorance), including the concept of Nothing (a blank slate).  It has no meaning, but oddly if one is somehow still aware of Nothing.  They have a new concept of which to be aware of.  That there’s Nothing to be aware of (catch the double meaning?).  Thus one starts to drift away from the state of Nothingness, and into Meaningfulness.  That Nothing is somehow meaningful.  That it serves as the base state from which all meaning is derived.  Is it ineffable, somewhat, for a cursory approach implies that nothing is known.

And yet, consider for a moment Socrates maxims of, “Know Thyself.” &  “I Know Nothing”, and all the religious/doctrinal traditions of invalidating the Ego/Self.  That the awareness you are aware of is just an illusion, and not the true nature of Reality.  Oddly one then arrives at the bottom of the metaphorical well.  That I am “Nothing”, but now adding in the phrase of God’s reply to Moses in Exodus 3:14, “I AM WHO I AM”.  That one is literally whoever they say, or realize they are.  That a philosopher’s Authenticity is one being faithful to oneself.  Thus Ego/Self destruction is a violation of one’s own significance.  That to invalidate one’s own worth in the pursuit of spirituality is really a violation of one’s own faith towards oneself.

Now we fall upon the notion of Religion/Spirituality, and that is to be oneself.  Not conform to some odd doctrine, but to truly express one’s own individuality.  To be of faith to oneself.  Maybe egocentric, but again believing in Nihilism annihilates all meaning.  Therefore it only has meaning if one accepts its application to oneself.  Nihilism is a tool that clears the plane.  To allow one to create new foundations for oneself, and to realize just who they’re meant to be.

Finally, to draw this back to game design (at least a little), Decayed Laurels is about these notions.  That what Nietzsche uttered may have some veracity;

“Companions the creator seeks, not corpses, not herds and believers. Fellow creators the creator seeks — those who write new values on new tablets. Companions the creator seeks, and fellow harvesters; for everything about him is ripe for the harvest.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Decayed Laurels is about what happens when one embraces, or strives for that Transcendent Nature.  Do they maintain their morality?  Their sense of Self?  Does one do whatever they wish being that they are a “god” (or God….)?  In essence will they hold themselves accountable?  If not they’ve “rotted”, and thus have a Decayed Laurel…a rotten victory.

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.