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Re: OT: Asking for help (was Re: OT: "Science is interesting; if you don't agree, you can fuck off.")

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Saturday, November 17, 2007, 2:46
Sai Emrys wrote:
> On Nov 15, 2007 8:48 PM, Herman Miller <hmiller@...> wrote: >> Is there anything about cave-dwelling that could be relevant? Their >> ancestors made their homes in caves to protect themselves from dragons. >> Perhaps the need to keep quiet while dragons were nearby encouraged the >> development of silent means of communication. > > Possible. > > FWIW, the most plausible current theory about how empathy (in the raw, > I-feel-what-you-feel sense) works is like this: > > 1. when you feel X you display X' via (facial, etc) affect > 2. when I see X', part of the cells in my brain that would fire when > *I* display X', fire. (called 'mirror neurons'; they fire both for an > action and for seeing that same action in others - so if they smile, > part of your brain "smiles" too, ish) > 3. when those cells fire, they trigger emotional correlates - i.e. X > (though usually weaker than the real thing)
Another aspect of having big eyes is that facial expressions might end up being easier to read (one reason for the Wind Waker style of Zelda, as in the recent Phantom Hourglass game). On the other hand, big eyes leave less room for muscles to move the eyes, and you could end up with an unreadable owl-like expression. It's possible that their ears are more mobile than humans', which could add to their facial expressiveness. Pheromones might also be involved.
> And the (very new and not well verified) theory for how this comes > about for each individual is Hebbian learning ("neurons that fire > together, wire together") - you tend to see other people doing X while > you are feeling X', either because you're both reacting to Y that > makes you both feel X', or because they are mirroring your expressions > (like parents tend to), or somesuch similar.
An interesting idea.
>>From a more social (and much less well researched TTBOMK) perspective, > some strong and unregulated empaths tend to have 'issues' - notably > crowd-sickness (too much input from too many different people = > overload), difficulty discriminating own thoughts/emotions from > others', bipolar-type symptoms when being around people with disparate > emotional states, and feedback loops when being around other empaths. > Most of these can be controlled through various techniques, but plenty > of people don't seem to learn 'em. (See for > examples thereof; warning, high woo quotient.) > > Silent communication, to me, is more plausibly a sign language. > Empathy IRL at least is mostly only useful for adding a layer of > connotation or emotional understanding, not for denotation (that'd be > telepathy). It would be interesting if, for example, all the stuff > that we use in regular languages to explicitly connote emotional > content (such as vocal intonation, or speed/manner of signing) were > devoted explicitly to denotation instead (because the connotation is > presumed to be gotten through empathy). This could make for a somewhat > denser/faster language.
Hmm... Tone and duration are phonemic in at least some Zireen langs (but that's no different from Human languages). Maybe there are Zireen langs with even more distinctions than what human languages commonly use.
> It'd also make for them probably looking to outsiders as if they have > totally flat affects, if they're used to having their affect picked up > at very subtle levels. So they'd be unreadable, while being able to > read others... could create weird diplomatic / intercultural effects. > > Of course, it's your conworld so you're free to change all that if you like. :-P > > As for the original - Caves imply echoes; if dragons also inhabit the > caves, then that's probably a Bad Thing and you'd want silent comms. > Which is basically what you already said.
Caves are also full of tight places to hide in, and there are dragons adapted to many different environments besides caves. There are dragon equivalents of pretty much the whole order Carnivora, plus small bat-like dragons and aquatic crocodile-like dragons. Even though caves are where their distant ancestors sheltered and made their homes, they'd probably spend more time outside gathering food, so they still would have relied primarily on vocal communication.


Sai Emrys <sai@...>