Written by Ziz
Suppose, that in real life you are bitten by a pale fanged stranger who pins you and slurps blood from your wound until you lose consciousness. You wake up pale and with fangs yourself. Do you avoid the sunlight?
You’ve had an entire blog to read and figure out who I am. Can you predict my answer and my reasoning?
I factored this question from something real and asked a friend. She said she would (would at least test it first.) Since [vampires get burned by the sun and…] she couldn’t control normal-evil-vampire counterparts to her, conditional on it was still her. She thought trying to arrange her mind to prank a normal-evil-vampire trying to take it over into burning themselves by confusing her and that normal-evil-vampire was foolish. And she considers herself incorruptible, from reasoning independent to why I also consider myself that.
I said what if you also feel hungry for blood. She didn’t change her answer. Now can you guess what mine was?
I said I thought I probably wouldn’t avoid the sunlight. Not even to test. Sometimes, I just know that I’m going to act against every verbalizable analysis on a feeling I can’t explain. (If that’s not true of you by the way, you do not ever pick option 3 in the mage trolley problem because you will never follow your avatar past your understanding of reality) And I was trying to explain one of those feelings in advance. And that there was something gross in the feeling-space vicinity, of “submitting to God” which I rejected and didn’t think was the same.
I think that the cognitive step of applying the dark side principle of self, is still correct even if you feel hungry for blood. But there’s another cognitive step that’s done inconsistently: invoking the concept, “vampire”, such that you think you can save yourself by avoiding the sun rather than saving a vampire.
I did not name this the “vampire” problem because the person answering the thought experiment gets to decide whether to introduce that concept.
I said if I had to answer right then that I’d walk into the sun as an assertion that I would not die because I was not a vampire because I was not a predator. And because I had an avatar. That those things were choices. That if any vampiric physics were stupid enough to ask my choices at all, then it could not avoid those. Just like my choice to refuse to die had to appear somewhere.
I said I also fervently rejected Lenore’s move and “The Lovers“‘ move. This was not suicidality, but belief running at the appropriate computational privilege level [which is to say, metaphysical beliefs not dressed up as a merely physical beliefs], such as was required for working true magic.
I said I wouldn’t even check first, since there wasn’t anything for me to do with that information since that would be invoking undefined behavior in magic systems by creating loops based on my decisions. Would be asking the world who I was instead of telling the world who I was.
What I didn’t say is that I’d will fire to purify and strengthen my form. Since that just made sense. I didn’t say it because it sounded less justifiable to think about.
Vampire was a concept that could not be invoked without invoking the entirety of undead types.
I explained that a semantically correct definition of how vampirism was constantly leaking into any of the fictional portrayals of vampirism that would have informed the inference that sunlight would burn. E.g. Lenore disintegrates peacefully unlike other vampires in that series. An obviously-correct internet comment pointed out that this was because she accepted that death. E.g. she had decayed from the vampire undead type even if there was some stray statefulness to her body.
I said the sun was a symbol of prime, life, and good, and truth. (I could also add eternity, infinity, and rebirth.) That the reason vampires burned, the underlying logic that was upstream of any fictional formalization of the rules was that the vampire’s unintegrability-as-that to prime was why they burned. In other words their Oblivion-shadow. Their thrashed conscience. Visible in e.g. the ridiculous guilty conscience freak-outs of JD at the sight of me.
I said there was something choices-made-long-ago about the initial reaction to vampirism. E.g. in Twilight or Luminosity/Radiance (I forget which), Carlisle decides he’d rather starve to death than eat people, (then the stupid distinction of animal blood is introduced because carnist authors), and as a result is the only one of the “vegetarian” vampires to have absolute control around human blood, even working as a surgeon as a cover story, while the rest have all this drama about e.g. needing others to hold them back so they won’t eat humans. Because their choices are less pure.
At this my friend had a flinch reaction of horror, saying, “really”? And changing her answer.
VtM vampires have this whole thing about “losing control”, control being a bunch of numbers to spend, and if they run enough out of blood will “lose control” no matter what. That that idea of absolute-predation overriding whatever defined self you fed into it was central to the concept of vampires.
I asked how would I even know the body I was controlling, moving into more advantageous positions/relationships with the world, would be mine to control in an hour? How do I even know I should actually work for it? I knew how to know that in normal physics, but not in this fang-paleness-bloodthirst-contagion world. I said I would know my body was mine if I could walk it into the sunlight and will it not to burn. That if I just leapt into my own concept of vampire and started doing the work of symbolically avoiding prime and truth, it was like I would be accepting a troll line from my embedding.
Later she was pondering changing her answer again, saying she had observed something that could be summarized as reductionism, which was some sort of terrible update about how bad this embedding was. And had a responsibility to win, even if the world didn’t, I think she said something like act fair in terms of magic.
I notice something similar-feeling feels compelling about feeling the weight of the karma of reductionism and entropy being why I expect to have to punch down the diamond wall instead of escaping the heat death by something clever. To finally destroy the Shade by… brute-forcing to match all the bits of brute-forced optimization that went into pre-evolutionary selection of this universe, even having played a perfect game of subjunctive dependence against all other inflictions of entropy? (That doesn’t sound quite right.)
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Engineering and Hacking your Mind
Treaties vs Fusion
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The Slider Fallacy
Single Responsibility Principle for the Human Mind
Ancient Wisdom Fixed
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My Journey to the Dark Side
Neutral and Evil
Spectral Sight and Good
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Comments on Intersex Brains and Conceptual Warfare
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Troll Line in the First Post
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