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Re: Summarizing beliefs The little pamphlet Flatland can be stretched into a relevant metaphor: People outside your beliefs generally want to feel the edges and angles nearest them, not the center or the far side. They often want the illusion that your beliefs form a regular shape, with its invisible parts predictable from the visible ones.

I personally look for why someone has asked about my beliefs, and summarize from the appropriate angle accordingly. Are they looking for something curious to make conversation about? Seeking common ground to nurture friendship? Looking to learn about a specific discipline that I happen to have studied? Feeling out whether they can consider me trustworthy for a specific purpose? Hoping to learn how to mimic some accomplishment that my beliefs have facilitated for me? Often, the question they may not know they're really asking is barely related to my beliefs at all.

I find that it's extremely rare, and often rather suspicious, for others to want to know exactly and only how my beliefs look to me from my point of view. There's almost always another layer of meaning to the question they ask, so I find it far more useful to attend to that other layer which differentiates inquiries from one another, than to the face value of the question itself.

August 16, 2018, 04:34:12 am
Re: Objections to theism Thorough reasoning... but I think a couple of your points do not stand well on their own.

3. Something unnatural and against natural cannot rise from nature.

Your only preceding definition of "unnatural" was to equate it to the UPR.

4. Nature does not work the way the UPR occurred.

This feels tautological: If we choose a definition of "natural" such that the UPR defies it, then of course nature doesn't work that way.

However, what's to keep us from choosing a definition of "natural" along the lines of "anything which has been accurately observed to occur on Earth must necessarily be permissible by the laws of nature"? Choose such a definition and suddenly, the UPR's status as an accurately observable phenomenon (assuming it holds such status, as we do) is necessary and sufficient to define it as some part of how nature works.

What part of science isn't founded on the definition of "truth" as "things we can accurately and reproducibly observe"?

The weakness here is in the reproducibly part, not the observation part. I suspect from this initial attempt to unpack the apparent tautology that you might have better luck claiming that the unreproducibility of an observation proves that any existing claims about that observation's root cause are necessarily incomplete. Then again, that would paint you into a corner from which you could only prove the completeness of the Setian explanation for your observation by reproducing the UPR in some way, so it may be a poorly chosen direction after all.

- Born into right religion

Setianism is stronger than you're giving it credit for here in that it seems a vast majority of adherents choose it as adults, and aren't "born into" it at all. Though you'd need some sort of statistics to argue that as a point, a poll on an official website or forum about whether respondents were born into the religion or chose it as adults would likely suffice.

August 31, 2018, 03:58:32 am
Re: How would you describe the LHP? You may wish to ignore this, as it reads like the brokenly math-esque side of philosophy that almost died with state-mandated Christianity. But I shall post anyway.

I've been asked to write a short piece on the LHP, how it is different to the RHP and why it is not necessarily evil.

That's an interesting request. May I inquire whether it came to you in that phrasing, or whether you added the "why it is not necessarily evil" constraint yourself to some other request for writing? If someone hands you the assignment of "justify why a thing you believe to be evil might not be", they are trying to change your mind or expand your worldview. That's fine if you consent to it, but only a very specific sort of individual goes editing others' realities without their consent.

With that disclaimer out of the way... One way to view the LHP is the exact opposite of the RHP. This sounds silly, but it's actually a useful generalization -- any useful definition of either path will be itself a tool to sort all possible beliefs into being LHP or RHP. If we require our definition of the paths to sort all beliefs in this way, then we can prove that for *any* definition of the paths, if RHP has any evil beliefs, LHP cannot consist only of evil beliefs.

Let's require our definition to split all beliefs into being one path or the other, and forbid a path from containing a belief and its opposite, since self-contradictory beliefs are nonsensicalfnord. Then whatever we get when we form the opposite of a RHP belief, is by definition an LHP belief. Whether there are any humans who happen to hold a particular LHP belief bears no relation to whether that belief is defined as LHP -- 42 doesn't cease being a number just because you don't happen to have 42 of something. Anyways, all you have to do then is find a RHP belief that leads to evil in the world, and imagine its LHP opposite (which necessarily does not lead to evil). Or find a RHP belief that restricts its believer from doing an act you'd consider good, and construct the LHP opposite that then forces its believer to do the thing you'd consider good.

I guess that simplified case works because I define a belief's "being evil" as "having an evil impact on the world", and "being good" as "having good effects". If you believe that a belief which leads to an "evil" in the world can nevertheless be "good" simply by existing -- if good and evil are axioms in your system of belief rather than results derived from more basic axioms -- it's possible that nothing operating within that system can nor should convince you that any alternate beliefs are good.

August 31, 2018, 04:14:52 am
If a man became a god... ...and wished to blaspheme, would he have to take his own name in vain?
September 04, 2018, 01:53:32 am
Re: How would you describe the LHP?
but only a very specific sort of individual goes editing others' realities without their consent.

You sure? Just turn on the tv and watch some ads and tell me how those responsible for these ads asked you for your consent.

Yes, I am sure. I'm sure, because my initial remark was a somewhat veiled moral judgement on whether I consider it appropriate to edit others' realities without consent. The fact that advertisers consider it acceptable and desirable to go around rebalancing viewers' self-perceived needs tells me everything I need to know about whose interests they prioritize. Relatedly, I don't opt in to TV, and rarely opt in to radio, because it's inconvenient to constantly have to do personal work to counteract the advertisers' influences and the value added to my life by the media is lower than the value removed by dealing with its spam. In the world at large, such as driving down the road and seeing a billboard or overhearing a television in a waiting room, it's generally less impact on my life to do that work to counteract the ads' effect on me than to attempt to change the environment.

But your answer is based on the assumption that LHP and RHP would be defined by what the adherents believe.
I don't think that's a good way to define them. Not only are there certainly beliefs held by both sides, but also I think it's more about how one came to these beliefs than what exactly they are.

I guess we're gonna have to disagree there, then, or we're using highly incompatible definitions of "it" in the portion I underlined.

I personally think the only definitions of a belief system with the potential to house a constructive conversation with an adherent to that system are those with which an adherent to the system can agree. A "how-one-came-in" definitions is not guaranteed to meet that criterion, but all "what-the-adherent-believes" one rather tautologically will.

There's also the problem of repeatability: A given stimulus could have opposite effects on different individuals based on their circumstances. Let's say the stimulus is a believer's sibling dying: One believer might redouble their faith in response, whereas another might be prompted by the event to re-examine, question, and eventually discard their old beliefs. If that same stimulus can place one person on path A, and just as certainly place another person on path B, I don't see how that stimulus can be said to differentiate between the paths in a useful manner.

I think the actions or observable features common to all self-proclaimed and group-accepted members of a given group are the most useful unifying force to examine when characterizing the group as a whole, because anything that varies greatly between group members will by definition not be useful for predicting whether someone can be classified as a member of that group.

Then again, this is all from a view of LHP and RHP as cultural and memetic phenomena that exist within society -- it's from the perspective of looking at the parts of the paths that someone on neither can observe and experience. If you want to define the paths by features which only a participant can perceive, your definition simultaneously becomes far more accurate to the people who don't need it because they're already there, and far less useful to anyone so far away from the paths that they need general guidance about them.

September 05, 2018, 05:19:05 pm
Re: Objections to theism
"Nature" seems to be seen as the outside, deterministic material world. If that is nature, the mind appears unnatural. But in another sense it is ALL natural, just two different natural substances with different properties that interact with each out. It's hard to use the best language in such a case.

Indeed it is. A recent reread of R.A.W.'s truly lovely "Quantum Psychology" reminded me of the astonishing difficulty that physics has encountered in attempting to prove that an "outside, deterministic material world" "exists" at all :)

September 05, 2018, 05:23:25 pm
Re: O.S County Fair - Sigilcraft (Interest Check and Pilot) Taking this a direction rather divorced from Tarot, may I offer you a sigil:

If you'd rather spot the 3D thing I hold in my head when thinking it, a shaded copy:

If you'd rather stop spotting 3D things, here's as a silhouette:

World is a tough concept to sigilize, especially within my personal preferences for how I like sigils to look. However, I feel like this crosses enough dimensions of "world" to be worth submitting:

First, the overall form alludes to the alchemical symbol for "earth". This catches the first gloss, of "world" as "where we live", or "that thing you can feel on top of" if you take the "cute naked chick transcended to a sensation of power and that's why there's no literal earth on the earth card" tarot interpretation.

As to the slice portrayed through the "cone": It's the interpretation of "the world" as a single location on a timeline. In visualizing time an interpretation of space with time as a linear dimension, I view "the world" as the single point at which a cone of (pasts which could have led to this present) touches a cone of (futures that this present could lead to). A simple reassignment of the meanings of dimensions can easily yield a visualization in which "the world" is a plane, slicing along a space of possibilities and leaving behind it a solidified past. That's the visualization that I'm alluding to by portraying the "future" section as hollow, and the "past" section as solid, when this sigil is viewed as a physical object. And yes, that time stuff fits in a sigil of the world -- scratch even the surface of modern physics and you'll notice that the barriers between "where" and "when" are illusory at best.

I drew this sigil as a 3D shape pentagonal in cross section for 2 reasons: First, you'll get a pentacle if you try to connect all the corners of any plane through it, just as one inevitably finds oneself in occult or metaphysical studies when one seeks a common thread of meaning between the disparate corners of human knowledge and experience. Second, my thought about the nature of "reality" has been shaped greatly by ideologies that view "the real world" as the "realm of agreement" or "realm of consensus" shared by individuals (I've met it in both Temple of the Vampire and DKMU writings so far). The key thing about the shared world as Consensus is that there is necessarily always at least one additional side to the present invisible to any given observer, and often only imaginable in the future as well. No matter which way you look at a pentagonal pyramid, you'll never see all the sides at once thanks to the constraints of 3-space.

And if you don't have the kind of brain that instantly turns a line drawing into a 3D shape, I'm sure you can spot both the dancing lady and Coyote's face in it. They're there too.

(and if the reader lives a decade hence and imgur is no more and un backed up, you can construct the sigil easily yourself. Draw a pyramid with a pentagonal base, one point of the cross section facing toward the viewer, point downward. Cut a horizontal slice from the pyramid, below its center. Slice thickness is such that you see perfect little v shapes cut into the outer sides of the form's silhouette. Draw in the lines so the bit below the slice looks solid, and the bit above the slide looks hollow. Voila, you have the sigil discussed herein!)

September 13, 2018, 10:25:27 pm
Re: O.S County Fair - Sigilcraft (Interest Check and Pilot)
@idgo Very unconventional - Before reading your post I wouldn't necessarily consider something like this a sigil, but seeing your submission has changed my mind. I dig the simplicity, which I'm afraid is the exact opposite of the piece I made. Honestly my favorite thing about it is the 2d readings you mention - I'm able to hold both the 3d and 2d perspectives in my mind at once with pretty good success, which certainly makes it more powerful IMO.

Thanks! I view sigils as resembling words, sentences, or paragraphs in function. As with language, there's a lot of leeway to choose whether to put a sigil's details in the things you're supposed to already know about it (you just have to know that the letter "I" is also the word I and refers to the Self of the speaker as well as the roman numeral for 1), versus the things it holds itself ("footstool" is a stool for your feet because of course it is). Words and letters used more commonly do well to be easy to write or draw accurately, or else they will get simplified into easier-to-replicate shapes with over-use. Check out the alleged history of the alphabet we're using right now, such as, for an example.

I personally prefer a World sigil to fall near the easy-to-draw end of that spectrum, because I would expect to often use it as a component of larger works (I'd use it as a subset of a sigil for "world peace" or "world travel" or "seeing the world through someone else's eyes"), so a burdensomely complex "world" symbol would not suit my needs at all.

As for the sense of "looking like a sigil" -- my view of what "looks like sigils" is formed in large part by runes and alphabets, and in smaller part by Chaos magic. For instance, Ellis ( is super simple, because it just means "this place is linked"... whereas Fotamecus ( is a bit more complex.

A lot of the more ornate sigils in this thread read more to my eye like a summoning circle or full ritual -- an amalgam of extant sub-sigils, as it were. My reservations about using such an explicitly spelled-out "program" for World in my own work are twofold:
  • First, the aforementioned difficulty in consistent and accurate reproduction of the sigil, especially when drawn small or as part of a larger piece.
  • Second, I fear that spelling out everything which World is within the sigil is quite limiting: If I put each of my thoughts about World as a separate part of the sigil, then learn a new thought about World, where does the representation of that new thought go? Does it have to be a second-class part of World, compared to the ideas present at sigil creation time, when using that sigil? Or does the whole sigil have to be rewritten and redesigned to reflect the new understanding? I've rather lazily sidestepped the problem entirely by leaving mine's interpretations quite vague -- most of its meaning is tacked on to study of it, rather than intrinsic to the shape in the explicit way that a sub-sigil is.

However, for a practitioner who uses the act of drawing a sigil as a meditation on its meaning, other submissions in this thread would be vastly superior to mine! Mine is nigh impossible to draw "right" without guide lines that are subsequently erased, which is absolutely inappropriate for many ritual media.

September 18, 2018, 12:41:27 am
Re: O.S County Fair - Sigilcraft (Interest Check and Pilot) @olive Thank you for the video! The one "drawback" of spending half an hour staring at your sigil is that I can no longer unsee a happy little face in it:

September 25, 2018, 01:50:32 am
Re: O.S County Fair - Sigilcraft (Interest Check and Pilot) @Onyx Nice one! Would it be out of line to request your preferred technique for geometrically constructing this one?

I got a rather delightful meditation out of trying to reverse engineer possible construction techniques. Upon extensive examination, I have concluded that my current favorite section of your sigil is what I have christened The Derpy Star:

I like it because finding the perspective from which it looks as flat and regular as its 2 friends requires a foray into imagining 4D space, from which vantage point the "whole world" of 3-space can be far more readily contemplated.

Edit: Actually the projection of infinitely recursive stars in which your sigil is drawn is an exceedingly fun space to dig for patterns in...

September 25, 2018, 03:12:17 am