[MUD-Dev] Re: Attributes: Sanity

Travis S. Casey efindel at io.com
Fri May 15 08:25:47 New Zealand Standard Time 1998


On Thu, 14 May 1998, Holly Sommer wrote:
> On Thu, 14 May 1998, Travis S. Casey wrote:
> > On Mon, 11 May 1998, Holly Sommer wrote:
> > 
> > Why should complete sanity prevent someone from seeing and hearing a
> > leprechaun?  Denying the evidence of one's senses is a mark of *insanity*,
> > not of sanity.
> 
> I disagree - it parallels what each of us has experienced from time to time:
> 
> "No. That *can't* have happened. I did *not* see that." Seeing isn't 
> always believing, and the ability of humans to dismiss things as 
> "imagination" or "a trick of the lights" helps us maintain our sanity... 
> the supernatural is best left to the world of the supernatural, or else 
> it'll force us to re-examine what we know as real :) Insane people tend 
> to not always deal with "just" "reality" ;) 

I think I'm not communicating well here... sane people may deny the
reality of what they sense, but they do not normally deny that they are
sensing it, and they search for explanations of *why* they are sensing
something that they don't believe could be real.

To give an example, if someone is walking down the street and sees a 
dragon, they're not going to simply decide, "Oh, there can't be a dragon
there, I'll just ignore it."  They're going to wonder, "What the hell is
that?  It looks like a dragon, but it can't be."  And then they're going
to try to figure out what it could be.

Or, to give another example, if I'm fully awake and see something that
looks like a ghost in a dark room, I'm not just going to ignore it -- at
the very least, I'm going to take a good look into the room to make sure
I'm not seeing something.  If I *still* see it, I'm going to observe it
more closely and see if I can figure out what it is.

The only sort of people who are likely to simply ignore something that
they see on the basis that it's impossible are those who hallucinate
regularly and know that they do.  And yes, it is possible to be
hallucinatory and know that you are.  I tend to hallucinate when I'm
sleep-deprived.  However, since I know this, if I see someone out of the
corner of my eye when I'm very tired, but they're gone when I look towards
them, I don't seek any other explanation.  The same is true if I hear
whispering voices talking to me -- I *know* that I tend to hallucinate
these things, so I know that there's probably nothing there to
investigate.

The first few times it happened to me, it really freaked me out -- and I
think it freaked the people around me out more.  After a few times,
though, I realized what was going on, and now I know that I can simply
ignore strange things that I see or hear when I'm very tired.

> This is, of course, partially my invention, to suit the gaming world we 
> are working on, and is not intended to mirror Real Life - just to borrow 
> enough bits and pieces from it, so that it is recognized as somewhat 
> structured (rather than totally whimsical) to the player.

The problem about borrowing pieces from Real Life is that you need to
borrow them in a way which supports your structure.  I don't agree in this
case that it supports your structure -- from personal experience, I
believe that those who are prone to hallucinations would be *more* likely
to ignore a real dragon or fairy, not less likely.

I think part of the problem in this case is that you're oversimplifying --
you're creating a "sanity" which has only one axis.  In the real world,
it's quite possible for someone to have hallucinations but otherwise be
sane.

As you say, though, you're doing this for a game, not to model reality.
My comments are just meant as comments; I'm not trying to make you change
the way you want to do things, just pointing out that doing it that way
would tend to harm my suspension of disbelief.

--
       |\      _,,,---,,_        Travis S. Casey  <efindel at io.com>
 ZZzz  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_   No one agrees with me.  Not even me.
      |,4-  ) )-,_..;\ (  `'-'  Keeper of the rec.games.design FAQ:
     '---''(_/--'  `-'\_)      http://www.io.com/~efindel/design.html



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