Guna: More retroactive borrowing from Hinduism

Created: 2020-05-04 14:08

Last Modified: 2020-05-04 16:09

As a child I had a habit of imagining elaborate inventions, only to discover they were already developed. I suppose if I had been born a century before I could have been that era's Maxwell or Seurat. Instead I got to hear a steady stream of discouragements about how uncreative I was.

To be fair I had parents and mentors who did try to reassure me that hey, it couldn't have been that terrible an idea if it actually worked? But more often the message was "why are you wasting your time inventing things that already exist?"

The answer is that invention is my personal learning style. I really don't understand something until I have reconstructed it fully from first principles. It's the secret of my success in Information Technology. I generally outperform my colleagues, and persist in a field long after they burned themselves out, because to me there is no "book" to go by. I didn't need a classroom instructor to explain things to me. I just fiddled and fiddled until I made my personal (and later professional) products work.

Not the most optimal style, by a long shot. But the flipside is that I can do things nobody else can. By definition. Someone whose only education on computers was classroom instruction is limited to techniques that can be taught in a classroom. Someone whose only interest is money will find professions that pay a lot better for a lot less mental torture.

I am one of those Unicorns who programs because... well... I find it fun. And not even because I am any good at it. I still think I stink at it, but I suppose that is in the same sense that Hokusai never quite considered himself a real artist. The more I discover the more I realize I have to discover. And with code, the more I improve the more flaws I find in my existing work.

But getting onto today's topic... Hinduism and the Magic system for Iliad-07.

I have had another one of those moments where for months I was suffering under the delusion that I had somehow unlocked my own personal mystery of the Universe: The Mind/Soul/Will system. As it turns out, there is a similar concept in Hindu Philosophy called Guna.

In my system, objective reality is the interference between a mind, a will, and a shared fabric of reality (the spirit). In many forms of Hinduism (or so Wikipedia tells me) they have a concept that we are all Gods. And as divine beings, we have three competing forces inside of us:

I am going to say from the outset, my mind is absolutely blown. This is like when I would open up a history text and find something that looked like it came out of my sketch book. But, despite a superficial resemblance, there are profound differences between this system and Mind/Spirit/Will. But they require an operating system designer's mind to appreciate.

In Mind/Spirit/Will, Will is the embodiment of self. It is really the inertia that keeps one from being at all points in the universe at once. Your body is a 'you' shaped bubble in the Universe. It is the focal point for an agent to act. In the Guna architecture, Sattva is actually the embodiment of self. Rajas is the energy for change. Tamas keeps that energy in check.

I'm going to state for the record that I don't consider the Gana system more or less right than M/S/W. The problem is that the Universe is more subtle and strange than words can describe. But let us use those words to demonstrate where I think different concepts live and Gana thinks they do.

The concept that emotions and motivations have houses is solid. Where one draws the lines between the houses is more subtle. MSW also has the concept that the interference patterns between two houses can have its own distinct behavior. Using a list of adjectives from the various wikipedia entries, here is a visual breakdown of how Gana concept lines up with Mind/Soul/Will:

It's not 1:1 by any stretch of the imagination. But there are clumps of similarity. I also found myself imposing some operating system-like rules. Most (if not all) opposites end up being in the complimentary color of the house of the positive. Pure is green, impure is purple. Harmony is yellow, chaos is blue. Some concepts are the composite of all colors. Some concepts are the composite of all opposites. Thus white and black come into play. White is as near as makes not different to "good" and black is as near as makes no difference to "evil." Both Good and Evil make equal use of all the colors in the spectrum. Good is adding, Evil subtracting.