The biggest chance of me being infatuated by someone is when I'm being treated like a connessieur of fine sofas. If you invite me to your kitchen, or balcony, better have a nice sofa in here.
Writing Prompt – If you could meet one person, who would you want to meet?
My response to the writing prompt – If you could meet one person, who would you want to meet? If you try this writing prompt yourself remember to leave a link to it in the comments below so others can read it. Two names instantly come to mind. Socrates and Alexander the Great. (I love ancient history and philosophy). The conversations that you could have with the both of them. The only problem…
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Top Dollar: Wrong. That's the perfect reason to quit. The only reason to quit. A man has an idea. The idea attracts others, like-minded. The idea expands. The idea becomes an institution. What was the idea? That's what's been bothering me, boys. I tell ya: when I used to think of the idea itself, it put a big ol' smile on my face. Greed is for amateurs. Disorder. Chaos. Anarchy. Now that's fun!
Gangster 2: What about Devil's Night?
Top Dollar: What about it? I started the first fires in this goddamn city. Before I knew it, every charlatan and shitheel was imitating me. You know what they got now? Devil's Night greeting cards. Isn't that precious? The idea has become the institution, boys. Time to move on.
i understand now
rip Kant you would have fucking loved the UN
Martin Lings, Giza pyramids
"What about the third Dr. Yu? The one with us now?" on a literal level is part of the conversation that Mikhaila and Igwe have about the Yu siblings -- Alex, the person that Morgan was, and the person that Morgan is now, after the memory cycling. But it serves as a succinct summary of one of the central themes of the game, that of identity and memory.
Because it's not just a third Morgan present throughout and acting on the narrative. There are nine known variations of Morgan who have some kind of presence in the story, however prominent or brief: original Morgan (the person who existed from birth to 2035), January, December, October, the Morgans who created January and December and October (witnessed through video, audio, email, and notes), the Morgan who broke out of the simulation for the last time, and Typhon Morgan living out the previous iteration's memories. There are also an unknown number of times that Morgan's memory was reset in the simulation, as well as an unknown number of attempts to put Morgan's memory into a Typhon.
The relationship between identity and memory and self and mind is one that's come up enduringly across philosophical thinking, and Morgan's situation, as well as the game's focus on simulation and mimicry and the phenomenon of consciousness, evokes any number of questions and thought exercises that have been put forth over years and cultures. The Ship of Theseus, persistence and identity over time, not-self, etc. The game doesn't lean into one answer or offer any at all; rather, Morgan Yu as an entity fractures into an increasing kaleidoscope of selves, after 2035, with the three-year memory reset serving as the springboard for the thorny question of how much Morgan Yu still exists, by the time we catch up to the present.
We can infer several things about pre-2035 Morgan, and each character has their own ideas about the Morgan who follows. The glimpses that we get of Morgan in the sim lab cycling vary wildly: just as cruel as Alex, desperate to leave the station, wanting to whistleblow, wanting to blow the whole thing up -- implying different values and beliefs. Does this constitute a different identity entirely, fostered by the changing memories? Morgan consistently works to build various Operators during this time and perfects the transfer of neural mapping to the point of genius innovation, and we know that Morgan has always been intelligent and inventive. Does this point to a consistency of self that even extreme neural rewiring can't erase?
The game doesn't say, and the player is left to build their own version of Morgan over the course of the game, alongside more questions being posed. How much does January represents an aspect of Morgan? How much does Alex's opposing view of Morgan still hold sway, and how much of it is even true?
This builds towards final questions in the same vein. To what degree is our Typhon actually Morgan? What is actually left of the Morgan we saw and the many variations therein?
At this point, Morgan has been splintered into at least nine variants and almost certainly more, so the answer may be that there isn't much left at all. But a consistency of self persists across many of those variants, as we see through the Operators, and the game is structured in such a way that the player is likely to mimic the original Morgan to some degree.
Again, like many things in the game, the answer is left ambiguous, as an open invitation to explore the question. But each possibility and piece of evidence and choice of the player provides an essay's worth of contemplation and parallels to centuries of philosophical wonderings, with how successfully the game utilizes its conceits of simulation and neural transfer to dig into its themes, where choice and memory and self are concerned.
SARTRE FUCK IT UP YEAHHHHHHHH
“Only laughter makes a man rich, but the laughter has to be blissful.”
“Simple-minded errors rarely engender great historical results, and Rousseau’s was no simple mind. One finds in him, for good or ill, the seeds of Romanticism and folk-nationalism, the French Revolution and totalitarianism, Marx and Nietzsche, Freud and Darwin, modern anthropology and Margaret Mead, the sexual revolution and the dissolution of the family—all marked with what is characteristically Rousseau: genius and blunder. Let’s peruse both.”
10 books that screwed up the world,
on Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality Among Men
[C. There was a new style of totalization - cont'd]
[3. Medical experience becomes centralized in structure, both at the level of immediate observation, and, at a higher level, recognizing and confronting 'constitutions' (e.g, soil quality) - cont'd]
[d. One began to conceive of a generalized presence of doctors whose intersecting gazes form a network and exercise supervision. E.g.,: - cont'd]
iii. there were demands that the reasons for exemption from military service on medical grounds should be given in detail by the recruiting board; in fact, that a medical topography of each department should be drawn up,
‘with detailed observations concerning the
produce of the ground
time of their perfect maturity and their harvesting
physical and moral education of the inhabitants of the area’.
– Michel Foucault, The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Perception, (Chapter 2: A Political Consciousness), 1963, translated from the French by A.M.Sheridan, 1973
The affidavit in the case, which is still preserved, says Favorinus, in the Metron, ran as follows: "This indictment and affidavit is sworn by Meletus, the son of Meletus of Pitthos, against Socrates, the son of Sophroniscus of Alopece: Socrates is guilty of refusing to recognize the gods recognized by the state, and of introducing other new divinities. He is also guilty of corrupting the youth. The penalty demanded is death."
The philosopher then, after Lysias had written a defence for him, read it through and said: "A fine speech, Lysias; it is not, however, suitable to me." For it was plainly more forensic than philosophical.
Lysias said, "If it is a fine speech, how can it fail to suit you?"
"Well," he replied, "would not fine raiment and fine shoes be just as unsuitable to me?"
—Diogenes Laërtius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers 2.40-41
I've been thinking a lot about "contradictions" lately... and by "lately" I mean for years now. The very concept of the contradiction seems (to me) to be the #1 thing cited when people want to disparage or walk away from something. It's tantamount to "hypocrisy", since holding apparent opposites together feels so similar to saying one thing and doing another, and since authenticity is the north star of our culture, anything that smacks of such complexity cannot be abided. I see it with faith all the time, yes, in the onslaught of deconstructivisms today, but not only do I see the effects in others; I feel them pulling on me, as well. My wife says I'm the consummate devil's advocate (though, for the record, I feel the devil himself requires no actual advocacy), because I am constantly asking questions from the other side of the argument, even if I tend to agree with the initial side of said argument. Deep in my bones I sense that many of the things we think are simple are less simple than they might first appear. Most of the time when engaging in this "inspection from the other side", I do not end up becoming convinced of the opposing view, but rather becoming aware that in some difficult-to-express way, these "opposites" are not (strictly speaking) in "opposition".
Not long ago, I finally stumbled across a term for this kind of situation. Now, I really like words (sorry?) but even if you don't, you might like this one if you've ever found yourself in a similar boat to the one I'm floating in, without a verbal paddle to use: dialectic. Say it aloud. Dialectic. It's fun, promise! According to at least one definition, it is the "inquiry into metaphysical contradictions and their solutions". A more colloquial term for it I have seen used is "unity of opposites".
Now, while I enjoy and appreciate philosophy, I'm far from an expert on it, so if I mistype or misspeak, you are invited to correct. That being said, I'd like to briefly point out that (in the past) I've found myself most prone to an evolutionary mode of thought like the one I understand 18th century German philosopher Hegel to have proposed, which is often summarized as thesis --> antithesis --> synthesis. This is useful, because in many cases it feels true. "Taxes are terrible" --> "Taxes are useful" --> "Let's shoot for limited taxes, shall we?" Insidiously, though, this approach can lead us to buy into the myth of progress, the idea that our current and future thoughts/practices will be better by the very virtue of them being more recent thoughts/practices. More to the point, though, it doesn't actually seem solve all dialectical problems. Obviously, my biggest areas of interest are those of Jesus, faith, the Bible, and the church. Classically, there are any number of seemingly contradictory pairings that come up in these conversations:
-Are we brought into a good relationship with God by what we believe or by what we do?
-Is there conflict between "loving God" and "loving our neighbour"?
-Is the Bible a historical document or a religious manual?
Some people might be inclined to look specifically at things like multiple gospel accounts, multiple creation accounts, or even the Proverbs 26 "Answer a fool / Do NOT answer a fool..." head-scratcher as contradictions to undermine the witness of the Bible, but these are easy to reconcile for me. It's the more nuanced doctrinal questions that feel at times too complex to hold easily. The reason I'm writing on this today (other than the fact that I had a little time on my hands) is that I came across this sermon from, oh, 1605 years ago (give or take) from a North-African bishop name Augustine. In it, when addressing new converts to the faith who are about to partake in communion for the first time, he says: "If you receive [the bread and wine] well, you are yourselves what you receive". A beautiful statement, excellent poetry, very helpful... if not also mildly confusing. It could seem that he is saying that we are (in a sense) the one being offered in the communal sacrifice. He would not be alone in implying this connection between the elements and our own roles, but Jesus himself (as well as Paul and other early church leaders) made it abundantly clear that this is the body and blood of Jesus, not ours. Regardless of your views on the "real presence" aspect of the Lord's Table, I think you can pick up what I'm laying down here: Are Augustine and other proponents of this view "wrong"? Can this be a candidate for the Hegelian progression that leads us to "it's both or neither" conclusions? Or is there another way?
I will finish this rant by saying that I believe there is, in fact, another way. If I could draw, I would attempt to make some sort of diagrammatic representation of it. Alas, my 6 year-old is a better graphic artist than I am. Also, the "free-time" I alluded to which allowed me to start typing this thesis is drying up. As such, I'll need to return to this conversation at a later-time. I will not allow this post to end, though, without highlighting the fact that it seems to me that the phenomenon I alluded to earlier (the deconstructionist impulse that seems to drag people out of faith and out of the church) is new in effect only. It seems that in the past one could wrestle with these dialectical questions and not end up with the conclusion that the Bible is bunk and thus Jesus must just not be "for them". No doubt (in true dialectical fashion) there is both responsibility upon the individual doing the deconstructing and the community in which they are situated to "play fair" in how these conversations are handled, but I am almost certain that they need not end with corporate expulsion or voluntary exile. Love is patient. Love is kind. Hey, and even when we fail that ideal: Aren't opposites supposed to attract?
stop making superhero movies. just stop. i am on my kness begging you
the more i think about it the more this sucks soooo bad. "yes the world as it is right now sucks but I can't do anything about it and if you ask me to try to do that then you obviously dont care about my personal pain and life journey that makes me unable to affect any real change. of course i don't Agree with the world being the way it is now but Someone Else is going to have to change it." I really do not understand doubling down on this at all. I think it is so depressing and disempowering. Why should being marginalized in some way mean you can't be expected to critique the ways in which you are privileged? if anything it makes you more qualified to do so. otherwise, what, are we all going to wait around for the most privileged among us to decide to overhaul the patriarchy? shall we leave it up to the world's wealthiest white cishet able bodied men to decide to abdicate their advantages to the rest of us? we'll be waiting forever because this is a system that is designed to benefit certain people at the expense of others and these people have a vested interest in keeping it that way! so that means it falls on the rest of us to try to fix the world in whatever way we can. and that is a sad and fucked up thing but that is life and baby......
“THIS character cannot be redeemed,” they said.
I sat there, quietly. Stewing. “I,” I said under my breath,”am going to invent a story concept to offend you personally.”