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Old 04-07-2012, 12:05 PM
auroraglacialis's Avatar
auroraglacialis can now be called "doctor"
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Central Europe
Posts: 1,622

I'l write something on this on Anyone else read The Spiritual teachings of Avatar book?
Know your idols: Who said "Hitler killed five million Jews. It is the greatest crime of our time. But the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher's knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs.". (Solution: "Mahatma" Ghandi)

Stop terraforming Earth (wordpress)

"Humans are storytellers. These stories then can become our reality. Only when we loose ourselves in the stories they have the power to control us. Our culture got lost in the wrong story, a story of death and defeat, of opression and control, of separation and competition. We need a new story!"
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Old 09-02-2012, 05:26 PM
Clarke's Avatar
Clarke wants his own Avatar.
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Scotland, 140 years too early
Posts: 1,330

Oh, wow, I just found this thread again. There's actually a second part to the OP, which I left lying in my virtual drawer. But here it is. (If you saw this when I posted it in the IRC last night, I've changed it slightly to hopefully be clearer.)

(English is a very imprecise language, but it is the only one available, so it will have to do.)

There’s a human lying under a tree. He’s just about to ask me how many people are on Earth. Since he’s come to my attention, and you will be thoroughly bored if I were to describe how I go about answering his question, I will describe him to you. He won’t notice the delay while I conceive a worker to do the searching for me.

His hair is black and short — he is either unimaginative or extremely conservative, and had it cut recently; at maximum within the last few hours, as is clear by the loose hair left on around his collar and neck. There is mud caked across his bare feet, and a graze across his left palm, which is still visibly dirty. This — along with the green bruise forming on his right shoulder and upper arm — suggests he has tried to climb a tree, and fallen a relatively short distance out of it. He is breathing heavily, but more so than he really needs to — he did the climbing recently, but is fitter than he thinks.

He is also wearing a t-shirt and cheap cotton trousers, with nothing in their many pockets; he is clearly not expecting to be outside for a great length of time. The reason for that is belied completely by the way he is sitting under the tree: he is sitting awkwardly and off to one side. He is trying to avoid crushing his tail and from that it is obvious that he is new to his body, and is being overly cautious about breaking it.

Obviously, humans didn’t used to have tails — for that matter, articulated ears, and eyes sensitive to polarization, as this particular one does. The only thing that has changed is that they’ve managed to make more and more about their physiology customizable. As mentioned, this instance is quite conservative; he still retains the ancestral layout of two arms, two legs, and a centralized head mounted high, though no unmodified ape ever had aquamarine skin and a three meter long spine. This is because cosmetic details like skin tone, and to a lesser extent even the tail, are the easiest to reverse. (He has also been watching science fiction from when reality still mattered to the designers.)

What I have just told you, you might have been able to deduce yourself, given an arbitrarily long time to do it. However, it’s not all I can tell you. You might be confused as to why I'm calling him a human at all, since he clearly does not look like one, but the male lying under the tree, finishing his question, is most definitely and unarguably human in one respect, though it’s not visible — his brain was exactly copied from his original (pink-skinned) hardware, to the point that it is undersized for the skull it resides in. It’s technically true that merely using a human brain doesn’t make you automatically human, but I know he is, because I understand him.

Humans say they understand each other, but that’s just a trick of mirror neurons — they find enough to fill in the large gaps, and then fill in the smaller details with, in a depressingly large number of cases, themselves. In reality, their brains aren’t powerful enough to process the entirety of someone else, even far slower than the real-time they claim. In contrast, I understand him perfectly, because I remember the past and I can predict the future: I can see the tangled web of everything I know of that has influenced him, spreading back through time and space – a network of strings, concentrating and tangling as it nears the ‘now’, and converging on the present, which I can see ticking like the clockwork universe that so inspired Newton. Looking in the opposite direction, a cone of influence explodes next-wards, this time a series of expanding spheres, showing some of the many branching futures, laid on top of each other in proportion to their reality. After all, it is possible — though very unlikely — that his trousers will spontaneously find themselves a foot above him immediately after he finishes question to me; however, this is a very unreal possibility. I should point out that this foresight requires about as much thought on my part as a human uses deciding that they cannot be run down by an approaching car. I can, if pressed, do this for the human and everything in a half-hour and kilometer radius of him. (In about three and a half minutes, the two birds will almost certainly copulate.)

Since I can do that, and he knows it, he’s never going to feel the same chill as his ancestors. He’s sitting on a very deep fear, older than humanity itself, and the foundation of all mythology. It is the fear of being in the presence of something far grander and more powerful than yourself – as the gods are more powerful than men – who does not notice you. This was the best outcome – if you were noticed by something nasty, you died. That fear has been exterminated, and humans will never again be scared of things that lurk in the dark just outside the light of the fire.

As the human finishes the last syllable, my worker returns, with its answer of 25,212 people. I decide that an explicit voice would be distracting enough to disturb him, so I spike a few neurons and let the figure bubble through his subconscious.

A question that may occur to you is why humans aren’t afraid of the dark anymore. The answer is remarkably simple, when you realize why they were afraid in the first place: Gaia was uncaring, unforgiving, uncontrollable, unpredictable and undeniably dangerous.

But also unintelligent and unstable. Once you stripped away the anthropomorphism, Gaia was composed of chemical and biological balances – balances quite vulnerable to being disrupted by humans with too little foresight for the tools they used and the scale they used them on. When it came down to the science, untempered by emotions and comforting lies, there was no oversight, no stern but caring intelligence, nothing listening to the thousands of questions being asked every day — only dumb chemistry.

So they implemented her, as much as I can have gender at all. Environmentalism is obsolete – I don’t need anyone now.
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