Author Topic: Are dissolving tests what they seem to be or are they the opposite?  (Read 109 times)

SirBananaPie

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Hello,

I recently had a thought: Assuming that all the people from the sources I'm going to quote tell the truth:
1. Dissolving tests for sorcery levels 4 through 6 are supposed to keep you firm on your emotions, yourself and reality in general: http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic.php?i=3539
2. However, the thin man says that reality is a lie. (I don't think I need to quote any page, because it's pretty much all he says all the time).
3. And Suspiria said that her power feels like she got rid of constraints, see last panel of http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic.php?i=1669

That makes me assume that those high-level dissolving tests have the purpose of "keeping you in the matrix". Imagine you're in the matrix and unknowingly take the red pill and suddenly you can do neo-like stuff and have no idea why. Of course that would be terrifying and you might become insane and even bend your body out of shape, so naturally people would create tests to counter any of those effects. However, those tests sound as if they're a huge effort to strengthen the constraints you actually might want to rid yourself of.

Cheers
SirBananaPie
What do vampires have in common with My Little Pony? Vampires from Twilight Sparkle.

bulmabriefs144

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Re: Are dissolving tests what they seem to be or are they the opposite?
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2018, 06:48:23 pm »
Well, to be clear, he is a truth specialist, how keep in mind Lehm's power is assumed to be one power level above normal (although it could be more). This means his abilities may or may not reflect actual reality. That is, they may reflect reality only to the limits of his emotions not being in the way, not necessarily recognizing the limits of himself or of reality in general. Or to put it more directly, his observations may be acceptable for basic things like finding a match to his experiments, but may have bias or outright delusion when it comes to reality itself.

For the sake of argument, let's assume he's partially right. From what we seem to have observed so far, there are microscopic organisms which are capable of altering matter mostly by chemical means (and consuming live organisms, based on that Decay spell). It also seems like that demons of the Vorpal Sea thing appears to be more correct than we thought. It's even possible some of these have supernatural abilities, and by extension it seems like they have altered humans in some way. It's possible either of these ideas have some merit, although it seems unlikely that  both do. We have heard that there is no evidence that the brain is altered, so it possible that it is (a) an increase in latent magical ability that everyone has, that is the  dissolving test actually is just a placebo, making people aware of more and thus able to do more, or (b) it installs some sort of remote control implant which allows the Qualia to receive a stronger signal.

The problem with b is that things like magical efficiency don't really make much sense, nor do much of this scene (why would these critters bother to show up in the bottom of a pit)?

The other option is that it uses a sort of mental energy (similar to PSI or faith), which is internal to the caster. To explain it in simple terms, it's like Flat Earthers. It's possible to awaken to a mind-blowing idea that changes your whole paradigm (dissolves what you believed before). Before, you were like "nah, man, the Earth is round." Suddenly, after you believe the new thing, you may find events reinforce the belief ("I can't see past the horizon", "that plane had to go north to get from US to China", "my friend seems to have dropped off the face of the Earth, maybe it's not my crazy behavior and they actually did"). True or not, paradigm changes create a sort of personal bubble.   

Both theories account for the insanity exhibited by high level types that haven't mastered the later dissolving tests. In the one case, the paradigms you believe have no sense of self or reality, meaning you are literally reinforcing crazy ideas (very similar to what seems to be happening to Suspiria) without having a sense of "let's verify this." In the other case, without the proper control device, the mental energy of the person has developed, but the Qualia are not properly in control, and attacking the user's brain (as in actually chewing on her psyche).   

Interestingly, qualia literally refers to stuff that is observed as different for everyone. That is, I have no idea whether you are reading the same thing as I'm trying to say. This could well explain why Thin Man believes in Qualia, whereas Melter is talking about her perception of reality. Maybe it is that subjective.

"この世界の悪があれば本当に、それは人類の心の内にあります."
(Truly, if there is evil in this world, it lies within the heart of mankind)
—Edward D. Morrison

SirBananaPie

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Re: Are dissolving tests what they seem to be or are they the opposite?
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2018, 12:12:26 am »
Okay, Lehm not actually getting true answers is a possibility as well.

What does "demons of the Vorpal Sea" mean? Google doesn't appear to give me anything that makes sense in this context. "Demon of the Sea" was apparently another name for "Moby Dick" (which is a funny reference to flipside btw. XD) and the Vorpal Blade from DnD can decapitate on a crit.

From the points you're making it gets more and more clear that in a comic where you don't know what's actually real, literally anything could be the case.
But at least we can stick to the knowledge we got from intermissions, e.g. that an increase in levels means that you don't get more "mana", but your efficiency at using your soul energy increases.
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bulmabriefs144

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Re: Are dissolving tests what they seem to be or are they the opposite?
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2018, 12:46:52 pm »
Okay, Lehm not actually getting true answers is a possibility as well.

What does "demons of the Vorpal Sea" mean? Google doesn't appear to give me anything that makes sense in this context. "Demon of the Sea" was apparently another name for "Moby Dick" (which is a funny reference to flipside btw. XD) and the Vorpal Blade from DnD can decapitate on a crit.

From the points you're making it gets more and more clear that in a comic where you don't know what's actually real, literally anything could be the case.
But at least we can stick to the knowledge we got from intermissions, e.g. that an increase in levels means that you don't get more "mana", but your efficiency at using your soul energy increases.

It was earlier, on Mary's arc. Suspiria dismissed it as religious nonsense, but laughing chef (Lehm's cook/backer for his experiments) and our priest here kinda seem otherwise.

We also learned from time with Lehm that Eye's power (and possibly that of Moss) are not necessarily magic (the thing about the radius actually doing away with magic), since there is a biological aspect to it. Which lends to the idea there may be actual "curses" as well as magic, and these "demons" are messing with things.
"この世界の悪があれば本当に、それは人類の心の内にあります."
(Truly, if there is evil in this world, it lies within the heart of mankind)
—Edward D. Morrison

SirBananaPie

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Re: Are dissolving tests what they seem to be or are they the opposite?
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2018, 11:48:23 pm »
Oh that's why it seemed somehow familiar to me. I reread the archives recently, but I had already forgotten about the Demons of the Vorpal Sea thing again. And this I didn't think of the cook and the priest as demons either, even though now that I think about it they do both behave sort of like Hierophants. I.e. except for get "you get terminally ill if one touches you" thing.
What do vampires have in common with My Little Pony? Vampires from Twilight Sparkle.