Author Topic: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August  (Read 325 times)

Offline Unbeliever (OP)

Re: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2017, 07:49:12 PM »
I hope a movie's made of it, and a sequel, too! Glad you managed to get it, it should also be available from your friendly neighborhood library.

Enjoy!
God Not Found
"The Pope may act outside the law, above the law, and against the law."
St. Robert Bellarmine

Offline SGOS

Re: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2017, 06:28:21 AM »
I mentioned that time travel affords he author the opportunity to advance new scenarios.  The Cronus Club is not made up of time travelers, although their gift has a similarity to time travel.  The book begins with an interesting scenario in the first few pages:  How can a group of people who can only repeat their own lives over know the future?  When first explained, I frankly didn't understand this, although it's clear after mulling it for a while.  That's one of those time concepts that excite me.

I'm half way through and wondering how this scenario plays out and what's causing it.  I've got my ideas, but there are too many unpredictable turns in the story to know for sure.  Or maybe it's not directly related to the story, but I'm betting it's actually the whole story.

Offline Unbeliever (OP)

Re: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2017, 06:21:32 PM »
Well, I don't want to give any spoilers, so I won't comment directly on the plot. But I did find their means of communicating between past and future to be pretty cool. The way the kalachakras of thousands of years ago would hide things for the future folks to find. They could get information about many obscure historical times. I bet they could, collectively, be a very efficient crime prevention force - since they'd know about the crimes before they were even committed!
God Not Found
"The Pope may act outside the law, above the law, and against the law."
St. Robert Bellarmine

Offline SGOS

Re: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2017, 08:26:55 AM »
Well, I don't want to give any spoilers, so I won't comment directly on the plot. But I did find their means of communicating between past and future to be pretty cool. The way the kalachakras of thousands of years ago would hide things for the future folks to find. They could get information about many obscure historical times. I bet they could, collectively, be a very efficient crime prevention force - since they'd know about the crimes before they were even committed!
I don't want to tempt you into giving anything away, but stopping a murder could prevent the birth of a key person that could save the world.  But from my impression of the writing so far, I would guess that would be much too obvious of a scenario.

Actually, with people living their lives over and over and making small changes each time, it's impossible for me to imagine the kalachakras, even if they oppose that kind of behavior, aren't influencing profound outcomes all the time.  You break your arm as a teenager, and decide to be more careful when climbing trees in future lives, something is altered, and the butterfly effect comes into play.  Right now, I'm guessing the quantum mirror seems like the likely culprit.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2017, 08:29:16 AM by SGOS »

Offline Unbeliever (OP)

Re: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2017, 05:21:41 PM »
Yeah, trying to logic out the whole situation with the kalachakras is difficult, to say the least! What happens to worlds lived in by them when they die? Do they continue, or is it a complete reset every time? How can they be in the same, shared, world with other Ks each time they live? Which world is it, anyway?

Jeez, it's hard to even put questions about it into words!
God Not Found
"The Pope may act outside the law, above the law, and against the law."
St. Robert Bellarmine

Offline SGOS

Re: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2017, 09:44:43 PM »
Yeah, trying to logic out the whole situation with the kalachakras is difficult, to say the least! What happens to worlds lived in by them when they die? Do they continue, or is it a complete reset every time? How can they be in the same, shared, world with other Ks each time they live? Which world is it, anyway?

Jeez, it's hard to even put questions about it into words!
It's like there is one continuous timeline for everyone else.  They get to occupy it briefly, and then it goes on without them.  The Kalachakra are caught in a loop, so even though they live thousands of years, they only get to see 70 years of it, more or less.  There is a future that goes after they die, but they can never experience it.  So in the world about them there is a whole lot of time, generations come and go, but someone always occupies a future that remains out of reach.  Kalachakra just live the same years over, meet the same people, people who are dead in the Kalachakra future.  They are dead, but somehow they end up in the past, so they are both dead and alive.  This is intellectually disturbing for some reason.

Offline Baruch

Re: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2017, 04:16:33 AM »
It's like there is one continuous timeline for everyone else.  They get to occupy it briefly, and then it goes on without them.  The Kalachakra are caught in a loop, so even though they live thousands of years, they only get to see 70 years of it, more or less.  There is a future that goes after they die, but they can never experience it.  So in the world about them there is a whole lot of time, generations come and go, but someone always occupies a future that remains out of reach.  Kalachakra just live the same years over, meet the same people, people who are dead in the Kalachakra future.  They are dead, but somehow they end up in the past, so they are both dead and alive.  This is intellectually disturbing for some reason.

Both dead and alive?  That is exactly how I see our reality.  Not intellectually disturbing to me, emotionally disturbing.  Fortunately I like dead people just as much as the living, maybe more so.  Time is an illusion, that is why we enjoy playing with it in fiction?  Better to be both dead/alive than neither.
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Offline SGOS

Re: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2017, 07:14:30 AM »
Both dead and alive?  That is exactly how I see our reality.  Not intellectually disturbing to me, emotionally disturbing.  Fortunately I like dead people just as much as the living, maybe more so.  Time is an illusion, that is why we enjoy playing with it in fiction?  Better to be both dead/alive than neither.
Yeah, there's nothing profound in my description.  It's just an ordinary fact of time travel, where going back in time creates two related realities that we visit, each where people exist in different states (living and dead).  The Kalachakra, for all their powers (or because of their curse) can't travel through time like ordinary people might in a fantasy world.  They can only relive one short segment of time over and over.  Why does this disturb me intellectually?  There can be only one reason; I don't understand it. 

At an emotional level, it disturbs me because I want it to be different.  Why should this disturb me?  How should I know?  It's an emotion, which has nothing to do with comprehension or knowledge.  Time travel scenarios always affect me this way, both intellectually and emotionally.

Incidentally, by repeating the same life span over and over, the Kalachakra can see the future.  How they do this is one of the most interesting consequences of time I've ever been forced to recognize by a time travel author.  It's actually quite simple, and makes perfect sense.  But to explain it would be a huge spoiler that doesn't belong in a public forum, at least at this time.

Offline Unbeliever (OP)

Re: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2017, 04:51:30 PM »
Both dead and alive?  That is exactly how I see our reality.  Not intellectually disturbing to me, emotionally disturbing.  Fortunately I like dead people just as much as the living, maybe more so.  Time is an illusion, that is why we enjoy playing with it in fiction?  Better to be both dead/alive than neither.
Careful - if you mention Schrödinger 's Cat, Hawking may grab a sidearm!



God Not Found
"The Pope may act outside the law, above the law, and against the law."
St. Robert Bellarmine

Offline SGOS

Re: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2017, 10:51:30 AM »
@Unbeliever

Finished!  Good book.  Very creative.  Did you pick anything up from the second reading that you missed the first time?  You don't need to specify what incase someone else is thinking about reading it.  I'll probably read it again, but not right away.  One thing I wish would have been explained is the mechanics that would end the world.  Was it just man's stupidity, a nuclear war, a quantum fluctuation that destroys all matter, or something else?  While the mechanism was identified, the underlying mechanics were left to the imagination.

Offline SGOS

Re: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2017, 11:12:51 AM »
Careful - if you mention Schrödinger 's Cat, Hawking may grab a sidearm!
So I looked up Hawking's comments on Schrodinger's cat to see what his problem was.  Now I can't say I ever understood Schrodinger's thought experiment to begin with, and in my research, it turns out that Schrodinger himself never believed any of it either.  Then I got to Hawking's analysis, and lost consciousness during the first sentence when he started writing formulas with variables I'd never seen the likes of before.  I don't know if Hawking is unusually bright or not, but everyone says he is, so I'll say he is too, but bright or not, I don't find him all that helpful, and I think he needs to get a translating app for that machine of his, so people can make sense out of what he is saying.

Offline Baruch

Re: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2017, 12:27:22 PM »
So I looked up Hawking's comments on Schrodinger's cat to see what his problem was.  Now I can't say I ever understood Schrodinger's thought experiment to begin with, and in my research, it turns out that Schrodinger himself never believed any of it either.  Then I got to Hawking's analysis, and lost consciousness during the first sentence when he started writing formulas with variables I'd never seen the likes of before.  I don't know if Hawking is unusually bright or not, but everyone says he is, so I'll say he is too, but bright or not, I don't find him all that helpful, and I think he needs to get a translating app for that machine of his, so people can make sense out of what he is saying.

If QM is true, then reality is inconsistent/irrational ... at least to Black/White people.  Attempts to generalize to probability are only partially successful (the cat is 50% dead and 50% alive at the same time, until you open the box).  Paraconsistent folks ... not so much.  We are comfortable with ambiguity.

There is new work being done on unifying QM and GR ... which is related to paraconsistency ... contextuality.  The context in this case being, did we open the box or not?  That things may locally make sense, but not make sense globally ... like the Escher drawing of the people on the stairway at the top of the building, where they are always doing up, but getting nowhere fast.

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« Last Edit: May 21, 2017, 12:29:26 PM by Baruch »
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Offline Hakurei Reimu

Re: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
« Reply #27 on: May 21, 2017, 08:51:49 PM »
If QM is true, then reality is inconsistent/irrational ... at least to Black/White people.  Attempts to generalize to probability are only partially successful (the cat is 50% dead and 50% alive at the same time, until you open the box).  Paraconsistent folks ... not so much.  We are comfortable with ambiguity.
Paraconsistency fails to capture what's actually happening with QM. The state typified by Schrodinger's cat is not actually ambiguous. It is in fact precisely defined. It's just that it's this strange new beast called a superposition, that is unlike anything we see on the macroscale. The physics of QM will tell you exactly what superposition exists for the cat, and no other. It unambiguously answers which superposition represents the system's state, yes or no, true or false.

There is new work being done on unifying QM and GR ... which is related to paraconsistency ... contextuality.  The context in this case being, did we open the box or not?  That things may locally make sense, but not make sense globally ... like the Escher drawing of the people on the stairway at the top of the building, where they are always doing up, but getting nowhere fast.
Strange that despite this "paraconsistency", the mathematics used to join QM and GR is formulated with classical logic. Must be that contradictory nature.
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Offline Baruch

Re: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2017, 11:36:03 PM »
Paraconsistency fails to capture what's actually happening with QM. The state typified by Schrodinger's cat is not actually ambiguous. It is in fact precisely defined. It's just that it's this strange new beast called a superposition, that is unlike anything we see on the macroscale. The physics of QM will tell you exactly what superposition exists for the cat, and no other. It unambiguously answers which superposition represents the system's state, yes or no, true or false.
Strange that despite this "paraconsistency", the mathematics used to join QM and GR is formulated with classical logic. Must be that contradictory nature.

Superposition is ... spooky action at a distance ... or even just spooky action up close.  Care to defend the consistency of that?  Yes, infinite parallel universes, that either exist on their own, or are subsets that add up to the one real universe ... like the terms in a Taylor's series.  You sound like a modern Aristotelian, defending Ptolemy against Copernicus.
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Offline SGOS

Re: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
« Reply #29 on: May 22, 2017, 08:40:31 AM »
Just open the box and see if the cat is dead for fuck's sake.  What's the point of a philosophical discussion?  If you want to know, get off your damn lazy ass and look.  Forget the arcane formulas, or bullshit alternatives (the cat is both dead and alive).  Get real.  The cat is either alive or the cat is dead, and I don't give a shit which it is, but don't make a Federal case out of it. 

And what asshole would put a vial of poison with some complicated timing device in a box with a cat?  Most people just put the cat in a sack and throw it in the lake.  I'll bet people wouldn't put up with Schrodinger's thought experiment if it was a cute little puppy instead of a cat. Schrodinger has issues with cats.  It's just that macho thing.  He compensates for his sexual insecurities by talking about tormenting cats.  He thinks it will impress women.  Sometimes it does, but he still has a little wiener when it's showtime.