Aug 10, 2022 11:25 PM
Vanda Nosseo lands on a world that fights a lot of wars.
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... Is that a thing?

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Yeah. She can go read Wikipedia moral philosophy for them if they like.

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Sure, that sounds sensible. Of her. She should do that.

(... But... if you don't have... priorities... why do you do things. And if you do have priorities, you want to efficiently allocate resources between them, and then you can measure anything in anything else and that is basically a utility function. What kind of bizarre insane torture-species does not have members with utility functions.)

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She will helpfully read Wikipedia articles and some of the citations. There is apparently a website called Worldview Book which showcases middle-grade-aimed summaries of various cultures' outlooks, Elves included.

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Sounds useful...

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ELVES

There are many worlds with Elves, and different tribes of Elves think differently. Check Further Reading to learn more about those details. This article is about things most Elves agree on, especially where it differs from other peoples.

- Childhood is precious! The welfare of children is one of the most important things in the world. People should wait until they are ready to give their children the best possible life before having them, and should not be distracted by any responsibilities that would make them a worse parent during that time. Children should have the attention of their parents and any other relatives readily available until they are all grown up.

- Patience is a virtue! Elves feel rushed if they are asked to make important choices quickly. They are usually willing to wait for months or even many years for things that others would become impatient about.

- Singing is fun! Elves practice to get good at singing, and often do a lot of it when they don't have anything else in the way of it. Many of them write songs for fun. Some also play instruments.

- Beauty is indispensible! Elves don't need as much of most necessities like sleep and food as others do, but they can't work in ugly environments. They will sometimes close their eyes if the things around them aren't pretty, and need well-maintained decoration anywhere they're going to live.

- Hair is private! While Elves don't really care about wearing clothes (except to look nice), they do care if their hair is braided up neatly. Loose hair, or hair that's cut short, can be very distracting for Elves who aren't used to it, even on other people - and on Elves themselves it can feel bad, even painful.

- Selflessness is obvious! Elves do a lot of charitable work, making magic items, doing important research, and donating a lot of their money to good causes. Elves who hear about somebody in trouble usually want to go help them right away.

- Marriage is forever! Elves virtually never divorce, and virtually never marry more than once. They try to be very sure about who they're marrying, first, but even if they weren't careful, they still think marriage is important and worth working on.

- Death is awful! Elves are naturally immortal and can be resurrected if something bad happens to them. When they first learn that some people die and stay that way, they think it's pretty clear that this is terrible and needs to be fixed.

- Imprisonment is torture! Elves who are stuck in one place and can't move around quite a lot will eventually get sick and even die of it. It really confuses them that other peoples aren't harmed by being trapped, and they'd rather never have to do it to anyone, even though there isn't always a better idea.
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Maybe this is because it is aimed at underdeveloped Vandans Nosseo, but it seems very odd to the Concordance that none of this involves tradeoffs. How many minutes of singing do elves value against a certain number of minutes of imprisonment? There has to be an answer somewhere and if they aren't answering it, what are they doing? The Concordance is very confused, which means they can't make predictions, which means they don't know how to act so as not to be destroyed by Vanda Nosseo.

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Kiszet thinks that people mostly just don't think that way. Maybe institutions do? That's some of what money is for, as she understands it, making sure that all the right tradeoffs are getting made by attaching numbers to them? But it doesn't apply to everything all the time, the Elves aren't paying for their parents to teach them singing when they're little or paying for Vanda Nossëo to enforce anti-torture laws.

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Bothering to need currency exchanges imposes a cost, but... maybe that is part of how they substitute for not being in harmony? Having money to produce weights on what they value? But the Concordance still finds Not Hive Minds very scary and dangerous, especially ones as well-armed as Vanda Nosseo. Their history is full of horrible things and they don't put numbers on things and they aren't legible and they seem to be practically omnipotent.

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There are some hive minds, but they are mostly not very involved in Vanda Nossëo politics. She can look up random Edda and Cube and Warp aliens trying to find ones who are hive minds but none of them are as - absolutist about it? As the Concordance.

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... Huh, that's odd, they don't think of themselves as very absolutist at all? They have division of labor and all their own planets are self-governing and mostly independent ships handle things independently. They would have assumed that at least half of the developed species in a world with FTL communication would be much more hive-minded than they were.

(Either way, she should have MUCH HUGS and MUCH SONG for all the excellent specialization she is providing.)

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Awwwwww she loves them <3333

Yeah specifically most hive minds don't seem to feel that everyone should join their hive mind. There could easily be uncontacted aliens even in a known world who do feel that way, aliens within a universe aren't often higher priorities than aliens in new universes because aliens in new universes sometimes come with magic or alts, but she's not finding any hive minds that want everyone to belong to them on Wikipedia.

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But being in harmony with someone allows for mutual verification their intent, making it possible to deal with them without any chance of them unpredictably betraying you, going mad, or misunderstanding what you were saying? They can't be the only one making the efficiency argument. And it's much more efficient to collaborate on goals than oppose each other directly... this is really strange.

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Kiszet thinks a lot of people have implicitly as a goal "not being in a hive mind". Or, like, they'd probably put it as "independence" or "privacy" or something. She does not personally feel this way, obviously, but there you go.

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The Concordance thinks that lots of people are very strange, but it also thinks... this is slightly tricky...

... The Concordance works. Being in harmony with people lets you do so many things costlessly. They got to space. They can coordinate and work together on all sorts of projects, and turn any private knowledge into public knowledge in ways that, per Wikipedia, neither elves nor humans are very good at. They observe they are surprised that other people value independence and privacy and not being a hive mind so much that they're prepared to give up all that, and are rather surprised that any species that wasn't a hive mind ever made it into space, even with "money' to serve as a substitute. Maybe their alternate physics systems made it easier?

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Maybe? - no, looks like lightleapers don't require unconventional physics. Warp requires dilithium and a lot of worlds don't have any but in the relevant world it's pretty abundant, and that's also not magic-based. Cube FTL is alternate-physics-y though.

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... We appear not to... have dilithium? Anywhere in the galaxy that we've observed.

Huh.

(Quietly, partway across the planet but not in any way secret from her, a project to synthesize dilithium is getting started.)

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She is not sure they should do that, it might mean Vanda Nossëo has to escalate to keep all the other people in this world safe if they develop FTL, though presumably they know that it's publicly on Wikipedia.

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They are not going to start a war with Vanda Nosseo, they would just lose, but they definitely want to be able to coordinate with the rest of the Concordance outside this planet, it's really inefficient how they can't actually communicate with each other once they get separated.

(They would appreciate it if she'd look up how to synthesize dilithium on Wikipedia, though, for whatever information is there.)

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Maybe instead of FTL for coordinating across planets they actually want something more like a crystal ball? She'll look up dilithium; there it is.

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Thank you!

And they would, but crystal balls take wizardry to make, and they had assumed that Vanda Nosseo wouldn't or couldn't teach them.

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Vanda Nossëo will probably not teach them to do their own wizardry any time soon but they could still obtain already-made crystal balls.

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Yeah, and what they want is to be able to stay in harmony; they aren't sure that will travel over a crystal ball.

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Yeah, they might need something more specialized for that and even if somebody would be excited to design it for them it seems like it might have offensive potential by way of allowing them to forcibly harmonize folks?

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They recognize this as a potential benefit except for the part where they wouldn't do it because it would offend Vanda Nosseo and they don't want to start wars they can't win, but they recognize that, since Vanda Nosseo is not in harmony with them, they can't actually convince that they just want to better coordinate their society. This Is Sad and slightly frustrating.

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