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Kalbear

R Scott Bakker's :The Great Ordeal (spoilers)

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1 hour ago, Kalbear said:

Yeah, that. Maybe. That's the idea - that the inchies saw their damnation and then from that moment on made it their only purpose to obliterate the Outside - not to save themselves but because it was the Right Thing To Do. And they traveled from world to world wiping out the people there, looked at the inverse fire and it was all nope, still damned. So they kept looking. And then they found it. 

Except they didn't find it. They created it. They somehow managed to find a world and dimension that happened to fit their need for damnation. Their inverse fire doesn't see a fact - it sees earwa. Or it is a fake made real by an accident. 

Kal - can you put a link to the other excerpt in the OP? Thanks!

I don't get this "fake made real by accident". So the Inverse Fire made their fictions come true?

I suspect the Inchies chose to save themselves as otherwise they could've uplifted other races in their long time span and had them work on undoing the connection between Inward and Outside.

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I will put all of your heads on polls if none of you give me an explanation for the head on a pole thing.  Sheesh. 

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14 minutes ago, Triskan said:

I will put all of your heads on polls if none of you give me an explanation for the head on a pole thing.  Sheesh. 

It's Kel's Ground in the Outside so he doesn't get swept away by the sub-realities of the Sons. 

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17 hours ago, Gasp of Many Reeds said:

I think, based on what he says to Proyas regarding the inability to conceive of God in totality, that Kellhus believes that the God was splintered into Its fragments in the very act of first being perceived but not comprehended by the first sentient beings in the universe. In other words, the Hundred are born out of human and Non-Men perception of the presence of God in Its aspects but failure to comprehend the unity of each aspect with the whole. Kellhus and the Dunyain believe, perhaps, that by grasping the Absolute they grasp the idea of God entire and can therefore force its pieces back together, destroying the Hundred in the process and solidifying once and for all the objectivity of the world.

Interesting theory - that whole 'thinking of god can only do violence to the god' quote?

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7 hours ago, Michael Seswatha Jordan said:

So what makes Mimara Holy?

Where does it say she is holy? I only remember her seeing that 'she is good' (and that it is this that she cannot bear)

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3 hours ago, Sci-2 said:

That said I do think it's an error to compare skinspies to whale mothers for that reason. Skinspies are believed because of the super-technology of the Inchies. If we were told the Skinspies were humans bred over thousands of years....I think many people would be skeptical of that too.

I think it may have gone from world building to moral statement. But with neuropuncture, since we've accepted the dunyain can cause whatever emotion they want in the unmasking room, then they could control growth hormones via neurpuncture, thus controlling the way the body forms in myriad ways. Making for pin head whale mothers. In addition to selective breeding.

On chorae, how about this - A: They have a limited range of effect, not just affecting whatever they touch. And B: perhaps if their ranges overlap, their range of effect condenses (ie, a square of chorae would have a field of effect not much larger than a singular chorae - as the fields condense toward each other. So either you have spots of protection, or go for a sort of spot defence (as you can never have enough chorae to make armour where every chorae touches another). I will resort to doing a diagram to show where the application of more chorae becomes non cost effective if I have to! :)

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1 hour ago, Sci-2 said:

Kal - can you put a link to the other excerpt in the OP? Thanks!

I don't get this "fake made real by accident". So the Inverse Fire made their fictions come true?

@Happy Ent - sorry, added the link to the OP. 

The inverse Fire didn't make anything come true. It's the other way around. At some point they become convinced that damnation is real and that they must kill everyone on a world below 144k. They try it on one world, find out it doesn't work. They keep doing it over millenia, wiping out world after world, then looking into the Inverse Fire and knowing the 'truth' of their damnation. The IF is just a lie, mind you - a really super convincing simulation - but as far as they're concerned it's the truth. 

So they keep going. They are on a jihad across the multiverse. Constantly shaping their bodies and their weapons to destroy the things that exist on those worlds. 

Until they stumble upon the one world where this happens to be truth. Where somehow, their desire to be damned is actually real. Where they can save themselves and everyone else - but in order to do that, have to be damned in the first place. 

It might be just an accident that whatever powers their multiverse engine happened to break the God into splinters. It might have happened because their desire was strong enough - that this was what they wanted, after all. Or it might be something else. But it does explain why the Gods split. Why the nonmen were for a long time fine with going into oblivion - because there weren't gods vying for tasty desire and the souls weren't desperate to violate the rules.

Until the Inchies came.

Until the gates were broken. 

 

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1 hour ago, Baztek said:

I think this unity and fracturing is operating in a much more metaphysical and primordial context. It really doesn't make sense for there to be an Earwa or Inchoroi, or really any individuation of souls while everything was "One - and it was as death." Otherwise it becomes a JRPG plot to reunite the gods cuz the nonmen/inchoroi/someone dun goofed, and not what Bakker's been doing this whole time, a very turned-up-to-11  philosophical commentary on the nature of desire, deception, and suffering in a world of separation. 

I think the one becoming many makes perfect sense when you're thinking about the beginning and ending of a meaningful world. Before the breaking damnation still existed (it was a natural process) and the Judgment occurred. What didn't happen was the feedback loop. The desire wasn't there - desire to be damned. Desire to deceive and get more. Probably a whole lot of people could see with God's sight and tell people what not to do, just like we can see snakes and tell people not to step on them. Maybe some religions got created around these times too, but those were religions more closely resembling science and engineering - because you could actually see what happened and why, and you would be really upset if you hosed yourself and couldn't get redeemed. 

But even then it probably wasn't so bad, because you could go unnoticed into the universe. You could achieve oblivion, which is what the nonmen did. And apparently that worked for them...at least for a time. 

And then comes...something. Something that wishes everything to be have desire. Maybe it's the God - because as pointed out in the text, the Absolute hunt for the Godhead is desire of becoming God. So perhaps the Dunyain created the fracture. Perhaps it's Kellhus too, as I stated before - the idea that in order to become the Godhead for now and before he needed to have the fracture happen, because without it the desire to become the Godhead never exists, and so it happens. It need not be a mistake by the Inchies either - the Inchies, after all, are apocalpyse fanatics, and what would they want more than anything? What does ISIS want more than anything? For the US to invade Iraq and Syria again so that they can have the apocalyptic battle they've been telling everyone about. What do the Inchies want? To finally be able to find that one place that stops the damnation. But it need not be 'someone dun goofed'. It can be an absolutely essential motive of someone that also ended up happening during the world's actual physical existence. 

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2 hours ago, Triskan said:

I will put all of your heads on polls if none of you give me an explanation for the head on a pole thing.  Sheesh. 

The repetitive nature of it makes me suspect that it's a "ground" to anchor Kellhus' soul back in the World when he's exploring the Outside. Every time he starts to get sucked into the Outside mentally, the "there is a head on a pole behind you" drags him back into focus. 

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12 hours ago, Sci-2 said:

 

Here it is:

"I get the idea of big picture credibility arguments, but these kind of disputes in fantasy fiction often strike me as opportunistic. You could argue the natural impossibility of any number of things in ALL fantastic narratives, so the question has to be why this one thing? If people buy skin-spies, why do they draw the line at whale-mothers?

I suppose I could just cook up a rationale: The Dunyain possess an artificially selected genetic mutation that only cues whale-mother dimorphism in the presence of estrogen in certain concentrations. After all, gender dimorphism is a characteristic of all species possessing gender (mammals included), in many cases far more radically than suggested here.

There’s better things to argue about, if you ask me. Such as the role played by the Logos, for one."

Is Bakker trying to tell us something here? Is the entire Second Apocalypse actually about how Derrida was right about (phal)logocentrism and that following the Logos leads inevitably to the patriarchal enslavement of the female to whale-mothery in the name of perfectly embodying the Logos as male flesh (an obvious Messiah parallel if Kellhus, like Christ, is the Word [Logos] Made Flesh, not to mention that Derrida traces logocentrism's origins to the patriarchal idea of the Logos as a living animalistic spiritual creature [basically a form of psychopenis* directing towards the Shortest Path] sent from God unto Men to direct them in ways rational/phallological)?

I also would raise here Aristotle's influential teleology of the Man of the Logos as the perfect end of nature, and Woman as Man deformed/failing to reach nature's ultimate end. The Dunyain thus make Woman a vessel for the attempt to incarnate Man the Logos as the perfect end of nature.

*The Sranc and other weapon races as the Logos embodied as soulless biomachine.

**Am I the only one who finds references to a 'rigid designator' in philosophical discussions of realism amusing?

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11 hours ago, Callan S. said:

Where does it say she is holy? I only remember her seeing that 'she is good' (and that it is this that she cannot bear)

@Callan S., this is from that passage a little before what you remember though.

 

Quote

And a halo about her head, bright and silver and so very holy . The encircling waters darken for its glow.

ETA: I think it worth noting that Kellhus's halos are always described as gold. Might be something, might not.

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13 hours ago, Baztek said:

I think this unity and fracturing is operating in a much more metaphysical and primordial context. It really doesn't make sense for there to be an Earwa or Inchoroi, or really any individuation of souls while everything was "One - and it was as death." Otherwise it becomes a JRPG plot to reunite the gods cuz the nonmen/inchoroi/someone dun goofed, and not what Bakker's been doing this whole time, a very turned-up-to-11  philosophical commentary on the nature of desire, deception, and suffering in a world of separation. 

Yeah, it just seems like Neoplatonism/Gnosticism and some Hindu-esque stuff to me.

Creation by its nature inevitably leads to deception and suffering. The Archons - the Sons in Bakkerverse terminology - are the aspect of God caught up in our level of reality.

Mimara supposedly grasps something beyond this, what Gnostics call the Father of Light...

Kellhus seems to be readying himself to join the Consult rather than fight them, or at the least eliminate them but take over their operations. Since the Sons are not transcendent they are subject to laws/regularities of the multiverse (why they can be bound by the Daimos). 

What's interesting is the "false prophecy" of the Inchies, and how that reveals their plan is just as faith-based as the Fanim and Inrithi. Unless, of course, they know it's false not because it contradicts their faith in salvation/oblivion via the No-God but because they are somehow responsible for setting Mimara's narrative in motion...

 

 

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11 hours ago, Callan S. said:

I think it may have gone from world building to moral statement. But with neuropuncture, since we've accepted the dunyain can cause whatever emotion they want in the unmasking room, then they could control growth hormones via neurpuncture, thus controlling the way the body forms in myriad ways. Making for pin head whale mothers. In addition to selective breeding.

That works.

It's not a setting breaker, so I don't expect it to necessarily have an explanation though I think the teleological justification (men and women moved by final causes toward God intended ends) posted here was better than what we got.

Worries me a bit that fan theories are going to surpass the revelations in TUC...

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On the Logos thing - I figured it was just a reference to another quote Bakker had, about how this is a story about an eschatological universe and what happens after the end. The Logos as a concept is simply wrong, and the God does have a beginning and an end. 

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2 hours ago, Sci-2 said:

Yeah, it just seems like Neoplatonism/Gnosticism and some Hindu-esque stuff to me.

Creation by its nature inevitably leads to deception and suffering. The Archons - the Sons in Bakkerverse terminology - are the aspect of God caught up in our level of reality.

Mimara supposedly grasps something beyond this, what Gnostics call the Father of Light...

Kellhus seems to be readying himself to join the Consult rather than fight them, or at the least eliminate them but take over their operations. Since the Sons are not transcendent they are subject to laws/regularities of the multiverse (why they can be bound by the Daimos). 

What's interesting is the "false prophecy" of the Inchies, and how that reveals their plan is just as faith-based as the Fanim and Inrithi. Unless, of course, they know it's false not because it contradicts their faith in salvation/oblivion via the No-God but because they are somehow responsible for setting Mimara's narrative in motion...

 

 

Yeah, the really grim thing about all this is, as far as this modality of existence is concerned, anything other than the ineffable stillness of the Neoplatonic One is bound to lead to discord and desire. Soon as you put a label or category on anything, it limits it, it creates privation, and all desire is the need to fill this privation. There are also parallels with the Buddhist concept of conditioned genesis - all the properties of existence, consciousness, karma, "thirst", dukkha, individuation, impermanence, no-self, etc. these are all mutually reinforcing and all derive or are "unfold" from the primordial ignorance of the original Unity. 

So it isn't like Bakker's saying if we could all get along, if there were no Inchoroi Earwa would be peachy. I think what started out as a pretty interesting thought experiment/story about different concepts in philosophy of mind has turned into an exposition on the nature of suffering and reality, and the verdict, like I said, is grim: it's fucked. It's totally fucked, there's no fixing, it was fucked right from the first instant the Invisible and Unknown became the Visible and Sensible. 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Baztek said:

Yeah, the really grim thing about all this is, as far as this modality of existence is concerned, anything other than the ineffable stillness of the Neoplatonic One is bound to lead to discord and desire. Soon as you put a label or category on anything, it limits it, it creates privation, and all desire is the need to fill this privation. There are also parallels with the Buddhist concept of conditioned genesis - all the properties of existence, consciousness, karma, "thirst", dukkha, individuation, impermanence, no-self, etc. these are all mutually reinforcing and all derive or are "unfold" from the primordial ignorance of the original Unity. 

So it isn't like Bakker's saying if we could all get along, if there were no Inchoroi Earwa would be peachy. I think what started out as a pretty interesting thought experiment/story about different concepts in philosophy of mind has turned into an exposition on the nature of suffering and reality, and the verdict, like I said, is grim: it's fucked. It's totally fucked, there's no fixing, it was fucked right from the first instant the Invisible and Unknown became the Visible and Sensible.

I don't know if it's that grim. I mean we could look at Mimara & possibly even Kellhus' revelation and their position in the narrative as equivalent to the stranger in the epilogue of Blood Meridian:

gnosticism and mccarthy's blood meridian

Quote

Manichean Gnosticism is easily confused with nihilism, as the latter is commonly understood. The reason is that the Gnostic god, being totally not of this world, generates no nomos, no law, for either nature or human activity. The law, instead, is the law of the archons, and justice is theirs as well. And so is vengeance, the "vengeance that is mine." God's only activity with respect to matter is his attempt, via his suffering-servant pneumatic messengers, to rescue the spirit within humans—the truth of them—out of matter. So, while Jonas is right in arguing that Gnostic "acosmism" makes for the worldly appearance of nihilism, the mere fact that the Gnostic god has a rescuing function makes Gnosticism and nihilism differ importantly (Jonas, Gnostic 332). In Gnosticism, because of this difference, there is conflict and drama. Its human drama takes place within and is a microcosm of its larger cosmic drama which pits spirit against matter, light against darkness and the alien god (and the alien pneumatic spirit within sleeping humankind) against the archons. It is precisely a war. For humans, it is a war against the archons' heimarmene, but this is merely part of the larger war in which the fate of the original god is the primal stake. Mani taught that the cosmic drama amounts to "a war with changing fortunes [in which] the divine fate, of which man's fate is a part and the world an unwilled byproduct, is explained in terms of captivity and liberation " (Jonas, "Gnosticism" 341). And in his teachings, the primal man, the ''knightly male figure, the warrior, assumes the role of the exposed and suffering part of divinity" (341).

With respect to this warrior-knight, Wilhelm Bousset, who was perhaps the most esteemed nineteenth-century authority on Gnosticism, held that he represents god in the form of a hero

 


who makes war on, and is partly vanquished by, darkness. He descends into the darkness of the material world, and in so doing begins the great drama of the world's development. From [god] are derived those portions of light existing and held prisoner in this lower world. And as he has raised himself again out of the material world, or has been set free so shall also the members of the primal man, the portions of light still imprisoned in matter, be set free. (156)

Now could this represent Kellhus, at least in so far as this what Kellhus thinks he is doing? He seems to recognize there was a One in some state of reality but the difference between him and Mimara seems to be the latter has received a revelation that the One is, in fact, still out there whereas for Kellhus it only exists in the Sons?

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2 hours ago, Kalbear said:

On the Logos thing - I figured it was just a reference to another quote Bakker had, about how this is a story about an eschatological universe and what happens after the end. The Logos as a concept is simply wrong, and the God does have a beginning and an end. 

Do you remember the quote? Did he mean the third trilogy was what happens after the end or the series as a whole?

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5 minutes ago, Sci-2 said:

I don't know if it's that grim. I mean we could look at Mimara & possibly even Kellhus' revelation and their position in the narrative as equivalent to the stranger in the epilogue of Blood Meridian:

gnosticism and mccarthy's blood meridian

Now could this represent Kellhus, at least in so far as this what Kellhus thinks he is doing? He seems to recognize there was a One in some state of reality but the difference between him and Mimara seems to be the latter has received a revelation that the One is, in fact, still out there whereas for Kellhus it only exists in the Sons?

You're right, actually, as far as how Bakker's been playing it, it's grim but it might not stay grim. What I mean is even though the solution is turning your back on conditioned existence to grasp the Absolute which is beyond all relativities, the process is (as far as the Western mystery traditions are concerned) is not a mystic ecstasy and melting back into the homogeneous Divine but a sublimation or shining through the darkness of matter in this world while retaining your individuality.

 

This goes back to that Cish quote about living the transcendence. Think of it like this:

Thesis: The One, the Absolute, the Tao, the necessary background medium that is the anchor and root of all existence, but is not defined by it. Musically, a tone that in its subharmonics carries the potentiality of all possible tones.

Antithesis: Humanity, Becoming, here and now. Myriad, distinct tones. Dissonance is evil, harmony is good.

Synthesis: realizing the original perfection while individuated. All these disparate tones contributing not to a homogenous perfection but a heterogenous one, in which the particularities of each individual contribute to a richer, and arguably more perfect, reality, even more perfect than the original One.

Or consider the Hegelian notion of Pure Being as "nothingness", as a the "pure immediacy of experience", and this world as the negation of the Absolute. The mystic would have us retrace our steps to the Thesis, to what was the original womb, a kind of anxious clinging to our metaphysical nest.

The initiate of the Mysteries, the magician, the Gnostic, the Hermeticist, would rather negate the negation and create something entirely new. See, the One is always driving towards perfection, and a One that radiates an eternally imperfect Becoming is less perfect than a One that radiates a Becoming in which its component parts retain their individuation but still comprise a harmonious unity.

 

I think Kellhus is kind of like an autist. He's got a great grasp of this stuff but he can't see through to the Whole that necessarily condition the Parts. Mimara is a woman, has a soul, a real heart, and she can. 

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29 minutes ago, Sci-2 said:

Do you remember the quote? Did he mean the third trilogy was what happens after the end or the series as a whole?

The quote was mentioned earlier on this thread. It doesn't say that that's the third part of the series, but it's pretty clear that the series is about the apocalypse - not only it occurring, but what happens afterwards. 

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19 minutes ago, Baztek said:

You're right, actually, as far as how Bakker's been playing it, it's grim but it might not stay grim. What I mean is even though the solution is turning your back on conditioned existence to grasp the Absolute which is beyond all relativities, the process is (as far as the Western mystery traditions are concerned) is not a mystic ecstasy and melting back into the homogeneous Divine but a sublimation or shining through the darkness of matter in this world while retaining your individuality.

 

This goes back to that Cish quote about living the transcendence. Think of it like this:

Thesis: The One, the Absolute, the Tao, the necessary background medium that is the anchor and root of all existence, but is not defined by it. Musically, a tone that in its subharmonics carries the potentiality of all possible tones.

Antithesis: Humanity, Becoming, here and now. Myriad, distinct tones. Dissonance is evil, harmony is good.

Synthesis: realizing the original perfection while individuated. All these disparate tones contributing not to a homogenous perfection but a heterogenous one, in which the particularities of each individual contribute to a richer, and arguably more perfect, reality, even more perfect than the original One.

Or consider the Hegelian notion of Pure Being as "nothingness", as a the "pure immediacy of experience", and this world as the negation of the Absolute. The mystic would have us retrace our steps to the Thesis, to what was the original womb, a kind of anxious clinging to our metaphysical nest.

The initiate of the Mysteries, the magician, the Gnostic, the Hermeticist, would rather negate the negation and create something entirely new. See, the One is always driving towards perfection, and a One that radiates an eternally imperfect Becoming is less perfect than a One that radiates a Becoming in which its component parts retain their individuation but still comprise a harmonious unity.

I think Kellhus is kind of like an autist. He's got a great grasp of this stuff but he can't see through to the Whole that necessarily condition the Parts. Mimara is a woman, has a soul, a real heart, and she can. 

Ah, I like distinguishing the different paths.I agree Kellhus is lesser evaluation of Gnosticism, identifying with the transcendent/alien part of the God whereas Mimara is more toward the immanent, panentheistic aspect.


This essay on Gnosticism and the X-men captures Kellhus perfectly in this passage:

Quote

The imagination of the traditional Christian, for example, conceives of an ascent to heaven that would transport the individual to a blissfully happy place; we still recognize personalities, however happy, in Dante. Gnosticism, by contrast, speaks of the afterlife as the re-integration of the Gnostic spark with the divine, shedding the shell of both the body and the psyche. It is difficult to picture what would be left. The Matrix, Gnostic in its cosmology, could have been Gnostic in its "psychology" as well: Morpheus may have gotten Neo out of the illusory prison the Machines built to trap us, but can he get him out of the love he has for Trinity? A fully Gnostic director could conceive of his love for her as occurring on the level of the psyche, as another trap created by the Archons to keep him from waking up to realize his own power, his Gnostic spark.[6] These examples show that recognizing such a distinction has radical consequences, particularly when we use it to question existing conceptions of the Post-Human.

Seems to fit in well with how Kellhus sees himself and the Dunyain, as vessels best suited to the God's purpose. Of course this could just be an ego-trap of the Dunyain, as Mimara does see their insane hunger as evil and thus falling into the trap of the Archons. It doesn't lead to God at all, rather it puts one in the hands of the very jailers the Inchies want to escape.

One issue with placing hope in Mimara's experience w/ the Chorae is the idea of love as another part of the Archons' trap does parallel Kellhus learning that Love and Courage are just as much meat for the Sons as any sinful characteristic.

The counter is that the God experienced through the Chorae seems to represent a different kind of love than the supposed "trap" of passion - Hindu mystics would distinguish love for other humans with the Sublime - love for creation in its entirety.

OTOH, as per your post, perhaps for Mimara love for one person - her baby - is the channel she follows back to the God. Maybe the key is the love for another, like one's own child, is the window that opens into the Sublime? 

 

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