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What exactly is the Machine Spirit? I do not have any IG/SM codexi (sp?). Where does it reside? I heard power armor, land raiders, bolters. Furthermore if offended it will not allow the peice to work. Does it really exist or is it a spiritual thing?
Thanks in advance for the enlightenment.
 

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LO's unofficial Jester
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Ok well there are a number of different explanations as to what the machine spirit is.

Basically you have to realise that humanity treats technology as a form of religion (rightly or wrongly will be discussed later). To this extent they (they Imperial guard space marines and especially the Adeptus mechanicus) believe that every piece of technology war gear armour guns tanks etc has a spirit that resides within it (many present day and ancient cultures have similar beliefs).

Therefore it is important not to offend the spirit this can be done in a number of ways for example some marine chapters don't wear cameoflage that would obscure the chapter colours as this would dishounour the spirit in their armour. Taking care by maintaining your weapon is also seen as essential as well performing various rites and prayers before starting up a vehicle etc.

Sometimes only certain tech priests are allowed to operate certain "holy" pieces of machinary (there is a story in the BFG rule book that explains how it is a certain type of Priest that can use the fire extinguishers).

In addition the Adeptus Mechanicus worship the "Machine God" it isn't completly clear as to whether this God is the spirit residing in ALL war gear or whether it is a general Machine God plus there are numerous sprits for every individual piece of equipment though I believe the latter is more consistent with the background.

As to whether it exists?

Remember that much of the technology humanity possesed has been lost and the parts that have been retained are generally misunderstood. Thus it is ambigious as to whether there is a machine spirit or not for example the land raider rules clearly state if damaged the Machine spirit can still fire but is this actually a spirit or is it merely an automated system that is misunderstood?

Equally in some of the earlier editions of Warhammer 40K it actually gave some of the rites that should be performed if a Missile launcher wasn't working it went something like this
1)Pray to the Weapons spirit to repair the gun
2)Check the Weapon for obstuctions and damage that may offend the weapon
3)If the weapon still does not work pray further and anoint and admisister the holy Oil
5)If Spirit is still Offended utter the Holy Profanities
6)Strike the Weapon against a Rock to reprimand the Spirit.

This is from memory but the last three parts are pretty much how it went. Clearly basic field maintanence has become a spititual ritual, thus the belief is self fulfilling if you perform the rites of field maintance your gun works if you don't it will jam, is it because you have offended the spirit or is it because you performed field mantanence?

On the other hand Chaos is a reflection of Humanities desires and emotions and it is possible that a warp entitiy known as the Machine God has a emerged (this is pure speculatiion on my part by the way) the only evidence I can give for this is that deamons are able to possess vehicles and this indicates they do have a soul of some kind.

A more sinister development has taken place in the background of the Necrons which implies that there is a third C'tan deep within Mars (home of the Adeptus Mechanicus) prehaps it is this that explains the phenomenon of the Machine God and Machine Spirit?

In conclusion then the idea of a machine spirit is pretty much open to speculation the chances are that it is just made up by a humanity that no longer understands technology on the other hand in a galaxy of deamons Orks and C'tan who knows?

Hope that helps.
 

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What if...

You may find it interesting that there are vague references to some of the C'tan in both the Eldar and Imperial reference material. For example the Eldar's Laughing god has a striking resemblance to the Necron's "The Deceiver". And it is a theory that during the fall of the C'tan, many were either consumed or imprisoned. So, you may be wondering where am I going with this? What if the machine spirit is actually a C'tan imprisoned on Mars, and we silly humans think we can harness its power for our use? And what would happen if it got lose? Why do I think this? Well mostly because it is a popular belief with the group that I play 40K with, and there is a lot of reference to the possibility. Like there is a story where a Callidus assassin is sent to assassinate a governor of a hive world only to find out it is one of the C'tan, where in he reclaims part of his body (the C'tan phase sword) and then kills the assassin. There are references to the Culexus assassins' origin having something to do with the C'tan. I do apologize for I don't have any truly hard data to prove this theory, but what I can honestly say is to read the back ground material for the 40K universe. You may find yourself thinking "hummm, could that be......"
Just my thoughts to share :book:

Praise be the Emperor!
 

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Son of LO
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There are two meanings to the term,

1. In mechanicus doctrine, all machinical items have one or more animating spirits which make them function in the way they do. A bolter, or a suit of power armour, for example, work because of the will of the spirit living inside them, rather than the raw sum of their mechanical and electrical parts.

This might seem a slightly crazy doctrine, but look at human beings. We have no evidence of a soul animating us, we know exactly how our bodies work (like adeptus mechanicus know how machines work) but a lot of us still believe in a seperate animating force within us, which we call a soul. A machine spirit is the soul of a machine.

2. A machine spirit is also a biomechanical construct, like a jar of grey matter, which can perform simple cognitive tasks. It's not really a computer or artificial intelligence as such, more a stunted human brain tied into bits of circuitry. Normally, they're used inside advanced Imperial vehicles, like space marine land raiders, to assist the crew with controlling such a complex vehicle.
 

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Son of LO
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Machine Spirit = A.I.
 

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ze_poodle said:
Machine Spirit = A.I.
Then how would you descirbe the machine spirit in bolters, lasguns, etc.?

I believe it just a myth about technology that the human race has lost over time. Although for vehicles and larger things i would think it would be an A.I.
 

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ze_poodle said:
Machine Spirit = A.I.
He's right, ya know. That's all it is. The actual meaning of, and the process behind, the functioning is lost. Praying to the machine spirit may be akin to doing something like rerouting circuitry, changing the programming, and then hoping it works (much like today). The machine spirit is "offended" because there's that stupid something that just won't work. Also akin to the modern world.

My friends and I complain about fickle machine spirits in our computers all the time... don't you?...:shifty:
 

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Son of LO
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grand master said:
I believe it just a myth about technology that the human race has lost over time. Although for vehicles and larger things i would think it would be an A.I.
Actual AI is totally abhorent to Mechanicus belief I think.. perhaps due to the whole Iron Men, Stone Men thing (which I don't really know much about.)

Machine spirits as a device, like imperial robots, are largely biological, i believe. They're just a little bag of chemicals with some organic circuitry which functions like crude grey matter. They bear no real resemblance to a computer as we would understand it today.

These obviously aren't present in guns and armour and so forth.. Those machine spirits are just an expression of the principle which makes the object work.
 

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First of all, I hope you won’t mind me disproving the new C’Tan conspiracy theory posted above – I so love picking apart such conspiracies, for while they are interesting enough all they really do is to confuse people and muddle the fluff.

Brother_Durrant said:
You may find it interesting that there are vague references to some of the C'tan in both the Eldar and Imperial reference material. For example the Eldar's Laughing god has a striking resemblance to the Necron's "The Deceiver".
That might be true, although I am not sure what your point is. An important point, however, is the fact that the Laughing God and the Deceiver are not the same entity. The Deceiver is a C’Tan, while the Laughing God is an Eldar Warp God that is currently hiding inside the Webway. The Eldar fought the C’Tan during the War in Heaven; they know how to tell a C’Tan apart from one of their own gods.

Brother_Durrant said:
And it is a theory that during the fall of the C'tan, many were either consumed or imprisoned. So, you may be wondering where am I going with this? What if the machine spirit is actually a C'tan imprisoned on Mars, and we silly humans think we can harness its power for our use?
There have for a long time been conspiracies claiming that the Machine God is actually the Dragon sleeping on Mars – note the sleeping, not imprisoned. It might be true that ancient Necron relics and artefacts first inspired the people on Mars to form a religion centred on machines and the belief that machines could be alive and therefore must have a spirit, but I find it unlikely that they should ever have been in contact with the C’Tan itself; after all, it has been sleeping these past 60 million years, from way before humanity ever colonised Mars or even discovered how to make fire or walk on two legs.

And as for harnessing a C’Tan’s powers, how exactly would you do that, provided that you could capture one in the first place? C’Tan’s are beings of living energy that can only exist in two places: inside a star, and inside a body of living metal. They have no soul so they can’t actually possess anything with a soul, such as a human being, nor can they possess technological devices unless they are created from living metal. There is no way a C’Tan is the crucial factor in making a bolter or a starship work, it’s simply impossible.

Brother_Durrant said:
And what would happen if it got lose?
This is really a discussion for another thread, but the common agreement is that the rise of the Dragon will cause a schism within the Adeptus Mechanicus as some will see the Dragon as the Machine God come to life while others will cling to the belief that the Machine God and the Emperor are two faces of the same entity and see the Dragon as an impostor and enemy of the Imperium.

Brother_Durrant said:
Well mostly because it is a popular belief with the group that I play 40K with, and there is a lot of reference to the possibility. Like there is a story where a Callidus assassin is sent to assassinate a governor of a hive world only to find out it is one of the C'tan, where in he reclaims part of his body (the C'tan phase sword) and then kills the assassin.
I don’t see how the story you mention can be used as an argument for the Machine Spirit being a C’Tan. The C’Tan in the story is the Deceiver, not the Dragon, and he is still wearing his living metal body, demonstrated by the fact that he reabsorbs the living metal of the C’Tan phase sword.

Brother_Durrant said:
There are references to the Culexus assassins' origin having something to do with the C'tan.
Yes, evidence strongly suggests that the C’Tan created the Untouchables that provide the raw material for the Culexus Temple and Necron Pariahs alike. The C’Tan introduced the Pariah gene to our common gene pool just like the Old Ones had introduced a Psyker gene; perhaps the C’Tan were hoping to neutralise the effect of the Psyker gene, but instead humanity became a very mixed psychic species ranging from alpha-plus level psykers to the Untouchables who close the warp around them and entirely prevents the use of psychic powers. The C’Tan abhor the warp and everything to do with it, especially psychic powers that are the only weapon that can truly damage them, and so they use anti-psychic devices like Pariahs to prevent psychic attacks.

I must admit I don't really see how any of your evidence can prove that the Machine Spirit is a C'Tan or somehow created by or from a C'Tan. Please do enlighten me if I have misunderstood some of your points.

The_Giant_Mantis said:
Actual AI is totally abhorent to Mechanicus belief I think.. perhaps due to the whole Iron Men, Stone Men thing (which I don't really know much about.)

Machine spirits as a device, like imperial robots, are largely biological, i believe. They're just a little bag of chemicals with some organic circuitry which functions like crude grey matter. They bear no real resemblance to a computer as we would understand it today.

These obviously aren't present in guns and armour and so forth.. Those machine spirits are just an expression of the principle which makes the object work.
I believe the Machine Spirit is actually a form of AI. Not a self-conscious form, but a computer program nonetheless, not an actual soul. As Mantis says, self-conscious AIs are banned from the Imperium; I doubt anyone but the Emperor really remembers why, but during the Dark Age of Technology self-conscious AIs were used by humanity and considered its equals until they rebelled against their former masters in the beginning of M26, marking the start of the Age of Strife. After many wars the AIs were finally destroyed, traitors and those remaining loyal to humanity alike, and all AIs were banned.

Since the war against the AIs most machines have been created as cyborgs with a human neural system controlling a mechanical body of some kind. This is acceptable because the machine is thereby blessed with a human spirit and not considered a soulless AI; however, I don’t personally believe the Machine Spirit is a form of wetware enhancement. The Machine Cult was first founded after the war against the machines, and therefore respects (to a degree) the ban on self-conscious machines. Much have been done to limit the number of machines in the Imperium; starships for example use crews of thousands to perform tasks that could have been done by machines a lot faster and more accurately. However, a certain level of artificial intelligence is needed to control some weapons, and I believe the Machine Spirit is a term invented and later adopted by the Machine Cult to legalise the production of unaware AIs. Since people in the Imperium fear soulless machines, the only way to make them accept an AI is to claim it is a spirit controlled by the Machine God who is another aspect of the Emperor.

So yes, I believe the Machine Spirit exists, but I think it's an AI and not an actual spirit.

~Grephaun.
 

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Sorry about that...

I would just like to point out that I made no argument, I was just throwing out an opinion to the fluff I have read and discussed. As you will note I did point out I had no data to support my statements and I suggested that people should read the fluff for themselves. You are probably right in that I should keep my comments/opinion to myself when they are not addressing the specific topic at hand.

I apologize.
 

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Um in my original reply to the thread starter I think i did point out that WHAT exactly the Machine Spirit is is open to speculation, certainly in some cases (as with the Missile launcher example) it certainly is merely superstision but in other cases like the Land raider it may be AI I think the point is that the Adeptus Mechanicus are now more or less unable to distinguish between the two.

As for the C'tan all that can be said is that they have an influence over the Galaxy that is far reaching and ancient and there is still much background that needs to be revealed.
 

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Berny Mac said:
it certainly is merely superstision but in other cases like the Land raider it may be AI I think the point is that the Adeptus Mechanicus are now more or less unable to distinguish between the two.
And yet they still say AI is heresy. It's possible that this is more down to having the form of a human rather than AI in itself; a Titan's machine spirit is said to be very fiesty to say the least, and if they had a problem with overactive machine spirits then the whole Titan-Princeps relationship wouldn't work.
 

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The machine spirits always seem to be looked upon as a little (for want of a better term) simple.

They don't have true AI, its more like praying to a deity, if you worship it it will reward you (well in this case function properly). As xerxes said the titan machine spirits are feisty, they need a strong willed person to control them, maybe the size of the object the machine spirit inhabits affects its 'personality'?

A bolter's machine spirit would probably be easy to appease, while say a strike cruiser's would be far more sensitive (the most likely reason that it being far more complicated and therefore more 'alive' if you will).

Does any of that make sense?
 

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It does make sense but I think the crux of the argument is that the Imperium doesn't really understand its own technology. Thus they may see AI as heresy but ultimatly would they be able to really know AI if they encountered it?

As for a Titains spirit I think it comes from the fact that the MIU the Titan-Princeps can imprint his memories and commands on to the Titans "hard drive" (for want of a better word) thus if a Titan-Princeps is replaced (very rare as few will want to use someone elses titan) then the new "owner" has to contend with the former Titan-Princeps memory echo.

So I think your right in saying the size of the object effects its spirit but only in so far as the larger war machines have more complex technology.

(You have guessd I come from the view that the machine spirit isn't a spiritual thing but merely forgotten processes)
 

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With Titans, I think it is some type of AI, but you have to remember that a Titan is a machine built for one purpose only: to destroy. Therefor the AI is going to have been programmed to want to destroy at all times.
 

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As for bolters and power armour and stuff...

They have a machine spirit...

...except(It gets interesting now), these machine spirits are simply computer programs, yeah, regular AI. This AI is pretty stupid so it probably doesn't disturb the Ad.Mech. that much, or the Ad.Mech. itself has forgotten that it is a program instead of a machine spirit...
 

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TehDarkPredator said:
As for bolters and power armour and stuff... ...these machine spirits are simply computer programs, yeah regular AI
How do you work that one out? Why would a bolter (which fires a rocket-propelled, high explosive round) need any form of AI? And the same with Power Armour; the monitoring systems are computer programs, but not all computers are AI...
 

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:tongue:
The_Outsider said:
They don't have true AI, its more like praying to a deity, if you worship it it will reward you (well in this case function properly). As xerxes said the titan machine spirits are feisty, they need a strong willed person to control them, maybe the size of the object the machine spirit inhabits affects its 'personality'?
I personally think they're constructed that way intentionally.. They're built in a ritualized manner which dates back thousands of years, so maybe, at the time titan construction was codified, it was considered beneficial to have such a intelligence.

It's an interesting relationship.. The titan provides the ferocity, the drive and the combat skills, the pilot merely provides the logic, the ability to distinguish friend from foe, and the tactics. Quite effective, if you think about it.

I'm going to back down on my AI thing now actually, because, in the case of a Titan, it is clearly an AI type thing. However, I'm going to repeat, because GW has stated it many times, it is not a generic computer with silicon circuitry. It's a bio-mechanical construct. Therefore the idea of programs and stuff might not neccesarily apply.

As for bolters.. Bolters are mechanical, they don't need an artificial intelligence to make them work. :tongue: The machine spirit in this case is clearly just an embodiment of mechanicus belief. It's the soul which keeps all the parts working in harmony and stops it jamming and exploding in battle.
 
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