Monthly Archives: November 2011
Prior to many-worlds, reality had always been viewed as a single unfolding history. Many-worlds, however, views reality as a many-branched tree, wherein every possible quantum outcome is realised.
Some versions of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics proposed a process of “collapse” in which an indeterminate quantum system would probabilistically collapse down onto, or select, just one determinate outcome to “explain” this phenomenon of observation. Wavefunction collapse was widely regarded as artificial and ad-hoc, so an alternative interpretation in which the behavior of measurement could be understood from more fundamental physical principles was considered desirable.
Everett’s Ph.D. work provided such an alternative interpretation. Everett noted that for a composite system – for example a subject (the “observer” or measuring apparatus) observing an object (the “observed” system, such as a particle) – the statement that either the observer or the observed has a well-defined state is meaningless; in modern parlance the observer and the observed have become entangled; we can only specify the state of one relative to the other, i.e., the state of the observer and the observed are correlated after the observation is made. This led Everett to derive from the unitary, deterministic dynamics alone (i.e., without assuming wavefunction collapse) the notion of a relativity of states.
The subsequent evolution of each pair of relative subject-object states proceeds with complete indifference as to the presence or absence of the other elements, as if wavefunction collapse has occurred, which has the consequence that later observations are always consistent with the earlier observations. Thus the appearance of the object’s wavefunction’s collapse has emerged from the unitary, deterministic theory itself. (This answered Einstein’s early criticism of quantum theory, that the theory should define what is observed, not for the observables to define the theory). Since the wavefunction appears to have collapsed then, Everett reasoned, there was no need to actually assume that it had collapsed. And so, invoking Occam’s razor, he removed the postulate of wavefunction collapse from the theory.
- MWI removes the observer-dependent role in the quantum measurement process by replacing wavefunction collapse with quantum decoherence. Since the role of the observer lies at the heart of most if not all “quantum paradoxes,” this automatically resolves a number of problems; see for example Schrödinger’s cat thought-experiment, the EPR paradox, von Neumann‘s “boundary problem” and even wave-particle duality. Quantum cosmology also becomes intelligible, since there is no need anymore for an observer outside of the universe.
- MWI is realist, deterministic, local theory, akin to classical physics (including the theory of relativity), at the expense of losing counterfactual definiteness. MWI achieves this by removing wavefunction collapse, which is indeterministic and non-local, from the deterministic and local equations of quantum theory.
- MWI (or other, broader multiverse considerations) provides a context for the anthropic principle which may provide an explanation for the fine-tuned universe.
- MWI, being a decoherent formulation, is axiomatically more streamlined than the Copenhagen and other collapse interpretations; and thus favoured under certain interpretations of Occam’s razor. Of course there are other decoherent interpretations that also possess this advantage with respect to the collapse interpretations.
In the Copenhagen interpretation, the mathematics of quantum mechanics allows one to predict probabilities for the occurrence of various events. In the many-worlds interpretation, all these events occur simultaneously. What meaning should be given to these probability calculations? And why do we observe, in our history, that the events with a higher computed probability seem to have occurred more often? One answer to these questions is to say that there is a probability measure on the space of all possible universes, where a possible universe is a complete path in the tree of branching universes. This is indeed what the calculations seem to give. Then we should expect to find ourselves in a universe with a relatively high probability rather than a relatively low probability: even though all outcomes of an experiment occur, they do not occur in an equal way. As an interpretation which (like other interpretations) is consistent with the equations, it is hard to find testable predictions of MWI.
Another speculation is that the separate worlds remain weakly coupled (e.g., by gravity) permitting “communication between parallel universes”.
The many-worlds interpretation could be one possible way to resolve the paradoxes  that one would expect to arise if time travel turns out to be permitted by physics (permitting closed timelike curves and thus violating causality). Entering the past would itself be a quantum event causing branching, and therefore the timeline accessed by the time traveller simply would be another timeline of many. In that sense, it would make the Novikov self-consistency principle unnecessary.
so what does a quantum world look like? it’s a place where we acknowledge the reality of the quantum world, and redefine ordinary reality to fit.
it’s a world where action at a distance, time travel, and parallel universes are matter of fact.
waves and particles
One way to resolve this seeming paradox of waves without medium is to note that there remains another kind of wave altogether. A wave with which we are all familiar, yet which exists without any medium in the ordinary sense. This is the computer-generated wave. Let us examine a computer-generated sound wave.
The “music” has traveled from the recording studio to yourliving room. Through what medium did the music wave travel? To a degree, you might say that it traveled as electricity through the wires from the keyboard to the computer. But you might just as well say it traveled by truck along the highway to the store. In fact, this “sound wave” never existed as anything more than a digital representation of a hypothetical sound wave which itself never existed. It is, first and last, a string of numbers. Therefore, although it will produce wave like effects when placed in your stereo, this wave never needed any medium other than the computer memory to spread itself all over the music loving world.
Although his system achieved a result that was exactly and perfectly in accord with observed natural processes, to him it was nothing more than calculation. The reason was that, as far as Feynman or anybody else could tell, the underlying process itself was nothing more than calculation.
A process that produces a result based on nothing more than calculation is an excellent way to describe the operations of a computer program. The two-step procedure of the Schrodinger equation and the Feynman system may be impossible to duplicate with physical systems, but for the computer it is trivial.Quantum mechanics involves “waves” which cannot be duplicated or even approximated physically; but which easily can be calculated by mathematical formula and stored in memory, creating in effect a static map of the wave shape. This quality of something having the appearance and effect of a wave, but not the nature of a wave, is pervasive in quantum mechanics, and so is fundamental to all things in our universe. It is also an example of how things which are inexplicable in physical terms turn out to be necessary or convenient qualities of computer operations.
At the scientific level, the question is “how?” The conventional way of describing the discrepancy between analysis and observation is to say that the “wave function” is somehow “collapsed” during observation, yielding a “particle” with measurable properties. The mechanism of this transformation is completely unknown and, because the scientifically indispensable act of observation itself changes the result, it appears to be intrinsically and literally unknowable.
At the philosophical level, the question is “why?” Why should our acquisition of knowledge affect something which, to our way of thinking, should exist in whatever form it exists whether or not it is observed? Is there something special about consciousness that relates directly to the things of which we are conscious? If so, why should that be?
As John Gribbin puts it, “nature seems to ‘make the calculation’ and then present us with an observed event.”Both the “how” and the “why” of this process can be addressed through the metaphor of a computer which is programmed to project images to create an experience for the user, who is a conscious being.If we cease to think of the quantum unit as a “thing,” and begin to imagine it as a pixel, that is, as a display of information in graphic (or other sensory) form, it is far easier to conceive of how the uncertainty principle might work. The “properties” we measure are variables which are computed for the purpose of display, which is to say, for the purpose of giving the user knowledge via the interface. A computed variable will display according to the underlying algorithm each time it is computed, and while the algorithm remains stable, the results of a particular calculation can be made to depend on some other factor, including another variable.
Similarly, an electron does not change regardless of whether it is one of the two electrons associated with the helium atom, or one of the ninety-two electrons associated with the uranium atom. You could not, even in principle, tell one from another. The only way in this world to create such identical images is to use the same formula to produce the same image, over and over again whenever a display of the image is called for.In our experience, things move from one end to the other by going through the middle; they get from cold to hot by going through warm; they get from slow to fast by going through medium; and so on. Phenomena move from a lower state to a higher state in a ramp-like fashion — continuously increasing until they reach the higher state. Even if the transition is quick, it still goes through all of the intermediate states before reaching the new, higher state.
In quantum mechanics, however, there is no transition at all.
Similarly, the computer’s “space” is discrete, discontinuous, and digital. If you look closely at a computer monitor, you notice that it consists of millions of tiny dots, nothing more. A beautifully rendered image is made up of these dots.
The theory and architecture of computers lend themselves to a step-by-step approach to any and all problems. It appears that there is no presently conceived computer architecture that would allow anything but such a discrete, digitized time and space, controlled by the computer’s internal clock ticking one operation at a time. Accordingly, it seems that this lack of continuity, so bizarre and puzzling as a feature of our natural world, is an inherent characteristic of a computer simulation.
The essence of a local interaction is direct contact — as basic as a punch in the nose. Body A affects body B locally when it either touches B or touches something else that touches B. A gear train is a typical local mechanism. Motion passes from one gear wheel to another in an unbroken chain. Break the chain by taking out a single gear and the movement cannot continue. Without something there to mediate it, a local interaction cannot cross a gap.
On the other hand, the essence of non locality is unmediated action-at-a-distance. A non-local interaction jumps from body A to body B without touching anything in between. Voodoo injury is an example of a non-local interaction. When a voodoo practitioner sticks a pin in her doll, the distant target is (supposedly) instantly wounded, although nothing actually travels from doll to victim. Believers in voodoo claim that an action here causes an effect there.
The non-locality which appears to be a basic feature of our world also finds an analogy in the same metaphor of a computer simulation. In terms of cosmology, the scientific question is, “How can two particles separated by half a universe be understood as connected such that they interact as though they were right on top of each other?” If we analogize to a computer simulation, the question would be, “How can two pictures at the far corners of the screen be understood as connected such that the distance between them is irrelevant?”
In fact, the measured distance between any two pixels (dots) on the monitor’s display turns out to be entirely irrelevant, since both are merely the products of calculations carried out in the bowels of the computer as directed by the programming. The pixels may be as widely separated as you like, but the programming generating them is forever embedded in the computer’s memory in such a way that — again speaking quite literally — the very concept of separation in space and time of the pixels has no meaning whatsoever for the stored information.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of quantum theory is the relationship of all things to the math, as with the phenomenon of non-locality discussed above, which occurs in nature, so it seems, because that is the way the equations calculate. Even though the mathematical formulas were initially developed to describe the behavior of universe, these formulas turn out to govern the behavior of the universe with an exactitude that defies our concept of mathematics. As Nick Herbert puts it, “Whatever the math does on paper, the quantumstuff does in the outside world.” That is, if the math can be manipulated to produce some absurd result, it will always turn out that the matter and energy around us actually behave in exactly that absurd manner when we look closely enough. It is as though our universe is being produced by the mathematical formulas. The backwards logic implied by quantum mechanics, where the mathematical formalism seems to be more “real” than the things and objects of nature, is unavoidable. In any conceptual conflict between what a mathematical equation can obtain for a result, and what a real object actually could do, the quantum mechanical experimental results always will conform to the mathematical prediction.
Since quantum theory describes the world perfectly — so perfectly that its symbolic, mathematical predictions alwaysprevail over physical insight — the equivalence between quantum symbolism and universal reality must be more than an oddity: it must be the very nature of reality.
This is the point at which we lose our nerve; yet the task for the Western rationalist is to find a mechanical model from our experience corresponding to a “world executed in symbols.”
this is from an energy medicine perspective.
A quantum entity has both wave and particle attributes at the same time. It is detected as one or the other according to the experiment that is being conducted. When its “wavefunction” is collapsed, it goes from being everything it can be to taking on specific characteristics. Somehow, quantum entities “know” what questions we are asking of them, and they appear in a way that best answers those questions.
The human body-field is a dynamic network of energy and information. It is rather like a superposition of information about the state of the entire body-field system and its many subsystems. A scan or indirect measurement of the body field captures a “snapshot” of certain parameters of the body-field system at one moment in time and according to the state of the person being scanned at that time.
Influences include emotions, beliefs, memories, diet, the environment, lifestyle, etc. All of this information is encoded in the client’s body-field in its many, many layers. Each scan extracts the information most relevant for that client at that time.
You can’t know everything there is to know about a particle with absolute certainty. When you know about one aspect of a particle, you lose information about other aspects of it.
One could say that the “uncertainty” of the body-field is not due only to inherent quantum features (see Milo Wolff’s Space Resonance Theory), but also to the complexity of environmental influences and the client’s state of consciousness, which is always in flux.
The word “quanta” refers to “packets” of energy. Quantum entities can take on only specific allowable energies.
When they “jump” from one level to another, they do not travel in between! They just appear at the next higher or lower allowable energy level.
The quantum realm is “nonlocal,” meaning that everything is connected. This quantum interconnectedness is called “Quantum entanglement.” If two quantum entities were ever in contact, they are forever connected, no matter how far apart they may eventually be. In terms of information exchange, entangled particles act as a single system, not two separate entities. But no “signal” is being sent between them. The information is not exchanged by any known force, but is shared or correlated instantaneously through the nonlocal field.
The assertions made by Chalmers, Wheeler, and others indicate that they believe the most fundamental building block of the universe is not atoms or even quarks, but rather information itself. At first glance this hardly seems possible. How could information, something that seems completely insubstantial, be the material from which all perceivable physical, and phenomenal aspects of our universe arise?
Information is theorized to be comprised of dual aspects, similar to the dual aspects of light, namely wave and particle. Recall that Wheeler stated that information is truly fundamental and has two basic aspects: Physical and Phenomenal. The resulting construct would imply that we live in a world where not only mathematics (Connes and Changeux) but all information is independent and fundamental. This gives rise to the question: “What is the relationship between this construct and the quantum wave nature of physical existence?”
For many years, it has been assumed that the universe exists independently of human perception. Why would scientific minds now alter their perspective? The answer is based on a fundamental aspect of quantum mechanics, sheer observation affects the observed – its potentiality collapses. Therefore, if information is fundamental, exists in a duality of nature, and is affected by observation, there is strong evidence that observation itself may cause it to exist – and even if that is not correct, certainly that shared knowledge of existence affects the “probability of trueness”, and the emergence of an information element into what humans recognize as “reality” – a part of our universe.
The similarity of processes which appear to underpin our perceived universe is apparent from microcosm to macrocosm. If, as so many are beginning to say, information is indeed the fundamental “element” in our universe, the scope of what we know today to be “Information Systems” and/or “Information Technology” will change dramatically. Information Systems (IS) professionals could find themselves the ultimate managers of our known universe, manipulating probability-of-trueness levels of information elements to achieve desired results -–perhaps in an extension of our current approach to object oriented technologies.
The pivotal concept here is how to manipulate the “probability of trueness” of any specific element of information. One factor that has been demonstrated to have an effect on the “position” of elements is sheer observation of those elements. It is conceivable that manipulating the frequency and intensity of “observation” is the variable required.
One of the intriguing possibilities that springs to mind with regard to how this might occur is the advent of the internet. It has been theorized by a number of researchers that a “global brain” is under development through the evolving
network of computers connected on the net (Peter Russel, The Global Brain Awakens, McNaughton and Gunn, 1995). This global brain could certainly be viewed as a platform of unprecedented ability for widespread “observation”, bringing elements of information into the awareness of a large population, and rapidly facilitating the movement of elements between “true” and “untrue” probability levels.
As work continues in the inter-related fields of quantum physics, Information Systems, and the study of human thought/consciousness, a number of incredibly profound issues will be presented to humanity. The emerging power of information management may bring with it the ability to alter the very nature of our universe.
this is so important i’m reposting it in its entirety. it’s the key to life.
Published June 24, 2008
Recent findings in neuroscience has taken a quantum leap in understanding how the brain works. It is now certain that we are making new brain cells and neural connections in every minute which is very much in line to the thought vibrations approach discussed in the area of the Law of Attraction.
Before the introduction of real time brain scans, it was believed that a process of cell division creates brain cells, called neurogenesis, which begins to slow down in early life and stops when we reach adolescence. The result, according to scientists, is that as we get older we simply base or behaviours on the way we were taught to think in early childhood to the point that our brains become hardwired based on early life sense impressions.
However, the discovery of neuroplasticity changes all this thinking to a much more hopeful view of life. We are creating new brain cells and creating new neural connections all the time. So this goes beyond the findings of neurogenesis that says we stop brain cell production in our teens and that we actually create brain cells and neural connections all the time.
No matter what your age, your brain is perfectly capable of creating new neural pathways which means that every time you have a new thought or experience, your brain is making new neural connections. It would seem that the neural connections form stronger pathways when you have bursts of inspiration. Inspiration is usually a thought mixed with an emotion which is the basis of how the Law of Attraction can be used to create new results and new experiences faster.
If you want to find out more about this fascinating subject, John Assaraf has written about this in his latest book The Anwser which cover aspects in neuro science, Law of Attraction and how to apply this information in building a business.
horizontalism – the way out of this mess.
The Power of Occupy Wall Street Is Not Just What They’re Doing, But How They’re Doing It
November 29, 2011
By Sarah JaffeAfter major crises at hierarchical institutions from Penn State to the Catholic Church, it’s time to give the Occupy movement’s horizontal structure a chance.
Waste your summer prayin’ in vain for a savior to rise from these streets
Well I’m no hero girl that’s understood…” —Bruce Springsteen, “Thunder Road”
“I know some members say the groups are leaderless. But I have trouble believing this is an entirely organic movement that grew without a leader. I’d push hard to see if there are leaders and to profile them,” Jerry Ceppos, journalism dean at Louisiana State University recently told the New York Times‘ public editor, Arthur S. Brisbane.
Brisbane was attempting to answer the question “Who is Occupy Wall Street?” It’s a question that continues to confound observers of the movement. Reporters, politicians and others used to traditional, top-down, hierarchical movements (or even grassroots movements that are easily boiled down, in history books, to the actions of a single charismatic leader like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) simply cannot seem to wrap their heads around the movement’s commitment to “horizontalism,” a form of organization that doesn’t recognize one leader, but rather emphasizes the value of each participant equally.
Great men are how we tell our history. Great men, and very occasionally great women, individual accomplishment and heroism. History isn’t so different from Twitter’s trending topics, acknowledging spikes more so than slow builds and rewarding celebrity more than quiet hard work. Or, for that matter, the biases of the mainstream media and editors like Brisbane and Ceppos, authorities in their field who only understand the world through other authority figures. It’s why the US only understands the civil rights movement in terms of the life of MLK, rather than the quiet work of nameless hundreds who trained in nonviolent techniques and were beaten and fire-hosed and attacked by dogs without their names making it into history books.
The way Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy movement worldwide are structured is drawn from another way of thinking. Marina Sitrin, an early participant in the Occupy movement in New York and the author of the book Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina, describes horizontalism thus:
“Horizontal, as it sounds, is a level space for decision making, a place where one can look directly at the other person across from you, and discuss things that matter most to all of us – we decide the agenda. Horizontalism is more than just being against hierarchy, or people having power over others – it is about creating something new together in our relationships. The means are a part of the ends. The forms of organizing manifest what we desire; it is not a question of demands, but rather a manifestation of an alternative way of being and relating.”
Horizontalism and consensus might seem complicated, especially after watching the houses of Congress descend into a battle of egos and wills. Trying to get a simple majority of the Senate, let alone the 60-vote supermajority that is essentially required for every vote now that the filibuster is routinely abused, to agree on anything is a near-impossible task, so how would 95 percent consensus ever work?
But the fact is that thousands of people can come to agreement on complicated issues. Witness the reported vote of 1720 to three (with six “unsure”) at the University of California-Davis over a student general strike this week in the wake of the pepper-spraying of unarmed students by a university cop. And some of that perhaps comes from the fact that they are not playing power games, jockeying for higher position (and more fundraising dollars), or making grandstanding speeches. The people’s mic, the Occupy protesters’ amplification system, actually contributes to the horizontal structure by cutting down on the ability of any one person to hold court for too long. Any speech requires the consent of those participating in the people’s mic, and they can revoke it at any time by simply not choosing to repeat those words.
The people who seem unable to comprehend horizontalism are mostly those who come from hierarchical institutions themselves. (There isn’t a more hierarchically structured media organization than the New York Times, for instance, which also sits at the top of the hierarchy of mainstream media as the “paper of record.”) But horizontalism has proved appealing to the Occupy protesters, I think, because those same hierarchical institutions, from Congress to churches to universities, and obviously, corporations have utterly failed most Americans.
After the recent crisis at Pennsylvania State University, where legendary football coach Joe Paterno was forced out after having covered up the rape and abuse of children by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, a young Iraq War veteran, Penn State graduate, and product of Sandusky’s charitable foundation wrote an op-ed that was forwarded around by the likes of Michael Moore. Thomas L. Day wrote stirringly at the Washington Post of his loss of faith in his parents’ generation and his desire for new leaders to replace the old, but Micah Sifry at TechPresident responded:
“While [Day] may be right about the failures of the current generation in power, he’s wrong in calling for ‘a leader’ who will fix things. But it’s understandable why he might see the world this way–having grown up in institutions that are all run as hierarchies–the Catholic church, the Army, the Penn State system–why expect anything different?”
As Chris Hayes noted on his MSNBC show the Saturday after the scandal erupted, the cover-up within the Penn State hierarchy had a lot in common with the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Hendrik Hertzberg pointed out to Hayes that in the hierarchy, those who discovered Sandusky’s crimes simply were required to tell the person above them, who could then choose where to go from there. Hierarchy works the same whether it’s a football team or a religious institution—each person’s obligation is only to report up the chain of command, leaving terrifying power in the hands of one or two individuals, who are often the object of mass adoration from below. Paterno’s departure sparked riots on the Penn State campus from students who simply refused to believe the legendary coach could possibly have done wrong.
In contrast, when sexual assault was reported at the Liberty Plaza camp at Occupy Wall Street, the occupiers had no authority to turn to—the problem had to be dealt with by a variety of people rising to the occasion to try to provide for the survivor, control and monitor the perpetrator, and create systems to deal with future incidents. Not everyone contributed in the same way, but by the nature of the movement, there was no way to simply pass the buck by reporting to a higher-up and then sitting back. When they did report an assailant to the police, he was released from jail and returned to the park, leaving the Security and Safer Spaces working groups with no choice but to figure out a way to protect the rest of the encampment.
Melissa Byrne at Role/Reboot argued, “For the occupation to be successful, we need to transform into a culture that never passes the buck.”
As Micah Sifry noted, quoting Detroit organizer Adrienne Maree Brown, the horizontal structure creates a “leader-full” movement, one where everyone is responsible for themselves, but also responsible to each other. The Right likes to talk about personal responsibility, but in a nonhierarchical structure, personal responsibility mingles with group accountability to, at its best, push individuals to do things they didn’t think they could do.
Manissa McCleave Maharawal wrote about this phenomenon in a piece about her “block” on the original Declaration of the Occupation of New York City. She and other South Asian women disagreed with language about race in the document, and rather than leave the movement or sit quietly and accept it, she spoke up and forced the general assembly to listen and to change the words:
“It was hard, and it was fucked up that we had to fight for it in the way we did but we did fight for it and we won. The line was changed, they listened, we sat down and re-wrote it and it has been published with our re-write. And when we walked away, I felt like something important had just happened, that we had just pushed a movement a little bit closer to the movement I would like to see– one that takes into account historical and current inequalities, oppressions, racisms, relations of power, one that doesn’t just recreate liberal white privilege but confronts it head on. And if I have to fight to make that happen I will. As long as my people are there standing next to me while I do that.”
Occupy has learned from the past that individual charismatic leaders are always vulnerable to attack—and it has been more than happy to target such leaders on the other side, from Mayors Michael Bloomberg in New York and Jean Quan in Oakland to Chancellor Katehi at UC Davis. But there is no equivalent leader to take out at OWS. During the march to Times Square, Citizen Radio’s Jamie Kilstein tweeted “They arrested Hero [Vincent, a Liberty Plaza regular who’s been arrested six times] cause they thought he was the leader. There is no leader.”
The arrest of one “leader” simply allows others to take over.
Maintaining a Horizontal Movement
Horizontal organizing isn’t new to the US. It has a long history, particularly in the feminist movement, where one of the most famous critiques of its drawbacks originated. Jo Freeman noted that leaderlessness and structurelessness often masked privilege and allowed some to exercise power over others while pretending not to. She wrote, “But because there are no official spokespeople nor any decision-making body that the press can query when it wants to know the movement’s position on a subject, these women are perceived as the spokespeople. Thus, whether they want to or not, whether the movement likes it or not, women of public note are put in the role of spokespeople by default.”
Occupy Wall Street has certainly seen its own share of this phenomenon; taking a sampling of media appearances by members of the movement will turn up certain names and (often white male) faces over and over again. But there is still a difference between a structureless movement and one with a specific structure that operates differently than we are used to, and between a leaderless movement and a “leader-full” one. While the occupations don’t have official spokespeople per se, they have a decision-making body—the general assembly—and in many cases working groups whose job it is to handle press. Not only that, but the livestreams and Twitter feeds have done for media what the GA does for government—done an end run around the old, official systems of power and simply created their own.
The general assemblies consist of whomever is there at the tim. As a reporter and observer, I have wondered at times whether it was appropriate for me to participate in discussions over whether there should be a march or direct action taken, or most obviously, in debates over spending money donated to the movement. If I do choose to vote, my vote, in that moment, is given as much weight as that of someone who’s been sleeping in the park since the beginning.
This has obvious drawbacks, but also benefits. Not everyone has the ability to give 24-7 of their lives to the movement, for reasons ranging from full-time employment to responsibility for children or family members to fear of arrest. Yet their voices are still accepted as being valid and worthwhile.
In contrast, even most progressive organizations or labor unions rely on hierarchical structure and often charismatic leadership. The people who wound up in charge of the nonprofits and other groups that constitute the institutional Left in the US are often connected to the Democratic Party and dependent on the web of liberal philanthropy for funding, and that requires a leader to sit in meetings and make fundraising calls.
While online petitions have scaled down the amount of commitment necessary for the average citizen to participate in activism, the agenda of most organizations is still controlled by small groups. Though many of those organizations have gotten on board with Occupy (and several of those leaders offered themselves up for symbolic arrest on the Brooklyn Bridge November 17, including SEIU president Mary Kay Henry), a lot of them still have trouble dealing with the way Occupy operates and those same leaders are defensive about the idea that they might be co-opting the movement.
Yet it’s worth noting that the young people who make up the backbone of Occupy Wall Street and the movement around the country have blended the skills they have as “digital natives,” used to social networking, with training they’ve gotten working with the more traditional progressive movement. Many of them got their first political awakening working on the Obama campaign, which was both tightly controlled from the top and also oddly open, easy to join and willing to trust volunteers with a large amount of information and responsibility. Disappointed not only with the personal failure of their charismatic leader but with the entire system in which he functions, those young people are quite literally doing it for themselves now.
As Sifry noted, at the occupations, “[T]he insistent avoidance of traditional top-down leadership and the reliance on face-to-face and peer-to-peer networks and working groups creates space for lots of leaders to emerge, but only ones that work as network weavers rather than charismatic bosses.”
So the media will continue to have trouble locating leaders, particularly here in New York now that the NYPD has cleared Liberty Plaza of its tents and structures (and over 5,000 books) and the movement is shifting to a new phase. And yet the people working within the movement are finding themselves empowered and able to make that shift, adjusting to an even less centralized style, where those many leaders find many tactics and targets, networked and layered within a still-growing, still-expanding movement.
you’ll need a completely decentralized basis for this game, so that it can’t be coralled.
- · Geographic Location: Shards present in a particular geo-location will service gamers logging in from that locale only. The maximum gaming speed is decided by the slowest band-width connection. So a person logging in from a different geometric location can reduce the speed of gameplay massively.
- · On-Demand Gameplay: The pay-as-you-play model that most MMORPG’s run on enables the user to request resources at time of his/her choice. This coupled with a non-on-demand scalable architecture at the back end will cause a huge maintenance overhead. Systems will have to be maintained to support the peak load, resulting in huge quantities of unused computing power.
- · Maintenance issues: Maintaining huge datacenters spread all over the world is a huge burden in terms of the effort required to support such complicated hardware, lack of skilled manpower, and the difficulties of managing such an operation to service complicated and unpredictable user behavior.
How Cloud Computing can help:
- Cloud vendor takes care of SLA Management
- Shifting to the cloud will lift the burden of support and maintenance of Datacenters from the shoulders of the game provider. SLA’s provided by the Cloud Vendors (Amazon EC2’s service-level agreement promises 99.5% service uptime.) will enable Game Development companies to focus on actual game development and R&D.
- Deployment of new DataCenters
- Shifting onto the cloud will drastically reduce the CAPEX expenditure and the logistics involved in setting up a new DataCenter. This burden now moves onto the cloud vendor.
i’m learning about mmorpgs today. then i have to decide what mine looks like.
Nobilis draws on many sources, including Christian and Norse mythologies, but adds numerous unique details to its setting. Though the everyday world in the game appears much like our own, it is actually only the Prosaic Earth, a lie that the world told to itself in a desperate attempt to explain suffering, and a rationalized delusion which conceals the true reality that would plunge most mortals into madness: the Mythic Earth, an animistic world where everything has its own sentient spirit. In the Mythic, the earth is really flat, and hangs somewhere among the vast boughs of the “world-tree”, Yggdrasil. Countless worlds dot the branches of this world-tree, but at the top is Heaven, which is inaccessible to all but the angels (only one human soul in a billion is not turned away) and is the source of all beauty. Beneath the earth, in the roots of Yggdrasil, is Hell, the source of all corruption. Around Yggdrasil, except above heaven (where it is open to the stars), is a mystical impenetrable curtain of blue flames known as the Weirding Wall.
Every class of objects and every concept is represented by a being of god-like power known as an Imperator. Each Imperator may govern from one to several of these Estates, and has effectively limitless control over them. The Imperators are engaged in a deadly struggle with the Excrucians, terrible beings from outside the Weirding Wall who wish to destroy reality; this struggle is known as the Valde Bellum. This war keeps Imperators busy in the Spirit World, so in order to maintain their affairs on Earth and in the other worlds they invest a shard of their soul in a human (or occasionally another animal or object), creating a Nobilis. Each Nobilis represents one of the Imperator’s Estates; the group of Nobilis this forms, known as a Familia Caelestis, is typically loyal, both to each other and their Imperator.
Flowers have great significance to the Nobilis and their Imperators; earthly flowers are reflections of their heavenly counterparts and each has a meaning. For example, the gamemaster is known as the HollyhockGod because, in the world of Nobilis, hollyhocks represent vanity and ambition. This is because, according to the in-game story, the angels used flowers as a tool to control and direct the brunt of their powers when they created Reality. Each Nobilis and Imperator has a flower that represents them, and flowers are often used in their magical rites.
Unlike most role-playing game systems, Nobilis does not use random elements in determining success in characters’ actions. Instead, Nobilis uses a resource management system; players may spend Miracle Points to succeed at certain actions, but otherwise they rarely fail at what they set out to do. Instead of the action centering on whether or not the characters succeed, the emphasis is instead on the consequences of those actions. Since combat between Nobilis uses up Miracle Points very quickly and a Nobilis can easily defeat even great numbers of humans, social roleplaying is encouraged over combat. Though the characters may seem to have limitless power, in reality they must take into consideration both the outcome of every act and what other Powers or Imperators they may offend in the process.
In the first two editions, each character has 4 attributes: Aspect, which governs their ability to perform superhuman physical and mental acts; Domain, which covers their power over their estate; Realm, which determines how much power they have in their Chancel; and Spirit, which describes how much magical power the Nobilis has. Spirit creates the Auctoritas, a shield that protects them from the Miracles of other Powers. A character’s Spirit also determines how many Anchors they may have. Each attribute has a number of Miracle Points associated with it.
The character creation system also makes Nobilis notable by giving players an unusual amount of control over the setting. In addition to creating their own characters – a process which already allows for considerable customization – the players create their Imperator and Chancel. Players receive a number of points to invest in their Chancel equal to the total amount they spent on their characters’ Realm; they may use these to buy special attributes for their Chancel such as special technology or magical inhabitants. They do not receive any points for their Imperator, so they must take a corresponding drawback for every special attribute they wish their Imperator to have. Each Nobilis also has an Affiliation, which is a moral code they follow in order to regain Miracle Points, as well as character flaws called Limits and Restrictions. Much like their Affiliation, these allow the character to regain Miracle Points when they become an inconvenience.
and here’s something i found as a link in the above page.
Another humorous side of Incarnations is the portrayed magic/technology duality. Most series emphasize one or the other means of understanding and manipulating the world, but in Incarnations each method is equal in usefulness and respect. This leads to a number of amusing parallels, such as competition between automobile and magic-carpet manufacturers. By the future time period of Norton, magic is referred to as the Fifth Fundamental Force, with its own primary particle, the Magicon (similar to a graviton). A few other series have used the technology/magic combined motif, notably Apprentice Adept, another series by Piers Anthony, and Four Lords of the Diamond by Jack Chalker.
here’s the plot line from neverwinter nights
Following a small prelude, there are four “chapters” in the original game, with each chapter consisting of a general storyline (the first chapter, for example, deals with a mysterious plague in the city of Neverwinter), and within each chapter, there are many quests, subquests, and mini-storylines. Depending on specific quests completed, and specific items kept, some storylines are continued throughout the entire game (such as Henchman or Aribeth’s tales). Completing many of the side quests will give the player’s character more experience (and special items), making him/her level up faster and continue to make the game easier as the player progresses. For example, completing all quests in the first and second chapters will place the player in Chapter 3 with a 13th level character, instead of a 10th.
NWN game modules run as a variety of separate genres and themes, including persistent worlds (which are similar to MUDs), combat arenas (player versus player modules), whole servers dedicated to sexually oriented roleplay,  and simple social gatherings similar to a chat room. The campaign included with the game can be played with friends, for example, or a team of builders can build a virtual world similar in scope and size to commercial MMORPGs. BioWare insists that these persistent worlds be free of charge, primarily for reasons of copyright law.
Because Neverwinter Nights lacks a global chat function aside from the supported Gamespy, players typically join “pickup” games through the game’s multiplayer interface, or schedule games in advance with friends. Matchmaking sites, such as Neverwinter Connections, facilitate scheduling of games, and the experience is much like traditional Pen-and-Paper roleplaying games. Persistent worlds do this work for them by inviting players to visit their website and continue to roleplay there.
One important feature of Neverwinter Nights is the ‘DM’ or ‘Dungeon Master’ Client, a tool that allows an individual to take the role of the traditional ‘Dungeon Master’, who guides the players through the story, and has complete control of the server. While not the first game to utilize this feature (one previous example is a more basic version in the game Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption, based on the printed gamebooks published by White Wolf), Neverwinter Nights had the most evolved version of this feature and thus arguably created one of the most ‘immersive’ RPG experiences currently available in CRPG gaming. The DM Client allowed players to participate in regular campaigns, while also allowing persistent-world servers to flourish by permitting the Dungeon Masters of those servers to possess NPCs ‘on-the-fly’ for added realism. The DM Client also permitted the user to spawn and control masses of monsters and NPCs much in the same way as units would be controlled in a real time simulation strategic game.
Neverwinter Nights ships with the Aurora toolset, which allows players to create custom modules for Neverwinter Nights. These modules may take the form of online multiplayer worlds, single player adventures, character trainers or technology demos. Additionally, several third party utilities have further expanded the community’s ability to create custom content for the game. Custom content creators are known as builders in the Neverwinter Nights community.
The Aurora toolset allows builders to create map areas using a tile system; the appearance and surface textures of the area are defined by the area’s selected tileset. Builders can overlay placeable objects onto areas, and use the built-in scripting language NWScript to run cut scenes, quests, mini-games and conversations. NWScript is based on C.
Third party utilities allow builders to create custom content for most aspects of the game, ranging from new playable races and character classes to new tilesets, monsters and equipment. Custom content is added to the game in the form of hakpaks. Builders have used the Aurora toolset in combination with hakpaks to create playing experiences beyond the scope of the original campaign. Despite the game’s age, the Neverwinter Nights custom content community remains active.
The community, mostly centered on the Neverwinter Vault, created over 4000 modules to the game, among them are many award-winning adventures and series, like Dreamcatcher, Aielund Saga, AL series, and much more.
nonplaying characters are useful
Games revolving around relationship-building, including visual novels, dating sims such as Tokimeki Memorial, and some role-playing games such as Shin Megami Tensei: Persona, often give choices that have a different number of associated “mood points” which influence a player character’s relationship and future conversations with a non-player character. These games often feature a day-night cycle with a time scheduling system that provides context and relevance to character interactions, allowing players to choose when and if to interact with certain characters, which in turn influences their responses during later conversations.
Bosses are usually significantly superior to regular enemies, and are usually found at the end of a level or area. Most games also include a “final” boss, which is usually the main antagonist in the story, at the very end of the game. Some examples include Bowser from the Mario series and Doctor Eggman from Sonic the Hedgehog. While most games include a mixture of boss opponents and regular opponents, some games have only regular opponents and some games have only bosses – for example, Shadow of the Colossus has no enemies other than bosses. In games such as Duke Nukem 3D, the first boss even reappears throughout the game as an uncommon enemy. However, they are weaker than the original. In a similar vein, a relatively powerful enemy may be introduced via a boss battle, but later appear as an uncommon but strong enemy, after the player has had a chance to find more powerful weaponry or a weakness it may have. An example of this is in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, where the game’s second boss, the Giant Skeleton, reappears in later areas as a normal enemy, with the player even fighting two at once at one point.
Boss battles are typically seen as dramatic events. As such, they are usually characterized with unique music, and/or cutscenes before and after the boss battle. Recurring bosses and final bosses may have their own specific theme music, to distinguish them from other boss battles.
Some bosses require the player to defeat them in a certain way that may be unusual to normal attacks, such as requiring the player to use a certain weapon, such as in Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, or hitting the boss in a certain area, termed a “weak point”, such as in the Metroid series. Story-centered bosses of this type will sometimes require certain prerequisites to be performed during the fight for the player to succeed, such as a requirement that a partner must stay alive during the battle or sequence to be counted as a victory.
In some games, the boss returns after being defeated, sometimes in a new form with alternate attacks. This can repeat a certain number of times before the player faces their final and most powerful form. The Final Fantasy series is well known for this style of boss, often having as many as 5 phases in a single boss battle (Sorceress Ultimecia being this example; other FF villains such as Sephiroth and Vayne have from 2 to 4 stages). The Mega Man series of games also prominently display this, with the main villain (Doctor Wily; Sigma; Copy X, Elpizo, Omega, and Doctor Wiel) adopting a second and even third vehicle/body immediately after the first is destroyed to continue the fight.
As they can sustain a lot more damage than normal foes, bosses commonly have a health bar which is displayed either on/near them or in a specific location on the HUD, usually with their name or a portrait of them attached. In lieu of a health bar, some bosses, like those in the early Metroid games, change color, change attack patterns or, in the case of larger enemies, lose parts of their overall structure as they receive more and more damage. Although health bars or indicators were less common in the early days of video gaming, they are now found in many video game boss battles.
now for stuff pulled from world of warcraft.
To enter the game, the player must select a realm—sometimes referred to as a server. Each realm acts as an individual copy of the game world, and falls into one of four categories. Realms are either player versus player (PvP), where open combat among players is more common, or player versus environment (PvE), where the gameplay is more focused on defeating monsters and completing quests. Roleplay (RP) and roleplay-PvP (RP-PVP) variants of both primary realm types are also available. Realms are also categorized by language, with in-game support in the language available. Players can make new characters on all realms, and it is also possible to move already established characters between realms for a fee.
To create a new character, in keeping with the storyline of previous Warcraft series games, players must choose between the opposing factions of Alliance or Horde. Characters from the opposing factions can perform rudimentary communication, but only members of the same faction can speak, mail, group, and share guilds. The player selects the new character’s race, such as Orcs or Trolls for the Horde or Humans or Dwarves for the Alliance. Players must also select the class for the character, with choices such as mages, warriors, and priests available. Most classes, except for special “Hero classes,” are limited to particular races.
As characters become more developed, they gain various talents and skills, requiring the player to further define the abilities of that character. Professions such as tailoring, blacksmithing, and mining can be learned. The three secondary skills, cooking, fishing, and first-aid, can also be learned by characters. On December 7, 2010, Archeology was added as a fourth skill characters could learn. Characters may also form and join guilds, allowing characters within the guild access to the guild’s chat channel, the guild name and optionally allowing other features, including a guild tabard, guild bank, and dues.
Much of World of Warcraft play involves “questing”. These quests, also called “tasks” or “missions”, are usually available from NPCs. Quests usually reward the player with some combination of experience points, items, and in-game money. Quests also allow characters to gain access to new skills and abilities, and explore new areas. It is also through quests that much of the game’s story is told, both through the quest’s text and through scripted NPC actions. Quests are linked by a common theme, with each consecutive quest triggered by the completion of the previous, forming a quest chain. Quests commonly involve killing a number of creatures, gathering a certain number of resources, finding a difficult to locate object, speaking to various NPCs, visiting specific locations, interacting with objects in the world, or delivering an item from one place to another.
While a character can be played on its own(solo), players can also group with others to tackle more challenging content. Most end-game challenges are designed in a way that they can only be overcome while in a group. In this way, character classes are used in specific roles within a group. World of Warcraft uses a “rested bonus” system, increasing the rate that a character can gain experience points after the player has spent time away from the game. When a character dies, it becomes a ghost—or wisp for Night Elf characters—at a nearby graveyard.Characters can be resurrected by other characters that have the ability, or can self-resurrect by moving from the graveyard to the place where they died. If a character is past level ten and they resurrect at a graveyard, the items equipped by the character degrade, requiring in-game money and a specialist NPC to repair them. Items that have degraded heavily become unusable until they are repaired. If the location of the character’s body is unreachable, they can use a special “spirit healer” NPC to resurrect at the graveyard. When the spirit healer revives a character, items equipped by the character at that time are further degraded, and the character is significantly weakened by what is in-game called “resurrection sickness” for up to ten minutes, depending on the character’s level. This “resurrection sickness” does not occur and item degradation is less severe if the character revives by locating its body, or is resurrected by another player through special items or spells.On both server types, there are special areas of the world where free-for-all combat is permitted. Battlegrounds, for example, are similar to dungeons: only a set number of characters can enter a single battleground, but additional copies of the battleground can be made to accommodate additional players. Each battleground has a set objective, such as capturing a flag or defeating an opposing general, that must be completed in order to win the battleground. Competing in battlegrounds rewards the character with tokens and honor points that can be used to buy armor, weapons, and other general items that can aid a player in many areas of the game. Winners get more honor and tokens than losers. However, players also earn honor when they or nearby teammates kill players in a battleground.
World of Warcraftcontains traditional fantasy elements, such as gryphons, dragons, and elves; steam-powered automata and extreme engineering typical of steampunk; zombies, vampires, and other undead typical of horror; as well as time travel, spaceships, and alien worlds typical of science fiction.As a player explores new locations, different routes and means of transportion become available. Players can access “flight masters” in newly discovered locations to fly to previously discovered locations in other parts of the world. Players can also use boats, zeppelins, or portals to move from one continent to another. Although the game world remains relatively similar from day to day, seasonal events reflecting real world events—such as Halloween, Christmas, Children’s Week, Easter, and Midsummer—have been represented in the game world. Locations also have variable weather including, among other things, rain, snow, and dust storms.
The term “instance” comes from each group or party having a separate copy, or instance, of the dungeon, complete with their own enemies to defeat and their own treasure or rewards.This allows a group to explore areas and complete quests without others interfering. Dungeons are spread over the game world and are designed for characters of varying progression. A typical dungeon will allow up to five characters to enter as part of a group. Some dungeons require more players to group together and form a “raid” of up to forty players to face some of the most difficult challenges.The game was designed to be an open environment where players are allowed to do what they please. Quests are optional and were designed to help guide players, allow character development, and to spread characters across different zones to try to avoid what developers called player collision. The game interface allows players to customize appearance and controls, and to install add-ons and other modifications.
In some previous MMORPGs, a player would suffer a high penalty for character death; in World of Warcraft, a player is able to recover and start playing quickly. Combat was another area where “downtime”, or pauses between play, was reduced. By allowing all character types to recover from damage taken, players can return to combat quickly. Reviewers felt that these changes in pacing would make the genre more accessible to casual players—those who play for short periods of time— while still having “deep” gameplay that would attract players of all levels of interest.The concept of a “rested bonus”, or increasing the rate at which a player’s character gains experience, was also welcomed as a way for players to quickly catch up with their friends in progression.Questing was described as an integral part of the game, often being used to continue a storyline or lead the player through the game. The high number of quests in each location was popular, as well as the rewards for completing them. It was felt that the range of quests removed the need for a player to “grind”, or carry out repetitive tasks, in order to advance their character. Quests also require players to explore every section of the game world, potentially causing problems for social gamers or roleplayers seeking somewhere quiet. Quests that required the player to collect items from the corpses of creatures they had killed were also unpopular; the low “drop rate”, or chance of finding the items, makes them feel repetitive as a high number of creatures need to be killed to complete the quest. The large number of new players in a particular area meant that there were often no creatures to kill, or that players would have to wait and take turns to kill a particular creature in order to complete a quest.
The practice of buying or selling gold in World of Warcraft has generated significant controversy. On February 21, 2008, Blizzard released a statement concerning the consequences of buying gold. Blizzard reported that an “alarmingly high” proportion of all gold bought originates from “hacked” accounts. The article also stated that customers who had paid for character leveling services had found their accounts compromised months later, with all items stripped and sold for virtual gold. The article noted that leveling service companies often used “disruptive hacks … which can cause realm performance and stability issues”.
and back to mmorpgs
Traditionally, combat with monsters and completing quests for NPCs, either alone or in groups, are the primary ways to earn experience points. The accumulation of wealth (including combat-useful items) is also a way to progress in many MMORPGs, and again, this is traditionally best accomplished via combat. The cycle produced by these conditions, combat leading to new items allowing for more combat with no change in gameplay, is sometimes pejoratively referred to as the level treadmill, or ‘grinding’.
most MMOs require some degree of teamwork for parts of the game. These tasks usually require players to take on roles in the group, such as those protecting other players from damage (called tanking), “healing” damage done to other players or damaging enemies.
Some MMORPGs offer “roleplay-only” servers that prohibit interactions to other players among characters for those who want to immerse themselves in the game in this way.Community resources such as forums and guides exist in support of this play style.For example, if a player wants to play a priest role in his MMORPG world, he might buy a cope from a shop and learn priestly skills, proceeding to speak, act, and interact with others as their character would. This may or may not include pursuing other goals such as wealth or experience. Guilds or similar groups with a focus on roleplaying may develop extended in-depth narratives using the setting and resources of the game world.
Most MMORPGs are deployed using a client–server system architecture. The server software generates a persistent instance of the virtual world that runs continuously, and players connect to it via client software. The client software may provide access to the entire playing world, or further ‘expansions’ may be required to be purchased to allow access to certain areas of the game. EverQuest and Guild Warsare two examples of games that use such a format. Players generally must purchase the client software for a one-time fee, although an increasing trend is for MMORPGs to work using pre-existing “thin” clients, such as a web browser.Some MMORPGs require payment of a monthly subscription to play. By nature, “massively multiplayer” games are always online, and most require some sort of continuous revenue (such as monthly subscriptions and advertisements) for maintenance and development. Some games, such as Guild Wars, have disposed of the ‘monthly fee’ model entirely, and recover costs directly through sales of the software and associated expansion packs. Still others adopt a micropayment model where the core content is free, but players are given the option to purchase additional content, such as equipment, aesthetic items, or pets. Games that make use of this model often have originated in Korea, such as Flyff and MapleStory. This business model is alternately called “pay for perks” or “freemium”, and games using it often describe themselves with the term “free-to-play”.
Depending on the number of players and the system architecture, an MMORPG might actually be run on multiple separate servers, each representing an independent world, where players from one server cannot interact with those from another; World of Warcraft is a prominent example, with each separate server housing several thousand players. In many MMORPGs the number of players in one world is often limited to around a few thousand, but a notable example of the opposite is EVE Online which accommodates several hundred thousand players on the same server, with over 60,000 playing simultaneously (June 2010) at certain times. Some games allow characters to appear on any world, but not simultaneously (such as Seal Online: Evolution), others limit each character to the world in which it was created. World of Warcraft has experimented with “cross-realm” (i.e. cross-server) interaction in PvP “battlegrounds”, using server clusters or “battlegroups” to co-ordinate players looking to participate in structured PvP content such as the Warsong Gulch or Alterac Valley battlegrounds. Additionally, patch 3.3, released on December 8, 2009, introduced a cross-realm “looking for group” system to help players form groups for instanced content (though not for open-world questing) from a larger pool of characters than their home server can necessarily provide.
Second Life’s status as a virtual world, a computer game, or a talker, is frequently debated. Unlike a traditional computer game, Second Life does not have a designated objective, nor traditional game play mechanics or rules. As it does not have any stipulated goals, it is irrelevant to talk about winning or losing in relation to Second Life. Likewise, unlike a traditional talker, Second Life contains an extensive world that can be explored and interacted with, and it can be used purely as a creative tool set if the user so chooses.
There are four types of land regions; Mainland, Private Region, Homestead and Openspace. A region comprises an area of 65,536 m2 (16.194 acres) in area, being 256 meters on each side. Mainland regions form one continuous land mass, while Private regions are islands. Openspace regions may be either Mainland or Private, but have lower prim limits and traffic use levels than Mainland regions. The owners of a Private region enjoy access to some additional controls that are not available to mainland owners; for example, they have a greater ability to alter the shape of the land. Residents must own a region (either Mainland or Private) to qualify for purchasing an Openspace region.
Linden Lab usually sells only complete 65,536 m2 (16.194 acres) regions at auction (although smaller parcels are auctioned on occasion, typically land parcels abandoned by users who have left). Once a Resident buys land they may resell it freely and use it for any purpose that it is not prohibited by the Second Life Terms of Service.
Residents may also choose to purchase, or rent, land from another Resident (a Resident landlord) rather than from Linden Lab. On a Private region, the built-in land selling controls allow the landlord to sell land in the region to another Resident while still retaining some control. Residents purchasing, or renting, land from any other party than Linden Lab are not required to hold a Premium membership nor to necessarily pay a Tier fee, although typically the landlord will require some form of upfront and/or monthly fee to compensate them for their liability to pay the Land Use Fee charged by Linden Lab. However Linden Lab acknowledges only the landlord as the owner of the land, and will not intervene in disputes between Residents. This means, for example, that a landlord can withdraw a Resident’s land from availability, without refunding their money, and Linden Lab will not arbitrate in the dispute unless it is a clear-cut matter of ‘land fraud’.
Second Life comprises the viewer (also known as the client) executing on the user’s personal computer, and several thousand servers operated by Linden Lab.
Each full region (an area of 256×256 meters) in the Second Life “grid” runs on a single dedicated core of a multi-core server. Homestead regions share 3 regions per core and Openspace Regions share 4 regions per core, running proprietary software on Debian Linux. These servers run scripts in the region, as well as providing communication between avatars and objects present in the region.
Every item in the Second Life universe is referred to as an asset. This includes the shapes of the 3D objects known as primitives, the digital images referred to as textures that decorate primitives, digitized audio clips, avatar shape and appearance, avatar skin textures, LSL scripts, information written on notecards, and so on. Each asset is referenced with a universally unique identifier or UUID.
Assets are stored on Isilon Systems storage clusters, comprising all data that has ever been created by anyone who has been in the SL world. Infrequently used assets are offloaded to S3 bulk storage. As of December 2007, the total storage was estimated to consume 100 terabytes of server capacity. The asset servers function independently of the region simulators, though the region simulators request object data from the asset servers when a new object loads into the simulator.
Each server instance runs a physics simulation to manage the collisions and interactions of all objects in that region. Objects can be nonphysical and non moving, or actively physical and movable. Complex shapes may be linked together in groups of up to 255 separate primitives. Additionally, each player’s avatar is treated as a physical object so that it may interact with physical objects in the world. As of 1 April 2008, Second Life simulators use the Havok 4 physics engine for all in-world dynamics. This engine is capable of simulating thousands of physical objects at once.
Linden Lab pursues the use of open standards technologies, and uses free and open source software such as Apache, MySQL, Squid and Linux. The plan is to move everything to open standards by standardizing the Second Life protocol. Cory Ondrejka, former CTO of Second Life, has stated that a while after everything has been standardized, both the client and the server will be released as free and open source software.
Religious organizations have also begun to open virtual meeting places within Second Life.
The Maldives was the first country to open an embassy in Second Life. The Maldives’ embassy is located on Second Life’s “Diplomacy Island”, where visitors will be able to talk face-to-face with a computer-generated ambassador about visas, trade and other issues. “Diplomacy Island” also hosts Diplomatic Museum and Diplomatic Academy. The Island is established by DiploFoundation as part of the Virtual Diplomacy Project.
Relationships are common in Second Life, including some couples who have married online. In addition, sex is often encountered (see Second Life criticism#Sex). However, to access the adult sections requires age verification.
There is also a large BDSM community.
Due to Second Life’s rapid growth rate, it has suffered from difficulties related to system instability. These include increased system latency, and intermittent client crashes. However, some faults are caused by the system’s use of an “asset server” cluster, on which the actual data governing objects is stored separately from the areas of the world and the avatars that use those objects. The communication between the main servers and the asset cluster appears to constitute a bottleneck which frequently causes problems. Typically, when asset server downtime is announced, users are advised not to build, manipulate objects, or engage in business, leaving them with little to do but chat and generally reducing confidence in all businesses on the grid.
A more disturbing fact, believed to be caused by the same issue, is “inventory loss” in which items in a user’s inventory, including those which have been paid for, can disappear without warning or permanently enter a state where they will fail to appear in-world when requested (giving an “object missing from database” error). Linden Lab offers no compensation for items that are lost in this way, although a policy change instituted in 2008 allows accounts to file support tickets when inventory loss occurs.
Players start the game by either selecting a previously-created character or by creating a new one. Each Eve Online account allows for up to three characters. When a player creates a new character, they start by choosing one of the four playable races – Amarr, Gallente, Minmatar and Caldari. Each race is further divided into three bloodlines that give characters different pre-defined appearances, which can be finely tuned by the player.
Unlike many other MMOs, where there are numerous copies of the game universe intended to run at once (i.e., servers), Eve Online is functionally a single-universe game. There are technically four copies of the universe running (the main server “Tranquility”, the Chinese-based “Serenity”, the event test server Duality that focused on organized events like mass tests and playtests coordinated by CCP and the test server “Singularity” which is subject to periodic wipes when new content is being tested) but rather than starting a new “realm” when in-game population increases, CCP simply adds new features to the existing game environment.
Due to the game’s focus on freedom, consequence, and autonomy, many behaviours that are considered griefing in most MMOs are allowed in Eve, such as stealing from other players, extorting, and causing other players to be killed by large groups of NPCs.
Only malicious, prolonged and concentrated harassment where no material gain is involved and a few other actions are considered to be illicit griefing by the game’s developer.
Players can organize themselves into corporations (similar to guilds or clans in other MMOs). Corporations are run by one chief executive officer (CEO) who controls the corporation’s assets. The CEO assigns roles to corporation members such as director, accountant and personnel manager. Corporations may also band together to form alliances. Corporations and alliances come in different shapes and sizes. Some player groups write press releases about new business openings and send out IPO information to potential in-game venture capital investors. Alliances can control enough star systems that their territory can be plotted on the Eve Online game map. Alliances based in lawless space often form unofficial political power blocs with other alliances. These power blocs are typically referred to as “coalitions”.
Corporations take up numerous business models such as mining, manufacturing or “ratting” (hunting NPC pirates for their bounties and loot). Corporations can levy income taxes on their members, which skim off a percentage of every member’s earnings. Many corporations offer a variety of benefits to their members, such as free or discounted ships, equipment, formal training, and organized corporate group operations.
Among the many activities that corporations can organize is piracy. Actions considered piracy generally involve breaking the in-game law, and can come in a variety of forms. Pirates may camp stargates waiting for other players to arrive, attack players operating in asteroid belts or hunt for players carrying out an NPC agent-assigned mission. Because these activities are considered to be “illegal” within the game mechanics, pirate characters often will have low security status and may even be branded as outlaws by CONCORD. Likewise, victims of overt piracy may retaliate without intervention from CONCORD, often via an expressed right to destroy the pirate ship (i.e., “kill right”). Although piracy activities are “illegal” within the game universe, they are not against the rules of the game, i.e., there will only be in-game retaliation and punishment for them.
Whole corporations and whole alliances can officially declare war on (or “war-dec”) other corporations or alliances for a weekly fee, permitting all members of the involved corporations or alliances to attack each other without loss of security status or the intervention of CONCORD.The weekly fee can be eliminated if the war declaration is reciprocated. War declarations will clearly flag a player’s enemies, so the player can determine who can legally attack and be attacked.
During two weekends in July 2006, a live streaming video production called Eve TV covered the events of the 2nd Caldari Alliance Tournament. The tournament pitted three-man teams from the top alliances against each other. Eve TV provided live in-game footage of the battles along with expert commentary. Analysis of the teams and strategies, interviews with CCP staff and behind-the-scenes specials were also aired between battles. Eve TV was produced and hosted primarily by DJs from Eve-Radio (a player-run streaming radio station) with resources provided by CCP. A total of 95 matches were scheduled, with the Band of Brothers alliance emerging the winner.
The first two weekends in December 2006 saw the 3rd Alliance tournament. This was once again broadcast via live streaming video by Eve TV The tournament saw 40 Alliances pitting five-man teams against each other. Once again, the Band of Brothers alliance emerged as the winner. Of particular note in this tournament was the fielding of an Imperial Apocalypse by the Interstellar Alcohol Conglomerate. The ship was destroyed in the semi-finals of the tournament by the COW (Cult of War) team. A last-minute attempt to arrange an 8 billion ISK ransom for the ship fell through.
According to the developers Eve Online evolved from the classic computer game Elite, which itself was based on concepts from the science-fiction role-playing game Traveller. Eve combined concepts from Elite with the multi player chat and player-versus-player aspects of Ultima Online.
Both the server and the client software for Eve Online are developed in Stackless Python, a variant of the Python programming language. Stackless Python allows a relatively large number of players to perform tasks without the overhead of using the call stack used in the standard Python distribution. This frees the game developers from performing some routine work and allows them to apply changes to the game universe without resetting the server. However, the Eve cluster is taken offline daily for database and server maintenance.
One infamous example was a corporate infiltration and heist where one corporation infiltrated a target corporation over the course of nearly a year. They then performed a virtual assassination on the target’s CEO and proceeded to steal corporate property to which they had gained access. The target corporation lost billions of ISK worth of property (amounting to about $16,500 USD) and a great deal of prestige; the CEO’s expensive ship and cybernetic implants were destroyed in the attack.
In many MMORPGs the number of players in one world is often limited to around a few thousand, but a notable example of the opposite is EVE Online which accommodates several hundred thousand players on the same server, with over 60,000 playing simultaneously (June 2010) at certain times. Some games allow characters to appear on any world, but not simultaneously (such as Seal Online: Evolution), others limit each character to the world in which it was created. World of Warcraft has experimented with “cross-realm” (i.e. cross-server) interaction in PvP “battlegrounds”, using server clusters or “battlegroups” to co-ordinate players looking to participate in structured PvP content such as the Warsong Gulch or Alterac Valley battlegrounds. Additionally, patch 3.3, released on December 8, 2009, introduced a cross-realm “looking for group” system to help players form groups for instanced content (though not for open-world questing) from a larger pool of characters than their home server can necessarily provide.
Recent findings included that 15% of players become a guild-leader at one time or another, but most generally find the job tough and thankless; and that players spend a considerable amount of time (often a third of their total time investment) doing things that are external to gameplay but part of the metagame.
Many players report that the emotions they feel while playing an MMORPG are very strong, to the extent that 8.7% of male and 23.2% of female players in a statistical study have had an online wedding. Other researchers have found that the enjoyment of a game is directly related to the social organization of a game, ranging from brief encounters between players to highly organized play in structured groups.
It was also found that 57% of gamers had created a character of the opposite gender, and it is suggested that the online female persona has a number of positive social attributes.
Achievers – Also known as “Diamonds,” these are players who prefer to gain “points,” levels, equipment and other concrete measurements of succeeding in a game. They will go to great lengths to achieve rewards that confer them little or no gameplay benefit simply for the prestige of having it.
One of the appeals of online gaming to the Achiever is that he or she has the opportunity to show off their skill and hold elite status to others. They value (or despise) the competition from other Achievers, and look to the Socializers to give them praise. As they achieve more, they are no longer easy targets of the Killers and may enjoy their new position on the food chain. These gamers also tend to like seeing their user names at the top of scoreboards and ladder systems. Many games cater to these players by offering special titles and a special exclusive mounts to those that place in the top of the competitive Arena ladder.
In many ways, the Achiever is the style of play most targeted by the MMORPG genre.
Explorers – Explorers, dubbed “Spades” for their tendency to dig around, are players who prefer discovering areas, creating maps and learning about hidden places. They often feel restricted when a game expects them to move on within a certain time, as that does not allow them to look around at their own pace. They find great joy in discovering an unknown glitch or a hidden easter egg.
In these games, you find yourself in a strange place, and the objective is to find your way out by paying close attention to detail and solving puzzles. The Explorer will often enrich themselves in any back story or lore they can find about the people and places in-game. Whereas an Achiever may forget about previous games as soon as they’ve conquered them, the Explorer will retain rich memories about what they experienced about their adventures.
Socializers – There are a multitude of gamers who choose to play games for the social aspect, rather than the actual game itself. These players are known as Socializers or “Hearts.” They gain the most enjoyment from a game by interacting with other players, and on some occasions, computer-controlled characters with personality. The game is merely a tool they use to meet others in-game or outside of it.
they play some of the more popular games so that they can use their experience to socialize with others who have played them, or use the multi-player features.
The online environment is very appealing to the Socializer, as it provides near limitless potential for new relationships. Socializers start filling up their friend lists as soon as they start meeting people, and get to know them better through private messages and sometimes even voice chat. They take full advantage of the ability to join guilds or kinships in many online games, and form fast friendships and try to help other people out.
Killers – “Clubs” is a very accurate moniker for what the Killer likes to do. They thrive on competition with other players, and prefer fighting them to scripted computer-controlled opponents.
These gamers love to sow destruction, so games that are high in carnage, action, and destructible environments are definitely a plus. Many of these gamers also enjoy the opportunity to depart from the norm of being “the good guy” who comes to save the day. Instead, they will play on the side of evil or conquest. On the flip side, Killers also represent the archetype which is most interested in affecting their environment, so sandbox games in which they can take a direct hand in building (or destroying) a virtual society will appeal to them as well.
otoh, nothing amounts to the joy of pitting one’s skills against an actual player-controlled opponent. For most, the joy of being a Killer results from a friendly competitive spirit. They’re in it for the sport, trying to read their opponent’s moves and generally acting with honor. For others, it’s more about power and the ability to hurt others. One such example is “ganking” or “owning”, a process where the Killer takes their strong character to a place where inexperienced or weaker characters reside, and proceeds to kill them repeatedly.
Market control appeals strongly to Killers, many of whom have a natural talent for reading markets (likely an extension of their common aptitude for sizing up strengths and weaknesses, vital to their play style). Social Killers tend to be guild, clan, or community leaders—or trolls.
Richard Bartle also created an 8-part version of his player types model for virtual world players.
Metagaming is a broad term usually used to define any strategy, action or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed ruleset, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game. Another definition refers to the game universe outside of the game itself.
In simple terms, it is the use of out-of-game information or resources to affect one’s in-game decisions.
The term is also used to refer to a game with moves that consist of creating or modifying the rules of another game, the target or subject game, to maximize the utility of the resulting rule set. Thus, we could play a metagame of optimizing the rules of “chess-like” games to maximize the satisfaction of play, and perhaps arrive at the rules of standard chess as an optimum. This is related to mechanism design theory in which the metagame would be to create or make changes in the management rules or policy of an organization to maximize its effectiveness or profitability. Constitutional design can be seen as a metagame of assembling the provisions of a written constitution to optimize a balance of values such as justice, liberty, and security, with the constitution being the rules of the game of government that would result.
In role-playing games, a player is metagaming when they use knowledge that is not available to their character in order to change the way they play their character (usually to give them an advantage within the game), such as knowledge of the mathematical nature of character statistics, or the statistics of a creature that the player is familiar with but the character has never encountered. In general, it refers to any gaps between player knowledge and character knowledge which the player acts upon.
Within actual entertainment games, the term metagame is used to describe either a game system layered over the game system, to increase enjoyable complexity, or a game system by which game rules are created, such as Nomic.
Some card games and board games allow dynamic rule changes depending on extraneous events, such as distinct states of weather or commercials on the television.
Emergent gameplay refers to complex situations in video games, board games, or table top role-playing games that emerge from the interaction of relatively simple game mechanics.
More recently game designers have attempted to encourage emergent play by providing tools to players such as placing web browsers within the game engine (such as in EVE Online, The Matrix Online), providing XML integration tools and programming languages (Second Life), fixing exchange rates (Entropia Universe), and allowing a player to spawn any object that they desire to solve a puzzle (Scribblenauts).
In games with complex physics and flexible object interaction it may be possible to complete in-game problems using solutions that the game designers did not foresee.
Some rare games don’t use a pre-planned story structure, even non linear.
In The Sims, a story may emerge from the actions of the player. But the player is given so much control that they are more creating a story than interacting with a story. Emergent narrative would only partially be created by the player. Warren Spector, the designer of Deus Ex, has argued that emergent narrative lacks the emotional impact of linear storytelling.
Completing games without getting certain items or by skipping seemingly required portions of gameplay result in sequence breaking, a technique that has developed its own dedicated community. Often, speed of completion and/or minimalist use of items are respectable achievements.
In games with no financial law game mechanism, players develop financial institutions. Forms include banks or investment schemes launched with an Initial public offering, typically based purely on trust.
Emergent gameplay appears when there is good game simulation according to Peter Molyneux, creator of Populous and other games. Simulated worlds allow players to play around the world and should respond realistically to player’s actions. This is what made SimCity and The Sims compelling to people. Similarly, being able to freely interact with the city’s inhabitants in the Grand Theft Auto series adds an extra dimension to the games.
Nomic is a game in which changing the rules is a move. In that respect it differs from almost every other game. The primary activity of Nomic is proposing changes in the rules, debating the wisdom of changing them in that way, voting on the changes, deciding what can and cannot be done afterwards, and doing it. Even this core of the game, of course, can be changed.
While the victory condition in Suber’s initial ruleset is the accumulation of 100 points by the roll of a die, he once said that “this rule is deliberately boring so that players will quickly amend it to please themselves.” Players can change the rules to such a degree that points can become irrelevant in favor of a true currency, or make victory an unimportant concern. Any rule in the game, including the rules specifying the criteria for winning and even the rule that rules must be obeyed, can be changed. Any loophole in the ruleset, however, may allow the first player to discover it the chance to pull a “scam” and modify the rules to win the game. Complicating this process is the fact that Suber’s initial ruleset allows for the appointment of judges to preside over issues of rule interpretation.
Initially, gameplay occurs in clockwise order, with each player taking a turn. In that turn, they propose a change in rules that all the other players vote on, and then roll a die to determine the number of points they add to their score. If this rule change is passed, it comes into effect at the end of their round. Any rule can be changed with varying degrees of difficulty, including the core rules of the game itself. As such, the gameplay may quickly change.
Under Suber’s initial ruleset, rules are divided up into two types: mutable and immutable. The main difference between these is that immutable rules must be changed into mutable rules (called transmuting) before they can be modified or removed. Immutable rules also take precedence over mutable ones. A rule change may be:
- the addition of a new mutable rule
- an amendment to a mutable rule
- the repeal of a mutable rule
- the transmutation of a rule from mutable to immutable
- or the transmutation of a rule from immutable to mutable
Alternative starting rulesets exist for Internet and mail games, wherein gameplay occurs in alphabetical order by surname, and points added to the score are based on the success of a proposed rule change rather than random dice rolls.
Not only can every aspect of the rules be altered in some way over the course of a game of Nomic, but myriad variants also exist: some that have themes, begin with a single rule, or begin with a dictator instead of a democratic process to validate rules. Others combine Nomic with an existing game (such as Monopoly, chess, or in one humorously paradoxical attempt, Mornington Crescent). There is even a version in which the players are games of Nomic themselves. Even more unusual variants include a ruleset in which the rules are hidden from players’ view, and a game which, instead of allowing voting on rules, splits into two sub-games, one with the rule, and one without it.
Online versions often have initial rulesets where play is not turn-based; typically, players in such games may propose rule changes at any time, rather than having to wait for their turn.
The game of Nomic is particularly suited to being played online, where all proposals and rules can be shared in web pages or email archives for ease of reference. Such games of Nomic sometimes last for a very long time – Agora has been running since 1993. The longevity of nomic games can pose a serious problem, in that the rulesets can grow so complex that current players do not fully understand them and prospective players are deterred from joining. One currently-active game, BlogNomic, gets around this problem by dividing the game into “dynasties”; every time someone wins, a new dynasty begins, and all the rules except a privileged few are repealed. This keeps the game relatively simple and accessible. Nomicron is similar in that it has rounds — when a player wins a round, a convention is started to plan for the next round. Several rounds experimented with an alternate form of ruleset made up of books and pages.
Another facet of Nomic is the way in which the implementation of the rules affects the way the game of Nomic itself works. ThermodyNomic, for example, had a ruleset in which rule changes were carefully considered before implementation, and rules were rarely introduced which provide loopholes for the players to exploit. B Nomic, by contrast, was once described by one of its players[who?] as “the equivalent of throwing logical hand grenades.”
Onverse is both a social network and a virtual world. Its website includes popular features of social networking, including: avatars profiles, media sharing, user comments, microblogging and an interactive forum.
Main features of the virtual world include:
- A large amount of free content (e.g., apartments, clothing, furniture, tools, clothes)
- Player Points (see Economy) to purchase upgraded tools, furniture, pets, clothing and homes
- Games and puzzles that produce rewards
- A large variety of settings to chat and interact with other avatars in
- Official competitions and events for Cash Coin rewards (see Economy)
The Learning Center
The Learning Center consists of a series of tutorials. All new players spawn in the Learning Center in the hopes that they will complete the tutorials. Completing the tutorials is optional, but encouraged.
The Hub is the central shopping district and contains many themed stores. The Hub features the Shark Tank Nightclub, a popular hangout destination. It is notable because its entrance is shaped like a shark’s mouth. The Hub contains Metroview apartments, a large apartment complex that features free apartments, deluxe apartments and penthouses. The Hub also encompasses surrounding areas including Blue Water Bay. To celebrate the 2009 Holiday Season the Hub was decorated with snowmen, Christmas trees and falling snow. The Hub was decorated to celebrate Independence Day 2009, and Spring 2010 as well, albeit on a smaller scale.
Volcano Island was the first community available. It has a tropical island theme (i.e., Hawaiian) with many different areas and secret caves. The island gets its name from “Old Smokey,” a large active volcano. Housing is Tuscan themed and encompasses dwellings such as bungalows to mansions. Volcano Island has a few island-themed shops and Paradise Apartments which contains apartments and deluxe apartments.
Choose your side.
Fight the invasions.
Adventure in the world of Telara as either a noble Guardian or technomagical Defiant and enter a dynamic MMORPG where 8 primal forces battle for control in an ever-changing landscape.
Adventure in the world of Telara as either a noble Guardian or technomagical Defiant and enter a dynamic fantasy where 8 primal forces battle for control in an ever-changing landscape. Build your own class using the Ascended Soul system and embark on epic conflicts that bring you into the story, taking your RPG experience to new heights of achievement and excitement!
Every player experiences a different adventure in the living, breathing world of Telara. RIFT™ has all of the traditional quests and deep story arcs you expect from a fantasy MMO role-playing game, but there is unpredictability to life in Telara that guarantees even familiar terrain can offer new dangers and opportunities.
Whether it’s a previously peaceful farm being ravaged by demons, a tranquil forest glen suddenly ripped apart by a violent rift, or merely an unassuming traveling merchant with astounding wares, spontaneous events are taking place all across Telara for you to discover and take part in.
The ebb and flow of activity in Telara is always changing. Thousands of unexpected encounters are occurring at any moment, making every adventure unique — with more being added all the time. And just like in real life, you can revisit favorite haunts to see what’s different, adding a novel sense of exploration to even well-trodden ground.
loads of information here
Implications Of Quantum Consciousness Theory
Deflections caused by consciousness are not caused by force or energy in the conventional sense; but by something more subtle, namely effects within the underlying wave structure out of which matter and energy are manifestations (collapse of the state vector) .
To psychically obtain information about a target or to psychically influence events, one has to have one’s brain resonating with aspects of reality interconnecting the brain with the target. The more one’s brain resonates with non-local aspects of reality connecting with a target, the more communication and direct influence one can have on it.
The more fundamentally diverse the potential outcomes of a process targeted are, the more effect one gets from resonating ones brain with it . Also, the more small changes in the system tend to amplify as larger changes in the end result, the more effect one can get. This provides an explanation of why patterns exist within seemingly random events and why successful magic often results in a chain of synchronicities.
For a given subject (performing under optimum conditions and having no difficulty visualizing the nature of the experimental target nor psychological aversions to the target), the magnitudes of the results obtained in tasks to affect the readings on measuring devices (such as magnetometers, radiation detectors, Josephson effect devices, balances, etc.) can be related to one another by calculating the probability of the reading based on the standard physical principles of quantum mechanics .
The sporadic nature of psi phenomena can be explained as a matter of outside observers randomizing the process, causing dilution of will data channels and randomizing the results . Thus, the need for secrecy in magical operations.
One can no longer maintain the division between the observer and observed or between consciousness and the physical world. Rather, both observer and observed, along with both consciousness and the material world, are merging and interpenetrating aspects of one whole indivisible reality .
Whatever the subtle level of reality underlying matter and energy, we are that (including our consciousness). If hidden variables exist, we are the hidden variables. It has been theorized that consciousness is an inseparable aspect of this underlying reality. When our awareness connects with the deepest layer of reality interconnecting everything, we may experience the level of consciousness beyond time and form reported by many mystics. It is this non local structure that we share with nature that makes it possible to “attune to nature,” to psychically participate in nature, and to live in accordance with it.
What we are usually aware of (normal waking consciousness) is a relatively superficial movement in the order of things. Behind the things we are aware of in waking consciousness are a vast array of less strongly linked phenomena. This latter realm is commonly called the unconscious (and parts of it the subconscious). The unconscious is not very accurate, since it forms a kind of ground of consciousness . Our awareness can link with this ground of consciousness to gain information and to influence events.
The Gods, Goddesses And Nature Spirits
At this point, I diverge from theory and describe some plausible hypotheses. Consciousness, at a fundamental level, is associated with the continuity of the underlying structures out of which matter and energy manifest. Everything shares this continuous structure; therefore everything has consciousness to some degree (though not necessarily normal waking consciousness).
Quoting from Evan Harris Walker (4): “Consciousness may exist without being associated with either a living system or a data processing system. Indeed, since everything that occurs is ultimately the result of one or more quantum mechanical events, the universe is ‘inhabited’ by an almost unlimited number of rather discrete, conscious, usually non-thinking entities that are responsible for the detailed working of the universe. These conscious entities determine (or exist concurrently with the determination) singly the outcome of each quantum mechanical event, while the Schrodinger equation (to the extent that it is accurate) describes the physical constraint placed on their freedom of action collectively.”
In shamanic and in religious practice, one resonates with other intelligences to get their assistance, inviting them to join in the work at hand. These intelligences can be thought of as consciousness resonance matrices. Some may be localized, as we are (such as other biological intelligences, plant divas, power spot spirits, some deities, etc.); and some may be non localized (spirit animals in the other world, some deities, etc.).
The personalities of the Gods, Goddesses and spirits that many practitioners of religion relate to can also be thought of as consciousness resonance matrices. They can be very non-specific and disperse, or very specific (such as the Orishas and other deities that can manifest in full possession of those who invoke them).
Quantum Mechanics And Magical Ritual
Consider a typical structure of magical ritual and its quantum mechanical explanation:
- Purify one’s mind and one’s surroundings, freeing them of interfering resonances, quieting the static so that one can get a clear and strong resonance on the target desired.
- Achieve a non-localized state of consciousness, often by resonating ones mind with ones inner being, with the Earth, the sky, and ones surroundings.
- Meditate on the elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) representing non-local essences. This helps your mind to resonate powerfully non-locally.
- After reaching out with one’s mind and connecting its resonance pattern intimately with the non-local web of wave patterns connecting everything, invoke deities whose natural function is related to the purpose of your ritual. If successful, this connects your mind to a powerful, established, non-localized, intelligent resonance matrix that (hopefully) joins in the magic.
- Focus on the target of the work, connecting with the target.
- While connected with the target, visualize the end result desired, thus creating a resonant template for the phenomenon one wants to achieve.
- Energize the resonance through dance, drumming, chants, pure channeling of will power, or other means.
- Release the energy into the target while strongly visualizing the target achieved (energizing the resonance in the target).
- Ground, removing ones mind from the direct, resonant link with the target, so that the patterns you have set in motion in the target can continue with minimum interference (to throw a ball, one has to let go).
- Thank and say goodbye to the intelligences one works with, thus disconnecting ones mind further from other resonance matrices.There are other forms of magic, and much more detail to the forms I described. There are also ethical considerations. This paper provides a description of some aspects of the integration of quantum mechanics with magickal thinking, but it does not cover everything.
To read about theories of magic is like reading about sports. You may pick up a few ideas; but to become proficient, you must participate and play the game. People have been teaching and performing magic for thousands of years, without the benefit of quantum theory. Many magicians have had to separate their scientific training from their magical practice. Now, magical theory has been merged with scientific theory, and more of the mind of those trained in science can resonate with magic. Also, critics of magic can be shown the scientific theory and data validating it, to show that there is more to magic than superstition.
I have not seen any other quantitative scientific theories that explain the results of experiments on psychokinesis, extrasensory perception, and consciousness as accurately as Walker’s theory, or that give as satisfying of an explanation of the synchronicities that I, as a worker of magic and a scientist, have observed from personal experience. This is not to say that these ideas represent ultimate truth, that alternative theories no not exist, or that flaws will not be found and that alternative theories will not replace them. I would welcome hearing from others who have additional information and insight into the applicability and limitations of the theories of modern Physics as applied to the occult.
One interesting hypothesis is that of multiple universes. As I understand it, this hypothesis states that all of the alternative possibilities allowed by quantum mechanics actually occur, but in different universes. Magicians can interpret their magic as moving their awareness between these alternative universes. I have never seen the multiple universe theory set up mathematically in a way that would allow it to be quantitatively tested, using physical measurements (like was done with Mr. Walker’s theory),
It would be interesting to determine if and to what extent the multiple universe hypothesis can be integrated with Mr. Walker’s theory. Consciousness, acting at a gross level, seems to be relativistic – something experienced by observers relative to their frames of reference. Consciousness, at its ultimate level, seems to be subtler than time and location.
When two observers see the same thing, they both may have certain experiences in common, they both may affect the thing observed, and they may report some of the events the same and some differently. Experience may be categorized in a multiple universe mode and/or in a single universe mode. If would be interesting to know which mode is most useful for various purposes.
It is obvious that some people have such a different personal perception of reality as to be seemingly out of touch with the world we experience around them. Their self-world image becomes more important than anything, and they adjust their memories and perceptions to meet whatever emotional needs they have at the time . Delusions of personal reality and the high probability that such realities are real for the person experiencing that reality can result in interesting questions about what is real and what is unreal.
Although the universe may be a seamless whole, most physicists describe it in two different modes, depending on whether things are being observed or not :
- A classical, mechanistic mode for the definite attributes of observation, and
- A statistical, mathematical, quantum mechanical mode for the wave patterns described by quantum mechanics.
David Bohm has begun to develop new terminology that integrates both the process of observation and quantum theory .
a lot of this is from smartmeme‘s Re:imagining change, some of it verbatim, most of it notes.
‘the way things are’ – dominant culture narrative – they have power, we don’t, and there’s nothing we can do to change it.
the consent theory of power, when the governed withdraw their consent and the government falls from lack of support.
it all boils down to a struggle between collaborative and coercive power – power with versus power over.
hegemony – the values of the elite become ‘common sense’, limiting the terms of debate to make challenge impossible.
control mythologies shape political reality, normalize the status quo, and obscure options / visions.
power shapes the point of view of the story – winners write history.
underlying assumptions filter facts – confirmation bias.
potentially troubling information activates neuron network that produces stress, and the brain looks for ways to turn it off. filters are rooted in dominant culture’s control myth.
ad revenue (designer stories) $500 bn in 2011.
mass psychology defines popular culture values: individualism and consumerism.
branding burns in inseparable recognition.
control meme – a designer myth containing control myths, inserting power-holder perspective into cultural narratives. spreads specific framing of an idea that reinforces status quo.
columbus discovered / invaded america.
control meme – narrative power that thwarts social change ideas, justifying oppression.
truth and power belong to those who tell the better story – stephen duncombe.
how does the framing of a story create conflict?
characters embody the message. the dynamics of who gets to speak are keys to the battle of the story.
communicate by connecting to what people already know – values. make them use own values to decide.
how does story suggest / promise a specific future?
assumptions – unstated parts you have to believe for the story to work; can be shared values, distorted info, control myths.
the story of the battle is about mobilization
the battle of the story is about persuasion.
mostly mobilizations is among people who already agree, so the story shares assumptions. partisan.
since an audience’s existing stories filter new information, you need to give them a new story. battle of story tells the why of the movement.
the frame defines a story by setting the terms for how to understand it.
who is impacted – victims, heroes, villains?
power-holders sometimes frame their story by casting the people hurt by their actions as the characters in the story. the real people are sympathetic characters, and to protect them they propose whatever. guarding against forest fires by clear cutting.
then the fight becomes whose ‘real person’ is real and whose is an actor dressed as a farmer.
foreshadowing a new future is essential for taking on a favorite control myth, like there is no alternative, the only realistic option is ours.
targeting a brand uses the corporations’ budgets against them – aikido – hijacking familiar imagery.
you need to deconstruct the current story using the battle of the story before constructing a new one.
center of meme campaign is narrative, and the contagious self-replicating meme capsules that spread the story.
at its core an effective meme campaign requires strong grass roots organizing, and a flexible network-based structure to flourish.
using street theater to illustrate exposing meme.
the battle of the story challenges assumptions and frames issues differently.
the story of the battle relies on empirical examples that get distorted and dismantled as exceptions rather than rules.
telling the story of the battle fails to frame issue to challenge the spectator role of the general public. protesters vs police is seen as someone else’s fight.
[most people don’t really think of themselves as the 99% or the 1%]
this part is from the documentary zeitgeist moving forward
in a decaying society, art, if it is truthful, must also reflect decay. and unless it wants to break faith with its social function, art must show the world as changeable, and help to change it – ernst fischer.
man in middle – us (me) [observer]. in the middle of unthinking daily life. when breakthru of truth (they live) shatters daily life for a moment, the man in the middle comes back in shock to pick up and go on, but it’s all surreal now.
continuing with re:imagining change.
intervention is the deliberate interference or interaction with a previously existing narrative, audience, social structure, system, venue or space.
points of intervention are specific places in a system where an action can effectively interrupt and influence the story of a system and build momentum for change.
points of intervention are traditionally physical points in the systems that shape our lives. points of production, destruction, consumption, decision (power-holders HQ).
direct action is any action where people step out of their traditional scripted roles ad challenge the dominant expectation of obedience [artists]. when it is effective, direct action shifts power relationships in the moment it is happening and builds lasting movement by leaving an imprint of new possibilities in our imaginations. creating fundamental change at the deepest levels of power relationships.
actions at a point of assumption in the narrative are like physical action at points of intervention. in this case you’re challenging and shifting underlying assumptions.
point of decision actions reframe issues by unmasking hidden interests and challenge assumptions about who is to blame for a problem.
story-based strategy is an exploration of how social movements can operate in the realm of narrative to create a shared story for interpreting political issues that inform the understanding of a critical mass of society.
the idea is to identify and target underlying assumptions that sustain the status quo. aiming to pass thru the filters of the audience and change their story.
assumptions are what you have to believe to buy the story. when exposed and found to be contradictory to real life and the values of audience, they’re vulnerable.
one place to find points of assumption is at the place where endings become contestable, where effective action can forecast a different future.
intervention at the point of assumption can reclaim public space for the discussion of a problem untethered from the confines of the power-holder’s framing.
repurposing pop culture narratives. popular culture can provide unique opportunities for social change messages to hitch a ride on specific memes, metaphors and cultural narratives. [star wars, lord of the rings]
[what movies, what superheroes will i use?]
action logic, where people can plainly see what’s going on without having to share values.
metaverbs, summarize action logic in one word, and are seen as the benchmark of an action’s success. clear logic, anchored in broader narrative about intentions, demands, worldview.
pop culture offers detailed cultural codes that help popularize messages that would otherwise get filtered. trouble is not everyone knows the code, and it changes quickly due to fashion.
the strategy should be not only to confront an empire, but to lay siege to it…with our art, our music, our literature…and our ability to tell our own stories. stories that are different from the ones we’ve been brainwashed to believe – arundhati roy.
[reversal. saying the same thing about each other. the one thing that links the right and the left right now is what they’re saying about each other. each is trying desperately to save the country from the evil clutches of the other side, who are bent on destroying america.]
if you don’t want to be cast as victims of x, use a large powerful hero mascot to run the bad x guys off.
denial is the assumption that US can go green on its current path rather than fundamentally change our system to operate within ecological limits.
denial is one of the key psychological undercurrents in the dominant culture that is preventing widespread acknowledgement of the scope of the crisis. this denial is also present on the other side – the attitude that if we just keep fighting we’ll eventually win.
seismic events trigger mass psychic breaks where the status quo stories don’t hold and new perspectives congeal – like after 9/11. the narrative landscape shifts rapidly and unexpectedly as the terms of the debate are redefined. these moments are often hijacked by power-holders who use fear to manipulate trauma and re-entrench old power dynamics.
this bit here from zeitgeist.
why should someone feel unhappy or engage in antisocial behavior when that person is living in the freest and most prosperous nation on earth? it can’t be the system.
addiction – any behavior associated with craving, temporary relief, with long term negative consequences, along with impairment of control over it. the greater the harm, the more respectable the addiction.
back to re:imagining change
as the control myths unravel, our movements can offer new narratives and foreshadow just futures, but we must be ready to wage the battle of the story in the midst of upheaval, fracture, and rapid change.
our movements need to nurture a culture of strategic innovation.
leaders are forging new alliances that build unity among different issues, constituencies and movements without creating structures that deny our differences or compromise our diversity.
the transformational stories of 21st century change will celebrate the heroes at the margins, inspire us to face the true scale of our problems, and herald visions of a world remade. they will accommodate complexity, embrace diversity and foreshadow the challenges and triumphs we all will face.
[even when you expose them as psychopaths (bush and saud) their supporters ignore the facts and revere their heroes all the more.]
this is from matt bai’s 2005 nytimes article the framing wars.
in order to reach voters all the individual issues of political debate must tie into a larger frame that feels familiar to us. voters respond to grand metaphors – (conservatives as strict fathers, liberals as indulgent moms). republicans are skilled at using loaded language and constant repetition to play into the frame in our unconscious minds. democrats are wrong to assume we are rational actors who act on facts. cognitive science proves we are programmed to respond to deeply imbedded unconscious frames, and if facts don’t fit the frames, our minds reject them.
republicans stand for (8 words), lower taxes, less government, strong defense, family values. democrats can’t sum it up that simply.
Although modern MMORPGs sometimes differ dramatically from their antecedents, many of them share some basic characteristics. These include several common themes: some form of progression, social interaction within the game, in-game culture, system architecture, and character customization. Characters can often be customized quite extensively, both in the technical and visual aspects, with new choices often added over time by the developers. A few games also offer some form of modding in order to allow for even greater flexibility of choice.
Character abilities are often very specific due to this. Depending on the particular game, the specialties might be as basic as simply having a greater affinity in one statistic, gaining certain bonuses of in-game resources related in-game race, job, etc.
The majority of popular MMORPGs are based on traditional fantasy themes, often occurring in an in-game universe comparable to that of Dungeons & Dragons. Some employ hybrid themes that either merge or substitute fantasy elements with those of science fiction, sword and sorcery, or crime fiction. Still others draw thematic material from American comic books, the occult, and other genres. Often these elements are developed using similar tasks and scenarios involving quests, monsters, and loot.
In nearly all MMORPGs, the development of the player’s character is a primary goal. Nearly all MMORPGs feature a character progression system in which players earn experience points for their actions and use those points to reach character “levels”, which makes them better at whatever they do. Traditionally, combat with monsters and completing quests for NPCs, either alone or in groups, are the primary ways to earn experience points. The accumulation of wealth (including combat-useful items) is also a way to progress in many MMORPGs, and again, this is traditionally best accomplished via combat. The cycle produced by these conditions, combat leading to new items allowing for more combat with no change in gameplay, is sometimes pejoratively referred to as the level treadmill, or ‘grinding’. The role-playing game Progress Quest was created as a parody of this trend. EVE Online (which broke almost every MMORPG tradition) trains skills in real time rather than having the player do anything.
Also, traditional in the genre is the eventual demand on players to team up with others in order to progress at the optimal rate. This sometimes forces players to change their real-world schedules in order to “keep up” within the game-world.
 Social InteractionMain article: Social Interaction via MMORPGs
MMORPGs almost always have tools to facilitate communication between players. Many MMORPGs offer support for in-game guilds or clans (though these will usually form whether the game supports them or not).
In addition, most MMOs require some degree of teamwork for parts of the game. These tasks usually require players to take on roles in the group, such as those protecting other players from damage (called tanking), “healing” damage done to other players or damaging enemies.
MMORPGs generally have Game Moderators or Game Masters (frequently abbreviated to GM), who may be paid employees or unpaid volunteers who attempt to supervise the world. Some GMs may have additional access to features and information related to the game that are not available to other players and roles.
Most MMORPGs provide different types of classes that players can choose. Among those classes, players are encouraged to roleplay their characters, providing rules, functionality and content to this end. Some MMORPGs offer “roleplay-only” servers that prohibit interactions to other players among characters for those who want to immerse themselves in the game in this way. Community resources such as forums and guides exist in support of this play style.
For example, if a player wants to play a priest role in his MMORPG world, he might buy a cope from a shop and learn priestly skills, proceeding to speak, act, and interact with others as their character would. This may or may not include pursuing other goals such as wealth or experience. Guilds or similar groups with a focus on roleplaying may develop extended in-depth narratives using the setting and resources of the game world.
Since MMORPGs have so many elements in common, and those elements are experienced by so many people, a common all players, and this has led players of many games to expect “buffing” or “nerfing“, which describe the strengthening or weakening, respectively, of particular game elements. (“Buffing” also refers to in-game effects that temporarily enhance performance; both usages come from a core meaning of increasing power levels.)
As another example, in many older MMORPGs the fastest way to progress was simply by killing the same monsters over and over again, and as this is still common in the genre, all MMORPG players know the process as “grinding“, or “camping” (sitting at a monster’s spawn point in order to attack it as soon as it respawns). The importance of grinding in MMORPGs, and how much “fun” it contributes to the experience, is constantly debated. Many MMORPGs have taken steps to eliminate or reduce grinding. For example, in Tibia, a monster doesn’t respawn if a player is near its spawn point. But few such attempts have met with success, and it is generally accepted by players and developers alike that some amount of ‘grind’ is required to maintain a stable playing experience.
Quantum Computation (from Feynman’s suggestion in 1982, that the real world actually operates as a vast computer) A situation where it is possible that the physical theory which may be useful to understand how things happen, may refuse to extend itself to useful engineering applications for the purposes of control. In the history of science and engineering, this may be the first instance of where government cannot use scientific developments for their all too usual purposes of control and genocide. This does not mean that governments will not create nonscience to to excuse their own rather insane and irrational lusts; acting on their own lusts is, after all, what governments do, and so long as they exist, there is no stopping them from their attempted mendacious and genocidal intents. Realities never disuade them from their primitive obsessions.
in the beginning, in the provinces.
Emily Schuler, a Mobile native and college student, says the Occupy movement made her rethink her place in society, calling it “one of the best things that has ever happened to me.” Schuler says, “I love Mobile, but it’s ultra-conservative.” She explains, “I always felt like the black sheep because I sensed that the way the world was working was not good … There is a lot of pain and suffering. I think it has a lot to do with the way the system works. Because right now it’s profit over people. And it should be people over profit.”
To the world-weary in New York, a silent protest and proposition that the American system values “profit over people” may seem prosaic. And it would be prosaic were it not happening in a place like Mobile, Ala., and all over the United States. Dozens of occupiers have told us this movement is an “awakening” for them or for others.
One eye-opening aspect of our evening with Occupy Mobile was that none of these people knew each other a month before. The movement has created a new political community virtually overnight.
“We all felt alone,” Chelsy Wilson says. “Now we know that’s not the case. We’re going to try to reach out to other people who feel this wa … People say they have a new hope for Mobile. A lot of us were looking for jobs outside the city, we wanted to move away as fast as we could, and a lot of us have changed our minds. We want to stay here now.”
on a different note
Unable to withstand direct combat against bombers, tanks, and machine guns, non-state entities used tactics of education/propaganda, movement-building, secrecy, terror, and/or confusion to overcome the technological gap.
Fourth generation warfare has often involved an insurgent group or other violent non-state actor trying to implement their own government or reestablish an old government over the current ruling power. However, a fourth generation war is most successful (from the underdog’s viewpoint) when the non-state entity does not attempt, at least in the short term, to impose its own rule, but tries simply to disorganize and delegitimize the state in which the warfare takes place.
The aim is to force the state adversary to expend manpower and money in an attempt to establish order, ideally in such a highhanded way that it merely increases disorder, until the state surrenders or withdraws.
4GW has much in common with traditional low-intensity conflict in its classical forms of insurgency and guerrilla war. As in those small wars, the conflict is initiated by the weaker party through actions which can be termed “offensive.” The difference lies in the manner in which 4GW opponents adapt those traditional concepts to present day conditions. These conditions are shaped by technology, globalization, religious fundamentalism and a shift in moral and ethical norms which brings legitimacy to certain issues previously considered restrictions on the conduct of war. This amalgamation and metamorphosis produces novel ways of war for both the entity on the offensive and that on the defensive.
A 4GW enemy has the following characteristics: lacks hierarchal authority, lack of formal structure, patience and flexibility, ability to keep a low profile when needed, and small size.A 4GW adversary might use the tactics of an insurgent, terrorist, or guerrilla in order to wage war against a nation’s infastructure. Fourth generation warfare takes place on all fronts: economical, political, the media, military, and civilian.
Resistance can also be below the physical level of violence. This is via non-violent means, such as Gandhi’s opposition to the British Empire or Martin Luther King’s marches. Both desired their factions to deescalate the conflict while the state escalates against them, the objective being to target the opponent on the moral and mental levels rather than the physical level. The state is then seen as a bully and loses support.
Another characteristic of fourth generation warfare is that as with third generation warfare, the VNSA’s forces are decentralized. With fourth generation warfare there may even be no single organisation and that smaller groups organize into impromptu alliances to target a bigger threat (that being the state armed forces or another faction). As a result these alliances are weak and if the state’s military leadership is smart enough they can split their enemy and cause them to fight amongst themselves.
prefiguring the world while simultaneously creating it.
Rather than reproducing the logic of the traditional “sit-in,” these occupations quickly turned to the construction of miniature models of the society that the movement wanted to create—prefiguring the world while simultaneously creating it. The territory occupied was geographic, but only so as to open other ways of doing and being together.
This phase is characterized by the gradual shift from a focus on acts of protest (which nonetheless continue to have a crucial role, as we must confront this system that creates crisis) to instituting the type of change that the movements actually want to see happen in society as a whole. The capacity to create solutions grows as the movements expand in all directions, first through the appearance of multiple occupations connected among themselves, and then through the creation of—or collaboration with—groups or networks that are able to solve problems on a local level through cooperation and the sharing of skills and resources.
In the case of Spain, this expansion began in June, when the movement decided to focus its energy more on the assemblies and the working groups than on maintaining the encampments themselves. To maintain the miniature models of a society that the movement wished to create did not necessarily contribute to the actual changes that were needed in the populations that needed them the most.
while the indignado movement no longer has encampments, its presence is felt everywhere. It’s a culture now, composed of thousands of micro-institutions that provide solutions through the common efforts of people affected by the same problems. There are cooperatives addressing work, housing, energy, education, finance, and nutrition, and many other things, as well as a web of collaboration that connects these cooperatives. Catalunya and Madrid already have “Integral Cooperatives” whose function is to coordinate the different services offered by various cooperatives within a particular locale, to the point that in some places in Spain it is almost possible to live without having to depend on the resources hoarded by the one percent. The movement has made it possible for these institutions, which used to be dispersed and limited, to grow and grow connected, and it has provided them with a visibility that has led to much more interest, respect, and support for their functions.
part of storytelling is what story are you telling?
the heart of the framing battle is naming the problem, since how we define the problem determines what solutions are possible. To varying degrees, governments and multinational corporations around the world have acknowledged the crisis and they claim they are working to address it. However, they present the climate crisis through a reductionist lens as merely a problem of too much carbon in the atmosphere while ignoring the underlying issues of justice, equity, and humanity’s relationship with the Earth. This framing allows exploitation of the crisis to justify escalating the very policies and practices that have pushed the planet to the brink. Essentially the world’s richest countries and companies are co-opting environmental rhetoric to put a PR friendly “green” face on the same old politics of unlimited economic growth, resource thefts and corporate exploitation.
The terms of the debate are being reframed from seeing the climate crisis as an isolated issue, to understanding the disruption of the climate as merely the most visible symptom of a much larger problem: our global system of growth-addicted, fossil fuel-driven, corporate capitalism that is undermining all the life support systems of the planet.When this deeper framing of the problem is accepted it becomes clear that we will never re-stabilize the climate without addressing the roots of the problem. This means acknowledging the Global North’s historic responsibility for the problem (“climate debt”) as the first step towards fundamental shifts to our economy, political systems, and cultural assumptions. This is why one of the over-arching and unifying messages coming out of global movements fighting for a just response to the climate crisis is “system change NOT climate change”.
there are a number of dangerous frames––control myths––that must be challenged.
Control Myth #1 Only The Market Can Save Us!
Control Myth #2 Technology Will Save Us!
Control Myth #3 Climate Is Too Big An Issue: Only Governments Can Save Us!
Climate justice framing is challenging the control myths above (and many more) by refocusing the issue on the core problems of fossil fuel addiction, the ongoing legacy of historic inequities and the need for systemic change. At the center of the evolving narrative is the role of community-based solutions in stewarding a just transition towards a society that is both sustainable and just. As different movements like migrants rights, reproductive justice and organized labor articulate the connections between their struggles and the climate crisis there are many opportunities to experiment with applying and broadening climate justice framing.
create the world you want to live in.
Storytelling has always been central to the work of organizers and movement builders. Narrative is the lens through which humans process the information we encounter, be it cultural, emotional, experiential, or political. We make up stories about ourselves, our histories, our futures, and our hopes.
In today’s media saturated world, soundbyte news coverage seamlessly blends with “image management,” misinformation and the global advertising-marketing-complex. To keep our work for positive change from getting drowned out, grassroots activists need a sophisticated grasp of the cultural environment and deeper understandings of how power operates through narrative.
Often times those of us working for change make the mistake of focusing on what the public doesn’t know (“If they only knew the facts…”) Story-based strategy flips this approach to examine what people DO know – what are the existing stories and assumptions of the people we are trying to reach? What is their existing story relating to the issue and how does that story limit possibility? Story-based strategy works to reach past people’s narrative filters and change the dominant story around an issue or campaign. Working through the story-based strategy framework can create a common narrative to integrate messaging, media, advocacy and organizing efforts by focusing on a few key cornerstones of storytelling:
The Conflict: What is the problem we are addressing? How is it framed? What is emphasized and what is avoided? How can we change the framing?
The Characters: Who are the characters in our story? This can be a profound organizing question: Who are “we?” Are we amplifying the voices of the most impacted people? Who are the other characters in the story?
Show Don’t Tell: What is the imagery of this story—what pictures linger in our minds? Are there anecdotes that we tell people to show them what we’re talking about? What about songs? Poems? Metaphors that describe the issue?
Foreshadowing: What is our vision of resolution to the conflict? What is our solution to the problem? How do make the future we desire seem inevitable?
Assumptions: What are the assumptions underlying the story we want to change? How can we expose and challenge them? What assumptions and core values do we share that unite our communities around a common vision?
Memes are like capsules for larger stories. When we reproduce the meme, by using the phrase, discussing the idea, or replicating the ritual or symbol, we spread the story. Memes can of course be carriers for oppressive stories (like the myth of white supremacy), or become misleading sound byte packaging on complex systems (like the story of “better living through chemistry”). But memes are also an effective way for social movements to create a common story that unifies people to make change – “Think Globally, Act Locally” or “Black is Beautiful.”
First, activists use direct action to reduce the issues to symbols. These symbols must be
carefully chosen for their utility in illustrating a conflict: an oil company vs. an
indigenous community, a government policy vs. the public interest.
Then we work to place these symbols in the public eye, in order to identify the evildoer,
detail the wrongdoing and, if possible, point to a more responsible option. Frequently,
usually by design, the symbolism and conflict are communicated to the wider public,
using the media. This symbolic treatment of the issue is, in fact, at the core of action
strategy, and knowing this is key to understanding the tactic.
The most important, and therefore most difficult, thing about direct action is developing a sense of timing – when to seize a political moment. The second most important thing is creativity in designing an action, and fortunately that’s a bit easier.”Timing may not be everything, but it’s damn close.” Action skills such as climbing or inflatable driving are mechanical ones and people usually pick them up relatively quickly. A sense of timing and opportunity is harder to develop. When examining other actions as a source of ideas, always work to understand the timing behind them.
In essence you’re saying: “I want my target audience to do this: ” Is it the general public,
government officials, the mill operators, or the corporate executives you are trying to
affect? Too often we hear a defiant comrade declare: “I’m sending a message to all of
them.” Good intentions, but fuzzy politics. Such universal messages are very rare. If you
think you’re sending a message to “all of them,” it often means you haven’t thought
through your target audience well enough. Each action should reveal what we’re against
and what we’re for. We may be against several things: the mill, the Forest Service, and
the corporate suits. But each of these players should be held specifically accountable for
their specific actions. Nailing them on the specifics – who did what, and when did they do it – may be harder than issuing a grand indictment, but sends a clearer message. The
principle also applies when you’re thinking about what segment of the public you’re
trying to reach.
First, we have to avoid jargon – specialized language or concepts understood in an industry of a movement, but obscure to the general public. Second, if you want to campaign on these more complicated issues, you must take the time to establish the context before the action. There are many ways to do this. Releasing a report, holding a press conference or briefing, placing letters to the editor or advertising, can all help to establish context. Third and most important, it’s much easier – that is, more understandable to the public – to protest events rather than policy.
There is much debate over “hard” vs. “soft” action. You hear it at meetings, around
campfires, or read it in an eco-journal: folks advocating “harder” action and often
criticizing “soft” action as being “just symbolic.” This argument has at times even kept
groups on different sides of the divide from working together effectively. But this
argument shows a misunderstanding: all direct action is symbolic by nature.
When people say “hard” actions, they usually mean physical intervention or blocking. It
is thought that hard actions cost the object of the action “a real price” and often end in
“Soft” action, on the other hand, is viewed as mostly symbolic – sometimes so non-
interventional that it is described simply as a presence or witness. Demonstrations and
vigils also tend to wear the soft label. But when facts are examined, distinctions blur.
Blockades always end; plugs come out; bladders give out. So is there a difference? You
can argue that the difference remains in the risk entailed by the action, or its difficulty.
This is, in the end, a red herring. All actions, “hard” or “soft,” have the same goal: to
make an objective change in the world.First, activists use direct action to reduce the issues to symbols. These symbols must be
carefully chosen for their utility in illustrating a conflict: an oil company vs. an
indigenous community, a government policy vs. the public interest.
Then we work to place these symbols in the public eye, in order to identify the evildoer,
detail the wrongdoing and, if possible, point to a more responsible option. Frequently,
usually by design, the symbolism and conflict are communicated to the wider public,
using the media. This symbolic treatment of the issue is, in fact, at the core of action
strategy, and knowing this is key to understanding the tactic.
The most important, and therefore most difficult, thing about direct action is developing a sense of timing – when to seize a political moment.
The second most important thing is creativity in designing an action, and fortunately
that’s a bit easier.
A close second is a commitment to stay at it until you get it right – hours, days or longer.
Brainstorm until you’re dry, then analyze what you’ve come up with and wait for your
creative well to fill again. Remember that formal indoor meetings are often the hardest
place to be creative. Vary the location for your strategy sessions. David Brower’s advice
is to close more bars. You’ll get your best ideas between midnight and closing time.
A colleague used to say: “Timing may not be everything, but it’s damn close.” Action skills such as climbing or inflatable driving are mechanical ones and people usually pick them up relatively quickly. A sense of timing and opportunity is harder to develop. When examining other actions as a source of ideas, always work to understand the timing behind them.
As environmentalists, we recognize that everything is connected. But we
can’t attempt to campaign on everything at once, because the public won’t hear us. You
must define the issues as clearly and simply as possible.
Another OWS sign, “The beginning is near,” caught the mood of the moment. Flowers seem like the right image for this uprising led by the young, those who have been most crushed by the new economic order, and who bloom by rebelling and rebel by blooming.Ordinary people shone that morning. They were not terrorized; they were galvanized into action, and they were heroic. And it didn’t stop with that morning either. That day, that week they began to talk about what the events of 9/11 actually meant for them, and they acted to put their world back together, practically and philosophically. All of which terrified the Bush administration, which soon launched not only its “global war on terror” and its invasion of Afghanistan, but a campaign against civil society. It was aimed at convincing each of us that we should stay home, go shopping, fear everything except the government, and spy on each other.
You can think of civil society and the state as a marriage of convenience. You already know who the wife is, the one who is supposed to love, cherish, and obey: that’s us. Think of the state as the domineering husband who expects to have a monopoly on power, on violence, on planning and policymaking.
Of course, he long ago abandoned his actual wedding vows, which means he is no longer accountable, no longer a partner, no longer bound by the usual laws, treaties, conventions. He left home a long time ago to have a sordid affair with the Fortune 500, but with the firm conviction that we should continue to remain faithful — or else. The post-9/11 era was when we began to feel the consequences of all this and the 2008 economic meltdown brought it home to roost.
Think of Occupy as the signal that the wife, Ms. Civil Society, has finally acknowledged that those vows no longer bind her either. Perhaps this is one reason why the Occupy movement seems remarkably uninterested in electoral politics while being political in every possible way. It is no longer appealing to that violent, errant husband. It has turned its back on him — thus the much-decried lack of “demands” early on, except for the obvious demand the pundits pretended not to see: the demand for economic justice.
Still, Ms. Civil Society is not asking for any favors: she is setting out on her own, to make policy on a small scale through the model of the general assembly and on a larger scale by withdrawing deference from the institutions of power. (In one symbolic act of divorce, at least three quarters of a million Americans have moved their money from big banks to credit unions since Occupy began.) The philandering husband doesn’t think the once-cowed wife has the right to do any of this — and he’s ready to strike back. Literally.
The Occupy movement has decided, on the other hand, that it doesn’t matter what he thinks. It — they — she — we soon might realize as well that he’s actually the dependent one, the one who rules at civil society’s will, the one who lives off her labor, her taxes, her productivity. Mr. Unaccountable isn’t anywhere near as independent as he imagines. The corporations give him his little treats and big campaign donations, but they, too, depend on consumers, workers, and ultimately citizens who may yet succeed in reining them in.
In the meantime, a domestic-violence-prone government is squandering a fortune on a little-mentioned extravagance in financially strapped American cities: police brutality, wrongful arrest, and lawsuits over civil-rights violations. New York City — recall those pepper-spraye captive young women, that legal observer with a police scooter parked on top of him, and all the rest — you’re going to have a giant bill due in court, just as you did after the 2004 Republican convention fiasco: New York has spent almost a billion dollars paying for the collateral damage already done by its police force over the past dozen years.One of the complicating factors in the Occupy movement is that so many of the thrown-away people of our society — the homeless, the marginal, the mentally ill, the addicted — have come to Occupy encampments for safe sleeping space, food, and medical care. And these economic refugees were generously taken in by the new civil society, having been thrown out by the old uncivil one.
There are three key elements that have made the global movements of
2011 so powerful:
- The extraordinary capacity to include all types of people;
- The impulse to move beyond traditional forms of the protest and contention, so as to create solutions for the problems identified;
- The horizontal and directly participatory form they take.
Rather than reproducing the logic of the traditional “sit-in,” these occupations quickly turned to the construction of miniature models of the society that the movement wanted to create—prefiguring the world while simultaneously creating it. The territory occupied was geographic, but only so as to open other ways of doing and being together. It is not the specific place that is the issue, but what happens in it. This is what we could call the first phase of the movement. Solutions began to be implemented for the urgent problems, like the absence of truly representative politics and the lack of access to basic necessities, such as housing, education, food, and health care. In Spain and in the United States, this first phase saw the creation of two problem-solving institutions: the general assemblies and the working groups.
The participants in these movements create spaces of sociability, places where we can be treated as free human beings beyond the constant demands of the profit motive.
The ways in which we organize in these spaces of assemblies and working groups is inextricably linked to the vision of what we are creating. We seek open, horizontal, participatory spaces where each person can truly speak and be heard. We organize structures, such as facilitation teams, agendas, and variations on the forms of the assembly, from general assemblies to spokes councils, always being open to changing them so as to create the most democratic and participatory space possible.
In these working groups the dynamic of the second phase of these movements was already implicit. In Spain this phase began over the summer; in the United States it is beginning now. This phase is characterized by the gradual shift from a focus on acts of protest (which nonetheless continue to have a crucial role, as we must confront this system that creates crisis) to instituting the type of change that the movements actually want to see happen in society as a whole. The capacity to create solutions grows as the movements expand in all directions, first through the appearance of multiple occupations connected among themselves, and then through the creation of—or collaboration with—groups or networks that are able to solve problems on a local level through cooperation and the sharing of skills and resources.
In the case of Spain, this expansion began in June, when the movement decided to focus its energy more on the assemblies and the working groups than on maintaining the encampments themselves. To maintain the miniature models of a society that the movement wished to create did not necessarily contribute to the actual changes that were needed in the populations that needed them the most. Which is why the decision to move away from the encampments was nothing more than another impulse in the constructive aims of the movement: the real encampment that has to be reconstructed is the world.
In any case, to return to the example of Spain, what is certain is that while the indignado movement no longer has encampments, its presence is felt everywhere. It’s a culture now, composed of thousands of micro-institutions that provide solutions through the common efforts of people affected by the same problems. There are cooperatives addressing work, housing, energy, education, finance, and nutrition, and many other things, as well as a web of collaboration that connects these cooperatives. Catalunya and Madrid already have “Integral Cooperatives” whose function is to coordinate the different services offered by various cooperatives within a particular locale, to the point that in some places in Spain it is almost possible to live without having to depend on the resources hoarded by the one percent.
While the tumult of raids and returns jolts occupiers and the public alike, thousands of working groups around the world meet weekly in libraries, community centers, churches, cafes, and offices to share their extraordinary abilities and resources. They are already creating the schools, hospitals, houses, neighborhoods, cities, and dreams of the 99 percent.
repeated testing using a different measurement have returned the same results – neutrinos travel faster than light. too cool.
Friday 18 November, 2011Image: jronaldlee via Flickr
SCIENTISTS AT the world’s largest physics lab say they have ruled out a possible error which could have distorted their surprising measurements – which indicated that some sub-atomic particles can travel faster than light.
Physicists at CERN were sceptical when measurements by French and Italian researchers appeared to show neutrino particles breaking what Albert Einstein considered to be the ultimate speed barrier – by travelling a fraction faster than light.
Now CERN says more precise testing has confirmed the accuracy of at least one part of the experiment – adding credibility to the earlier findings which had surprised the scientific world.
The Geneva-based body said today that scientists changed the way the neutrino’s departure time was measured and got the same results, “ruling out one potential source of systematic error.”
The result would shatter a fundamental theory of physics – that nothing can travel faster than light itself – which has underpinned modern scientific thinking for over a century.
“A measurement so delicate and carrying a profound implication [for] physics requires an extraordinary level of scrutiny,” the president of Italy’s Institute for Nuclear Physics, Fernando Ferroni, said.
OPERA – the collaboration behind the already-famous experiments – said the reruns would not be considered conclusive, and it is thought that the results will not be considered universally reliable unless the test conditions had been replicated in other conditions.
another one, in ireland. cyanide and carbon monoxide, alcohol and cats.
Updated: 18:03, Friday, 11 November 2011
A Donegal Coroner described spontaneous human combustion as “probably an urban myth” at the inquest into the death of a 50-year-old woman.A Donegal Coroner has described spontaneous human combustion as “probably an urban myth” at the inquest into the death of a 50-year-old woman in Carndonagh on 31 December, 2010.
Coroner Dr John Madden said when he saw the remains of Elizabeth McLaughlin, of 42 Close Padraig, Carndonagh, spontaneous human combustion did come to mind.
A garda described finding the charred remains on the floor of the sitting room with the damage just confined to the remains and the immediate vicinity.
The inquest heard from Harry Masterson, partner of Ms McLaughlin for the previous 12 years.
He had stayed with her over Christmas and then returned to his home in Moville on 30 December to collect medication.
Normally Ms McLaughlin would have rung him around 7am every day, but that had not happened and he became concerned and took the bus to Carndonagh on 31 December at 9.30am.
Dolores Loftus, a niece of Ms McLaughlin, had tried to get into the house when she heard the smoke alarm going off at 10.20am but she had been unable to get in.
Mr Masterson eventually gained access to the house with the help of a nephew who went in through an upstairs window.
Kevin Loftus described to the inquest how he smelled smoke and saw a dead cat lying on the landing.
“I kept looking for my aunt and I discovered two more dead cats lying on the floor,” said Mr Loftus.
“I saw what I thought was a burnt Christmas tree lying on the sitting room floor and I kept searching for her and felt relieved she was not in the house. I let the others in the door.
“Dolores said in the sitting room ‘there is her shoe’. It was then I realised it was a leg – I could not believe what I was seeing and I put everyone out. It took me a couple of minutes to get my head straight and then I rang 999.”
The Garda and fire service attended and the scene was preserved and a video taken of the remains in situ before they were removed for post mortem.
Dental records and DNA from Ms McLaughlin’s hairbrush were required to formally identify the deceased, Sgt John McLaughlin told the inquest.
“Inside the sitting room on the floor were the charred remains of a person. An unusual aspect was that the actual burning and fire damage were confined to the human remains on the floor and the immediate vicinity,” Sgt McLaughlin said.
“The room was smoke damaged. I saw an empty vodka bottle close to the remains and saw two dead cats close to the remains.”
Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis conducted the autopsy on Ms McLaughlin however, Coroner Madden did not read it out, describing it as “quite graphic”.
“There was a high level of cyanide in the blood stream and carbon monoxide in the atmosphere, which is not normally there. There was no anti-mortem damage. Death was caused by fire.
“There was talk of spontaneous human combustion at the time. I did a little research and that probably is an urban myth, but when I did see the remains, it did come to mind.
“There was little damage to the surrounding area. I believe the clothes acted like a wick on a candle – there was the complete destruction of the body but the fire did not spread,” the Coroner said.
He offered his sympathy to Mr Masterson, who he said had brought happiness to the deceased.
Following the inquest Mr Masterson said he believed Ms McLaughlin had died as a result of spontaneous combustion and cited a recent inquest in Galway which made that finding.
“It seems to me to be spontaneous human combustion, which I know is unusual. It was just terrible. I would not wish it on anyone,” Mr Masterson added.
here is at least one article, quotes therefrom, addressing this. originally i was looking for chemical processes, but these are interesting too.
In the personal brain/mind complex, consciousness is mediated by
the interaction of electrical impulses and neurotransmitter activated
buffers and filters. Memory is stored hologramically throughout the brain and is retrieved by a process of broad-band neurotransmitter stimulation. Therefore, we can think of the continuity of consciousness, which is based on the density of memory interconnections or the mind’s “temporal bandwidth,” as a self-generating, self-regulating electro-magnetic field potential modulated by the action of conductivity sensitive chemicals in the spark gap of the synapses.
Immortality then becomes a simple matter of creating a
non-dissipative structural resonance with that flow of Mind which appears to be the substance of reality itself. The in-between state, the Bardo, is designed to process the un-shareable experiences of a lifetime of “suffering and attachment,” as the Buddhist puts it. Acceptance and self-forgiveness, that is re-membering all the parts of a life, good and bad, leads to a point of shareablity, an increased temporal bandwidth, in which immortality becomes a simple matter of focus. I exist, therefore I exist, or, rather, I am, so that I am.
In the brain, focus is triggered by a complex set of neurotransmitters related to serotonin. As we die, as long we are calm, open-minded and alert, serotonin production, along with dopamine, acetylcholine and other neurotransmitters, spikes sharply. By paying attention to the process of death itself, we can create a feedback loop of positive, transition enhancing neuro-chemicals. This requirement for a good death would seem to be main reason why Hospice care works so well. Good deaths require a minimum of pain and fear, and a maximum of alertness, attention and compassion.
On the same level, a good transition, of any kind, requires the same neuro-physiological changes as death, just not to that extreme. Meditation, of all kinds, begins with learning how to be open and calm and alert, therefore triggering an increased flow of serotonin to the synapse. A good chi-filled diet allows us to hold on to these important
neuro-chemicals longer. Enlightenment itself, in the sense of increased
kundalini/neuro-electric activity in the brain, may in fact be a crystallization of a feedback loop of positive serotonin/melatonin stimulation. Neurologically, this is indeed similar to the light-bulb-in-the-brain effect of DMT.
from Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme by Richard Brodie, Hay House, Inc, 1996
“everything we call ‘culture’ is composed of atomlike memes, which compete with one another. these memes spread by being passed from mind to mind in the same way genes spread by being passed down thru sperm and egg. the memes that win this competition – those that are successful at penetrating the most minds – are the ones responsible for the activities and creations that constitute present-day culture.” p5
“labeling a meme True lodges it in your programming and eliminates your conscious ability to choose your own memes. once some authority convinces you something is True or Right or is something you Should do, you are effectively programmed. if you realize there are only half-truths – that the truth of any meme depends on the context in which it exists – you have a powerful weapon against the programming of mind viruses.” p32
“a mind virus thrives on your belief that its memes are True. people defend the memes they’re programmed with like they were protecting their own lives! it’s the mind virus’s paradise: it has co-opted your intelligence and problem-solving ability in order to preserve itself.
the only way we learn and grow is by changing our belief systems – changing our memetic programming. yet, paradoxically, we tend to hang on to that programming as if it would kill us to be wrong about any of our memes.” p33
[second-order buttons] …distinguishing yourself. a drive to do something new, innovative, or significant makes an individual more likely to find food or shelter and makes him stand out from the crowd as a potential mate. any memes that make people feel distinguished, special, or important have an edge in meme evolution.
…obeying authority. it was in an individual’s genetic interest – that is, in the interest of his dna – to recognize the authority of someone more powerful or wiser than he is. going along with that authority would increase his dna’s chance of survival and replication, while fighting the authority might get him killed or left out in the cold.
the way these second-order drives work is similar to the way the primary drives work: you get some kind of good feeling when you’re doing the thing that the drive drives you to do, or you get a bad feeling when you’re not.” p78-9
[more fit memes] “evangelism. any meme that explicitly involves spreading itself to other people has an added advantage over other memes. evangelism is often combined with the mission meme, making it even more powerful. it makes little difference whether the thing being evangelized is true or false, good or bad; evangelism works so well that it has become one of the most prevalent memes on earth. evangelism tells us to ‘spread this meme as much as you can!’
then there are mems that b ecome entrenched in people’s minds and are extremely resistant to attack:
faith. any meme that entails believing in it blindly can never be dislodged from your belief system by any attack or argument. combined with evangelism, faith makes for a powerful mind-virus envelope that can be stuffed with just about any content.
skepticism. questioning new ideas is a defense against new memes. the opposite of faith, skepticism actually has a very similar effect on the mind programmed with it. skeptics are resistant to new ideas just as the faithful are. a faithful and a skeptic can argue forever and never learn anything.” p80-1
“the male-dominated hierarchical system, sometimes called the patriarchy, is a perfect example. some feminist writers have cautioned women against buying into this system, and with good reason: the whole thing evolved so that the dna of males could be passed down more efficiently. is that any way to design an economy? p96
“following sexual mores makes you behave in the interest of everyone else’s dna, not your own. so the optimal selfish-gene strategy, before people became conscious and had the possibility of a life about something other than spreading their dna, was to participate in spreading mores but to secretly ignore them whenever an opportunity arose to make counter to them. that is the evolutionary explanation for hypocrisy. we should expect to see the most hypocrisy around sex, since it’s simultaneously in everyone’s dna’s advantage both to spread antisex memes and to selfishly ignore them.” p103
“different cultures today have evolved different sets of sexual mores, resulting in differences in male and female behavior. in sweden, a social democracy where women have great economic independence, we see a high degree of sexual freedom among women. without needing to depend on men for their security, swedish women need to be concerned so much with testing potential mates for commitment and generosity. the result is greater promiscuity among women: a study showed swedish men prize a potential mate’s virginity very little compared with other cultures. swedish men, in turn, are among the least violent of any culture: with women more available, men need not engage in the violent, risky he-man behavior that comes from a genetic drive to rise in the hierarchy and therefore have greater access to women. harsh punishment for violent crime isn’t necessary.
in sexually struck saudi arabia, we see the opposite. women are highly dependent on men for e conomic security. access to sex is greatly restricted for saudi women. men prize virginity in their potential mates. violence is high – an artifact of prehistoric times when engaging in such behavior increased a man’s chances of mating – and punishment for violent crime is severe in reaction to that.
access to sex is the driving force behind many aspects of culture.
through a chain of cause and effect, the availability of females for men to mate with can shape prevailing mores, the amount of violence, and the laws and punishments of a culture. there has been a shift in sexual mores in the united states from the free-love era of the ’60s, when a baby-boom surplus of young women ‘did their own thing’ sexually, to the aids-fearful ’90s, when young women were admonished to ‘just say no’ and abstain from sex. this shift has been accompanied by an increase in violent crime among men, as would be predicted by this model.’ P105-6
“the millions of years of genetic evolution that produced these instincts did not count on our figuring out that we could have sex and not get pregnant.
we’ve thrown a huge monkay wrench – or perhaps a rubber sheath would be a better figure of speech – into the genetic works. we’ve figured out how to have sex without having babies, and as a result, the act of mating is no longer the genetic prize it was for millions of years. our instincts still think mating equals reproduction, and that’s why our sex drives are still so strong.
but now everything has changed. what really benefits our selfish dna now is teh baby-making drive: choosing to have a baby.” p108
“many myths and religions have some kind of threat of retribution from their god or gods, and their doctrines warn of the dangers of doing various forbidden things. why? because memes involving danger are the ones we pay attention to! as oral traditions developed, our brains were set up to amplify the dangers and give them greater significance than the rest.
once again, meme evolution took off the instant that communication of danger started taking place. today, having eliminated most day-to-day threats to our survival, we find that our lives are still filled with danger memes. the more dangerous, the more we pay attention to them.” p111-2
“cognitive dissonance can be used to create a meme of submission and loyalty to whatever authority is causing the dissonance. fraternity hazings, boot cap, and some religious or spiritual disciplines put people with cognitive dissonance, people end up believing they have received something valuable, something deserving of their loyalty, when i reality all that has happened is that the people who were torturing them have stopped.” p131
“it’s easy to pay more attention to the memes of groups that contribute than those that don’t, and paying attention is the first step toward meme penetration.” p176
” religion formed in this way, as a cultural virus (evolved without conscious human intention), evolves not toward truth, not even toward the betterment of its adherents, but toward more effective memes. this is the most crucial point in this entire book:
meme evolution is not designed to benefit the indiidual.
so for religions that were not created by individuals with the conscious intent to start a designer mind virus – which i would imagine accounts for most of the religions on earth – the belief systems are not guaranteed either to be True or to be good ways to live life. they are, however, guaranteed to be self-perpetuating.” p184
“immersed in questions like that [angels, head of pin], it’s difficult to get a perspective on what religion is and where it came from. but from the memetic model, all naturally evolved religions – cultural viruses – are bundles of memes. religions are creations of our minds, kluges that have evolved from the days when our lives were mostly spent avoiding danger and seeking food and sex. religions are conceptual bundles that map the prehistoric world are brains were used to onto today’s world of morals, culture, and society. and unless we invent our own religion – a designer virus, with a particular purpose in mind – the way these bundles shape up is determined by meme evolution: religions evolve to have good memes.” p186
“[tradition] it’s not that the traditions are being kept because the religions are true or good – the cause and effect are reversed! the religions survived because, in part, certain traditions became ingrained in them. religions without strong traditions had less chance of surviving.” p18
“[evangelism] it’s beside the point that people are sincere and have good reasons to evangelize” ‘jesus/scientology/the forum/the american way made such an incredible difference in my life that i want everyone else to experience that joy.’ the institutions that encourage evangelism – that even condition people to evangelize – have a memetic advantage, regardless of the impact of the religion on people’s lives. the religion is successful because somehow evangelism became a part of its dogma. a religion that gave people incredible joy but did not program them to evangelize would not be as successful.” p187
“[making sense] religions that have clear, handy explanations for those tough questions are much more popular than those that challenge people to think for themselves, such as zen. of course, those answers to tough questions don’t have to be true, any more than santa clause o r the easter bunny, as long as they’re easy to understand.” p187
“[repetition] rituals abound in most religions, from sunday chruch to saying grace before meals. the more we repeat an action, idea or belief, the more comfortable we get with it and the less we question it: we become conditioned or programmed by it.” p188
“[security] many religions are based in fear: fear of god’s wrath, fear of burning in hell, fear of ostracism by one’s community. setting up artificial dangers and claiming to be a safe haven from them is a very powerful part of a belief system.” p188
“[problem] this one is especially pernicious and effective at lassoing in smart, educated people. the idea that there is a mysterious body of knowledge that can be attained through a lifetime of problem solving is a powerful lure. this is the cornerstone of such eastern religions as zen and taoism, although adherents would probably tell you it isn’t. (that’s what makes it so mysterious!) .” p189
“although memetics makes it breathtakingly clear how religions have evolved, it does not force us to conclude that religion is a bad thing. that’s a knee-jerk conclusion often reached by people when they discover that memes have been the driving force behind the success of religions dogmas.” p190
“cults typically have a mission that they say they’re working toward – perhaps a holy mission. members are conditioned to believe this mission is the most important use of their lives, and they should be willing to sacrifice everything else for the higher purpose. once that meme gets programmed in, they’re effectively enslaved.” p202
“another meme-harnessing strategy used by corporations is called golden handcuffs. the gold these handcuffs are made of is a financial reward, usually in the form of stock options, that is tied to the employee’s long-term participation with the company.
golden handcuffs are nothing more than the consequences of leaving meme, the same one used by cults to keep people in line.” p203
“in a future where mind viruses prol,iferate, the kinds i personally want to see win are viruses that raise people’s quality of life. the way to make such viruses win is twofold:
1. evangelize, evangelize, evangelize! when you come across memes you like, spread them consciously! silence is death to memes.
2. make a point of tying together all the button-pushing memes you can with the memes that raise quality of life. point out how they help our children! remind people this is a crisis! serve them food! offer them sex! well, whatever. but complacency is defeat in the world of mind-viruses – you’re competing with all these self-replicating memes designed to take us back to prehistoric times.” p207
“although zen masters never heard of the word meme, becoming aware of the memes that program one is the essence of the zen discipline. there is incredible value in learning how to free yourself from the prison of thoughts and mind programs anytime you want to.
zen practitioners meditate and ponder riddle-lessons called koans in an effort to retrain their minds to do just that. they learn to take in exactly what their senses perceive and to dissolve the artificial distinction-memes of human ideas and concepts. as any adherent of zen would tell you, it’s almost impossible to even understand what this means unless you’ve actually done it.” p217
“by looking at life from these different perspectives, the student eventually realizes that many of the beliefs she had taken for granted about the nature of reality were simply figments of her imagination.
this process, zen adherents believe, eventually results in the dissolving of all artificial beliefs and an understanding of the world at a new level.” p218-9
“no one comes along and taps you on the shoulder saying it’s time to move up to level 3. in fact, you will have tremendous resistance to even considering that level 3 exists or, if you acknowledge that it does, that you’re not already in it. if you’re living a life of quiet desperation, you’re in level 2. if you often feel bored, unmotivated, confused, resentful, guilty, unworthy, powerless, or like life lacks meaning, you’re in level 2. if you’re just doing what you’ve always done without thinking much about what you want out of life, you’re in level 2 or 1.
i’m now going to say something about level 3. if you’re in level 2, your first reaction will probably be to compare what i say to something you already know and form a conclusion about it. that is a level 2 learning strategy that doesn’t work in level 2….
level 3 is learning to look at life as something to be created out of your personal programming and purpose – the two p’s? = rather than as a maze of knowledge, beliefs, goals, and challenges to be run like a rat. it’s complete personal freedom – freedom from societyal pressures, fredom from guilt, freedom from mind fviruses. (you know the trouble with the rat race, don’t you? even if you win, you’re still a rat.)
In level 3, you pick a purpose for your life and hold it as your highest priority. if you commit strongly enough to this purpose, the cognitive dissonance created with old memes that don’t support this purpose will result in some reprogramming. after time, you’ll find yourself becoming more and more effective at living your purpose. and again, i would recommend picking a purpose that you find rewarding, motivating, meaningful, and altogether fulfilling. you’ll enjoy life and be good at what you do.” p222
“One popular philosophy is live and let live. i’ve got my beliefs, you’ve got yours, and that’s fine. this is an offshoot of the what comes naturally strategy, and as such, leaves evolution in the hands of selfish replicators that don’t serve your quality of life. it’s a very tempting position to take, almost a mandatory position for tolerant people in a free country. but there’s a big difference between the government imposing totalitarian beliefs and individuals spreading memes they consider important. we’ve got to get over our distaste for evangelism if we want to have a positive impact on society; otherwise, mind viruses that make use of evangelism will win the battle for people’s minds.” p223
“is copying ideas a facts really the primary purpose of education, or should it be? remember, without conscious effort on our parts, we tend to fall into the role of mind slaves of memes, living our lives to perpetuate and spread whatever memes are the most powerful.
can we consciously choose a better purpose for education than simply pumping our children’s minds full of memes?” p224
“imagine your’e in charge of creating a brand-new society. you’ve got a school full of eager teachers and bright-eyed children just starting first grade. it’s your job to decide what to do with those children for the next 12 years in order to give your society the best chance of flourishing and give them the best chance of having rich, full lives. what wold you do?
the problem with our current educational system is that we don’t ask questions like that very often, and when we do, any proposals that would call for substantial changes get hammered down by the entrenched power structure and by people’s fear of change.” p225-6
“it’s easy to find people and organizations willing to answer the other questions, about the meaning of life. the problem is, those answers are all either self-serving or part of some mind virus ready to hook you into a religious belief system. but the current fashion of eliminating any of these spiritual questions from school curricula creates a psychic hole in graduates, who within a few years begin to hunger for meaning in life.” p227
“saying it’s the parents’ job to supply the children with values and direction won’t work for these kids who don’t have much of a family. the schools are the place to start tapping these kids’ interests and showing them there is indeed an opportunity for them to have a great life.
the next great shift
whateve the method, the next great shift in education needs to be as big a shift as the momvement from memorization to learning how to thnk. the next step in education is teaching children to decide for themselves what is more important in their lives – facilitating their leap to level 3 of the learning pyramid.
that means empowering them to discover what excites them, motivates them, makes them feel worthy (you know, ‘self-esteem’), and gives life meaning for them. it means telling them the purpose of their lives is to make the most of these things, not to be a cog in the self-perpetuating mechanisms of random culture. it goes beyond handing out buttons telling them to ‘question authority’ or bumper stickers exhoreting them to ‘subvert the dominant paradigm,’ and giving them license to be their own authority and create their own paradigm. it means teaching them to be conscious! conscious! conscious! conscious!
scary? you bet. but the only way to wrest the course of our evolution away from the random selective fores of memes and get it in the hands of individuals is to be absolutely unwavering in our belief that each individual is entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. right now all we’re teaching kids is the pursuit of grades and approval. the pursuit of approval is an engraved invitation to the viruses’ ball. it sucks you into whatever powerful mind virus pushes the most of your buttons. children must be taught to discern and pursue their own values.” p229