What Works vs. What is Right

From: ANDOVER@delphi.com
Date: Thu 22 May 1997 - 09:08:27 EEST


In regards to the great objective/subjective debate, I wonder how the
"objectivists" (hmm, a term used by the Randites) feel about living
in our world, in which such "simple" questions has the nature of light
cannot be explained except by directly contradictory theories (wave,
particle) or in which the nature of the relationship between "solid"
reality and "underlying" quantum physics is still so much a contradiction
that we can't even adequately explain such paradoxes as Schrodinger's Cat?

On the other hand, unless conflict is to make no sense, a pure
"subjectivist" position doesn't make sense either. Despite Nick Brooke's
typically expansive attempt to claim every story-writer on the digest
for the "subjectivist" position, I don't consider myself a subjectivist.
The stories I have written have all been within the parameters of published
material -- and, where there are paradoxes, I have attempted to explain them
"logically."

By the way, it is quite possible to write "logical" stories about worlds
in which the nature of reality -- or the perception of reality -- changes
in dramatic ways. Consider Saberhagen's Empire of the East/Swords series,
in which such changes happen at LEAST four times! In Tolkien's work, Middle-
Earth is changed from being flat to being round at the end of the Second
Age. Brian Aldiss wrote numerous stories with remarkable inversions --
consider Cryptozoic! as an example.

It is obvious that the nature of reality in Glorantha has changed at least
half-a-dozen times -- and is going to change at least two more times,
according to KoS! That means that what "works" in one period -- whether
God-Learning experiments or the simple act of reading -- does not work in
another.

This does not require one to be "subjective" about Gloranthan reality, anfd
as Sandy P. has cleverly pointed out, no one in Glorantha is a subjectivist
(with the exception of a few illuminates?).

MY interest in Glorantha is what WORKS, not what is "right," which is why
I reacted so sharply to Andrew Behan's misquoting Asimov (and attributing
his quote to me). Quantum mechanics as it now is, and indeed almost all
cosmological theories about our own universe, is almost certainly not
"right." Equally certainly, it works pretty well. As a matter of fact,
for most "real-world" calculations, Newtonian physics work pretty well. As
a player and a GM, and even as a writer about Glorantha, my interest in
such questions as how many of the endlessly multiplying Sun Gods there are
actually ARE, or what "really happened" at some place and time which I know
very little about, is rather limited. But I am interested in what these
arguments mean for something that my players or characters may actually
be doing.

Jim Chapin

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