Digdoug - Episode 10

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Re: Digdoug - Episode 10

Postby Vreejack » Sat Mar 15, 2014 9:28 pm

Omnimancer wrote:The prediction may have saved Digdoug's life, but it also seems quite possible that if he had stayed the city would have been strong enough to repel an invasion without serious casualties.
No. That outcome was explicitly ruled out by the Prediction. All speaking units would be croaked, and that obviously includes Digdoug. "All speaking units" must be a common phrase in Erf, usually implying that everything will be croaked. Otherwise its specificity should seem odd.

Anyway, one could legitimately ask if there would have been a different outcome had there been no Prediction, but we do not know the answer to that. We only know that once a Prediction is cast then one of a certain set of outcomes must then occur, and others are rendered impossible.

If one does ask if the city might have been more successful had there been no Prediction and had Digdoug remained, but I think the answer is no. I am going to assume that Predictions are by default not self-fulfilling. In other words, the predictomancer looked into the misty future and saw the default condition that would have occurred had no Prediction been made: Digdoug stayed in the city of Weatherbug and helped fight off the attack. The predictomancer saw that leading to great loss of life and reported it as such (all speaking units.. croaked). Otherwise, if we allow that predictomancers try to make you fulfill the Prediction--in this case by removing Digdoug from the city when otherwise his remaining there would have been excellent--then we have to say that no one would ever hire a predictomancer under any circumstances because the results are at best useless and perhaps detrimental, in this case causing the loss of Lady Chains and her forces when they might otherwise have survived.

We must assume that a Prediction is what would have happened had there been no Prediction. What makes them strange and extremely powerful is that they will continue to happen even if you try to circumvent them, which is probably why you can often find odd loopholes in their phrasing. I like to imagine that the Titans exist outside of time in Erf and sit around a table playing a game, crafting Predictions in such a way that they always come true, and maybe losing points for actively interfering with numbers in order to make it work.
So...Watashi wa mizugorō ga sukina koto o kiita, neh?
A Prediction is what would have happened had there been no Prediction. What is scary is that they are also what will happen in spite of the Prediction.
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Re: Digdoug - Episode 10

Postby Jacinth and Rubies » Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:18 am

Well, it seems the situation is going from good to terrible - the hiring of Dove evidently lost Posbrake a lot of Loyalty from his units. I wonder if he's aware of the situation?

(also, that is a terrible spelling of camaraderie in the update - I knew there was something wrong with it)
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Re: Digdoug - Episode 10

Postby asparagus » Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:41 am

Lilwik wrote:Natural always stops at exactly the point where intentional action begins. Even a computer runs by natural mechanisms. It wasn't built by nature and its commands don't come from nature, but it is nature that obeys those commands and makes the machine work. When a ruler orders a city built, it wasn't nature that decided there should be a city, but it's nature that actually builds the city (unless there's a Dirtamancer). When a Twoll weaves a basket, the act of weaving is the Twoll's work, but the thing that keeps the basket together is nature, so the Twoll isn't free to weave a basket in every shape he might choose. He uses his knowledge of natural Dollamancy to choose how he weaves the basket; otherwise, the basket would fall apart.


How is this for a theory?

The words "natural" and "magic" mean very different things in Stupidworld and Erfworld.

  • In Erfworld reality is essentially manipulated by minds.Different minds have the ability to manipulate reality to different extents and there are rules on how reality can be manipulated and perhaps deeper rules that explain how those rules work.
  • Reality behaves a lot like a very complex computer program from Stupidworld (think Second Life). Living in Erfworld reality as it is perceived is like just using that program.
  • Mindless life exists only as data structures.
  • Having a mind grants you an existence separate from (albeit entirely dependent on) the reality program.
  • Minds exist on a spectrum from the lowliest animal upto the Titans themselves.
  • The Titans actually wrote the source code to reality - though that leaves open the question where reality's hardware and operating system came from.
  • Casters know how to right-click on the user-interface of reality and start editing properties and as they get to higher levels writing longer and longer snippets of code.
  • There is no fundamental distinction between natural and magic in Efworld. Magic is simply that which requires deeper understanding. (Of course it could be a permission thing but then there is a fundamental distinction.)
  • Natural magics (almost an oxymoron) are simply bits of the user interface that expose aspects of the underlying reality but in a way that requires no understanding of the underlying reality. A ruler's perception of his side, which is natural thinkamancy, is like this.
  • The Arkentools are bizarre. They are like a power-users interface to the underlying reality. This is why you have to attune. At some level you have to be able to figure out what they do. But as Stanley shows it can be done intuitively and by trial and error as well is by actual understanding as a Caster would do it. (If attunement is a matter of the arkentool liking the unit then we are back to permissions.)

I think this might be what you are saying and is plausible. But in this framework I suggest one should be very careful about using the words "magic" and "natural". They would mean such different things.
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Re: Digdoug - Episode 10

Postby Suitesned » Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:56 am

Crazy Theory: Dove hasn't cast any spells and is revealing everything to Delkey and asking them to play along, but she isn't betraying Homekey; she's setting up Delkey to be the Mark. When Charlescomm attacks, Delkey plans to break alliance and use the opportunity to retake their "wayward child". However Charlescomm will immediately retreat and attack Delkey's unprepared capital and help Homekey conquer its parent side, or at least force a new treaty with more favorable conditions. Posbrake will be "King".
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Re: Digdoug - Episode 10

Postby Lilwik » Sun Mar 16, 2014 7:14 am

asparagus wrote:Having a mind grants you an existence separate from (albeit entirely dependent on) the reality program.
That's dualism. What do we have that suggests dualism? We know that both Thinkamancy and Flower Power can manipulate minds, which suggests that minds are part of reality rather than separate from reality. If minds were separate from the program, then how would one reprogram a mind?

asparagus wrote:The Titans actually wrote the source code to reality - though that leaves open the question where reality's hardware and operating system came from.
Surely the program is an analogy. There's no indication that Erfworld is literally a computer program.

asparagus wrote:Natural magics (almost an oxymoron) are simply bits of the user interface that expose aspects of the underlying reality but in a way that requires no understanding of the underlying reality.
Not all natural magics give people control over the world. The cleansing and healing that happen at the start of your turn don't happen because someone commanded them to happen, they just happen. I think that nature isn't so superficial as a mere user interface; nature is the entire program and everything it does, including the special interfaces that it gives to rulers and commanders to control other units and certain pre-programmed magic like cleansing. In contrast, caster magic would be a special interface that allows casters to override the natural functions of the system.

Suitesned wrote:Dove hasn't cast any spells and is revealing everything to Delkey and asking them to play along, but she isn't betraying Homekey; she's setting up Delkey to be the Mark.
Everything I know about Posbrake suggests that he is shrewd and devious, so I wouldn't guess that anything is beyond him. We know that he's willing to be secretive and deceptive, including keeping secrets from his own people, and all this episode shows us is what his people think, so we should keep in mind that it might be misleading. Even so, Posbrake put a serious effort into keeping the Predictamancer secret that it would be strange for him to tell Delkey all his secrets in an attempt to deliberately provoke them to attack Homekey. That seems like the exact opposite of what he wants.
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Re: Digdoug - Episode 10

Postby asparagus » Sun Mar 16, 2014 7:55 am

Lilwik wrote:
asparagus wrote:Having a mind grants you an existence separate from (albeit entirely dependent on) the reality program.
That's dualism. What do we have that suggests dualism? We know that both Thinkamancy and Flower Power can manipulate minds, which suggests that minds are part of reality rather than separate from reality. If minds were separate from the program, then how would one reprogram a mind?

Good point. The classic argument against dualism. I accept it in Stupidworld and I now accept it in Erfworld as well. So Minds are data structures and code (objects in object oriented terminology) that have self-consciousness. There needs to be a well defined interface between mind code and reality code. The mind will perceive itself as having free will and a representation of reality etc - that is just its side of the API.

Lilwik wrote:
asparagus wrote:The Titans actually wrote the source code to reality - though that leaves open the question where reality's hardware and operating system came from.
Surely the program is an analogy. There's no indication that Erfworld is literally a computer program.

Yes it is an analogy but a good and useful one I think. Also read Steven Pinker's "The Language Instinct" to see how all language runs off analogy. So terms like "computer", "program" and "code" are themselves ultimately just analogies. Programs do not have a separate Platonic existence.

Lilwik wrote:
asparagus wrote:Natural magics (almost an oxymoron) are simply bits of the user interface that expose aspects of the underlying reality but in a way that requires no understanding of the underlying reality.
Not all natural magics give people control over the world. The cleansing and healing that happen at the start of your turn don't happen because someone commanded them to happen, they just happen. I think that nature isn't so superficial as a mere user interface; nature is the entire program and everything it does, including the special interfaces that it gives to rulers and commanders to control other units and certain pre-programmed magic like cleansing. In contrast, caster magic would be a special interface that allows casters to override the natural functions of the system.

I'm not sure if this really contradicts my point at all.

Finally the implication of this would be that Stupidworld is also some sort simulation in a computer program. This might ultimately lead to some sort of idealism.
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Re: Digdoug - Episode 10

Postby Godzfirefly » Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:32 pm

Lilwik wrote:
asparagus wrote:Having a mind grants you an existence separate from (albeit entirely dependent on) the reality program.
That's dualism. What do we have that suggests dualism? We know that both Thinkamancy and Flower Power can manipulate minds, which suggests that minds are part of reality rather than separate from reality. If minds were separate from the program, then how would one reprogram a mind?


Through the G-String that connects them, of course. ;)

Lilwik wrote:
asparagus wrote:The Titans actually wrote the source code to reality - though that leaves open the question where reality's hardware and operating system came from.
Surely the program is an analogy. There's no indication that Erfworld is literally a computer program.


Other than the fact that it acts more like a magical computer game than anything else?
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Re: Digdoug - Episode 10

Postby ManaCaster » Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:52 pm

How about Panpsychism/Pantheism? Basically, everything is composed of data and energy, and the entire world is a mind. It's just that some parts of it are more organized than others. Even golems, which do not possess the life element, presumably have a G-string to receive orders by, and can potentially be imbued with life. A rock's intelligence might be quantified as zero (or near zero), but not N/A.

Whether it be the Titans, Fate, and/or the collective consciousness of a world spirit, it seems pretty clear that there is some sort of guiding intelligence in Erfworld. Remember when Parson gave a speech and broke the boop filter?

Maybe you would prefer to think he broke through whatever mechanism through sheer stress and force of will, but even if that was the actual mechanic, it doesn't contradict the Symbolist view, which the ending heavily implied. And judging by Signamancy, Erfworld features a lot of symbolism.
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Re: Digdoug - Episode 10

Postby asparagus » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:03 pm

ManaCaster wrote:How about Panpsychism/Pantheism?


Hmm Pantheism I was thought really came down to taking all of reality and labelling it "God", so I don't see what that adds.

I can see why you bring panpsychism though I believe that implies a sort of dualism, which we have already dismissed.

A very simply idealist explanation would be that Erfworld is all just inside Parson's head but it seems far too complex for that.
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Re: Digdoug - Episode 10

Postby ManaCaster » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:54 pm

asparagus wrote:Hmm Pantheism I was thought really came down to taking all of reality and labelling it "God", so I don't see what that adds.

It's a pretty closely related concept and allows us to bring Fate/The Titans into it.

asparagus wrote:I can see why you bring panpsychism though I believe that implies a sort of dualism, which we have already dismissed.

I thought dualism meant "the mind and body are separate entities" while panpsychism says "everything is mind" as an answer to the hard problem of consciousness. Did I mix something up?
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Re: Digdoug - Episode 10

Postby asparagus » Sun Mar 16, 2014 3:53 pm

ManaCaster wrote:
asparagus wrote:Hmm Pantheism I was thought really came down to taking all of reality and labelling it "God", so I don't see what that adds.

It's a pretty closely related concept and allows us to bring Fate/The Titans into it.

I would say pantheism implies an impersonal god so does not resolve the "fate" question.

ManaCaster wrote:
asparagus wrote:I can see why you bring panpsychism though I believe that implies a sort of dualism, which we have already dismissed.

I thought dualism meant "the mind and body are separate entities" while panpsychism says "everything is mind" as an answer to the hard problem of consciousness. Did I mix something up?

You may know more about this than me but I thought panpsychism meant everything - even electrons - has a mind. I just find this preposterous. However you seem to mean that eveything comes from a single mind. I understood this more to be a sort of idealism. I don't find this impossible in our real world but naturalism seems to have greater explanatory power. However idealism seems to fit erfworld better.
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Re: Digdoug - Episode 10

Postby ManaCaster » Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:03 pm

asparagus wrote:I would say pantheism implies an impersonal god so does not resolve the "fate" question.

Just because pantheism says there isn't some all powerful old man running creation doesn't mean it says the universe doesn't have a "personality" or "will". In fact, I thought that was part of the point.

Perhaps Panentheism would be a better fit? Which would also explain the divide between the Erf and Fate axises. I don't consider the difference to be particularly meaningful though.

asparagus wrote:You may know more about this than me but I thought panpsychism meant everything - even electrons - has a mind. I just find this preposterous.

Electrons are certainly not self aware, but they have what could be described as mental properties. If this is not true, then there should be a clear dividing line between what is mind and what isn't. What is that line?

asparagus wrote:I understood this more to be a sort of idealism. I don't find this impossible in our real world but naturalism seems to have greater explanatory power.

You could define our real world as naturalist or idealist. Either is perfectly valid way to perceive reality. All of our definitions are arbitrary and relative really. They're closer to philosophy than science and hard facts.

asparagus wrote:However idealism seems to fit erfworld better.

Probably, which is likely what the "life" element refers to. I also notice that Predictamancy is composed entirely of Life.
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Re: Digdoug - Episode 10

Postby asparagus » Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:23 pm

ManaCaster wrote:
asparagus wrote:You may know more about this than me but I thought panpsychism meant everything - even electrons - has a mind. I just find this preposterous.

Electrons are certainly not self aware, but they have what could be described as mental properties. If this is not true, then there should be a clear dividing line between what is mind and what isn't. What is that line?

A clear dividing line? I cite our world as a clear example. Phenomena such as whirlpools and minds emerge out of lower level phenomena. Or consider a Roman mosaic. At one level you just have a grid of squares of random colours. However if you look at it from the right distance you see Paris judging between the beauty of the three goddesses or whatever. No in our world I have no difficulty at all with a totally naturalistic world view. I am not so sure that Erfworld can have a naturalistic metaphysics ("natural" in our sense that is) and by extension the deep reality behind Stupidworld may be the same underlying reality as that behind Erfworld.

ManaCaster wrote:
asparagus wrote:I understood this more to be a sort of idealism. I don't find this impossible in our real world but naturalism seems to have greater explanatory power.

You could define our real world as naturalist or idealist. Either is perfectly valid way to perceive reality. All of our definitions are arbitrary and relative really. They're closer to philosophy than science and hard facts.

Hmm yes definitely the realm of philosophy rather than science. However idealism would be a lot more appealing if prayer/magic/telepathy etc actually worked.
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Re: Digdoug - Episode 10

Postby ManaCaster » Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:16 pm

asparagus wrote:At one level you just have a grid of squares of random colours. However if you look at it from the right distance you see Paris judging between the beauty of the three goddesses or whatever.

Which is just a different mental model. An alien lifeform might perceive it in a way completely different from either of those things. Like here for example. Or here.

And how about a computer? Would you consider your desktop to have a mind? Would you consider a real world C3PO to have a mind? When does a computer have a mind? Searle argued that no matter how intelligent a computer might seem, it would never be conscious, by using the Chinese Room argument. But as listed in the article, there are plenty of counterarguments.

asparagus wrote:However idealism would be a lot more appealing if prayer/magic/telepathy etc actually worked.

These philosophies do not require "magic". Or rather, you could define the most mundane of things as "magic". What's the difference between "radio" and "telepathy"? Your mind is telling your body to speak over a device that transmits your ideas via electromagnetic radiation over to another radio, which is then heard by another mind. It's just another way to look at things.
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Re: Digdoug - Episode 10

Postby asparagus » Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:26 pm

ManaCaster wrote:
asparagus wrote:At one level you just have a grid of squares of random colours. However if you look at it from the right distance you see Paris judging between the beauty of the three goddesses or whatever.

Which is just a different mental model. An alien lifeform might perceive it in a way completely different from either of those things. Like here for example.

Not really my point. I mean that complex phenomena like minds and waves and organism emerge from lower levels of description and that to some extent they are a product of our perception but that also to some extent our perception is recognizing something real. And yes your xkcd example is an example of what I mean.

Please let me start again. I posit that objective reality exists. We perceive it and categorize it and formalize theories and mythologies about it. The latter is subjective but not entirely so because it needs to correspond to the underlying reality to be useful as perception etc. When we see a mind what we are seeing is the working of a complex phenomenon that is in principle comprehensible. However the way our minds work we do not perceive the detailed working, so we see "spirit" instead of "mind" and then wonder how to explain "spirit" when in fact spirit is a figment of imaginations.

ManaCaster wrote:And how about a computer?

I think there will be real issues when and if computers achieve consciousness. Religious people will treat these computers with considerable cruelty because "they do not have souls", worse than we treat cockroaches probably.

ManaCaster wrote:Would you consider your desktop to have a mind?

My windows desktop no. My linux desktop - er - not yet.

ManaCaster wrote:Would you consider a real world C3PO to have a mind? When does a computer have a mind?

Seriously a real world C3PO would have a mind and should in principle get rights. Religion would move on from being organized persecution of humans to organized persecution of humans and sentient computers.


ManaCaster wrote:Searle argued that no matter how intelligent a computer might seem, it would never be conscious, by using the Chinese Room argument. But as listed in the article, there are plenty of counterarguments.

Yes I am familiar with the Chinese room argument. My take on it is that the room would speak Chinese but the person inside would have gone on strike and be asking to be given a pay rise. Worse than that the work would be mind-numbingly boring and so riddled with mistakes. But if the human made no mistakes and worked really fast then yes the room would speak Chinese but the person not.
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Re: Digdoug - Episode 10

Postby multilis » Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:43 pm

Vreejack wrote:
Omnimancer wrote:The prediction may have saved Digdoug's life, but it also seems quite possible that if he had stayed the city would have been strong enough to repel an invasion without serious casualties.
No. That outcome was explicitly ruled out by the Prediction. All speaking units would be croaked, and that obviously includes Digdoug.

The prediction may have been based on *knowing* Digdoug would not be in city.
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Re: Digdoug - Episode 10

Postby ManaCaster » Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:51 pm

multilis wrote:The prediction may have been based on *knowing* Digdoug would not be in city.

Maybe, but we've seen some pretty wonky things happen whenever it looks like a prophecy is being strained to the point of breaking.

Even if Digdoug being in the city would normally guarantee a victory, some freak "coincidence" would probably get him croaked. Or unable to speak.
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Re: Digdoug - Episode 10

Postby s-dub » Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:14 pm

name lips wrote:
Mrtyuh wrote:
asparagus wrote:Also, we've seen that Charlie never breaks his contracts. He'll certainly try to get everything he can from Homekey, but I can't see him getting pissed and sacking the city out of spite.

Charlie might break contracts and not leave witnesses. What's important is his reputation of trustworthiness.


I thought we saw in a previous updated that libraries pop with books that record the histories of sides. If Charlie understands this, then perhaps he's not 100% sure he won't be ratted out by a record of his treachery. Likewise, casters seem to survive the fall of their side fairly often.
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Re: Digdoug - Episode 10

Postby Godzfirefly » Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:22 pm

I thought we saw in a previous updated that libraries pop with books that record the histories of sides. If Charlie understands this, then perhaps he's not 100% sure he won't be ratted out by a record of his treachery. Likewise, casters seem to survive the fall of their side fairly often.

That same update pointed out that histories aren't published until after the side falls.
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Re: Digdoug - Episode 10

Postby 0beron » Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:23 pm

Godzfirefly wrote:
I thought we saw in a previous updated that libraries pop with books that record the histories of sides. If Charlie understands this, then perhaps he's not 100% sure he won't be ratted out by a record of his treachery. Likewise, casters seem to survive the fall of their side fairly often.

That same update pointed out that histories aren't published until after the side falls.
He means that if Charlie helps destroy a side by betrayal, it may show in THAT side's record.
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