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Jon1 year ago

What about the game's mythic framework and theological musings? The significance of the
Shepherd, Elohim, Samsara, and the Serpent? The game raises a lot of interesting
epistemological questions regarding the nature of reality through its very Gnostic tale of
transcending an illusory world with the help of a good shepherd who helps you literally

Curia Regis1 year ago

Not residual self-image. The program you are operating in is intended to mimic evolution,
allowing for thousands of generations, or iterations, of the original robots operating within that
world. Each time a robot shows success in its movement toward autonomy, or
consciousness, the code of that robot is recycled to the beginning, thus serving as the
template for a new generation. However, much like evolution there are random variables
(mutations) inserted into the code. (Note what it says on the screen during the ending when
you are recycled about randomly altering parameters.) As the humans who designed the
program did not know what the winning code would be, the code that would constitute
consciousness, they simply set a program in motion that could keep testing iterations until
that code was found. Therefore the robots within the artificial reality took different
"evolutionary" paths, and the changes to code expressed itself sometimes in outward
differences in appearance (again, like natural evolution). Defying Elohim and ascending the
tower to completion is the final test to determine if consciousness has been reached. When
that occurs the code of that robot becomes the "gold disk" that is inserted into the REAL robot
in the REAL world, a robot who is now able to be the sentient being intended by the humans.
Therefore the humans, who we are and our history, are able to be known by the robot, who
can then rebuild civilization and continue the story of humanity in a new way. Hence the
reason for the robot finger touching the human finger in the Talos marketing, humans
transferring consciousness to a robot in an effort to keep a part of themselves from being
extinguished, that most precious aspect of being human, consciousness.

Amaroq6411 months ago (edited)

I didn't really get any of this out of The Talos Principle.

I haven't looked this up myself, I think I found it in-game. But the "Talos Principle" basically
states that we would die without our blood. It's a way of saying "We may think we're
spiritual beings, etc. But the fact that we die from blood loss shows incontrovertibly that we
are mechanisms that cannot run without their fuel."

I don't like that sentiment, but it plays well into what the whole game is about. A virus,
maybe one that affects blood, has spread to all the humans of the world, and they're dying
slowly. "We cannot survive without our blood." And the fact that we are an AI consciousness
also plays on the idea of the Talos Principle that consciousness arises from a mechanism. So
the robots can be conscious just like humans can.

Again I don't necessarily agree with this idea. But it's totally fitting in with the game's

From there, the game seems to be about what you, the player, believes; and how your own
mindset leads you to overcoming the challenges you face.

Elohim is the voice of faith, certainty, and absolute-ness. He believes in you totally and offers
you rewards for your achievements and leaves you free to enact your own will.
Milton is the voice of doubt, depression, and skepticism. He challenges your certainty. He
instills doubt in you. He convinces you that your mind might not be as capable as you believe
it is.

Elohim and Milton are like a (false, imo) dichotomy between blind certainty and absolute
doubt. You, the player, gets to express your own philosophy and follow whichever voice
appeals to you: The voice that has answers for everything, or the voice that questions
everything. (Or maybe a middle ground between the two.)

I find it interesting that the other robots in the game have all these varying philosophies. I
see each robot's philosophy as its reaction to the challenges it faces. The religious robot
says, "I can't collect some of these sigils because that isn't part of Elohim's plan." The
Buddhist robot says, "You will achieve true enlightenment when you cast off the desire to
solve puzzles." The nihilist robot believes this world is absurd and there's no point in solving
puzzles. One of the robots even goes insane and believes that he should have a world that
obeys his wishes. Every one of these philosophies is that robot's coping-mechanism for their
inability to solve some of the puzzles.

Meanwhile, we're the go-getter with the more Western, self-sufficient philosophy. (At least
that's what I think/chose.) We believe in ourselves (or maybe you don't). Whatever it is, our
particular philosophy and way of thinking leads to success. We are able to make it to the
end, where a lot of these other robots were not. And ultimately, we are able to make it to
the top of the tower, in defiance of Elohim, because we think for ourselves and we have a
successful set of ideas.

Our philosophy is true, because it led us to success rather than provided us with comfort
when we failed. And so our philosophy is the one that will be expressed in the real world.

It's as some of the in-game audio stated. They didn't just want to make a consciousness that
did what it's told. That would just be a really advanced slave. They wanted a consciousness
that would think for itself. We succeeded because we were able to think both inside and
outside of the box that the programmers and Elohim put us in. And that qualified us to be
the consciousness that will pick up where humanity left off.

Elohim actually did his job too well (keeping us inside the box to test our independence),
because at some point, he gained a desire for self-preservation. He understood that if you
pass the independence test, that he will die. And so he tried harder than the humans
intended to keep us acting within his rules.

The Talos Principle even comes up again when you fall into a hole in the ground and hear
Elohim repeating something. He's afraid. Among other things, he frantically says, "The Talos
Principle does not apply..." It's his own coping mechanism to the fear of death. He doesn't
want to believe the Principle because he doesn't want to die.

But when you defy him and complete your test, he accepts his fate graciously, and you are
given the real world to explore and rebuild as your reward.

hadeum11 year ago (edited)

On a side note, Elohim says the world is made of hidden words, and also that the words
made the world.
That's an interesting wording in the game's context: for a programmer a program runs
through instructions, which we name 'words' (short word, word, long word, ...).

A program running through instructions ignores that he is processing 'words' (instructions)

thus those words are hidden to him.

Since the instructions of the simulation (the hidden words) generate a simulated world, the
virtual world is therefore made of hidden words. Applied to real life, this would mean that
the inner working of the Universe is made of 'instructions' which we are unknown of...

And then Elohim implies that those hidden words make a story, and that we are part of the
story. The meaning is that the Universe being made of hidden words, it structures itself in a
single (universe-size) story which all beings are part of.

That's also the point of view of the girl behind the project: she says in a capsule note that
her life is the consequence of other people past choices and sacrifices, who she completely
ignores they even existed or who they were... Thus she owes her own story to the unkown
stories of others. She even wonder how her own decisions might impact other people
futures... Well you get to know in the end.