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on 25 Roots

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Blog: That introvert site thing
yeroc
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When I first heard about this site, I can't tell you how excited I was for it... I guess I technically have friends, but they're mostly extroverts and I feel like many of my interests are different from theirs... So yes, I'd absolutely love to join a site like this.
Forum: Would you regard yourself as an 'introvert'?
yeroc
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Well, as an introvert myself, I can assure you that I would never have talked to the cashier woman. As a matter of fact, I absolutely despise it when people who I am interacting with for reasons such as buying coffee or food try to talk to me. Of course, I'll smile and try to be polite, but inside it really bothers me. So you are correct when you say that an introvert is someone who probably wouldn't have talked to the cashier woman.

Just so you know, it's quite common for extroverts to assume that most people are "like them". The reason the cashier woman at Starbucks might talk to an introvert such as myself is because she doesn't realize that I want to have a certain degree of control over when I engage in social interactions and that I just might not feel like talking at the moment. Of course, I've never been an extrovert, so I don't know if an extrovert would always be willing to talk to the cashier woman at Starbucks (assuming she is not an unpleasant person, of course). It appears to be that way to me because a lot of extroverts seem to act like that... I live in a college dorm right now, and one of my roommates friends will just come around and talk to my roommate at length whenever he wants to... when my roommate's doing homework, playing video games, whatever. Since I happen to know my roommate's an introvert (and the kind of person who doesn't always speak up when something bothers him, no matter how consistent the behavior is), I find it curious that this friend just comes over whenever he feels like it... I highly doubt my roommate always wants to talk to him, even though they're friends. But, from what I've read, that's the kind of interaction that happens between extroverts and introverts all the time.
Blog: Weekly Update
yeroc
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Well, as someone who both writes stories and programs games, I have often had questions similar to yours, Pseudo. With writing, it depends on the story. Some things are written in such a way that they should be entertaining even if you know what's going to happen next, but other stories are only entertaining if you're surprised by the next event. I proofread my stories often, and I, unsurprisingly, have found that I enjoy proofreading the former more than the latter.

As for games, well, I'm not as experienced with the subject. Though I'd like to program RPGs, I use gamemaker, which I find lacks the kind of data manipulation techniques found in "professional" computer languages that are almost a necessity for making RPGs. As a result, I tend to make shooters instead (the 2d kind, obviously). Now, the thing is, in terms of gameplay, I've found that some of the fun of RPGs is learning the game. You learn what skills are useful, you learn where to find the secret items, you learn which party members will help you the most, etc, etc. I have plenty of fun playing my shooters because those are still challenging even if you know everything about the game. But when you play an RPG you already know everything about, I assume it would be a tad bit boring. Now, I've never made an RPG, so I don't know this. However, that would be my guess.
Forum: "With RPG Elements!"
yeroc
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I've been bothered for the same thing for quite some time. When these games say they have RPG elements, they often just mean they have an upgrade system. This wouldn't necessarily be bad... if every game wasn't doing it and the developers executed it right.

See, here are the pitfalls:

1) Upgrades are boring.
Get this upgrade, and your weapon does more damage. And hold on! This upgrade makes you shoot faster! What? You want more? Okay, we'll increase your health bar. This is how about 80%-90% of the "RPG" features of the game function. If there were any depth to this, it might add something to the game. But...

2) Upgrades ruin the difficulty of a game
A lot of these games have created a way for you to get all of the upgrades. Not only does this mean there's no strategy to the upgrades (what upgrade do I want? All of them?), but it ruins the difficulty of the game. Very often, the final level is easy once you've acquired every upgrade. Take the game Pixelvader. It's quite difficult... until you have all the upgrades.

And that's basically what bothers me. I like the upgrade system in Red Fluxion since that doesn't fall for either of these pitfalls. I honestly can't think of any other part-rpg game on kongregate where I liked the upgrades.

So I agree, it is just a cheap marketing gimmick. There are plenty of games that would be fine without an upgrade system, possibly even better. To me, it just seems like a way of making your game more "mainstream".
Forum: Ordinary People
yeroc
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Admittedly, "ordinary" is a difficult word to define when used to describe people. The issue is that different communities have a different sense of "ordinary". For instance, I live on a college campus. A lot of the people go to parties on the weekends. However, I live in the "nerd" dorm. Most of the people here instead play Magic: The Gathering or Dungeons and Dragons or some video game on the weekend. So, which one of those is "ordinary"? It depends n which dorm you live in. In most dorms, partying is ordinary. In my dorm, playing Magic and D&D is normal. So, it depends on the society you live in. As an American who's never been anywhere in Europe, I cannot fathom what "ordinary" is for someone living in the UK. For the purposes of what Pseudo is referring to, I'd say that an "ordinary" person would not have the kind of social anxiety issues that Pseudo has, nor would I say that they are completely without fear and would probably be anxious at a job interview or some other stressful situation. But, for the most part, an ordinary person is a culture-bound concept.
Forum: A Reset Button for your Life
yeroc
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Well, if I were to use such a power, it would be because life is too short. Sure, many people would argue that immortality would suck, but what if you could (more or less) live two lives? You'd get in twice as many experiences, and you still wouldn't have to be immortal. And hey, in my opinion, the person I am today has consistently been a better person than the person I was yesterday. More time = better person. I think a lot of people have made good arguments for why we shouldn't use this power: it would be boring to regress to the 90s and have to wait for all the things we like to be created, we'd have to depart from our friends until we meet them again, etc. But think about it this way. Since you have your memories, you're going to know to do different things. I've already played Mardek, I'm gonna do something different with my second life. Sure, some things are out of my control, but being able to change the things I can control would be awesome. I wouldn't use this button to change my mistakes; I think we humans need to learn to live with such things. Since I'd theoretically be living a different life, I wouldn't know what mistakes I'm going to make, so that wouldn't be a problem for me.
Forum: Morality and Stuff!
yeroc
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I suppose the issue here is in determining what helps us survive. Even though I believe a right answer always exists, it is very rarely an easy answer to come up with. The question I always ask myself is whether or not violent fascism helps us survive. Certainly, in the case of a Hitler or Stalin-like figure, the fact that millions were killed means it was wrong. But if I were to take a more Machiavellian perspective, we have a more interesting question. If I kill, say, 10 or 20 people to make the public fear the state, thus making them more likely to obey "just" laws (don't murder, don't steal) that help us survive, is that right? See, it's hard to tell, because there are too many variables. How strong will the fear be? What are the risks of the often irrational behavior that comes with fear? What about those close to the 10 or 20 victims? Will they want revenge? The point is, we have no idea what helps us survive. A casual observer (particular one raised in a democratic society) would instantly say that the murder of these 10 or 20 people would be wrong. And we really have no way of determining if this casual observer is right. So, whether or not the morals you mentioned help us survive is probably an equally deep question.

If you're trying to say that the intent of these morals wasn't to survive, well, I hardly consider that relevant. I was, for the most part, referring specifically to our moral emotions, rather than the voice of our superego (a term coined by Freud essentially saying that the values our parents teach us as children "follows" us for the rest of our life). There are some clear rules we can find when we examine humanity as a whole. Anyone who isn't a sociopath (and I wouldn't consider a sociopath a person) would have a severe emotional reaction to killing someone for absolutely no reason. Of course, there are a few areas where people's feelings don't match up with what is clearly right (non-sociopaths have killed for money). Well, as I said, this is because our moral feelings were shaped by evolution, which has not caught up with modern society. In one study performed, some psychologists dropped a bunch of wallets at certain locations and measured how many of the wallets were returned. None of the wallets had anything other than a picture. What the psychologists were really testing was how much of an impact the content of the picture had. Some wallets had no picture, some had a picture of a baby, an elderly couple, a puppy, etc. I'll spare the details, but the wallets with the picture of the baby were about five times as likely to be returned as the wallets with no picture. The only explanation the experimenters can come up with is that the mind can't tell the difference between a picture and reality, so the subconscious drives us to return something as important as a baby to its owner. Even when we discuss something as simple as photographs, our minds haven't caught up to modern society. People killing for money is a much more extreme example, and I admit I can't be 100% certain why that happens, but I can guess. Most of these criminals are narcissists, and narcissism has become a common phenomena due to our generations focus on self-esteem ∞ LINK ∞ This happened because some researchers (the scientific method is a relatively new thing) found a relation between self-esteem and performance (they were ignoring the rule of research: "correlation does not imply causation", but that's hardly important for this discussion) and thus promoted the idea of boosting self-esteem. This opinion could only be heard because modern society has made communication to the masses much easier. And thus violent narcissists were created. This could not have happened to humanity in any era other than our era of modern society. If I were to guess, I'd venture that in generations past, narcissists only existed among the ruling class. As I said at the beginning of this post, using violence to create order is a more interesting moral question than it seems. It's entirely likely that rulers being narcissists was a good thing back then.

That's not to say that morality was ever perfect in the first place. Evolution grants us what helps us survive best. If something imperfect is helping us survive, it won't be fixed. The reason we rely on emotions for morality instead of rationally calculating what the most moral course of action is is proof of this. Not only would it take an intellect superior to our current one to do so, but I assume it would be much harder for evolution to nudge us in this direction. It's easier for DNA to control our emotions than our cognition.

So yes! Immoral behavior either comes from sociopaths, miscalculations, or outdated aspects of human nature.
Forum: Morality and Stuff!
yeroc
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While I admit I don't know much about moral pragmatism, I've heard it be contrasted with consequentialism, so, given that I am a consequentialist, I'd guess that it would be inaccurate to call me a moral pragmatist. Furthermore, the wikipedia article you linked to made it sound the primary characteristic of moral pragmatism is that morality evolves. As the article puts it, I can hold something as true while still understanding that future generations may not see it as true and that these future generations will indeed be right. Perhaps what is efficient will change, but I see the laws of efficiency as a means to achieving moral ends without dictating morality itself. The article gives the example of slaveholders, which I would argue was wrong even then since it was destructive to the culture of others, and, as many historians have argued, actually harmed the upper class (the south ended up having little industry compared to the north, and even then, many economists noted that slavery was unsustainable). But again, I don't know much about moral pragmatism, so I could be wrong.
Forum: Morality and Stuff!
yeroc
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Hmm, well, my understanding of moral relativism is just that it states that morality can be different between cultures and individuals without any of them being "wrong", so yes, it's entirely possible that I'm misunderstanding relativism. However, in this thread, people have expressed a view similar to what I described in this post, so that's what I was answering. I think that an action is either right or wrong, even if we don't know which at the time.

Anyways, my philosophy is actually quite egalitarian. When I say morality helps "us" survive, I don't mean it helps me survive. I would argue that if the only way for a child to survive was for a parent to sacrifice one's self for the child, then, given that the child would have a high probability of reaching adult post-sacrifice, the parent would be morally required to make such a sacrifice. The reason for this is because I see the survival of the gene, rather than the individual, as a priority, whereas many egoist philosophers (Ayn Rand most notably) would not at all support such a course of action, as to such philosophers, the individual is more important than the gene. Now, I would argue that "my" gene is more important than "your" gene, so if I had to choose who to save, I'd choose to save myself. However, I do not think "my" gene is so much more important that letting two others die would be a moral course of action; ultimately, I'm concerned with body count.
Forum: Morality and Stuff!
yeroc
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My personal view is that morality is a tool of evolution; that is to say, we, as humans, have moral feelings because it has helped us (as both a species and an individual) survive in the past. I take a similar stance to Hume in the sense that I think morality doesn't exist beyond these feelings. However, I also believe that we, as rational beings, are capable of understanding that morality was created to serve a specific purpose (survival), and that our intuitive moral feelings may not have caught up with modern society and technology. Thus, we have a duty to rationally judge our actions as well as rely on our intuitive moral feelings.

For this reason, I don't believe in relativism. I suppose I see it in black-and-white terms: what helps us survive is good, and what makes it harder for us to survive is bad. Granted, it's not always easy to tell what helps us survive, but that doesn't mean there wasn't a right answer. I don't always know the answers to questions on my physics test, but there is obviously a right answer. People can have different ideas of what will lead to survival, but only one of these ideas can be right (provided they conflict).