(Audience Replies) Thank You!

Thank you! Thank you!

Your good wishes may have tipped the balance. If not then I still appreciate them.

Here is something I often think.

It is the intentions we act with that matter. That’s all. Because we can’t control outcomes. But we can’t see one another’s intentions. They’re mysteries. So we must focus on outcomes to understand what has happened and what others might have intended.

I do not mean to discard the scientific theories of causation.

Theories of causation rule.

But in the end they are a tool for shaping our own intentions.

We act on the theories of science when the intention to use reason or, put another way, the valuing of validation and doubt is a part of our own intent.

So here is what I know.

Your good wishes, if I may trust that you felt them, are good.

And the outcome was good.

I think it will be two weeks before the last doubt goes away. But already one of my dearest friends is . . . as close to better as I could hope for. The doubt is smaller than the doubt that any of us will survive a year.

Perhaps something bad will turn up in two weeks at the neuro eval.

Perhaps I will be hit by a bus tomorrow, or the world will rise up in unjustified revolt against ice cream and banish it from the world.

So I can think of no scientific theory that would connect your good wishes to the favorable outcome that I observe.

But I can judge things by the outcome.

You have wished well, so it seems; it has happened well, so it appears; I have asked for these things, and received them; so, what matters causation?

Thank you, and blessed be you all.

Best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery.
— David Goldfarb

Thank you!

(And thank you to those of you with similar thoughts, who did not post them.)

Yes, I hope everything goes well for your friend. (And for you!)
— Graeme

Thank you!

Things went well, although she says that she still looks like she lost a few fights and I am still quite short on sleep.

My best wishes; here’s hoping that your friend’s stay is a good one.
— rpuchalsky

Regrettably wishes cannot affect the past* and so it was already doomed to be an unpleasant stay in some respects.

However the hospital staff were very nice.

* Although the past is strangely difficult to define. Still, it seems clear that you cannot wish for a contradiction without inviting chimerae, so one may imagine the existing assumptions as a kind of past.

Slash
— rpuchalsky

Ominous title! ^_^

“Zhen Has Two Daddies, One Of Whom Is A Siggort”.
— rpuchalsky

This made me laugh. ^_^

Now, thinking about the story as a whole—

I think it’d be a good ending for them, as they are now. I think it’s sweet and kind of cool and it’s certainly an interesting reaction against what’s going on with them here and now in Hitherby.

At the same time I think that it is not time to close the book on them, as there is more going on with them that I want to talk about!

Here’s to a speedy recovery! Wishes of wellness all around.
— Ravious

Thank you! Perhaps they will form a breeding population and overwhelm the ecosystem. ^_^

*thinks good thoughts in vague direction of your friend*
— cariset

I knew I should have included GPS coordinates!

Thank you.

That’s all for now. I think there’s one more Island of the Centipede post this month, followed by a filler legend. We’ll see! See you again on Thursday, and thanks again for all the good wishes. I adore you all!

And, yay!

Rebecca

4 thoughts on “(Audience Replies) Thank You!

  1. I am pleased that my good wishes provided you with some comfort, however paltry and fleeting. I’m very pleased that your friend is recovering. I don’t believe my good wishes made a quark’s worth of difference to that….

    Your philosophy is interesting, and is making me look at Hitherby as an exploration of idealism: the Hitherby world is one where categories have hard reality, and promises hold power. It’s a world that works like the one inside our heads.

    I find myself forced to disagree about intentions and outcomes in real life. (Which no doubt comes as no shock to those who’ve read certain of my earlier comments…yes, all two of you.) If intentions are everything and outcomes are nothing, how do we blame the drunk driver who accidentally kills a child? (I could mention other examples, many of them highly inflammatory.)

    It seems to me that intentions are only patterns of symbols inside peoples’ brains, while outcomes are the world we live in. They’re all we really have to judge by. Do intentions matter? Well, if we know (or can guess at) someone’s intentions, we can guess at their future actions. Someone who does the right thing now but for the wrong reason is likely to take wrong action later. Conversely, good intentions are a mitigating factor in a bad outcome, because someone who acted with good intentions now likely will continue to do so. But ultimately the real now is more important than the possible future.

    Certainly “we can’t control outcomes” is true up to a point, and can be a valuable point to make. But sometimes I hear underneath it — perhaps wrongly — “we don’t need to try”. Against that I revolt.

  2. > If intentions are everything and
    > outcomes are nothing, how do
    > we blame the drunk driver who
    > accidentally kills a child?

    You are making two assumptions that I am not. The first is that *hypothesized* intentions—the intentions of others—matter. The second is that blame is important.

    You are absurdly generous to hypothesize that the driver had sound and good intentions. I laud you for that. You are peculiarly vindictive to, having assumed that the driver has good and sound intentions, blame the driver for a child dying. I look somewhat shocked.

    Now you may fairly ask why I refer to the hypothetical intentions of my readers. Simple: I wish to encourage certain sorts of behavior. That is the only purpose I know of for an unfalsifiable statement or an unjustified assumption.

    Rebecca

  3. I’m glad that your friend seems to be OK. As for good vs unpleasant hospital stays, usually stays that end in full recovery are, I think, on the good side.

    I’m also glad that you liked the story. It is, in some ways, a reaction against what’s going on with them — a reaction against the idea that interest requires drama. There are many places in the story where impending drama is implicitly or explicitly hinted at (though the double-hung sex joke that turns out to be about windows was perhaps a bit much, I had to use it since there was an actual article with that title in the local newspaper that day); I tried to always wind it up with the non-dramatic — which is what most of us really want, in life if not in fiction, do we not?

    At the same time, the story is told by a demon, so it has certain elements missing. Maybe that’s where the drama went.

    James Branch Cabell was a great fantasist who wrote a lot about marriage. Since that’s the life-stage that I’m in, I’m rereading all of his works. I find Ninzian, one of his characters, to be a useful voice for writing Hitherby-fic.

  4. Idealism and intentions aside, I’m glad your friend’s situation has improved significantly, Rebecca.

    -Eric

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