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Bakker XLIII - the prattle of unnumbered years

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

The current publication status is 5 volumes of novels, including the latest, The White-Luck Warrior, as well as 3 short stories, The False Sunand The Four Revelations of Cinial'jin on Bakker's Blog Three Pound Brain and The Knife of Many Hands, which is available for purchase. 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.

 

 


play nicely this time, kids. obviously the years between books turn us into cannibals.

i for one love unjon's and sci's thoughts regarding hegel and whatnot in the last thread.  moe's theoretical description of the thousandfold thought always struck me as hegel expressed as a formal axiomatics.

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Quick note - thanks to MSJ for the kind words.

On metaphysics, the Hegel angle is really interesting stuff.

For me the ideal metaphysics for the Bakkerverse explains the following:

1) God's creation of the universe.

2) The idea of there being only one "here", and how this helps explains Kellhus' teleportation and heart grasping powers. Also the fire scrying?

3) What a soul is - how it ends up in the body, and how it is later damned.

4) How the Inchies managed to discover their damnation, and why it took so long.

5) Why don't dragons use chorae. ;-)

Not saying UnJon has to do this, it's a tall order for sure, but just curious if Hegel (or Schelling, or whoever) might give us some insight into the Bakkerverse.

I've read little Kant - but I was reading a debate between a Bergsonian & a Kantian and it seemed Kant's ideas of time might relate to the way the Judging Eye works? Or am I just totally off on that?

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Themerchant, I was mostly not being serious. While Sci doesn't hate bakker there have been a whole lot of things that he's said indicating his displeasure about what bakker has done, especially outside of the text. The idea that Sci is some kind of great bakker defender when he frequently posted on roh is a bit odd to me to say the least.

But it got Sci to come back and talk so I'm cool with it.

As to me making mistakes about happy ent, sorry. Just like madness fucked up his characterization of sci, I got a couple things wrong, like how ent didn't say that the inchies were not rapists, just that they were not sadists. If you're looking for infallibility I'm gonna disappoint.

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That being said, let's get into this a b from MSJ:

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Those are the main ones of the story so far. And while woman are "supposedly" inferior on Earwa, I'm not buying it. Esme and Mimara are huge to the events that will unfold in the final two books. Yes, women are lesser on Earwa because that's what the Tusk says, who says the Tusk is right? The Tusk was altered by the Inchoroi. I have a feeling that Miss Mimara will be the "hero" of this story. Or, maybe we'll see axlotl tanks, who knows.

The Tusk says that because it is the actual record of what people observe through things like the Judging Eye and what they observe when they talk with their gods. The idea that humans have it wrong is one of the central conceits that needs to be removed from the books. This isn't a story about a world where gods are real but prejudices aren't - like, say, ASOIAF or WoT or things like that. Earwa is a world which is like the world our ancestors thought they lived in.

Everything is judged. Everything has spiritual worth. Actions are weighed and have an effect on what you are like in the afterlife. 

And one of the rules of this universe is that women are worth less than men. Objectively, spiritually, worth less. Mimara can see it the same way she can see snakes being holy. Others can see it too. It is a fact of the universe. It isn't up for debate. 

Bakker has said this a number of times, too. 

And this, IMO, is why it feels wrong that you didn't pay attention to the messages about women and gender in the book - because Bakker spent a whole lot of time deliberately putting it in. For a while a lot of people thought that it was an accident, or that implied something about Bakker - or, perversely, that Bakker was simply telling things like they used to be and was being super realistic, far more than most authors. But none of that is true. Bakker set out to deliberately create a world that was worse than ours with respect to women, where how the ancestors thought about women was actually truth. Now, we don't know what spiritual worth might mean - it may simply be how tasty things are to the gods Outside, or how much potential someone has for doing evil, or any number of things - but it is an observable fact in Earwa that women are not as worthwhile as men. 

This is one of the more interesting things in the book, honestly - does it matter? When Kellhus elevates women to be the equals of men in a great many things, we are told by Bakker he isn't doing it because its the right thing to do, but because it is the utilitarian thing to do - and it goes against the natural way of things in the world. But does that matter? Does it mean Esme cannot do great things, or Mimara cannot? The two things can be true at the same time - that in Earwa women are worth less and women can still do amazing things in the world. 

I think Mimara will be a hero of the story, but I also think that the axolotl tank theory makes a whole lot of sense. Both can be correct. Especially if Kellhus is essentially super, super wrong about the world and his quest to disenchant everything goes up against Mimara becoming the Godhead, and the end question is whether it's better to be spiritually dead but equal - and do so not because it's the right thing to do but because some guy wants it - or if it's better to preserve the chosen one of God but with that preservation keep all the prejudice and objective sexism as part of the universe. Or as Bakker has asked, what if the Consult are the good guys?

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I don't have time for a lengthy post, but, I never said I didn't notice that women were inferior. That was implied by many of you. What I meant is I didn't see that Bakker set out to make a point about feminism and I don't see any of the treatment as making anyone sexist. I see it as a way to show the bleakness of the world. And as you say Kalbear, all that changes with Kellhus.

Quick aside about the Tusk. Viramsata. Through and through.

ETA:Kalbear, I barely skimmed your post about Kellhus changing woman's status. And I don't think that women are objectively inferior. I think so much of what is believed on Earwa is Viramsata. Moe explains this in his meeting with Kellhus. The Tusk is just another version of it in my opinion, nothing holy about the Tusk. It isn't the truth.

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But we know moe is wrong. The tusk is also wrong, but it doesn't matter, because the idea of women as being inferior is part of the universe.

Kellhus can state that women are changed but it doesn't actually change the underlying universe. People don't shape the moral underpinning of the universe. It doesn't change. The only way we know to get rid of it is to remove the world from the moral frame - what the inchies tried to do by killing everyone, and what the consult tried to do with the no-god.

Moe thinks - like you and I do in the real world - that God is just a set of rules to manipulate people. He is our modern viewpoint. On earwa, this is wrong.

And one of his stated goals in writing this series was to problematize feminism, at least as he saw it. If you don't want to see that in the book I guess that's your call, but your idea that all he wanted to do was add bleakness goes directly against what bakker has stated his goal was.

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1 hour ago, Kalbear said:

And one of his stated goals in writing this series was to problematize feminism, at least as he saw it. If you don't want to see that in the book I guess that's your call, but your idea that all he wanted to do was add bleakness goes directly against what bakker has stated his goal was.

One, I'm not so sure that Moe is wrong. In fact, i believe a lot of what he says is true. I have been doing the re-read at SA and have a good post on it to come when I'm finished TTT. At work and when I have time I will post it here also.

Two, to the above quoted. I understand he wanted to problematize feminism. I am not stating that all he was trying to do was add bleakness to the world. Its just how I read it. I don't read every bit of wrongdoing in literature as a treatise for feminism, racism or what have you. Sure, he said that was his stated goal, good for him. I'm not trying to make it anything different, I'm not trying to defend RSB, it's I just don't see it because I don't go looking for it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Bakker only said he was trying to problematize feminism after he started receiving harsh reviews online, right? Like I said in the last thread, strikes me as a bit of foot in the ol' mouth.

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Dude, Moe is wrong. Bakker has said so, multiple times.

 

Edit: I'm going to say I THINK he has said that multiple times until I can look up some citations, cause God forbid. There is that quote he had way back about Gods causing lightning that I always felt described the whole idea real well, which of course I can't find either.

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32 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Dude, Moe is wrong. Bakker has said so, multiple times.

 

Edit: I'm going to say I THINK he has said that multiple times until I can look up some citations, cause God forbid. There is that quote he had way back about Gods causing lightning that I always felt described the whole idea real well, which of course I can't find either.

If you can find it, I'd love to see it. I've never heard any Bakker commentary on Moe.  That's weird because at S A there are tons of threads about who is fooling who, Moe or Kellhus. If Bakker made it clear Moe was not right, why the debate?

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If anything Bakker has indicated Big Moe was not as clueless as he comes off in the convo with Kellus.

Perhaps Big Moe even planned on Lil' Moe taking his name...at least if we assume the TTT goes from probability calculations to actually precognition...

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Maybe I'm remembering wrong, but hasn't Bakker said multiple times that, and I paraphrase kalbear here, people don't shape the moral underpinnings of the universe? I don't mean to say he has verbatim said MOE IS WRONG, just that he has said that stuff Moe believes are wrong. Someone with more knowledge of the whole issue should probably chime in here.

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21 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Maybe I'm remembering wrong, but hasn't Bakker said multiple times that, and I paraphrase kalbear here, people don;t shape the moral underpinnings of the universe? I don;t mean to say he has verbatim said MOE IS WRONG< just that he has said that stuff Moe believes are wrong. SOmeone with more knowledge of the whole issue should probably chime in here.

Well it's just what you believe. I for one think Moe was right. He described Viramsata as akin to Inrithism and Fanimry, lies made truth. Its exactly what Kellhus did in order to take over the Holy War. Its just my opinion and Kalbear has his. But, I believe big Moe knew more about the true nature of Earwa and had his hand in everything in the first trilogy. Maybe even the second of you believe in Meppa=Moe+Cnauir. Everything in that meeting between Moe and Kellhus was purposeful.

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Bakker has flat out said that there is one, single, right way to believe and a whole lot of people are going to be wrong.

The problematize feminism line came in one of his earliest interviews, iirc.

And it's not just what I believe; it's backed by author explanations and in text quotes. Do you have any reason to think otherwise? So far you're equating your opinion to something subjective like whether a dress is pretty. That's not really how it works.

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Shit the board ate my post. Well I try again. I've gave examples Inrithism, Fanimry, how belief and conviction make things a reality on Earwa. Might be the reason that Serwe is such an important character. Her utter belief and conviction in Kellhus. Yea, Bakker said there was on way to believe on Earwa, correct. And this is what I'm saying is that belief is what changes the reality, Viramsata. Its what caused the 100, belief in different aspects of THE GOD. So, what I am saying is belief can change the reality for women on Earwa also. 

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Someone with better knowledge then me can pull up the various quotes then. I'm almost positive he has said that's not how thins work, but I can't remember when or where specifically, so I dunno. Most of his blog isn't usually related to his work. Maybe on the hotlist somewhere?

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I'm sure they have 99.999% of everything Bakker has said at SA and I've never seen that. Could be wrong, if you can find it id love to read it.

And as to my thoughts on belief on Earwa. Its not what you believe in, it's the way in which you believe that matters. Bakker said there is a right way to believe, not a right religion to believe in. Locke has some good thoughts about Serwe and why she might be so important.

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Bakker never said Mor was wrong as far as I can recall. And I don't think anything in TJE or WLW shows he was wrong yet either.

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