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Made in eg
Keeper of the Adeptus Arbites Flame

Cairo, Egypt

So psychometry is the idea that objects have impressions which can be read or used. Holding Ernest Hemingway's pen makes me a better writer, Napoleon's sword makes me a better leader. Holding a victim's coat tells you who the murderer is and all that.

Unlike our mundane real world, 40k is a place where psychic energies really work. So I've thought for a while that the Machine Spirits in 40k are basically very old, very well used machines absorbing psychic energy over millennia to acquire some sort of impression of their former owners. So in 40k a long-serving Land Raider can actually drive itself and target its weapons even without a driver. Titans where you literally plug your brain into the machine would quickly acquire a personality of their own. Marine armor probably does as well.

Has GW ever gone with that explanation or is just left vague?

Made in gb
Decrepit Dakkanaut


It's left very vague and likely intentional since "machine spirits" are close to concepts of AI and thinking machines which are banned throughout the Imperium.

That said I never got the feeling that the machines were alive as you say; that kind of living I tend to see more associated with chaos corruption

Made in fr
Longtime Dakkanaut

In "Deadlands hell on earth" rpg they have a form of machine spirits that technomancers can use.

In DHOE the machine spirits are created by humans when they create an object. Anything a human puts effort into creating acquires a tiny bit of that humans spirit, its the humans soul rubbing off on whatever a human makes thru the act of creation.

The more involved a human in personally in creating something the more of a soul or spirit that thing has, it is kind of related to the aboriginal amerian concept of Manitou's, by creating something a human being gives it a manitou.

Some objects have very little spirit, like a knife mass produiced in an automated factory.

For example, if you go buy a prebuilt PC at a boxmart, your pc will have little spirit as it was mostly built by machines in pieces like the mainboard, the cpu, video card, etc. and at most was put together my a person who gave it little attention.

If, OTOH, you're like me and carefully picked out your PC piece by piece, assemble them by hand, maintain it by yourself, upgrade it, etc, then your PC will, according to DHOE, have much more spirit than the boxed prebuild.

I don't know if machine spirits in 40k are anything like this, i think at one time a machine spirit was like an AI of some sort, like land raiders have and titans have, but now it seems like it's more ambiguous.

Could a titan also have a literal spirit that was impressed on it by the devotion and belief of the thousands of people who worked faithfully on its creation? In 40k, anything's possible.

"But the universe is a big place, and whatever happens, you will not be missed..." 
Made in gb
Stalwart Tribune


 Kid_Kyoto wrote:
So psychometry is the idea that objects have impressions which can be read or used. Holding Ernest Hemingway's pen makes me a better writer, Napoleon's sword makes me a better leader. Holding a victim's coat tells you who the murderer is and all that.

This is more or less how I've always internally read machine spirits in 40k. The idea is that perhaps there are no machine spirits and its just extremely well made but very old technology that is "finickity". But just in case there is and most people believe that then best to stick to the holy rituals and apply the oils and incense. Some old technology is very very smart and maybe it does have something in it, but does everything ? Who knows.

Printers in the real world are the perfect example. I know fine well that printers are just normal basic technology of our age. However the amount of times I've lost my mind struggling with a printer when I desperately need something printed makes me also certain that some horrible little gremlin lives in every printer and does all it can to ruin your life. Perhaps if I better appeased the printer creature it would work successfully.

A piece of machinery will alway perform better when properly oiled and cleaned. We know this because we know how technology works, but I don't know the ritualistic understanding of life of late-Paleolithic people living 10,000 years ago. It's an absurd amount of time. We don't know how they even perceived their sense of self. I mean for gods sake idiots think aliens created the pyramids just because they seem unable to believe normal people can build something like that and that was 3000 years or so ago. In the case of 40k we are at the other end, where technology of the past is astounding and close to magic.

If the end happens and we all regress, would we know how to appease the spirit of the smart phone to correctly use the calculator function in the apocalyptic future of our own making?

If an Alexa survived and by speaking to it in a certain way I got it work I'd surely try the same with every old technology.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/03/28 16:26:58

One and a half feet in the hobby

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