Beyond Shields (Strengthening The Body Ethereal)

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Log from #Classroom on Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 5PM EST:  “Beyond Shields (Strengthening The Body Ethereal)”, hosted by Entropist:
[17:12] <Entropist> All right, ground rules for those of you who haven’t been to one of my little get togethers:
[17:13] <RavenFire> Just let me know if you want me to +m the channel
[17:13] <Entropist> There will none of this /me hand raising nonsense. If you have something to add or you need clarification, make it direct and don’t bother being polite
[17:13] <Entropist> I’m not here to treat you like babies, I’m trying to improve you 
[17:14] * Change smirks.
[17:14] * IIZard will probably just listen in.
[17:15] <Entropist> Second, I encourage (perhaps even demand) that if you take issue with an idea that I present, you indicate as such and defend your argument
[17:15] <Entropist> No one ever learned anything without being questioned, and teachers are sure as hell no exception.
[17:16] <Aceso> dang, you’re bossy.
[17:17] <Entropist> Despite the widely held dream that opinion is somehow protected from scrutiny because of its subjectivity, this is a defense given as a last resort by those who cannot defend their methods
[17:17] <Entropist> So, any preliminary questions before we begin?
[17:18] * IIZard coughs.
[17:18] <IIZard> Can I stick my head in through the window, and do you object to a Dragon being present?
[17:19] <Entropist> Are there any questions that are relevant to anything that isn’t how we should start our next erotic fanfic?
[17:19] <RavenFire> lol
[17:19] <Change> um… no wait… hmm..
[17:20] <Change> … no… 
[17:20] * IIZard raises his eyeridges.
[17:20] <Entropist> I will take that as a no.
[17:20] <Change> erotic paint.. go on
[17:20] <IIZard> ^^
[17:21] <RavenFire> Duckie..
[17:21] <RavenFire> Go ahead, Entropist, floor is yours.
[17:22] <Entropist> Now, I have been on this server in a more or less official capacity for some two months, and I have seen a disproportionate focus on specific techniques.
[17:22] <Entropist> Those astute members of the audience may be able to infer the technique in question from the topic, but for the intentionally obtuse
[17:23] <Entropist> I refer to shields
[17:24] <Entropist> Everyone I have seen making some effort at collaborative practice has employed them, so I open with this request
[17:24] <Entropist> Why shields?
[17:25] <RavenFire> I don’t really use a lot of shielding, if at all.
[17:25] <Change> me neither
[17:25] <Entropist> This is neither bait nor trap. I want you to critically evaluate your decision to devote the amount of practical time to this particular technique
[17:26] <Change> I figure that it draws more attention than it does to protect me so..
[17:26] <Aceso> shields as opposed to what?
[17:26] <Change> Plus if something wanted to hurt me, it’d probably easily bypass my will when putting up those shields
[17:26] <RavenFire> Shields are essentially a waste of times, because they are nothing more than simply energy that can be eaten.
[17:26] <Entropist> And that is the exact attitude I take issue with
[17:27] <RavenFire> Eaten or phased through
[17:27] <Change> It depends on what you mean by shields *shrugs*
[17:27] <Entropist> Shields are taken as if they are the only method to do? well, practically everything, if some discussions are to be taken seriously
[17:28] <Aceso> hedges, cloaks, decoys… are they included in this shield discussion?
[17:28] <Entropist> If there’s a silly word for them, the answer is almost certainly yes
[17:28] <Aceso> define silly word
[17:29] <Entropist> The more words you have for the same abstraction, the more ridiculous
[17:29] <Aceso> so far we are all obtuse, silly, and disproportionately fond of shields, whatever those are.
[17:29] <Change> basically do you call shields and external method of defending oneself?
[17:29] <Change> *any
[17:30] <Change> or i guess there’s internal too but.. eh
[17:30] <Entropist> As a general working definition, let us call it any consciously utilized method of defending or redirecting or what have you
[17:30] <Entropist> You have to think about it, you have to control its form
[17:31] <Entropist> All of these things are a necessity for the integrity of this thing you rely on to defend you
[17:32] <RavenFire> More often than not, no matter the complexity of the design of shielding, it usually fails at one point or another.
[17:32] <Change> Mmm.. consciously utilised at first but.. go on
[17:32] <Entropist> But let us step back for a moment and observe a near universal
[17:32] <Entropist> The general tone of discussion takes as a first principle that on some level adjacent or superimposed on our common reality there is some notion of an ethereal body
[17:33] <Entropist> A soul, a daemon, what have you
[17:33] <Entropist> The occult practices all had to pick their own special word for what represents the singular commonality between practices
[17:34] <Entropist> That there is something, regardless of its nature or makeup, that is beyond those squishy shells of yours and yet equally representative of you
[17:36] <Entropist> Thoughts, disagreement, alternative interpretations?
[17:37] <Entropist> More than anything, this is an exercise in improving the be-all end-all tool in the practical occultist’s arsenal.
[17:37] <Entropist> Observation.
[17:38] <Entropist> I’d like to know, then, what effort have you expended studying the makeup of this thing you take as intrinsic?
[17:39] * kallisti looks about
[17:40] <Aceso> maybe i’m being obtuse here. are you talking about our “whatever it is that makes us our self”?
[17:40] <Entropist> Yes
[17:40] <Entropist> Whatever you call it
[17:41] <Entropist> The object is the same regardless of the terminology employed
[17:41] <Change> I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my personality, likes/dislikes and why i have them, but not what you’re talking about.
[17:41] <Change> Anyways. It would come as a second to me to being able to see the makeup.
[17:42] <Aceso> i have. it’s the very basic part of me that is the foundation of everything.
[17:42] <Aceso> it’s what gets frustrated at my weaknesses, and craves growth at the expense of comfort
[17:43] <Change> I do think of it as one of the only things worth working on, however
[17:43] <Entropist> The basic idea I intend to convey is that shields as I see them practiced here are a backwards solution to the problem they claim to address, unless the ultimate goal of magical practice is sparring
[17:44] <IIZard> Are all barriers and magical shields therefore useless?
[17:44] <Change> And even if it is, it’d be better to develop your core self, making you at least better than your shields.
[17:44] <Aceso> i don’t think so at all IIZard
[17:45] <Change> You can use them to protect things, places, and other people, IIZard.
[17:45] <kallisti> shields are very important
[17:45] <Entropist> IIZard: Certainly not. But they are useful in the way that boxing gloves and kneepads are useful
[17:45] <Change> It’s kind of like is a ‘shield’ on a spaceship useful when you can just improve the hull.
[17:45] <Change> or whatnot
[17:45] <Change> But, they’re kind of a ‘throw-away’ thing that usually isn’t a part of you
[17:46] <Change> So if they’re gone, it’s not too much of a big deal
[17:46] <Entropist> Every bit of concentration and energy you put into constructing and maintaining one is a bit that you can’t use for anything else
[17:46] <Aceso> that’s saying that you have limited energy and concentration at that level.
[17:46] <kallisti> if it is programmed to replenish itself, and perform tasks automatically, I see no reason to not maintain one
[17:47] <IIZard> I have an internal barrier that protects those around me from myself, it stops my thoughts from straying out from where they do not belong.. mainly your heads.
[17:48] <Entropist> Not only is it limited, it is constantly being depleted
[17:48] <IIZard> but at times… indeed.
[17:48] <AgentAAA> hello
[17:48] <AgentAAA> sorry for walking in halfway
[17:48] <Entropist> There is only one constant, when it comes to the moment of it
[17:48] <Entropist> And that constant is decay.
[17:49] <Entropist> You, the universe you occupy, even time are inexorably drawn toward dissoluton
[17:49] <Entropist> *tion
[17:49] <kallisti> yes and no, entropist. I maintain shields that replenish themselves, are self reapairing etc. minimal thought required
[17:50] <Entropist> No system can repair itself forever
[17:50] <Entropist> That’s a playground game
[17:50] <Entropist> I propose a practical method for the protection of practitioners of active pursuit of the unknown
[17:51] <Entropist> It is often dangerous, and to plunge into the abyss with nothing but confidence is a fine way to harm yourself
[17:52] <kallisti> true. it absolutely requires upkeep, but at the same time if it handles minor attacks, and cloaks my presence in a location…that’s energy and effort well spent
[17:52] <Entropist> What makes a diamond nigh unbreakable? Is it ancient fey magic? Or is it the integrity of its structure?
[17:53] <IIZard> neither.
[17:53] <kallisti> structure, clearly
[17:53] <IIZard> There is simply very few things stronger than it.
[17:53] <kallisti> however, you still would take care to prevent another diamond from scratching it.
[17:55] <kallisti> a diamond can damage another diamond. a ‘shield’ such as a bit of cloth, between the stones prevents scratching
[17:55] <Entropist> The point is, most of us don’t live in a movie where hostile wizards lurk around every corner
[17:56] * kallisti nods
[17:56] <Entropist> The danger lies in the inevitable destruction of all that is.
[17:56] <Entropist> And for those who study it directly, the danger is multiplied significantly
[17:57] * kallisti nods
[17:57] * IIZard head tilts.
[17:57] <kallisti> you mentioned the abyss directly.
[17:57] <Entropist> The tendency of all things to dissolution is the unthinking, unliving, unabating machine in which you and yours reside
[17:57] <kallisti> few should poke around there without just cause. I’d hesitate to tell anyone to ‘play’ or explore it.
[17:58] <Entropist> All that resides in this system are the cogs driving the engine of its own inevitable end
[17:59] <Entropist> No manner of study will allow you to avoid it or escape
[17:59] <Entropist> So I simply suggest a more active interest in improving the structure of one’s being
[18:00] <kallisti> that should be done regardless.
[18:00] <AgentAAA> that twas the idea behind my ironskin technique I use to block attacks
[18:00] <AgentAAA> like a diamond, it’s simply there to increase the durability of my form
[18:01] <Entropist> This is not a matter of light, darkness, differences of practice or philosophy, nor even something so ephemeral as this sparring habit
[18:01] <AgentAAA> To the point where most people simply can’t stractch it
[18:01] <AgentAAA> scratch*
[18:01] <kallisti> but that’s an overlay, not a concrete absolute change
[18:01] <Entropist> This is a crawling end to all that is, and indeed all that ever will be
[18:02] <Entropist> If recent estimate are to be believed, time is likely to cease in roughly 4 billion years
[18:03] <IIZard> Time is going to end?
[18:03] <IIZard> Time?
[18:03] <kallisti> perhaps
[18:03] <Change|supper> define time, and does it even exist in the first place?
[18:03] <Entropist> The universe, cherished as the infinite and eternal, will join its children in mortality and simply stop
[18:04] <Entropist> No warning, no fire, not even a moment to reflect
[18:05] <IIZard> And after time ends?
[18:05] <kallisti> there are exsistances beyond this universe.
[18:05] <Entropist> Though by some models it could also stop at any moment, so, there’s that
[18:05] <Entropist> IIZard: I would think the absurdity of that question would be obvious
[18:05] <kallisti> entro, you’re going to give the children nightmares 
[18:06] <kallisti> after time ends, there is none. nada. nothing.
[18:06] <IIZard> Entropist, the easiest way to destroy a theory is to question its affects.
[18:06] <kallisti> unless you choose to put faith into that which is not of this universe.
[18:06] <AgentAAA> actually, Kallisti, it’s not an overlay
[18:06] <Entropist> What I’m driving at is that there are better things to do than conjure magical marshmallow and throw robot ghosts at each other
[18:07] * kallisti nods at agent* I’ll need to get a good look at it then, my friend.
[18:07] <IIZard> Will time end because there will be nothing to experience it .. or will everything cease to exist because time stops.
[18:07] * kallisti will agree with entro as to that point
[18:07] <Dalerin> What’s going on in here?
[18:07] <Aceso> What are these better things to do before poofing into nonexistence?
[18:08] <AgentAAA> I’m actually focusing my energy to become a part of my flows, form, etc. and harden, Making it tougher to damage.
[18:08] <Entropist> Progress, of course
[18:08] * IIZard nods.
[18:08] <Aceso> Entropist is teaching us about the second law of thermodynamics
[18:08] <Dalerin> In regards to what subject matter specifically?
[18:08] <RavenFire> Dalerin, read the topic.
[18:08] * IIZard grins at Aceso
[18:08] <Dalerin> That’s the way heat spreads?
[18:08] <Entropist> Shields, and why they’re the boxing gloves of magic
[18:08] <Aceso> In regards to “shielding is silly”
[18:09] <Dalerin> It is.
[18:09] <IIZard> As a side note, there were no deaths in boxing before gloves were introduced, after however…
[18:09] <Dalerin> they get in the way even if it is minutely that little bit of resistance is still blunting the force of your will.
[18:10] <Dalerin> at least that’s my opinion
[18:10] <AgentAAA> Well, I don’t use shields
[18:10] <AgentAAA> myself
[18:10] <Dalerin> Neither do I.
[18:10] <AgentAAA> the main reason I prefer my “ironskin”
[18:10] <Aceso> I think I have a new god to worship, the all powerful entropy who will destroy everything in the end.
[18:10] <AgentAAA> is it doesn’t get degraded from repeated attacks
[18:10] <Entropist> Aceso: The cosmos is a vast an uncaring emptiness
[18:11] <Entropist> Worship is for those without research to do
[18:11] <AgentAAA> it’s essentially based on moving a portion of my energies to defend me that I’m naturally generating
[18:11] <AgentAAA> so it’ll degrade only when I do
[18:11] <Dalerin> I unfortunately don’t have a lot of time gonna finish this smoke and get back to work on the house.
[18:11] <AgentAAA> and it needs attacks of a specific level to damage me when I use it
[18:11] <Aceso> lol, dal.
[18:11] <AgentAAA> In other words, weaker strikes over a long period of time
[18:11] <AgentAAA> do not end up damaging me
[18:12] <Dalerin> Don’t laugh this sounds like a class i’d be particularly interested in.
[18:12] <Aceso> If we get enough converts and pass a plate around, the cosmos won’t mind if we spend it on ourselves then, will it?
[18:12] <Dalerin> I think they would cause the world is obsessed with money
[18:13] <Entropist> The point is, a great deal of time is spent casting circles and twirling one’s hair, but do you feel like you are improving, or do you just like the validation of some sort of success?
[18:14] <Entropist> It is enough for some to be adequate or even quite adroit with their pet techniques
[18:14] <Aceso> What’s the point of improving if we blink out at any moment?
[18:14] <AgentAAA> Feel I’m improving? Yes, but more due to gaining maturity than working on my techniques
[18:14] <Dalerin> what’s the point of blinking out if we are improving
[18:14] <Entropist> But the drive of occultists throughout time has been to obtain knowledge
[18:14] <AgentAAA> Yes, I work on learning new and old abilities
[18:15] <AgentAAA> but my strength has been pushed up most when I improve myself
[18:15] <AgentAAA> as a person
[18:15] <Entropist> Aceso: There is no point. Your existence is insignificant regardless of how you spend it.
[18:16] <Entropist> But time’s a loanshark
[18:16] <Entropist> Generous when you’re feeling cocky
[18:16] <IIZard> Freemason?
[18:16] <Aceso> So why are you here, Entropist?
[18:17] <Entropist> I like shaking things up. The chaotic, corrosive undercurrent of all things is my area of research
[18:17] <Dalerin> and now to vacuum
[18:17] <AgentAAA> insignificant? I’d have to disagree.
[18:18] <AgentAAA> Significance is not a construct of the universe
[18:18] <Entropist> Purpose is a conceit of creatures who believe themselves possessed of some special nature
[18:18] <AgentAAA> as all business in the universe is performed regardless of significance
[18:18] <Entropist> Humans especially are just terrible about it
[18:18] <Entropist> I blame the language skills
[18:18] <AgentAAA> It’s merely a construct of the mind
[18:18] <Aceso> so you’re a hedonist
[18:18] <AgentAAA> therefore, significance is prescribed by the individual mind, alone.
[18:19] <IIZard> AgentAAA, how big are you? The planet you are on? The system in which it resides. and so on..
[18:19] <Entropist> AgentAAA: I already laid that down in the ground rules
[18:19] <Entropist> Circular logic is not a good technique
[18:19] <AgentAAA> in other words, the significance of such things is prescribed by how much I give it value
[18:19] <IIZard> That would make sense, if you  were a god.
[18:20] <Entropist> You may believe in all the significance you like, but belief does not impart properties on things
[18:20] <Aceso> gotta go stab someone, brb
[18:20] * IIZard chuckles.
[18:21] * RavenFire clears the room of hostility 
[18:21] <AgentAAA> belief’s literally changed the world.
[18:21] * Eph_afk is now known as Ephraim
[18:21] <AgentAAA> not normally for the better
[18:21] <AgentAAA> granted
[18:21] <AgentAAA> if you remember the crusades
[18:21] <AgentAAA> but “significance” is not in fact a property of the physical
[18:21] <AgentAAA> it’s a property of the mental
[18:21] <AgentAAA> and thus mental things influence it
[18:22] <AgentAAA> if nothing was able to perceive the universe as a whole
[18:22] <Entropist> That’s not an argument, that’s just begging the question
[18:22] <AgentAAA> the idea of “significance” as a concept would not exist
[18:22] <Entropist> But back on topic
[18:22] * IIZard agrees.
[18:22] <Entropist> Class project.
[18:24] <Entropist> For every moment you might otherwise have spent doing the same old techniques, sparring for hours on end in what must be the most thrilling battle of imagination since Mr. Rogers fought the Hulk Hogan
[18:24] <Entropist> *-the
[18:24] <Entropist> Instead, I want you to just shut yourselves up and observe
[18:24] <Entropist> Even if for only a day
[18:24] <Entropist> Only an hour
[18:25] <Entropist> Examine one of the things you take for granted because critical analysis might weaken your resolve
[18:26] <Entropist> The willingness to deconstruct assumptions in the pursuit of proper understanding must be attractive to some of you
[18:26] <AgentAAA> it’s something I do already.
[18:27] <Entropist> Explain one of your techniques
[18:27] <AgentAAA> which one?
[18:27] <Entropist> Any one
[18:27] <AgentAAA> I’ve already explained the ironskin
[18:27] <Entropist> You described it
[18:28] <Entropist> You explained nothing
[18:28] <AgentAAA> which is a technique I use to harden and increase the overall density of my form
[18:28] <Entropist> Okay
[18:28] <Entropist> How?
[18:28] <AgentAAA> I move my energy into the outer parts of my form
[18:29] <Entropist> By what mechanism?
[18:29] <AgentAAA> by using will to move it outwards.
[18:29] <AgentAAA> willing it to go to the outer part of my body, and concentrating on it slipping into my energy body itself
[18:30] <Entropist> Why?
[18:30] <Entropist> What brought you to that method over another?
[18:30] <AgentAAA> It was the one that came most naturally to me
[18:30] <AgentAAA> when I invented the technique
[18:31] <AgentAAA> and was the easiest, given it was similar to the basis in which I use my techniques as it is.
[18:32] <Entropist> So your technique is based on deliberately disrupting the integrity of the very form you rely on to power it?
[18:32] <Entropist> Why not the very reverse?
[18:33] <Entropist> And is anyone else still paying attetion to the class or should I just go and post the logs?
[18:33] <Entropist> *attention
[18:34] * IIZard nods.
[18:34] <IIZard> My understanding of magic is .. little .. to exaggerate..
[18:35] <Entropist> I think you’ll find that’s hardly uncommon
[18:35] <IIZard> I possess something … similar.. but it is not quite as you describe..
[18:35] * IIZard nods.
[18:36] <IIZard> Whereas your will is the source of your power, mine is rather the opposite.
[18:36] <Entropist> The prevalence of eclecticism is the greatest hindrance to progress since the Dark Ages
[18:37] <IIZard> When in situations of the extreme, where I cannot contain my internal flame any longer…
[18:37] <IIZard> Hmm..
[18:37] <Entropist> I’ll wait for the graphic novel
[18:37] <IIZard> As you wish, I shall not bore you.
[18:39] <AgentAAA> disrupting? nay
[18:39] <AgentAAA> I use it to increase the strength of what’s already there
[18:39] <Entropist> Backstories, spirit animals, super secret techniques, blah blah. These are distractions
[18:40] <Entropist> Yes, in the same way that melting wholes in a steel wall makes it more durable
[18:40] <Entropist> Of course
[18:40] <Entropist> *holes
[18:41] <Aceso> so… pulling things apart is the only way to…what?
[18:41] <Entropist> I would think the goal of a serious practitioner would be to understand, yes?
[18:42] <Aceso> understand! yay a little word.
[18:42] <IIZard> Or of anyone searching for greater wisdom.
[18:42] <Entropist> And allowing baseless assumptions to direct research because they sound neat in a forum bio is counterproductive
[18:43] <Chance> Entropist, what’s the goal in understanding? To do what?
[18:43] * IIZard wonders who this was directed at.
[18:43] <Entropist> Chance: There isn’t one
[18:43] <Chance> Then why not do something else, or at least divide time?
[18:44] <Chance> Yes, technically every moment can be dedicated to better understanding something but–
[18:44] <AgentAAA> ahhh, but what melting was done?
[18:44] <Entropist> Stagnation is the first seed of the mind’s death
[18:45] <Chance> And as for that assignment, would assumptions about likes/dislikes/etc. be included in such time spent?
[18:45] <AgentAAA> I change nothing that’s there
[18:45] <AgentAAA> merely add to it
[18:45] <Entropist> AgentAAA: From where, exactly?
[18:45] <Chance> If so, then it’s the only thing that I’ve been doing fairly constantly for the past 5 years or more. Heh.
[18:45] <Chance> As opposed to drawing circles, etc. [done hardly any of that..]
[18:46] <Entropist> Chance: Show earnest effort in examining your assumptions and you’ll have gained more than most I’ve ever had to deal with in occult communities

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