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An exploration of metaphysical concepts in fiction: consensus reality Scribe 07/28/2021 (Wed) 11:12:19 No. 245
The idea of the nature of all aspects, laws, entities, and phenomena of reality (aka. absolutely everything and everyone in existence) re-writing itself to match with the majority agreement of all the minds of the universe as to what it should be (consciously or unconsciously). This premise is similar to "mage: the ascension" except that it really explores what this premise of the aggregate psychic influence of mental activity over reality itself would mean, it would not just mean changing of phenomena in the present, but in the past or future as well (like if enough minds believe the holohoax happened, then the evidence in the present would change to indicate a past where it did happen, and a time-traveler to this past would end up in an alternative universe where it had occurred as claimed, unless most minds in the present also believed most minds in this past believed that the holohaox wasn't happening, which would cause the time-traveler to show up in a past where it didn't happen, but from a present where the past was changed from the present to make the present as if it had occurred back then, because the past consensus would warp reality to make it so that the holohoax wasn't happening the moment the time-traveler arrived), it would be able to affect itself, like altering what realities people's mental power goes towards, or straight up creating or deleting people with minds that could contribute to determining what the aggregate consensus on reality is, and the strange idea of making an exception for one species, normal humans, as the sole contributors to the "vote" on what their reality is going to be like is rather arbitrary, what if all minds, including those of animals and even aliens, were to have a "vote"? last deviation is the idea of belief being the sole form of mental activity that contributes to the nature of reality, it might be the strongest kind of mental activity, but the mind has all sorts of mental phenomena going on, for example, imagination and fantasy or thought and emotion, if belief has an influence, surely these should as well? The setting is one where the existence of magic means that all minds can warp reality, any kind of mental activity exerts some level of influence upon the nature of existence. The degree of psychic ability that any mental activity has to alter the world depends on various factors, like how complex the mind is, how close the mind is to what it's affecting, the nature of the mental activity itself, the level of consciousness of the mental activity, the strength of that mental activity, and the duration the mental activity occurs over. The strongest kind of influence would be the most complex kind of mind believing with the greatest level of certainty and with the greatest force of will, at the most forefront of it's own consciousness, for the longest period of time, about some phenomena occupying the exact same space as itself, something usually describing the a priori knowledge of a mind about it's own existence. Since the mental activity of every mind exerts some degree of influence over the way things are, multiple minds can be in disagreement with one another, and even one mind can pull existence in multiple conflicting directions at once just by disagreeing with itself, reality can be pulled in multiple directions by the contradictions between the different potential realities that the actual reality is being pulled towards, in this case, the potential reality with the greatest amount of psychic power behind it is the one which becomes the actual reality. In the rare cases of ties, the nature of some phenomena may be equally disputed as being multiple possibilities that are equally backed by psychic power, and in addition to being supported by perfectly equal amounts of psychic energy, these possibilities are backed by more psychic energy than any other, in such cases, the ties are settled by going through the closest minds to the phenomena and whichever possibility being tied for gets the first bit of psychic power that breaks the tie in favor of one of the tied possibilities determines the nature of the contested phenomena, locality matters (also, most of these exceedingly rare events are resolved immediately without ever being noticed). Any aspect of reality can be affected by the influence of mental activity, including the minds of others and the mental activity produced by them, in such cases, the affected minds would influence reality in accordance with their new states, thus the consensus could theoretically affect itself. Since the consensus could create the existence of new minds, or remove existing minds from existence (such as the consensus causing the creation or erasure of people), and the presence or absence of those minds would include the presence or absence of their mental activity, those new minds that are created by the consensus would create a new contributution to it, and those existing minds which are deleted by the consensus would take their contribution with them, in both cases, this would only affect their contributions towards the consensus in the present and going forward, should there be changes made to their past existence by the consensus, their contributions to it in the altered past would only be observable to one who enters this past from the present after the consensus of the past had been retroactively altered, not just by the creation or erasure of minds that existed in the past, but also by the alteration of what way the minds that existed in the past had contributed to the consensus of their time (see below). The consensus can not only affect the present and future state of reality, but also it's past and future states, should the consensus influence the past to have been a certain way, all of reality would warp itself to be consistent with having come from that version of the past, should the consensus influence the future to be a certain way, the future would warp itself to fulfill this prediction. This makes time-travel more like stepping into another world entirely, as going back to a past that the consensus of the present had altered is not going back to the "true" past that existed pre-alteration. Furthermore, if the consensus on the present had altered the consensus of the past, that past consensus would not have any influence on the time-travelers reality before they went back in time, since their minds wouldn't be present to exert any influence on reality, but after doing so, the time-traveler is now in a world where the consensus is different, and therefore reality will warp itself to match with that new consensus, since the time-traveler's influence is going to be easily overpowered by the influence of the minds of everyone else in that version of the past, and if this consensus of the past was created by a consensus of the present, it's possibly a consensus that never created a reality before, thus the time-traveler is trapped in a brand new version of reality without precedent (whether they are aware of this or not). This is because only minds that are active in the present can contribute to determining the nature of reality at any point in time, a mind that has ceased to generate any activity or which has yet to begin doing so does not have it's contributions factored in to the state of reality at the time. A time-traveler going to the future would have the same experience, as the existing consensus of the future, which may or may not have been influenced by the consensus of the present, would overpower the time-traveler and leave them trapped in a reality that is produced by that future consensus, just as with the case of travel to the past, time-travel in this setting is potentially like stepping into an alternate reality, however, normally the time-traveler wouldn't notice since the differences between produced realities would not likely be readily noticeable. Still, history is no longer an exact science in such a setting.
Still, history is much less of an exact science in such a setting. Mind control is another topic that the consensus nature of reality has an influence on, since the consensus can affect even the minds that contribute to it, changing the nature of their contributions, someone who could synchronize the mental activity of enough minds to direct more than 50% of the mental power could use that to take over all the remaining minds and their mental power, seizing command of 100%, and becoming omnipotent in the process, half becomes all, this is purely theoretical, and in practical terms, it's likely to be nigh-impossible to achieve. The last thing worth mentioning on this topic is higher planes of existence, while the majority of psychic power goes towards making one version of our reality "real", there are other realities that exist on a "higher" planes of existence, which exist in layers above the "real world", the majority reality that makes up the "real world" is just the first layer of these many worlds, all of which follow the same rules with regards to their nature and how they relate to the minds inhabiting them as the first layer does. The second layer is full of the concepts that contradict those actualized in the "real world" and came in second place with regard to their existence being supported by psychic power. The third layer is the same, the reality that contradicts both the first and second layers, and is third most supported by psychic power. This goes on and on, each new layer contradicting all the ones below, with the next least amount of psychic support behind their contents, and as you ascend these higher realities, they begin to have less and less in common with the one on the "surface" that you originated from (the "real world"). Eventually you get to worlds of pure fantasy, imagination, dreams, and nightmares. Later you go from worlds more supported by the conscious minds to the ones supported more by the unconscious ones, the collective unconscious, full of things that are less solid and more abstract in nature. Beyond this, you come to the more personalized realities, those that exist in the minds of only a few, and later only in the minds of the one, entering one of these many, many worlds is essentially entering into the minds of specific beings. Like these higher realities as a whole, each of these more personal mental worlds are also layered, going from the realities most supported by the mental power of these/this minds/mind, to the ones that are contradictory to their lower layers and less supported, going from the most surface level and conscious, to the most primal and unconscious. Further down the line from here is a void that is the last layer which is safe to visit, going to the next layer out means a very special kind of doom for the unfortunate traveller. If a traveler were to enter the layer past this void, it would result in them instead entering their own personal mental reality, one that traps them in a prison of their own mind in which they are their own jailer, from which escape would be nigh-impossible, and even if they did escape, they'd never be know it, since they'd not be able to tell if the world they are in is one of their own making or not. On the plus side, someone in this world is pretty much god, having absolute power over this world of their creation, on the downside, they are absolutely alone, nothing happens that isn't their mind's own doing, they only keep company with themselves. Each layer is separated from the next by a barrier, the barriers closer to the "real world" are stronger than the ones further out from it, the barrier separating the first and second layer being the strongest, and the one between the void and the mental prison beyond being the weakest. No barrier is absolute, and these layers of reality can and do affect one another, such as when something from one plane of existence comes into another. The barriers between realities becomes weaker the closer the amount psychic power between the two realities is to one another, the barrier is weakest where the higher reality is only very slightly less supported than the lower one, and the reverse is also true, the barrier becomes stronger in places where the difference between the amount of psychic power backing the different versions of reality on either end is greater.
>>245 Yeah this is a fine white wolf product. Or was. A fun game that required some interesting lateral thinking. A fascinating setting. Wraith, also takes a rather novel look at reality. Mummy is skippable. Never played werewolf. Obviously I have played more cwod vampire then I would care to admit. Nice write up. Will read in full later.
>>246 Forgot to mention, There would also be planes of reality that correlate to imagined higher realms of reality, somewhere around the realms of fantasy are, depending on how strongly supported they are by psychic energy. For example, heaven, hell, and limbo/purgatory is widely believed to exist by many people, so it would be quite strongly supported, and thus closer to the "real world" layer of reality, comparatively few believe in the realms of faeryland, such as elpheim and nibelheim, and thus they'd be further out. Same goes for the spirit world of animism/shamanism and the higher realms associated with polytheist/pagan religions like those of egyptian/sumerian and greek/roman mythology, yet all of these realities are real, with their own native entities (gods, spirits, etc.), histories (the worlds of abrahamic myth hold to every variation of the abrahamic story being true, in one, the world really was created by god in six days, the garden of eden was also true, as was the tale of cain, abel, and seth, in such worlds, the creationists are right, and there is even a variation for the flat earthers, every version of the story of lillith, and even the mormons get theirs).
>>248 Add to that the bygone worlds of things once supported by mental energy, but no longer, due to living on on the residual energy left behind by minds that no longer support them, their layers are organized by a combination of how strong their support once was and how long ago the minds that gave this support had done so. These are followed by the worlds of things that are yet to have been thought of, the most alien concepts being in the layers furthest away, while the layers for the ideas closest to those concepts that are already well supported are closer to reality. These should be at the very end between the personal world and the void.
>>245 Do you play mage? I read the corebook like 20 years ago, but never found anyone to play a session with. I'd love to play some old white wolf stuff.
Just had a shower, I think better in a shower, so let me structure things a bit better: Ok, so: - The positions of the planes of reality are determined by the amount of psychic power they get from the minds in the lower planes of reality, those versions of reality who get more psychic energy supporting them are in lower planes than those which are less supported, which end up in higher planes. The lowest plane of reality is what we consider the real world, and it is the one with the strongest support of psychic energy. - Each plane of reality above the lowest one are filled with things that are contradictory to the planes below them. Meaning that the things in any plane of reality cannot exist in any of the planes below itself without producing a contradiction to the dominant reality of the lower one, as determined by the aggregation of psychic power to it's contents (such as making a reality where bigfoot is both real and not real at the same time). Since both cannot exist together on the same plane of reality, the less supported one is shifted up to a higher plane where it could cause no contradictions. - The minds that exist on any plane of reality can contribute to their own reality and the planes of reality above their own, however, the higher the plane of reality that a mind exists in, the more the psychic power it contributes is reduced by. - Psychic support that comes from conscious beliefs held in the present is stronger than the other forms of mental activity, but every form of mental activity provides some amount of psychic empowerment to a given potential reality, such as: - The conscious mental activities that exist besides belief, such as imagination. Imagined possibilities are not thought to be real, but they are still being thought about nonetheless, and so they are still being given psychic energy, even if it's not as much as is given to the possibilities that are being believed in (which means that on some level of reality in this setting, all fictional things, beings, characters, locations, and events are real, and all fictional stories are actually true events). - The mental activities (like belief and imagination) that exist in the unconscious mind, rather than conscious one, thus from the mentioned categories of mental activity, we have a hierarchy of four kinds of ways minds can give power to the reality of concepts, conscious belief, conscious imagination, unconscious belief, and unconscious imagination (freud and jung would have a field day with those last two examples). - Mental concepts with a lot of thought or emotion put into them would also be proportionately more powerful than those which have less of an investment put into them, and those which exist in the mind for longer would be getting psychic power for longer than those that were only in the mind for a shorter amount of time, This is why mental concepts that were held for a longer duration of time have more power than those held for a short time, power was given to them over a longer period. .- Lastly, when mental activity regarding some concept ceases, what happens to the psychic power generated by it towards that concept? My answer is that the remnants of the psychic energy produced by minds that existed in past versions of the reality on any plane of existence, such as minds that changed themselves (as they tend to do all the time, same brain, different contents), or minds that are no longer active, such as by way of unconsciousness/death, being erased from existence, or being altered by external means in some way (like by the consensus or by mind manipulation) will still exist in the concept they support the existence of, but the concept will lose psychic power over time as it's no longer being contributed to, and will gradually fade away into the higher planes of reality. You see, if it's actively being contributed to by a mind in the layers below it's own, it's going to be increasing, however slightly, but otherwise it's gradually fading into a higher layer, It's still going to be sustained by the psychic energy that it was given, however, entropy means that this psychic energy diminishes over time, existence needs to be fuelled, and when enough of the fuel is burned up, it gets to be too low to meet the minimum requirements to sustain itself in that layer of reality, it's moved up to the next highest level out, and the process continues. This is why a god that people worship is stronger than one people don't worship, but still know about, who in turn is stronger than a god recently forgotten about, who in turn is stronger than a god forgotten long ago, and of course, major gods are going to be a lot stronger than the ones who are less popular. - All of this means the psychic power supporting the contents of the higher worlds can be roughly summed up into four main categories, ordered by the strength of their influence: 1: Supported by the aggregate of the collective conscious beliefs among all minds at their level and below. (concepts that minds consciously think about as being real) 2: Supported by the aggregate of the collective conscious imaginations among all minds at their level and below. (concepts that minds consciously think about as being false) 3: Same as 1, but for the unconscious beliefs of the minds at their level and below. 4: Same as 2, but for the unconscious imaginations of the minds at their level and below. There could be other differences, including things that would affect the psychic power powering the existence of something, like how many minds support this thing, how recent was their support for this thing, and the nature of the mental activity they used to support the thing.
>>277 Oh good paragraphs. I might actually read this now. Also do you play mage? Or want to? Lets roll manipulation + computer to see if this message gets you to respond. So 2d10 + 1d10 3d10 = 24 ->
Ugh so it doesn't show individual results. Very well. And lets say it's a contested action, so no DC. 1d10 = 10 1d10 = 3 1d10 = 10
>>279 Holy fuck two auto success and two extra rerolls. 1d10 = 5 1d10 = 5
>>277 It's been a while since I read the mage core book but that sounds about right. Only as a PC you have a way to cheat a little. To bend temporarily that which is commonly believed into that which only you believe. The greater the disbelief such a thing would generate, or how hard it deviates from the norm of the collective unconsciousness, determines it's difficulty but also the danger. Any time a mage cheats reality in this fashion theres a possibility of failure, and reality snapping back to it's more or less true form. Often in very exciting ways. It is an interesting philosophical concept, but ultimately probably fruitless as it applies to the real world. I would encourage moderation if reading too much into it. And if you wanna play mage then I'm down.

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