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Bakker XXV: A Few Questions


SilentRoamer

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How far are we willing to take Lockesnowe's philosophy of taking the supernatural explanations instead of the mundane ones?

Why do we have to pick? What good is reading fantasies by philosophers if we can't appeal to supervenience? ;-)

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So...Conphas wasn't a narcissist but a failed messiah?

eta: How are are we willing to take Lockesnowe's philosophy of taking the supernatural explanations instead of the mundane ones?

I'd take it as far as possible... in an ultimate sense. Because in this world, the supernatural, the divine, the demonic, the magical... are real things. And not just real, but the actual foundation of all the so-called mundane things. The ground, and the frame. So in a way we can attribute literally everything in the books to the supernatural. It's all just the God, interacting with the God.

But as with anything spiritual and philosophical, it's more complicated, there are nuances, and so sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and a delusion is just a delusion, and a heart up your butt is just a heart up your butt. There's no easy answers.

For me it's about asking the right questions. I don't question whether Kellhus believes he had a religious experience, and from the description, it sounds like he had exactly that. Rather I question the meaning of it. And I like that at this point it looks like it could mean any number of things. He could be the God in some form, or he could be serving the No-God; he could be one and think he's the other, he could be both, etc. To me these are more interesting than whether he stuffed things up his butt.

Although perhaps less entertaining.

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This is pretty undeniable. Kellhus learns this lesson in the prologue, and then there's "Moe's 'while our brothers have no knowledge of the arcane, their knowledge of the mundane is without equal." You can extend that to the supernatural or divine too it would seem.

It is amusing that Bakker basically challenges the skeptical grounding we use in our world, rendering it less and less useful in Earwa. We continually try to limit the extent to which the illogical/surreal stuff might separate the Bakkerverse from ours.

It makes me wonder about the role of witnesses in Earwa. Iyokus thinks Eli has lost it, so he doesn't think Kellhus is real. Were others as skeptical outside the magic users? I guess having so many Great Names bear witness to the Heart Miracle, even those who'd condemned Kellhus to death, would be rather convincing.

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Ah, I understand, it's like in the prologue, Kellhus THINKS he encountered sorcery when Mekeritrig hits him with an Odanni Concussion Cant, but it is more likely that he was wrong, i.e. he's deluded. It wasn't really sorcery, there's a perfectly mundane explanation for what happened.

Actually, if that was the only instance of sorcery in the entire series, then yes it's perfectly reasonable to suspect that Kellhus was wrong there too.

Also, I never said that the heart thing has a 'perfectly mundane explanation'. What I objected to, is the idea that it is simply a "miracle, shut up and move on". There is specific reasoning in the Bakkerverse for how sorcery, the various Gnositc cants for example work, we know how the topos work to some extent and there are theories about the eye in the heart. All these things seem to be bound by rules, shit doesn't just happen out of nowhere and we accept it because 'MAGIC!'. I already asked if there was any explanation for how and why Kellhus 'transcended' at that moment and the only answer was 'he just did'.

This is pretty undeniable. Kellhus learns this lesson in the prologue, and then there's "Moe's 'while our brothers have no knowledge of the arcane, their knowledge of the mundane is without equal." You can extend that to the supernatural or divine too it would seem.

Like I said, it's not so much that there wasn't something 'supernatural' involved when he pulled the heart out, the question is did Kellhus 'transcend' or not, and what is this transcendence anyway.

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All these things seem to be bound by rules, shit doesn't just happen out of nowhere and we accept it because 'MAGIC!'. I already asked if there was any explanation for how and why Kellhus 'transcended' at that moment and the only answer was 'he just did'.

Sorry....but I can't resist a chance to quote Cisco ^_^ :

“Anyone could say that a miracle is something impossible, but they say it thoughtlessly, mindlessly, because most people have such weak imaginations they couldn’t possibly understand what they’re saying when they say that a miracle is something impossible.

Ask anyone what that means, what it means to see a miracle, and they will say that it’s something impossible, but they mean that a miracle is something formerly believed to be impossible that turns out not to be, not to be impossible, in other words, but possible after all.

If this were really true, then miracles would be the most ordinary things in the world, the most uninspiring things in the world, and what can one expect from people who have never been anything but ordinary and uninspired.”

― Michael Cisco, The Traitor

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Well, from the perspective of having a religious experience. I've had one myself, so I can relate. Granted, mine did not involve being (effectively) crucified and becoming some sort of prophet, but I find Kellhus's experience oddly comparable to mine.



Like Kellhus, I began with a belief that the material world was all there was, and that the supernatural and the divine - gods and demons, and everything similar - was just fiction, a delusion or result of erroneous conclusions at best. I believed that everything could be theoretically explained by science and above all, reason and logic. "Logic is king" was a personal motto I had growing up. I took a position of strong atheism and went about my life.




But one night, I experienced something I could not rationally explain. It seemed to defy the chain of cause and effect - an effect happened before its cause. I won't go into details, because ultimately they don't matter and it's all quite personal. But it basically broke the rigid thinking of logic - broke the Scully in me, if you will. To this day, and certainly at the time, I searched and thought for possible explanations, and couldn't find one. It's not that it was merely inexplicable. It was that it was apparently impossible. It blew my mind. And since I was already in a state of depression (comparable, in a sense, to Kellhus's state of physical suffering and emotional turmoil at the time of circumfixion) I despaired. And while I was searching for a way to end all this confusion and torment something else happened, at again seemingly the exact right time, that saved me. And it all just clicked. Suddenly things made sense, if I just expanded my paradigm to include not simply only the physical, the material, the rational - but also the metaphysical, the immaterial, the spiritual in the world of "what exists."



That's all very vague sounding, but even if I got into specifics it wouldn't help really convey it. Kellhus's POV during all this is equally hard to decipher, hard to gain meaning from. I'm not saying you have to go through this kind of thing to understand it, but perhaps that's required. Certainly, prior to this event in my life, *I* would not have understood, or would have immediately interpreted only through the lens of reason, and ultimately dismissed. But I tried to do that at the time, just as Kellhus tried to resolve it all with the Logos and his Dunyain foundation, and it failed - it didn't answer anything, just came across as a flimsy rationalization rather than a compelling reason. My paradigm had to shift, and to expand, and it transformed me from atheist to -- well, I'm not sure what. At times I say I believe in God. Other times I think that the word itself utterly fails to describe it.



Now, with Kellhus, and unlike myself, we have a context which is different. We as readers know (we do, don't we?) that there undeniably exist gods, demons, magic, souls, all that. The religion(s) in Earwa are, if mistaken in some regards, absolutely correct in others. And Kellhus, unlike myself, is already highly intelligent, trained as a monk, with perhaps years spent in meditation and contemplation. So to me, it seems perfectly plausible that after all that, the circumfixion provided the catalyst for a genuine "religious experience" in which he no longer could dismiss gods/The God as delusion; and that he in fact came to believe in the Gods because of some sort of personal revelation. A transformation, after which he wasn't the same.



So it's not to my thinking just some random weird "suddenly at that moment he became enlightened" bit; it follows both from the character's worldview and experiences and from analogous experiences in the real world. It's not happening out of nowhere because magic. But maybe from one perspective it is - and maybe that's the point. After all, where do "burning bushes" of Moses come from? Nowhere? Is it "because magic?" What IS the purpose, the meaning, the ultimate explanation for it all? Well, that's sort of the framework around most major religions, innit? There's not an easy convenient explanation. And some people will think it's just trickery, or delusion. Others may accept that it happened but attribute it to different things - some people believe Moses encountered not the one true God, but a demon.



In the Bakkerverse we can wonder who or what Kellhus encountered. And what the meaning is. Is it good? He believes he's doing something that makes sense and is good from his perspective, but is he? Did he encounter the God, or the No-God? Will the events that come after vindicate him, and prove what came before?


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What I objected to, is the idea that it is simply a "miracle, shut up and move on".

Unfortunately, it's just tough to say if there is much more of an explanation. There may be a few more tidbits to throw in, (I'll try here) but this is mostly speculative. Hell, everything with regards to the Circumfix is speculative.

Kelhus and Serwe are very closely linked, having something to do with her devotion to him. I believe one of them describes it as sharing a soul, or something else to that effect (I know I should have quotes to back this up, but I couldn't track them down...I know they're out there though). The heart being the seat of the soul, and the soul being the window to the Outside, Kelhus is able to reach into the Outside through his own heart. Because of their close link, reaching into Serwe's chest and grabbing her heart is just as easy as grabbing his own. Think of the Outside as kind of a hyperspace, and Serwe's devotion to Kelhus creates a kind of wormhole almost between the two of them.

Obviously, I have no idea how accurate this is, but it seems to fit with the textual evidence. And, to me, something about it just seems to fit with other things we have going on the series. Still, I don't know if it's going to be more satisfactory to you than "it's a miracle."

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So I’ve finally finished The White Luck Warrior, and I now venture into the murky world of the ever present threads I see adorning the Literature section of this forum.



First off, I absolutely love this series. Since getting into fantasy through aSoIaF, I’ve been searching for something that I can enjoy as much as GRRM’s series and I’ve emphatically found it with The Second Apocalypse. I’m looking forward to The Unholy Consult easily as much as The Winds Of Winter, possibly more so seeing as The White-Luck Warrior sees Bakker at the top of his game in a way that GRRM didn’t seem to be with aFfC and aDwD. I read through maybe 60-70% of The Judging Eye threads along side The White-Luck Warrior, and now I’ve started on the threads for that book. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t skimming a lot of them, but there are a HELL of a lot.



So, The Prince of Nothing. As much as I enjoyed it, I confess I was a little let down by the ending. While the Circumfix was an obvious place to end The Warrior Prophet, it seemed to leave too little for The Thousandfold Thought which subsequently felt very short. But my real issue is with The Thousandfold Thought itself, the idea, not the novel. The whole trilogy is, for me, propelled by the constant mystery of Moenghus. Two questions in particular; what are Kellhus’s intentions upon finding his father, and how much power could a Dunyain amass in 30 years given what Kellhus achieved in such a short time. With the first, we are told that the Dunyain sent Kellhus to kill his father. Kellhus tells anyone who asks the same thing, but crucially we never see his internal dialogue on the matter. When we arrive at the caves where Moenghus awaits his son, we find the question has been rendered moot; whatever Kellhus’s intentions when he left (and now retrospectively, I see no reason to believe he didn’t intend to carry out the Dunyain’s orders and kill Moenghus when he left Ishual) we now find that Kellhus has begun to believe his own hype,that he really does believe himself a prophet, who has inexplicable visions.





“This,” the eyeless face said, “was where the Probability Trance failed me…”


“So you did not anticipate the visions?” Kellhus asked.

His father’s face remained absolute and impassive.

“What visions?”






And so now he has new reasons to kill Moenghus; he kills him not because he’s a danger to the isolation the Dunyain have worked so hard to preserve, but because he believes he will ultimately side with The Consult.






Kellhus looked to the haloes about his hands. “The crimes you’ve committed, Father … the sins … When you learn of the damnation that awaits you, when you come to believe, you will be no different from the Inchoroi. As Dunyain, you will be compelled to master the consequences of your wickedness. Like the Consult, you will come to see tyranny in what is holy … And you will war as they war.”








A very satisfying conclusion to the first mystery (incidentally, why does Kellhus believe his father is damned but he isn’t? What sins has Moenghus committed that Kellhus hasn’t?). But the second, how powerful might a Dunyain become in 30 years, turns out to be pretty disappointing. Turns out he picked the wrong sorcery, so he’s basically just an average Cishaurim. Ah, but he’s been cooking up this Thousandfold Thought thing! That sounds intriguing, what’s that about? And here’s my issue; as far as I can tell, the Thousandfold Thought appears to be exactly what would’ve happened anyway if Moenghus had never come up with it. In Kellhus’s entire journey, the only problem he had dominating people was with Cnaiur and that was because he was ready for it. But aside from that, what did we all think was going to happen when the Holy War invaded Shimeh? We’d already seen them fight against all odds against Kascamandri at the end of The Warrior Prophet, so given the size of the armies a victory at Shimeh was looking likely. Then what would they think of Kellhus? Well, they’d think him a genuine prophet and declare him an Aspect Emperor. Then his innate abilities at controlling people would be harnessed by a position of real power, and he’d unite the Three Seas. Exactly as did happen. So I don’t really understand why the Thousandfold Thought was built up in the book before and was given such exalted status. If at the end of The Darkness That Comes Before, you’d have asked me what I thought might happen, I’d have said “well, this Anasurimbor Kellhus guy looks like he’ll carry on exactly as he has been, controlling people and circumstances. I see no reason to believe he couldn’t carry on right the way up to becoming Emperor.” The books made out that grasping the Thousandfold Thought would need to be some major epiphany, when really from Kellhus’s point of view it really just translates to ‘carry on as you have been’. OK, I understand the Thousandfold Thought includes Moenghus’s preparation for Kelllhus, giving him a convenient Holy War to march with, but even still that doesn’t explain why Kellhus should really struggle to ‘grasp’ this thought. And I don’t really see that Kellhus’s arc would’ve been any different without these preparations. As long as he picked a better sorcery than Moenghus, I can’t see any reason to think he wouldn’t have ascended, controlled, dominated just as he did.


I must confess, reading through Kellhus and Moenghus’s conversation to find quotes relating to this post, I’ve stumbled across a few things that I realise I missed or misinterpreted the first time. I think I assumed at the time that when Kellhus said the No-God was speaking to him, he was simply having the dreams that all Mandate Schoolmen have. Perhaps I missed that it is touching Seswatha’s heart that does this, not learning the Gnosis as Kellhus had been. So that didn’t have the impact I suppose it should’ve. What are the alternative theories for this? Do we believe the No-God actually speaks to him?


Anyway. The Aspect Emperor. The strangest thing for me with this trilogy is getting used to the involvement the Gods seem to have. In fact, I’m still adjusting to how seriously everyone seems to take it in these threads. I started out thinking of it in the same way I think of R’hllor - there’s obviously some kind of power that fuels the ability to resurrect the dead, but I never took that to mean R’hllor definitely exists. And so I never really believed that I was supposed to believe in the Gods the way the Inrithi do. While Psatma clearly has some power, and can summon White-Luck Warriors, I don’t see that it follows that that power must come from a God whose name is Yatwer. Is there exactly One Hundred Gods? Are they ruled by the God of Gods? Are they named exactly as the Inrithi believe? Have the Inrithi got anything wrong at all in their beliefs? I guess as an atheist, I always related to Achamian and his general scepticism more than anything in The Prince Of Nothing. It seems now like Bakker is experimenting with a world of relativism; all opinions in Earwa seem to have an equal stake in the truth, they all seem to objectively have something real that their proponents can latch onto. I guess this is where the general perception on these threads come from, that this is a world where belief affects reality. So whereas I read it as Bakker creating a world where everything’s relative, most people seem to read it as the characters themselves create the world this way.


I suppose I should’ve been more prepared for the presence the Gods have now, as Kellhus apparently assumed Moenghus had come to the same conclusion about the Gods existence.





"You learned that the boundaries between the World and the Outside were not fixed, that if the World could be cleansed of enough souls, it could be sealed shut. Against the Gods. Against the heavens and hells of the Afterlife. Against redemption. And, most importantly, against the possibility of damnation.”








So I assume the ‘madness’ that Moenghus referred to was not that Kellhus believed in the Outside (so does anyone in Earwa not believe in the Outside? Is it a given?), but that he believed himself a player in all these events, that he thought of the Gods as anything other than an immovable given in all things. Incidentally, I’m troubled by the ‘What Has Come Before’ section of The Judging Eye which states factually that Kellhus has gone mad. This seems to throw a major spanner in the works in terms of how we perceive Kellhus’s actions in The Aspect Emperor. If we read it as definitely true, Kellhus is just some nut job who thinks he’s a prophet. This completely robs this trilogy of it’s version of the two mysteries I referred to earlier, what are Kellhus’s intentions? Is he really a prophet, does he intend to save the World for its own sake? Does he have other, Dunyain-esque goals? I’ve chosen to continue reading on the assumption that the What Has Come Before section was referring to Moenghus’s perception of events, though it really doesn’t.





What he did not know, could not know, was that Kellhus would see further than him, that he would think beyond his Thousandfold Thought…


And go mad.







Clearly “He did not know … that Kellhus would … go mad” can’t really be interpreted as Moenghus’s point of view, but I’m gonna assume as such. The alternative, as many here have stated, is that ‘madness’ and ‘contact with the Outside’ are simply one and the same in Earwa, so by definition Kellhus was always going to go mad with the aspirations that he seems to have. It’s interesting to note that the same section says of Moenghus’s 30 years, that he was “searching for the thread of act and consequence that would save the world”. Which would seem to imply that Kellhus got it wrong; we already saw in a previous quotation that Moenghus already knew about damnation. So why would Kellhus assume that he would change his mind? What more is there that Moenghus could've learnt that would change his plans from saving the world to joining the Inchoroi?




So now it seems to me that we’re back to wondering what exactly Kellhus’s intentions are, just as we did in The Prince of Nothing. We know he believes in the Outside, that he claims to have been there. We know he believes the No-God speaks to him. Does he really just want to save the world? When exactly did he realise the Gods were against him, as Maithanet tells Esmenet? Did he ever believe that he was a prophet, or did he simply realise that he was capable of playing a part in these events, regardless of what the Gods thought about it?


Another interesting quotation from the conversation at the end of The Thousandfold Thought sees Kellhus speculate on what would happen if Moenghus took over Kellhus’s role in events:





Kellhus had seen it many times, wandering the labyrinth of possibilities that was the Thousandfold Thought: … The apocalyptic conspiracies. The counterfeit war against Golgotterath. The accumulation of premeditated disasters. The sacrifice of whole nations to the gluttony of the Sranc. The Three Seas crashing into char and ruin.


The Gods baying like wolves at a silent gate.








Sounds eerily like what’s actually happening in The Aspect Emperor.


The biggest clue we have regarding Kellhus’s intentions is a conversation between Serwa and Sorweel in The White-Luck Warrior. I’m confused as to why this hasn’t been discussed far more, though admittedly I’m only up to the fifth WLW thread. UnJon is the only person I’ve seen so far raise this.





'Breeding and training for what?'


She looked at him with a wisp of a scowl, as if noting a regrettable sluggishness in his soul.

‘To grasp the Absolute.’

‘Absolute?’ he asked, speaking the word, which he had never before heard, slowly so as to make it his own.

‘Ho!’ Moenghus called, yanking a small bass onto the riverbank. It thrashed silver and gold even as it blackened the bare stone with wetness.

‘The God of Gods,’ Serwa said, beaming at her brother.





This seems to me like the first reliable indication of where things are headed. It’d always struck me as odd that a Dunyain would suddenly develop selfless feelings and take it upon himself to save the world. OK, so I suppose the Dunyain and the goal for a self-moving soul would suffer if the world ended, but that never quite rang true for me as the entire reason for Kellhus and The Great Ordeal. Here, we see that instead of setting aside his Dunyain endeavours in favour of saving the world, the two goals have actually aligned to one. He believes that advancing the Logos and becoming the God of Gods are one and the same. So now the question is; does becoming the God of Gods rely on saving the world? Do the Gods need the world to exist? Are the population of Earwa simply fortunate that Kellhus’s goals happen to need a saved world to reach fruition?


As a result of this conversation, my best guesses for the name of the final Trilogy are either ‘The Absolute’ or ‘The God of Gods’. I have absolutely no idea what any of this would look like, it would seem like for this to happen some of the narrative would need to be set in the Outside. What does it look like? Is it physical?


Well, those are my thoughts after one read. Massively looking forward to a re-read, gutted that I lent my copy of tDtCB to a friend. There were a few questions scattered throughout which I’ll just copy below for convenience sake.


Regarding Kellhus’s reasons for killing Moenghus: why does Kellhus believe his father is damned but he isn’t? What sins has Moenghus committed that Kellhus hasn’t? Or does Kellhus simply think that Moenghus would never aspire to actually change the fact of damnation, and instead block its inevitability by joining the Consult? Does Kellhus therefore realise he is damned? Is he lying about having discovered that sorcerers aren’t damned?


Regarding Kellhus’s claim that the No-God speaks to him: what are the alternative theories for this? Do we believe the No-God actually speaks to him? Is it possible that he has simply ‘absorbed’ the dreams of Seswatha’s life in some fashion without coming in contact with his heart?


Regarding how seriously we are supposed to take the Gods: is there exactly One Hundred Gods? Are they ruled by the God of Gods? Are they named exactly as the Inrithi believe? Have the Inrithi got anything wrong at all in their beliefs?


Regarding Kellhus’s intentions in The Aspect Emperor: does he really just want to save the world? When exactly did he realise the Gods were against him, as Maithanet tells Esmenet? Did he ever believe that he was a prophet, or did he simply realise that he was capable of playing a part in these events, regardless of what the Gods thought about it? If he does intend to become God of Gods, does becoming the God of Gods rely on saving the world? Do the Gods need the world to exist? Are the population of Earwa simply fortunate that Kellhus’s goals happen to need a saved world to reach fruition?



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Regarding Kellhus’s reasons for killing Moenghus: why does Kellhus believe his father is damned but he isn’t? What sins has Moenghus committed that Kellhus hasn’t? Or does Kellhus simply think that Moenghus would never aspire to actually change the fact of damnation, and instead block its inevitability by joining the Consult? Does Kellhus therefore realise he is damned? Is he lying about having discovered that sorcerers aren’t damned?

Regarding Kellhus’s claim that the No-God speaks to him: what are the alternative theories for this? Do we believe the No-God actually speaks to him? Is it possible that he has simply ‘absorbed’ the dreams of Seswatha’s life in some fashion without coming in contact with his heart?

Regarding how seriously we are supposed to take the Gods: is there exactly One Hundred Gods? Are they ruled by the God of Gods? Are they named exactly as the Inrithi believe? Have the Inrithi got anything wrong at all in their beliefs?

Regarding Kellhus’s intentions in The Aspect Emperor: does he really just want to save the world? When exactly did he realise the Gods were against him, as Maithanet tells Esmenet? Did he ever believe that he was a prophet, or did he simply realise that he was capable of playing a part in these events, regardless of what the Gods thought about it? If he does intend to become God of Gods, does becoming the God of Gods rely on saving the world? Do the Gods need the world to exist? Are the population of Earwa simply fortunate that Kellhus’s goals happen to need a saved world to reach fruition?

Whoa, thanks for the putting the questions at the end. I was reading through the post and boggling at having to slice it up to reply.

1. We don't know that Kellhus thinks he's not damned. For all we know, Kellhus thinks of himself as damned. The crimes Kellhus refers to, however, are the fact that Moe's been torturing people more or less Consult-style in order to interrogate the Skin-spies. And most people here think Kellhus is lying about sorcerery not damning. He openly says as much when he talks to God in TTT.

2. He's gone crazy.

3. The Hundred Gods are powerful agencies that inhabit the Outside. The Inrithi view them, along with humanity, as all being fragments of The God. The Fanim view them simply as devilish creatures - God exists apart. The nature of The God is unknown. But the Hundred Gods are very real. Are there 100 gods exactly? We haven't seen them all named in the texts, but sure why not. But according to the Fanim view, the Gods are simply larger Ciphrang. So the demarcation between god and demon is blurry.

4. No one knows. As to when he realized the Gods were against him, probably sometime during Unification? The exact point at which the Hundred turn against him isn't really important. I've speculated it was ~4 years after the end of TTT. After Inrilatus' birth, and Esmenet's subsequent birthing of the abomination. He clearly thinks he's a prophet at the end of TTT, unless he's lying to himself in his own head. Whether the Gods need the world is unknown.

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3. The Hundred Gods are powerful agencies that inhabit the Outside. The Inrithi view them, along with humanity, as all being fragments of The God. The Fanim view them simply as devilish creatures - God exists apart. The nature of The God is unknown. But the Hundred Gods are very real. Are there 100 gods exactly? We haven't seen them all named in the texts, but sure why not. But according to the Fanim view, the Gods are simply larger Ciphrang. So the demarcation between god and demon is blurry.





But at what point do we start viewing them as real entities? It seems to me that when Maithanet says to Esmenet "the Gods are awakening", that everyone (and I'm talking about my reading through the old threads of TJE here) suddenly thought 'ah, the Gods are real, therefore everything the Inrithi say about them must be to', and I don't quite follow this line of reasoning. With Ciphrang, we've actually seen these demons through daimotic sorcery so that's fair enough. But have we seen the Gods? Has anyone actually conversed with them? Asked them their name? How do the Inrithi know there are a hundred? I could understand that the Yatwerian cult have seen some serious things, so they could legitimately infer that some power which they've called Yatwer is responsible. But exactly a hundred? So essentially I believe there are Gods, but Man's ability to infer exactly what their deal is should surely be subject to scrutiny. Unless of course, their belief that there is a hundred is precisely what causes there to be a hundred. But I still view that as a popular theory, not something obvious from reading the text.



Also, as you can imagine, I have far more questions that didn't come to me while writing the post. I'm a little confused as to how secretive Kellhus is trying to be about his Dunyain origins. I went in to tAE assuming the original lie was still in place; he was a charismatic Prince of Atrithau who had been proclaimed an Aspect Emperor. But he doesn't seem particularly careful with this lie, Esmenet has been told a lot about the Dunyain and their abilities. I could maybe understand him being so good at manipulating people that it doesn't even matter if he outright tells them that that's what he does. But with Proyas, his entire appearance in tWLW seems to be Kellhus intentionally pushing him toward Achamian's opinion of him. Any theories as to why he's doing this? Apologies if it's been well trodden, but as I said I'm only up to the fifth WLW thread.

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But at what point do we start viewing them as real entities?

The Gods are active. Onkis speaks to Inrau. Gilgaol possesses Saubon and later Cnaiur. Ajokli and Kelmomas converse. Yatwer obviously shows up.

Has anyone actually conversed with them? Asked them their name? How do the Inrithi know there are a hundred?

The prophets presumably did. The Hundred Gods come from the Kiunniat, the traditional Tusk religion. Like I said, the demarcation of a 100 gods is probably arbitrary - the Gods are simply larger Ciphrang, where you draw the line between a weak god and a strong Ciphrang is up to you. But they are real entities. Whether their names are accurate is another question all together, but given that the Ciphrang the Scarlet Spires summon have speak-able names, I don't see why the Hundred wouldn't.

Note that Meppa does not deny their existence or even their powers. He's not lying when he says the Cishaurim have seen them. The Cishaurim's Third Sight lets them see all this shit, and they've mapped the Outside.

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The Gods are active. Onkis speaks to Inrau. Gilgaol possesses Saubon and later Cnaiur. Ajokli and Kelmomas converse. Yatwer obviously shows up.

Of these, we only have one direct reference - Yatwer. Everyone else in that example could be unreliable narration. We simply don't have evidence one way or another. It's a reasonable interpretation, but let's not make absolute statements when it isn't clear that it is absolute.

- the Gods are simply larger Ciphrang, where you draw the line between a weak god and a strong Ciphrang is up to you. But they are real entities

.This is also unclear. Ciphrang may be something else. They might be local beings that only exist in the Outside, whereas the gods were souls that became far more self-moving. Ultimately making assertive statements like this when we have so very little evidence is pretty poor.

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If I present opinions as facts when he's still young and impressionable, I can make him mine.





This is also unclear. Ciphrang may be something else. They might be local beings that only exist in the Outside, whereas the gods were souls that became far more self-moving. Ultimately making assertive statements like this when we have so very little evidence is pretty poor.





We know Ciphrang differ in power. The Cish call both Ankaryotis and the Hundred demons. The Cish are always right.


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Doesn't mean that they're the same things though. As far as the Cish are concerned, any entity that isn't the God is a demon.

Yup. Psatma doesn't care about demon vs god terminology. Her point is that Yatwer has power over mortals, and worshiping her is the better option.

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So to me, it seems perfectly plausible that after all that, the circumfixion provided the catalyst for a genuine "religious experience" in which he no longer could dismiss gods/The God as delusion; and that he in fact came to believe in the Gods because of some sort of personal revelation. A transformation, after which he wasn't the same.

Almost as though The Circumfixion is a great transition rule that will see Inrithism and Fanimry transformed. So long as there are Inrithi and Fanim, this will not be possible. They must yield before a new delusion, a new Breath-that-is-Ground. All souls must be rewritten …

fwiw, Kellhus says Moenghus would come to war against the tyranny of the holy. I think Kellhus is probably warring FOR the tyranny of the holy, in spite of his own damnation. so it seems as though he's doing the same thing he accuses Moenghus of, but perhaps he is not... He might be able to save his own soul from damnation by joining the Consult and furthering their goals, but it would cost the entirety of humanity to save his own soul, and he's not willing to place the cost of himself as worth the price of extinction. He thinks Moenghus would do so.

Here's an interesting question, presumably, if all souls must be rewritten, that includes rewriting Moenghus' soul and rewriting Kellhus' soul as well--and clearly Kellhus has yielded to the delusion. which naturally leads to the question, Meppa anyone? ;)

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Well, from the perspective of having a religious experience. I've had one myself, so I can relate. Granted, mine did not involve being (effectively) crucified and becoming some sort of prophet, but I find Kellhus's experience oddly comparable to mine.

Like Kellhus, I began with a belief that the material world was all there was, and that the supernatural and the divine - gods and demons, and everything similar - was just fiction, a delusion or result of erroneous conclusions at best. I believed that everything could be theoretically explained by science and above all, reason and logic. "Logic is king" was a personal motto I had growing up. I took a position of strong atheism and went about my life.

But one night, I experienced something I could not rationally explain.

Was it a scarab knocking on the window?

(Really hope you consider documenting your experience in the Weird Events Thread.)

As to how it relates to the Bakkerverse, I'd not consider that Kellhus experiences a miracle and then that experience drives him to madness. Someone who continually looks for causal chains and parsimonious explanations might go insane trying to wrap their brain around something that breaks all the rules of reality as they understand it.

I also was thinking about the way magic works in Earwa. It doesn't technically run on specialized rules. The Cants are there to focus the meaning but it's really the intention of the Few that alters reality.

If Kellhus can, due to his supposed Enlightenment, direct certain actions at certain moments without the need of language, is this really a breaking of the way magic works? Perhaps in the moment of the Heart Miracle he unites the intellectual and experiential ways of knowing represented by the Gnosis and Psukhe respectively.

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Kelhus and Serwe are very closely linked, having something to do with her devotion to him. I believe one of them describes it as sharing a soul, or something else to that effect (I know I should have quotes to back this up, but I couldn't track them down...I know they're out there though). The heart being the seat of the soul, and the soul being the window to the Outside, Kelhus is able to reach into the Outside through his own heart. Because of their close link, reaching into Serwe's chest and grabbing her heart is just as easy as grabbing his own. Think of the Outside as kind of a hyperspace, and Serwe's devotion to Kelhus creates a kind of wormhole almost between the two of them.

Yeah, something like this is what I was talking about. I don't consider this a miracle though, a miracle in my mind is something that cannot be explained even given the metaphysics of Earwa.

eta: Plus, I don't think Kellhus needed to 'transcend' to do this. No more than the guy who grew the eye in his heart transcended, or a sorcerer does when performing a cant. eta2: Unless we have different definitions of 'transcend'.

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I also was thinking about the way magic works in Earwa. It doesn't technically run on specialized rules. The Cants are there to focus the meaning but it's really the intention of the Few that alters reality.

That's one rule then. Another is you have to be one of the Few to perform sorcery, and then are rules specific to each form of sorcery, for example the Cishaurim lose their eyesight and rely more on their emotions according to Moe, plus they don't show a Mark unlike other sorcerers who have their rules as well (utterals/inutterals/etc...) Even if you disagree about the term 'rules', nevertheless these things are there and it's not just intentions = sorcery.

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That's one rule then. Another is you have to be one of the Few to perform sorcery, and then are rules specific to each form of sorcery, for example the Cishaurim lose their eyesight and rely more on their emotions according to Moe, plus they don't show a Mark unlike other sorcerers who have their rules as well (utterals/inutterals/etc...) Even if you disagree about the term 'rules', nevertheless these things are there and it's not just intentions = sorcery.

What I mean is that these rules you mention (blinding of Cish, utterals/inutterals) are designed to make up for deficits commonly found - and thus assumed to be universal - in human thinking and focusing.

There's nothing about this stuff that precludes Kellhus from bending reality to his will during the Heart Miracle. We even have a bit of precedence - Titirga manages to rinse his stain without being blind (anymore).

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