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Bakker LV - Nau's Ark

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Haven’t read Hobb in a looong time, but I recall the live ship series being significantly better than the assassin series, and the two are independent of each other at the point of those two series.

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On 8/29/2018 at 6:29 PM, .H. said:

I think your post highlights just how little we know (understand?) about what the Eärwan soul really is.  On the one hand, it seems fairly obvious that the soul is one's connection to the Outside, if nothing else.  The Outside, of course, is the plemora, then the question would be: is the soul of the plemora or of the manifest world?

Hmmm. We know Bakker was greatly influenced by Blood Meridian, where the Judge considers the Good within the kid to be of alien origin. I would dare to suggest that Outside is of the psyche but not the pneuma - see this quote from Geoff Klock's X-men, Emerson, Gnosticism:

"It ia Gnosticism's conception of the self that is most interesting and radical: Gnosticism makes a distinction between the soul (in Greek the psyche) and the spirit (the pneuma). The psyche is primarily what we traditionally associate with the mental self, most exhaustively treated by Freud in his psychoanalysis: appetites and passions certainly, but also our love and our tastes, and much - perhaps all - of our personality. Emerson, an implicit Gnostic, referred to this as the "adhesive self."[4] Christianity, implicitly or explicitly, conceives of the body as a prison for the soul; Gnosticism conceives of BOTH the body and the soul (again, the personality, appetites and desires) as a prison for the spirit, the Gnostic spark, the part of God."

I'm thinking of how Mimara sees past the "false foil" of the Abyss to the drowsy compassion of the God. It also seems this connection the foundational power of the One is what allows her to banish the Wight. Of course there she is maintaining the "Gate", the boundary between the Outside/Abyss and the dreamed world rather than banishing in the way a Catholic exorcist invokes Christ/God. This however could make a certain sense, as anarcane ground itself is where the God dreams most lucidly.

So by enforcing the Gate Mimara is in fact summoning the dreaming mind of God which is, in fact, the world of Earwa in its more naturalistic aspects. (Naturalist being different than our conception for our world, since Earwa is an enchanted world and at the least Naturalism usually refers to a disenchanted world in context of our reality..."enchanted" I guess would be the interweaving of sentient purpose and physics/chem/bio)

This is also suggests animals may naturally be of the One, given they have no souls to damn whereas humans - really all sentient entities with reflective consciousness - only exist due to the lapses in the God/One's own consciousness. Individuals, then, might be that aspect of the One that is lead into the illusion of a persona...the closest analogous reality I can think of is the "voices" in our heads offering praise, criticism. shame, etc.

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Given the No-God's function though and whatever the Great Cycle of Souls is, then I don't think the soul can be of the manifest world.  It must be pleromatic, then, and wholly so.  Or at least, in nature at least.  But here we return to the issue at hand, none the closer to an actual answer.  Just what is the soul? 

 

The soul seems to be microcosmic, perhaps even fractal/holographic, portions of the One. This would distinguish them from the Hundred who are, from what I gathered out of Bakker's AMA, subconscious processes smeared across the Eternal/Now joint of reality more than fully complete conscious entities.

I believe it was Eskeles who compared the Hundred to shattered fragments and Kellhus to a perfect rendition of the One writ small? We now know that was incorrect, given Kellhus was no savior, but the model works to distinguish the Hundred from an actual soul. (This leaves the issue of Ciphrang who seem to be individuals within the Now though they exist in the supposedly Eternal place of the Ouside?)

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And if souls cycle, what makes one yours and the other mine?  Or am I misunderstanding what cycle means?  I surely am, since if it was a 1:1 cycle in and out, the population of Eärwa could never grow. 

Well souls could come and go from other worlds, but I agree with your latter assement:

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No, I think what is meant is the the soul itself is "locked into place."  That is, it cannot undergo the cycle of it's own transformation.  That is (presumably) it's "attachment" to life in the manifest world (at Birth), it's "development" (during life), and it's subsequent "return" to the plemora (the Outside).  (This actually makes sense, how the Wright of the Mountain stays fixed to the spot, how souls on the planes of Mangedda.)

I also suspect the cycle refers to the creation of souls through birth and then the movement of that soul into the afterlife. But if souls are pinched off bits of Outside then it would be a cycle...a harvest in some sense if the Hundred are responsible for this cycle. Perhaps there is nothing natural at all about birth/death of ensouled beings, and the One truly intended every conscious being to play out P-Zombie characters in Its dream?

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It's unclear what this "development" really is though.  In some ways, the soul must be a ledger of sorts.  In others, a manner of identity preservation.  As Koringhus (seems) to relate to us, part of the problem might be the clinging to identity.  That we are in the trouble of damnation because we deny the true interval between ourselves and the world (or the plemora, I'm not sure).  Or is it that we acknowledge the interval, in imagining (or acknowledging) the interval demanded by our perceived (constructed?) identity.

 

Yeah, that's how I see it, that one must escape identity/individuality to be free from damnation. Or at the least one must see one's "self" as an emanation of the One rather than an individual with a subjective-boundary. After all what is an "individual" but this boundary, this being that feels the its feeling only extending to the outer surface of its skin?

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So, I guess to answer your question, along the line of Koringhus, the "false" identity we acknowledge is what is damned.  Which we cling to and won't let go.  And so costs eternity and the price of the now.

Or something, man, I don't know...

 

Agreed on this...but then the challenge is that Kellhus could get past that "here-ness" but this didn't save him from damnation...or perhaps his own fears kicked in while on the Circumfix. The figure beneath the World Tree was waiting for him to give in, the Trickster at the Crossroads offering a deal to save the "self" of Kellhus. Ajokli seems like a cross between Satan, Papa Legba, and Mara the Tempter to me.

Could Kellhus have found the One? Or is Dunyain conditioning problematic in the sense that it can, in theory, lead to awareness of the One but given the millennia of breeding for survival in the material world one is predisposed toward preservation and thus damnation?
 

Edited by Sci-2

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On 9/7/2018 at 8:46 PM, Triskjavikson said:

I've only read the first Hobb book and thought it was just OK but have certainly seen much love on the board which has always made me think about jumping back in.

 

It's terribly overrated, and I wouldn't compare it to Bakker at all -- sort of like going from a burlap sack to a wet diaper.

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On 9/8/2018 at 3:48 PM, Sci-2 said:

Hmmm. We know Bakker was greatly influenced by Blood Meridian, where the Judge considers the Good within the kid to be of alien origin. I would dare to suggest that Outside is of the psyche but not the pneuma - see this quote from Geoff Klock's X-men, Emerson, Gnosticism:

Hmm, in fact, I round-aboutly came across the same sort of idea from a completely different place in the last week.  No such thing as coincidence though, must mean something.

On 9/8/2018 at 3:48 PM, Sci-2 said:

I'm thinking of how Mimara sees past the "false foil" of the Abyss to the drowsy compassion of the God. It also seems this connection the foundational power of the One is what allows her to banish the Wight. Of course there she is maintaining the "Gate", the boundary between the Outside/Abyss and the dreamed world rather than banishing in the way a Catholic exorcist invokes Christ/God. This however could make a certain sense, as anarcane ground itself is where the God dreams most lucidly.

So by enforcing the Gate Mimara is in fact summoning the dreaming mind of God which is, in fact, the world of Earwa in its more naturalistic aspects. (Naturalist being different than our conception for our world, since Earwa is an enchanted world and at the least Naturalism usually refers to a disenchanted world in context of our reality..."enchanted" I guess would be the interweaving of sentient purpose and physics/chem/bio)

This is also suggests animals may naturally be of the One, given they have no souls to damn whereas humans - really all sentient entities with reflective consciousness - only exist due to the lapses in the God/One's own consciousness. Individuals, then, might be that aspect of the One that is lead into the illusion of a persona...the closest analogous reality I can think of is the "voices" in our heads offering praise, criticism. shame, etc.

Hmm, could it be that Mimara's "power" to banish that Wight is similar to the sort of "thuamaturgy" we see Kellhus-Ajokli wield versus the Mutilated?  I.e. not sorcery (i.e. of the psyche, read: soul) but of divine providence (i.e. of the pneuma, read: spirit).  That is to say, I somewhat disagree that Mimara's power is "setting the world" to a more "naturalistic" state.  Because, as you say, Eärwa's "natural state" is that of enchantment.  So, the Wight's position is eminently natural.  Which, of course it is, because it is.

What Mimara seems to be doing, rather, is waking the God.  That is, "fixing" the frame, such that the world is as it should be, by Mimara's judgement.  This might well be the role of the Judging Eye.  That is, the same role taken on by by God-as-Christ, post-Job, in rendering the perspective of God from the mortal vantage.  (This could easily be bias on my part, as I have at other times personally noted that there is a plausible parallel of sorts between Mimara and a Christ-figure.)

Your last point though is interesting though, since if the soul is not pleromantic, or of the Outside, but of the psyche (i.e. Logos, if not The Logos) than it is more confusing how the soul is enduring, when the mind (that is, the physical brain) is not.  The only way I think I can square that, off the top of my head, is to say that the Spirit (i.e. the divine spark in each individual, gained at birth) is imprinted by the Soul (i.e. the psyche) in an indelible, or at least semi-permanent manner.  So, it may not be your soul passing on, but rather your Spirit so imprinted by your soul.  Your Spirit, of course, being your share on the One.  Your soul's delusion, of course, is that it is both the Spirit itself and separate from the One.  Both are incorrect.

However, I think I need to preface the use of One though.  One is not the Unity.  As Koringhus puts it, it would be the Zero-as-One.  For brevity's sake, I shall continue to just use One to denote this, even though the actual unity concept must be Zero-as-One.

On 9/8/2018 at 3:48 PM, Sci-2 said:

The soul seems to be microcosmic, perhaps even fractal/holographic, portions of the One. This would distinguish them from the Hundred who are, from what I gathered out of Bakker's AMA, subconscious processes smeared across the Eternal/Now joint of reality more than fully complete conscious entities.

I believe it was Eskeles who compared the Hundred to shattered fragments and Kellhus to a perfect rendition of the One writ small? We now know that was incorrect, given Kellhus was no savior, but the model works to distinguish the Hundred from an actual soul. (This leaves the issue of Ciphrang who seem to be individuals within the Now though they exist in the supposedly Eternal place of the Ouside?)

Well, if we follow our earlier line of thinking, it isn't the Soul than, rather it is the Spirit.  The Spirit is the division of the One, the Soul is the manifest world's interface to the Spirit.  That is, the Body does not work directly on the Spirit, rather it is Mind, the Psyche, that so interfaces the Pleromantic (Outside).

In this way, Ciphrang are Spirits who's Body/Soul so marred them as to be completely incapable of assimilating back into the One.  Or, at least, so marred as to be incapable of existing within the Pleroma (Outside) without extreme discomfort.  So, a Ciphrang could be a thing so temperamentally opposed to the Unity concept (that is, so distinctly marred as to maintain identity) that it cannot and never will be able to rejoin the One, or join oblivion.  It's a forever torper, hungering when nothing can feed.

On 9/8/2018 at 3:48 PM, Sci-2 said:

I also suspect the cycle refers to the creation of souls through birth and then the movement of that soul into the afterlife. But if souls are pinched off bits of Outside then it would be a cycle...a harvest in some sense if the Hundred are responsible for this cycle. Perhaps there is nothing natural at all about birth/death of ensouled beings, and the One truly intended every conscious being to play out P-Zombie characters in Its dream?

Well, I think you have relapsed a bit.  Souled being simply flavoring for Spirits.  It is Spirits that the 100 harvest, gaining greater share of One.  Souls simply give "taste" to the Spirit.  In that vein:

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But if there’s no hiding from Him, why doesn’t He simply kill me?

Because He plays you!

But how could a God play at anything?

Because that is what he feeds upon ‘ere you die, the grain of your experience.

Fool! I asked how, not why!

Who can say how the Gods do what they do?

Maybe because they can’t!

And when the ground shakes, when mountains explode, or the seas rise up?

Pfah. The Gods do these thingsOr do they simply know they will happen before they happen?

Perhaps there’s no difference.

This is little Kel's internal discussing with his Voice.

So the 100, divisions of the Zero-as-One, desire divisions of Spirit, to demark their existence as One-not-Zero.  Damnation, as Kellhus puts it, "is their harvest" because damnation, the Soul's selfish tainting of the Spirit as to exclude it from Zero-as-One, i.e. as Indentity, helps to define the Hundred.

This means that Koringhus is even more correct.  The way out of the trap of Eärwa is regressive.  Or at least, regressive of the Self.

The Logos is another trap, so perhaps this is why Kellhus (mostly) abandons it?

On 9/8/2018 at 3:48 PM, Sci-2 said:

Yeah, that's how I see it, that one must escape identity/individuality to be free from damnation. Or at the least one must see one's "self" as an emanation of the One rather than an individual with a subjective-boundary. After all what is an "individual" but this boundary, this being that feels the its feeling only extending to the outer surface of its skin?

Yes, yes, I believe now we are getting somewhere.  I'd say it a bit differently though, that one must realize that these is no Self, rather is it a delusion of perspective.

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Souls can no more see the origins of their thought than they can see the backs of their heads or the insides of their entrails. And since souls cannot differentiate what they cannot see, there is a peculiar sense in which the soul cannot self-differentiate. So it is always, in a peculiar sense, the same time when they think, the same place where they think, and the same individual who does the thinking. Like tipping a spiral on its side until only a circle can be seen, the passage of moments always remains now, the carnival of spaces always sojourns here, and the succession of people always becomes me. The truth is, if the soul could apprehenditself the way it apprehended the world—if it could apprehend its origins—it would see that there is no now, there is no here, and there is no me. In other words, it would realize that just as there is no circle, there is no soul.
—MEMGOWA, CELESTIAL APHORISMS

 

On 9/8/2018 at 3:48 PM, Sci-2 said:

Agreed on this...but then the challenge is that Kellhus could get past that "here-ness" but this didn't save him from damnation...or perhaps his own fears kicked in while on the Circumfix. The figure beneath the World Tree was waiting for him to give in, the Trickster at the Crossroads offering a deal to save the "self" of Kellhus. Ajokli seems like a cross between Satan, Papa Legba, and Mara the Tempter to me.

Could Kellhus have found the One? Or is Dunyain conditioning problematic in the sense that it can, in theory, lead to awareness of the One but given the millennia of breeding for survival in the material world one is predisposed toward preservation and thus damnation?

It's hard to say, because if you read TTT Chapter 10, where my above quote comes from, Kellhus seems to "get" this.  The question than is, what of it?  Koringhus seems to have been able to "get it."  But only through the lens of Mimara, through her forgiveness, and (the) Eye.  I think Kellhus could have found that, but he doesn't seem to have.  In other words, it would seem that Kellhus knew the fundamental nature of the meta-physics, but still (like the Consult) demanded the world to change rather him change to it.  In other words, I do not buy that Kellhus ever gave up his Self, or allowed his Soul to die to his Spirit.

No, in the way Bakker likens it, I'd say it makes sense that Kellhus is "dead but not done."  He is at minimum a Ciphrang, a Spirit too marred by his Soul to be devoured.  But considering his power, perhaps even more.  If the Fanim are right, that the Hundred are basically Ciphrang, than Kellhus might well be a near god-like Ciphrang.

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No, in the way Bakker likens it, I'd say it makes sense that Kellhus is "dead but not done."  He is at minimum a Ciphrang, a Spirit too marred by his Soul to be devoured.  But considering his power, perhaps even more.  If the Fanim are right, that the Hundred are basically Ciphrang, than Kellhus might well be a near god-like Ciphrang.

Except Ajokli can't find him in the Outside. That's what causes him to rage so much - as far as Ajokli's concerned, Kellhus betrayed Ajokli and instead of being punishable, he's...nowhere to be found. 

As to Kellhus 'getting' it, it's really depending on whether or not his sermons to Akka and Esme are what he actually believes, or what he thinks he wants them to believe while he manipulates him. Given that Kellhus' doesn't appear to take this tack at all - of being selfless and many - and instead is about as singular as you can get, relying heavily on his own specific abilities and deals to wipe out his enemies - I think it's more likely he's using the belief system to get what he wants without actually believing it.

And when he does get evidence to the contrary, he frames it as himself being special - God and the No-God talk to Kellhus, Kellhus is special, Kellhus is more, etc. 

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53 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Except Ajokli can't find him in the Outside. That's what causes him to rage so much - as far as Ajokli's concerned, Kellhus betrayed Ajokli and instead of being punishable, he's...nowhere to be found. 

Good point.  I can think of a couple plausible things that might have happened: Kellhus somehow found/made a nook in the Outside where Ajokli can't see; Kellhus's (Spirit/Soul) is actually in one of Decapitants or another head he swapped with the second; Ajokli's ability to see is hampered by the No-God.  Of them, the last one seems least likely, the second the most likely, and the first, well, I don't have any idea if that is likely or not.  Kellhus did seem to be able to devise methods to avoid the "usual" problems of "traveling" the Outside with the Head-on-a-Pole method, seemingly, so it doesn't seem out of the question that he was prepared to hide his soul in the worst case.  Just not clear at all how he might.

57 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

As to Kellhus 'getting' it, it's really depending on whether or not his sermons to Akka and Esme are what he actually believes, or what he thinks he wants them to believe while he manipulates him. Given that Kellhus' doesn't appear to take this tack at all - of being selfless and many - and instead is about as singular as you can get, relying heavily on his own specific abilities and deals to wipe out his enemies - I think it's more likely he's using the belief system to get what he wants without actually believing it.

And when he does get evidence to the contrary, he frames it as himself being special - God and the No-God talk to Kellhus, Kellhus is special, Kellhus is more, etc. 

Yeah, it's real hard to know when Kellhus is just throwing shit out there to manipulate, or if he actually is buying into his own spiel.  I think you bring up a good point though, is that, well, Kellhus is more.  Just what "more" exactly means is not at all clear.  All we seem to really know is that Kellhus is apt to follow The Logos only so far.  What is after that isn't clear to us and it might not be clear to Kellhus himself.  My guess is that Kellhus realizes the insufficiency of the Logos and the insufficiency of the gods/God and is actually trying to play both sides against himself being appointed some intermediary between the two.  Maybe?

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3 minutes ago, .H. said:

Just not clear at all how he might.

If he can pull a heart out of his own ass he can do anything.

3 minutes ago, .H. said:

Yeah, it's real hard to know when Kellhus is just throwing shit out there to manipulate, or if he actually is buying into his own spiel.  I think you bring up a good point though, is that, well, Kellhus is more.  Just what "more" exactly means is not at all clear.  All we seem to really know is that Kellhus is apt to follow The Logos only so far.  What is after that isn't clear to us and it might not be clear to Kellhus himself.  My guess is that Kellhus realizes the insufficiency of the Logos and the insufficiency of the gods/God and is actually trying to play both sides against himself being appointed some intermediary between the two.  Maybe?

A lot of this would be a lot clearer with an idea of what Kellhus' plan actually was before being hijacked by Ajokli. How was he planning on averting the apocalypse? Heck, was he planning on averting the apocalypse? We simply don't know - still - what Kellhus' actual plan was, what his goals were, and without that framing it's hard to say much of anything else definitive. One could make a reasonable case that Kellhus' plan was originally to become the No-God and he somehow believed he could control it or wield it to make the prophecy true and usher in a new age. 

(again, I assert the second series would be significantly stronger and thematically more rich if Kellhus is a PoV)

That said, Kellhus has not demonstrated that he's particularly more spiritually important or otherwise useful in that grand scheme of things. So far, his best claim to fame is that he successfully ushered in the second apocalypse, and appeared to have done so entirely by accident, duped into keeping Kelmomas alive by a god that he didn't know was manipulating him and making his enemy significantly stronger by giving them Dunyain minds. His closest brush with God - at least whatever God Mimara allows people to interact with - ends with him being insane and spiritually in debt to Ajokli, and blind to his own weaknesses. 

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21 hours ago, kuenjato said:

It's terribly overrated, and I wouldn't compare it to Bakker at all -- sort of like going from a burlap sack to a wet diaper.

shots fired!!!

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7 hours ago, .H. said:

Hmm, in fact, I round-aboutly came across the same sort of idea from a completely different place in the last week.  No such thing as coincidence though, must mean something.

Hmm, could it be that Mimara's "power" to banish that Wight is similar to the sort of "thuamaturgy" we see Kellhus-Ajokli wield versus the Mutilated?  I.e. not sorcery (i.e. of the psyche, read: soul) but of divine providence (i.e. of the pneuma, read: spirit).  That is to say, I somewhat disagree that Mimara's power is "setting the world" to a more "naturalistic" state.  Because, as you say, Eärwa's "natural state" is that of enchantment.  So, the Wight's position is eminently natural.  Which, of course it is, because it is.

What Mimara seems to be doing, rather, is waking the God.  That is, "fixing" the frame, such that the world is as it should be, by Mimara's judgement.  This might well be the role of the Judging Eye.  That is, the same role taken on by by God-as-Christ, post-Job, in rendering the perspective of God from the mortal vantage.  (This could easily be bias on my part, as I have at other times personally noted that there is a plausible parallel of sorts between Mimara and a Christ-figure.)

Ah yeah sorry I was misusing the term Naturalism as the "default" state of things, but it's too charged philosophically to really encompass both the idea of a world that runs on non-mental scientific laws AND a theistic world that exists in a certain way because its Creator intended it that way...though Theistic Naturalism has a nice ring to it at least for those ears that enjoy these seeming oxymorons. :-)

All to say I think we're in agreement about Mimara reinforcing the God's intentions for reality in banishing the Wight. The Judging Eye itself is an odd entity, wasn't it originally meant to be something mothers who would bear stillborns come to (on occasion) possess? But Mimara bears a living child which - if that still born thing isn't just in my imagination - does lend a certain potential credibility to Mimara having some kind of holy role in Earwa. Though it gets tricky because we would need to distinguish the holiness of the lower frame ruled by the Hundred/Archons (Outside + Inside) vs the holiness of the God/One (or God/Zero-as-One?). We might even divide this into levels of reality - Inside, Outside, God and ask if what the Judging Eye normally shows is reality has understood by the Hundred who likely are not even aware of the God and what Mimara sees with the Chorae.

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Your last point though is interesting though, since if the soul is not pleromantic, or of the Outside, but of the psyche (i.e. Logos, if not The Logos) than it is more confusing how the soul is enduring, when the mind (that is, the physical brain) is not.  The only way I think I can square that, off the top of my head, is to say that the Spirit (i.e. the divine spark in each individual, gained at birth) is imprinted by the Soul (i.e. the psyche) in an indelible, or at least semi-permanent manner.  So, it may not be your soul passing on, but rather your Spirit so imprinted by your soul.  Your Spirit, of course, being your share on the One.  Your soul's delusion, of course, is that it is both the Spirit itself and separate from the One.  Both are incorrect.

I guess to me it's layers of a prison, with the flesh being the first box to get out of but the soul is the second box to escape. These aren't necessarily intentional prisons (especially since it's not clear the Hundred have a Present to practice intention in) but rather a result - as per Hermeticism - of the Intellect "falling" from Plotinus' One/God:

"The third fundamental principle is Soul. Soul is not the principle of life, for the activity of Intellect is the highest activity of life. Plotinus associates life with desire. But in the highest life, the life of Intellect, where we find the highest form of desire, that desire is eternally satisfied by contemplation of the One through the entire array of Forms that are internal to it. Soul is the principle of desire for objects that are external to the agent of desire. Everything with a soul, from human beings to the most insignificant plant, acts to satisfy desire. This desire requires it to seek things that are external to it, such as food. Even a desire for sleep, for example, is a desire for a state other than the state which the living thing currently is in. Cognitive desires, for example, the desire to know, are desires for that which is currently not present to the agent. A desire to procreate is, as Plato pointed out, a desire for immortality. Soul explains, as unchangeable Intellect could not, the deficiency that is implicit in the fact of desiring."

Admittedly I think this metaphysics only works so far when trying to explain the Bakkerverse which seems to veer significantly away from Plotinus in that the level of Intellect would be that of the Hundred and thus far less benign.
 

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However, I think I need to preface the use of One though.  One is not the Unity.  As Koringhus puts it, it would be the Zero-as-One.  For brevity's sake, I shall continue to just use One to denote this, even though the actual unity concept must be Zero-as-One.

 

I really need to revisit Koringhus' speech as I recall little of it...

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Well, if we follow our earlier line of thinking, it isn't the Soul than, rather it is the Spirit.  The Spirit is the division of the One, the Soul is the manifest world's interface to the Spirit.  That is, the Body does not work directly on the Spirit, rather it is Mind, the Psyche, that so interfaces the Pleromantic (Outside).

In this way, Ciphrang are Spirits who's Body/Soul so marred them as to be completely incapable of assimilating back into the One.  Or, at least, so marred as to be incapable of existing within the Pleroma (Outside) without extreme discomfort.  So, a Ciphrang could be a thing so temperamentally opposed to the Unity concept (that is, so distinctly marred as to maintain identity) that it cannot and never will be able to rejoin the One, or join oblivion.  It's a forever torper, hungering when nothing can feed.

Ah yes this is a bit of a problem - if the Spirit is the Holographic/Fractal piece of the One, then soul cannot be the God writ small. I do like your conception of the Ciphrang though IIRC they don't suffer in the Outside but are tortured when forced by the Daimos to exist Inside (as in, on Earwa)?

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Well, I think you have relapsed a bit.  Souled being simply flavoring for Spirits.  It is Spirits that the 100 harvest, gaining greater share of One.  Souls simply give "taste" to the Spirit. 

Ah yeah I think you have the right of it. What the Hundred/Archons hunger for is the Divine Spark otherwise there's no value to the damned beyond the delight in their suffering...

Though it does seem that if the Bakkerverse is Idealist (Mind -> Matter) substance, as far as it's distinct from the God, is ultimately illusory. This would mean there is ultimately only Spirit, rather than Spirit fallen into Matter...So in some sense as you (I think?) say later in your post the body and soul are delusions as much as they are entities in Bakkerverse. So to die is to be freed from the delusion of distinct body, but this reinforces another kind of delusion that is the distinction of the soul. The living think "I am my body" or "I am body & soul" and the dead/damned think "I am my soul". The saved - assuming there are any - deny both of these delusions and thus return to the One.

Admittedly it's not 100% clear what the metaphysics of the Bakkerverse are. It seems to sometimes be Idealistic (God is All) and sometimes Gnostic (God is Fallen into Matter). That said, even that may not be an actual distinction as it depends on the origins of Matter...and I'm not yet able to grasp exactly how Plotinus thinks matter arises...

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So the 100, divisions of the Zero-as-One, desire divisions of Spirit, to demark their existence as One-not-Zero.  Damnation, as Kellhus puts it, "is their harvest" because damnation, the Soul's selfish tainting of the Spirit as to exclude it from Zero-as-One, i.e. as Indentity, helps to define the Hundred.

This means that Koringhus is even more correct.  The way out of the trap of Eärwa is regressive.  Or at least, regressive of the Self.

The Logos is another trap, so perhaps this is why Kellhus (mostly) abandons it?

Interesting - are you saying the Hundred seek to be more than subconscious processes of the One, and their continual hunger for Spirit is an attempt to be distinct from the One in the way mortals *seem* to be in that they are the One writ small?

It makes me think of the Crowely entity Chronozon (from his Confessions by way of Wikipedia):

"The name of the Dweller in the Abyss is Choronzon, but he is not really an individual. The Abyss is empty of being; it is filled with all possible forms, each equally inane, each therefore evil in the only true sense of the word—that is, meaningless but malignant, in so far as it craves to become real. These forms swirl senselessly into haphazard heaps like dust devils, and each such chance aggregation asserts itself to be an individual and shrieks, "I am I!" though aware all the time that its elements have no true bond; so that the slightest disturbance dissipates the delusion just as a horseman, meeting a dust devil, brings it in showers of sand to the earth."

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I'd say it a bit differently though, that one must realize that these is no Self, rather is it a delusion of perspective.

I'm largely in agreement with this - I like the Memgowa quote as well as I think it may have been an amusing joke on Bakker's part. We continually read these sorts of things written in the context of the Bakkerverse with the assumption that such things support the materialist Dunyain perspective - that souls don't exist because they are born of an illusory sense that Consciousness is more than material.

But, as indicated by the title of text Memgowa wrote, "Celestial Aphorisms", what is actually being said is the soul is of the One.

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It's hard to say, because if you read TTT Chapter 10, where my above quote comes from, Kellhus seems to "get" this.  The question than is, what of it?  Koringhus seems to have been able to "get it."  But only through the lens of Mimara, through her forgiveness, and (the) Eye.  I think Kellhus could have found that, but he doesn't seem to have.  In other words, it would seem that Kellhus knew the fundamental nature of the meta-physics, but still (like the Consult) demanded the world to change rather him change to it.  In other words, I do not buy that Kellhus ever gave up his Self, or allowed his Soul to die to his Spirit.

No, in the way Bakker likens it, I'd say it makes sense that Kellhus is "dead but not done."  He is at minimum a Ciphrang, a Spirit too marred by his Soul to be devoured.  But considering his power, perhaps even more.  If the Fanim are right, that the Hundred are basically Ciphrang, than Kellhus might well be a near god-like Ciphrang.

Ah yeah I meant could Kellhus have found the One if he wasn't an asshole who made a deal with the devil, rather than is it possible he found the One after he died.

Though this gets into something Kal noted, that maybe Kellhus used the idea of the One simply to manipulate, and never thought of it as anything real...

Edited by Sci-2

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1 hour ago, Kalbear said:

If he can pull a heart out of his own ass he can do anything.

A lot of this would be a lot clearer with an idea of what Kellhus' plan actually was before being hijacked by Ajokli. How was he planning on averting the apocalypse? Heck, was he planning on averting the apocalypse? We simply don't know - still - what Kellhus' actual plan was, what his goals were, and without that framing it's hard to say much of anything else definitive. One could make a reasonable case that Kellhus' plan was originally to become the No-God and he somehow believed he could control it or wield it to make the prophecy true and usher in a new age. 

(again, I assert the second series would be significantly stronger and thematically more rich if Kellhus is a PoV)

Agreed we needed more Kellhus PoVs somewhere in the text.

Part of the challenge is Kellhus' Probability Trances could simply have returned the outcomes necessitated by Destiny. Since the No God will walk, all decisions are bent toward that outcome.

It's actually a bit annoying, as it suggests nothing in the story matters from a character perspective since everything bends toward a predecided outcome. OTOH, that seems to have been part of the crash-space of disappointment?

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Ack, too much to respond to at the end of the work day.  I shall be back to raving again in the morning.

I definitely got myself tied up in a few linguistic knots there, hopefully I can untie them...

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1 hour ago, .H. said:

Ack, too much to respond to at the end of the work day.  I shall be back to raving again in the morning.

I definitely got myself tied up in a few linguistic knots there, hopefully I can untie them...

Heh no worries I felt the same about my own posts, there's definitely things I'm uncertain of and I think it only caused confusion.

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My reading of the text makes me think that Bakker wanted us to retroactively realize that Kellhus' self-deception went very deep, something like what you mention above @Sci-2, so deep as to potentially indicate the Probability Trances were all "rigged" from the beginning because of the predestined resurrection of the No-God. Picking through the books again, I'm reminded of so many questions I had that I can't remember the answer to.

The whole weird ass Inrau scene ended up being a red herring because Bakker literally forgot what he meant there, right? Did we eventually reach the conclusion that Ajokli was probably behind a lot of Kellhus' visions in the first trilogy or was the involvement of the Hundred one of the theories shot down by the Bakker interview? Who was the voice in Kelmomas' head?

The question about the Probability Trance makes me question just how far the predetermined destiny idea goes. I mean, was Kelmomas' eventual birth and fate written into destiny as soon as the Inchoroi succeeded in summoning the No-God, or was it later? Could the Dunyain experiment somehow have been a doomed effort that was in some way preordained to produce the second host of the No-God?

Edited by odium

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On 9/9/2018 at 8:04 PM, kuenjato said:

It's terribly overrated, and I wouldn't compare it to Bakker at all -- sort of like going from a burlap sack to a wet diaper.

Hmm I think we’ve had this argument many times before. :p

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11 hours ago, odium said:

My reading of the text makes me think that Bakker wanted us to retroactively realize that Kellhus' self-deception went very deep, something like what you mention above @Sci-2, so deep as to potentially indicate the Probability Trances were all "rigged" from the beginning because of the predestined resurrection of the No-God. Picking through the books again, I'm reminded of so many questions I had that I can't remember the answer to.

The whole weird ass Inrau scene ended up being a red herring because Bakker literally forgot what he meant there, right? Did we eventually reach the conclusion that Ajokli was probably behind a lot of Kellhus' visions in the first trilogy or was the involvement of the Hundred one of the theories shot down by the Bakker interview? Who was the voice in Kelmomas' head?

The question about the Probability Trance makes me question just how far the predetermined destiny idea goes. I mean, was Kelmomas' eventual birth and fate written into destiny as soon as the Inchoroi succeeded in summoning the No-God, or was it later? Could the Dunyain experiment somehow have been a doomed effort that was in some way preordained to produce the second host of the No-God?

Re:kelmomas as no god-

The 'point in time' that he became predestined to be the No-God is when he became the No-God, and then he always was and would be.  What came after determined what came before.

It's not a linear time thing.  And it's the exception to the logos.  

The problem with the Reddit ama is that it revealed Bakker thought some stuff out really thoroughly and then just threw other stuff into the books because it seemed cool.  I don't think he really worked out the metaphysics of the Outside and souls much more than suggesting some gnostic shit.  I don't think he really thought of a system that could answer some of the questions posed on this page 

 

Edited by larrytheimp

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16 hours ago, Sci-2 said:

Ah yeah sorry I was misusing the term Naturalism as the "default" state of things, but it's too charged philosophically to really encompass both the idea of a world that runs on non-mental scientific laws AND a theistic world that exists in a certain way because its Creator intended it that way...though Theistic Naturalism has a nice ring to it at least for those ears that enjoy these seeming oxymorons. :-)

All to say I think we're in agreement about Mimara reinforcing the God's intentions for reality in banishing the Wight. The Judging Eye itself is an odd entity, wasn't it originally meant to be something mothers who would bear stillborns come to (on occasion) possess? But Mimara bears a living child which - if that still born thing isn't just in my imagination - does lend a certain potential credibility to Mimara having some kind of holy role in Earwa. Though it gets tricky because we would need to distinguish the holiness of the lower frame ruled by the Hundred/Archons (Outside + Inside) vs the holiness of the God/One (or God/Zero-as-One?). We might even divide this into levels of reality - Inside, Outside, God and ask if what the Judging Eye normally shows is reality has understood by the Hundred who likely are not even aware of the God and what Mimara sees with the Chorae.

Eärwa certainly confounds with it's nature being so similar to the real world and yet so subtly different.

On Mimara, well, I think a minor point I would divide out is that her intentions and the God's intentions aren't specifically one.  That is to say that Mimara's intentions are still her own.  The God couldn't care less if the Wight stayed there or not.  But Mimara certainly did.  In this way, she is right to declare that she holds the Gates.  This is not divine justice carried out by Mimara.  No, this is Mimara's justice carried out by the divine.  That distinction is important, at least in my estimation, because it means that Mimara is the locus of Judgement, the Eye only a tool to that end.  The "stillborn" issue, it was pointed out to me, seems to be a linguistic play on words, in the same manner as Éowyn can kill the Witch King in LotR.  She is no man, rightly.  So, Mimara does carry a stillborn, just also a living baby as well.

Continuing, the issue of what is Holy and what then Profane, that definitely is tricky.  It seems that things that foster differentiation are things that are perditious.  So, Unity Concepts are Holy concepts.  In this manner, it makes sense that we are given allusions to the Ordeal being Holy (many come together to one purpose) but it doesn't really answer why, say, Storks are Holy animals.  We can resolve this by then allowing symbols to be Holy, as Symbols of Unity Concepts.  So, the Concepts are Holy, the Symbols are Holy.  Then, we have one more step, I would imagine, that actions, actions that Unify are then Holy.  This is far more sticky though and I'm not sure it can be borne out.

I'm getting afield though.  I think your point though, that Hundred are not aware of Mimara's Eye is most probably true.  That being said, I think that the Hundred "mirror" humanity in the sense that they personalities fostered and driven by (and as) divisions.  That is to say, I do not think they fathom themselves are (false) divisions of the same whole, in the same manner that most people do not imagine themselves as (false) divisions of the same whole.  So, Yatwer has no desire or care for the Unity Concept.  That is, Yatwer, much like the living, does not strive to be more through less, that is, to achieve Zero-As-One, but rather, marks itself out for maximal differentiation from the whole (imagining one can approach One-As-Zero).

I think this might speak to the "point."  That is, that mathematically, Unity can be achieved through Zero-As-One or One-As-Zero, but metaphysically, this is a false equivalence.  One cannot become Zero, but Zero can be as One.  Meaning that the route to salvation, that is, the cessation of "hunger" is not gained in the eating, but rather in the losing.  This is the route of the most extreme sacrifice.

16 hours ago, Sci-2 said:

I guess to me it's layers of a prison, with the flesh being the first box to get out of but the soul is the second box to escape. These aren't necessarily intentional prisons (especially since it's not clear the Hundred have a Present to practice intention in) but rather a result - as per Hermeticism - of the Intellect "falling" from Plotinus' One/God:

Hmm, I'm not sure how to square this.  Could it be related to an idea that the world, the manifest world, i.e. the Inside, Eärwa itself, is something not of what we think of our world, that is, an objective world of objective objects, but rather a subjective world that is, as Peterson puts it, "a forum for action."  That is to say, in a manner, that Eärwa is a battleground of ideas, writ out large on the playing ground of every living thing.  This fits Bakker's intent, I believe.  That is to say, the model a world that fits with our "pre-scientific" conceptions of reality.

From Peterson's Maps of Meaning:

Quote

The world can be validly construed as forum for action, or as place of things.


The former manner of interpretation-more primordial, and less clearly understood-finds its expression in the arts or humanities, in ritual, drama, literature and mythology. The world as forum for action is a place of value, a place where all things have meaning. This meaning, which is shaped as a consequence of social interaction, is implication for action, or-at a higher level of analysis-implication for the configuration of the interpretive schema that produces or guides action.


The latter manner of interpretation-the world as place of things finds its formal expression in the methods and theories of science. Science allows for increasingly precise determination of the consensually validatable properties of things, and for efficient utilization of precisely determined things as tools (once the direction such use is to take has been determined, through application of more fundamental narrative processes).


No complete world-picture can be generated without use of both modes of construal. The fact that one mode is generally set at odds with the other means only that the nature of their respective domains remains insufficiently discriminated. Adherents of the mythological worldview tend to regard the statements of their creeds as indistinguishable from empirical “fact,” even though such statements were generally formulated long before the notion of objective reality emerged. Those who, by contrast, accept the scientific perspective—who assume that it is, or might become, complete-forget that an impassable gulf currently divides what is from what should be.

 

16 hours ago, Sci-2 said:

Interesting - are you saying the Hundred seek to be more than subconscious processes of the One, and their continual hunger for Spirit is an attempt to be distinct from the One in the way mortals *seem* to be in that they are the One writ small?

Hmm, upon reading my own words, I was at a loss to even understand just what I was trying to say.  Having let it bake overnight, I think I have returned to understand what it was I was trying to convey.

So, the Hundred, as divisions have a desire to return to wholeness and since they are differentiated, the see the route to wholeness as through further differentiation.  So, they hunger for completeness and crave differentiation to attempt to fill this need.  Damnation is the marked differentiation of the Spirit/Soul.  The trick though, what they do not realize, is that the manner of completeness is achieved not through acquisition, but through loss.  One can approach One but cannot ever reach it: the infinite shattering of the infinite God are infinite.  One can achieve Zero, through whole loss.   One-As-Zero is pinnacle of Completeness (One) as possession of all differentiation (One as possession of all perspectives, unity though aquisition).  Zero-As-One is the Completeness through forfeiture of perspective alltogethers.  In light of the origin, all divisions are false.

16 hours ago, Sci-2 said:

I'm largely in agreement with this - I like the Memgowa quote as well as I think it may have been an amusing joke on Bakker's part. We continually read these sorts of things written in the context of the Bakkerverse with the assumption that such things support the materialist Dunyain perspective - that souls don't exist because they are born of an illusory sense that Consciousness is more than material.

But, as indicated by the title of text Memgowa wrote, "Celestial Aphorisms", what is actually being said is the soul is of the One.

Yeah, I think Bakker definitely plays with us.  He realizes our biases, generally, and so throws stuff in to appeal to our "modern" (or post-Modern) sensibilities.

16 hours ago, Sci-2 said:

Ah yeah I meant could Kellhus have found the One if he wasn't an asshole who made a deal with the devil, rather than is it possible he found the One after he died.

Though this gets into something Kal noted, that maybe Kellhus used the idea of the One simply to manipulate, and never thought of it as anything real...

Right, I think this gets down to the real meat of things.  That Kellhus could realize this, were he prepared to sacrifice, in the "Abrahamic" sense that I have, to some chagrin, been apt to mention.  But Kellhus, by virtue of his tyrant's stance, has no desire to endure loss.  And so he will lose.  Kellhus imagines himself as being able to achieve One, even if he realizes that Zero is the fundiment.  This is because Kellhus still embraces his own intellect as being capable of superseding the fundamental nature of the universe.  In other words, just like the Consult, Kellhus demands the world change rather than he, or rather I should say demand changing the world into that of his vision.  While he might know that the whole Completeness is beyond him, he, as Bakker has alluded to extra-textually, still has the illusion of sufficiency.  He can't accept that even as the most powerful being in the Universe, he is still apt to failure, none-the-less.

It's all confounded because his methods are bad, his intentions are bad, just seemingly not "as bad" as the Consult.  So, like the "trolley problem" we are morally inclined to view Kellhus as "less bad."  It's Mimara who is what could even be considered a real "savior."  I think in this sense, Moë the Elder show us the folly of discounting the Outside, Kellhus the folly of imagining it something that the intellect can conquer, and so Koringhus the fact that the only way "out" is forfeiture.

This is part of why the end of TUC tends to feel hollow.  The expectation is to follow through and have Mimara, the savior, actually save.  But that's the kind of crap-tastic world that Eärwa is paralleling the worst aspects of the real world, to approach the "crash space" and ask, "what good is all the moral meta-physical fundiment in the face of amoral demands to rewrite the very nature of existence?"

Edited by .H.

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Theory:

kellhus baby makes you love! Just like babies make you love! Akka recognizes kellhus has possessed the baby but there is nothing akka can do because HE MAKES YOU LOVE! 

Continuing bakkers insistence and obsession that love is something alien and polluting.

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Would  a child with Kellhus' soul also inherit his intelligence or would it be just a regular child? Would he even remember his previous identity?

Additionally, it would mean that Kellhus hijacked Akka's son's soul, after previously hijacking his wife.

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3 hours ago, .H. said:

Eärwa certainly confounds with it's nature being so similar to the real world and yet so subtly different.

On Mimara, well, I think a minor point I would divide out is that her intentions and the God's intentions aren't specifically one.  That is to say that Mimara's intentions are still her own.  The God couldn't care less if the Wight stayed there or not.  But Mimara certainly did.  In this way, she is right to declare that she holds the Gates.  This is not divine justice carried out by Mimara.  No, this is Mimara's justice carried out by the divine.  That distinction is important, at least in my estimation, because it means that Mimara is the locus of Judgement, the Eye only a tool to that end.  

It's difficult to see how much of this is her 'choice' though, thanks to predestination. Especially if she is the mother of the actual God-in-flesh, which presumably also is predestined in the same way the No-God is. I do think it's accurate to say that the Zero-as-one doesn't 'care', because it doesn't have a self to care with; in that way, Mimara is similar to what Kellhus said about Ajokli needing an agent who can act on Earwa, who does have a sense of self to act with - but I'm not sure that Mimara has that sense of self at all, or simply believes she does. 

3 hours ago, .H. said:

Continuing, the issue of what is Holy and what then Profane, that definitely is tricky.  It seems that things that foster differentiation are things that are perditious.  So, Unity Concepts are Holy concepts.  In this manner, it makes sense that we are given allusions to the Ordeal being Holy (many come together to one purpose) but it doesn't really answer why, say, Storks are Holy animals.  We can resolve this by then allowing symbols to be Holy, as Symbols of Unity Concepts.  So, the Concepts are Holy, the Symbols are Holy.  Then, we have one more step, I would imagine, that actions, actions that Unify are then Holy.  This is far more sticky though and I'm not sure it can be borne out.

 

I think it's meant to be arbitrary, the same way some things are sins and some things aren't. Serpents are holy because they are. That's just one of their traits. Pigs are unholy as well. You might as well question why someone chose to make Hydrogen have three major isotopic versions; there's no specific reason for it, no why, only a possible how, and that how is probably not that interesting unless you're trying to make extra-holy serpents or make extra vile pigs. 

3 hours ago, .H. said:

 

Hmm, I'm not sure how to square this.  Could it be related to an idea that the world, the manifest world, i.e. the Inside, Eärwa itself, is something not of what we think of our world, that is, an objective world of objective objects, but rather a subjective world that is, as Peterson puts it, "a forum for action."  That is to say, in a manner, that Eärwa is a battleground of ideas, writ out large on the playing ground of every living thing.  This fits Bakker's intent, I believe.  That is to say, the model a world that fits with our "pre-scientific" conceptions of reality.

This maps less to what is said about Earwa and more to what is said about the Outside; Earwa is stated to be the most objective area, the place where ideas and will has the least impact on reality. And this rings more true with things like predestination; obviously if things are totally objective, everything is known and everything can be known.

3 hours ago, .H. said:

 

 It's all confounded because his methods are bad, his intentions are bad, just seemingly not "as bad" as the Consult.  So, like the "trolley problem" we are morally inclined to view Kellhus as "less bad."  It's Mimara who is what could even be considered a real "savior."  I think in this sense, Moë the Elder show us the folly of discounting the Outside, Kellhus the folly of imagining it something that the intellect can conquer, and so Koringhus the fact that the only way "out" is forfeiture.

 This is part of why the end of TUC tends to feel hollow.  The expectation is to follow through and have Mimara, the savior, actually save.  But that's the kind of crap-tastic world that Eärwa is paralleling the worst aspects of the real world, to approach the "crash space" and ask, "what good is all the moral meta-physical fundiment in the face of amoral demands to rewrite the very nature of existence?"

Partially true; I think one of the problems is not that Mimara isn't the savior, but Mimara is basically nothing at all save a MacGuffin. Her as a failed savior, as a revealer of Truth, as a decider, as anything at all is basically thrown away for the entire last book, and she is relegated to having a baby. She doesn't see Kellhus, she doesn't have any confrontations, she doesn't really do anything. 

In addition to that, we find out that Kellhus' plan isn't to dominate via Ajokli after the fact, which also sucks. Him thinking the only way to save the world is to let Ajokli dominate it is a great ending to his character, a definitive one, and it is ruined by the revelations later. Instead, despite it being the end of the Great Ordeal, we still don't know what the Ordeal was for, what Kellhus' plan actually was, why he made a deal with Ajokli, or any of that. 

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23 hours ago, odium said:

The whole weird ass Inrau scene ended up being a red herring because Bakker literally forgot what he meant there, right? Did we eventually reach the conclusion that Ajokli was probably behind a lot of Kellhus' visions in the first trilogy or was the involvement of the Hundred one of the theories shot down by the Bakker interview? Who was the voice in Kelmomas' head?

Wait...what Inrau scene Bakker forgot what he meant?

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