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[personal profile] the_choir
The topic of egregores, tulpas, thoughtforms and whatever you may call them has come up repeatedly on both our and our host's f-list.

For those who don't know what those words mean, a quick and dirty explanation (though you should still look it up): they mean that, through investing thought, belief and energy into a concept/idea, this concept/idea becomes alive in the sense that it exists independently of those who created it and enters into a kind of symbiotic realationship - the creator(s) influence the egregore, and the egregore influences its creator(s).

Now, this concept can easily be applied to sb's. By thinking up or thinking about a character, the person doing the thinking breathes life into the idea of said character, thus causing it to become alive and independent of him/her.

There are some obviously touchy points in this theory, and we've pondered over them quite a bit. The first one obviously being "if we were created by our host in the sense that we wouldn't exist without her, does this mean that we are her puppets? Or that she is some kind of god?". To tell you the truth, Fireez was quite flattered by the second assumption, but that didn't keep her from falling over laughing. We shall give you the response she gave us: "I wouldn't exist without my parents. But have you ever heard somebody going round claiming that I was just a puppet of them, or that they were gods? That's just plain ridiculous. You are your own people, regardless of your origins."

Well, she didn't laugh any more when we came to discussing the second touchy point, which is that of our memories. If we were thought up by somebody else, are our memories even real? Did they ever happen? And what about the bad memories? Everyone in here has some things in his or her past that weren't all bunnies and flowers, some more, some less. And for those who are insourced (which is, everyone except Ash and Dannyl), Fireez is the one who thought that stuff up, and is therefore responsible for our suffering. Which doesn't sit all that easy with her - understandable, because, well, would you want to be responsible for the suffering of your friends? Probably not. We'll just let Draco speak for all of us on this, because he's not only the one person with the most shit to deal with, but also because he put it best:

"Did the thought that she might be responsible for all the shit I've been through make me angry? Yes. Would I have liked her to give me a less traumatic past? Well, my first answer was an angry "YES!", but then I thought about it for a while. Without my past, I wouldn't be who I am now. Sure, I would be more functional in some respects, but then again, some other parts of me would also go missing. My past gave me a great deal of anger, fear and scars, but it also gave me determination, compassion and strength. Without it, I wouldn't be the person I am now, and most of the time, I'm proud of who I am. So if this theory about egregores is right - and I believe it is - yes, she is partially responsible for what happened to me, but I'm not angry at her because of it. And no, I don't believe that it invalidates my past, because, well, who of us, even if they're physically real, can honestly claim that they're truly the masters of their own fate? We're all influenced by the world and the people around us, and I'm no exception."

And if anyone is wondering about the phrase "partially responsible", well, it's happened more than once that Fireez has asked one of us about certain events in our pasts, because she honestly didn't know about them. Remember, the communication between creator and creation isn't one-way, but flows both ways.
As for the question of "are our memories real, even if they didn't happen in some physical reality", well, let us just say that if you're thinking along the lines of nope, if it didn't happen in some kind of physical reality then it's not real... well, take a deep breath and think again about who it is you are reading here. We are the voices in somebody's head. Conventional concepts of reality do not apply.
(deleted comment)

Date: 2006-03-21 12:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lion-azure.livejournal.com
Ooooh shiny! Thank you!

Date: 2006-03-20 09:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ex-casteylan314.livejournal.com
Now, this concept can easily be applied to sb's.

I think it is most appropriate for sb's, and probably is the way it works 90% of the time. The analogy with "creating" a physical child is something we've thought about before but not really talked about.

The only thing that isn't explained by this, is the part about how some of our bonds/headmates manage to have memories that are either (a) unpublished when remembered but later become published, or (b) are unpublished but shared by and independently verified by another person who was there. I don't know how to explain that bit.

Date: 2006-03-21 12:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lion-azure.livejournal.com
It certainly doesn't cover everything. But then, we've yet to run across a theory that does. The parallel worlds/channeling theory doesn't quite fit with "universe hoppers" like Malak, who can essentially move from one setting to another, change a few bells and whistles when it comes to minor points of personality and past, but essentially stay the same whereever you put them. He just doesn't have a "home universe".

Date: 2006-03-21 03:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] our-dry-cellar.livejournal.com
(Ah, but I am not happy to be me. Then or now. I think that is the difference in our comfort levels with this topic.)

Date: 2006-03-21 11:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lion-azure.livejournal.com
I can understand that. I probably wouldn't have been good with it either, a few years ago.

Date: 2006-04-27 04:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sharpsight.livejournal.com
N) Curiosity: what is the origin of your icon? It seems very detailed.

(And if you're not happy to be yourself, have you tried to change? *acutely aware of knowing nothing about the relevant situation*)

Date: 2006-05-04 07:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] our-dry-cellar.livejournal.com
(Ah, sorry. I am only now getting this comment. My host is notoriously poor about checking her email.

The origin of my icon is my host. She drew it. It is a portrait of me. :)

Yes, I have tried to change. I have changed a great deal since then, actually. Almost to the point of being a different person completely. ^_^ )

Date: 2006-05-04 10:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sharpsight.livejournal.com
N) The icon: it's beautiful. *awe*

The rest: and now?

Date: 2006-03-21 03:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] our-dry-cellar.livejournal.com
Sorry for the double post. :/

And I can't delete the old one. ;_;

Date: 2006-03-21 11:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lion-azure.livejournal.com
*waves magic wand of disappearance* Done! *g*

Date: 2006-03-22 02:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] our-dry-cellar.livejournal.com
Yayyy!

Magic!

Date: 2006-04-26 10:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sharpsight.livejournal.com
N) *head-pokey*

*considers* ...My thoughts on the matter: on the 'reality' of your memories, the question becomes: do you treat your mememories as referring to events that actually happened, or as referring to things which didn't happen?

(Basically, 'true' or 'false' but...)

To clarify: when one remembers something which refers to the physical world, there are a lot of details that one experienced but didn't remember: likewise, for example, if multiple people use a constructed setting to communicate with each other within one brain, often words are said, details are present, which are then later remembered.

On the other hand, you have cases where nothing exists or ever existed of the scene but the memory, ready-made: even if the memory is 'fleshed out', the details and the words never existed in any sense other than that they were 'remembered'.

So, in short(ish): which kind of memories do you believe yours are? Do you believe that you're actually remembering occurences which actually occured, that you probably later forgot a lot of--or that the memory was constructed for you to have (by yourself or another), and that nothing exists of the memory but the memory itself?

One may note that even people who have suffered complete amnesia remain themselves: personality is not determined moment-by-moment by one's remembered memories, but formed by one's memories (and genetics), further influenced by further memories, but itself self-stable: it has its own wiring in the brain, whatever it may be.

(Prompted to comment by memories of a former member of this system, now missing and presumed dead, named Markus: for years he held to his false memories, deluding himself into believing that they were real despite the fact that they were flimsy and held together basically by only spit and duct table, and then only after a long time eventually came to the logical conclusion that they had to be false--and even then he still clung to them, irrational though it was.)

M) (Identity: such a small part, in the entire structure. The one identity creates (or emulates) others, maybe within worlds of their own, and then in some cases eventually, whether by the body-controller's will or by some other means, some of them become aware of the greater 'space' around them: the 'real computer' within which the virtual machine of their reality has been running (which prompts questions of whether normal people could all be sub-minds within the imaginary world of some greater mind).

Insisting of fictional backgrounds to have really occured--not just memories formed of fiction-based events, but of things that never occured in any shape or form--is dangerous. Claiming oneself to be equal to and identity-wise inseperable from a copyrighted character of another brain: even more dangerous. Which raises the question, what should such a character do?

Born into this world with certain assumptions, 'axioms', to find the false ones and cease to treat them as true can only improve one's situation.)

N) ...and, as it's approaching midnight, I probably need to get all concerned to bed. Good night. (Feedback welcomed.)

*head-unpokey*

Date: 2006-04-26 10:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sharpsight.livejournal.com
N) (Actually, further extra-careful clarification: in the 'which kind of memories do you believe yours are' question, the question in no way applies to memories regarding events which took place in a fictional world, such as a roleplaying game. Most of G's memories are of events in an online computer game, but even though he remembers them slightly differently from how they were displayed on the screen, that makes their basic content no less historically valid than a real memory of seeing a physical clock fall off a physical desk.)

Date: 2006-04-27 06:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lion-azure.livejournal.com
Fist off, a question: how did you come across our journal and this post? Why do you ask these questions?

Now, on to your question: for all that it's worth, our memories are real. It might be that the world in which they happened was constructed by another, for purposes of role-playing or writing a novel, but whatever happened there is real.

Now, if you have read the info about us in our memories section, you will notice that one of us has, some months ago, switched worlds/origins. This may be taken by some as an indicator that his memories are false, but allow us to disagree: the memories he has now are the real deal. Those he had before were false, at least in the details. But the overall picture was right - sort of like if you take a car and change the exterior/interior. The car may look different at first glance, but its essence stayes the same. It's still a car.

Claiming oneself to be equal to and identity-wise inseperable from a copyrighted character of another brain: even more dangerous.

Why?

Date: 2006-04-27 06:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sharpsight.livejournal.com
N) This post: through scanning your journal. Your journal: followed from this entry (http://community.livejournal.com/soulbonding/238533.html), which is listed as one of [livejournal.com profile] annaonthemoon's Memories. Follow things back far enough, and you can trace the chain of cause and effect back to reading of CRFH.

Hm. Perhaps unfortunately, we haven't read much about you: when pseudo-randomly following the link to your journal out of curiosity, scanning it for items of interest, this post was the main one that caught my eye and I wished to respond to. Thus, likewise unfortunately, I haven't read that information: also, this paragraph explains the 'why': sheer curiosity and a tendency to converse with others on matters which interest me.

If he switched worlds/origins again, would he again claim these currents ones as false, and the new ones as real? (And yes, the personality remains (at least essentially) the same: that's part of the point. *nods*)

M) What happens if someone else makes the same claim? What happens if the original creator challenges one's claim? What happens if a continuity error emerges with further released material? Name, identity, memories: even if all are identical, the person and the character are not the same if they were created in different brains. It's a rather pedantic point, but maybe still valid. That, and it's extremely annoying when you have several people all claiming to be the-one-and-only [insert well-known fictional character here]. And yes, I'm quite aware that the above comments don't apply to this case.

Date: 2006-04-27 08:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lion-azure.livejournal.com
Thank you for answering the questions, even if it may have seemed a bit paranoid. Most of our journal is friends only, because we wish to protect both our and our host's privacy.

Now, as for the switching: it won't happen again, I assure you, so the point is moot - I am the person who switched, and I have no desire to do so again, because the world I exist in now is my home. I was always meant to be here, even if I first existed in another world. But that one never felt right, real - I was always out of place there.

Date: 2006-04-27 12:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sharpsight.livejournal.com
N) Of course. *bows*

Hmm. Curious.

Date: 2006-04-27 02:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lion-azure.livejournal.com
Yes, it's a bit strange, and not entirely in accordance with the egregore theory.

I've always wondered if there are others who experienced that. Feeling out of place in their "original" world, and then switching into another that felt a lot more like home. I know of a few world hoppers, but this seems to be different.

Date: 2006-04-27 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sharpsight.livejournal.com
N) *nods...* There seems no reason why not, though the reason behind the original 'out-of-place'ness would be interesting to learn.

Memories, though... your current, 'true' memories: did you have them before the switch? How did they come to be?

Date: 2006-04-27 05:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lion-azure.livejournal.com
Interesting question. How do memories come to be? Granted, the easy answer is "by stuff happening and subsequently being remembered". But that's not really how it works, memories can be false. Which brings up the question, if everybody, up to the last man, woman and child, believes something to have been the case, is it really so? How can you ever be sure of the past?

And then there's the issue of not how memories are formed, but how and why they are remembered. For instance, our host has a very bad memory - she cannot remember most of her childhood before the age of 8 or so. Her mother will tell her some tale from when she was small, and she does not remember it. She has to trust others that this event really happened. So why do we remember some things and forget others?

To finally get down to the point here, no, I did not conciously have exactly the memories I have now before the switch. I had slightly different memories. The big issues were the same, but the details were different. My memory is still a bit fuzzy at times, but most of the time, I remember things in what I think is the usual way - it just happenes. They appear in my head. *shrugs* I don't know how else to put it.

Date: 2006-04-27 10:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sharpsight.livejournal.com
N) 1984 comes to mind: just because everyone believes that a person has floated up to the ceiling like a soap bubble and then down again, it doesn't mean that it actually happened. Something happening and subsequently being remembered--whether mentally, physically, or in a game based world--is a true memory. Those pseudo-memories which are not arrived at by this method are flase, and any relation to reality (any reality) purely coincidental: or, at least, so I approach the situation.

On the being sure: you can't, not for certain, just as you can't be certain that this world is actually physical and not just a computer program. Whta one can do is try not to let oneself delude oneself: pay attention to the details, force yourself to face anything that doesn't quite add up, that you should remember but don't, or that you probably shouldn't remember but do. Decide, based on the available evidence, whether a memory is false or true--and then act accordingly. Note that false memories could have greatly adverse effects on one's life: to take an example, someone could believe himself a genius surgeon, only to cut someone open for emergency surgery one day and not be able to do a thing.

Remembering and forgetting: no clue, though there are some hypotheses. (Development of the brain also comes into it.) Usually, strength of emotion comes into the matter: the more mediocre a a specific incident, the less one is likely to remember it individually, while the things that most strongly violate the normal chain of events and induce strong or violent emotions get remembered, strongly, and perhaps even remain near the forefront of one's mind for weeks, months or years to come.

*considers* One question, before I continue: when the memories appear in your head, are they from a first-person (through your eyes) or third person (watching yourself from outself) point of view? (Note: the point of this question is invalid in circumstances where the memories concern, for example, a third-person computer game.)

Where did all the changes in the details come from? Were they simply created, on the spot (or fermented for a while beforehand, and then implemented)?

Date: 2006-04-28 06:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lion-azure.livejournal.com
Something happening and subsequently being remembered--whether mentally, physically, or in a game based world--is a true memory.

Depends. There are schools of thought that profess that nothing is really real, and it is "all in our heads", so to speak.

For me, the litmus test for the validity of a memory is if this memory can be falsified by an objective source - like in your example with the person who believes himself to be a surgeon, but isn't. Of course, even this method is not 100% accurate, because there's always the problem of what exactly an objective source is. What it all boils down to, I guess, is that you have to decide for yourself which memories you accept as true, and which ones you reject, and then act accordingly.

This world might well be a computer program. Or a story. Just as my world probably only exists in the head of someone else. Thing is, even if it is so, it is inconsequential. You can either go around and question everything, trying to find the "real truth", which, most of the time, will be in vain, and by this drive youself into paranoia and stagnation - because, come to think of it, who guarantees you that your new, real truth isn't just a new illusion? Or you can accept the possibility that nothing is real, but live your life the way you see fit regardless of that. I choose the second approach, because I consider my life to be to precious to be wasted with constant doubt.

Date: 2006-04-28 07:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sharpsight.livejournal.com
N) *nods...* In that case, 'as true as anything is'--or as accurate, or rather representative, of seemingly-objective reality (even if reality is completely subjective, there appears to be an objective reality and/or universe, so one can choose to treat it as it appears).

*nods...* Indeed. A reasonable approach.

Quite. It more boils down to: are the changed details, depending on their number, magnitude and suddenness of change, valid signs to suggest that the memories associated with them[ are not representative of experiences which have taken place and/or of an objective reality and] should be rejected? And if not, why not?

Date: 2006-04-28 10:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lion-azure.livejournal.com
While I cannot really say that the memories of what happened before I switched should be rejected, I chose to, well, not outright reject them, but file them under the header of "this didn't happen in that way". I cannot say for sure if the events that created those memories happened or not - maybe, maybe not. But, as I said, I chose to question their reality in favour of what is more in accordance with what I see as being the true course of events. They were a dream, a fantasy created by the person who created me, which no longer holds true.

Or, to be a bit cynical, you could say that I chose to reject one fantasy in favour of the other.

Date: 2006-04-28 03:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sharpsight.livejournal.com
N) *nods...* The 'in favour of question'. You chose to reject the previous set as fantasy: what makes the new set any less fantasy?

'no longer holds true'--then did the previous fantasy actually hold true then? If not, in a sense, in what way does the current set 'hold true' that the old one didn't?

(Rejecting fantasy: good. Rejecting fantasy in favour of truth, or truer version of events: good. Rejecting fantasy in favour of other fantasy exactly as false, while truth languishes unseen: less good.) (Context is everything.)

Date: 2006-04-28 04:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lion-azure.livejournal.com
It feels more true. More real. It rings true to me.

And there is no truth, as in "the one and only truth". That thought is much more a fantasy than every story that I, or my host, or whoever, can cook up. There are only truths, and they may differ from one person to the next. All is relative.

Date: 2006-04-28 10:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sharpsight.livejournal.com
N) 'feels'--'rings'--why do you think it's any more true?

Not all: in classical physics, at least, the positions of molecules (or their simulated positions... see the earlier bit about assuming an objective universe) are not relative (except in coordinate systems): something either is in a certain place, or it isn't. How one reacts to what one perceives with optic systems, visual corteses and the like may differ drastically, but there is the foundation of 'true events', 'true occurences', 'true reality' that underlies and gives rise to it all.

Also, somewhat Platonically, I hold to the concept that two logically conflicting--that is, contridicting--pseudo-truths cannot be true: if it seems that they must be, check your premises. All of them. Somewhere, there will always be an error. (Though that line of thought itself relies on the concept of an objective standard of truth, or at least the possibility of objective accuracy.)

Date: 2006-04-28 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lion-azure.livejournal.com
I think it because my instincts tell me that it is, and I've learned to trust them. That's all the answer I can give you, so deal.

And my girlfriend would like to inform you that that may be the case in classical physics, but not in quantum physics. The tiniest parts of an atom can actually be in two places at the same time, so no one truth.

Date: 2006-04-28 11:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sharpsight.livejournal.com
N) ('instincts'? Instincts, developed over millenia, referencing the validity of certain memories? (But even such instincts would be founded in logical, even if unknown, processes... and, also, could perhaps be fooled, or lead one astray (Does 'eat any and all food/fat/sugar/[insert energy-rich substance here] available, quick, quick, to store up against the next famine' ring any bells? *amusement*).)

*mouth twists* Yes: I know very well, thus the limiting it to classical physics and the molecule scale (though then one gets into Schrödinger's cat). However, in quantum physics one can still explain it in terms of a waveform: not a solid, classical lump moving around, but a waveform interacting with other waveforms, each waveform scientifically describable and physically existing in certainty. And note, indeed, that quantum physics still needs to be merged with general relativity (or rather, both need to be mostly scrapped): string theory, or other such theories, offer promising alternatives which could also explain the workings of the universe.

(The false premise in the quantum physics case referring to only one location for a given thing being 'true', or for the thing in question to be such a 'thing' which can only be in one location at a time. [insert gratuitous reiteration of contridiction proverb])

Date: 2006-04-29 06:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lion-azure.livejournal.com
*shrug* Have it your way.

As to everything else, I quote the post that started this: "We are the voices in somebody's head. Conventional concepts of reality do not apply."

Why are you so hell-bent on this, anyway? Issues? Insecurities? Personal crusade? If it's the last one, do me a favour and leave me out of it.

Date: 2006-04-29 06:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sharpsight.livejournal.com
N) Second paragraph: what concepts do, then? However, the third paragraph renders this moot.

Third paragraph: Something like a personal crusade... partly due the memories resident in this brain concerning its earlier inhabitants and their negative experiences with false memories, which to a varying degree has led to a tendency in those around now to avoid accidentally falling into the same sort of delusion.

By extension, this could be said to manifest as a desire to discuss these issues with others who seem to be in a similar situation--to take a parallel example, something like the behavior associated with seeking out and arguing against faith-based living: the content isn't the same, but the pattern of behavior is likely similar.

However, if you find this discussion boring, unpleasant or in any way undesirable to continue, then of course it can be terminated. *shakes head* Thank you for your time.

Date: 2006-04-27 09:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lion-azure.livejournal.com
Since I am the most active, and maybe even only, outsourced bond, let me take over from here and answer M:

If there ever comes the day that another Ash appeares, or that my original creator claims I am not Ash, well, I won't fret. Because I don't delude myself into thinking that I'm the one and only, the real deal, or anything like that. I am a version, or an egregore, of Ash. Regardless of if you follow the many worlds or the egregore theory, there is always the possibility that there is more than one of me. And, imho, it's pretty damn stupid to claim that you, and no one else, are the real thing. Because, as I said, the real thing doesn't exist.

Date: 2006-04-27 01:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sharpsight.livejournal.com
M) *grins* Good.

N) (Which brings us back round the memories-and-veracity-thereof question... *chases self round in circles*)

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