Paradigms As Moral Statements

It seems to me that paradigms are, perhaps, moral statements more than they are practical matters of physical law.

Let's talk about science for a moment.

Sometimes Mage tempts one to talk about science as something "true," "false," or "made true by the Technocracy." But this is incoherent. Science measures, it is not a measurement. Science doesn't find objective, repeatable laws in the fabric of the world, and it definitely doesn't inject them there; it observes the world and codifies its behavior in a *mental model* consisting of objective, repeatable laws.

But there's still something that can be said about the Technocracy; that is, there is still a way in which a Technocracy could arise, and "make" science more dominant. Which is to say, not by picking and choosing physical laws; and not by affecting the truth or falsehood of science qua science (any more than you can affect the truth or falsehood of a number, or a color, or a statement in ethics); but rather by affecting its practical value.

To make science more dominant in the world, one must make scientific thinking a *better life strategy, particularly for creating practical effects.* That is, recording rather than remembering; testing hypotheses and being willing to accept either result; attempting to screen out what you wish to be true or what you believe to be true from what you recognize as the result of an experiment; thinking critically; and in general a meticulous attitude towards exploration paired with a methodology that places truth over ego-

If the Technocracy shaped the world such that that *worked better* than it had, then it starts to make sense to talk about them as "causing" science to work. Because it's impossible to imagine a world where science is false, and yet still science, but it's perfectly possible to imagine a world where it is totally unproductive; what if every major breakthrough had been just a little bit too hard for the scientist in question to reach in their lifetime? What if Newton's laws and his calculus were vaporware-if he'd never quite managed to get them into good shape? If Kepler got shivved in an alley when he was young? If the Wright Brothers never quite managed? What if science still worked, and made sense, but for the most part was just a little bit too hard for people to do, and never made real inroads on the world?

That world is coherent; and it makes sense to imagine that the Technocracy brought us here from there. That they made the pursuit of science good; that they made it more effective.

The idea that pursuing science is *good* and *effective*, though; that isn't a methodology or a paradigm. That's a moral statement.

And I think, as a moral statement, it charts an obvious course towards making the Technocracy morally gray. They've decided that humans should succeed in this world by record-keeping, humility, and suppression of the ego in the face of truth. That's awesome, in one sense, because egotism is at the root of an awful lot of awfulness; but it's terrible, also, because the ego is the self.

The stronger the Technocracy gets, thus, the less often you'll have people getting power by flogging delusions and the more often you'll see people breaking out of poverty or hard situations by being hard and insightful workers. The stronger they get, the less it'll matter whether the next scientific genius is born rich in America or starving in some warlord's trashheap-and in fact, the less it'll matter whether one is a "scientific genius" or just someone who is dedicated to seeing and working with truth. But on the downside, it ultimately means no more people and no more art; ultimately all that will be left of individual humans will be a small temple fire in the mind giving honor outwards to the Truth.

Or maybe that's not the real downside. I mean, it is the endgame, but I think the endgame for *most* moral paradigms is the end of humanity; in the end, when people become perfect, they stop being people, and happily ever after is not a morally active state. The real downside is that while you're getting all the cool bennies of science, you don't get the cool stuff the other paradigms would offer.

And the other paradigms would have their own moral laws. For example, even if someone in the Celestial Chorus becomes aware of paradigms, becomes aware that the laws they live by don't *have* to be the laws that govern the universe, they could still say: but I think that godliness and faith and service to the higher glory *should* be what is rewarded in the world.

One of the cool things about this is that the victory of the Technocracy in the modern world stops being so clear-cut. You can clearly succeed in life without succeeding the Technocratic "way." And I don't just mean that you can be a deceptive double-dealing appearance-over-reality snake oil salesman and succeed, although that's pretty much the Technocratic boogeyman; there are plenty of people who find that faith, say, lets them lead perfectly good lives, even without a commitment to objectivity, falsifiability, and repeatable experiments.

Or whatever.

This also suggests a baseline world: chaos, susceptible to and responding to the will, illuminating in its responsiveness the moral character of the soul that touched it, but not yet knowing (as any child does not) what moral lessons it should tell. So in all innocence, it asked the Pure Ones, "What is good? What ought I punish, in you? What ought I reward?" And the Pure Ones shattered, and darkness flashed among the lightness of the plain, and everywhere was tumult and disorder, and from the shards, humanity.


How would this manifest in gameplay?

I think it would manifest as a reduction in the difficulty of Science tasks, paired with some sort of karmic feedback between objectivity and good scientific methodology and desirable outcomes. This does assume that you can perform science no matter what, but that it used to be harder to make sense of the patterns of the world, you used to be more likely to get trapped exploring dead-end hypotheses, and possibly that it used to feel vaguely degenerate and empty when you were practicing it.

Basically, the principle is "the better your paradigm is doing, the better people are at doing what you think they should do, and the better the correlation between doing so and leading a fulfilling life." With a small catch that worldview affects what people find fulfilling.


I don't think there's such a thing as amoral rules; every rule has moral character. The moral character of impersonal abstract physical laws is basically the Copernican/mediocrity principle-(for all values of 'you') "you are not a special snowflake." If this is not a good fit for your paradigm, you don't have to *deny* the laws of physics, but you do have to de-emphasize them, and you'd have been a lot less likely to come up with them.

So why does science sometimes give unexpected results?

You can sort of explain that if you assume that paradigms are finite models.

Basically, imagine that when you put together your world theory, you only look at top-level details. Or, rather, the details you choose to look at are top-level by definition. Under them are a sea of things you don't think are important-things that you know have to function somehow or other, but which you're happy to leave implicit.

Yet those are load-bearing details. You can't just write them off; even if you haven't thought through what they are in your paradigm, if your paradigm is to be real, so are they. One day something from down at that level will matter. One day you'll turn over a few rocks down at what you'd originally called the unexplored firmament; or something will come out from there on its own. And if you get to explore it firmly and carefully in a kind of top-down fashion then everything will make sense.

Other times, though, what's going on- what *must* be going on, for your whole paradigm to make sense-is theory C188. That's a 188-part theory, and it's totally unsurprising once you find it all, it's all part of your original design; but when you just see part 1, theory C, it's like, wtf?

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