Thursday, September 18, 2014

Primordia's Unused Epigrams

Before embarking on a new project, I try to immerse myself in the artistic genre to get a feel for the core themes and images that provide the "form" in that particular artform.  Because I dove into Primordia without any preamble, I drew mostly on what I'd already read, watched, and played, but I also tried to buttress that with other things.  That included fiction such as The Cyberiad by StanisÅ‚aw Lem, but also a fair amount of just background philosophy and nonfiction about our relationship to machines and about some of the game's themes.

Along the way, I thought it would be neat to have epigrams when you quit a game session or something, but that idea was (rightfully) scrapped.  For those who might be curious, here are some of the quotes I gathered during my literary roving:

“Man’s very soul is due to the machines; it is a machine-made thing: he thinks as he thinks, and feels as he feels, through the work that machines have wrought upon him, and their existence is quite as much a sine qua non for his, as his for theirs.” - Samuel Butler, Erewhon

"I firmly believe that before many centuries more, science will be the master of man
for the engines he will have invented will be beyond his strength to control." - Henry Adams (in 1862 people already felt this way!)

"In attempting to construct sentient machines we are not irreverently usurping God's power of creating souls, rather we are providing new mansions for the souls that He creates."- A.M. Turing (1950)

"When God made man the devil was at his elbow. A creature that can do anything. Make a machine. Make a machine to make the machine. And evil that can run itself a thousand years, no need to tend it.” - Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian

"In the seed of the city of the just, a malignant seed is hidden, in its turn: the certainty and pride of being in the right -- and of being more just than many others who call themselves more just than the just.” - Italo Calvino, Hidden Cities

"Man is like a broken shard,
like grass dried up,
like a faded flower,
like a fleeting shadow,
like a passing cloud,
like a breath of wind,
like whirling dust,
like a dream that slips away." - U'Netaneh Tokef (part of the Yom Kippur liturgy)

"Nature has found only one method of organizing living matter. There is, however, another method more simple, flexible, and rapid, which has not yet occurred to nature at all." -
- Karel Capek, Rossum's Universal Robots

"Machinery is the new Messiah." -  Henry Ford

Next up, I'll share some quotes from the sources that are shaping our upcoming project!

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