Author Topic: Fine-grained questions  (Read 1084 times)

Christoph

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Fine-grained questions
« on: April 13, 2015, 12:06:07 PM »
Hi Ron

I've been invited to hold a talk at a convention this weekend, about "Forge Theories". So I'm going to turn things more into "my analytical framework inspired by stuff said by Ron, Vincent, Ben, etc. etc." and how I've used it to help people and develop my own stuff.

Nevertheless, I'm trying to present the Big Model as accurately as I can. And something just hit me quite hard and I couldn't give a good reason for it. In all your diagrams, the creative agenda arrow stops before Ephemera. I just found one [urlhttp://indie-rpgs.com/archive/index.php?topic=11061.0=]thread[/url] were you said:
Quote from: Ron
If you draw CA as an arrow (he said, squinting menacingly, like Clint Eastwood), then for sure it extends from the System part of Exploration down into Techniques.

Whether a given Ephemera is part of one of the more relevant Techniques (relevant to CA, that is), is a moment-by-moment issue, and no single Ephemera is going to amount to a huge influence. So at least some of the time, you can see CA penetrating into Ephemera; it certainly does when a given very-relevant Technique is being employed (and hence multiple Ephemera are occurring).

I also think we can go back up (or "out"), and see that the CA doesn't begin in the Exploration box; it's actually traceable or observable all the way back into Social Contract in many cases. This isn't too hard to understand when you think of Exploration as a manifestation or expression of Social Contract, which is what it is.

The much more recent Big-Model.info site shows the arrow going from Social Contract to Techniques. Does the choice of not touching Ephemera hold insight, and, if yes, what is it?

I probably won't mention this detail, but since I'm having to translate the diagrams anyway, I might as well get the arrow right and understand why it is like it is. I always imagined some Ephemera could be CA-relevant: "OMG, you heartless asshole, you abandoned the lover!" (Taken from an imaginary end of adventure situation in S/lay w/me, with all the caveats that this exact same sentence could be uttered in games with any CA.) Granted, it is first and fore-most an expression of Techniques, but it's also a straightforward moral judgement of the Hero-character, which sounds pretty CA-related to me.

Thanks in advance,
Christoph

Eero Tuovinen

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Re: Fine-grained questions
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2015, 02:49:56 PM »
Meaning in perception is imposed by the observer - meaning is not inherent to the impression. The impression is ephemeral, yet the meaning perceived is not. When an exclamation is uttered, the fact of the exclamation is ephemeral, yet it may hold meaning within, such as a move made in a game, or a communication regarding the game, directed at another participant.

In other words: whether you quack like a duck or declaim the infamy of a moral choice made by a character in S/lay w/ Me, the fact that you opened your mouth and noise came out is ephemeral; the specific words you used are also ephemeral, as is the language you used, whether you're a bass or a baritone, and so on. What is not ephemeral is whether you were understood, and how - did you just confuse somebody by quacking, did you just amuse somebody by quacking, did you just acknowledge somebody's creative input, did you just accuse somebody of a bad move in the game? Those are some possible meanings held by the ephemeral act of you saying things. In some other situation what you say might also e.g. trigger moves in a game, such as when you utter a move code in Chess conducted verbally - it is ephemeral that you talked, but the move itself is far from being ephemeral.

Thus, ephemera may or may not carry meaning, either on its lonesome or in context or in conjunction with other ephemeral observations. That meaning may be a technique of play, or it may be something else, only limited by human capability of interpreting meaning into ephemeral observation. Creative Agenda cannot be said to inform and contextualize ephemera simply because ephemera is, by definition, the concrete non-abstract physical reality upon which the actual structure of meaningful communication (and play) rests. If there is a creative meaning to the color of the Chess pieces, that meaning is by definition not ephemeral; the color of the pieces is only ephemeral if it is arbitrary and meaningless in itself.

Miskatonic

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Re: Fine-grained questions
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2015, 10:47:25 PM »
Hi!

Just so Ron doesn't get stuck holding the bag on "the picture here shows..."

The diagram appearing on the wiki is my own design. I did put a lot of thought into how it was arranged, and I think it's prettier than Ron's original MS Word drawing, but there is an element of my own interpretation and any failure to transmit the ideas as Ron thinks of them is mine alone.
Larry

Christoph

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Re: Fine-grained questions
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2015, 05:00:42 AM »
(Ron, you once wrote to me in private that you wanted to put Eero and me in a bag to see what comes out...)

Eero, you're too demanding on my brain. Are you saying that it's not usually possible to say if there's a relation between ephemera and CA? I'd agree in general, but I'm talking specifically of ephemeras where at least the context makes it clear that it is related to the CA. Extreme example: we all play a game together. Situations happen and we do things with Techniques, etc. At one point I exclaim: "This is so nar!" You guys nod and we continue our game.

Larry, no worries, I think you did an excellent job and you definitely respected Ron's pic from the Provisional Glossary. May I please ask you the sources of the diagram, so that I could translate it to French for my talk? I'd credit you of course. (My email address should be publicly visible, under my username to the left.)

Eero Tuovinen

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Re: Fine-grained questions
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2015, 09:33:16 AM »
Eero, you're too demanding on my brain. Are you saying that it's not usually possible to say if there's a relation between ephemera and CA? I'd agree in general, but I'm talking specifically of ephemeras where at least the context makes it clear that it is related to the CA. Extreme example: we all play a game together. Situations happen and we do things with Techniques, etc. At one point I exclaim: "This is so nar!" You guys nod and we continue our game.

This exclamation would be ephemeral, but what would the actual relationship of that ephemera be to the creative agenda present? What I mean to say is that I think that it's a solid observation that ephemera cannot hold a relationship to the Creative Agenda in the same way that e.g. Techniques do. We can say things about how a given Technique supports a Creative Agenda or interferes with it in a given systemic context because Techniques fulfill systemic needs, but does the Ephemera have that sort of relationship with anything that actually matters in the game?

I don't know about how the arrow should be drawn in the graph, but to me it seems pretty clear that while we can talk about a social situation being conducive of a specific Creative Agenda, or we can say that of a system or even a single technique (in its context)... I don't see how such a meaningful relationship with analytical implications could hold for an ephemeral detail. At best we can say that a given ephemera at a given time manages to carry a Technique that has CA implications. That's not the same as that ephemera having CA implications in the system by itself - if it did, it would by definition be a Technique.

Ephemera has a relationship to Techniques that is somewhat analogous to the relationship that the System has with Creative Agenda: we can ask whether a System supports the fulfillment of a CA, and we can ask whether given ephemera help carry a given Technique. "Would it be easier to follow along with my description if I spoke louder?" That's talking about ephemera, and it is talking about ephemera on relation to the Technique of describing things aloud - the manner of speech is the ephemera. It has nothing to do with the Creative Agenda by itself.

I hope that helped clarify my position. It is probably unnecessarily nuanced to speak of the Ephemera of expression separately from the Technique of expression at most times, but in this case you're specifically asking about it. Most of the time the really useful thing about the concept of Ephemera is that you can reflect on whether something is "merely ephemeral" or whether it actually carries procedural meaning for the game at hand. If we're not talking about that, most of the time you might as well ignore the Ephemera thing and just talk about the Techniques: "The technique of acknowledging the Creative Agenda explicitly in your own words during play to show appreciation" is probably more relevant to most concerns than "the ephemera of my opening my mouth and putting things to words".