Spirits Giving Form.

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Midnight_Carnival
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Spirits Giving Form.

Post by Midnight_Carnival »

I got a bit frustrated with the discussion on evolution in Wesnoth and thought it best to post this thread, for reasons given in my post.

I love the idea of spirits giving form to matter, and of different races emerging as a result of this, so why don't we start there, and see if it leads to anyting that works with Wesnoth canon. If not, we can see where it goes.

Ok, from the begining:
There was a non-magical (?) realm with or without life. It had spirits of its own, but they did not posess any inate magic. Another realm existed with magical spirits, but no matter, or a totally different type of matter or something. Spirits passed from the more spitual plane into the mundane world where they found they could not exist without matter (or they needed new 'bodies' to inhabit). Copying the spirits they saw, they attached themselves to objects/life forms altering them due to their magic. This could have lead to, but did not necesarrily lead to, physical matter being able to enter the more spirtual plane and perhaps being altered by new potentials caused by this.

That's my idea, I kept it quite loose and open because I want to hear what refinements other people could suggest and any alternative ideas.
...apparenly we can't go with it or something.

Myrien
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Re: Spirits Giving Form.

Post by Myrien »

You wrote that spirits existed in the mundane world, but they did not posses any magic. Is a spirit, taking the word "spirit" as something like "soul" or "essence", not something magical? I think that the idea of a spiritual and a mundane world is good; however, I think that the mundane world should consist only of matter, and the spiritual world, as you described it, only of magic/spirits. When the spirits come into the mundane realms from their world, they enter a world of life- and essence-less matter, and by inhabiting matter for whatever reasons, life as we know it from Wesnoth is made.

Taking away the division of the two worlds would be another option; perhaps the world of Wesnoth, in its beginning, held matter (as in the mundane world) and spirits (as in the spiritual world), but the two were divided, thus with no corporal lifeforms? But when the spirits entered matter, thus giving them a "soul" or "essence", they formed the beings that inhabit Wesnoth and the surrounding lands today? I would prefer this as it does not empty the spiritual world or let the forming of life and being take place in the mundane world, but combines the two from the start.

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johndh
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Re: Spirits Giving Form.

Post by johndh »

For clarity's sake, let's highlight the differences between my hypothesis so far, and yours.

In mine, the progenitor beings already had a(n at least semi-)physical form, which became more like the metaphysical materials that they related to.

In yours, the progenitor beings had no physical form, and instead animated the materials of the natural world.

Am I right so far? Did I miss anything?
It's spelled "definitely", not "definately". "Defiantly" is a different word entirely.

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Midnight_Carnival
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Re: Spirits Giving Form.

Post by Midnight_Carnival »

Myrien:
As I prosed, it need not have been that only spirits existed in the spirit-plane, or that only matter (or non-magical spirits and matter) existed in the mundane plane: it might have been that only spirits could travel between planes/worlds or modes of existence (at least at first)

So the taking away of two worlds could also work with this becasue the planes or whatever you want to call them need not have been in different places. Think of it as a big picture that makes no sense: if you look at it through a red filter it's one recognisible image, and if you look at it through a green filter it's another image entirely. Same picture, your point of view determines what it is of... ok, that was a clumsy analogy, but I can't think of a better one right now.

I don't know about "life as we know it from Wesnoth is made", I was proposing a theory, if people like it and it fits with the Wesnoth canon, great, if not perhaps ideas that come out of this will be useful to someone in their own campaign/era.
johndh wrote:For clarity's sake, let's highlight the differences between my hypothesis so far, and yours.

In mine, the progenitor beings already had a(n at least semi-)physical form, which became more like the metaphysical materials that they related to.

In yours, the progenitor beings had no physical form, and instead animated the materials of the natural world.

Am I right so far? Did I miss anything?
Difficult questions to answer, I suppose it depends on whether you are looking through the red or the green lens.

The first differnce is the "methaphysical materials", and the "related to". That would work in my theory if you assume that in the place/state of magical origin the spirits had some form of phyiscal form, but there is no reason for a pure spirit detatched entirely from matter to be "related to" anyting. My theory also does not presuppose "elements" or "metaphysical materials", should a special magical spirit come upon a sea-shell and make it special and magical it would be exactly the same as one coming upon some water and changing itself and the water so that we have what might be described as a "water elemental'. I also did not specify that there was no life in the mundane world, only that there was no magic, or very little, or none that humans would recognise or be able to easilly use.

Take my ideas as raw materials, suggestions, see if you can come up with something good. I'm as interested in discussing your theories as my own, we don't enven need to agree or anything. For example: what did you mean by "metaphysical materials" and how and why were spirits related to these?
...apparenly we can't go with it or something.

Myrien
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Re: Spirits Giving Form.

Post by Myrien »

Midnight_Carnival:
How can a spirit be non-magical? If something is there but does not exist as a state of matter, is it not "magical"? I also take "spirit", as in my last post, as an essence, something that defines a being and its way of living, but also the, well, thing that brings it to life; a being cannot live without a spirit that gives it life, that was how I think of the beings of Wesnoth. So is there not a clear definition of "matter" and "spirit", and a spirit is "magical" in the way that we could not imagine it in our world?
I think that spirits should be magical and matter non-magical, otherwise the theory of magical spirits entering non-magical matter would leave out the possibility of magical matter and non-magical matter and then leave a hole in the creation of life.

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johndh
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Re: Spirits Giving Form.

Post by johndh »

I think my biggest concern here is the question of how this gives rise to flesh-and-bone creatures like humans and elves, rather than just elemental creatures like the fire demons from UtBS.
It's spelled "definitely", not "definately". "Defiantly" is a different word entirely.

Myrien
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Re: Spirits Giving Form.

Post by Myrien »

johndh wrote:I think my biggest concern here is the question of how this gives rise to flesh-and-bone creatures like humans and elves, rather than just elemental creatures like the fire demons from UtBS.
Perhaps the magic of the spirits - their animating magic - plays a role here. It is not said that after the matter is entered by the spirit, it remains in the form it had before it received life.
If you look around, in some fantasy, dwarves or trolls were created out of stone - something similar could happen here. I don't know, you could assign other matter than stone to different races - the problem with this theory is that it is not very seizable.

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Midnight_Carnival
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Re: Spirits Giving Form.

Post by Midnight_Carnival »

Myrien:
Thanks, this is the kind of discussion I was hoping for. Critical analysis of ideas an preconeptions (now I sound like I've been smoking illegal substances)
I don't know all the answers (obviously or I wouldn't have asked), but as to not being "magical". You could say that all spirits are magical, that all life, even all matter, is magical; I would not disagree with you there. As I used the term, I meant 'having magical abilities', and I suppose I'd better define "magical" here too: being able to alter, manipulate or syspend the laws governing matter and energy in a realm or plane.

So, you might be "magical", but unitl I see you levitate I will not claim that you have any magical abilites.

johndh:
If you suppose that matter existed without any spirit, that all spirits were magical, then magical spirit, plus inert matter equals life. Without this assumption, life could have come to exist before, but it would posess no magical abilities and be quite boring. I'm going with Myrien on the "an essence, something that defines a being and its way of living, but also the, well, thing that brings it to life" bit. Spirits could exist, and indeed life could exist without the possiblity of manipulating the laws of the realm in which they occour. Once magic has been introduced to that realm/place/state of existence, it is possible for at least some lifeforms to use it to escape. Also, if only spirits could cross over (at least at first) and they were used to existing in bodies, or suddenly realised they needed bodies to survive in their new realm, they might copy existing life forms they saw as sucsessful, or they might speed up the process of evolution (actually, techinically, when there is any form of control it is not "evolution" anymore, but selective breeding) to produce suitable bodies that they could inhabit.

That's just my idea of how it works.
...apparenly we can't go with it or something.

Myrien
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Re: Spirits Giving Form.

Post by Myrien »

Midnight_Carnival: I understand; I was taking "magical" as a more general form, like "something that contradicts the physical laws of our world" or the like, not as in "magical ability". The terms actually are much the same, only that the definition of "magical" you used so far only involves Wesnoth and contadicting the laws of Wesnoth, while the way I used the term referred to our world as a guidline for what is magical and what is not.
The two-realm/plane theory explains why magical spirits actually took shape and body ("realised that they needed bodies to survive in their new realm"), instead of remaining in their incorporeal form as before, which is why I actually prefer it over the one-world theory now - a spirit that could survve in spiritual form would have little reason to take a body if it could manipulate its surroundings by magical means.

Also, if I understand it correctly, daemonology in Wesnoth involves two planes/dimensions, which would be supported by the two-world theory - the daemonologist seeks to manipulate magical spirits from the other realm, draw them over and give them form.

vcap
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Re: Spirits Giving Form.

Post by vcap »

Midnight_Carnival wrote:they might speed up the process of evolution (actually, technically, when there is any form of control it is not "evolution" anymore, but selective breeding) to produce suitable bodies that they could inhabit.
:eng: Actually, selective breeding is nothing but the usual process of evolution with a specific form a selective pressures. So you could go: "now that we all agree how it works in selective breeding, let us take a look at how it works when no stockbreeder is involved: it's exactly the same except the selective pressures are slightly different." Which is exactly how Darwin got to make his central point.

Yeah, barely on-topic i know, but http://xkcd.com/386/

Myrien
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Re: Spirits Giving Form.

Post by Myrien »

vcap wrote:
Midnight_Carnival wrote:they might speed up the process of evolution (actually, technically, when there is any form of control it is not "evolution" anymore, but selective breeding) to produce suitable bodies that they could inhabit.
:eng: Actually, selective breeding is nothing but the usual process of evolution with a specific form a selective pressures. So you could go: "now that we all agree how it works in selective breeding, let us take a look at how it works when no stockbreeder is involved: it's exactly the same except the selective pressures are slightly different." Which is exactly how Darwin got to make his central point.

Yeah, barely on-topic i know, but http://xkcd.com/386/
I would disagree; evolution is based upon a "survival-of-the-fittest"-system - beings that adapt better to their surroundings will be more successful and eventually take over, if I understand it correctly. If evolution is manipulated by selective breeding, this system can be overridden by giving certain lifeforms an advantage.
In my opinion, it can only be described as "real" evolution if the selective breeding is used to speed up natural evolution; but you could select lifeforms that would not survive naturally, but fit your needs best, which is (sadly) done usually in agriculture today - e.g. farm animals that are only bred to produce a lot of meat/milk/eggs, but could not survive by themselves in nature. So selective breeding need not be "evolution" in the classial meaning of the word / as it would take place in natur without the manipulator.

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A-Red
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Re: Spirits Giving Form.

Post by A-Red »

Evolution is the survival of those that survive. It doesn't matter why. Without us around it tends to be related to fitness, but even that's not a given.

Myrien
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Re: Spirits Giving Form.

Post by Myrien »

A-Red wrote:Evolution is the survival of those that survive. It doesn't matter why. Without us around it tends to be related to fitness, but even that's not a given.
My point was more that manipulated evolution often has different aims than natural evolution, not that it is not evolution at all. Sorry for not making it clear.

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Re: Spirits Giving Form.

Post by johndh »

It's all evolution. The difference is natural selection vs. artificial selection. So yes, artificial selection often results in traits that would be unfavorable but are desired by the controllers, such as the size of a bulldog's head causing problems with birth, and chihuahuas being utterly detestable little bastards. Neither of those traits is present in the wolf from which they are believed to be descended.

I suppose it's possible that a magical/spiritual being could perhaps shape its own form and pass its traits on to future generations, resulting in a sort of self-induced eugenics. "You know what, it would be really great if we were all a foot taller. Let's do that."
It's spelled "definitely", not "definately". "Defiantly" is a different word entirely.

Myrien
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Re: Spirits Giving Form.

Post by Myrien »

johndh wrote:It's all evolution. The difference is natural selection vs. artificial selection. So yes, artificial selection often results in traits that would be unfavorable but are desired by the controllers, such as the size of a bulldog's head causing problems with birth, and chihuahuas being utterly detestable little bastards. Neither of those traits is present in the wolf from which they are believed to be descended.

I suppose it's possible that a magical/spiritual being could perhaps shape its own form and pass its traits on to future generations, resulting in a sort of self-induced eugenics. "You know what, it would be really great if we were all a foot taller. Let's do that."
Yes. The spirits and their role in evolution fit in perfectly now.

Or, taking it further, magical evolution - "Magic will give me greater power". The magical beings would be stronger than the other (former) members of their species, so they would eventually dominate. A good example would be the strongly magical faeries (Fairies? Fay? Faerie-folk?), mentioned often as the predecessors of the elves.
Of course, this would not have taken place naturally, only because of the spirits manipulating evolutions.

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