Book 2 – Page 111

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Re: Book 2 – Page 111

Postby davidj » Sun Jul 14, 2013 11:53 pm

"Fate" in the ordinary, non-Erfworld sense is beyond true - it's tautological.

"Whatever will be, will be." "A man lives as long as he lives, and not a day longer."

These are statements that a thing is equal to itself - tautologies. They are indisputable - beyond obvious - but also useless.

Kinda like Erfworld predictions, very possibly - once something is Predicted, no action can avert that event. Allegedly. Wanda claims to get some use from predictions, but it's a pretty limited use.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 111

Postby Lilwik » Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:45 am

davidj wrote:"Fate" in the ordinary, non-Erfworld sense is beyond true - it's tautological. "Whatever will be, will be."
It's not tautological; it is saying that the future is a thing that contains logical truths. For example, each morning Alice sometimes eats toast and sometimes eats cereal. If I say "Alice will eat cereal tomorrow," is that a statement that could be true or false, or is it neither because Alice hasn't decided yet? It's not a tautology to choose a side on that question.

davidj wrote:Wanda claims to get some use from predictions, but it's a pretty limited use.
I'm impressed. It sounds like you're saying that knowing the future is useless. That's a bold position to take and I'd love to know more about how you arrived at it in the face of common experience that tells most people that knowing the future would be amazingly useful.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 111

Postby davidj » Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:37 pm

lilwik wrote:I'm impressed. It sounds like you're saying that knowing the future is useless. That's a bold position to take and I'd love to know more about how you arrived at it in the face of common experience that tells most people that knowing the future would be amazingly useful.


I'm not sure what experience of knowing the future you're talking about, since in the real world the future (fated or not) is unknown and largely unknowable. Forecasts like "50% chance of rain" can be made and can be useful, but statistical forecasting has little to do with traditional attempts to see one's fate by supernatural means. No Biblical prophet ever gave a 30% chance of Armageddon in the next year.

In myths and stories where the future is fated predictions about the future usually turn out to be useless or worse than useless. In these stories, fate cannot be averted. Characters who try to avert predictions cause them to come true by some other road. Oedipus is a good example. (http://plays.about.com/od/plays/a/oedipussummary.htm) Norse mythology is another - the Gods know their doom but cannot avert it.

The Erfworld story draws on these myths but differs a bit in that some characters may be able to get limited use from Predictions. If Wanda's right.

It's not tautological; it is saying that the future is a thing that contains logical truths. For example, each morning Alice sometimes eats toast and sometimes eats cereal. If I say "Alice will eat cereal tomorrow," is that a statement that could be true or false, or is it neither because Alice hasn't decided yet? It's not a tautology to choose a side on that question.


You're right - that's not a tautology. It's not a tautology to ask if there is fate. It is a question with an unknowable answer, I think. (At least framed the way you frame the question.)

But one assumes there is fate, the most common statements about fated events are tautologies. Like the ones I quoted. If fate is real, there's no purpose in obsessing about it. But maybe historical fatalists enjoyed obsessing on their inevitable doom over lots of mead, I don't know.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 111

Postby Lilwik » Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:54 pm

davidj wrote:Forecasts like "50% chance of rain" can be made and can be useful, but statistical forecasting has little to do with traditional attempts to see one's fate by supernatural means.
Exactly. While 50% chance of rain is useful knowledge, 100% chance of rain is what a known fate looks like and it is even more useful.

davidj wrote:In myths and stories where the future is fated predictions about the future usually turn out to be useless or worse than useless. In these stories, fate cannot be averted. Characters who try to avert predictions cause them to come true by some other road. Oedipus is a good example.
A prediction is only useful if it cannot be averted. What use is a prophecy that only tells you that something might happen? You already know about endless things that might happen. A useful prediction is one that gives you a guarantee so you can make your plans around the prediction.

Oedipus's prediction was not useless; it was merely not used. If I had a guaranteed prediction that I would kill my father, then I would treat everyone I kill after that as my father and apologize for killing him. It would give me a chance to say goodbye to my dying father. Oedipus was given that chance and threw it away by casually assuming that the prediction was wrong, and therefore didn't reach the logical conclusion that whomever he kills must somehow be his own father. On top of that Oedipus even knew in advance that he would marry his mother, which he also ignored, but knowing that she was really his mother on their honeymoon could have saved enormous awkwardness.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 111

Postby davidj » Tue Jul 16, 2013 7:21 pm

Lilwik wrote:Oedipus's prediction was not useless; it was merely not used. If I had a guaranteed prediction that I would kill my father, then I would treat everyone I kill after that as my father and apologize for killing him.


I don't think the Furies accepted apologies. And I think you've given examples of how Predictions could be of extremely limited usefulness...if Wanda's right.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 111

Postby drachefly » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:58 pm

Lilwik wrote:Oedipus's prediction was not useless; it was merely not used. If I had a guaranteed prediction that I would kill my father...


I would go find a rebirth cult and 'kill' him such that he gets up a few days later. Also, I'd find, create, or beg from a leader some jurisdiction in which consummating a marriage isn't necessary, marry my mother, then have it annulled. Of course, that wouldn't have done anything for actual Oedipus since he was misinformed as to the identity of his parents.

So, let's back up. If I were Oedipus' dad, I would get the marriage thing out of the way with a legal fiction (Hey, I'm the king), then intend that if I lie dying, he should finish me off. I can't guarantee that he won't end up killing me some other way, but I've enabled a way out. Also, if we get to the point that Oedipus is old enough, we can go with the 'rebirth cult' plan, while still holding onto the euthanasia plan.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 111

Postby Lilwik » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:38 pm

drachefly wrote:If I were Oedipus' dad, I would get the marriage thing out of the way with a legal fiction (Hey, I'm the king), then intend that if I lie dying, he should finish me off.
That all depends upon it being a self-fulfilling prophecy, only happening because of the prophecy, which is possible but you probably shouldn't depend upon it. A better kind of prophecy would be true even if you hadn't been told about it, and if this is that kind then the legal fiction marriage wouldn't help; Oedipus would probably still find a way to really marry his mother while somehow under the impression that the woman he is marrying isn't his mother (maybe because she lost her memory and changed her face). Unfortunately, if it is that kind of prophecy then your legal fiction marriage has just made it worse because now Oedipus thinks he's put the marriage to his mother behind him when in fact it's happening right now.

Of course planning to have Oedipus finish you off is good. It means that you're the sort of unusual person who could get that prophecy and have it mean the best possible outcome, assuming that Oedipus would be willing to go along with it. But you should also prepare for the possibility that Oedipus might not be willing to kill you on your death bed, and also the prophecy might not be self-fulfilling. If I knew for a fact that someone I love will kill me, then the absolute top priority would be to forgive that person in advance. There's nothing worse than being personally responsible for a loved-one's death, but knowing it's coming gives a wonderful opportunity to ease the burden.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 111

Postby drachefly » Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:43 pm

It's already reliant on its being self-fulfilling - Oedipus wouldn't have been left to die and thereby never know his parents if they hadn't gotten that prophecy. Since it's self-fulfilling, we can work with that.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 111

Postby Lilwik » Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:05 pm

drachefly wrote:It's already reliant on its being self-fulfilling - Oedipus wouldn't have been left to die and thereby never know his parents if they hadn't gotten that prophecy.
We know it's self-fulfilling now, but no one knew that at the time the prediction was made. When you get a prediction you can't be sure what will cause it to come true, even if you somehow know it's going to come true.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 111

Postby drachefly » Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:51 pm

Given that it's about a system as tightly entangled and responsive-to-prophecy as parents and their children, there's no freaking way it's not self-fulfilling.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 111

Postby Lilwik » Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:11 pm

drachefly wrote:Given that it's about a system as tightly entangled and responsive-to-prophecy as parents and their children, there's no freaking way it's not self-fulfilling.
It's weird, but not impossible! For example, look at it from the parent's point of view. It's hard to accept, but Oedipus might just be a crazy monster. Even bad people have parents, so they have to consider the possibility that the prophecy is talking about deliberate actions by Oedipus.

There could also be a mysterious unseen force manipulating events and planning on tricking Oedipus.
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