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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 83 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Modern Things  (Read 10437 times)
Bankuei
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« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2002, 01:40:27 AM »

I was reading Ghost in the Machine, a book on evolution of biology, machines, and even ideas(not to be mistaken with the anime Ghost in the Shell, although many of the themes seem to be derived from the book), which had put me in a similar wandering of what is technology?

Instead of seeing technology as a set of tools, but instead as a symbiont that went far out of control, I was musing about the evolution of mankind now being based on the evolution of technology.   We wear shoes to protect our feet from the ground we've made so that machines can travel easier.  A city is simply the most effective way to support factories.  We are trained in reading, writing, math, whatever makes it easiest to work with the machines.  Videogames train us to work most efficiently with the computer, the human brain making the higher end "fuzzy" judgements, while the computer carries out the tasks, a marriage of the highest end parallel processing and serial computation.

So, has mankind as a whole already submitted to a demon?  

Reading the 4 Arguments for the Elimination of Television, Manders brings up the excellent point that we adapt to our environments, and the environments of the last century have drastically changed compared to what we have been used to as a species.  What is result of placing humans in new environs?  

Of course, I myself deal with a lot of folks where I work at, and I find that most who cannot deal with machines, are also the same people who are generally lost in life, so the argument that avoiding technology preserves Humanity(as grounding, sanity, whathaveyou) isn't quite true either.  I'd say the closest thing of real life loss of humanity comes with the adaptation of mankind to a technology dominated environment, a place made more convient for the machines exist than for mankind, which would be most cities.  We learn to serve the machine, we learn to treat each other as machines.

Ignor the bum, he's not real, dehumanize him so you don't feel bad.  Lose a relationship?  There's other fish in the sea, all people are ultimately disposable.  Don't like your religion?  Get another, even god, tradition, history, disposable.  This is really a cyberpunk point of losing humanity.

So, ultimately, is it a battle of machinists vs. the fleshbound, or is it sorcerers against the forces of society?  We could live without cars, without nuclear power, without computers.  Other folks do it everyday.  But ultimately for mankind, there will be technology, there's no going back.  So the Price is pollution, loss of humanity, and what?  What place do the sorcerers have?  Are they those who are aware of the cost, or are they those who actively work against it?

Just some musings to add to the stew.  I do recommend the two books above as great sources of ideas regarding the issue.

Chris
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Joe Murphy (Broin)
Member

Posts: 178


« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2002, 03:39:24 AM »

Fantastic, Chris, thanks for the recommendations. That's just the sort of stuff I need. I'll be posting some responses over the next couple of days.

I read a story a while ago... a scientific musing, really. If aliens visited Earth, they could well assume that the primary lifeform was wheat. Wheat covers a very large portion of the Earth, and is tended to by a variety of symbiotic lifeforms such as humans. Where we get more humans, we get more wheat too. Wheat uses us to propagate.

Joe.
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Bailywolf
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2002, 05:48:09 AM »

Look at dogs.  They steal sandwishes off our tables.  Bite our children.  Loose us our pet deposites when they crap on the floor too often.  Cost a fortune in vet bills.  Shed on the bed.  Inflict punishing allergies.  And die before we do.  

What do we get in return for all this agravation?

Something as undefinable as "love"


Now, what is that definition for "parasite" again?





Seriously, I love dogs.  I've had many, but it raises the question.  What DOESN'T feed from us?  Any kind of human activity/association/endevor eats us alive.

Work.  yup.

School.  yup.

War.  Oh certainly.

Religion.  don't get me started.

Technology.  already got this one.


*************************

Another aside



Reverse it.



We have been slave to Flesh for our entire existance.  Flesh owns us.  With Flesh, there is no soul, no mind, no dreams.  Just Flesh moving.

It's time to escape.

Jared will probably chime in with a Chronenberg reference here (think Videodrome).  

What if Technology isn't a parasite, isn't destroying some esential humanity (because let's be honest.  Humanity is disgusting.  I've been sick for the past week.  Much vomiting.)

What if Technology is the Angel to the Devel in the Flesh?  What if it is our release?

Mix Sorcerer with Transhumanism... don't make it a game of transgression and degeneration but of glorious (if disturbing) transformation and transcendence.
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Bankuei
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« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2002, 10:17:36 AM »

On that note, other cool books to check out:  Battle Angel Alita, cyberpunk manga with the theme being,"Can man escape destiny(karma) by altering himself?" or check out TORG's Cyberpapacy...

Chris
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Bailywolf
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2002, 10:22:14 AM »

Oh, you just become a member of my personal pantheon.

I LOVE Gunum (IE Battle Angel) but haden't considered it in terms of narritve gaming (I have a fairly good BESM adaptation in the works).

Damn, but there are some great stories to be explored in the BA universe.  Thanks for bringing it to light.

Also look at Seriel Experiments Lain.  Wierd but OH SO GOOD.  One of my favorite anime to watch alone.
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Joe Murphy (Broin)
Member

Posts: 178


« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2002, 11:37:42 AM »

This thread's peachy. =)

I thought, rather than going for a rather typical definition of humanity - the dehumanizing effect of technology etc - that I'd go for a stat that tied the sorcerors to their world. This is partially because I want a relatively minor moral component in the game. Often, characters in MT will barely be able to relate to their fellow humans, who might not even perceive them, so moral decisions will more often be made about fellow sorcerors than ordinary people. I think.

It's a little bit like Arcane in Mage, or Frag in Continuum. it's also based on a great story by Alan Moore called 'What Ever Happened to What's His Name'. 'Humanity' will become 'Alienation'.

When you have a lot of it, you can relate to the world, people make sense, and cause and effect are perfectly ordinary. Start to lose a few points, and a sense of unreality creeps in. The crowds march in step for a moment (or dance, cf The Fisher King), you lose your change regularly, and you're more likely to miss trains. When you're down to just a few points, the world stops making sense to you, advertising terrifies you, and you're desperately paranoid about technology and society. Think 'They Live'.

Yeah. It's a scale from Ally McBeal to The Fisher King to They Live. I have created a monster.

I've yet to work out how all the rules tie together, though, so I've been rereading some of Indie Game Design for inspiration and focus.

Joe.
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Jared A. Sorensen
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Posts: 1463

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« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2002, 12:22:35 PM »

Quote from: Joe Murphy (Broin)

When you have a lot of it, you can relate to the world, people make sense, and cause and effect are perfectly ordinary. Start to lose a few points, and a sense of unreality creeps in. The crowds march in step for a moment (or dance, cf The Fisher King), you lose your change regularly, and you're more likely to miss trains. When you're down to just a few points, the world stops making sense to you, advertising terrifies you, and you're desperately paranoid about technology and society. Think 'They Live'.


Just remember that Humanity is not a roleplaying guide, the way it is in  Vampire. Unless you're changing that aspect for the supplement...
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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
Bankuei
Guest
« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2002, 12:41:35 PM »

Personally, I'd go with the term,"Grounding", or something to that effect.  It's a point of being able to comprehend, and work with the world in cognition.  Look at Einstein, great theoritician, terrible with everyday things.  As one distances oneself from the immediate reality, either going more and more into their own head(see Aronofsky's Pi, or Requiem for a Dream), one loses the basic interface between the objective and subjective.

Chris
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Manu
Member

Posts: 57


« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2002, 06:54:47 PM »

I advise to check out the just released GURPS book "Transhuman Space", which deals with a near future where nanotechnology and biotechnology (i.e. cutting edge tech) have changed what it means to be human, and certainly defies our current definition - Humanity has effectively split in different groups; are variant DNA types human? biolgical androids (used as property in some countries)? sapient Artificial Intelligences ? what about a child growing up with the permanent presence of a pet A.I. living in the web, via a skull implant? what kind of human will he become?

I participated in the playtest of that book, and let me tell you it's quite something; I see it as a prerequisite for any work involving humanity/technology parallels; an upcoming supplement "Broken Dreams " should prove very interesting as it deals with the interface between fifth wave countries (advanced nanotech) and fourth/third wave (information age). It is written by a specialist in future trends prediction. (Anyway, all GURPS books are written by specialists, but this is even more true here)

And no, I'm not getting any money for this plug, I just love the setting ! =)


Manu
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Manu
Joe Murphy (Broin)
Member

Posts: 178


« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2002, 07:06:24 PM »

Cheers, Manu. =)

I'm going for more of an urban fantasy feel than sci-fi, though. I'm looking forward to Transhuman Space too, mind you, but source material for Modern Things are movies like http://us.imdb.com/Details?0092147">Vamp, the Highlander series and some things like http://us.imdb.com/Details?0105226">Red Rock West. You know the movies where chracters get lost in the urban sprawl? That sort of thing. A lot of surreal tv (Malcolm in the Middle, Eerie Indiana, Northern Exposure, Ally McBeal) might work too.

Technology will be much more a metaphorical parasite than something composed of nuts and bolts. I think the baseline world of MT is going to be more surreal than I have yet to convey.

Cheers, though. =)

Best,

Joe, updating on his http://www.livejournal.com/users/broin">LJ.
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Bailywolf
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2002, 07:31:56 PM »

Ever see the TV show Strange Luck?

Might be worth a look.
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Bankuei
Guest
« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2002, 09:56:27 AM »

For anyone still interested in this subject, I've picked up Jerry Manders' In the Absence of the Sacred.  Some interesting Quotes:

Quote
...Rather than a biosphere, we have a technosphere.  Call it megatechnology.


Quote
....Human beings did not set out to create such a worldwide, interlocked technological entity.  But at each stage human beings followed the logic of technical evolution, whcih seeks to expand it's power over nature, and to employ other technologies to be reborn into ever newer, larger, more impactful forms;to strengthen the web of connection.


Quote
It is true that there are human beings who sit near the hub of the process...and who benefit financially if they can steer the process a certain way.   But they are not really in charge.  Technological evolution leads inevitably to its own next stages, which can be altered only slightly.


Sounds like demon who grows in power the more its used, huh?

Chris
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Joe Murphy (Broin)
Member

Posts: 178


« Reply #27 on: February 16, 2002, 10:50:19 AM »

Exactly. :) Great quotes, thanks for lining them up. Much appreciated.

At the moment, I'm breaking down 'technology' into various levels of demon. In general, the bigger something is, the more Power it has. 'Technology' itself is the biggest demon. Cities are huge, but can potentially be influenced by Sorcery.  However, some items have such mythic significance that they're disproportionately powerful. Guns and cars are the best example, and are a point or two more Powerful than one would expect. Power has nothing to do with the 'tech level' of an item.

The happy side effect of this is that most characters will be restricted to fisticuffs and melee weapons, and will take a lot of trains, or walk. As Highlander is soure material, this works out fine.

Particularly passive objects have a Power of 0, most of the time, and can be used quite freely. Processed food, most clothing. I generally don't want charaters to have problems getting dressed in the morning.

I took a bit of a break from the Net this week, so I've a lot of things to write up, and eventually post.

Joe.
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