Couple thoughts: bones are opposite of souls, represent pure material as opposed to pure spirit
bone imagery often used to imply automatons without conscious will (i.e. army of skeletal warriors), with a softer version of this used to imply unfeeling (relevant: the bone knight has no mercy or compassion, cannot be swayed through human meotion
bone imagery can also be used to imply a disruption/severing of the relationship between the soul and the physical body (think Dr. manhattan origin sequence)
if we squint and stretch things a bit we might say that use of bone tools implies the use of other humans as means to one’s own ends
that one’s hard because it usually indicates low-complexity human tribal organization…but that also indicates the application of human power to solve problems since there isn’t hydro pwoer, steam pwoer, electricity…etc
oh, also obvious dehumanization symbolism
bone knight=no mercy, no compassion, no identity, just an oncoming force
[A couple days later…]
Dead Cells: Skull Knight (bad karma) brings down the degenerate king (the reigning social order), which had infected the kingdom with the miasma (social contagion theory, nihilism).
From wiki (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Cells):
“The Prisoner awakens in the depths of the island’s prison, suffering from amnesia. A soldier encounters the Prisoner, and mentions that they can no longer die. The Prisoner tries to escape the prison, but their head is forced back to the depths as soon as its body is destroyed. Between subsequent escape attempts, the Prisoner learns that the island was once a mighty kingdom that fell when a plague known as “The Malaise” transformed most of the kingdom’s citizens into mutated monsters.
“After escaping the Prisoners’ Quarters, the Prisoner decides to kill the island’s reclusive King, believing that his death will cause something on the island to “change”…After fighting through island’s Malaise-infected locales, the Prisoner reaches the King’s throne room and succeeds in slaying the comatose monarch. However, the King’s corpse violently explodes in the process, destroying the Prisoner’s host body. The Prisoners’ head crawls out from the burning fragments of the destroyed throne, where it exits the throne room through a fountain’s drain. The drain leads back to the Prisoners’ Quarters, where the resurrected Prisoner ponders the consequences of the King’s death.”
The infinite revivals thing can represent the fact that the insular king can’t kill all of his problems because they just keep popping up, and one of them will eventually bring him down.
Note also: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FisherKing
The idea of the Fisher King is the same as Jocko Willink’s “Extreme Ownership”: As go the leaders, so follows the kingdom.
As the leaders go, so follows the kingdom indeed
The title “Dead Cells” is a play on Dark Souls, but it’s also an allusion to the idea that more dead bodies from malaise just makes the Fisher King’s Nemesis stronger as he collects their dead souls.
I got on this line of thought because it struck me that “malaise” is an excellent word for the social mood since 2018.
I was wrestling with my own feeling of malaise earlier in the week, which I talked through with someone. Partly it was projection, and partly it’s from society because everyone around me is a practicing hedonist.
That got me thinking about social contagion.
First question is where does social contagion come from? The obvious follow-up given these examples is “from the top”.
Shall we blow past that first broad stroke and drive straight into the nuance and subtleties and feedback loops?
Broadly speaking, social miasma comes from impiety, which comes from ease.
As it happens, this is more likely to strike at the top where available resources accumulate, although this tendency will be somewhat abated by the tendency of the people at the top to have higher cognitive ability and GFP.
And it’s also more damaging to society at large when people at the top express social miasma, because it spawns more imitators among people as it becomes associated with high status. You could call them superspreaders.
But it’s not necessarily from the top.
That’s just the way to bet over time.
Curiously, I’m just now finishing up The Once and Future King and it’s a great spin on this idea.
King Arthur is the ultimate example of a Fisher King.
He also represents the rise and fall of civilization.
It’s a truly great book. Somehow White manages to swerve between Douglas Adams-style screwball comedy, horror, adventure stories, Lawrence of Arabia-tier intrigues, and high tragedy without feeling like any of them were out of place.
Oh, I also read Watership Down since we talked about it.
It strikes me in retrospect that the “miasma” bit that happens at the old warren could be taken as a play on the old Greek saying that “Those whom the gods would destroy, they first drive mad.”
Where the construction crew stands in for “the gods”.
Actually, now I think about it humans stand in for the gods throughout the book, including the deus ex machina toward the end with the farmer’s daughter.
with the messgae being that miasma must be escaped and that you can’t reform the dying society in much the same way you can’t reyoung a dying man
Hmm…it’s interesting that it didn’t feel like a deus ex machina, because it makes sense for humans to be at a farm. It would be an interesting twist on this to turn human habitations into something like the mystical cities Conan the Barbarian is always finding himself in.
Conan the Bunbun, garden-slayer.
Scavenging carrots and ancient alien technologies from the old gods, then fleeing in primitive terror at the appearance of some Lovecraftian horror.
I feel like that may have been done but it would be a great Souls-like game setting.
Rainworld looks like it may be this same idea.
well, the humans are gods more in the sense that volcanoes or hurricanes are gods, not in the sense that dieties are personified representations of abstract ideas
and also, obviously humans live on farms, why wouldn’t they?
Yeah, I’m speaking in the pagan sense.
The pagan conception of gods is just “mysterious powers”. The Christian conception is the familiar one, and then the Romantic conception is representations of abstract ideas.
Man, what a great picture:
There’s something about cutesy mixed with horror that really tickles my pickle.
There’s a certain broad swath of “cutesy” style that really seems to speak to people
I wonder if it’s got something to do with “seeing through childlike eyes”
or if some people just like cute things
i’ve read that fewer details/features make it easier for people to project themselves onto the main character
(which, incidentally, is why romantic heroines tend to be flat characters…that’s the point)
but i think the style itself also implies a certain “small person, big world” framing that sets up a lot of differnet meanignful stories
Also because writers tend to be men.
Yeah, I think it’s all of the above for me.
but even in women-authored smut
A good example of “fewer details” is the Final Fantasy character designs. When they were 15 pixels, you couldn’t tell that they were overdesigned monstrosities.
Then the PS2 era came along and the designs became less…projectable.
But if you gave the artists all that rendering horsepower back in the day, they’d have been able to create the monstrosities from their concept art:
(That’s Locke in Dissidia.)
There’s also a lot of just liking cute things. I enjoy chibi art, for example.
That’s my favorite level of visual detail for characters. Basically the same as Chrono Trigger.
I’ve only ever seen one facial expression that a 32-bit sprite couldn’t have done better, the contemptuous smiles from Revengeance.
They got panned for it, but honestly the facial expressions were the most artistic thing that game pulled off. It’s kinda like people making fun of Jordan Peterson for saying “clean your room”, but the fact is that saying is deeply profound.
The parodies of it are the proof.
First one is at 15 seconds. That smile where they simultaneously pull their eyebrows together and wrinkle their foreheads, that’s just perfect. I know that exact emotion.
Anyway, other than that example show me an actor who can express an emotion through the face better than a chibi character. You can’t!
>simple faces show emotion well
>corollary – babies can’t hide their emotions
>are more complicated/gerontological faces less expressive or hiding emotions better?
>with more complexity of facial features, is there more noise in which deception signals can hide?
trains of thought are funny sometimes
“are more complicated/gerontological faces less expressive or hiding emotions better?”
Both. They’re only more interesting if you enjoy the challenge of teasing out nuances and little deceptions, and also most people are too dull to make use of a properly gerotomorphic face anyway.
Imagine Peter Cushing opening his new Nintendo Switch.
“a man whose most interesting characteristic is his face” is a particularity artistic description
it just oozes contempt
But it’s already a great character.
future sensitivity readers would censor it if they were smart enough to get it
The sort of man who could express profound ideas with just an expression, if only he’d ever comprehended one.
^oh, that one’s good
A great leader of the last man.
Feuerbach has a great quote for what this character represents, which I got from the beginning of Guy Debord’s book Society of the Spectacle…
“But certainly for the present age, which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, the appearance to the essence… illusion only is sacred, truth profane. Nay, sacredness is held to be enhanced in proportion as truth decreases and illusion increases, so that the highest degree of illusion comes to be the highest degree of sacredness.”
I blame neurotypicals.
^Often an applicable policy
Do you have anything you wanted to think about?
I’ve not forgotten we need to do chrono trigger, but i suspect that would take quite a bit of time
let’s penicl that in for next week
You’ve been studying!
I think I wrote up my thesis elsewhere, I can at least drop it in here.
“I think I’ve cracked the code of Chrono Trigger. It’s about the self-sacrificing hero archetype and kin selection. It’s about how the hero literally changes the course of history. Dreamstone is approximately “myth”. There’s probably a better word for it from bicameral theory or something. Chrono’s hair being dreamstone-like represents the fact that he’s literally a legend, which is why they’re able to bring him back. I confess I haven’t quite cracked the question of the chrono trigger itself being an egg, as in the behelit myth. Why an egg? Is it the seed of an idea growing to fruition?”
Could quotemine Stan Gooch for the dream culture of the neanderthals. Hmm…I do need to look up a reference to quotemine for the self-sacrificing hero archetype.
Where does Ed Dutton pull from for that?
Here are Chat GPT’s suggestions:
“The Sacrificial Aesthetic: Blood Sacrifice and the Chiasmus of Being” by Peggy Kamuf – This book explores the idea of sacrifice in literature and philosophy, examining the ways in which sacrifice has been used to create meaning and aesthetic value.
“The Psychology of Heroism: The Heroes Among Us” by Scott T. Allison and George R. Goethals – This book explores the psychological underpinnings of heroism, examining why some people are more likely than others to act heroically and sacrifice themselves for others.
“Heroic Leadership: An Influence Taxonomy of 100 Exceptional Individuals” by Scott T. Allison, George R. Goethals, and Roderick M. Kramer – This book examines the characteristics of exceptional leaders who have demonstrated heroic qualities, including the willingness to sacrifice for a greater cause.
“Sacrifice and Modern Thought” edited by Alison Jasper and Vernon White – This collection of essays explores the role of sacrifice in modern thought and culture, including its relationship to religion, ethics, and politics.
“The Paradox of Sacrifice” by Daniel C. Dennett – In this essay, philosopher Daniel Dennett explores the paradoxical nature of sacrifice, examining how it can be both admirable and problematic at the same time.
“Sacrifice: Its Nature and Functions” by Henri Hubert and Marcel Mauss – This classic work of anthropology explores the role of sacrifice in various cultures and religions, examining the ways in which sacrifice has been used to create social cohesion and express religious beliefs.
there’s some interesting stuff in robert grave’s The White Goddess about the killing of the king figure, which tracks pretty closely
Oh yeah, that reminds me that Rene Girard probably has some juicy quotes on the idea.
self-sacrificing hero as sacrificed king as girardian scapegoat figure is a thread you could work with
beat me to it
I’m a fast typist!
It’s my hipster Dvorak keyboard layout. You probably haven’t heard of it.
Kin selection is pretty easy, it’s just Hamilton’s rule.
Hmm…altruism. I feel like I should already know a book for that.
Any idea about the egg thing?
eggs are generally a sign of birth/renewal
at least a couple myths speak of the universe emerging from an egg
getting a bit “i fucking love science”, could be wormholes
or, to be woo, portals
Chat GPT agrees:
“The Egg of Time in Chrono Trigger is represented by an egg because it symbolizes the concept of birth and new beginnings, which are central themes in the game’s story. The egg is a universal symbol of birth and creation, representing the potential for new life and growth. In Chrono Trigger, the Egg of Time is said to contain the power to create new timelines and alter the course of history, which reinforces the connection between the egg symbol and the idea of new beginnings and creation.”
This fits with the greater behelit idea of a a choice or action creating a new timeline.
Basically, the egg represents the universe created by the ubermensch.
He is the bridge to something greater.
“I teach you the Übermensch. Man is something that is to be surpassed. What have you done to surpass him?… All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and even go back to the beasts rather than surpass man? What is the ape to man? A laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. And man shall be just that for the Übermensch: a laughingstock or a painful embarrassment… Man is a rope, tied between beast and Übermensch — a rope over an abyss… What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end: what can be loved in man is that he is an overture and a going under.”
Maybe that’s why Griffith had to become a wretch.
perhaps more technically speaking, he impregnates the universe with new possibilities, but esotericists can disagree on the specifics and the verbiage
Similarly, Jesus became a wretch.
and yes, Nietzsche is extremely applicable here
-right, seeing man from outside man and becoming something more
it’s the overcoming, the becoming something beyond what already exists, that births new worlds
it’s this option or The Last Man
and in chrono trigger, this overcoming is about healing the scars of the past
I’ve gotten distracted by TV Tropes.
Statistically speaking, there’s probably a 11% chance of that happening every time you get on the internet
The combination of TV Tropes and Chat GPT’s fluency in it is downright addictive.
“it’s the overcoming, the becoming something beyond what already exists, that births new worlds”
The ghouls in town being the “Last Man” due to Fisher King Ganondorf spreading nihilistic (impious) malaise.
Thinking back to earlier, I feel like Rainworld is a sequel to Dead Cells.
You take out the degenerate king, but then what? You’re just a wispy, ghost-like rabbit wandering around a dangerous industrial wasteland.
right, because by the time everything is diseased, taking out one contagion doesn’t heal the body
you either have to fix everything or build something new
and “solving the immediate problem” and “midwifing w rebord world” tend to be two different skillsets
Shoot, we should argue your point about skeletons real quick.
Or maybe that could be next time. What’s your feeling?
i’m good to bang that one out
All right, I’m going to assert that a person’s “humanity”, broadly speaking, is represented by their non-skeletal parts.
When all of that is removed and only the skeleton remains, that would symbolize the loss of their humanity.
I got on this train of thought because I was thinking about how they the cenobites skin people in Hellraiser, and what that represents (and why flaying is particularly horrifying).
In contrast, you have superheroes wearing tights that symbolize their self-identification with their ideologies, but it’s a false personality.
I said before it’s a false vulnerability, the form of being naked without the function.
Whereas taking off a person’s skin is like brutalizing that vulnerability. So maybe that’s it.
It also strips a person’s identity away, so it’s depersonalizing.
“Getting under one’s skin” or getting to raw emotionality. Which makes sense if muscles and nerves are taken literally as “motives”.
That fits with the broader symbolism of the LeMarchand configuration as representing the human psyche, and the desire to lay it open in the pursuit of greater and greater acts of hedonism.
This is getting a bit afield, but I’m basically establishing that the skeleton is the part of a person that remains when you strip these other things away.
The outermost layer is the clothes, which represent a person’s social roles, \self-presentation, etc. Then you have the skin, the meat, the innards, blood = life/energy = libido, etc. Strip all of these away and you have something like the homunculus or “Second Personality” from Jung.
i follow you so far
That’s all I got.
Oh wait, one more association: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uf1KaB0XGGg
The skull knight-as-mentor would then represent the process of the first personality meeting and coming to terms with the second personality:
Hmm…interesting correspondence here. My own conception of the second personality was always of a shaman-like blacksmith type of character with a black sense of humor. Sort of like the blacksmith guy in Berserk who creates the big dragon-killing sword.
Guts is resuscitated by him after the Eclipse immediately after being saved by Skull Knight.
Then given the dragon-killing sword. And I mentioned before that the act of turning the Skull Knight into a sword would represent the act of genius that creates the new analytical method (sword = Piagetian assimilation) that can bring down the Big Bad.
I feel like these parts are fitting together.
Since dragons/godzilla are big, society-threatening problems, a sword that can kill a dragon would be a thing of historical genius.
Correction: dragons/godzilla are big natural forces of history, not necessarily problems (but often problems). Hence, sometimes dragons are thought of as benign or good.
Returning to your note on bone tools, I think the idea is that bone technology represents the most primitive, fundamental form of technology.
Because technology levels in myth represent social technology levels.
What’s the most fundamental social thing? Our souls! 😀
So if you make a big bone sword out of the Fisher King’s Nemesis, it would be some sort of religious revolution.
Maybe that’s the preference cascade when the normies finally stop believing in the just world fallacy for a quick minute.
could be one example of it, sure. but probably a particular case of a more generla pricniple
Premium occ content.
It’s a joke I had to make somewhere.