Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The Nature of the Consensus

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Nature of the Consensus

    What is the nature of the Consensus?

    First, there's the “Consensual Reality” bit, in that Sleepers can't influence reality unless their collective beliefs are aligned: a minority view isn't going to be strong enough to overpower a majority view, all else being equal; and even a majority view may not take hold, if it's opposed by a substantial minority. There's also the matter of Mythic Threads and Hypernarratives, where minority beliefs do have some influence, generally by not directly opposing the majority view: see the last paragraph of the Significant Instruments box on p.588.

    Then there's the fact that Consensus beliefs tend to be localized — or, put another way, the Correspondence Range chart applies to the Consensus every bit as much as it does to the Awakened (likewise with other “separation factors” such as the Time chart and Spirit's Gauntlet ratings; more on these below). The influence of any given Sleeper's beliefs is strongest in his immediate vicinity, and gets weaker as his familiarity with the subject decreases. This is where Reality Zones come from: the residents of a small town have more influence on the nature of reality in that town than they do in the neighboring town, and vice versa. This means that the VA efforts at getting Sleepers to transcend distance (culminating in the Internet) leads to a more homogeneous overall Consensus, as the influence of any given Sleeper can be spread far and wide. Ironically, the fact that the Consensus isn't homogeneous means that it's possible for localized reality zones to suffer from various types of Quiet: the entry for Irrationality Zones (under Localized Reality) ends with a mention of Irrationality Zones that have succumbed to Denial; and more generally, Irrationality Zones can be thought of as pockets of the Consensus that have succumbed to Quiet, usually manifesting as Madness.

    But third, you have Earthly Foundations: aspects of reality that prove stubbornly resistant to the influence of the Consensus. There are several schools of thought about why Earthly Foundations exist: there may indeed be certain truths that are hardwired into reality, and are innately true (what MRev referred to as Cosmological Constants; the opening paragraphs of Technocratic Reality implies that much of modern physics is in fact this kind of Earthly Foundation, with technomagick being an extrapolation on innate truths built into the fabric of reality); there may be influences from other times that are strong enough to endure even in the face of an opposing Consensus today (Historical Inertia; note that the nature of Time is such that the past influences the future much more readily than vice versa); and there may be inhuman entities capable of influencing reality, such as the Greater Spirit Entities mentioned on pp.486–487 or rare Lesser Entities (same pages) that have somehow acquired Avatar-like abilities (arguably, the Technocray's efforts to strengthen the Gauntlet are as much to isolate Conventional Space from these ultraterrestrial influences, granting the Consensus of humanity more of a monopoly on this side of the barrier — which is only effective to the extent that the entity in question is confined to the other side). But regardless of why, the result is the same: there are some things that will be true (or false, as the case may be) even if the local consensus of humanity says otherwise. Note that this allows for a more widespread version of the aforementioned “pockets of Quiet”: an overall disbelief in an Earthly Foundation is arguably an overall case of Consensual Denial.

    That third point is especially significant, since it drives home an important truth — that the Consensus and Reality are not interchangeable terms: the Consensus influences Reality, just as the Awakened do; but it doesn't define Reality. Put more bluntly, Reality doesn't need Magick. This is something that mages generally don't dwell on, since accepting it requires a humility that tends to run counter to the pride that exists at the heart of Magick. But just because you don't believe something, that doesn't make it false.
    Last edited by Dataweaver; 01-03-2016, 12:24 AM.



  • #2
    Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
    What is the nature of the Consensus?

    First, there's the “Consensual Reality” bit, in that Sleepers can't influence reality unless their collective beliefs are aligned: a minority view isn't going to be strong enough to overpower a majority view, all else being equal; and even a majority view may not take hold, if it's opposed by a substantial minority. There's also the matter of Mythic Threads and Hypernarratives, where minority beliefs do have some influence, generally by not directly opposing the majority view: see the last paragraph of the Significant Instruments box on p.588.

    Then there's the fact that Consensus beliefs tend to be localized — or, put another way, the Correspondence Range chart applies to the Consensus every bit as much as it does to the Awakened (likewise with other “separation factors” such as the Time chart and Spirit's Gauntlet ratings; more on these below). The influence of any given Sleeper's beliefs is strongest in his immediate vicinity, and gets weaker as his familiarity with the subject decreases. This is where Reality Zones come from: the residents of a small town have more influence on the nature of reality in that town than they do in the neighboring town, and vice versa. This means that the VA efforts at getting Sleepers to transcend distance (culminating in the Internet) leads to a more homogeneous overall Consensus, as the influence of any given Sleeper can be spread far and wide. Ironically, the fact that the Consensus isn't homogeneous means that it's possible for localized reality zones to suffer from various types of Quiet: the entry for Irrationality Zones (under Localized Reality) ends with a mention of Irrationality Zones that have succumbed to Denial; and more generally, Irrationality Zones can be thought of as pockets of the Consensus that have succumbed to Quiet, usually manifesting as Madness.

    But third, you have Earthly Foundations: aspects of reality that prove stubbornly resistant to the influence of the Consensus. There are several schools of thought about why Earthly Foundations exist: there may indeed be certain truths that are hardwired into reality, and are innately true (what MRev referred to as Cosmological Constants; the opening paragraphs of Technocratic Reality implies that much of modern physics is in fact this kind of Earthly Foundation, with technomagick being an extrapolation on innate truths built into the fabric of reality); there may be influences from other times that are strong enough to endure even in the face of an opposing Consensus today (Historical Inertia; note that the nature of Time is such that the past influences the future much more readily than vice versa); and there may be inhuman entities capable of influencing reality, such as the Greater Spirit Entities mentioned on pp.486–487 or rare Lesser Entities (same pages) that have somehow acquired Avatar-like abilities (arguably, the Technocray's efforts to strengthen the Gauntlet are as much to isolate Conventional Space from these ultraterrestrial influences, granting the Consensus of humanity more of a monopoly on this side of the barrier — which is only effective to the extent that the entity in question is confined to the other side). But regardless of why, the result is the same: there are some things that will be true (or false, as the case may be) even if the local consensus of humanity says otherwise. Note that this allows for a more widespread version of the aforementioned “pockets of Quiet”: an overall disbelief in an Earthly Foundation is arguably an overall case of Consensual Denial.

    That third point is especially significant, since it drives home an important truth — that the Consensus and Reality are not interchangeable terms: the Consensus influences Reality, just as the Awakened do; but it doesn't define Reality. Put more bluntly, Reality doesn't need Magick. This is something that mages generally don't dwell on, since accepting it requires a humility that tends to run counter to the pride that exists at the heart of Magick. But just because you don't believe something, that doesn't make it false.
    Good analysis.


    Writer, publisher, performer
    Mostly he/his, sometimes she/her IRL https://adam-lowe.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
      What is the nature of the Consensus?

      But third, you have Earthly Foundations: aspects of reality that prove stubbornly resistant to the influence of the Consensus. There are several schools of thought about why Earthly Foundations exist: there may indeed be certain truths that are hardwired into reality, and are innately true (what MRev referred to as Cosmological Constants; the opening paragraphs of Technocratic Reality implies that much of modern physics is in fact this kind of Earthly Foundation, with technomagick being an extrapolation on innate truths built into the fabric of reality); there may be influences from other times that are strong enough to endure even in the face of an opposing Consensus today (Historical Inertia; note that the nature of Time is such that the past influences the future much more readily than vice versa); and there may be inhuman entities capable of influencing reality, such as the Greater Spirit Entities mentioned on pp.486–487 or rare Lesser Entities (same pages) that have somehow acquired Avatar-like abilities (arguably, the Technocray's efforts to strengthen the Gauntlet are as much to isolate Conventional Space from these ultraterrestrial influences, granting the Consensus of humanity more of a monopoly on this side of the barrier — which is only effective to the extent that the entity in question is confined to the other side). But regardless of why, the result is the same: there are some things that will be true (or false, as the case may be) even if the local consensus of humanity says otherwise. Note that this allows for a more widespread version of the aforementioned “pockets of Quiet”: an overall disbelief in an Earthly Foundation is arguably an overall case of Consensual Denial.
      An interesting point a friend had made is that some books seemed to hint that the earthly foundations are maintained by the Celestine level spirits and above, and given the list of "Awakened" spirits from previous editions it seemed entirely possible.

      Though that would mean a mage technically Can move the moon, he just has to ask luna's permission first, a scary concept.

      Comment


      • #4
        That's somethig I was thinking for a while. If there were no humans, there would be no consensus, but there would still exist a reality. A default one. Consensus don't create reality only slightly shape it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Prometheas View Post
          An interesting point a friend had made is that some books seemed to hint that the earthly foundations are maintained by the Celestine level spirits and above, and given the list of “Awakened” spirits from previous editions it seemed entirely possible.

          Though that would mean a mage technically Can move the moon, he just has to ask luna's permission first, a scary concept.
          The distinction between Earthly Foundations that simply are and Earthly Foundations that are the result of a Greater Spirit Entity is very fuzzy, and in practical terms not all that important. But it's the sort of thing that a Chorister and a Void Engineer might argue about, with the Chorister arguing that all Earthly Foundations are ultimately there by the Will of the One and the Void Engineer arguing that they're all innate properties of the Void.

          Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
          That's somethig I was thinking for a while. If there were no humans, there would be no consensus, but there would still exist a reality. A default one. Consensus don't create reality only slightly shape it.
          Right; though I wouldn't put the word “slightly” in there: the changes that the Consensus imposes on Reality can be extensive and enduring.


          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
            That's somethig I was thinking for a while. If there were no humans, there would be no consensus, but there would still exist a reality. A default one. Consensus don't create reality only slightly shape it.
            Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
            Right; though I wouldn't put the word “slightly” in there: the changes that the Consensus imposes on Reality can be extensive and enduring.
            The consensus is powerful enough that, according to some, it turned an area once filled with Ether, traversable by mere airships and holding several inhabited, mysterious worlds into a dark, cold vacuum and dead rocks.
            Last edited by Ambrosia; 01-03-2016, 05:37 PM.


            cWoD Dice Probability Chart ||| cWoD Dice Statistics Calculator ||| cWoD Alternative Armor System
            cWoD Alternative Damage Roll System ||| My explanation of cWoD Damage Levels ||| 'Interesting' Strength Attribute Stuff
            EXPLOSIVE cWoD STUFF! ||| How Technocrats don't think they are Mages

            Comment


            • #7
              Personally I like to think of Consensus as a point of view and that it is the subjective point of view of reality by the masses. What makes Mages special is that they are able to alter their point of view giving them a better or just different look at reality. Think of a cylinder, from one side it looks like a rectangle(masses and Consensus) but from another it looks like a circle(a Mage).

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Ambrosia View Post
                The consensus is powerful enough that, according to some, it turned an area once filled with Ether, traversable by mere airships and holding several inhabited, mysterious worlds into a dark, cold vacuum and dead rocks.
                There's a rote for that (in the Void Engineer Convention Book).

                These days, the event you're talking about is the ongoing spread of Conventional Space, which has moved from the edge of the atmosphere to the orbit of the moon to the asteroid belt. Etherspace still exists; its just not as accessible.
                Last edited by Dataweaver; 01-03-2016, 09:10 PM.


                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ambrosia View Post
                  The consensus is powerful enough that, according to some, it turned an area once filled with Ether, traversable by mere airships and holding several inhabited, mysterious worlds into a dark, cold vacuum and dead rocks.
                  Did it, though? One could argue that it just shunted people into the Umbra by default before and now shunts them into the real space.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Even if that's the case, it managed to make a relatively niche almost unvisited layer of the Umbra part of the Gaia Realm and locked all other layers behind the Gauntlet.

                    ...

                    How I interpret the Consensus amounts to it being a Spirit 4/DSci 4-like effect that, instead of being Vulgar and just outright overriding local 'amplitudes' of possible models of reality, it 'nudges' them in favor of the source human's beliefs. However, because humans can and do relate to one another, and form societies with rules, these inclinations tend to reinforce in response to one another - at least, in rejection of something that "breaks the rules". An individual's influence is generally 'washed out' by the giant tumult of either neutralizing or reinforcing beliefs in the general area, and isn't usually strong enough on its own when there isn't a Consensus. This also affects things like vampires and Bygones, to a degree. (Werewolves, of course, are so heavily rooted via the Delirium that they're nearly immune.)

                    The Earthly Foundations are generally not affected by this - they've been part of human experience for so long that we almost instinctively accept them and support them.

                    By this model, a Quiet Consensus is effectively a Consensus web that actively rejects other Consensus webs, and possibly the Earthly Foundations. The latter would be baaaaad, in much the way a Quiet 10 Marauder is - they're effectively pushing themselves away from the Earth's shared basis of understanding.

                    The Gauntlet is the wall between the possibilities that are acceptable, and the possibilities that are rejected but still 'there', though it's also a different 'location'. The Umbra is weird like that.

                    All Mages still generate Consensus to a degree - after all, the Umbra looks how you expect it to a large part of the time - though most are sufficiently open to "weird shit going on" that it's no more noticeable than any individual Sleeper's influence on the Consensus, and doesn't cause Paradox to backlash. The exceptions to the 'open to weird shit' are Sleepwalkers - who are basically just like normal Sleepers except where 'accepted' things are concerned - and Marauders, who are surrounded in a constant "forceful" Consensus effect of own delusions.

                    In absence of the Consensus's greater support net, reality defaults back to either Earthly/Solar Foundations (in the case of the Gaiasphere and Near Umbra) or true Cosmological Constants. That's partly the explanation for 'variations' in the Curse of Caine - the core can't be changed, but added disadvantages or a bit of easing the original curse for conforming to the myths might be possible. A human in the Umbra will alter it only insofar as their perceptions - they don't have enough 'grip' to actually force the surroundings instead of being pushed toward a perceptual layer. Unless they're a Marauder.

                    Fucking Marauders.

                    ...

                    It's also worth note that Consensus paradigm shifts don't just establish tremendous effects and shift how normal reality behaves, they also can change how magick itself behaves to a degree. Blowing up a castle wall might have used to be a Forces 5 effect, where nowadays it's Forces 3 or (with a mundane piece of artillery that isn't quite up to the task) 2.
                    Last edited by Quantumboost; 01-07-2016, 03:43 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      On that note, M20 kind of actually finally gives somewhat of a RAW number of people that a Mage requires to go 'I do believe', in order to turn a vulgar effect into a very localized coincidence for a ritual.

                      Page 342:

                      If you’ve got over 100 people involved, certain vulgar
                      Effects (summonings, gateways, raisings of the dead,
                      and so forth) may be considered coincidental if there
                      are no other witnesses around to contradict that impression.
                      A solitary rite on the Moors is far more effective in that
                      regard than a concert in a nightclub downtown.
                      This of course is not the same as areas where a small culture or tribe has established their own consensus over time, or that simply has been untouched by modern society in a while..those are something different; This is sudden and temporary, a way to subvert the consensus of an area for a single act with a very large cult...hence a single witness being able to disrupt it all as the normal local state of consensus just needs one of its mental associates to witness and go 'wat' in order to ruin the effort.


                      cWoD Dice Probability Chart ||| cWoD Dice Statistics Calculator ||| cWoD Alternative Armor System
                      cWoD Alternative Damage Roll System ||| My explanation of cWoD Damage Levels ||| 'Interesting' Strength Attribute Stuff
                      EXPLOSIVE cWoD STUFF! ||| How Technocrats don't think they are Mages

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Heading some links from another thread that where I discuss the subject more in depth. I will be revising this post soon, when I have more time for more details.

                        http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...52#post1479352
                        http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...79#post1479379
                        http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...43#post1479443
                        http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...59#post1479459
                        http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...50#post1479550
                        http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...52#post1479552
                        One of the things that I found while browsing the internet was that a large portion of the world Still believes in magic in some form. At least 30% of americans believe in astrology, 41% believe n psychic powers, 42% believe in some form os new-age spiritual energy(not counting astrology or psychic powers), 85% of the human race is religious, Ireland Still doesn't pave over fairy circles because old beliefs are held by the majority even in public office, etc. And that is all just Modern Belief in the IRL version of earth, which is suppose to be orders of magnitude less superstitious and well adjusted
                        Last edited by Dataweaver; 08-25-2022, 07:49 PM.


                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm usually not into necro, but this is a useful topic. A lot of people seem to believe that existence is all wibbly wobbly in Mage, and it's ovbviously not.


                          What doesn't kill you, makes you... stranger.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Asmodai View Post
                            I'm usually not into necro, but this is a useful topic. A lot of people seem to believe that existence is all wibbly wobbly in Mage, and it's ovbviously not.
                            Which just makes the game become even more of a mess than it is. So, where is the line drawned in the sand? Is gravity real real, but what about electromagnetism? What about strong and weak nuclear forces?

                            Is Relativity real? Because, you know, it makes no sense for gravity to be real but not Relativity. Unless gravity is some sort of super Spirit that enjoys pulling everything to the Earth's center because of reasons.

                            This approach of saying that things are half matter, half "imagination" just simply do NOT work, and it would be preferable if everything was a code on the Matrix or Vishnu's dream.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The distinction in terms of relevancy in the setting is between “what things are true because that's what the Consensus says?” and “what things are true independent of what the Consensus says?” I make no judgment on why the latter is a thing; only that it is a thing.


                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X