This series of articles' - Paradigm fuurther - goal is to present a short review of last decades of our research and advancement in probing and expanding reality.
I will present a lot of names, of artist that have historical impact on development of certain part of culture, like literature, movie. Each of these ideas was implemented into Paradigm Worlds - in a way. Also, in this articles I try timidly to find the answer to a question: do creatures that 'live' in Paradigm Worlds are fake,real, alive or totally artificial.
Have you ever asked yourself this question: IF I DIE, IS WORLD GONNA CEASE TO EXIST? Yes, quite egocentric, but still interesting. We could translate this into: Is world is just a creation of my mind?
Philosophers advise to go, open any book, and ask yourself, would you be able to write it? If not, then this is an evidence, that world is a creation of many entities. We are not able to write everything - obviously.
TEASING WITH REALITY - Stanislaw Lem
In his book 'Megabit bomb' - Lem writes a short story which I will try to summarize for you.
There are two old friends. They meet after many years. One of them is very excited. He says that he is on a verge of huge discovery. You can read between lines, that he is also worried about the result. He invites friend to a laboratory where experiment is conducted. On place there is just a black box on the floor. There are several wires connected to it.
Scientist presents his machine. 'That box' - he says - 'It is digital human being. Senses are provided through these wires.' His friend is overwhelmed by gravity of success. This is amazing achievement!
But scientist's face changes. Now he is truly frightened. 'No! You don't understand! - he shouts - This human-box is ideally deceived, it cannot tell that is artificial, nor it can count on its senses!'
'I brought you here' - begs scientist - 'So you can prove me in any possible way, that we are not back boxes ourselves'.
That short story presents very interesting concept: humanity evolution leads us to a proof that we have been made by someone else.
Stanislaw Lem's is one of the most challenging intellectually science-fiction writer, but he was translated into so many languages for a reason. He is part philosopher and scientist, I would call him a 'professional futurist'. You may see also his short story from a science fiction fairy tale - The Cyberiad - and learn his sense of humor is no worse than Monty Python's.
pic. Early Paradigm Worlds screen
Paradigm Worlds sentience evolution:
Almost every moddable game has its 'Tolkien' mod, mandatory 'Star Wars' mod (I love them all!), but for some reason - absolutely unknown to me - no one ever made attempt to join them in a single reality. Why!? Sauron or Vader? Nazgul or Jedi? Who would've won? How can you NOT ask yourself these - life-fundamental - questions?
So I admit - at first Paradigm Worlds was supposed to be a pure fun mod, made of an spontaneous challenge to make something that no one ever made before. And make it fun.
But... In time I begun slowly loosing control over my mod. With each new iteration of code - people, then new races, creatures - their shapes begun to be more familiar, personal.
With each new version, creature's races, and cultures gained new details, fragments of past, history. And the world that has its new shape, new map, new territory.
I was feeling responsible for them - in a way.
And then... it started. This - impossible - but also irresistible thought. This long forgotten, Stanislaw Lem's story. That there is a subtle analogy. Please do note: I do compare, not equalize. Vision, where Paradigm Worlds is a form of a black box. And my job is to provide wires to it.
Simultaneously creatures were becoming more and more sentient. I offered them 'wires' of psychology. As you probably know last update of mod enhances inter-creatures relations. Also during last few updates I was slowly replacing LANGUAGE used in mod. For instance I refer to Paradigm Worlds Non-Player Characters [NPC] as Creatures, suggesting some kind of independency and INDIVIDUALITY. One by one, original dialogs in game have been replaced. Last mods update says clearly: We, the Creatures! as a clear statement, a call for freedom. From geopolitics point of view mod introduced conceptions of Nation, core citizen - basic concepts that 'constitute' a free state.
From this perspective you can understand why WEATHER&BATTLEFIELD module had to precise. It was like a weaving a new wire for Paradigm's creatures. Just a short reminder, if you are not a player. This W&B module is a realistic simulation of any creature or soldier behavior in real-time play. It simulates any - also fantastic or futuristic - creature's perfomance (strength, speed, etc.) based on 'hard' data, like weather conditions (temperature, rain/snow), terrain, inventory weight, training and of course character statistics.
A moral dilemma: Should I give life - if I could? Do we have a right to create small Frankensteins imprisoned in digital realities?
A few threads to watch, let's not be too serious about it:
Men in Black II - little world people - link
Another fascinating thought: what is role of a Player? I always underlined Your, Players, role in whole project. Truth is, it is nice to discuss utopian ideas about Artificial Intelligence, but at the end of the day You give sense to the whole project. Using mod as a tool, player creates own story. By Your decisions, things - in game - happen.
Let's dare to ask this question: In eyes of Paradigm creatures, are You a god?
No..., neither me - developer of a Paradigm. We do not know everything, we do mistakes, me especially, so we are not that league. Obviously our - players - superiority is undeniable. We do know that this is just a game. Creatures don't. They cannot save the game. We can. We are aware of this fact.
We can also delete a save, for any reason. Creatures, their world, cease existence (or ExistenZ?). By the way. Is it like our death is so much different? 'Something' just deletes the save and this is it?
A quote from Stanislaw Lem himself:
Human beings should accept some humility. Sometimes we face phenomena the essence of which we are unable to understand. Even if we are equipped with the most modern scientific apparatus and knowledge we are incapable of resolving whether they are accidental or intentional. Newton once said that with respect to nature we are just children playing with shells on the seashore.
EXPERIMENTING WITH REALITY - Philip K. Dick
There is a biography: 'Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick', if anyone is interested in life of this unusual futurists, sci-fi writer. There are amazing stories there, I encourage you to read it. I put it that way, Dick had a life rich of experimenting with reality - metaphorically and literally, he was also struggling with his own life, and that makes his stories so real, psychologically sharp, ruthless, sociopathic. [Built-in dictionary tells me that there is no such word as 'sociopathic'. But I can't find better word to describe this deep cold, cruel indifference - in Dick's characters' dialogs - especially when his alter ego in books deals with woman or how they react and behave. (Dick was married five times, by the way.)
A paradox. Philip K. Dick was ignored by Hollywood until Blade Runner. After that, they sucked him almost dry, but... most interesting is the fact that movie industry still ignores his most important book - UBIK. If you have liked Stanislaw Lem's short story than you ought read Ubik. There was a game - however - have you played it?
Anyway - there is a good story about Dick.
When he started career of a writer, his sci-fi stories were poorly paid. So, Dick, to survive - started to use amphetamine. So he could write more stories. Usually, every day, he was going to a shed, and then write whole day. One day, when he was already awake for too long, Dick had a vision. He was watching clouds, and then they begun to take specific shape. A square, metal face, looking at him. He was aware, that this is hallucination, but decided to treat this incident as an inspiration - and this is how he wrote THE THREE STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH .
There are many stories like that in 'Divine invasions', but it would be very unfair to writer of such power and talent like Dick to just limit his life story to gossips about experimenting with drugs. This book is rather a key, or maybe rather one of many keys which you can use to understand Dick's phenomenon.
If anyone 'should' make a movie based on Dick's Ubik or Stigmata I can't imagine anyone better than Ridley's Scott. Because of Blade Runner, naturally. Dick have seen movie, and was complaining on how much his narration has been changed. Again, it is my personal opinion, I read Dick's novel only one time, I watched Blade Runner over twenty times, but I agree with Dick absolutely I would call Blade Runner as 'inspired' by Dick's novel.
And as it is very rare, almost never possible, this time a movie is better then book - you may shoot me now - but I won't change my mind. This movie is such a classic to scifi, as Julius Cesar's De Bello Gallico to Latin literature.
Note: movies are great culture vessels, but they will never replace literature. They cannot achieve that complexity. They cannot achieve that flexibility. Can you imagine yourself film director using I-Ching to determine evolution of narration in his movie? - this is what Philip K. Dick was doing during writing The Man in the High Castle. (Personally not my favorite, nor the book, neither show).
One of the main characters in Ubik is Dick Runciter. He is also one of the companions you can meet and hire in the Paradigm Worlds.
And paradoxally - Philip K. Dick is a classical writer, from perspective of interpretation his books. Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is a futuristic translation of story about a prophet. A pawky play with concept of messaiah, that could be listed in same place with books like Nikos Kazantzakis' The Last Temptation of Christ (alternative story about prophet and concept of sacrifice) if only... If only Dick wasn't a science fiction writer, which excommunicated him for good from literature mainstream - probably forever.
Another story about Dick. Imagine, that one of the first writers, that perceived Dick as a great talent was... Stanislaw Lem.(see: link) Lem wanted to meet with Dick and invited him to Poland. At begin, Dick was touched by nice gesture, but soon developed paranoia, that Lem is an agent of Polish communist security intelligence. Dick decided that Lem is a part of plot, aiming to kidnap him, as soon he arrives in Poland. They have never met.
There are various version of that story, but you check documents and articles - especially a letter that Philip K. Dick have written to FBI. [link1, link2] But again - that is just an anecdote. We will judge both writers (Lem and Dick) by the concept tools they left us, so we can ask more question ourselves. We will respect them for never-ending search for borders of perception and reality.
This is the end of PART 1 - On the other side of reality - dedicated to literature
you might want to read 2 other parts:
Videodrome - most cyberpunk concept ever created? - dedicated to movies
Simulating the simulacrum: Paradigm Worlds. What is new reality? - where are links meet together