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Doctor Johnathan Snow and that Pesky Consensus

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  • Doctor Johnathan Snow and that Pesky Consensus

    For those who don't know, "Animolecules" (the name given to microbes by some historical scientists) were well known as biological entities before their role in causing infectious disease was discovered. The theory of microbiotic infection was considered laughable; how could tiny little creatures, no bigger than a few micrometers across, make a person sick?

    Dr. Snow had a radical theory; some comma shaped animolecules (the bacteria which we now know cause Cholera) were behind the outbreaks of cholera in London. The prevailing theory of disease and infection was Miasma. Bad Airs made people sick, and thus elevation and clean sweet-smelling air would protect you. However, cholera struck people who would be in miasma-free areas, and spared many in "dirty" areas which would have Miasmas. Academics at the time would waffle for a few 100 pages about why the Miasmas behaved in contrived ways to make such outliers possible.

    Now... here is the problem with all of this in the context of Mage. Every big scientific discovery starts off as going against the grain. Dr. Snow had proof of this action, and was getting results from making changes which ONLY work in this model, long before any shift in consensus. The majority of the world was against him on this, including a great number of Awakened individuals (we can only assume, since the most powerful academic institutions in the most important city in the world MIGHT have had one or two Mages).

    So, we have two models which fit into the Mage Lore. One is that every Paradigm is equally right/wrong and that they are all equally good/bad ways of modelling and changing the world. The other is that while every Paradigm works, scientific paradigms are closer to the Earthly Foundations, the underlying nature of reality, since they go into great detail in attempts to record, understand and model them while some Paradigms just ignore them.

    Considering the way that scientific discovery just works (that is, the visible evidence of cholera in water which was taken from homes of people with the disease, and it being absent in water which isn't from diseased homes, and him shutting off water linked to the microbe stopped deaths, and that he could prove that putting faeces in water led to a rise in these little animolecules but even if you filtered the water of waste they would still have the microbes and STILL cause disease, ALL before anyone else in the world had even had such thoughts (for the purposes of this, possibly some isolated and less famous medics had similar theories but we can call them negligible since they were, if they were present at all), and thus there couldn't be a Consensus or anything generating this phenomenon), the latter concept simply has to be the case in Mage.

    Scientific Discoveries cause shifts in the Consensus not through a "hey everyone believe in this and then it will start working", but first through "hey this works, I have proof, everyone believe in it". The only way this argument doesn't stand up, from what I can see is some fan-fiction about Snow being a Technocracy Plant, and the Technocracy knowingly faking the existence of Microbial disease since their current idea on how diseases worked... just didn't... match up? That would make the Technocracy knowing bullshitters, and as far as I can see the Technocracy REALLY believe in Science, since that's the POINT of Paradigms. If you think your Paradigm is bullshit that you need to fake to shift consensus, then you're not Awakened.

    And let's be frank, if Consensus worked via method 1, the theory of Miasma would manifest in the real world and the treatments given by olde-time doctors would have WORKED. Pouring the waste of the city into the river would have purged illness from the streets. The fact that accepted, consensual models of reality don't match up with outcomes shows that the Earthly Foundations defy consensus in MILLIONS of ways. Gay people existing in times/places where they weren't an accepted feature of reality in many cultures. Hyper-intelligent children emerging from populations of uneducated slaves, unexpected diseases arising in ways that the current Consensus cannot allow for...

    Anyways, those are just my thoughts. All I can say is that Consensus is mostly relevant in deciding if things are Vulgar or not, and that Consensus can (in extreme cases) make shifting reality much, much easier. And I begrudgingly must accept the "phones work because consensus" line as a part of the Lore, and it's one I'm happy to include since it's a cool idea, however it doesn't change the fact that the very scientific method itself doesn't fit with Model #1 of Consensus at all.

  • #2
    I agree that the Consensus should only be considered to influence True Magic and creatures whose physical form is created by True Magic (Bygones, Constructs, Familiars, etc). Beyond that, the Earthly Foundations are Reality, including mystical phenomena like Changelings, Fera, Kindred, Kuei-jin, Possessed, Sorcerers, Wraiths, etc. The Technocrats just created Paradigms that emulated some of the Earthly Foundations (the parts that they could control for power and profit) and have been trying to annihilate any evidence of Earthly Foundations that conflict with the Paradigms of the Technocrats.

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    • #3
      Not surprisingly, I'm agreeing too. However, this is the point where others will say, that history and everything we know about it is a lie in the world of Mage and that the game's world is not the real world, etc.

      I would say the same I did on the other thread: Occam's razor. WoD and Mage is based on the real world, so if you have to alter/contradict/dismiss a lot of things that happened IRL, that's a less likely explanation to me.


      If nothing worked, then let's think!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
        For those who don't know, "Animolecules" (the name given to microbes by some historical scientists) were well known as biological entities before their role in causing infectious disease was discovered. The theory of microbiotic infection was considered laughable; how could tiny little creatures, no bigger than a few micrometers across, make a person sick?

        Dr. Snow had a radical theory; some comma shaped animolecules (the bacteria which we now know cause Cholera) were behind the outbreaks of cholera in London. The prevailing theory of disease and infection was Miasma. Bad Airs made people sick, and thus elevation and clean sweet-smelling air would protect you. However, cholera struck people who would be in miasma-free areas, and spared many in "dirty" areas which would have Miasmas. Academics at the time would waffle for a few 100 pages about why the Miasmas behaved in contrived ways to make such outliers possible

        ....

        Anyways, those are just my thoughts. All I can say is that Consensus is mostly relevant in deciding if things are Vulgar or not, and that Consensus can (in extreme cases) make shifting reality much, much easier. And I begrudgingly must accept the "phones work because consensus" line as a part of the Lore, and it's one I'm happy to include since it's a cool idea, however it doesn't change the fact that the very scientific method itself doesn't fit with Model #1 of Consensus at all.
        Yeah, that's how it worked in our world. I can probably list a half a dozen other moments in history that shouldn't work if reality is subjective.

        But that's our world.

        Mage suspends all that and says that reality relies on the collective belief of humanity. It was bold and went beyond just 'magic works' and tried to give a reason based in Postmodernist thought. And yeah, because that idea is crazy it is going to have problems, and maybe the scientific method is more flawed then it appears there, but that doesn't invalidate the game.

        And I should point out that there are two elements of Mage that do help make events make more sense.

        Firstly, there is a secret, world-spanning conspiracy actively trying to seed ideas into society so that they can advance their ideas. They seed the academic and popular world with ideas so that when the moment is right they can trigger one of Kuhn's paradigm shifts. Because that kind of shift is indeed how scientific thought often advances. And I should point out that while the microbial theory was on shaky ground at the time, they had their other ducks in a row. Statistical analysis, microscopes, civic engineering, and a water company that just happened to ignore the law about where it got its water from* were all ready for when the outbreak hit.

        Secondly, while consensual reality is easy to say it's often a chaotic system with some ideas hanging on long after they should have died out and others taking root before the situation seems right. It's a lot like internet memes that way. We know what they are and why they are, but we can't easily predict what will and will not become a meme. Mages have the rough idea, but no one short of the Oracles know the details.

        *That was the lucky break that proved him right after all.



        Last edited by Ramnesis; 02-14-2017, 09:01 PM.


        Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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        • #5
          Sadly, no, it is very much stated EVERYWHERE on the Mage Lore that this is NOT the case.

          Go read the Sorcerers crusade, for example. Mostly, until the level 3 of any Sphere, the members of the Order of Reason only do stuff within some "reasonable" "scientific" principles.

          But things start getting trickier around level 4.

          So... Things like a vilisilicoi (I believe that's the name). Basically, a dark ages "cellphone", a Correspondence 2 device used in almost all OoR lodges to allow for long distance communication.

          Here is the thing: the average Joe on the Technocracy doesn't know shit. That's the guy that believes that what he does is "science".

          But, Control, the Ivory Tower, those guys on Autochtonia and Mecha and Tycoides, those guys on the top of the piramid, those know the craps they sell to the ones bellow. They DO know that their Paradigm is crap.

          Do you wanna know what REAL science is in the WoD?

          It's not the Technocracy.

          Real science is what the Sons of Ether do. THAT'S the real stuff.

          But... The science of the SoE is the most subjective crap EVER. It's even more insane than the Dreamspeakers animism.

          The Technocrats dont try to figure out the truth; they have their own truth.

          And once again, if there is such a thing as a Paradigm "closer" to the Earthly Foundations, it would be the animistic view of groups like Dreamspeakers. Lets not forget that the most basically lore of WoD is that material and spiritual were united at some point in the past. So, "spirits will" is probably a FAR better answer than "gravity", for example.

          So yes, the Technocracy is a bullshit organization.

          Proof? Well, gunpowder used to be a "magikal" substance during the Sorcerors crusade, and firearms were vulgar magik... No "Earthly Foundations" principles applyed to firearms, but a vulgar Forces effect of TRUE MAGIK, until the SHIFT IN CONSENSUS turned firearms into mundane things.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Karlgust View Post
            Sadly, no, it is very much stated EVERYWHERE on the Mage Lore that this is NOT the case.

            Go read the Sorcerers crusade, for example. Mostly, until the level 3 of any Sphere, the members of the Order of Reason only do stuff within some "reasonable" "scientific" principles.

            But things start getting trickier around level 4.

            So... Things like a vilisilicoi (I believe that's the name). Basically, a dark ages "cellphone", a Correspondence 2 device used in almost all OoR lodges to allow for long distance communication.

            Here is the thing: the average Joe on the Technocracy doesn't know shit. That's the guy that believes that what he does is "science".

            But, Control, the Ivory Tower, those guys on Autochtonia and Mecha and Tycoides, those guys on the top of the piramid, those know the craps they sell to the ones bellow. They DO know that their Paradigm is crap.

            Do you wanna know what REAL science is in the WoD?

            It's not the Technocracy.

            Real science is what the Sons of Ether do. THAT'S the real stuff.

            But... The science of the SoE is the most subjective crap EVER. It's even more insane than the Dreamspeakers animism.

            The Technocrats dont try to figure out the truth; they have their own truth.

            And once again, if there is such a thing as a Paradigm "closer" to the Earthly Foundations, it would be the animistic view of groups like Dreamspeakers. Lets not forget that the most basically lore of WoD is that material and spiritual were united at some point in the past. So, "spirits will" is probably a FAR better answer than "gravity", for example.

            So yes, the Technocracy is a bullshit organization.

            Proof? Well, gunpowder used to be a "magikal" substance during the Sorcerors crusade, and firearms were vulgar magik... No "Earthly Foundations" principles applyed to firearms, but a vulgar Forces effect of TRUE MAGIK, until the SHIFT IN CONSENSUS turned firearms into mundane things.
            OK, why didn't the medical practices of the Purificationists, who had Consensus, work? They were cleaning the streets of filth and the outbreaks just got worse. By your logic their methods would have solved everything.

            Furthermore, someone who thinks that their paradigm is crap can't have Genius above... 1? Like they can grow to realise that the other paradigms are shifting forces that must be competed against, that consensus can be shaped, but "science is made up" isn't a thought someone with Genius 6 can ever have. If such elements exist in the lore, they're bullshit writing which fails to stick to the key message of Mage, that belief matters to Mages.
            Last edited by 11twiggins; 02-15-2017, 04:36 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by PMárk View Post
              Not surprisingly, I'm agreeing too. However, this is the point where others will say, that history and everything we know about it is a lie in the world of Mage and that the game's world is not the real world, etc.

              I would say the same I did on the other thread: Occam's razor. WoD and Mage is based on the real world, so if you have to alter/contradict/dismiss a lot of things that happened IRL, that's a less likely explanation to me.
              I'd rather make WoD our world with additions and some substitutions. Endron instead of Shell, sure, but Snow fathered pathology.

              Comment


              • #8
                Ahh, my dear consensus. It is such an interesting beast.

                It's also not as clean-cut and simple as one might think.
                Its inherent nature can range from a liberal and open whitelist-style approach of 'These things are definitely true' all the way to a restrictive, highly controlling blacklist-style situation of 'Only this is true, everything else is verboten'.

                On what point of the scale the consensus is shaping reality is defined by three things:
                * How widespread and global a certain belief is.
                * How strictly defined and detailed the belief is.
                * How hostile the belief is to undefined or contrary reality. This is, in parts, linked to the second bullet point as we'll see later.


                Let's take, for example, the situation in the OP regarding microbes causing illness;
                There is a big difference between a person or group going
                A) 'I believe tiny little beings inside people are making them ill'
                B) 'I believe *these* tiny little beings inside people are making them ill'
                C) 'See those little things inside people? We can see them making people ill.'



                Situation A
                -----------
                This one is is purely driven by belief.
                As in, there was no previous witnessing to this by the believer themselves; It is either something they came up with ( Be it based on pure imagination, or conclusion of exercize of their logic ), or something somebody told them, be it written or heard. The believer is also not looking for any kind of validation or proof. They are either faith-driven, simply believe what they heard or read, or simply utterly confident in their own logic.

                This is the kind of situation where a critical mass of believers literally creates a new part of reality. It does not matter how things were before - in the area of influence of that critical mass of believers, people get ill because of tiny little microbes.
                The only way this is prevented, is if a larger mass of sleepers in the same area are aware of this idea and actively disbelieve it.
                The amount of people that is required locally in an area to share a common belief to shape reality is undefined, although there are hints in the latest book that at least 100 people are required.


                Situation B
                -----------
                Ths one is is an in-between.
                There is a witnessing, an observation - namely that there are in fact little tiny things inside people. They are already there and part of reality. However wether they are actually causing illness or not is, at that moment, undefined. Maybe they do, maybe they don't. The belief is a lucky guess/conclusion, pure imagination or a rumor, more so than an observation.
                But, if the critical mass of supporters of this belief once more forms, and is not contested by a larger group, then the little microbes will start causing illness - if they've not already done so.


                Situation C
                -----------
                This one is what we would call the most logical approach - something gets actually witnessed and thus people *know* it happens.
                'Know'. In the world of Mage this situation is more loaded and complex than you'd think;

                The witnessed event might simply be a very local part of reality instead of something global - a thing that was not contested by local belief: A possibility that is not actually a global, universally true thing.
                However, if those that witness it and document it spread this 'knowledge' and through their arguments and observations find a larger and larger mass of people that share this belief, then the rest of the world's reality is being molded as the idea spreads. See A / B.

                Even if what was witnessed was actually part of most of reality before already, the observation and spreading of the idea among sleepers will start pushing against the small areas where the behavior of reality so far was something else, while also cementing the status quo in the rest of the world.


                ----


                Of course. All of the above also works in a negative sense:
                'I do NOT believe tiny little beings inside people are making them ill. It's not true!'
                'I do NOT believe *these* tiny little beings inside people are making them ill. It's not true!'
                That's not a big difference to the positive examples. These negative ones change as much a specific, single part of reality as the positive examples do.



                The drastic hardcore variants of denial, however, are where the can of worms is at:

                'I believe tiny little beings inside people are making them ill. All those other things are false!'
                'I believe *these* tiny little beings inside people are making them ill. All those other things are false!'
                'See those little things inside people? We can see them making people ill. That means all those other things people claim are causing illness cannot be true!'

                And unlike the described situations where a new part of reality is shaped, or an existing part is changed, the drastically negative approach has a much more lasting effect; It takes away from Reality. It lessen possibilities by saying that certain things are not possible, by denying the existance of the things that were not witnessed.


                ----


                The TL;DR of it all is:

                Reality is not a computer that *only* does the things that people believe in.
                Reality is like a little child that can and will do all sorts of things. Perhaps it will do things a specific way in front of its aunt, or might not do a specific thing in front of its strict stepdad. But kids will try all sorts of fancy things.

                Even a neutral set of opinion along the lines of 'Illnesses are caused by tiny beings in your body' and 'Spirits are causing illness' are not per see clashing - after all it could be the spirits placing them there.

                Until somebody restricts this reality child, gives it a defined, big list of rules what it can and (more importantly) cannot do, and tries to increase both lists every time they think something unacceptable happened, in order to make sure only things they want to happen do happen.
                And that's how the Technocracy tries to control and 'define' reality, removing possibilities according to the Sixth(?) Precept Of Damian,



                .


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post

                  OK, why didn't the medical practices of the Purificationists, who had Consensus, work? They were cleaning the streets of filth and the outbreaks just got worse. By your logic their methods would have solved everything.
                  Who said it didn't?

                  Also, there was no single unified dominant Paradigm before.

                  Another thing is, the techie's don't want to CURE all diseases. At least, not yet. Some day, yes. But not now. At the present, diseases are a great tool to keep the technocratic Consensus up to date. I tell you, it is not impossible to find archmages that will claim that mundane germ spread diseases is a creation of the Technocracy so that they could create medicine in order to control the masses.

                  Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
                  Furthermore, someone who thinks that their paradigm is crap can't have Genius above... 1? Like they can grow to realise that the other paradigms are shifting forces that must be competed against, that consensus can be shaped, but "science is made up" isn't a thought someone with Genius 6 can ever have. If such elements exist in the lore, they're bullshit writing which fails to stick to the key message of Mage, that belief matters to Mages.
                  They are not. You could say that there are TWO different "Technocratic paradigms" within the Union. One is that of the agents, the ones at the base of the piramid. The one they sell to the masses. That's science. The other is the paradigm of the top. Of those guys who represent that big eye on the top of the piramid. That's the Paradigm of Control, of the Ivory Tower, the Paradigm of the guys who REALLY knows what's going on. And those have a Paradigm which is much more like the Etherite Science. They KNOW that science is "personal" - and that's exactly why they supress it, that's why they keep time tables on it, in order to CONTROL it. They know EXACTLY what they are doing, those guys are NOT deluded fools believing in a made up bullshit. On contrary, they make things up BECAUSE they know how it works. Meaning: Control could do EXACTLY the same insane things as the Etherites or VAs. But, they consider it too dangerous, which is why they keep their time table about what should or should not become "reality". Those things that they deem too dangerous, will simply become "reality banned". So... Spirits? Nah, that shit is not real. And if you see one, it's just a trick. Mind reading? Oh please, don't make me laugh. Except that, when you become an agent of NWO and get enough clearance, your supervisor will call you privately to share some top secret informativo about telepathy and the scientific studies about psychic emanations, that simply aren't avaiable for lesser ranked officers within the Union. Souls are superstitious talk... Unless you reach a very high rank within the Union that will give you access to that information. But the typical Men in Black in the frontlines doesn't need to know that he has a "soul".

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post

                    OK, why didn't the medical practices of the Purificationists, who had Consensus, work? They were cleaning the streets of filth and the outbreaks just got worse. By your logic their methods would have solved everything.
                    Here's the problem. The Consensus may have said that cleaner meant healthier, but it also said that epidemics happen. In fact, forget the purificationists, the biggest problem is that the Consensus thought epidemics were unstoppable. The medical community, such as it was, may have been trying but they knew they didn't have a handle on it. The rest of the population certainly didn't think they did.

                    That might have been the Technocracy's way in, by the way. Epidemics were unstoppable but they did run their course. By waiting for a lull or for some strange pattern that would inevitably emerge, they could time their releases and claim credit. Actually, the purificationists were probably their doing too. They could have had several explanations waiting in the works so that one of them was likely to catch on.


                    Furthermore, someone who thinks that their paradigm is crap can't have Genius above... 1? Like they can grow to realise that the other paradigms are shifting forces that must be competed against, that consensus can be shaped, but "science is made up" isn't a thought someone with Genius 6 can ever have. If such elements exist in the lore, they're bullshit writing which fails to stick to the key message of Mage, that belief matters to Mages.
                    This one is a really tricky one that depends a lot on how you approach, and I remember interminable arguments about if the Technocracy knew they were doing magic, with answers ranging from 'they are all fooling themselves' to 'they are just using the appearance of science' to 'most of them don't, but some of the more advanced ones so.' That last one tends to be where the arguments end up one way or another, since it gives the ST more options.

                    You are also touching on one of the other questions of Mage here, which is how many conflicting things can be true at the same time. That's a fun one because most people have answered it in their heads even though they never realized it had been asked. As far as I am aware, the four possible answers are: one, more than one, none, and all. Which one do you think it is?


                    Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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                    • #11
                      I think that, in general, it is a mistake to think of the local paradigm being "with" any particular statement of fact rather than any particular methodological approach. It's immaterial to the materialist paradigm whether disease is caused by Farr's miasma or Snow's contaminated water, and it is possible within a paradigm for statements of belief, even widely-held ones, to be incorrect. This is why Revised draws a distinction between the two (belief vs. paradigm.)

                      In a Classic Grecian paradigm it would be equally plausible for the community to believe that they were being blighted with disease because they had offended God A when, in fact, they had offended God B. Paradigm brackets how one investigates and articulates these causes, not what the specific cause in a given situation is. The lone-wolf religious specialist that agitated for propitiation of God B would similarly be going against the public grain, only to be proven right in time. This does not prove that the Classic Grecian paradigm is the underlying fundamental reality of the World of Darkness.


                      I attack people with giant insects both on and off the court.

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                      • #12
                        With regards to the Consensus and Mage, I think of Consensus as more of determining How the world usually works than forcing every aspect of reality to conform to its expectations. No matter how established and all-encompassing it seems to be, there will always be those flukes and strange events end phenomena that defy it.

                        But with regards to Dr. Snow, isn't this how it would have gone in the story of Mage: The good doctor observes strange microscopic creatures using his scientific tools, comes up with the idea that they cause disease, and fights an uphill battle to prove that a certain bunch of these do in fact cause cholera. Wherever he "personally" makes an experiment to prove the case, either he finds that the results fit his hypothesis or else something has contaminated his test results. Of course, the technocracy only publishes his side of the story and begins the long program of getting rid of any evidence that Dr. Snow's results are anything but the truth. Other technocrats make the same experiments with the same results. Eventually people in a small area come to like and believe the idea that the cause of cholera is some living tiny creature that they could eventually find a way to kill. The idea gains traction and the concept of miasma starts to flounder, helped along by technocracy's publishing of cases wherein the miasma theory was disproved (either completely made up stories or cases where healing magic or other treatments screwed up.) Eventually. the lie becomes the truth and it is as if miasma was never a valid vector for disease to begin with. Disease that still manages to get transferred by "bad air" air can be explained off as being transferred by airborne animalcules and flying insects and such and the idea sticks.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Spacecat View Post
                          With regards to the Consensus and Mage, I think of Consensus as more of determining How the world usually works than forcing every aspect of reality to conform to its expectations. No matter how established and all-encompassing it seems to be, there will always be those flukes and strange events end phenomena that defy it.

                          But with regards to Dr. Snow, isn't this how it would have gone in the story of Mage: The good doctor observes strange microscopic creatures using his scientific tools, comes up with the idea that they cause disease, and fights an uphill battle to prove that a certain bunch of these do in fact cause cholera. Wherever he "personally" makes an experiment to prove the case, either he finds that the results fit his hypothesis or else something has contaminated his test results. Of course, the technocracy only publishes his side of the story and begins the long program of getting rid of any evidence that Dr. Snow's results are anything but the truth. Other technocrats make the same experiments with the same results. Eventually people in a small area come to like and believe the idea that the cause of cholera is some living tiny creature that they could eventually find a way to kill. The idea gains traction and the concept of miasma starts to flounder, helped along by technocracy's publishing of cases wherein the miasma theory was disproved (either completely made up stories or cases where healing magic or other treatments screwed up.) Eventually. the lie becomes the truth and it is as if miasma was never a valid vector for disease to begin with. Disease that still manages to get transferred by "bad air" air can be explained off as being transferred by airborne animalcules and flying insects and such and the idea sticks.
                          However the Technocracy is trading "disease is spread by bad air", something they can find a consensual fix for (incenses, masks, chemicals) for "disease is spread by bad air, bad water, bad human contact, bad food, farm animals...". I can't see their motivation for the "trade". Surely better to stick to an existing consensus?

                          Furthermore, if you used Time to go back to the 1200s, and examined something with a microscope (let's call this the Time Travelling Histologist Problem), would you see microbes? Were microbes only a thing after a certain point? Did Snow imagine vibrio cholerae into existence?

                          I think it's just much more simple to say that objective underlying reality is something that you can determine, and the Consensus can nudge it in certain directions but not overwrite it. Gravity exists, Stars burn hot, Paradox is a thing etc. Earthly Foundations are left vague so that an ST can make of this what they like. They can have a Histologist lost in a world without microbes, or our time traveler can die content in the fact that their paradigm has always been a thing.

                          Another way out is to just say that reality is an illusion, but that's giving one Paradigm special superiority over the others... then again, my views of the Earthly Foundations are very pro-technomagick, and an objective answer on how reality actually is (or isn't) will always lean towards one paradigm or another.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Five Eyes View Post
                            I think that, in general, it is a mistake to think of the local paradigm being "with" any particular statement of fact rather than any particular methodological approach. It's immaterial to the materialist paradigm whether disease is caused by Farr's miasma or Snow's contaminated water, and it is possible within a paradigm for statements of belief, even widely-held ones, to be incorrect. This is why Revised draws a distinction between the two (belief vs. paradigm.)

                            In a Classic Grecian paradigm it would be equally plausible for the community to believe that they were being blighted with disease because they had offended God A when, in fact, they had offended God B. Paradigm brackets how one investigates and articulates these causes, not what the specific cause in a given situation is. The lone-wolf religious specialist that agitated for propitiation of God B would similarly be going against the public grain, only to be proven right in time. This does not prove that the Classic Grecian paradigm is the underlying fundamental reality of the World of Darkness.
                            You say that, however the Lore repeatedly has things like "technology stops working in certain Reality Zones", and has repeatedly said that phones only work because of the Technocratic paradigm being a prevailing one.

                            It's useful to see a Paradigm as "the way you see things" (that's LITERALLY what it means), and a Mage universe where that's all Paradigm was would be cool... but I don't think that's the Mage world RAW. I might play it as that some day however.

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                            • #15
                              (Look, I'll save you a lot of heartache and me a lot of heartache: There are places where pre-Revised Mage textually posits that the Technocratic model is genuinely predicated on the most basic foundational rules of Reality, full stop. This is in the first Book of Madness. You have officially received Papal Sanction to view the game in your preferred way. I do not think Revised follows this path, and I do not think it is either a necessary or a credible path for the game's thematic or practical interests.)

                              I don't think Reality Zones are relevant to what I'm talking about.

                              Are spirits real in the World of Darkness? (Don't get hung up on crossover rules or other game lines.)


                              I attack people with giant insects both on and off the court.

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