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Better late than never - extherian - 03-19-2018

OK, so I really should have posted this introduction from day 1, but better late than never, I suppose?

I am extherian, an imaginative sort who is active on various fanfiction and creative writing forums. I find the Orion's Arm universe to be profoundly disturbing and terrifying, in a way that I struggle to express in words. This is, of course, why I find it so interesting.

I have Asperger's Syndrome, and as such I can come across as stunningly insensitive and judgemental in my interactions with other people. Most of the time I can work around this by trying to be polite, but every once in a while I slip up and reveal my true nature as a particulary strange AI in human form. I ask your forgiveness in advance.

I also tend to ask a lot of rather odd questions about the setting, which I hope cause more interesting debates than arguments!


RE: Better late than never - Rynn - 03-19-2018

Welcome to the forums Smile I've been really enjoying your questions and contributions so far.


RE: Better late than never - Drashner1 - 03-20-2018

WelcomeSmile I've been enjoying your conversation as well.

I saw you mention something about finding the OA setting frightening/disturbing - I realize you also say this is difficult to put into words, but could you explain what you mean by that or what elements of the setting you find most upsetting?

Thanks!

Todd


RE: Better late than never - extherian - 03-20-2018

The fact that humans are so powerless and utterly unable to affect the direction that Terragen civilisation takes. In our present world, the way our society develops is largely down to the collective input of the people that make it up, through politcs, economics and cultural change - all of it driven by beings like us. In the Orion's Arm civilisation, if it suits the gods to cause something like the Version War to happen, no amount of modosophont diplomacy will amount to anything.

I see living in the Sephirotics as being like living in a benovelont version of Soviet Russia or Communist China. Humans in the Orion's Arm universe aren't a small part of a greater whole, they aren't part of anything at all. They're not even equivelant to bacteria, so much as inanimate matter. Whatever illusions a 21st century human might have about the value and meaning of their life would be impossible to maintain in Y11K.

In real life I've always been interested in the "Prepper" movements in the United States that don't trust the wider society they live in, or groups like the Amish that just ignore the wider world around them in favour of life on their terms. If I had to live in the Terragen Sphere, I'd volunteer to be part of a Baseline reserve and turn my back on it all.

Then again, I place a great deal of importance on freedom and autonomy in real life, whether at the level of the individual or the wider society. These things aren't important to OA citizens, since for some strange reason the gods see to their every need. But it is important to me, and the cultural shock would be more than I could handle.

It's for these reasons that I'm most interested in the Periphery and non-Sephirotic regions of the Terragen Sphere. The Hiders, the Deeper Covenant, the Seams, the Baseline reserves, Tribe Luxia and the Laughter Hegemony are all topics that interest me greatly. Another keen interest of mine is the limits of what's possible for sub-singularity humans, hence my questions about the Highbrows and Yas Om.

In hindsight, it's probably no surprise that my first post was about a remote backwater like Pluto - and even Pluto would have been taken over by Gracious Host were it not for the intervention of GAIA. There is no escaping the gods.


RE: Better late than never - Rynn - 03-20-2018

(03-20-2018, 05:46 AM)extherian Wrote: In real life I've always been interested in the "Prepper" movements in the United States that don't trust the wider society they live in, or groups like the Amish that just ignore the wider world around them in favour of life on their terms. If I had to live in the Terragen Sphere, I'd volunteer to be part of a Baseline reserve and turn my back on it all.

Semperists are an OA group with similar views to preppers.
http://www.orionsarm.com/eg-article/54c13047394fc

(03-20-2018, 05:46 AM)extherian Wrote: Then again, I place a great deal of importance on freedom and autonomy in real life, whether at the level of the individual or the wider society. These things aren't important to OA citizens, since for some strange reason the gods see to their every need. But it is important to me, and the cultural shock would be more than I could handle.

As do I but funnily enough I come to the opposite conclusion. Your average modosophont in the sephirotics has more freedom and autonomy IMO. Freedom from blights, perversions, much greater freedom from economic disparity or oppressive governments (with angelnet technology a modosophont society that slid into totalitarianism may never get out, resistance is futile when autonomous machines of the state can read your every thought and watch you constantly), much greater autonomy over their body and minds etc. Yeah there is a risk that the gods might squash you....but to be honest I don't view that as any more frightening than the prospect that one day a meteorite might hit me, or the false vacuum might collapse, or some foreign super power I have no control over will kick off a nuclear war with another foreign super power I have no control over. You can't have it all, but for me the Sephirotics are the closest one can get Wink But you're certainly not alone in your views. There are other members who find the sephirotics and major empires creepy and stifling.


RE: Better late than never - extherian - 03-20-2018

I think the main difference is that people like yourself tend to see the Singularity as an opportunity and something to be welcomed, whereas people like me tend to see it as a threat and something that we have to cope with rather than embrace. It depends on what you consider freedom to be.

Logically, there isn't any reason to prefer flawed modosophont government over benign Archai government. I just find it difficult to believe the idea that pro-human AI could exist, or that they would in any way empathise with humans. On the contrary, I could easily see the entire Milky Way being taken over by the likes of the Diamon Belt, with modosophonts being forced to dwell in the Oort Cloud and interstellar rogue planets due to the AI claiming entire star systems as their exclusive territory.

But then again, that kind of setting wouldn't be much fun to write about, would it? Tongue Although it might make for a very popular Virch...


RE: Better late than never - Crossroads - 03-20-2018

This is an interesting discussion. While I don't find the Sephirotics to be frightening in any way (though perhaps quite alien and therefore a little unsettling from a 1st century AT perspective), the things that Terragens know to be real are pretty unnerving, in an existential-crisis-inducing and sort of Lovecraftian way.

In RL we don't know for sure if superintelligences will ever exist, just how powerful they can get, if enormous alien supercivilizations can exist, if simulations whose inhabitants are ignorant of the true nature of the world would ever come into being. None of these things seem impossible, but they very well may be since we've never seen them and therefore there may be major roadblocks to them we can't anticipate, or they may be impossible due to reasons brought up by skeptics of these ideas.

The Terragens, however, know that every single one of these things is real, and has come into existence not just once, but again and again in diverse forms. What can one do, other than seek out the most powerful benevolent gods, hope there are no non-benevolent entities even more powerful who will bother you, and tell your exoself to not let you think too much about it?

That said, though, there may be far less suffering proportionately speaking in the OA universe than in RL. Those supercivilizations may be and many probably are wonderful places, there may not be as much suffering as in RL proportionately speaking even in the non-Sephirotic Terragen sphere, and many simulated beings are woken up into the OA universe, and even those who are not are no worse off than us in RL.


RE: Better late than never - Drashner1 - 03-20-2018

(03-20-2018, 05:46 AM)extherian Wrote: The fact that humans are so powerless and utterly unable to affect the direction that Terragen civilisation takes. In our present world, the way our society develops is largely down to the collective input of the people that make it up, through politcs, economics and cultural change - all of it driven by beings like us. In the Orion's Arm civilisation, if it suits the gods to cause something like the Version War to happen, no amount of modosophont diplomacy will amount to anything.

That's true. OTOH, if a nearby star were to supernova, or a gamma ray burst went off in the right spot and direction from us - there'd be nothing we could do about that, at least not now. Human ideas of control and self direction are often rather...limited...when it comes to considering the full range of what can happen. For the humans/modosophonts of OA, the field of play has grown enormously, both in terms of what they can handle (most Earthly natural disasters, and even a fair number of cosmic ones, would be little more than an annoyance to them) and what they can't. The transapients/archai fall into that latter category.

(03-20-2018, 05:46 AM)extherian Wrote: I see living in the Sephirotics as being like living in a benovelont version of Soviet Russia or Communist China. Humans in the Orion's Arm universe aren't a small part of a greater whole, they aren't part of anything at all. They're not even equivelant to bacteria, so much as inanimate matter. Whatever illusions a 21st century human might have about the value and meaning of their life would be impossible to maintain in Y11K.

That's one possible way to look at it. However, there are others. For example, the fact that the archai do act to nurture and protect their modosophont citizens could be seen as the modos being part of something much larger than themselves - the Sephirotic Empires, which apparently have at least some small degree of importance to the archai - since they do put some effort (even if quite small into them). The citizens of the sephirotics may see themselves as very much part of something vastly greater than themselves.

Another way to look at this (which is pretty much my view on things) is that existence has no inherent meaning or value or purpose. Therefore, we are free to decide/determine any meaning/value/purpose for our existence for ourselves.

(03-20-2018, 05:46 AM)extherian Wrote: In real life I've always been interested in the "Prepper" movements in the United States that don't trust the wider society they live in, or groups like the Amish that just ignore the wider world around them in favour of life on their terms. If I had to live in the Terragen Sphere, I'd volunteer to be part of a Baseline reserve and turn my back on it all.

And if you wanted to do that, no one would stop you - in fact they'd actively help you. That's an element of the Sephirotics that sometimes seems to throw people for a loop - sophonts are free to do almost anything they please - including rejecting the whole shebang and going somewhere else. In fact the right to 'vote with your feet' is a fundamental one in Terragen civ.

Note that you could also engage in any of a wide range of options if you wished to live away from the Sephirotics. Including doing what the Leavers do and just taking off into deep space.

(03-20-2018, 05:46 AM)extherian Wrote: Then again, I place a great deal of importance on freedom and autonomy in real life, whether at the level of the individual or the wider society. These things aren't important to OA citizens, since for some strange reason the gods see to their every need. But it is important to me, and the cultural shock would be more than I could handle.

Actually most OA citizens would likely claim that they enjoy vastly more freedom and autonomy than you doSmile They enjoy an enormous number of options to explore, up to and including becoming transapients (And perhaps even someday archai) themselves is they want to and are willing to put in the work.

Just a question to think about - what can you do, that the citizens of the sephirotics cannot? Specifically in terms of freedom and autonomy.

(03-20-2018, 05:46 AM)extherian Wrote: It's for these reasons that I'm most interested in the Periphery and non-Sephirotic regions of the Terragen Sphere. The Hiders, the Deeper Covenant, the Seams, the Baseline reserves, Tribe Luxia and the Laughter Hegemony are all topics that interest me greatly. Another keen interest of mine is the limits of what's possible for sub-singularity humans, hence my questions about the Highbrows and Yas Om.

Sub-singularity humans are actually hugely capable in their own right. Most of the technology they use was actually invented by them, for example. That includes most of the tech they use to take care of their needs and wants. The transapients provide direction and the archai set the...tone...but in most places modosophonts handle the day to day stuff. And there are lots of places (even in the sephirotics) where the transapients aren't and where modos run things.

ToddSmile


RE: Better late than never - extherian - 03-20-2018

Quote:And if you wanted to do that, no one would stop you - in fact they'd actively help you. That's an element of the Sephirotics that sometimes seems to throw people for a loop - sophonts are free to do almost anything they please - including rejecting the whole shebang and going somewhere else. In fact the right to 'vote with your feet' is a fundamental one in Terragen civ


It's true, but this is something of a Hobb's choice. Whether you can leave the Archai or not doesn't really matter, since without their protection an Ahuman ISO will inevitably come along and devour your system. Considering that the likes of the Queen of Pain are out there, humans don't have a choice but to be at the mercy of the Archai. If you don't come to the gods, the gods will come to you, so to speak.

If I recall, the Encyclopedia Galactica goes out of its way to emphasise that modosophont run societies never last more than a few centuries without Transapient guidance for this very reason.


Quote:Actually most OA citizens would likely claim that they enjoy vastly more freedom and autonomy than you do[Image: smile.gif] They enjoy an enormous number of options to explore, up to and including becoming transapients (And perhaps even someday archai) themselves is they want to and are willing to put in the work.

Depends on what it is you consider to be "freedom". The modosophonts themselves have no say at all in the direction that their Sephirotic takes , since these empires aren't democracies and the common person has no influence over their Archai. But they are utterly free from constraints on their mental potential and capacity for self-actualisation.

Personal control over your own destiny has never been greater in Y11K. Collective control over the direction your society takes is gone, no more than gut bacteria can vote on the behaviour of their human host. But someone born into the OA universe wouldn't value something like that anyway.


Quote:Just a question to think about - what can you do, that the citizens of the sephirotics cannot? Specifically in terms of freedom and autonomy


We can consume the resources of the Earth as we please, create media and art that appeals to our tastes without a central government memetically consolidating us, and can remain content in the knowledge that a massive god isn't going to suddenly appear from the heavens to control everything we do.

And unlike in Y11k, it is possible both to detect attempts at manipulating your will and resisting said attempts. Russia can spread all the propaganda it likes, but there are many Russians who can see through the KGB's bullshit and continue agitating for change. No one in a Sephirotic empire would even be capable of critiquing their overlords without their consent. This is because despite how he may portray himself, Vladimir Putin is not actually a god.

To go into further detail than this would require me to start thinking about positive freedoms and negative freedoms...present day philosophy would provide more granular detail, but suffice to say that self-actualisation doesn't matter as much to me as freedom from coercion.


Quote:Another way to look at this (which is pretty much my view on things) is that existence has no inherent meaning or value or purpose.


In the OA universe, certainly. In the present day, on the other hand, human agency actually matters in the grand scheme of things, which is what I find meaningful in life.

I think the reason I find the benevolence of the gods so difficult to believe is because of how utterly unlike humans they are. They don't have families and friends like we have, or anything even remotely like the human experience. Why would they care for humanity? An AI doesn't need empathy, it wasn't descended from sociable mammals like we are. Sure, they can model our behaviours and predict what we're going to do, but so can a psychopath in real life. That doesn't mean they care.

And it's not as though the gods are merely tolerating the existence of humanity on their vast megastructures. Many OA articles show the S2 and S3 powers going out of their way to help humanity wherever they can. The article on Tribe Luxia describes a message sent from the S3 'Boh' that is 'short and full of kindness', almost as if Boh was just a vastly more intelligent human being that still cared for their bacterial ancestors.

I suppose I find the idea of gods that resemble Bitenic Squid far more likely than ones resembling humans.


RE: Better late than never - Vaktus - 03-21-2018

extherian

Quote:It's true, but this is something of a Hobb's choice. Whether you can leave the Archai or not doesn't really matter, since without their protection an Ahuman ISO will inevitably come along and devour your system. Considering that the likes of the Queen of Pain are out there, humans don't have a choice but to be at the mercy of the Archai. If you don't come to the gods, the gods will come to you, so to speak.

If I recall, the Encyclopedia Galactica goes out of its way to emphasise that modosophont run societies never last more than a few centuries without Transapient guidance for this very reason.

Quote:Depends on what it is you consider to be "freedom". The modosophonts themselves have no say at all in the direction that their Sephirotic takes , since these empires aren't democracies and the common person has no influence over their Archai. But they are utterly free from constraints on their mental potential and capacity for self-actualisation.


Personal control over your own destiny has never been greater in Y11K. Collective control over the direction your society takes is gone, no more than gut bacteria can vote on the behaviour of their human host. But someone born into the OA universe wouldn't value something like that anyway.



I agree with you mostly. In the Sephirotics, you have it pretty much right on the nose but there are plenty of societies that are a democracy/republic with no transapient influence. Examples being The New Daffy Panoparchy and The Puppis Democracy. There are also plenty of modos that value the decision to participate in government. That's why hiders, leavers, and people who live in the previous mention democracies exist in the setting. However, I do agree that there is a huge risk of the society falling to some blight, perversity, or dominating AI from taking over these systems.

Quote:In the OA universe, certainly. In the present day, on the other hand, human agency actually matters in the grand scheme of things, which is what I find meaningful in life.

I think the reason I find the benevolence of the gods so difficult to believe is because of how utterly unlike humans they are. They don't have families and friends like we have, or anything even remotely like the human experience. Why would they care for humanity? An AI doesn't need empathy, it wasn't descended from sociable mammals like we are. Sure, they can model our behaviours and predict what we're going to do, but so can a psychopath in real life. That doesn't mean they care.

And it's not as though the gods are merely tolerating the existence of humanity on their vast megastructures. Many OA articles show the S2 and S3 powers going out of their way to help humanity wherever they can. The article on Tribe Luxia describes a message sent from the S3 'Boh' that is 'short and full of kindness', almost as if Boh was just a vastly more intelligent human being that still cared for their bacterial ancestors.

I suppose I find the idea of gods that resemble Bitenic Squid far more likely than ones resembling humans.

I actually almost whole-heartily agree with you on this. I would go as far to say why transapient AI care about any modo in the first place other than a sense of nostalgia or sentimentality to what they once were, a pet, or some form of hobby. However, a transapient, from what Drashner has told me, can be as empathetic as it chooses to be. Which makes sense, since they could simulate your life to every minute detail that your brain could hold and completely understand it