Could the Bak’u actually bend time with their brains?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by The Rock, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Perceiving is work done by the body and the brain, and consumes resources. Seeing more can be a greater strain in certain cases. Here, observing a hummingbird wingbeat by wingbeat means sampling the visuals at a higher rate than normally/humanly possible, i.e. doing more processing.

    Even looking at a still image of a colorful hummingbird would mean more sugar burned than looking at a still image of blank white, although to a fairly insignificant degree. But sampling at hundreds of images per second is true extra work for the sensory paths involved, and doesn't happen for free.

    Of course, the experience could be "fake" in many ways, and no extra effort would take place. And mindfulness, meditation or daydreaming sorta works: if you properly concentrate on doing less, you consume less of your resources. Perhaps the protagonists just went to sleep and had fancy dreams in which very little happened (i.e. everything seemed to happen very slowly)? This is the physiological opposite of actually observing hummingbird wingbeats in detail.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  2. Spot261

    Spot261 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Not really, the difference in calories burned when involved in prolonged intellectual rigours is pretty marginal even on aggregate. In fact in studies it commonly falls below the threshold of statistical significance and even where it does the difference is consistent with the physiological arousal involved with increased stress.
     
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  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    As per the hummingbird, we're talking about increasing the sampling rate of our visual sensory system literally thousandfold, though - a feat supposedly impossible to begin with, given the structure of that system, but never mind that part. This 1000x factor is what would supposedly make the difference count.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. Spot261

    Spot261 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If you like, but the real world evidence suggests that increased focus doesn't increase calorific uptake, neural activity merely shifts around and changes in nature rather than being on a scale. The only observable change is in line with stress and the fight or flight response, which is hardly in fitting with what we see on screen anyway :shrug:
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I hear you. But "increased focus" in this specific case would necessarily mean more activity, that is, increased sampling at the sensor end, which is qualitatively different from "mentally focusing" by just thinking differently.

    That is, if we take the visuals literally, and accept that Anij is sampling the hummingbird thousandfold to create slo-mo. Might be she just locks her brain (and Picard's) around a single still image, or imagines (and projects to Picard) a slow-moving hummingbird, in which case there's no increased activity involved (apart from whatever sugar is burned in doing short range telepathy).

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. Spot261

    Spot261 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I personally think the poster earlier was closer who mentioned mindfulness, it's more akin to learning to bring yourself entirely into the moment and experience the sensory input with much less noise or judgement. People use it as a form of meditation and done correctly it can lead to partially losing yourself immersed in an otherwise mundane sensation, very much like the hummingbird example.

    It's a very relaxing process physiologically which is why I imagine something quite different.
     
  7. Mojomoe

    Mojomoe Commander Red Shirt

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    I’m going to agree. As someone who regularly practices mindfulness meditation, this is a slightly hokey but generally accurate interpretation of what it feels like/can feel like for some people. And yes, twenty minutes can go by while you’re concentrating on one sensation, which can feel like it stretches out forever.

    Timo, to respond to your points, while you do appear to increase focus on certain sensations, it also involves slowing respiration and generally shutting down the rest of the body, so blood/air/sugar are much more slowly circulated.

    I always figured it was mindfulness, with the very hint of a telepathic ability from the Ba’Ku. Perhaps they could transmit just a touch of their increased attention to those around them. There’s no actual time dilation happening.

    Everything that the Ba’Ku say and do is pretty well rooted in mindfulness, including Anij’s statement about not “reviewing what happened yesterday, [stopping] planning for tomorrow.”
     
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  8. arch101

    arch101 Commodore Commodore

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    The Baku remind me greatly if Gaia from Asimov’s later Foundation novels.
     
  9. Cutie McWhiskers

    Cutie McWhiskers Commodore Commodore

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    You beat me to it. :)

    Maybe bending time eats up brain cells, which - like when getting high - distorts the mental perception of time.

    Maybe Anij, who was already hot for Picard, was putting out more pheromones when holding his hand... the hummingbird slowing down being more a warm'n'fuzzy metaphor to the audience than a literal slowing down of time, which is clearly ludicrous.

    It's not like the movie was loaded with plot holes and inconsistencies anyway, never mind the very next movie proving the runaround for the magic Hufflepuf'n'stuf radiation was a complete pointless endeavor because Geordi's wearing the implants again, having despite getting normal vision - a congenital condition though nothing about him had de-aged . Oops.
     
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  10. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    We already knew going in that the Fountain of Youth effect wouldn't take - the Son'a were (barely) living proof of it.

    Whether it would have worked better had the particles been collected the Son'a way, we can't tell. Perhaps the Son'a could - and they no doubt told Starfleet that it would have worked. Whether they lied, we again can't tell...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. Spot261

    Spot261 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If the effect lasted no one would have to pay for a second dose.

    Bad business model.
     
  12. Cutie McWhiskers

    Cutie McWhiskers Commodore Commodore

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    That's true. I re-read the transcript and the key bit is here:

    SOJEF: A century ago, a group of our young people wanted to follow the ways of the offlanders. They tried to take over the colony and when they failed...
    RU'AFO: And when we failed, you exiled us to die slowly.​

    Of course, that hampers the claim the Ba'ku are no longer necessarily the good guys. In part because we're not told what the offlanders were at the time. Sounds like they wanted to explore. Due to events the Ba'ku imposed, the Son'a did become more aggressive, conquer, etc - events the Ba'ku more than influenced. Their history easily could have been different.

    But, yeah, I did forget that part where Federation scientists were working on a way to improve on it.

    That's indisputably true.

    Or the human condition prevailing they may not have noticed, being too busy wondering how to bottle and distribute the stuff to think of all those evil Son'a.

    If nothing else, I still love the no-nonsense approach of Ru'afo, "If Picard or any of his people interfere, ...eliminate them." (F Murray Abraham was rather well cast,. making Ru'afo more than the sum of the script... the casting was definitely bulletproof for the movie...), and the dogfight in orbit that ensued. Even with the much-maligned Joystick, which I oddly didn't have an issue with.
     
  13. cgervasi

    cgervasi Commander Red Shirt

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    In the movie the youth particles were causing people to have symptoms common to adolescence: pimples, aggressive tendency.

    I thought the writers were saying Picard had it bad for Anij and he was experiencing it in youthful way. Young love feels magical, as if it could slow time to save lives.

    The particles doing all this strains credulity because things seem magical in youth because they're new and because the person's world is becoming bigger. People long for that feeling and a fountain of youth. It was a key part of the plot of the oldest written story known to human kind, The Epic of Gilgamesh. So I think the writers were saying, "wouldn't it be cool to experience the feeling of growing beyond your family of origin again? Time seems to go faster when we're older, but there were times when it seemed almost to stop."
     
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  14. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It doesn't sound like the Son'a wanted to explore to me. They tried to take over the colony and then were exiled. If they just wanted to explore, why would they need to be exiled? That's kinda/sorta self exile to go off and explore.
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    A couple of interesting points there:

    1) A group that was defeated by the Ba'ku subsequently flew to the stars. This establishes the Ba'ku as quite the top dogs! How did they defeat these starship-wielding adversaries? (And did they have some starships left even after the exodus?)

    2) The ways of the offlanders are not well defined here. But "going to explore" sounds like a possibility - the Ba'ku would be mortally afraid of being found, and the young going traipsing around the galaxy would pose a massive security risk.

    3) If OTOH the ways of the offlanders meant exploiting the apparently considerable technological knowhow of the original culture the Ba'ku had fled from, then the Ba'ku probably needed to go hypocrite and apply this knowhow to defeat the Son'a rebels - just pretending to live in the Iron Age and concentrating real hard on hummingbirds and footbags probably wouldn't cut it.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    What are you basing that on? They seem exceedingly welcoming to outsiders.

    "The ways of the offlanders" could be as simple as wanting to possess weapons. We just don't know.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The Ba'ku were self-proclaimed refugees. They chose to live in the Briar Patch. Such a choice would have only two known driving rationales: because the Patch keeps people away, or because the Patch keeps people young. And the Ba'ku didn't know about the latter thing going in.

    For three centuries or so, the Ba'ku have not left their pseudo-medieval village. The Son'a demonstrated the capability to do so at will, though. And this is what set them apart from the Ba'ku who stayed - both trivially-literally and ideologically...

    As for weapons being the way of the offworlders, I guess that's the worst possible interpretation: if the Son'a chose to wield weapons and the Ba'ku chose not to, why are the Son'a doing the leaving against their will?

    Timo Saloninemi
     
  18. Vger23

    Vger23 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    No, but they CAN bend brains with their time.
     
  19. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They warped my perception time so that this movie seemed endless. Bah!
     
  20. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

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    In re: the Patch not making the Son'a young again

    Sojef tells Picard that when the Ba'ku arrived in the Patch, he was OLD. By source civilization standards, a senior citizen, probably old enough to have grandchildren, if not actually having some. If it could make him the young appearing man we meet, I doubt it would be unable to do the same for the Son'a*. The 'die slowly' line just refers to aging at a normal rate, versus not aging at all.

    *By appearances, they might have some issues with head hair as it grew back in, but other than that, they should return to their original, youthful appearance over time.