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Bakker XXI: Attack of the Maximum Fun-Fun Ultra Super Happy People


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#1 Happy Ent

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 03:46 AM

This is the perpetual thread devoted to the works of R. Scott Bakker, primarily the books in the Second Apocalypse series, the first of which is The Darkness that Comes Before

 

The current publication status is 5 volumes of novels, including The White-Luck Warrior, as well as 2 short stories, in particular The False Sun . This thread contains spoilers for these publications.

 

Since Bakker’s writing uses layers of revelation, newcomers are strongly advised to finish the books before coming here; otherwise the spoilers will rot your soul. Eternally.

 

Most denizens of this thread have also read Bakker’s non-fantasy novels Neuropath and Disciple of the Dog, but the spoiler policy is unclear. You are advised to hide crucial plot points in those novels.


Edited by Happy Ent, 27 December 2013 - 08:24 AM.


#2 Hello World Alt

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 05:33 AM

What I was saying is [in the other thread], as long as a person is capable of expressing a certain emotion or feeling, then it is impossible for it to be inconceivable for that person to express that same feeling towards others. Even if we slaughter animals by the millions every day, Most humans are not hardwired in such a way that the idea that killing an animal is wrong is something that they cannot conceive of, even if they haven't actually been applying that concept. Not to mention that we do feel compassion and other emotions (including remorse over the loss of and guilt) not only towards animals, but also trees, plants, fish, coral reef, characters, painting, clothes, what have you... Why? Because we are capable of those emotions, period. That makes it a fact that sooner or later we will extend them to anyone else who has the resemblance of a "self" or the consciousness that we think we have.
 

It'd be pretty easy to do that actually. You just don't consider anyone but you and yours to worthy of consideration. As I said, we do it all the time with animals.

 
Uh, it's not easy actually. I don't know about you but it would be almost impossible for me to one day decide that I'm no longer capable of seeing other animals as worthy of consideration.
 

And of course it sounds like a human psychopath. Psychopathy/sociopathy is rather vague, but a general definition is something like "lacking all care or compassion or consideration for other human beings". In another human, it makes you a monster. In another species .... well, that all depends on which species is making the consideration.

 

I believe you're missing the point here once again... A poster said that maybe the Inchoroi don't cognate the way we do, so I pointed out the fact that the only Inchoroi that we've seen the POV of seemed to have the mind of a human. The merits of psychopathy are irrelevant.
 

Their inability to even conceive of feeling for other not-Inchoroi beings is basically REQUIRED for them to feel unfairly punished.

 

Which is why I took pains to point out that I don't think it's possible for them to not be able to conceive of it towards others if they can actually conceive of it.


Edited by Hello World Alt, 27 December 2013 - 06:04 AM.


#3 Ru´ner

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 09:03 AM

I agree with the person who said that they're not directing some emotion at themselves and other emotions at other species. They modified themselves in a way that makes other species (men/nonmen) look the same way bacteria looks to us.

 

The idea is really simple, how if someone told you that we're damned for eternity because you killed all that bacteria?



#4 Hello World Alt

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 09:54 AM

They modified themselves in a way that makes other species (men/nonmen) look the same way bacteria looks to us.

 
Ignoring the fact that according to Kellhus, what they is they turned-off whole emotions, this doesn't make sense either.
 
Let's say that the Inchoroi were to the men/nonmen before this modification as we are to the Neanderthals (supposing that they still exist). If we modify our brains so that we view Neanderthals the same way we view bacteria, then we have modified our brains so that we now view other humans (and ourselves) the same way we view bacteria. Which brings us back to the same problem.
 

The idea is really simple, how if someone told you that we're damned for eternity because you killed all that bacteria?

 

Going further with my example. Let's say that we modified our brains in a way that makes us view only Neanderthals and not humans as bacteria (which I maintain is not possible). And then we went around raping and slaughtering millions of them because since morality is only an illusion, we might as well have some fun! Then I ask you how would you feel if someone told you that you're going to punishment because of what you've done?



#5 Happy Ent

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 12:11 PM

The Inchoroi did not turn off empathy with other species. There is nothing to turn off. They empathise with us as much as we empathise with any other animal, excepting maybe those we have selected to look like us (dogs) or who just happen to look cute (seal babies). 

 

But no modification is necessary to treat other species as other species. Evolution already did that.

 

What the Inchoroi turned off are all the bad emotions, those which constrain you and make you less-than-perfectly-happy: guilt, shame, taboo, angst, worry, jealousy, and hence romantic love, etc. Everything that stands in the way of hedonism. This is a plausible and completely rational step for a post-singularity species. It is exactly what the superhappies in short story from the previous thread elected to do.

 

(Check with yourself: if you could select those traits away for your children, prenatally, would you not?)

 

For this they are damned, because human (Eärwan) morality exults in exactly those passions. Morality is defined by how you map resources to those various emotions, which relational models you find acceptable to arbitrate conflicts. (Haidt, Fiske.) Humans worship suffering. The Inchoroi despise suffering, to the extent of having deleted it.



#6 Gaston de Foix

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 01:27 PM

How is Kellhus planning to avoid his own personal damnation when he dies? What are his motives in leading the Great Ordeal?



#7 Rhom

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 01:42 PM

How is Kellhus planning to avoid his own personal damnation when he dies? What are his motives in leading the Great Ordeal?


And therein lies the great question.

I think its one of the more fascinating aspects of the books that we really don't even know if Kellhus is a hero or a villain.

#8 Hello World Alt

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 01:45 PM

And therein lies the great question.

I think its one of the more fascinating aspects of the books that we really don't even know if Kellhus is a hero or a villain.


I don't think joining the consult would make him a villain if that's what you're suggesting. It's his only way of saving his soul.



#9 Sci-2

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 01:51 PM

Let's say that the Inchoroi were to the men/nonmen before this modification as we are to the Neanderthals (supposing that they still exist). If we modify our brains so that we view Neanderthals the same way we view bacteria, then we have modified our brains so that we now view other humans (and ourselves) the same way we view bacteria. Which brings us back to the same problem.

 

What makes you think the Inchies haven't done this to some extent? Inchies probably view being raped as much less of a problem than we do...though if this is outright stated it's something readers may find problematic.

 

It's arguable that Inchies don't consider their own bodies inviolate unless suffering past the point of their preference toward masochism is involved.

 

The issue with damnation is it involves the soul, which cannot be rewired in the way the physical mind can. They can't just rewire themselves to get sexual pleasure from suffering [in Hell] - the soul remains subject to torment as the tortures inflicted on it can't be circumvented by manipulations of the material brain.

 

How is Kellhus planning to avoid his own personal damnation when he dies? What are his motives in leading the Great Ordeal?

 

Kellhus has become the ultimate expression of the Mandate philosophy. The Messiah who damns himself - and the Ordeal - so he can save the world.

 

However he hopes to make his one friend, Proyas, realize the Truth and thus save one soul in a Jodie Foster Silence of the Lambs maneuver.

 

"I thought that if I could save just one..."


Edited by Sci-2, 27 December 2013 - 01:52 PM.


#10 Francis Buck

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 01:53 PM

I think the notion of whether or not Kellhus is a hero or villain is something that will be debatable even after the series is over. I don't see him just straight up joining the Consult and going along with their plans 100%, but nor do I see him ending up as some wondrous ultra-good savior of humanity. His plans transcend both of those things.

 

ETA: I do, however, believe that Kellhus's one and only true goal is still to reach the Absolute (i.e. become God). Everything he has done since the Umiaki is in the effort of accomplishing that.


Edited by Francis Buck, 27 December 2013 - 01:59 PM.


#11 Gaston de Foix

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 02:06 PM

 

What makes you think the Inchies haven't done this to some extent? Inchies probably view being raped as much less of a problem than we do...though if this is outright stated it's something readers may find problematic.

 

It's arguable that Inchies don't consider their own bodies inviolate unless suffering past the point of their preference toward masochism is involved.

 

The issue with damnation is it involves the soul, which cannot be rewired in the way the physical mind can. They can't just rewire themselves to get sexual pleasure from suffering [in Hell] - the soul remains subject to torment as the tortures inflicted on it can't be circumvented by manipulations of the material brain.

 

 

Kellhus has become the ultimate expression of the Mandate philosophy. The Messiah who damns himself - and the Ordeal - so he can save the world.

 

However he hopes to make his one friend, Proyas, realize the Truth and thus save one soul in a Jodie Foster Silence of the Lambs maneuver.

 

"I thought that if I could save just one..."

 

But why? What does saving the world do for his own damnation? 

 

I can only see his ultimate goal as being apotheosis, with the side effect of saving the world, or damning it if need be. 

 

 

I had one more question after my recent re-read of the Judging Eye and the White Luck Warrior. 

 

Why does Inrilatus try to kill Maithanet? His technique is misdirection through truth, but his purpose is obscure, at least to me. 


Edited by Gaston de Foix, 27 December 2013 - 02:13 PM.


#12 Triskan

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 02:14 PM

Why does Inrilatus try to kill Maithanet? HIs technique is misdirection through truth, but his purpose is obscure. 

 

For one, he believes/knows that Maithanet would have Inralatus killed if Kellhus hadn't decided to have him kept alive for Esmenet.  That could be at least part of the reason.  It also could be partly what he says to Kelmo about heaping atrocities upon atrocities.  He says something to him like "you're like me little brother, aren't you?  you would heap murder upon murder if you could."



#13 Sci-2

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 02:14 PM

But why? What does saving the world do for his own damnation?

 

Nothing. Kellhus can't escape damnation, he can only make his damnation having meaning.

 

Perhaps some small part of him hopes the Hundred will be merciful if they can ever comprehend the threat he saved their world from.
 

Why does Inrilatus try to kill Maithanet? HIs technique is misdirection through truth, but his purpose is obscure.

 

Inrilatus senses taboo as a material thing, something like a maddening itch that must be scratched to gain relief.

 

Following any moral commandment, even if it's due to the reality of being chained to a wall, is like us suffocating under water. By killing Maithanet, Inrilatus can breathe because he's pushed himself past the ultimate taboo.



#14 Social Justice Darkstar

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 04:15 PM

They are hedonists. I'm not sure they see bestiality as anything special.

I'm sure they don't - but it's still a distinct lack of empathy. And we know they understand rape to be wrong (the bragging about it points to that) - but they just don't care. Having no empathy for animals is also a typically sociopathic tendency in humans. You may be able to kill animals for food or for commercial gain or even for sport - but rarely do you see people wanting to harm animals for their own pleasure. Or brag about it. Yet, that's what raping an animal would be like - and if you're correct about their view of how Inchoroi see humans, that's what it would be like when they rape humans. 

 

 

What the Inchoroi turned off are all the bad emotions, those which constrain you and make you less-than-perfectly-happy: guilt, shame, taboo, angst, worry, jealousy, and hence romantic love, etc. Everything that stands in the way of hedonism. This is a plausible and completely rational step for a post-singularity species. It is exactly what the superhappies in short story from the previous thread elected to do.

(Check with yourself: if you could select those traits away for your children, prenatally, would you not?)

 

Sounds horrible to me. I wouldn't do it. Do you have kids, Happy Ent? Just curious. 


Edited by kalbear, 27 December 2013 - 05:27 PM.


#15 Rhom

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 04:59 PM

(Check with yourself: if you could select those traits away for your children, prenatally, would you not?)

Sounds horrible to me. I wouldn't do it. Do you have kids, Happy Ent? Just curious.

I'm with Captain Kirk in Star Trek V: "I need my pain!"

#16 Castel

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 05:40 PM

(Check with yourself: if you could select those traits away for your children, prenatally, would you not?)
 

 

I've always wondered what reasonable answer could be expected when a question like this is asked.Aren't you asking me to repudiate all I am? 

 

Sounds horrible to me. I wouldn't do it. Do you have kids, Happy Ent? Just curious. 
 

 

Totally horrible...if you're the only one. If enough people do it then Captain Kirk creates a different  rationalization, this time about how men from the past clung to brutish emotion and talked it away like the fox with the sour grapes.



#17 Gaston de Foix

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 08:48 PM

This is the perpetual thread devoted to the works of R. Scott Bakker, primarily the books in the Second Apocalypse series, the first of which is The Darkness that Comes Before

 

The current publication status is 5 volumes of novels, including The White-Luck Warrior, as well as 2 short stories, in particular The False Sun . This thread contains spoilers for these publications.

 

Since Bakker’s writing uses layers of revelation, newcomers are strongly advised to finish the books before coming here; otherwise the spoilers will rot your soul. Eternally.

 

Most denizens of this thread have also read Bakker’s non-fantasy novels Neuropath and Disciple of the Dog, but the spoiler policy is unclear. You are advised to hide crucial plot points in those novels.

What is the second short? Apart from the False Sun?



#18 Francis Buck

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 09:16 PM

What is the second short? Apart from the False Sun?

 

The Four Revelations of Cinial’jin

#19 Shryke

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 02:21 AM

What I was saying is [in the other thread], as long as a person is capable of expressing a certain emotion or feeling, then it is impossible for it to be inconceivable for that person to express that same feeling towards others. Even if we slaughter animals by the millions every day, Most humans are not hardwired in such a way that the idea that killing an animal is wrong is something that they cannot conceive of, even if they haven't actually been applying that concept. Not to mention that we do feel compassion and other emotions (including remorse over the loss of and guilt) not only towards animals, but also trees, plants, fish, coral reef, characters, painting, clothes, what have you... Why? Because we are capable of those emotions, period. That makes it a fact that sooner or later we will extend them to anyone else who has the resemblance of a "self" or the consciousness that we think we have.
 

Uh, it's not easy actually. I don't know about you but it would be almost impossible for me to one day decide that I'm no longer capable of seeing other animals as worthy of consideration.

 

Actually it is that easy. You do it all the time. You kill bacteria by the millions every day without every even thinking about it.

 

The simple fact is that your assertion that one cannot be incapable of compassion towards other beings while still caring about oneself and one's kind is just not true. It's easily disproven, as shown above.

 

We as human beings are fully capable of compassion for each other and yet we give zero shits about most types of life on this planet. The Inchoroi, given their self-modification proclivities, are easily capable of doing so to an even greater extent.

 

 

 

I believe you're missing the point here once again... A poster said that maybe the Inchoroi don't cognate the way we do, so I pointed out the fact that the only Inchoroi that we've seen the POV of seemed to have the mind of a human. The merits of psychopathy are irrelevant.

 

 

You said he was like a human psychopath. I agreed, he is somewhat like one. That doesn't mean he thinks anything like a human does.


Edited by Shryke, 28 December 2013 - 02:21 AM.


#20 Shryke

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 02:32 AM

I'm sure they don't - but it's still a distinct lack of empathy. And we know they understand rape to be wrong (the bragging about it points to that) - but they just don't care. Having no empathy for animals is also a typically sociopathic tendency in humans. You may be able to kill animals for food or for commercial gain or even for sport - but rarely do you see people wanting to harm animals for their own pleasure. Or brag about it. Yet, that's what raping an animal would be like - and if you're correct about their view of how Inchoroi see humans, that's what it would be like when they rape humans. 

 

That really depends on the animal.

 

But once you've eliminated the taboo of taking pleasure in causing pain, any distinction like this disappears. It's just another thing that makes you feel good.

 

 

 

Sounds horrible to me. I wouldn't do it. Do you have kids, Happy Ent? Just curious. 

 

Yeah, I always imagined it as a much more gradual process. As you begin to shave off negative emotions, maybe only a bit at first, each further step becomes easier to rationalize or just looks more obviously the proper thing to do.


Edited by Shryke, 28 December 2013 - 02:32 AM.