Moogle

Contradiction with Taravangian's Intelligence

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But when it comes to his own immediate effect on the world when he takes direct personal action, he seems to suffer from hubris. And the primary evidence of this is the discussion point at hand. He thinks just because he himself can make some speeches, he can overturn human nature.

 

Yes.

 

He doesn't understand why his perfect sociopathic hubristic megalomaniac logic wouldn't appeal to regular less intelligent people. Go figure. They really must not be smart then. 

 

He rationalizes his own brilliant irrationality. He understands survival instinct but not why people let that get in the way of his pure logic. 

 

Hubris.

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I don't believe this analogy holds, as artistry is significantly different from manipulating world politics and regular people.

 It is a form of genius compared to a form of genius. And is further an example that different types of genius exist.

 

He understands motivations (survival) he does not relate to them. Because he is a sociopath.

 

I think this goes along with how he is willing to hasten the death of his hospital wards to collect death rattles. All for the greater good. He cares more about the research than the patients. No empathy.

Edited by zandi
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Intelligence is not knowledge.  Sociopathy makes it extraordinarily unlikely for him to pursue certain lines of thought, and therefore incapable of obtaining knowledge that comes from following those lines of thought.  You mistakenly conflate intelligence with already having knowledge as opposed to the ability to build on knowledge.

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 It is a form of genius compared to a form of genius. And is further an example that different types of genius exist.

 

He understands motivations (survival) he does not relate to them. Because he is a sociopath.

 

I think this goes along with how he is willing to hasten the death of his hospital wards to collect death rattles. All for the greater good. He cares more about the research than the patients. No empathy.

 

I'm sorry to continue this argument. I think we're at an impasse, so I'll just clarify my position and move on.

 

To clarify my position:

 

When smart but not genius-level I believe that the accusations of Taravangian having major issues relating to people and understanding people are correct. He becomes out of tune with reality and does become somewhat delusional. When he is merely having a good day, he is smart, he can't understand other people, and so his decisions and deductions relating to people are likely to be flawed. He can still help decode the Diagram, but anything he suggests politically (say, if the Diagram becomes so out of date that he has to wing things) will likely fail in some way because of his mental issues.

 

When genius-level (as on the day of the Diagram) I believe any accusations of Taravangian having issues with being delusional fall by the wayside. He clearly understands human emotions at this level of intelligence (he picks up the 'sphere of intelligence' relating to human behavior, to use the language we've been using in this thread). He sees with clarity. Accusations of hubris or delusions of grandeur are, I think, wrong when he's making decisions at this level. His predictions will be very accurate, though not 100% perfect since he doesn't have foresight. We merely have to look at his motivations to see what the results of his actions will be. In this case, he was firmly set on saving humanity from going extinct from the Desolation and saving as many people as possible. With this in mind, I am quite confident that following the Diagram will result in the preservation of humanity on Roshar - unless of course someone like Dalinar or someone else ruins everything.

 

The issue for me is really how long the Diagram can be followed before it becomes so out of date that Taravangian's plans are ruined. Assuming they can keep it up to date with the Death Rattles, I think I can support Taravangian's cause without too many misgivings (beyond those of a meta-nature, given that this is a series glorifying deontology rather than consequentialism). And there's always (hopefully) the chance that Taravangian will reach the same levels of genius that he did before. I have a suspicion that his intelligence levels might be linked with the highstorms, and so in half a year, Taravangian may very well have another day of genius.

 

I also have issues with the Diagram's goal of making Mr. T world emperor as the main strategy. Taravangian clearly almost grasped the broader nature of the Cosmere for a while, understanding worldhopping (he speaks of the wanderer). Why did he not make it a priority to contact Hoid and Mraize and figure out their worldhopping skills? That would easily save Roshar. Did he just not know how to find them? I'd like an answer to this before I trust Taravangian's thought processes perfectly.

 

I do still need to reflect on things, but there you go. I think we disagree on matters very heavily zandi, and I don't think we can come to an agreement. It may be best to leave things at this.

Edited by Moogle
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Always happy to agree to disagree.  I don't think T is infallible and thus there will be mistakes in his line of reasoning even on his 100%days as you just said. We are in agreement about this. I do think however that T believes himself to be infallible on 100% days. 

 

I will also clarify. Since we do have some points of agreement.

 

 

Taravangian seems smart enough on his good days, but this seems completely at odds with what we know of him. The main problem is that he's smart enough to manipulate entire nations into civil war and can predict exactly what will happen, but then he brings up something like this. Did he really think the brilliance of the argument would sway anyone? It seems like a contradiction to me.

 

Does anyone have any idea how Taravangian can possibly manipulate people on a global scale but be incapable of doing it on the small scale?

I don't think there is a conflict (going back to Moogle's first post)  here but rather it is consistent with someone who is brilliant but lacking empathy.  He doesn't have the required charisma/personal magnetism to sway people this way. He does have the brilliance to direct events and understand motivation. Maneuvering someone to do something through events is a different skill set than something that requires emotional manipulation. Almost like a general vs a con man. Different types of genius.

 

I think T is absolutely brilliant on his 100% days and also even on say 90% days. But I think he is fallible. I think he is excellent a political strategy in the abstract. Like playing chess would probably be super easy for him. I think he views people like chess pieces in many ways - tools to be thrown away or used as needed. Which is why he thinks it is ok to think that a group of people should commit suicide. And why he is willing to go about researching the death rattles as he does.

 

He however - by nature of boon/curse lacks empathy. So while he may understand a person's desire to live he cannot relate to it if it is not inline with his goals/logic. He is a genius at strategy and figuring things out - like the diagram shows- but not at emotional empathy/intelligence due to his sociopathic nature. 

 

Since he is in a sense in some ways blinded by his lack of empathy, this will increase his fallibleness in the long run. Since he believes himself to be the most intelligent and doesn't see his lack of empathy/sociopathy as a problem, this make him hubristic. Since he seems to believe his ways is the best way etc no matter what despite the possibility he can err, he seems to suffer from megalomania. 

 

His diagram may or may not work -that remains to be seen. As you say he may simply get out of date. Even if he turns out to have found the solution it doesn't mean he is psychologically a stable person. He isn't as is clearly shown. I think this is an excellent example of BS ability to draw character.

 

His willingness to kill anyone who doesn't fit his plan or that he feels unworthy is scary. Taravagian's goals (saving humanity) may be worthy - it is his methodology that leaves much to be desired.  

 

Journey before destination. 

 

edited to include original quote and clarify w/general/con man comment

Edited by zandi
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At his most intelligent, Tarvangian does show some hubris in believing he can predict near everything.  But there will be aberrations.  The Diagram reminds me of Asimov's Foundation series and the Seldon Plan. It used history, mathematics & sociology to predict future events and was extremely accurate...until the Mule, an aberration that couldn't be predicted almost destroyed it. Either he is deliberately ignoring them because they are impossible to predict or he doesn't think them possible.

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Honestly, I think he might actually have been correct that he could convince people, although clearly he was unable to convince his guards. Eugenics programs have gotten popular support in the past, and people have been convinced to die or commit suicide for a grand cause. So it's not impossible that he could have done it.

 

Alternately, it might be a matter of how he goes about things. The Diagram calls for getting people to act in a way consistent with its goals without knowing about it instead of convincing people to act in accordance with it by persuading them its goals are correct. He might not be able to understand what will convince people to change their goals.

 

As for the Diagram itself, I feel like it contains a plan that could have worked when it was originally written if carried out promptly and effectively. The abstract of the plan seems to be to destroy the leadership of other nations so Taravagian winds up leader of the entire world, to gather the Radiants to his service, and to destroy the Parshendi before they could transform, which apparently wouldn't stop the Desolation but would likely delay and weaken it. But he's so far failed at every one of those steps; Dalinar lives and has control of the Alethi, he doesn't seem to have any loyal Radiants, and he needed to get the Alethi to launch a major offensive two years earlier, the last time the weather would permit it.

 

 


At his most intelligent, Tarvangian does show some hubris in believing he can predict near everything.  But there will be aberrations.  The Diagram reminds me of Asimov's Foundation series and the Seldon Plan. It used history, mathematics & sociology to predict future events and was extremely accurate...until the Mule, an aberration that couldn't be predicted almost destroyed it. Either he is deliberately ignoring them because they are impossible to predict or he doesn't think them possible.

 

Yeah, it seems to operate on similar principles. He seems to have predicted that surgebinders will show up but not their identities, and they've been seriously throwing off his predictions. Mathematical modelling is better for predicting groups than individuals, and a number of very critical events got decided by a handful of people.

Edited by name_here
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Thinking about it some more there is actually another flaw. The destruction of people of below average intelligence would be a net negative to society. In fact, from a purely economic standpoint, you would have to be almost completely handicapped to offer no benefit to society or a criminal.

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Honestly, I think he might actually have been correct that he could convince people,

nah they are too stupid to understand his brilliant logic and so can't be convinced  :P

 

kidding  :)

Edited by zandi
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Its interesting because Taravangian says that his best and most brilliant days are quite similar to his bad and dumb days. What would be really funny, is if when he made the Diagram, he was actually having his dumbest day. Its just that he was so dumb, that he actually thought that his Diagram was the plan to save the world, when its the plan to destroy the world. 

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Thinking about it some more there is actually another flaw. The destruction of people of below average intelligence would be a net negative to society. In fact, from a purely economic standpoint, you would have to be almost completely handicapped to offer no benefit to society or a criminal.

Long term, raising the genetic predisposition towards intelligence would be a good thing. Even if it caused a temporary economic meltdown it would eventually benefit society.

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Thinking about it some more there is actually another flaw. The destruction of people of below average intelligence would be a net negative to society. In fact, from a purely economic standpoint, you would have to be almost completely handicapped to offer no benefit to society or a criminal.

 

First off, I think this is a good point, except that Taravangian doesn't ever say that it would be a net negative. His present-day thoughts on the matter still seem to indicate that, from a theoretical purely intellectual standpoint this still would be a net gain. 

 

You have to keep in mind, however, that both of his crazy ideas that he discusses have to do with Karbranth specifically: IQ to have children and suicide for those of lesser intelligence. I actually think that he was capable of realizing that people wouldn't want to do either of those things from an emotional/socio stand point. However, he's the king of Karbranth and can pass both of those into law. Therefore, it wasn't really a matter of misunderstanding human emotions, but rather believing that, as a (brilliant) king, this was the best course of action to take for the better good that was within his power at the time.

 

The Diagram, while on a completely other level of super intelligence, spans the entire world. He's not the king of the world (yet). So the Diagram takes into account everyone's emotions/reactions because it's necessary for him to understand in order to manipulate the people involved to make himself the king of the world.

 

Of course, if Taravangian had been a little smarter on his "just high intelligence" days, he may have also realized that people's emotions would have possibly caused riots based on their emotional reaction to his "wonderful" laws--this may be due to an inability to fully read people's emotions/gauge their reactions, even while emotionally detached.

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When Taravangian and his aide started talking about how his Diagram day was a 1 in 2000 year event, it got me considering that perhaps he will instead have a day of Anti-Diagram levels of stupidity in a profoundly compassionate manner, whatever that might look like.  Something that gives him the key to really understanding the Diagram.  In the same way that he is pretty much worthless when very intelligent or very dumb, but his Diagram day was still brilliant, his Anti-Diagram day may be equally brilliant in some way despite the lack of intellect.

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When Taravangian and his aide started talking about how his Diagram day was a 1 in 2000 year event, it got me considering that perhaps he will instead have a day of Anti-Diagram levels of stupidity in a profoundly compassionate manner, whatever that might look like.  Something that gives him the key to really understanding the Diagram.  In the same way that he is pretty much worthless when very intelligent or very dumb, but his Diagram day was still brilliant, his Anti-Diagram day may be equally brilliant in some way despite the lack of intellect.

 

Personally, I think that would be awesome and amazingly profound. I now hope that this is the case.

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 At some point they broke down the chances of him having that intelligance again and it was like 1 in 1000 years or something. He wasn't just brilliant that day, he was the sun to a flourescent bulb.

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Personally, I think that would be awesome and amazingly profound. I now hope that this is the case.

I think it would just make him indistinguishable from braindead. He'd be hella compassionate but also unable to form coherent thoughts and probably incapable of speech. Kind of useless.

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I think it would just make him indistinguishable from braindead. He'd be hella compassionate but also unable to form coherent thoughts and probably incapable of speech. Kind of useless.

 

I suppose that's a possibility. He does describe his worst days as particularly awful. But he may come across some sort of key understanding on that day, even if he's incoherent.

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Taravangian seems smart enough on his good days, but this seems completely at odds with what we know of him. The main problem is that he's smart enough to manipulate entire nations into civil war and can predict exactly what will happen, but then he brings up something like this. Did he really think the brilliance of the argument would sway anyone? It seems like a contradiction to me.

 

Does anyone have any idea how Taravangian can possibly manipulate people on a global scale but be incapable of doing it on the small scale?

 

(Note: this assumes that he'd fail to convince people through his 'brilliant' arguments. Could he actually have persuaded them, perhaps?)

 

Mr. T's inability to grasp the bare fact that cogent arguments can fail to persuade someone just proves that he has never had any teenage children.  :wacko:

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When genius-level (as on the day of the Diagram) I believe any accusations of Taravangian having issues with being delusional fall by the wayside. He clearly understands human emotions at this level of intelligence (he picks up the 'sphere of intelligence' relating to human behavior, to use the language we've been using in this thread). He sees with clarity. Accusations of hubris or delusions of grandeur are, I think, wrong when he's making decisions at this level. His predictions will be very accurate, though not 100% perfect since he doesn't have foresight. We merely have to look at his motivations to see what the results of his actions will be. In this case, he was firmly set on saving humanity from going extinct from the Desolation and saving as many people as possible. With this in mind, I am quite confident that following the Diagram will result in the preservation of humanity on Roshar - unless of course someone like Dalinar or someone else ruins everything.

 

To clarify the day Taravangian wrote the diagram his intellect was far greater then any other day.

 

 

How smart were you on the day of the Diagram? Ten times smarter than your smartest otherwise?”

“A hundred,” Taravangian said, looking at the graph. “Maybe more. Let me do the calculations. . . .”

 

His Diagram day seems to be one that made even his genius days seem like drooling idiocy by comparison.  So yes on that singular day his intellect truly was supreme.  He is highly unlikely to have another like it in his lifetime.  His days of mere genius intellect though are marred by him also effectively being a sociopath without the compensation of the god like intellect.

 

 

“If you were to live another two thousand years, Vargo,” she said, “you’d maybe have one single day like this among them. Maybe. Even odds, I’d say.”

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His Diagram day seems to be one that made even his genius days seem like drooling idiocy by comparison.  So yes on that singular day his intellect truly was supreme.  He is highly unlikely to have another like it in his lifetime. 

 

WoB is that there's a pattern to his intelligence. It's not truly random:

Question
Is there a pattern to Taravangian's stupid/smart cycle, or is it actually random?
 
Brandon Sanderson
His aides are convinced that it is random, but if you plotted it out, it's really a distribution curve that is only made to look random.

 

Given the Nightwatcher gave him the capacity, and if he only had one not-stupid smart day he would be unable to save Roshar, I'm thinking he's got more in the future.

Edited by Moogle
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There is a major difference between Taravangian and Dalinar. Taravangian is working to save humanity. Dalinar is tasked to defeat Odium.  These are not the same goals.

 

This is also why Hoid is mentioned explicitly in the Diagram as a problem.  Hoid's primary concern is Odium; as he mentioned to Dalinar, he will see this world burn if he has to in order to succeed.

 

Dalinar's role is to be straddle between Hoid and Taravangian.  Defeat Odium, but do it in such a way that preserves as much humanity as possible.  I suspect that he will save less than Taravangian could. But survival is meaningless if Odium rules the Cosmere.

Edited by Walker
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Two things.

 

First, on the original question, here paraphrased as "If Taravangian loses empathy as he gains intelligence, why was he apparently so much better at predicting human behavior on the Diagram day than on the very-smart-but-not-Diagram-smart day when he proposed euthanizing people of low intelligence?": I think it's down to use of heuristics. In case you're unfamiliar, a heuristic is a problem-solving technique that isn't guaranteed to produce the best answer, but is usually close enough. You use a heuristic when the optimal strategy isn't known or when you haven't got the time/resources to execute it.

There are lots of interesting heuristics in human psychology. One of those is empathy, although we don't usually think of it as a heuristic. If you want to know how someone will react to something (e.g. being told "You are too stupid to live and should therefore kill yourself immeditately.") the closest we can imagine to an optimal solution would probably involve something like collecting all the data you have about the person's behavior in the past and trying to build a model of their response to arbitrary input based on that. That's really hard, so what you and I actually do to attack the question starts with applying the question to ourselves ("Well I know I wouldn't kill myself just because the King told me to, so...."). We can adjust to some extent for the different experiences and circumstances of the person we're imagining ourselves as, but fundamentally we're using our own mind as a proxy for the other person's, rather than building a model of that other person's mind inside our own.

I think that's what explains Taravangian's apparent boneheadedness on Euthanasia Day compared to Diagram Day. He was brilliant enough to see the ways his idea would improve the world in the coming generations, but not brilliant enough to directly model the minds of his subjects in his head. So he fell back on the empathy heuristic, which was flawed because he was in a brilliant/manic/sociopathic state where he absolutely would have been willing to kill himself if presented with a compelling argument that it was the best option.

On Diagram Day, on the other hand, he actually did have enough mental processing power to model other human minds directly, without falling back on his thoroughly-broken empathy heuristic, which is why on that day he was able to understand human behavior well enough to predict world events with what appears to be near-perfect accuracy. He lost his empathy, but he didn't need it any more, because he was able to do the emotional math in his head.

 

(That's still not to suggest that the Diagram won't turn out to be fundamentally flawed in some way related to the "hearts of men," to borrow a phrase. That trope is so deeply ingrained in our culture that I will be amazed and impressed if it doesn't creep in somewhere.)

 

That brings us to Thing Two. I hadn't thought of this before now, but if on Diagram Day Taravangian was able to compensate for his lack of empathy by coming at it the long way 'round via intelligence, maybe when/if he has a day at the other extreme he'll be able to compensate for his lack of intelligence via compassion somehow. This provides an interesting way out for the "It would be cool if Taravangian were wrong and it's actually his compassionate/dumb self that has the capacity to save the world, but how does a drooling idiot save the world, regardless of how compassionate he is?" conundrum. How cool would it be if, on the Anti-Diagram Day, Taravangian is so open to and connected* with his fellow beings that he becomes a vessel for the collective will of humanity (and possibly the Listeners)? Or maybe it would open him up to some kind of supernatural influence, clearing away enough of his ego that, say, Cultivation could step in and get some things done.

 

*: Upvote to Moogle for observing the similarity to Feruchemical duralumin.

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It's been said in this thread already, but it appears that the way his intelligence works is that it overwrites his specialized neural structures (including the empathy ones that help us predict the actions of people), giving him raw processing power in their place. At Diagram-level, he's reached the point where he can predict people by virtue of sheer computing power, whereas on a day where he's merely very smart he's lost most of his specialized people-prediction abilities.

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I personally believe that Taravingian said that because he truly believed that the argument was even enough to sway him to act against his base nature.

 

As for the day of the Diagram, I'd argue that you can model actions and results without necessarily taking the personalities of the individuals into account with a fairly high degree of accuracy. If x happens, then y results does not need everyone to act in a unique manner.

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I have long been conflicted about the whole Eugenics thing. It does make a certain sort of intellectual sense - in any society there will be a percentage of the population who contributes nothing. They leech the resources of social programs intended to help people who need short term assistance. They commit crimes and are a stain on society. Why not get rid of these people?

The biggest problem, I think, is that a person's value is derived from far more than their score on an intelligence test.

Take myself, for example. I would be worried if such a mandate were passed where I live. If they set the bar high enough, I would be required to kill myself. But I am an outstanding citizen. I'm a veteran, active in my community; I'm a husband and a father. I contribute value to my community.

How would I match up against a genius; a truly remarkably brilliant man, but one who has murdered twenty seven women and used their skin as upholstery? Or what about a woman who drowned her children, but who also had a doctorate in medicine and healed thousands of people?

Who is more valuable to society; a man of moral character who eschewed higher education in favor of service in law enforcement or a woman who's research has led to sustainable energy, but who kidnaps children that remind her of her deceased baby?

If there are going to be exterminations going on, it should at least be done on an individual basis.

Edited by Laughing Fool
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