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Bakker XXIX: Erratics and Impossible Erections

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Happy Ent's Intro:

This is the perpetual thread devoted to the works of R. Scott Bakker, primarily the books in the Second Apocalypse series, the first of which is The Darkness that Comes Before.

The current publication status is 5 volumes of novels, including The White-Luck Warrior, as well as 2 short stories, The False Sun, and The Four Revelations of Cinial'jin. This thread contains spoilers for these publications.

Since Bakker's writing uses layers of revelation, newcomers are strongly advised to finish the books before coming here; otherwise the spoilers will rot your soul. Eternally.

Most denizens of this thread have also read Bakker's non-fantasy novels Neuropath and Disciple of the Dog, but the spoiler policy is unclear. You are advised to hide crucial plot points in those novels.

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The word "impossibly" is used with magic usually. For instance, "The impossible words were there, poised in Achamians thought, words that could blind eyes and blister flesh."

I'll just point out that the word "impossibly" is not usually used to signal magic in the series, sometimes it is, yes, but not in the majority of cases. For example it is used with the Tekne as well.

Which isn't to say that there wasn't something unnatural happening to him, but if it turns out that Moe was behind the Circumfix miracle I would be very disappointed.

Saying that they wanted them to become erratic on purpose so that they can become easier to kill in a thousand years is not very convincing when they could've killed them right there or left them to die off without the immortality.

Let's not forget that for an Inchoroi the number one priority should have been to stay alive until the world is closed. Which, apart from "Sil's impatience", is substantiated by the account of the Cûno-Inchoroi Wars in the glossary. Pir-Pahal was a disaster for the Inchoroi, but it was the repercussions of the Womb-Plague that actually doomed them. Yet, for some reason, Aurang mentions "Sil's impatience" but says nothing about what has to be the biggest fuck-up in Inchoroi history (at least since coming to Eärwa), the Womb-Plague.

Maybe that's because it was his impatience that lead to this disaster? The Nonmen called Aurang the "Angel of Deciet" following the WP after all. Or was it unintentional?

Almost certainly there is more info on this in the next book.

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I don’t understand who it’s “convenient” for? (The inchies? The Nonmen? The author? The plot?) Please explain.

We don’t know why they gave the men immortality. But to me it’s clear that the sexes are essentially different when it comes to the passage of souls from the Outside to the Inside and back. The male body is endowed with a soul, which leaves when the bodies is damaged. That’s it. The female body, on the other hand, is a soul-trapping device. We don’t understand the metaphysics of Bakker’s world, but the mechanics of men and women with respect to movement-of-souls must be completely different. Wombs are soul-trapping devices.

“Immortality technology”, plausibly, does something with souls. Maybe it just prevents the (mundane) body from deteriorating, but the whole concept of “self” in Bakkerworld is identified with the soul, so the “immortality technology” must handle this in some way. It seems plausible to me that this technology has completely different effects on men and women, because the sexes must be wired differently in exactly the relevant parts. Whatever technology “blocks the soul’s passage from the Nonmale body” might simultaneously crash the firmware in all Nonfemale’s wombs. The womb crashes, rots, and destroys its host.

Both outcomes could easily be (planned and unplanned, respectively) side-effects of the real Inchoroi motivation: to shut off the Outside by preventing souls to get regularly updated with “God-stuff” and pollute the Inside with it. (Or however the metaphysics work, and whatever it actually is the Inchies need to do,…)

I don't mind the idea that the metaphysics did not allow the women to become immortal. What I found very convenient plotwise is the idea that they tried to kill everyone with some sort of bioweapon that worked on the women, but due to some curious accident, it did not work on the men, and not only that, it made them immortal.

eta: And to clarify, this "accident" was something mundane. As in, the poison was not compatible.

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Which isn't to say that there wasn't something unnatural happening to him, but if it turns out that Moe was behind the Circumfix miracle I would be very disappointed.

It depends on how Bakker handles it.

I know the word impossibly is not always used to mean magic in TSA. But it used often enough to be looked into.

For example it is used with the Tekne as well.

Hmm. Perhaps Kellhus was replaced by a skin-spy on the Circumfix and had his consciousness uploaded into it.

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I doubt Moenghus was behind the Circumfix, as he claimed he had no idea how Kellhus could avoid punishment at the hands of the caste-nobility whose authority he disrupted. I know we assume he wasn't 100% honest in that scene but I legitimately take the Circumfix as a blind spot in TTT and it took a bona-fide miracle to overcome it.

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He grasped TTT right before he brandished the heart, I think the two are connected in some way. But perhaps Kellhus's TTT is different from Moe's (or he expanded it.)


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Nope. Did you read the OP? It's about Kellhus standing "impossibly erect" which someone alluded to in the last thread.

I can't believe such an innocent title was misinterpreted in this manner. I expected more in a Bakker thread.

He grasped TTT right before he brandished the heart, I think the two are connected in some way. But perhaps Kellhus's TTT is different from Moe's (or he expanded it.)

I don't like the idea that every Dunyain has his(/her?) own version of TTT, but I do think that there are layers of grasping to it. I also think that Moe lied to Kellhus when he said that he thought up TTT on his own, I think TTT is much older than Moe.

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what is an impossible erection, anyway? like, something in the refractory period?

Now that I think about it, is there any good reason why the Inchoroi seem to not have gotten rid of the refractory period?

Also, what do they feed on? (Or do they not?)

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Like I said before, if they were a race of lovers they would have multiple types of sexual organs. That they have only penises indicates that they are either unimaginative or a race of rapists. Their behavior indicates strongly that they are a race of rapists as well, as I've pointed out in the past.



I still think the telephone sanitation engineer theory is the right one. It explains so very much.


  • Why don't they have nukes? This was the colony ship of the idiots. Why would you give them nukes? Sure, they have the science and the stuff that could make them but they don't remotely have the engineering capabilities.
  • Why didn't they make the womb plague work? Because they're idiots. They took something off the shelf that worked for them (probably their own immortality serum, which of course kills women because they don't have women) and made that work for the nonmen. They tried to kill the nonmen with it but it ended up just doing what it does all the time. Note also that we have good evidence that this wasn't a mistake and they weren't trying to make the nonmen immortal, because they fled and had scads of weapon races ready to fight. You don't weaponize nature if you think you're doing the right thing.
  • Why didn't they give chorae to the dragons? They're idiots. They didn't even think about it. They barely know what magic is and barely know how to use the Tekne. The advanced tactics of using dragons with magical protection? Totally beyond them.
  • Why couldn't they break out of the glamour around the arc themselves? Because they're idiots. It took a human with rudimentary math skills to break them out.
  • Why didn't they just let everyone die from the no-god and not commit it to the field? Because they're idiots. Think of the 12 year old lording over their victory and then teabagging the corpse. That's what the inchies are - they're the teabaggers who get sniped and lose.

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Nope. Did you read the OP? It's about Kellhus standing "impossibly erect" which someone alluded to in the last thread.

I can't believe such an innocent title was misinterpreted in this manner. I expected more in a Bakker thread.

I don't like the idea that every Dunyain has his(/her?) own version of TTT, but I do think that there are layers of grasping to it. I also think that Moe lied to Kellhus when he said that he thought up TTT on his own, I think TTT is much older than Moe.

Can you elaborate a little on the bolded? Are you implying TTT is an independent "entity". I always assumed TTT to be the "theory of everything" sort of a pschostatistical analysis.

I doubt Moenghus was behind the Circumfix, as he claimed he had no idea how Kellhus could avoid punishment at the hands of the caste-nobility whose authority he disrupted. I know we assume he wasn't 100% honest in that scene but I legitimately take the Circumfix as a blind spot in TTT and it took a bona-fide miracle to overcome it.

I agree with this.

I think TTT was exactly how Bakker described - a probabilistic thought pattern on the super scale. TTT broke down for Kel. You can see it before he goes to the circumfix how circumstance overwhelmes him, then right when he needs it on the back of Serwes belief he finally sees his own haloes and performs a miracle.

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<p>

Like I said before, if they were a race of lovers they would have multiple types of sexual organs. That they have only penises indicates that they are either unimaginative or a race of rapists. Their behavior indicates strongly that they are a race of rapists as well, as I've pointed out in the past.

I still think the telephone sanitation engineer theory is the right one. It explains so very much.

  • Why don't they have nukes? This was the colony ship of the idiots. Why would you give them nukes? Sure, they have the science and the stuff that could make them but they don't remotely have the engineering capabilities.
  • Why didn't they make the womb plague work? Because they're idiots. They took something off the shelf that worked for them (probably their own immortality serum, which of course kills women because they don't have women) and made that work for the nonmen. They tried to kill the nonmen with it but it ended up just doing what it does all the time. Note also that we have good evidence that this wasn't a mistake and they weren't trying to make the nonmen immortal, because they fled and had scads of weapon races ready to fight. You don't weaponize nature if you think you're doing the right thing.
  • Why didn't they give chorae to the dragons? They're idiots. They didn't even think about it. They barely know what magic is and barely know how to use the Tekne. The advanced tactics of using dragons with magical protection? Totally beyond them.
  • Why couldn't they break out of the glamour around the arc themselves? Because they're idiots. It took a human with rudimentary math skills to break them out.
  • Why didn't they just let everyone die from the no-god and not commit it to the field? Because they're idiots. Think of the 12 year old lording over their victory and then teabagging the corpse. That's what the inchies are - they're the teabaggers who get sniped and lose.

That was fantastic. I'm now imaging the inchies as Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller in Zoolander.

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Credit for the original idea comes from Happy Ent, I think. I'm not sure if he came up with the original idea or just did his rendition of the infamous Telephone Sanitation Engineer part from HHGG using the inchoroi.



"What is this - a Synthese for ANTS?"


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I think TTT was exactly how Bakker described - a probabilistic thought pattern on the super scale.

Are you referring to Kellhus's conversation with Moenghus? Because this is not how I took what Moe said,

"An instigator that goads them, that bleeds them even as we speak. A formula of events that will rewrite the very course of history. A great transition rule that will see Inrithism and Fanimry transformed. The Thousandfold Thought is all these things. "Beliefs beget action, Kellhus. If Men are to survive the dark years to come, they must all act of one accord. 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 ... There is no other way."

The question is, is TTT strictly a process - similar to the probability trance - or is it a formula with already established probabilistic outcomes that could have been arrived at through the probability trance?

What you're saying implies the former, but that contradicts what Moe said in the above quote and Kellhus when he says that Moenghus began contemplating what would later become TTT. And the mere fact that Kellhus "grasped" it. And the fact that TTT's outcomes have already been outlined by Moe.

I'm not a mathematician or anything so the closest thing I can analogize it to is the Seldon Plan from the Foundation series. Not the science of Psychohistory, but the plan itself.

TTT broke down for Kel. You can see it before he goes to the circumfix how circumstance overwhelmes him, then right when he needs it on the back of Serwes belief he finally sees his own haloes and performs a miracle.

TTT did not break for Kellhus before he went to the circumfix. How can it be so when he only grasped it after the circumfix? What broke for him before was the probability trance.

After getting cut down he says "I see [...] the Thousandfold Thought." And then he pulls Serwe's heart out.

It seems clear - to me at least - that he grasped TTT on the circumfix.

I also think that it is what - somehow - allowed him to perform the Heart Miracle.

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Are you referring to Kellhus's conversation with Moenghus? Because this is not how I took what Moe said,

The question is, is TTT strictly a process - similar to the probability trance - or is it a formula with already established probabilistic outcomes that could have been arrived at through the probability trance?

What you're saying implies the former, but that contradicts what Moe said in the above quote and Kellhus when he says that Moenghus began contemplating what would later become TTT. And the mere fact that Kellhus "grasped" it. And the fact that TTT's outcomes have already been outlined by Moe.

I'm not a mathematician or anything so the closest thing I can analogize it to is the Seldon Plan from the Foundation series. Not the science of Psychohistory, but the plan itself.

TTT did not break for Kellhus before he went to the circumfix. How can it be so when he only grasped it after the circumfix? What broke for him before was the probability trance.

After getting cut down he says "I see [...] the Thousandfold Thought." And then he pulls Serwe's heart out.

It seems clear - to me at least - that he grasped TTT on the circumfix.

I also think that it is what - somehow - allowed him to perform the Heart Miracle.

No I am not referring to a specific reference. More the overall impression and description of the Dunyain thought patterns.

I posit that TTT is essentially a theory of everything which specifically takes into account the human condition. So for me TTT told Kellhus he was doomed before the circumfix. After the Circumfix Kellhus grasped a new TTT only this TTT did not end at the cross.

I suppose it depends on whether you believe Kellhus capable of self delusion.

I suppose we are arguing semantics but I completely appreciate your interpretation.

I like your analogous comparison to the Seldon Plan rather than the Psychohistory. Kellhus is more of a Mule for me though lol.

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Aurang's one weakness is that he could never turn left.

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I posit that TTT is essentially a theory of everything which specifically takes into account the human condition. So for me TTT told Kellhus he was doomed before the circumfix. After the Circumfix Kellhus grasped a new TTT only this TTT did not end at the cross.

But there is no indication that this happened. In TWP Kellhus is told that he needs to grasp TTT, he did not even know what it was. It's only after the Circumfix that he thinks "I see, Father ... The Thousandfold Thought."

To suggest that he already grasped a TT before without even knowing it and after the circumfix he grasped a different one is just too much speculation without evidence to support it. :dunno: Especially when it contradicts the evidence that we have.

As for the nature of TTT, we are explicitly told that it's "a formula of events that will rewrite the very course of history." I could be wrong, but that sounds more like plan than a theory. :)

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I don't think I parsed my thoughts too coherently above. Apologies - very long day yesterday.



SBH what I meant is that TTT is the logical extension of the probability trance. So the probability trance failed Kellhus until he could account for the last variables which allowed an expansion of probability trance into TTT. TTT is the logical Dunyain thought process once they taken into account other variables. Again I see TTT as a logical extension of this and Kellhus own delusions play into his beliefs.



Maybe I am wrong just my opinion. Thanks for clarifying your viewpoints though - allows me to get perspective on my own.


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As for the nature of TTT, we are explicitly told that it's "a formula of events that will rewrite the very course of history."

Note the word "rewrite".

That was fantastic. I'm now imagining the inchies as Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller in Zoolander.

Yeah, I'm already starting to see them in a different light. Perhaps the Inchoroi's civilization is thriving back home having completely forgotten about that bunch of idiots. The ones who went on the Ark are only those who believed in that whole gods/damnation nonsense and wanted to be saved (as in Noah's Ark). Back home, they were probably laughed at and seen as the religious nuts that they are, in a way.

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