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[Spoilers] What is Shambhala?

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According to the capship command script, the Shambhala is a player-flyable UED Solaris.
Giving that much power to ALPHA ONE is surely 'a reprehensible gamble with the lives of billions and possible extinction', after all.

spoiler: shambhala is actually a mass-transmogrification device mounted on the UED Solaris that can turn people into ants. the great darkness is in fact a huge, incomprehensible, and ancient termite, and this is why it consumes everything

because it sees everything else as ants

and ants are natural enemies of termites

the elder council's plans are to turn everyone fighting them/against the vishnans into ants so that the great darkness will attack them

(obvious ****post)


--- Quote from: BritishShivans on November 03, 2013, 10:18:00 am ---Extremely doubtful on the "defeating Shivans" part. The Shivans are multi-universal like the Vishnans - if such a universe exists, it's more likely the Shivans are simply ignoring them for whatever reason.

--- End quote ---

This made me think even more. Part of what brings such great power to the Vishnans and Shivans is their multi-universal nature. Maybe Shambhala would end up making humans multi-universal too, thus bringing them to the level of these great giants. Perhaps this is what the Shivans were trying to stop, while the Vishnans believed they should allow it.
If the Elders make all the UEF reach this level of transcendence, they would easily defeat the GTVA, possibly without much more casualty than the needed to force a retreat out of Sol.

The only thing that ends up left out of the equation are the Vasudans. I think their role has to be bigger than "that other species the humans met", but I have no idea how they'd fit into this line of thought.


--- Quote from: Kiloku on November 05, 2013, 02:41:25 am ---If the Elders make all the UEF reach this level of transcendence, they would easily defeat the GTVA, possibly without much more casualty than the needed to force a retreat out of Sol.

--- End quote ---

How would this help them? This hasn't been a major tactical advantage of the Shivans so far, for instance. Their advantage is that they are far more advanced in every way, not simply multi-universal.

Luis Dias:
The problem of writing about transcendence is that it is as hard to do so in a relatable and understandable way as would be for a monkey to explain to another monkey the complexities of human cultures and dynamics.

Not only you have to bend your own brain around the paradoxes and the solutions to them, but also the consequences that come from these transcendental technologies and new social, intelligent constructs and instantiations, then make the correct iterations for (again) the new problems and the new solutions and so on.... until you got a cohesive and minimally intelligent description of such a system. I fear that at that point though, it's absolutely unrelatable to us humans.

It kinda reminds me the problem of celular automata, that concept where you have to let time go through the iterations for us to really see what the outcome really is, that there is no general quick solutions for the usual problem "in the next trillion iteration, the result in this box will be white or black?", you really do have to run down the entire simulation to get the answer to the problem.

So this difficulty is present in all sci fi. Already the idea that in 2300-2360 there will be still human pilots and human crews in space is mind-boggingly naive and stupid if you think more than a second about it. At the very least, these will be highly modified human beings, at a more "realistic" level, they would be just AIs way faster and more efficient fighters (and actually disposable) than any human could ever hope to be. However, we just pretend that most kinds of developments in the future do not happen at all and just focus on some particulars so our heads do not explode at trying to comprehend a completely unrelatable new world. Freespace then has BEAMZ and FTL and space battles and so on (mind boggling on its own) but it places such battles in the most WW2 way possible, navy-fashion, no AIs whatsoever, all institutions function mostly the same way, etc.

I am not complaining about that. It's efficient and relatable. However, when we are given all this and then are asked to ponder transcendental stuff like Shambala the cracks start to get noticed (the idiotic thing to do at that point would be trying to rationalize away those "non-developed" ways I pointed out. Better to just ignore them).

Shamballa is the general symbolic placeholder for the transhumanist and "singularity" thematic that has been the most hyped about thing in sci fi for decades now. What can be novel about it? What are the new questions we can pose about it?

As far as I could list, here are several few questions I see already at least referenced in the BP series:

 - What is consciousness? What are the landscapes of conscious natures? Does it even include things like anti-consciousness?
 - What is free-will? Are we here to be ordered around by higher forces or do we actually control anything at all? What is even the right way to ask this very question?
 - What is nature? Is the universe just a calculation happening (the cellular automata), or is it something where calculations are bound to happen (the shivans)?
 - What is our place in the universe? And is this very question an oppressing or liberating one? Should we stick to "our place" or should we dare otherwise?

So the stakes are high and the ambitions are great. I hope it delivers, but I won't be sad if it won't. It's not like those are easy questions.


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