Archive for August 5th, 2010
(More posts on the Quantum Life handbook: Click here).
For those wondering why I’ve veered away from writing about politics and culture, I promise I’ll get back to it. But I’m posting sections from a strange book I found called “Quantum Life: A User’s Guide.” I’ll start limiting that to only once or twice a week moving forward so it doesn’t devour my blog. I’ll also have a “page” set up where readers will be able to go back and read other entries from this guide book. Today I’ll post the third section:
Why Play Quantum Life?
The genius of Sunitolp emerged from a single question: what if individuals existed without knowledge of the nature of reality? What if we did not know that despite having individual identities we are all part of the same whole, connected and interwoven? What if we did not understand that our separate identities come from having a different perspective on existence? What would it be like if we were discrete, separate entities interacting with each other totally disconnected from reality as if we were outside the rest of reality.
Dismissed by others as dealing with fantasy and absurdities, Sunitolp was convinced that the answers to these questions would give us more insight as to what our nature is, who we are both as individual identities and the collective whole. For Sunitolp the reason for this endeavor is self-discovery, to learn about the inner workings of the mind, both individual and collective, and better understand reality and existence.
Emotion: As already noted, we experience emotions but always in a muted form. The knowledge of our connection to each other as aspects of the whole means that any negative thoughts or emotions is quickly pushed aside as other aspects of the whole sense them and are able to comfort and provide guidance. This happens naturally, we don’t even notice it. Positive emotions, on the other hand, are spread out amongst the whole, meaning existence is for all of us primarily an experience of content bliss. (As noted these concepts do not translate well when using a quantum language like English).
Two things would happen if we were disconnected from the rest of the whole. First, pain and negative emotions would not be soothed by the collective whole, so they would be felt intensely and could linger and grow. Second, positive thoughts and sensations would be felt more intensely as well, as they would not be shared. This means an individual could range from bouts of intense joy to deep depression over and over, reacting to changes in perspective. This posed two problems for Sulitolp when making this into a “game.”
How to separate experiences?: Earlier philosophers had theorized and even invented models of a concept called “time” whereby separate events would follow a particular progression. The “problem” with time was that it necessarily untangled reality and fell apart. Yet that untangling is precisely what Sulitolp wanted! Still, there needed to be a medium where untangling did not lead time to collapse. The solution to that dilemma was the key to allowing individuals to experience sensation. Time had to be combined with another concept, “space.” Put together you could create a zone of space-time where separate, discrete “untangled” entities could exist and experience reality as a progression of events.
Sunitolp realized that such an existence would separate one from its knowledge of any connection to the collective whole, and reality would seem bizarre. The world would seem to have a form outside of an individual’s existence. The term for this is a “material world” where the ideas which shape experience and reality would appear not only separate from existence, but even secondary to material existence.
Clearly, the isolation or “loneliness” experienced would be unbearable. In an early version of the model Sunitolp tried to enter space-time and could not — the pain of exposure to the zone was immense. That lead to the next break through: creating a world.
What if there was a way to take individuals and not only diminish their knowledge of reality, but fool them into thinking a material space-time world of discrete entities was simply the way the world was? The key to this is to build on our own concept of identity. Despite the existence of a collective whole, Sunitolp’s explorations were unique to his identity within the whole. The existence of identities (or separate perspectives) sent Sunitolp on a path towards being able to build the Quantum Life program.
Players experience sensations in a reality that is immensely beautiful. This “world” is constructed of images, sounds, and other sensations reflecting ideas dear to the collective whole. In that sense there will be something comforting about the world itself, it contains a taste of the sense of joy experienced as the collective whole (and in Quantum Life, this ‘nature’ is usually prized and adored). The world in which one experiences being disconnected from the collective whole has a beauty that makes life as an isolated entity bearable.
Here Sunitolp worked with others to construct notions of entities ranging from tiny ‘single cell’ creatures who would experience reality on a small very limited level to experiences in different environments with different capacities. To experience the raw emotions of basic primal existence one might experience life as an animal of various sorts in different epochs. The problem with many of these existences it that they allowed raw experience, but not reflection or much growth within each round of play.
The problem: severing ones’ knowledge of the link to the collective whole reduced the capacity for reflection and self-awareness. To gain that, a “core” or “soul” was developed, which would allow players to grow and retain knowledge over multiple rounds. It would not be severed from the collective whole, so players can access the capacity to reflect (and at times find comfort). As it would be subconscious, its impact, while felt, would be mysterious and often unnoticed. This would be a way to develop and retain knowledge through multiple rounds of Quantum Life, and would transport knowledge from those experiences to the collective whole.
It is this aspect of the game, the development of ones’ ‘core’ or ‘soul’ which provides the strongest reason for engaging in the Quantum Life experience.
— The next section, about the soul, is really interesting, but I have to get other work done. I’ll post more from this strange guide book soon!