Prescience

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Prescience

Postby Freakzilla » 25 Apr 2008 20:54

I was inspired to start this topic upon Omphalos' assertion that prescience is only of the future...

The future of prescience cannot always be locked into the rules of the past. The
threads of existence tangle according to many unknown laws. Prescient future
insists on its own rules. It will not conform to the ordering of the Zensunni
nor to the ordering of science. Prescience builds a relative integrity. It
demands the work of this instant, always warning that you cannot weave every
thread into the fabric of the past.

-Kalima: The Words of Muad'Dib, The Shuloch Commentary

Part of him knew there was no escaping, but still he tried to fight it until
the father-presence intruded. "I will protect you in the trance. The others
within will not take you."
Wind tumbled Leto, rolled him, hissing, pouring dust and sand over him,
cutting his arms, his face, abrading his clothes, whipping the loose-torn ends
of now useless fabric. But he felt no pain and he saw the cuts heal as rapidly
as they appeared. Still he rolled with the wind. And his skin was not his own.
It will happen! he thought.
But the thought was distant and came as though it were not his own, not
really his own; no more than his skin.
The vision absorbed him. It evolved into a stereologic memory which
separated past and present, future and present, future and past. Each separation
mingled into a trinocular focus which he sensed as the multidimensional relief
map of his own future existence.
He thought: Time is a measure of space, just as a range finder is a measure
of space, but measuring locks us into the place we measure.

~Children of Dune

Argue:
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Re: Prescience

Postby Omphalos » 25 Apr 2008 21:19

Freakzilla wrote:I was inspired to start this topic upon Omphalos' assertion that prescience is only of the future...

The future of prescience cannot always be locked into the rules of the past. The
threads of existence tangle according to many unknown laws. Prescient future
insists on its own rules. It will not conform to the ordering of the Zensunni
nor to the ordering of science. Prescience builds a relative integrity. It
demands the work of this instant, always warning that you cannot weave every
thread into the fabric of the past.

-Kalima: The Words of Muad'Dib, The Shuloch Commentary


This quote I dont think gives evidence that prescience works to see the past. What it actually implies is that the repetition of the past in the future is something that a prescient should avoid, because when you are looking at the all the possible futures (pardon the hyperbole here), you have views of all future paths, including those that will are not likely to be selected by ordinary people who are living it, and thus will not be influenced by human choices.

Sorry to be so vague here, but consider this: We do assume that the past will repeat it self over and over again. That is why we study history; to better arm ourselves for the future. But I think the underlying assumption here is that in the normal course of things, ordinary non-prescient humans influence the course of things to come, simply because they want to see repetition (which naturally is comfortable, safe and cozy to them), so they make social choices that are more likely to realize a future that is a repetition of the past. When this happens, from the viewpoint of a prescient, humanity is selecting one path from many, and disregarding others.

But to a prescient, someone who really can see possible futures, and can make choices now that will put humanity on the (Golden) path towards one of those futures, he or she cannot be burdened by that instinct, because if they are, they will not choose correctly. They will choose the path to the future that is a repetition of the past, and as we all know, that way lies destruction. So this passage that you have quoted is actually an admonition. It is an admonition to avoid the most likely or desirable path to the future, because human instinct actually would lead him to choose unwisely. IOW, you've got to give up comfort and make the hard choice if you are going to survive. Actually, one of my personal mottos is "the choice that you least want to make is usually the correct one," so thanks for giving me this quote too!

Freakzilla wrote:Part of him knew there was no escaping, but still he tried to fight it until
the father-presence intruded. "I will protect you in the trance. The others
within will not take you."
Wind tumbled Leto, rolled him, hissing, pouring dust and sand over him,
cutting his arms, his face, abrading his clothes, whipping the loose-torn ends
of now useless fabric. But he felt no pain and he saw the cuts heal as rapidly
as they appeared. Still he rolled with the wind. And his skin was not his own.
It will happen! he thought.
But the thought was distant and came as though it were not his own, not
really his own; no more than his skin.
The vision absorbed him. It evolved into a stereologic memory which
separated past and present, future and present, future and past. Each separation
mingled into a trinocular focus which he sensed as the multidimensional relief
map of his own future existence.
He thought: Time is a measure of space, just as a range finder is a measure
of space, but measuring locks us into the place we measure.

~Children of Dune

Argue:


I think the 'stereoscopic' or whatever vision here came from contemporaneous access to OM and prescience. Leto's dad, Paul, is helping him through this vision, IIRC. Leto not only has OM, but he has the ability to plumb the minds of his ancestors in OM. In this scene he has not mastered either skill (access of OM or prescient vision), so accessing them both creates confusion. IMHO, there is no evidence here that prescience is being used to see backwards.

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Re: Prescience

Postby Freakzilla » 25 Apr 2008 21:31

Omphalos wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:I was inspired to start this topic upon Omphalos' assertion that prescience is only of the future...

The future of prescience cannot always be locked into the rules of the past. The
threads of existence tangle according to many unknown laws. Prescient future
insists on its own rules. It will not conform to the ordering of the Zensunni
nor to the ordering of science. Prescience builds a relative integrity. It
demands the work of this instant, always warning that you cannot weave every
thread into the fabric of the past.

-Kalima: The Words of Muad'Dib, The Shuloch Commentary


This quote I dont think gives evidence that prescience works to see the past. What it actually says is that the old adage that the future repeats itself is not a useful assumption for a prescient, because when you are looking at the all the possible futures (pardon the hyperbole here), you have views all future paths, including those that will are not likely to be selected by ordinary people who are living it, and thus will not be influenced by human choices.

Sorry to be so vague here, but consider this: We do assume that the past will repeat it self over and over again. That is why we study history; to better arm ourselves for the future. But I think the underlying assumption here is that in the normal course of things, ordinary non-prescient humans influence the course of things to come, simply because they want to see repetition, so they make social choices that are more likely to realize a future that is a repetition of the past. When this happens, from the viewpoint of a prescient, humanity is selecting one path from many, and disregarding others.

But to a prescient, someone who really can see possible futures, and can make choices now that will put humanity on the (Golden) path towards one of those futures, he or she cannot be burdened by that notion, because if they are, they will not choose correctly. They will choose the path to the future that is a repetition of the past, and as we all know, that way lies destruction. So this passage that you have quoted is actually an admonition.


That's why I quoted it, you have me there...

Freakzilla wrote:Part of him knew there was no escaping, but still he tried to fight it until
the father-presence intruded. "I will protect you in the trance. The others
within will not take you."
Wind tumbled Leto, rolled him, hissing, pouring dust and sand over him,
cutting his arms, his face, abrading his clothes, whipping the loose-torn ends
of now useless fabric. But he felt no pain and he saw the cuts heal as rapidly
as they appeared. Still he rolled with the wind. And his skin was not his own.
It will happen! he thought.
But the thought was distant and came as though it were not his own, not
really his own; no more than his skin.
The vision absorbed him. It evolved into a stereologic memory which
separated past and present, future and present, future and past. Each separation
mingled into a trinocular focus which he sensed as the multidimensional relief
map of his own future existence.
He thought: Time is a measure of space, just as a range finder is a measure
of space, but measuring locks us into the place we measure.

~Children of Dune

Argue:


I think the 'stereoscopic' or whatever vision here came from contemporaneous access to OM and prescience. Leto's dad, Paul, is helping him through this vision, IIRC. Leto not only has OM, but he has the ability to plumb the minds of his ancestors in OM. In this scene he has not mastered either skill (access of OM or prescient vision), so accessing them both creates confusion. IMHO, there is no evidence here that prescience is being used to see backwards.


Leto's experience aside, he experiences time as a function of the spice. Without the past and "present" there is no future.

I would very much like to leave OM out of this conversation, but I'm not sure we can. But I don't think it matters. "Present" is such an ephemeral (sp?) thing, where does the future start? You can't seperate past and future, that seemed to me to be an ever present theme. There is no seperation in infinity.
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Postby Omphalos » 25 Apr 2008 21:36

Maybe we can leave OM out. What I really think is that prescience and OM are opposite sides of the same coin. One gives an individual access to the future, and allows the prescient to see anyone who is not protected by no-technology and/or does not have the Siona genes. The other seems to be limited in most, but for someone who is as powerful as Leto II, it actually is not. Both together are keys to knowledge that is not directly available by observation of times that are remote to the present, and in that regard, they are opposites that together could possibly make up knowledge of all time.

But in any event, if you assume that putting something onto the Golden Path requires much more than an immediate decision in this exact instant; that it requires a series of choices in the near future, then I think its OK to think of next week or next month as the present. But I do see the dilemma. Logically and scientifically the present is not quantifiable. Its like trying to 1/2 your distance to a wall with every step you take. How does something with a human body do that?

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Postby Freakzilla » 25 Apr 2008 21:49

I do think OM is a key to prescience, but EVERYONE has OM, it's just not conscious...

However, there are examples of prescience without OM (Guild Navigators). But there is NO person without OM.

For me there is two types of prescience in the duniverse. Linear and multi-looped.

IMO to say you can see the future without the past is just insane. There is no such thing as Time. Things move. You cannot see the future without the past.

This is the reason the BG desired the male with a data reservior of the past, to augment his view of the future.


I'm a little drunk now on Jim Beam and Bud LITE...I'm going to have to continue this conversation tomorrow...

Unless you have more toilet pictures...
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Re: Prescience

Postby HoosierDaddy » 25 Apr 2008 21:50

Freakzilla wrote:He thought: Time is a measure of space, just as a range finder is a measure
of space, but measuring locks us into the place we measure.[/i]
~Children of Dune

Argue:


So if a prescient being is able to see the "future", where is his location relative to what he is foreseeing?

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Postby Omphalos » 25 Apr 2008 23:08

Freakzilla wrote:I'm a little drunk now on Jim Beam and Bud LITE...I'm going to have to continue this conversation tomorrow...

Unless you have more toilet pictures...


Since you ask, here is a close up:

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Re: Prescience

Postby Omphalos » 25 Apr 2008 23:25

HoosierDaddy wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:He thought: Time is a measure of space, just as a range finder is a measure
of space, but measuring locks us into the place we measure.[/i]
~Children of Dune

Argue:


So if a prescient being is able to see the "future", where is his location relative to what he is foreseeing?


Could be anywhere (or any-when), but the prescient still experiences time as we all do when outside the prescient vision. They have to march forward to the future and can only look back to the past, so it probably doesn't really matter, as long as subjectively they have enough time to accomplish what they want to do.

HoosierDaddy

Re: Prescience

Postby HoosierDaddy » 25 Apr 2008 23:52

Omphalos wrote:
HoosierDaddy wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:He thought: Time is a measure of space, just as a range finder is a measure
of space, but measuring locks us into the place we measure.[/i]
~Children of Dune

Argue:


So if a prescient being is able to see the "future", where is his location relative to what he is foreseeing?


Could be anywhere (or any-when), but the prescient still experiences time as we all do when outside the prescient vision. They have to march forward to the future and can only look back to the past, so it probably doesn't really matter, as long as subjectively they have enough time to accomplish what they want to do.


Could true prescients be in the same "universe" that they are observing, at any given time, according to Einstein physics?

Now consider the definition of prescience. Does the oracle predict, or does it create the future? Or a combination of both?

The subject of the oracle, physics, and infinite realization is a fascinating series of questions, with no clear answers, according to how we view things.

Thank you FH.

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Postby Spicelon » 26 Apr 2008 00:27

I like the "thread" analogy that is sometimes presented in the books. When in the trance/vision/heightened awareness state, the prescient observer sees the possible futures as a conglomerations of threads or paths. Like...like...that theory/idea...can't think of the name...anyway, the presence of the observer obviously influences the bending and twisting of these threads. I like to think of the prescient observer as being akin to a large gravitational mass. Not so much as an attractive force but as one that bends, pulls and stretches everything around it. I believe it was DM, maybe CoD, where Alia (Paul?) comments that the new tarrot is "muddying" the future, so I see the tarrot as a smallish planetoid. Paul, on the other hand, was a small star. Leto, I think, could simultaneously be in his normal timeflow place and the vision state. This was a huge advantage as he would be in a better position mold and craft the threads to his purpose and also react more efficiently and quickly to changing variables. Leto would be analogous to a black hole or something.

That was kind of rambling, but there it is. :P
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Postby orald » 26 Apr 2008 01:16

The actual word "prescience" means seeing the future, so I don't see what's the problem here- it's not seeing the past, it's seeing the future.
That it has something to do with seeing the past, probably to infer for the future, is something else to discuss.

Prescients influence the threads because they also interfere to shape the future to their vision.
I don't think the actual act of seeing, with no move whatsoever to change or choose any given path will bend the threads, but then again, even if the prescient vanished from the face of the earth in the instant of seeing the threads it's still a choice and will move them.
There's no way for the in-system observer to not change it.
Maybe if we had some out-of-the-system prescient with no ability to change or choose any path then it wouldn't bend, but for that you'll need to be God...or Norma(although the fucker does interfere non-stop according to P&B, no?). :roll:
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Re: Prescience

Postby Omphalos » 26 Apr 2008 01:54

HoosierDaddy wrote:
Omphalos wrote:
HoosierDaddy wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:He thought: Time is a measure of space, just as a range finder is a measure
of space, but measuring locks us into the place we measure.[/i]
~Children of Dune

Argue:


So if a prescient being is able to see the "future", where is his location relative to what he is foreseeing?


Could be anywhere (or any-when), but the prescient still experiences time as we all do when outside the prescient vision. They have to march forward to the future and can only look back to the past, so it probably doesn't really matter, as long as subjectively they have enough time to accomplish what they want to do.


Could true prescients be in the same "universe" that they are observing, at any given time, according to Einstein physics?


Einsteinian physics? I'm certain that they would have to be. But if you are asking if Einsteinian physics can provide a rationale for prescience, and observation from a place remote in time and space, then no, at least as I understand it. But things like bosun particle theory, and to a limited degree string theory don't strike it out of hand. But whatever the physics, its obvious that FH was writing a soft-science book. So I wont foul him for fudging the details in creating a world where absolutely no magic is used to do the incredible things that humans wind up doing, even if it is never described to exacting standards.

HoosierDaddy wrote:Now consider the definition of prescience. Does the oracle predict, or does it create the future? Or a combination of both?


I have always railed against the theory that the prescient can in some way reach through the prescient vision and manipulate something in the future to make that possibility a reality. That is putting cause before effect, and that sort of clap-trap never happens elsewhere in the books, and I doubt that FH was trying to make that more than the perception (eg, not the reality). So if that is what you are asking when you ask if the prescient "creates the future," then hell no. What he or she can do is look to the future, and predict what causal changes made in the present will drive time, or whatever, down a particular path, so as to ultimately reach that envisioned future. That is is. Nothing more.

HoosierDaddy wrote:The subject of the oracle, physics, and infinite realization is a fascinating series of questions, with no clear answers, according to how we view things.

Thank you FH.


It sure do be.

Spicelon wrote:so I see the tarrot as a smallish planetoid.


I always thought that the muddying force of the tarot came from non-prescients will to select the version of the future that effectuates repetition. It interfered with the will of the prescient by clouding the oracular view. Seemed to me that was right because it as popularity built, the interference became greater.

HoosierDaddy

Postby HoosierDaddy » 26 Apr 2008 10:08

How about another FH concept to chew on.

What is linear prescience (Guild navigators), versus the Paul/Leto ability?

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Postby Freakzilla » 26 Apr 2008 10:15

Here's a great lecture by Stephen Hawking on predicting the future:

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Postby Freakzilla » 26 Apr 2008 10:19

HoosierDaddy wrote:How about another FH concept to chew on.

What is linear prescience (Guild navigators), versus the Paul/Leto ability?


Navigators only see one "thread" where Paul and Leto saw all possible threads.
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Postby Omphalos » 26 Apr 2008 16:29

HoosierDaddy wrote:How about another FH concept to chew on.

What is linear prescience (Guild navigators), versus the Paul/Leto ability?


Guild navigators could only see time in a straight line from one point of reference. For example: "If I start out at this time and head that way, and come out of fold space there, what will happen to the ship? Will it be destroyed then"

Paul and Leto could move forward from one point, change a variable in a prescient vision, then see the multiple effects of that after more, later variable changes. They could view the future as a fan, and see the interrelatedness of future possibility. Its like the difference between looking through a telescope, and having a 360 degree view from high up.

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Postby orald » 26 Apr 2008 17:22

Omphalos wrote:Its like the difference between looking through a telescope, and having a 360 degree view from high up.

More like a 3D simulation of everything with the possibility to move stuff around and see the effects.
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Postby Omphalos » 26 Apr 2008 17:41

orald wrote:
Omphalos wrote:Its like the difference between looking through a telescope, and having a 360 degree view from high up.

More like a 3D simulation of everything with the possibility to move stuff around and see the effects.


Right. Whatever analogy you want to use, non-linear prescience gives the prescient a much broader, wider, deeper and with more possibility.

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Postby SandChigger » 26 Apr 2008 17:51

Quoting from over on the "Music Tastes" thread (since Orald insists on fibril purity):

Omphalos wrote:
SandChigger wrote:
Omphalos wrote:The term "infinity" is not that limited. If you assume that units of time are divisible just the way that numbers are, then even if you have a distinct beginning and end, you have an infinite number of moments between each end of the time segment. I personally do not see why this view is not generally accepted, especially since as you play with mass and velocity, time becomes relative. IOW, fuck with one thing on one side of the equals sign in the E=MC2 equation, and everything on the other side changes to preserve the balance. So you actually could have an infinity of time in a closed universe.

I knew nothing good would come of you messin' with Aesop and them Greeks. Achilles and the turtle (or the arrow?), right? :roll:

;)

(An infinity of time in a closed universe...why am I suddenly thinking of Michael Moorcock and his Dancers at the End of Time?)

That's a valid point...but I don't think that's what Freak was getting at, was it?

[snip section quoted again below]

Well, the term "infinite" does not really mean "endless." It signifies more that anything can happen, meaning that mutually exclusive finalities could occur. So when you say "infinite," it does not logically exclude the possibility that all humans could be killed in the future, because "infinity" does not remove that as a possibility.

Um...no, "endless" is one of the meanings of infinite = "not finite" = "without end or limit".

All humans will die in the future, both individually and collectively as a species: there will come a time when there are no humans like us left. For us to (try to) remain in this form forever would mean stagnation and death. The only interesting question is whether we give rise to a successful new species.

(As long as we cling to a narrow physical definition of human, we're probably a dead end.)

SandChigger wrote:I have problems with infinity, as you may recall. (Remember how I used to go off every time Freak posted that the Scattering made humanity infinite? ;) ) It's just a concept, has no concrete reality. In practical terms, who's going to divide your finite period of time into infinite segments (and how)? And who would care?

Hmmm....

Scoff if you like, but what you are doing is trying to apply rational quantifications to irrational concepts. Just go with the flow, man! :wink:

Feh. :D

It's an abstract concept with no concrete reality. The number of atoms in the universe (at any given, fixed time of measurement) is vast, but finite. There could never be an infinite number of anything in a finite universe. (And the universe is finite, just unbounded. ;) ) Or multi-verse, either, come to think of it.

Getting back to the topic here and something Orald posted above:

Prescience by definition is seeing (lit. knowing) the future. It's just a Latinate version of "foreknowledge" or "foreknowing". Postscience would be seeing the past.

What would this "prescience of the past" entail? Paul and Leto could see things happening and about to happen far beyond the reach of their physical senses. Would this past sense convey knowledge of people and events who left no trace in Other Memory or other more normal records?

I'm still not sure I understand what the point is.... Are you assuming that the past is also fluid in some way similar to the future? :?
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Postby Freakzilla » 26 Apr 2008 18:16

How do you seperate past, present and future? You can't, there is no seperation.
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Postby orald » 26 Apr 2008 19:29

And why isn't there any seperation, pray tell?

The past is stuff you can't change, the present is where you're constantly at and can change, and the future is stuff that has yet to come to pass and you could indirectly change through your present.

Already happened-happening-hasn't happened yet.
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Postby SandChigger » 26 Apr 2008 19:41

Freakzilla wrote:How do you seperate past, present and future?

Um...like the men and the boys in Orald's circle...with a crowbar? :P

You can't, there is no seperation.

There are no solid walls with labels (or even semi-permeable membranes), no, but you can separate them, as Orald has already pointed out.

Sure, the divisions are artefacts (artificial constructs) resulting from our manner of perceiving processes and events (change) in spacetime and may have no ultimate reality, but that doesn't mean we can't distinguish between them and thereby make them "real" for us.
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Postby Freakzilla » 26 Apr 2008 20:20

I just don't understand how y'all can think there is a seperation. There is no such thing as time. It is only movement. Time itself makes no seperation. When is the present? Now? Oops, now is the past! Only a moment ago it was the future! It is constant motion. If you can see the "future" it is only natural that you can see the past.

Did anyone read the lecture by Hawking I posted?
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Postby SandChigger » 26 Apr 2008 21:06

(I looked through it when you first posted a link to it a while back.)

Define movement, then.
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Postby Omphalos » 26 Apr 2008 21:07

SandChigger wrote:I'm still not sure I understand what the point is.... Are you assuming that the past is also fluid in some way similar to the future? :?


Havent read 1984, have you? :wink:

Seriously, what exactly is the point again?