Gasp of Many Reeds

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  1. Bakker XLVIII - Selected to LEAD not to READ

    The No-God as an unensouled mind is sapient but not sentient; it possessing the syntax of consciousness (the 'I' of 'I CANNOT SEE') but despite (or because*) its capacity for indefinite recursive analysis of data it cannot reflectively gather these impressions to form the projection of an ego. *Assuming, along with Blind Brain Theory, that the projection of a self is a product of neglect, and therefore that an entity that can truly apprehend the grounds of its own thought cannot sustain this illusion. Therefore, if the soul in Earwa is necessary for possession of a self, perhaps it operates by blinding cognition to its own grounds. EDIT: more thoughts - the self-moving soul as the self-negating soul, the circle as its perfect form (form also of the soul trap). God is a circle. Within the circle, all is as in death until doing is struck from the hip of being and the circle is broken. God is a broken circle. The Dunyain aim to become the circle and so become God. The No-God is the circle without soul, the simulation of self-apprehension without apprehension.
  2. Bakker XLVII: Eär-War - A Nomen of Onomatopoeic Omen

    Asmodean didn't die, he merely had poison of paralysis applied then got decrypted and airmailed to Golgotterath Shayol Ghul.
  3. Bakker XLVII: Eär-War - A Nomen of Onomatopoeic Omen

    Don't worry - I have one, and there's plenty of stuff I can well, analyse, but still don't find easy fully engaging with (not an expert on recent developments in philosophy of mind, mind you).
  4. Bakker XLVI: Make Eärwa Great Again

    Also forgot interesting note given in the GTO that the Dunyain identify the soul with a specific part of the white matter of the brain, and that this is lacking in Sranc.
  5. Bakker XLVI: Make Eärwa Great Again

    Ah yes, forgot Simas.
  6. Bakker XLVI: Make Eärwa Great Again

    One query I have regarding souls: we know they enter the World from the Outside, we know who possess them (Men, Nonmen and Inchoroi) and who do not (Sranc, Skinspies, other Consult abominations), and we know where they go when their possessors die (the Outside again, most likely damnation of one variety or another). We also know the No-God can close passage between the World and the Outside. But are we ever given any indication as to the origins of souls? Are they smaller fragments of the God (micro-Ciphrang if you will)? Or are they born anew out of the Void? Do they drift into the World as of their own accord? Or are they cast into the World by the Gods as seeds for future harvest?
  7. Fantasy maps on globes

    Not all the maps working but loving those that are. Didn't Feist do this for Midkemia years back also? Agreed Eddings' continents are too fat at the poles for globalisation. Though given the inaccuracies in the maps from the Elenium/Tamuli (political boundaries missing or moving, lakes appearing and disappearing in Zemoch), this isn't his worst mapping issue.
  8. Bakker XLV: Optimal Tip-to-Tip Damnation (no TGO Spoilers)

    Third cycle is planned - Bakker refuses to release any particular details, even the title, as says is a spoiler for the end of the second series. Thus the third series is The Series That Shall Not Be Named.
  9. In the Shadow of the Status Quo--Fantasy literature and conservativism

    I think it's the Viking/Saxon raider element of the Ironborn coming through here, there being a strong culture of semi-democracy in pre-Christian North Germany and Scandinavia, e.g. the holding of Things incorporating collective decision-making among the warrior caste.
  10. How To Read Dick (PKD, that is)

    Usual suggestions of Androids, Ubik, Three Stigmata, Scanner, etc. Underrated in my view: Time Out of Joint and Counterclock World. Quite a few fan favourites haven't read still, including Man in the High Castle, VALIS and Flow My Tears.
  11. Not really - yes, there were a number of poor Ottoman rulers who contributed to periods of decline, including a couple who were rather unconcerned about events beyond the seraglio, but the forces that actually drove the Empire's decline and fall were the external pressures exerted by the military might of a rising Russia in the north and a resurgent Austria in the west, and the economic and cultural (and military) power of industrialising western European nations such as France and Britain, combined with the internal pressures of growing ethno-religious nationalism tied to the rising of westernised intellectuals in Ottoman society. Without these external pressures and related internal pressures, it is doubtful that the decadence of individual Ottoman rulers alone could have brought down the empire (moreover, decadence should not be confused with the weakness of a ruling figurehead).
  12. A lot to be frank will depend on whether and how the energy transition from fossil fuels to nuclear and renewables takes place and what the effects of climate change are on population sustainability and movement, and what the subsequent impacts on economic and technological growth. Enough ecological disruption and globalisation could well go into reverse, with a move back towards local centres of power fighting to defend their own interests and diminishing resources. In such a situation, of course, everyone probably will be in decline and American worries about Chinese cultural hegemony will be replaced by worries about keeping those damn Shelbyvillians away from our precious unirradiated water supplies.
  13. Culture today is globalising and hybridising. With instant communication available between people from very different backgrounds on opposite sides of the world, there is a greater global sharing of information and ideas, which nation states are less and less able to control. Sure, elements of Chinese culture and ideas are finding their way westward, as is the case with India, the Arab world, etc. but the flow is very much two-way, if not multidirectional. The main difference is that western culture is no longer as dominant, there is more return flow, but this does not herald, I think, the replacement of western cultural hegemony by eastern so much as it heralds a developing cosmopolitanism in the Classical sense if the cosmopolitan as a citizen of the world. Political hegemony is connected to cultural hegemony but by a feedback loop rather than directly. I think that whether or not China, India etc rise to fully overtake America and Europe economically, the cultural changes going on in our current era are momentous enough that by the time thus happens the parameters of the political global order will have changed in ways that would be unrecognisable 50 years ago and cannot adequately be discerned in their presently nascent condition today.
  14. ASOIAF ruined other fiction books for me.

    Currently reading coincidentally. Good stuff.
  15. Bakker XLV: Optimal Tip-to-Tip Damnation (no TGO Spoilers)

    It's Amazon, so they long ago lost their souls to win the world. Their soul's agonies shall be as wine to the Ciphrang Bezos.