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Bakker - "You worship suffering."


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#1 lockesnow

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 02:35 PM

continue

“I’m an Old Name,” the tiny face said. “Even wearing this shell, I could show you the Agonies, Mandate fool.”

“Wuh . . .” Inrau swallowed. Sobbed. “Why?”

Again the thin, tiny smile. “You worship suffering. Why do you think?

Monumental rage filled him. It didn’t understand! It didn’t understand.

Bakker, R. Scott (2008-09-02). The Darkness that Comes Before (The Prince of Nothing) (p. 128). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.


Edited by lockesnow, 25 September 2013 - 02:35 PM.


#2 Baztek

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 02:38 PM

ground floor of an epic discussion.

#3 sologdin

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 02:39 PM

does inrau transfenestrate or is he defenestrated? it's an important pynchonian distinction which i intend to incorporate into my reading of the RSB.

#4 lockesnow

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 02:41 PM

A related question I have, Aurang offers to give Inrau the ultimate experience of his religion, Inrau worships suffering, so Aurang offers him the ultimate experience of suffering. Isn't Aurang nice? He's just giving Inrau what he wants. He just wants Inrau to be happy. Inrau thinks Aurang doesn't understand. Perhaps it's Aurang who understands, and Inrau is the one who does not?

Edited by lockesnow, 25 September 2013 - 02:42 PM.


#5 Madness

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 02:43 PM

Transfenestrate.

Not true at all. As far as Esme is concerned, she wants to desperately fuck that guy in the kilt in the alleyway. She doesn't know until the end that it might be magical. Before that, it's just about getting fucked - and she has enough personal agency to want to get paid for it, anyway[/background][/font][/color].

Remember also the rationalization Bakker uses for the Cants of Compulsion: the dirty secret is that it doesn't and can't make you do something you didn't want to do anyway. Remember how Kellhus lies to Esme and tells her she didn't want to do that, when he knows she did? Again, how is this different than Kellhus lying to people to make them believe that he is God, and that if they kill themselves they will be saved? How is making people love him different than making people want to fuck?


Is that rationalization quotable?

Also, I was highlighting Esmenet's time with Aurang in Sumna, not with the alleyman in Momemn...

#6 Baztek

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 02:44 PM

maybe, and just bear with me here... maybe... we're the inchoroi?

#7 lockesnow

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 02:46 PM

most definitely, the inchoroi are us, in the future, and we bioengineered our physical selves into giant vaginas because pleasure is everything, that's why their heads look like what they look like. and we bioengineered away all our inhibitions so that we are perfectly amoral with no compunctions to prevent us from our pursuit of pleasure.

#8 Sci-2

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 03:00 PM

most definitely, the inchoroi are us, in the future, and we bioengineered our physical selves into giant vaginas because pleasure is everything, that's why their heads look like what they look like. and we bioengineered away all our inhibitions so that we are perfectly amoral with no compunctions to prevent us from our pursuit of pleasure.


I don't think the Inchies are literally us, but they are stand-in for future transhumans for sure.

A related question I have, Aurang offers to give Inrau the ultimate experience of his religion, Inrau worships suffering, so Aurang offers him the ultimate experience of suffering. Isn't Aurang nice? He's just giving Inrau what he wants. He just wants Inrau to be happy. Inrau thinks Aurang doesn't understand. Perhaps it's Aurang who understands, and Inrau is the one who does not?


I sometimes think Aurax, who I assume to be the interrogator at the end of TWP, is far creepier than Aurang. Aurang has assimilated enough that he gets why people oppose the Consult. He knows he is doing something wrong on some level.

Aurax, otoh, really does see all living things as playthings. He's amoral through and through. He doesn't revel in transgression the way Aurang does, as he doesn't even get the idea of sin. He's just acting to avoid bad outcomes, like a Dunyain whose mission is ejaculation rather than enlightenment.

#9 Francis Buck

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 03:06 PM

I'd almost be disappointed if the Inchoroi we're us. I mean I get the idea behind it (and I agree that they're absolutely supposed to be stand-ins as Sci said), but damn it, I like having space aliens show up in an epic fantasy.

#10 Castel

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 03:12 PM

I sometimes think Aurax, who I assume to be the interrogator at the end of TWP, is far creepier than Aurang. Aurang has assimilated enough that he gets why people oppose the Consult. He knows he is doing something wrong on some level.

Aurax, otoh, really does see all living things as playthings. He's amoral through and through. He doesn't revel in transgression the way Aurang does, as he doesn't even get the idea of sin. He's just acting to avoid bad outcomes, like a Dunyain whose mission is ejaculation rather than enlightenment.


To this day I cannot tell the difference between the two. It may be racist, but oyster-headed rape aliens all look alike to me :-)


#11 Rhom

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 03:20 PM

Back to the rape definition, this conversation is interesting.

So is any instance of compulsion/mind control in fantasy/sci fi rape?

I understand that Bran warging Hodor is frowned upon pretty heavily, but I don't know that anyone I've seen called it rape.

That example is pretty severe since it is obvious that Bran is forcing his will upon a mentally deficient person.

So how about Obi Wan Kenobi hand waving that Stormtrooper? "These aren't the droids we're looking for. Move along." Certainly not what he wanted to do, nothing sexual in the intent... but still a violation of his sovereign will.

[/size][/font][/color][/background][/size][/font][/color]
To this day I cannot tell the difference between the two. It may be racist, but oyster-headed rape aliens all look alike to me :-)


/thumbsup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbsup:' />

Edited by Rhom, 25 September 2013 - 03:23 PM.


#12 Madness

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 03:44 PM

@Madness

I think it'd be interesting to see what makes an Atwood or LeGuin dystopia a feminist novel, and what makes Bakker's either an unsuccessful attempt to do the same or, as some would say, not just a failure but a book that perpetuates misogyny/sexism.

I mean, there must be something in the text that we can use to judge these works?


100% - I figured that's what you had in mind. I shall begin immediately.

Back to the rape definition, this conversation is interesting.

So is any instance of compulsion/mind control in fantasy/sci fi rape?


kalbear has it right to question the distinction but I think 'rape' is widely used to mean unwanted sexual approaches - in the literature, perosnal agency/individual autonomy is definitely a hot-topic though.

#13 Rhom

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 04:01 PM

kalbear has it right to question the distinction but I think 'rape' is widely used to mean unwanted sexual approaches - in the literature, perosnal agency/individual autonomy is definitely a hot-topic though.


In the real world, "Unwanted sexual advances" happen every night anywhere singles gather. Slipping someone an earthly means of inhibiting their means of consent at the very least is "attempted rape." By my understanding, the actual definition would have to involve an actual physical violation.

If we went by those definitions, then Kellhus is certainly the victim of attempted rape; but I can't say he was raped.

Once we slip these mortal bounds and begin talking magic/technology mind control type stuff; I can understand why the definition can be more tricky. I'm still of the opinion that a physical violation should be included to reach the rape threshold.

As to Kellhus and "They make you love!" How is Dunyanic insight any more devious than your run of the mill cult leader other than in scale? Was Marshall Applewhite just a Dunyain to the members of Heaven's Gate? Could he read their passions and feed on their weaknesses to convince them to commit a mass suicide? Is it rape every time some charismatic leader convinces a group of people to leave their former life and follow them?



#14 Madness

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 04:13 PM

There's a gradient - sorry, I might have said unwanted sexual approaches that 'victims' are unable to simply ignore; it implies a spectrum.

But if we think of it in strict terms of volition and agency, like kalbear seems to be asking, sans the sexual overtones, then it becomes much more of an issue of social mobility and socioeconomic determinacy, which is where our conversation on Bakker, Feminism, and Slavery on TSA ended up.

#15 Wise Fool

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 04:26 PM

So is any instance of compulsion/mind control in fantasy/sci fi rape?

I understand that Bran warging Hodor is frowned upon pretty heavily, but I don't know that anyone I've seen called it rape.

That example is pretty severe since it is obvious that Bran is forcing his will upon a mentally deficient person.

So how about Obi Wan Kenobi hand waving that Stormtrooper? "These aren't the droids we're looking for. Move along." Certainly not what he wanted to do, nothing sexual in the intent... but still a violation of his sovereign will.


I wouldn't say any old instance of mind-control influence in fantasy or sci fi is rape, because rape is specifically a sexual assault.

A more interesting question is: is there really such a thing as "sovereign will," or free will for that matter? Is it really "me" who's "choosing" to buy this pack of cigarettes? How can that be, when the "me" of last night vowed not to do so, and the me right now regrets the action, and the me at the time was filled with self-loathing and confusion and demoralization? Really, is there such a thing as a self at all, or is that just a [dys]functional narrative?

#16 Baztek

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 04:45 PM

Disclaimer: I'm a complete philosophical layman, so please don't hesitate to call me out on my bullshit as these are just my half-baked opinions formed over long years of light interest in these topics.

As I understand it, the question is if there really is no free will, how come Dunyain manipulation still feels so morally repugnant? I believe the answer is because Kellhus (to Cnauir and anyone else who's onto his schtick) defies our illusory agency by supplanting his own. I mean, the whole series is about our need for comfortable 'truths', and there is no truth more comfortable than we are the arbiter of our own actions. Kellhus stands for the complete opposite; he is determinism given form. I think people would rather lie to themselves and feel in charge of their own actions than possibly confront a person so charismatic and beguiling that he turns our illusory free will on its head. What Kellhus inflicts on Earwa does feel like violation and enslavement, but looking at it objectively it's simply exchanging one locus of agency for another (from the "self" to Kellhus). All in all, really thorny shit.

Edited by Baztek, 25 September 2013 - 04:46 PM.


#17 Madness

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 05:00 PM

A more interesting question is: is there really such a thing as "sovereign will," or free will for that matter? Is it really "me" who's "choosing" to buy this pack of cigarettes? How can that be, when the "me" of last night vowed not to do so, and the me right now regrets the action, and the me at the time was filled with self-loathing and confusion and demoralization? Really, is there such a thing as a self at all, or is that just a [dys]functional narrative?


All in all, really thorny shit.


Both of these posts are part and parcel of Hobbes' Leviathan, which Kellhus most certainly is. Mimara fairly uses passages direct from the work in WLW, thinking about Kellhus.

Is the state of nature war?

#18 lockesnow

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 05:41 PM

Back to the rape definition, this conversation is interesting.

So is any instance of compulsion/mind control in fantasy/sci fi rape?

I understand that Bran warging Hodor is frowned upon pretty heavily, but I don't know that anyone I've seen called it rape.

That example is pretty severe since it is obvious that Bran is forcing his will upon a mentally deficient person.

So how about Obi Wan Kenobi hand waving that Stormtrooper? "These aren't the droids we're looking for. Move along." Certainly not what he wanted to do, nothing sexual in the intent... but still a violation of his sovereign will.

This is exactly the sort of thing that I want to be challenging, the use of super powers (in these instances and with Kellhus, all mental) to always get your way. It's surprisingly infantile in those terms. Mental superpowers, hard to get more flattering for a brainy kid, which is why you see this sort of thing come up everywhere, always accompanied by the 'it's okay you used this incredibly potent weapon for your own self interest because you're inherently good,' rationalization. I've not been able to read any orson scott card books since reading bakker because this genre trope has been so thoroughly inverted and deconstructed for me that I now find its use slightly horrifying and morally reprehensible when I encounter it. All of Scott's protagonists are essentially indistinguishable from Kellhus: heroes with mental super-powers who are Jesus come again and everyone worships them for being so wonderful.

see also:
http://www4.ncsu.edu.../Killer_000.htm


As to Kellhus and "They make you love!" How is Dunyanic insight any more devious than your run of the mill cult leader other than in scale? Was Marshall Applewhite just a Dunyain to the members of Heaven's Gate? Could he read their passions and feed on their weaknesses to convince them to commit a mass [murder]? Is it rape every time some charismatic leader convinces a group of people to leave their former life and follow them?

I don't know about Marshall Applewhite, but the bolded is EXACTLY what Charles Manson did. And he did it by basically reading "how to win friends and influence people" to learn how to flatter people and make them think they were important, by studying with pimps to find out how to make sure you can control women and they won't run away from you (prey on their weaknesses) and combining it with biblical imagery to convince his select few that they were the special ones and he was Jesus come again.

http://www.npr.org/2...-place-and-time

#19 Triskan

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 05:57 PM

Rhom has raised perhaps the most critical point yet: what would Mimara see w/ TJE when she looks upon Brandon Stark?

A demon blasted to charcoal for all eternity, I suspect.

#20 lockesnow

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 06:32 PM

the same thing Melisandre saw, eh?