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Bakker XXIV: To Be Human is to Be Damned

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newbs, beware spoilers, this very post spoils the ending of the first series.

What is Bakker? Bakker is the author of a series called The Second Apocalypse, currently consisting of five volumes, with a sixth and possibly final awaiting it's publication date. To Quote TV Tropes:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/SecondApocalypse?from=Main.SecondApocalypse

A dark and philosophical fantasy series by R. Scott Bakker that is planned to consist of three smaller series. An additional two short stories have been published on Bakker's website.

The first sub-series, The Prince of Nothing, tells the tale of a son searching for his father during a Holy War, in a medieval world where Functional Magic exists and an obscure Ancient Conspiracy is plotting The End of the World as We Know It, although they have faded into myth. The characters who are embroiled in this include a tired Badass Bookworm sorcerer, a cunning whore, and a mentally unstable barbarian chieftain. But in the midst of the Holy War arrives a wandering monk, Anasûrimbor Kellhus. He is the scion of an isolated sect who have made themselves beings of pure logic over the years. At the beginning, he is completely ignorant about the outside world, yet at the same time, he is mentally superior to other humans and can easily read their emotions while he feels nothing himself.

Opinions are highly divided on whether Kellhus is a scheming Villain Protagonist, the Big Bad himself, a Sociopathic Hero doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, or an insane but Badass Anti-Hero deserving of our admiration. This has a lot to do with an individual person's perception of what counts as Moral Dissonance, Black and Gray Morality, and Moral Event Horizon. Irredeemably evil? You be the judge. Ultimately a force for good? At the moment we can only speculate.

***

From the last thread, why did Moe want Kellhus to kill him? Well he was in the most ancient part of the mansion, near pits that could possibly be gates (the entry to the pits are lips that are formed like hands grasping the ground), a place where the holy bathing water would presumably sluice to, and this is the same place to which Inri Sejenus used to Ascend to the Nail of Heaven. Presumably Moe wants Kellhus to kill him in the right place so that he can likewise ascend.

***

Something I just saw on the second-apocalypse forum that I wrote last year and thought it was a thought worth mulling over again was this:

If you're predestined--if a soul is already damned before it is conceived/born/created--when the No God is realized there is no longer a mechanism for the damnation to take effect which means one can't be conceived/born/ensouled. If automatic damnation of a soul is a crucial precondition to a soul's existence then a new soul cannot come into existence if automatic damnation is not occuring.

In other words, perhaps damnation is so crucial to the human experience that to be severed from damnation is to have no existence. To be human is to be damned.

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If you're predestined--if a soul is already damned before it is conceived/born/created--when the No God is realized there is no longer a mechanism for the damnation to take effect which means one can't be conceived/born/ensouled. If automatic damnation of a soul is a crucial precondition to a soul's existence then a new soul cannot come into existence if automatic damnation is not occuring

that works well with RSB's derridean training, wherein the presence of any ontological assertion is always already structured by absence, i.e., the presence of the animus is structured ab initio by its perdition, i.e., uttermost loss, i.e., absence.

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Probably a stupid question, but is Mimara really pregnant with Achamian's child? If so, didn't she only copulate with him at the beginning of the JE? And if so, why hadn't she given birth yet or at least shown signs of pregnancy?


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From TV Tropes,

The dragons are the most powerful of the Consult's creatures. They're also unique among the Consult "weapon races", since they're not a creation of Inchoroi bio-technology but rather an alien species who co-existed with the Inchoroi and came with them to Eärwa


AFAIK only Wutteät came with the Inchoroi to Earwa, the others were created using the Tekne during the Cuno-Inchoroi wars. And Bakker stated that Wutteät was a prototype, so also a Tekne creation.

And in The Judging Eye (fittingly), one of the many horrific things awaiting trespassers in the Nonman ruins of Cil-Aujas - growing a fully functional eye in the middle of your fucking heart.


?

It's stated pretty specifically that the Mandate's dreams of Sesawatha's life are slightly edited to keep them focused on the important things. They don't need to know about his childhood, for example, or that he may be the real father of an important historical figure, or that his king turned out to be an avatar of the fucking No-God.


???

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It's just some dude keeping it updated, so don't take it as fiat. But the eye in the heart thing was a member of another scalper band they came across in Cil Aujas, at which point the nature of Cil Aujas as a topos becomes apparent.



Avatar of the No God is just some dude's speculation based on the warped dream where the Kyranean king begins chanting "WHAT DO YOU SEE" like the Sranc. There's no reason to consider it the 'truth' rather than another distorted dream.


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Speaking of the heart: what was that about? IIRC it had something to do with the heart being the seat of the soul and the soul seeing into the topos but I've never been clear on that..


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I think coming close to Hell (like that topos) lets you see into your own soul (heart), and you probably don't like what you find if you're damned. Maybe a mini-Inverse Fire? I know when Gin'yursis was rising up with his Seal of Hell (whatever the fuck that is), all the Scalpers were freaking out and saying shit like, "I look I look I look I look but I don't see!", or something along those lines.



In conclusion, I have no idea.


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Random thought:



So there's the first prophet Angeshrael who was called the "burned prophet" because Husyelt, God of the Hunt, sat with him by the fire and told him to look into it or whatever.



The TTT glossary/appendix has no date for his birth and death, and we know that the Inchies were behind the Tusk, so Angeshrael, while he certainly may have existed, seems to come from Inchie sources.



Hmmm....do Inchies look deeply into fires of any kind????



Not sure that this means anything, but I never made that connection before. Anything to this?



The first prophet of men is a guy who looks deeply into fire...as the Inchies do.


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Well, according to Bakker the Inchies collected the extant lore and morality, then added the commandments to break open the Gates and attack the Nonmen.



But it's definitely possible some of those divine visitations were either written in by the Inchies. That or really Inchies or Quya wearing glamors.


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I think coming close to Hell (like that topos) lets you see into your own soul (heart), and you probably don't like what you find if you're damned. Maybe a mini-Inverse Fire? I know when Gin'yursis was rising up with his Seal of Hell (whatever the fuck that is), all the Scalpers were freaking out and saying shit like, "I look I look I look I look but I don't see!", or something along those lines.

In conclusion, I have no idea.

Yeah, I thought it was something to do with looking into hell. But as always I'm mildly comforted by the fact that I'm not the only who doesn't have all the answers.

As for the screaming, it was only the insane Sarl and the eye-in-heart guy. So...something something madness is the Outside seeping in/ the heart sees the Outside something I guess. :dunno:

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Random thought:

So there's the first prophet Angeshrael who was called the "burned prophet" because Husyelt, God of the Hunt, sat with him by the fire and told him to look into it or whatever.

The TTT glossary/appendix has no date for his birth and death, and we know that the Inchies were behind the Tusk, so Angeshrael, while he certainly may have existed, seems to come from Inchie sources.

Hmmm....do Inchies look deeply into fires of any kind????

Not sure that this means anything, but I never made that connection before. Anything to this?

The first prophet of men is a guy who looks deeply into fire...as the Inchies do.

inverse fire, not proper fire!

AK, like first prophet guy, looks presumably into proper fire as a totalitarian spy mechanism, which we might represent as: F --> T

inverse fire is: not F --> not T.

converse fire is: T --> F.

and contrapositive fire is: not T --> not F.

contrapostive fire is the only one that can be inferred from proper fire, whereas the inverse fire and converse can't be inferred.

this means one of several things:

a ) earwa is irrational, and the inverse fire is mundanely correct;

b ) earwa is rational, like our world, which means that the inverse fire is spectacularly incorrect; or

c ) earwa is rational, but the inchies have created a true miracle (third miracle, yo) in inferring the inverse.

i still wanna know who's gonna show up with the contrapositive fire to kick all'y'all asses.

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Well played, Solo. But logic in Earwa is clearly non-commutative.

I'm beginning to be taken with the idea that big Moe ascended. He is a holy Cisharium, killed with a chorae so his body turns into a bright light all in the same location that Inri Sejenus ascended. I get the complaint I Moe didn't die. I hate when authors do that too. But what if he did die yet can still have an effect in TUC.

Different Meppa crackpot: he's one of Moe's Cish and will turn on Fanayal and save Kellhus at a critical moment.

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I wonder at the state of the Scylvendi. Did Kellhus send any further punitive expeditions to make sure they'd be weak if the No-God is summoned? I also wonder what the Scylvendi now think of Cnaiur. They're a people of tradition, but if a person opens a new path for them, does that then become part of their traditions? There must be Scylvendi trailblazers, how else would they have abandoned their old gods for the No-God?




edit: Man, rereading these books, it's hilarious how ridiculously over-the-top evil the Consult seems before you're told their goals/reasons.


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I wonder at the state of the Scylvendi. Did Kellhus send any further punitive expeditions to make sure they'd be weak if the No-God is summoned? I also wonder what the Scylvendi now think of Cnaiur. They're a people of tradition, but if a person opens a new path for them, does that then become part of their traditions? There must be Scylvendi trailblazers, how else would they have abandoned their old gods for the No-God?

edit: Man, rereading these books, it's hilarious how ridiculously over-the-top evil the Consult seems before you're told their goals/reasons.

I too wonder at the state of the Scylvendi. Kellhus could have destroyed them easily enough if he wanted too.

From Cnaiur's POV, my inference was the way they dealt with new thoughts or trailbrazers was simply to categorise it as old knowledge from the memorialists.

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I wonder how well known Cnaiur even is. IIRC Sorweel had never heard of him. It's possible that the general embarrassment of Cnaiur has caused his role in the Holy War to be diminished in the official version of history.

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'a Sociopathic Hero doing the right thing for the wrong reasons'


I...don't...understand this sentence?



At best, wouldn't that be a clown hero - someone evil stumbling around in a Clouseau-esque manner, doing good by their ineptitude?


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