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Bakker - Holy Water, Unholy Light


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#1 Triskan

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 06:17 PM

one thing I just recently noticed, Sorcery of nonman, inrithi etc origin is pretty much always described with the adjective "unholy." Doesn't really matter who is seeing or experiencing the magic, it usually gets a descriptor of 'unholy light' at some point.

 

But when the cishaurim water is described, only some perspectives use "unholy" usually heavily biased perspectives like Proyas.  Others tend to use descriptors like dazzling, and iirc, when it zooms out to the omniscient narrator, the cishaurim magic is "holy" and the inrithi magic is "unholy".

 

So do we just excuse or ignore the repeated designation of 'unholy' because our perspectives are nominally on the side of the Inrithi and we refuse to believe that they're on the wrong side, that they are the badguys, fighting for hell with the weapons of hell?

 

Because it seems pretty clear and it seems like only readerly assumptions and readerly self-deceptions would prevent a literal and clear reading of the adjective.

 

 

This quote is attributed to lockesnow in the previous thread.

 

 

I touched on this at some point in the not too distant past.

 

Sorcery is described not only as a mark, but as being ugly, as being a stain, as being a bruise, and as marring the God's world, etc...

 

I couldn't have remembered what you said about the Cishaurim and how the descriptions change via the POV of the characters, but it adds even more to the Mystery Fire.

 

What I also touched was how, when Malo observes Meppa's "work," he is stunned by the beauty of it.  The opposite of ugliness. 

 

I think this could all end up being nothing, but it is intriguing if one believes that maybe there's something more to the Cish or that the Fanim have the correct religion, so to speak.  Not that there's anyone in these threads that would entertain such silliness.



#2 Baztek

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 11:18 PM

If the God of Gods sang Creation into being, then you can think of the Cishaurim as the only ones who sing in key. The Gnosis/Anagogic schools pervert God's instruments to their own ends, but the Cish are the only ones who retain the original message.


Edited by Baztek, 18 October 2013 - 11:19 PM.


#3 sologdin

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 07:09 AM

maybe it's because i'm traveling the deserts of canadia, but i had dream last night that we fans met the RSB at a writer function, where he had trimmed his hair like in the old PoN photos.  he informed us like conspirators that the secret of TUC was that he was, in homage, introducing wookies.  better than ewoks, i suppose, and wookies as they should have been, maybe. 

 

so, my wager is that this is veritable oneiromancy.  all naysayers will be sucking it next year when kellhus' techniques meet their match against motherfucking chewbacca.



#4 Madness

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 08:10 AM

Amazing.



#5 Sci-2

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 12:18 PM

@Solo: It wouldn't be that surprising if Golgotterath had engineered some weapon races based off primates...or, for that matter, rabid badgers....

 

@Trisk:

 

It wouldn't surprise me to learn that the Cish have the right religion. But I don't know if there's any hard hitting textual evidence to make this a certainty.

 

I actually think it's better to consider the narrative reward of picking any particular religion. This is also, presumably, a whodunit - once we know who is damned we should be able to go back and pick out the clues.

 

My worry right now is that any answer regarding who is damned seems supported by the text.



#6 Francis Buck

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 12:43 PM

I can't really see either religion being totally right or wrong, I think there are bits and pieces they both get right. What's funny is that I also don't think that that, in itself, is necessarily related to Damnation. In other words, I do believe the Inrithi are correct in assuming that the gods are parts of the whole (a.k.a. the Absolute), but so is every other ensouled being. In addition, we've seen the gods (or Yatwer, anyway -- do we generally assume the gods are all on the same side? I have until now, but not really for any particular reason) act benevolently towards Inrithi, in cases such as Psatma and Porsparian. That being said, I also think the Cish are correct in that the Hundred are essentially just petty demons. I don't think the gods' motives are at all related to the God of Gods. They basically just act out of self-interest, and this is also why I don't view "salvation" as necessarily being a good thing, even if somehow everyone was absolved, which is also why I think the real savior -- possibly Kellhus -- is the one who will unite all souls into the Absolute, thus awakening the God. 

 

In the case of the Cishaurim, I've speculated before that they might actually be doing the same thing the Nonmen were trying to achieve (dodging the Gods to reach oblivion), even though they don't seem to realize it. Most Fanim are probably damned, but not because they're "wrong", it's just because they're not playing into the game the gods have constructed. That's kind of what I've tried to articulate before, even though it's hard to put into words. The Hundred aren't really some kind of ultimate moral standard, since there's no such thing as objective morality, even in the Bakkerverse. They're arbitrary rules enforced by bullies. It's like assuming that a particular government's laws are somehow moral just because they have the ability to dispense punishment/reward on those less powerful than themselves. I think the Dunyain realized this, and that their whole purpose was to take the only logical route, which is, again, the awakening of the God. But, the Dunyain also forgot their original goal as a necessary by-product of them reaching said goal. Kellhus, you might say, "remembered", and only seems insane to someone like Moe because the latter hasn't grasped this concept. Or he didn't seem to, anyway. As always we still don't know truthful Moe was during their confrontation. 



#7 Triskan

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 12:56 PM

If the God of Gods sang Creation into being, then you can think of the Cishaurim as the only ones who sing in key. The Gnosis/Anagogic schools pervert God's instruments to their own ends, but the Cish are the only ones who retain the original message.

 

You know how they say that children are better than adults at learning thing like music and language?  It's like the younger brain is more malleable and less encumbered by what it knows. 

 

What if there is a paradox in that Meppa can recall the God's voice better than all because he is both Cihaurim (i.e,, already singing in the right key) but also unecumbered by the trappings of memory?  He better recalls because he cannot remember.  Is there any relation to what is gong on w/ Meppa and Nonman erratic?  Not sure at all.  Just food for thought. 



#8 Kalbear

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 12:59 PM

I really like lockesnow's methodology: don't interpret what is told. Don't argue what is shown. 

 

Psatma and Meppa and Moe all agree: there is no physical god. It is transcendent. It isn't even a part of us or anyone - it is just there. It is everything. That is the one thing that the major religious and areligious people agree on.

 

Kellhus disagrees - saying that he feels that it's wrong.

 

Who is more believable? The person who we are told is insane, or the people who have the most experience AND have differing point of view yet all agree on the same point? Evidence theory would suggest that the three eyewitnesses who are otherwise not having anything in common are far more likely to be right than the one who has a vested interest in being right. The Outside is simply a naturally occurring phenomenon. The God is as much of a God as particle physics are in our world. The rules simply are; there is no immanent consciousness that guides. Any thought that there is such a thing is our projection of a rational actor to a collection of irrational, disconnected entities.

 

If that sounds like BBT, well, it pretty much is. We project the notion of consciousness and rational choices onto a whole bunch of decisions that were made before we thought about them, made by a bunch of competing urges and factors that are at constant war with themselves and each other. There isn't any 'self' there - only what is projected by a rational part of our brain. In this way, Earwa is the rationalization section of the universe. Which goes well with what we know of Earwa - Earwa is the place where desire is least able to shape outcome. Goes well with the rationalization part of our brain, no?

 

So if that's the case - what is damnation? Damnation simply may be what exists afterwards. Everyone agrees damnation exists. No one agrees on what it means to be saved or what happens when you are saved. The ones that are most metaphysically in tune - the nonmen - believe that at best they can dissipate to nothing after damnation, but they can't otherwise avoid it, and the way that they do that is by making their souls as quiet as possible to the denizens of the Outside. There exist two possibilities that work here: that there is no such thing as salvation, only degrees of being bothered by more powerful entities in the Outside, or that there is some manner of salvation that takes the soul completely away from the perceived world and the Outside and makes that soul unable to interact.



#9 Galbrod

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 01:02 PM

 

You know how they say that children are better than adults at learning thing like music and language?  It's like the younger brain is more malleable and less encumbered by what it knows. 

 

What if there is a paradox in that Meppa can recall the God's voice better than all because he is both Cihaurim (i.e,, already singing in the right key) but also unecumbered by the trappings of memory?  He better recalls because he cannot remember.  Is there any relation to what is gong on w/ Meppa and Nonman erratic?  Not sure at all.  Just food for thought. 

I think you're definately on to something here Trisk, it appears thar omnipotence/divinity exist outside of time/space unfettered by memory, but it also seem that agency/identity is dependent upon memory,.. To be free of memories (like the erratics or meppa) is to be more holy/divine, but at the price of losing the self...



#10 Francis Buck

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 05:59 PM

So I went back to re-read the section from WLW where Kellhus meets with the Nonman Emissaries and ended up inadvertently finding what may be a hint to the question I posed early (whether or not the gods all on the same side).

 

When the Emissary asks what Kellhus saw when he ventured into the Outside, his reply is, "God...broken into a million warring splinters." So that seems to imply the entities of the inside are indeed at odds with each other. The question then becomes, what is it they're fighting over?

 

I wonder if the gods are in fact simply congregations of like-minded souls that have formed over the ages. The more souls, the more "perspective", thus the more subjective desire and then objective control over reality. This would give them a tangible motive for wanting more souls, and would explain why they might compete with each other for more (and also why a goddess like Yatwer is both popular and seemingly somewhat more powerful than the others -- that second part is speculation on my part obviously, but I don't think it's a coincidence that Yatwer's both the most popular god and also the one who seems to be exerting the most control over Earwa). 



#11 Callan S.

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 08:58 PM

They war because none of them feel they are/could be wrong. Yet they are splintered - their frames do not align, so they do not align with each others notion of being right (never mind if they are right)



#12 Shryke

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 10:32 PM

I really like lockesnow's methodology: don't interpret what is told. Don't argue what is shown. 

 

Psatma and Meppa and Moe all agree: there is no physical god. It is transcendent. It isn't even a part of us or anyone - it is just there. It is everything. That is the one thing that the major religious and areligious people agree on.

 

Kellhus disagrees - saying that he feels that it's wrong.

 

Who is more believable? The person who we are told is insane, or the people who have the most experience AND have differing point of view yet all agree on the same point? Evidence theory would suggest that the three eyewitnesses who are otherwise not having anything in common are far more likely to be right than the one who has a vested interest in being right. The Outside is simply a naturally occurring phenomenon. The God is as much of a God as particle physics are in our world. The rules simply are; there is no immanent consciousness that guides. Any thought that there is such a thing is our projection of a rational actor to a collection of irrational, disconnected entities.

 

If that sounds like BBT, well, it pretty much is. We project the notion of consciousness and rational choices onto a whole bunch of decisions that were made before we thought about them, made by a bunch of competing urges and factors that are at constant war with themselves and each other. There isn't any 'self' there - only what is projected by a rational part of our brain. In this way, Earwa is the rationalization section of the universe. Which goes well with what we know of Earwa - Earwa is the place where desire is least able to shape outcome. Goes well with the rationalization part of our brain, no?

 

So if that's the case - what is damnation? Damnation simply may be what exists afterwards. Everyone agrees damnation exists. No one agrees on what it means to be saved or what happens when you are saved. The ones that are most metaphysically in tune - the nonmen - believe that at best they can dissipate to nothing after damnation, but they can't otherwise avoid it, and the way that they do that is by making their souls as quiet as possible to the denizens of the Outside. There exist two possibilities that work here: that there is no such thing as salvation, only degrees of being bothered by more powerful entities in the Outside, or that there is some manner of salvation that takes the soul completely away from the perceived world and the Outside and makes that soul unable to interact.

 

So maybe the Consult has the right idea.



#13 Francis Buck

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 10:58 PM

 

So maybe the Consult has the right idea.

 

The Consult (and the Dunyain, who make the the Consult look like children) are basically "the good guys" in my opinion. The Consult are like teenagers just now realizing they can defy their parents ("transgression") and think they're cool because of it. The Dunyain made a science of it. 



#14 Triskan

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 01:47 PM

 

So maybe the Consult has the right idea.

 

Here's a question stemming from that:

 

Do the Consult simply believe that the Nonmen are wrong about being able to hide one's voice?

 

It seems implied from things Cleric says and things Titirga says that there is a belief that yes, damnation is real, but it can be side-stepped with the right technique.  The Consult seems to believe that this is wrong; that a more thorough technique is required to escape damnation. 

 

Who is right?  I suspect that we don't really know at this point.  But it seems possible that the Consult could be wrong if the IF is a goad.  Did Nonmen turn to the Consult because they'd learned that hiding their voices was insufficient?  Or were they tricked by the IF like Shae may have been?



#15 Francis Buck

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 02:31 PM

I was actually thinking about that myself when reading the section I mentioned above. Kellhus says that they are damned, and the Nonmen seem to agree, but it's also implied (actually I think it's pretty clearly stated, not sure off the top of my head) that they're damned because they're trying to dodge the gods. The overall vibe of the exchange made it seem, to me, that the Nonmen aren't particularly successful in their efforts. I personally don't think they are pulling it off, or at least very few are, since if they're all able to avoid damnation just by worshiping the spaces between the gods, then it kinda disempowers the stakes of the series (it's a bit of a "get out of jail free card"). Plus we have the example of Gin'yursis, whom we know is in hell, but he's kind of a weird case and there's obviously some other strange metaphysical shit going on there. 

 

ETA: As to this part...

 

 

 

Who is right?  I suspect that we don't really know at this point.  But it seems possible that the Consult could be wrong if the IF is a goad.  Did Nonmen turn to the Consult because they'd learned that hiding their voices was insufficient?  Or were they tricked by the IF like Shae may have been?

 

We definitely don't know for sure, but I think those Nonmen that turned to the Consult did so because they either don't know if worshiping the empty spaces actually works, or otherwise they know it works, but it's extremely difficult and/or risky. Plus, as implied by the Kellhus/Emissary scene, the Nonmen become damned simply by even trying to evade the gods. 

 

Are there any examples of Nonmen that worship the Hundred in some form? It seems odd that absolutely none of them would ever try to achieve salvation, given their apparent knowledge of the Outside.


Edited by Francis Buck, 20 October 2013 - 02:38 PM.


#16 Borque

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 03:22 PM

 Plus, as implied by the Kellhus/Emissary scene, the Nonmen become damned simply by even trying to evade the gods. 

 

 

Well, that Nonman seemed to be a lying lyar who lied. I don't trust anything he said. Or implied.



#17 Francis Buck

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 03:47 PM

 

Well, that Nonman seemed to be a lying lyar who lied. I don't trust anything he said. Or implied.

 

Que? Do you mean the references to Nil'giccas? 



#18 lockesnow

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 03:25 AM

Lovely post Kalbear.

 

What I see suggested is that the Nonmen believed in oblivion, in not so much avoiding damnation as minimizing it's impact.  There's an argument here as to whether or not that action is itself a sin, I think that's a little beside the point.  Think of damnation like math. It is eternal.  you're still damned.  If you only suffer damnation+2 for infinity, you're still suffering damnation, and after 10,000,000,000 years of suffering damnation+2, you probably cannot tell the difference in your experience and the experience of someone who has been suffering damnation+20.  At a certain point, when you're multiplying by infinity, the gradations of damnation become utterly meaningless.  Damned is damned.  And if you're damned for commiting the sin once of putting your shoes on in the wrong order one morning in your entire life and if someone else is damned for raping a child, you're still both damned and when your experience of damnation is extrapolated to infinity the gradations and differences the nonmen were hoping to exploit  by 'quieting their souls' are utterly meaningless.  This was sort of my understanding of the 'binge' the Consult went on, they could find no sin that made damnation worse, it was still as terrible.

 

 

***

extrapolating outside of the text for a little bit.  The consult tried the no god, right? the text says they enslaved their souls to it to save their souls, so it's a damnation avoidance device.  

 

I'm thinking they've been working on programs that avoid damnation before that--and it comes down to Cujara Cinmoi.

 

Cujara Cinmoi knew he was damned.  and he conspired with the inchies to get a way to cheat damnation.  they granted his desire to cheat damnation, they gave him eternal life.  They gave the nonmen a way out of damnation forever, they would never die.  That's a very tidy way to avoid damnation.

 

The question becomes then, why did this coincide with the death of all the nonman females?  That may be an incredibly important metaphysical whodunit.

 

And a great big clue is probably that the implementation of the No God also resulted in the end of all live births for human females.  Avoiding damnation, whether it is shutting the world to the outside, or living eternally, seems to have a disproportionate affect on women.

 

***

total 1 AM crackpot moment.  Immortality was achieved by turning cunoroi females into qirri.  the cunoroi cognitively could NOT live with themselves, with the selfish decision to save their own souls by condemning the souls of their daughters and wives and mothers--and even worse they had to EAT them afterwards.  This is what causes the erratics, the cognitive dissonance, the inability to live with yourself and the inability to die, the inchoroi gave them a sort of damnation in their own heads, so they never really escaped anything, did they?  The whole point from the Inchoroi perspective was to cause the cunoroi to consume themselves.  The inchoroi started with the women because they didn't want small colonies surviving, but they figured the males would consume each other to keep themselves alive and ever more robust on the strength of additional addictive stat enhancing qirri--you know, your typical free market economy, ruthless and me-centric.  but instead the males formed a collective action, turned on the inchoroi and instead of self-extincting, they damn near drove the inchoroi to extinction.  Presumably the collective action failed when they reached the golden room and the inchoroi negotiators succeeded in dividing the reps with their inverse fire, allowing the final two inchoroi to live and break the union.



#19 Borque

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 04:06 AM

 

Que? Do you mean the references to Nil'giccas? 

 

 

Yes.



#20 Francis Buck

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 12:35 PM

Well, I guess I personally don't really take that as an indicator that we can't trust anything the Emisarry says. To me it rang more of basically being some PR damage control. Since Ishterebinth is so cut-off from the world, they probably don't feel the need to tell the crazy new super empire (after however many years of little-to-no communication/interaction with human societies) that their great king Nil'giccas is off running around the north with a bunch of scalpers because he's kind of a nutjob.

 

On another note, what if the Cishaurim are invisible to the gods (and thus unmarked) because, by blinding themselves, they've been removed from the whole watcher/watched cycle? Perhaps this is the same reason why the No-God is invisible -- it can't see, which in Bakkerverse means it can't watch or be watched.