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<span lang=
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in relation to New Media, Games, Character Invention&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>
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&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>
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<span lang=
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one start the&nbsp;quest to place newly emerged fictional personages that,
unlike most new media characters, have something to <i>say</i>? Established
fiction has seen the depths and lows of humanity pass by and today’s writers
find it mighty difficult to compete in terms of originality. But for a new media
story or a character to be successful, the writer has to think up truly
adaptable story structures, taking into account not only his own perception of
an evolving real world, but also rapidly changing technological parameters.
Storylines that shine with meaning that is as interesting as it is intended
ought to be a sought after commodity. But are they?&nbsp;</span>
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<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>Today,
fiction and human consciousness are colliding with settings that the
Surrealists could only dream about when they designated the real as ‘absurdly
real’. Fiction that is emerging now, in spite of all the technical
possibilities however, doesn’t meet a world that is necessarily all that
accommodating. Yes, there’s unlimited scope for good ideas, but to get to that
point a writer
is</span><span lang=
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faced with mostly confusion that often simply blocks entry. A writer can write
all they want and be highly original – but they are almost certainly going to
drown in the effort– if not into downright obscurity then in some distribution
channel or other.&nbsp;
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&nbsp;</span>
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<span lang=
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live the Surrealist dream, but private thoughts are still measured in terms of
highly rational parameters. Even structures in which we<span>&nbsp;
</span>establish hypotheses for collective consciousness as a means of
expressing ourselves, either meaningful or less meaningful, tend to be built
on logic assumptions. Humanity is somewhat hell bent on simply furthering its
progress all the time, and some people believe that this very drive is
something that indicates meaning. However, this is a highly dubious opinion.
</span><span lang=
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<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#a88a9b; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>Andre
Breton wrote in the Surrealist Manifesto that he ‘believed in the future
transmutation of those two seemingly contradictory states, dream and reality,
into a sort of absolute reality, of surreality, so to speak. I am looking
forward to its consummation, certain that I shall never share in it, but death
would matter little to me could I but taste the joy it will yield
ultimately.’&nbsp;</span><span lang=
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&nbsp;</span>
</p>
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<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#a88a9b; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>Interest
in human affairs is closely linked to human
consciousness</span><span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>.
However broad and audacious the term ‘human consciousness’ might come across
as, it’s also the very mechanism that manifests itself in incredibly narrow
minded thoughts. Think of our obsession with celebrities, with finding out the
latest gossip about the boss. Our interest with our own consciousness is
sourced by similar curiosity. Take for instance your interest in stories
surrounding the actual circumstances during which the idea for a famous story
was conceived. ‘Mary Shelley thought up Frankenstein when she was in a house
with a group of people in the middle of nowhere Scotland’, is bound to make
ears prick up. We all like finding out intimate details about famous subjects.
Incidentally, Shelley wrote her story after thinking it up in elementary form
when one winter she found herself indeed stuck in a house with a few friends
in the middle of nowhere Scotland. They decided to have a competition making
up the scariest story ever. Guess who won. Doesn’t that sidestory make your
reading the book next all the more exciting?&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>There’s
is nothing wrong with this obsession. We feel that it is even imperative to
test to the limit what processes are involved in writing. Not so much because
the writing is going to be all that more interesting (that too) but mainly to
explore what the outside triggers really are. When the Surrealists were
conducting their automatic writing experiments, they’d find out that by simply
tapping into a different realm, they’s simply connect to similar sources.
Their writings used to convey messages that were largely the same! &nbsp;
&nbsp;</span>
</p>
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<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>To
have a hint of what’s cooking is way more appetizing than the meal that
ultimately hits the table. You will be astonished to find out how often large,
real events will have been ‘played back’ in a fictional setting that was
constructed at round about the same time. Consciousness also is something that
lends itself way more to the present tense than to the past. Modern technology
has advanced so much that perhaps the study of actual writing might reveal
what’s going on in this process. What are the influences that govern a
writer’s ideas, and how do these ideas ultimately take shape on paper? Does it
mean anything that a book is written in a particular season? Does the writer’s
appetite for a particular sport have an influence on his ideas?&nbsp;
&nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>The
exercise to explore consciousness is highly controversial yet topical. It has
been compared to the physicist effort to pin down the ‘hidden variables’ of
quantum theory. Pretty foreign stuff for your average lay person, but it
appears interesting.&nbsp; The physicist Evan Harris Walker is convinced there
is a connection between consciousness and quantum theory’s unresolved issues.
Due to the necessarily ‘nonlocal nature’ of these hidden variables, a quantum
state collapse by the observer should be independent of space and time, which
in turn could explain psi phenomena such as telepathy, which are outside of
space-time separation, Walker asserts. “One of the central features of the
controversy has been the argument that characteristics of QM imply that an
observer’s thoughts can affect an objective apparatus directly, which in turn
implies the reality not only of consciousness but of psi phenomena. [..] Such
a feature of QM is not a fault, but rather represents a solution to problems
that go beyond the usual perview of physics. Thus, I have developed a theory
of consciousness and psi phenomena that arises directly from these bizarre
findings in QM, findings now supported by specific tests of the principles of
objective reality and/or Einstein locality.” &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>Walker
is by far not alone in his assumptions; physics experts are highly interested
for a series of reasons in the study of human consciousness. Other academics
(aside from literary people) that we have found on active hunts for
consciousness have on occasion invented real characters to personify
consciousness. These scholars are in the philosophy, cultural studies, biology
and physics departments of universities. Most of the character names,
bizarrely, come across as pet or cartoon character names. The degree to which
some of them have managed to emulate the human mind is simply
astounding.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>In
the field of cultural studies, the famous Memetics specialist Daniel Dennet
invented a few characters; the robot Shakey and a sceptical character called
Otto. He wrote them up in his book
<a href=http://www.uoregon.edu/~donovan/writings/Chapter%208%20summary.pdf&#8221;><strong><span style=“FONT-WEIGHT:normal; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS'”>Consciousness
Explained</span></strong>
</a>‘ (no doubt a cousin of Oddy ‘n’ Noddy.) And it’s
not surprising that a memetics expert conceived of the idea. Incidentally,
Dennet is a member of the board for the
<a href=http://www.loebner.net/Prizef/loebner-prize.html&#8221;><strong><span style=“FONT-WEIGHT:normal; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS'”>Loebner
Prize</span></strong>
</a> for artificial intelligence ( AI ). Anyone that can
fool him and his cronies into believing that an automated process is human
made, wins the prize. So far, no one has really succeeded completely, even
though interesting submissions have been made, including jabberwacky, the
talking robot.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>The
person that has made quantum strides into convincing the world at large that
the human mind can be replicated in machines rather succinctly is the
zoologist/ecologist, Thomas Ray. At the end of the 1990s, he and his associate
Karl Sims, finalized creating plenty of nameless characters akin to Pinocchio
puppets in a computer program running solely on first hand human derived
information. A
<a href=http://www-sfb288.math.tu-berlin.de/VideoMath/&#8221;><strong><span style=“FONT-WEIGHT:normal; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS'”>video
film</span></strong>
</a>, of the project with which they won third prize in a
Berlin festival, is a few minutes long, and it features simulated evolutions
of virtual creatures that are really grown from artificial genetic codes
describing their morphology and behavior. The creatures are tested in a world
of simulated physics for their ability to swim, walk, jump, follow, or
compete. The genes of the best performers are copied, combined, and mutated to
make another generation, and as the cycle continues, interesting and
successful strategies can emerge. The sad thing is; none of the fantastic
creatures can talk, so Oddy’n’Noddy are still left largely to arguing
together. But who knows what’s in the pipeline.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>Lastly,
philosophers are regularly spotted on the look out for ‘homunculus’. They
study this little man in connection with zombies and zomby-like states in
human
<a href=http://www.thegreatdebate.org.uk/GDBHZombie.html&#8221;><strong><span style=“FONT-WEIGHT:normal; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS'”>consciousness</span></strong></a>
(a homunculus is in the absence of a definition of consciousness, considered
to be an image of a little person who sits in the cranial control room
monitoring a console of gauges and pulling the right strings.)&nbsp;
&nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>A
side effect of all these efforts to make the human mind into a real character
is that they deliver in kind on the longstanding assumption that modern
culture enables humans to reflect on themselves. Watching the Thomas Ray movie
consciously must (theoretically) be a bizarre experience. Are you inclined to
think of the creatures as your siblings, or perhaps as a standoffish set of
neighbours? As just animals that happen to be conscious? Despite the laborious
effort involved, it’s most likely they come across as artificially
intelligently engineered and as such hardly different from animated cartoon
characters. It is difficult to enter into a state of mind in which you can be
consciously amazed about wondrous living creatures, let alone about humanly
engineered computer characters that come across as simulations anyway.&nbsp;
&nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>The
real gaming industry does put premium value on generative technology. It
however seldom or never uses technology like the biologically evolutionary
based programs Ray developed simply because it is not a scientifically
oriented business. Games merely simulate human consciousness. People in the
natural language processing departments of universities are surprising the
general public from time to time with frightfully natural sounding chattering
computer programs. But so far, other than chattering and astounding us with
lines of intelligent commentary to human prompts no artificial device has yet
made any lengthy piece of fiction that’s so good it could be printed in book
form and pass for a standard work of fiction.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>When
you first enter a digital imaginary game setting, it will take you five
minutes before you are entirely used to the game
characters-acting-like-characters. Even though written text is said to be
under threat in the digital world, those few games that consist of well
written stories rather than cut-to-the-chase plotlines tend to make up for
their obscurity by being hugely interesting. Real interactive fiction that
lives up to ordinary writing standards is a much sought after commodity. Some
of it tends to come across as really un-gamey, but fans praise some of the
projects for their ‘imaginative’ and ‘fresh’ structures. One recent example of
high quality game narrative is the game Facade, which hit the market a year or
so ago. In the game, the player is invited to visit a married couple who are
experiencing a marital crisis. It can be regarded as a first-of-its-kind game
interactive narrative that has no real goal other than having the player
decide what action to take. Game actors (the married couple) don’t wait for
the player to interact the whole time, but act out their 10,000 or so
storylines, which are not necessarily dependent on anything the player says.
It is a game that is very ungame-like in that it does not run on the usual
game plots that, by comparison, appear overly programmed.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>
While
gaming architecture has improved over the last decade, storylines haven’t
necessarily. Perhaps the architecture has butchered them
somehow to episodes that are unrecognizable compared to what the author’s
original idea had been. Marketers are spending some time and resources in
betting on where the points will show the largest overlap in their future
strategies. Game developers find themselves betting even more, not only in the
way they construct the backgrounds of their games, but more or less on every
aspect of their communication with players. The ultimate leap in the dark was
ventured by the makers of the Sims and to a lesser extent those of Facade. At
the outset no one believed human beings would enjoy something as
‘unchallenging’ as a game without a struggle. Where the competitive aspect is
reduced in these games, they more than make up in story quality. And this is
highly appreciated by normal people (i.e. non gamers) and gamers alike. The
launch of Facade is seen as a milestone development in the industry and
mainstream magazines like the Economist, Time and Newsweek all sang its
praises.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>The
market for interactive story lines and plots is relatively under-serviced,
both because of the technical barriers and a lack of credible scripts.
Creating a game narrative takes a heck of a lot of research. Aside from
inventing the storyline, the makers of Facade researched two other areas
before they actually set out on the actual work. The two other research areas
were designing ways to deconstruct a dramatic narrative into a hierarchy of
story and behavior pieces and engineering an AI system to reconstruct a
real-time dramatic performance from those pieces that integrate the player’s
moment-by-moment interactions. Even though this research probably was most
important for the game’s success, Facade’s makers say that they still
encountered many occasions along the way that taught them new insights into
what it requires to create even more generative story systems in the
future.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>One
can safely assume that games with the better story lines tend to rely on
generative techniques. It appears that the more lifelike a game storyline comes
across as, the more popular it is. In a sense you could say that the ability
of human beings to transcend and to reflect on their culture is essential in
any cultural product, but this is especially the case in games. This underlines that the writer
does not necessarily have to be overly prevalent. The way primitive societies
narrate stories to spectators that surround a story teller also underlines
this. In such societies, it is clear that the narrative should not be seen
primarily as the work of a person, but more or less a mediator, shaman,
puppeteer or speaker who masters a narrative code. As spirits, demons,
deities and what have you address these people, the interaction is often
manifest in ways more diverse than the story would suggest at first sight,
indicating that the dynamics involved are hugely intrinsic and by far not
plotted in simplistic terms.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>Various
modern scholars affirm this. Marie Laure Ryan writes in an article that is
published in the forthcoming Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative that
narratology itself is considered ‘a project that transcends disciplines and
media’. It has been this way since the term started to circulate in academic
circles, she asserts. In this sense, narrative’s portability both bears on its
general definition and its individual, practical applications (written
literature, oral conversation, drama, film, painting, dance and mime, etc).
Ryan’s efforts are among academia’s first workable definitions and
explanations, theories about new media etc. Even though today’s changes have
been foreseen since decades –the Surrealists were predicting the emergence of
virtual worlds with eery precision- nothing less than the actual practical
emergence of technologies and new media formats apparently only spurs people’s
efforts to theorize.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>Theorists’
‘inventory accounting’ confirms most of the ideas that Roland Barthes
published in the last Century. He was very like the Surrealists when he
postulated the view that the writer no longer is present by the time he gets
round to writing down the words encapsulating what he believes his mind has
been conjuring up. “It will always be impossible to know [who really is
speaking through the text], for the good reason that all writing is itself
this special voice, consisting of several indiscernible voices, and that
literature is precisely the invention of this voice, to which we cannot assign
a specific origin: literature is that neuter, that composite, that oblique
into which every subject escapes, the trap where all identity is lost,
beginning with the very identity of the body that writes.” Barthes believed
that this <i>language de la connaissance</i> breaks open the closed universe
of discourse.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>Herbert
Marcuse also largely covered this territory, indicating that it is imperative
to show that true consciousness
comprises of transcendence, even though it might not immediately make sense in
the modern technology governed world which is based on a totalitarian
assumption that there is no rationale for this kind of transcendence.
&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>Marcuse
believes that all content of freedom is strongly challenged by this
deterministic logic. The struggle is inevitable because of the make up of
Western thought patterns, which go all the way back to that big issue that
Plato and Aristotle agreed on; that the world is the product of rational
design, that the philosopher investigates the form and the universal, and that
the only true knowledge is that which is irrefutable. Logic still is the
language of most Western philosophical assumptions. Nobody believes that you
can communicate without logic. &nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>The
idea of absolute rationality has worn many masks throughout the ages, and
Marcuse believes that technological transmutation is its latest (if not last)
mask, which has pushed logic as a means of understanding into a dominant
determining process by merging theory and practice into one. “It is new
because it is rational to an unprecedented degree”, he says, adding that the
crux of this business is simply the elimination of history. Marcuse and his
followers warn against merging content with medium, saying the language that
is involved to describe processes highlights that believing that one dimension
(rational textual independence) really does not link into a higher,
transcendent reality, leads to a language that is strung together as a series
of empty commands (a leads to b, leads to c, leads to d).&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>Could
this explain the miserable state of hyperfiction? This field is simply void of
a critical mass of genius. A few books made it to the level of literature but
despite frantic activity in self-publication, hyperfiction is generally
regarded as a backwater. Readers prefer to read real books rather than text on
a screen, despite the fact that the internet took off on the idea that you can
link texts.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>Casting
some light on the issue, the scholar Michael
Chaoili, warns against mixing
critical theory with technology. In an
<a href=http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/CI/journal/issues/v31n3/310302/310302.web.pdf?erFrom=-5750556387574553979Guest&#8221;><strong><span style=“FONT-WEIGHT:normal; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS'”>article</span></strong></a>
entitled “How Interactive Can Fiction Be?” Chaoili disagrees strongly with
people that believe that hypertext creates a literal embodiment of concepts
found in literary theory. One should not take a theoretical short circuit and
take the literal for the metaphorical, Chaoili asserts. He says that the game
industry is often considered totally off the mark in assuming that text and
narrative simply are a part of a game’s setting. He believes that this is
impossible. Somehow a reader needs to still be fed lines that make sense in
the old fashioned way – stories are still very much stories. They are clearly
conceived in an author’s mind, rather than part of a mishmash of ideas or a
background or setting. Chaoili says true communication does not simply occur
‘by electrify[ing] the signifier’. Instead there is a discontinuity in the
operation of dissemination the moment it is turned into a materially concrete
form. &nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>”It
would hardly be an overstatement to claim that the distinction between literal
and metaphorical levels of textual description founds the idea of the active
reader on which contemporary literary and cultural theory depends; only when
the reader remains communicatively passive, refraining from rearranging the
artwork and accepting its structure as given, can he or she become an active
and critical interpreter”, he believes. Reading is an activity that simply is
that: reading.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>The
age old assumption that the medium is the message has gained another
dimension in many people’s views. This might be a naive assumption, but it’s often
made. Perhaps it is what Marcuse would derogatively call the ‘happy
consciousness’ – i.e., the idea that reality is really tied
to the rules of logic but that these rules
accommodate the need for happiness for all. This is somewhat where the debate
is still very much hotting up. Modern people have become well-versed
in ascribing a ton of metaphysical facets to reality but Matrix-like beliefs
that there’s no escape from reason are by no means established theory.
&nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>
Pulling the plugs on all counts technology-wise ought
never to be regarded as a sin in our view, simply because all efforts
emulating the human spirit are only ever going to be interesting (i.e.
successful) if they capture the human spirit’s capacity to transcend earthly
reality. The incumbent mass communications experts view the intrinsic qualities of narrative (semiotics) and narrative as a
medium (transmission) as decisive. &nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>Marie
Laure Ryan outlines the field from the assumption that the message transmitted
should not be regarded as transformed by its technological format, but,
rather, as supported by it. “What counts as a medium for the narrative scholar
is a type of material support for texts that truly makes a difference as to
what kind of narrative content can be evoked (semantics, or story), how these
contents are presented (syntax, or discourse), and how they are experienced
(pragmatics)”, says Ryan.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>The
media that use narrative are largely split into these two categories, with
transmissive media being TV, radio, the internet, telephone and cultural
channels, such as books and newspapers. Semiotic media are language, sound,
image, or more narrowly, paper, bronze, the human body, or the
electro-magnetically coded signals stored in computer memory.&nbsp;
&nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>Basically,
with the arrival of the digital era, the duplication of one message over two
forms of media, often a transmittal and a semiotic one, has expanded original
thinking on media. The newness of the digital forms of media is rather
uncharted territory, and theorists like Ryan are saying that digital
technology as expressive medium depends on the extent to which a story can
take advantage and convey its real, intended meaning. “One needs to keep in
mind that narrative messages possess a conceptual core which can be isolated
from their material support”, says Ryan, adding that this is not always
possible because of the configuring action of the medium. Ryan quotes three
forms of core stories, from lesser to more involved with their media; for
instance a print novel composed on a word processor is hardly influenced by
its format. A movie that makes use of digitally composed special effects but
is projected on a standard cinema screen is somewhat more exploitative of the
medium. A game is a fully developed way of a message exploiting its medium so
much that it’s hardly different from it. You might wonder if a story (i.e. a message) isn’t simply being butchered when its
format is all imposing, but then play a really good game and you’ll rethink
your theory. Exploiting the media is an art. &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>The
concept of what Ryan calls ‘mediality’, a word that has yet to make the
dictionary, has become a relational, rather than an absolute property, which
warrants comparing across the board. The Surrealists were onto this long
before it actually transpired. They took their queue from Kant and assigned
objects with labels such as ‘disturbing and arbitrary beings capable of
existing independently of experimenters’ activities. Louis Aragon wrote in his
Une Vague de Reves in 1924 that “it should be understood that the real is a
relation like any other; the essence of things is by no means linked to their
reality, there are other relations beside reality, which the mind is capable
of grasping, and which also are primary like chance, illusion, the fantastic,
the dream. These various groups are united and brought into harmony in one
single order, Surreality.”&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>Human
consciousness has been on the operating table since the onset of science. And
scientists say regularly that all future development depends very much on
people’s ideas of what it means exactly to be human. To understand what it
means to be human equates to the fastest progress. What would be specific aims
of this endeavor? Like randomness in science, consciousness has not been
pinned down by a single ounce ever. The difficulty with consciousness is that
it is ungraspable. That is not to say that the effort is not pursued
vigorously by scientists, philosophers and literary scholars alike.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>One
Bristol scholar, David Graham Cook, underscores the difficulties that are
involved in this area in an article about the poet Rilke, published in 2002 in
the Scientific and Medical Network Review. “Of course it is the case that the
effort to describe the physical world has resulted in mind entering modern
physics, albeit in an unforeseen way, namely at the limit of understanding”.
He draws an analogy between human consciousness and quantum theory, which has
seen a difficulty of intuitively grasping the wave particle duality, together
with the impossibility of providing a definite description of both the
momentum and locatio of subatomic particles. This has raised questions about
how and where uncertainty enters the physical picture. “Is it a property of
the subatomic realm itself, it is a byproduct of the process of measurement,
or is it introduced by the conscious mind of the observing scientist?” Cook
wonders.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>Scientists
have been breaking their heads over the issue of non-locality in quantum
mechanics over the last two decades. Jeffrey Mishlove says that the
realization of the importance of this principle should not be underestimated
for a theory of psi phenomena. “If nothing else, this breakthrough strongly
suggests that psi phenomena, if they exist, need not be in conflict with
established laws of science,” says Mishlove in an article headed Conciousness
and the New Physics.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>Other
scholars that are mentioned in his article have even wilder ideas. They
believe that aside from the confirmation of psi phenomena, other ideas that
one can derive from experimental bets on locality are that all human
consciousness is actually taking place in something like eight dimensions.
Sean-Paul Sirag developed what’s known as a hyper space model of
consciousness, working as a physicist on a unified field theory that space
time is hyperdimensional, with all except four of them being invisible.&nbsp;
&nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>Sirag
believes that consciousness can be calculated in a more or less mathematical
way. His approach is comparable to a Pythagorean calculation describing the
relationship between consciousness and the physical world. Sirag says that
‘unified field theories’ of the physical forces depend fundamentally on
mathematical structures. These are called reflection spaces, which are
hierarchically organized in such a way that they consist of an infinite
spectrum of realities.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>People
believe this might make sense, because the hierarchical organization of
reflection spaces has also been confirmed in other areas including
catastrophies, singularities, wave fronts, and contact structures, error
correcting codes and sphere packing lattices. Scholars who like Sirag work on
unified field theory generally believe that space-time is hyperdimensional,
with only four of all of eight dimensions being invisible. How come Sirag
claims that algebra, which is founded on the idea of finity is workable in
proving something that equates to space? He groups his mathematical entity
within in the reflection space hierarchy, which is octahedron.&nbsp;
&nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>The
reflection space is seven-dimensional, so it fits in nicely. It is described
as a superstring-type reflection space. Apparently this confirms a link with
the most popular version of unified field theory. Now, where it becomes
interesting for us are the assertions that Sirag makes after all these
calculations. He says this seven-dimensional reflection space is a universal
consciousness, and that individual consciousnesses tap into this universal
consciousness. This implies that the high level of consciousness enjoyed by
humans is due to the complex network of connections to the underlying
reflection space afforded by a highly evolved brain.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>Think
gyroscope in numbers, and you roughly get what Sirag says. He attaches to the
hierarchy of reflection spaces a hierarchy of realms (or states) of blessed
consciousness. Each realm in turn corresponds to a different unified field
theory with totally different sets of forces. In fact, the seven-dimensional
reflection space is contained in an eight-dimensional reflection space, and
contains a six-dimensional reflection space, so that there would be a realm of
consciousness directly “above” ordinary reality, and a realm of consciousness
directly “below” ordinary reality.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>In
principle the relationship between the different forces in these different
realms could be worked out in detail, so that precise predictions could be
made. Walker is active in this field. He has come up with ways of measuring
human mental activity. He calculates the rate for “dataprocessing of the brain
as a whole at a subconscious level” (S) to be equal to 2.4 x 1012 bits/sec.
The data rate for conscious activity (C) is equal to 7.5 x 108 bits/sec, and
the channel capacity of the “will” (W) is equal to 6 x 104 bits/sec. Walker’s
derivation of the above rates is based on the assumption that electron
tunneling across synapses is the basis for the transmission of impulses across
synapses and that the large-scale integration of brain activity is also
mediated by electron tunneling.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>All
the work that is carried out is building on from the relativity theory, which
basically regards space and time as smudged together, and holds that reality
can only be described from a frame of reference which is specified. Another
scientist that has a mathematical approach to the whole business of subatomic
particles, also comes up with an alternative approach to the more commonly
adopted idea of entropy – the tendency of complex systems to fall to chaos- by
means of pure mathematics. Dr. Steven Strogatz, a widely recognized and
accomplished quantum physicist wrote a book entitled Sync: The Emerging
Science of Spontaneous Order. He says that from the subatomic arena of quantum
mechanics to the incomprehensibly vast scales of the universe itself, nature
has a built-in and persistent compulsion to organize itself into complex
systems that surpass the scope and capability of their components. There is a
constant combat between entropy and synchrony not only in scientific circles,
Strogatz says, but everywhere, at all levels, all around us.&nbsp;
&nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>So,
even though human consciousness is likely even more of an enigma than
relativity theory and its implications, some vivid ideas are beginning to
circulate and the debate is truly interesting. Perhaps in a
few decades it won’t be all that strange to think of human
imagination as something that is way more farfetching than it is now.&nbsp;
&nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>In
many cases writers are spouting their prose amid circumstances that are
possibly tributary to the imaginative process involved in the works that
eventually emerge. The writing of Frankenstein might have been really impacted
by the idea of a wintery, inhospitable Scottish landscape. Why pass on a memorable
anecdote about a famous book as a ‘marker’ only? The possibilities that real
time technology offers allows for interesting projects on human consciousness
and its produce. Add to this a few more variables and you might find that
there’s a lot more to the world than you’d ever held for possible. For
instance if a project would envisage to shed light on consciousness,
imagination and wisdom, one might get an idea of how the, (what?) ‘gods of
wisdom’(?) are served/displeased in a particular setting. And how this
might impact on new developments. Who knows what the future holds? For
certain, the scope for learning appears unlimited as the imagination
stretches. &nbsp; &nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”></span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”>If
you feel like collaborating on projects in this area, check out our
<a href=http://www.contentclix.com/noddyoutline&#8221;><strong><span style=“FONT-WEIGHT:normal; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS'”>proposal</span></strong></a>,
or contact us by sending an email to
<a href=“mailto:project@contentclix.com”><strong><span style=“FONT-WEIGHT:normal; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS'”>project@contentclix.com</span></strong></a>.&nbsp;
&nbsp;</span>
</p>
<p class=
“MsoNormal”>
<span lang=
“EN-GB” style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; COLOR:#9e7c8f; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt; text-shadow:auto”></span><span style=“FONT-SIZE:9pt; FONT-FAMILY:’Trebuchet MS’; LETTER-SPACING:0.4pt”></span>
</p>
<p>
&nbsp;
</p>

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