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Bakker LVI: the Rectum of Creation

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(In retrospect, going with the No-Dog was clearly too good of a pun to ignore). 

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I just re-read the introduction to the Judging Eye and realize Bakker was subtly fucking with us by giving us all the answers in that chapter. Harweel, who is incidentally probably saved since Kiunnat is more less confirmed to be the  correct way to believe, calls him a hunger from the outside who by his nature comes to dominate everything and Kellhus tells Sorweel that as strange as it sounds he really has come to save the world, in his own twisted Dunyain way. So there we go he shows his hand but gives it to us through sources we are disinclined to trust, 

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Never really sure what 'save the world' actually involves, definitionally.

Which is a semantic ambiguity a Dunyain would abuse, of course.

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15 hours ago, Callan S. said:

Never really sure what 'save the world' actually involves, definitionally.

Which is a semantic ambiguity a Dunyain would abuse, of course.

Well, if we look at how things played out, I don't think Kellhus was playing with words all that much.  When he said, "save the world" he was just being as literal as possible.  In other words, he was really out to stop the Consult and prevent many people's death.

Of course, he was going to do this by selling everyone's soul to Ajokli.  While that does, indeed, seem pretty terrible, it's plausible that nearly everyone is damned anyway, so that really isn't a change to the status quo, for the most part.  Just changes who feeds out of the granary, not changing the fundamental fact that Eärwa is a granary.  Mortal suffering doesn't seem to be midigated, but consider what the Consult had been up to, the lines of people fed to the Sarcophagus, the suffering pits of places like Wreoleth, is Ajokli's plan likely magnitudes worse?

It's definitely arguable, it's hard to say if that is actually any better.  In one sense though, it logically is.  Where the Consult needs life to be snuffed out, humans to be essentially discontinued, Ajokli literally needs them for sustenance.  So, like a sort of "trolley problem" there isn't a great choice, but the Hell of Ajokli winning Eärwa is likely a slightly "greater good" than the Hell of the Consult winning Eärwa.

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Except Bakker said that wasn't his plan, and he didn't expect to be taken over by Ajokli. I would agree with you except for that.

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32 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Except Bakker said that wasn't his plan, and he didn't expect to be taken over by Ajokli. I would agree with you except for that.

Well, yeah, that's true.  I do tend to forget what Bakker said when it doesn't make much sense.

But I do think that Kellhus plan really was to somehow leverage Ajokli to beat the Consult/Mutilated, then...something.  Maybe hoodwink Ajokli and basically become a god somehow himself?

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21 minutes ago, .H. said:

Well, yeah, that's true.  I do tend to forget what Bakker said when it doesn't make much sense.

But I do think that Kellhus plan really was to somehow leverage Ajokli to beat the Consult/Mutilated, then...something.  Maybe hoodwink Ajokli and basically become a god somehow himself?

Maybe? That's really the weird thing - there's really no indication of what his actual plan was, or what it even could have been outside of Ajokli. Killing the Consult? He knows that the No-God must exist at some point. Using Ajokli as a way to avoid the goad of the Inverse Fire? Okay, but what's the next step after that? 

I keep coming back to him telling Proyas that the blindness of the gods means that the No-God must succeed at some point. He has that awareness. He knows it must happen. What I don't know is what his plan is after that. Or, for that matter, why it requires him to bring the entire Ordeal to Golgotterath. Similarly, I don't understand the Consult plan either; their wish is to get Kellhus into the sarcophagus, obviously, but their plan to do that is to almost nuke him? To constantly try and wipe out his force? 

I'm not saying that there isn't some plan there for both groups, but at least right now the plan remains opaque at best. Whereas I understood completely what Moe's plan was after TTT, and how things fit all together in that plan - and how he went wrong - I don't understand the basic plan of Kellhus or the Consult. I only understand Ajokli's plan. 

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10 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Maybe? That's really the weird thing - there's really no indication of what his actual plan was, or what it even could have been outside of Ajokli. Killing the Consult? He knows that the No-God must exist at some point. Using Ajokli as a way to avoid the goad of the Inverse Fire? 

Well, it seems Kellhus knew about the Dunsult too though, so he presumable knew that he couldn't just beat them himself.  So, the Ajokli gambit, even though he somehow didn't plan to be possessed by him, must have been to invoke him somehow.  I mean, that is a little silly though, to think that Kellhus couldn't realize that there would need to be a vessel from which Ajokli was to manifest.  Unless Kellhus thought he could Diamos out Ajokli?

But it makes even less sense if Ajokli wasn't at all part of Kellhus plan.  How could he have beaten that many Chorae without Ajokli's thaumaturgic-miracle "magic?"

24 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Okay, but what's the next step after that?

Well, it would have to be something like the installation of Kellhus as "master of Ark."  Perhaps Kellhus aim then was to kill the Consult, defeat Ajokli in turn, then figure out how Ark and the No-God worked and use it to disenchant the world while not killing everything?  That sure presumes a lot, that might not even be possible, but I guess it better than just letting the Consult win?

26 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

I keep coming back to him telling Proyas that the blindness of the gods means that the No-God must succeed at some point. He has that awareness. He knows it must happen. What I don't know is what his plan is after that. Or, for that matter, why it requires him to bring the entire Ordeal to Golgotterath. Similarly, I don't understand the Consult plan either; their wish is to get Kellhus into the sarcophagus, obviously, but their plan to do that is to almost nuke him? To constantly try and wipe out his force?

Yeah, although perhaps he figures if he alone can control the No-God's rise, than he can somehow dictate it's terms?  A bold presumption that might be false, but again, maybe it's better than conceding?

I do think that while Kellhus didn't plan the possession by Ajokli, he was courting him the whole time, in order to leverage his power.  In this way, I think the Ordeal was his "burning the field" to fully draw Ajokli's attention (probably not necessary considering) and also a literal distraction for the forces of the Consult.  Something rather trivial, but not something they could ignore.

As for them trying to nuke him, I am still firmly of the mind that both the Consult and Kellhus knew exactly what was going on.  That is, the Ground was Conditioned, and Kellhus was in zero actual danger there.  That was just a big swat at the distraction that was the Ordeal.  Sure, again, the Ordeal is trivial, but still annoying and means they have to divert resources to bothering with it.  The nuke itself can't possibly kill Kellhus him, between him anticipating it, his skin-wards, and his ability to teleport.

Sure, there is some very minute risk, that somehow Kellhus fails in anticipation, in his Wards and to teleport, but if that were the case, then evidently the prophecy was not for Kellhus, but someone else.  Also, I don't think doing nothing is a tenable position for the Consult.  If the Ordeal Proceeds completely unmolested, than the Consult is firmly on Kellhus' ground, at the whim of whatever he wants to do.  They have to push back and they have to push back as hard as they realistically can, even if that does carry some tiny element of risk.

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16 minutes ago, .H. said:

Well, it seems Kellhus knew about the Dunsult too though, so he presumable knew that he couldn't just beat them himself.  So, the Ajokli gambit, even though he somehow didn't plan to be possessed by him, must have been to invoke him somehow.  I mean, that is a little silly though, to think that Kellhus couldn't realize that there would need to be a vessel from which Ajokli was to manifest.  Unless Kellhus thought he could Diamos out Ajokli? 

Again, it's really unclear, especially with the idea that he was unaware of Ajokli's possession. 

What's a shame is that Kellhus ruling as Ajokli's human avatar and making the world a granary is entirely a great ending for Kellhus. It reinforces the idea that neither the Consult nor Kellhus nor the gods are the 'good' choice, and all of them suck as far as the fate of humanity. Being obliterated save for a few people, or being made into more tasty food for an evil demon to avoid the fate of the eternal torture of other demons - that's a great either/or thing. I really liked that as an ending ,though I felt Kellhus being possessed came quite out of left field (again, Kellhus having a PoV throughout the series would have greatly aided this). 

But apparently that's wrong, so...

16 minutes ago, .H. said:

 But it makes even less sense if Ajokli wasn't at all part of Kellhus plan.  How could he have beaten that many Chorae without Ajokli's thaumaturgic-miracle "magic?"

Yep. I mean, he's a ninja and shit and his magic apparently leaves no Mark now (at least some of it), but it makes far more sense for him to just wipe them out with laser fire instead. 

16 minutes ago, .H. said:

Well, it would have to be something like the installation of Kellhus as "master of Ark."  Perhaps Kellhus aim then was to kill the Consult, defeat Ajokli in turn, then figure out how Ark and the No-God worked and use it to disenchant the world while not killing everything?  That sure presumes a lot, that might not even be possible, but I guess it better than just letting the Consult win? 

Yeah, although perhaps he figures if he alone can control the No-God's rise, than he can somehow dictate it's terms?  A bold presumption that might be false, but again, maybe it's better than conceding? 

Maybe? That's totally reasonable, but not particularly supported by the text. It's certainly a possibility, and it would have been awesome if Kellhus had mentioned it as part of his plan to Proyas at some point. Tell Proyas that the real reason the gods oppose him (or so he thinks) is because they know his ultimate goal, which is to use the No-God as a way of disabling the gods and stop their evil preying. (the reason the gods oppose him is because they know he's Ajokli's, and they cannot allow Ajokli unfettered and sole access to the granary). 

16 minutes ago, .H. said:

I do think that while Kellhus didn't plan the possession by Ajokli, he was courting him the whole time, in order to leverage his power.  In this way, I think the Ordeal was his "burning the field" to fully draw Ajokli's attention (probably not necessary considering) and also a literal distraction for the forces of the Consult.  Something rather trivial, but not something they could ignore.

But...why? How is it distracting to them? I mean, their goal is to get Kellhus to the Golden Room and put him in the carapace. That's what they want, and Kellhus suspects as such. Kellhus wants to get to the Golden room and enslave/defeat them. Why do they need to distract, well, anyone? Who are they distracting? The Ordeal only makes sense if Kellhus' goal is to obliterate the Consult. Maybe that's it - that the Ordeal is the stick to go with Kellhus' offer, and he'll give them a choice - work with him to rejigger the No-God, or face utter destruction at his superior forces. But again - very unclear, and very weird. 

16 minutes ago, .H. said:

As for them trying to nuke him, I am still firmly of the mind that both the Consult and Kellhus knew exactly what was going on.  That is, the Ground was Conditioned, and Kellhus was in zero actual danger there.  That was just a big swat at the distraction that was the Ordeal.  Sure, again, the Ordeal is trivial, but still annoying and means they have to divert resources to bothering with it.  The nuke itself can't possibly kill Kellhus him, between him anticipating it, his skin-wards, and his ability to teleport.

Sure, there is some very minute risk, that somehow Kellhus fails in anticipation, in his Wards and to teleport, but if that were the case, then evidently the prophecy was not for Kellhus, but someone else.  Also, I don't think doing nothing is a tenable position for the Consult.  If the Ordeal Proceeds completely unmolested, than the Consult is firmly on Kellhus' ground, at the whim of whatever he wants to do.  They have to push back and they have to push back as hard as they realistically can, even if that does carry some tiny element of risk.

If that's the case, they should have just nuked the army more definitely. Their plan required Kellhus to find the nuke in time, realize what it was, and deploy it to wipe out most of the sranc horde. Blowing up the mountain which already had collapsed doesn't make sense as a trap. There were a lot of other places that they could have deployed the nuke more effectively to disable or slow the Ordeal. 

I think it makes more sense that they were trying to kill Kellhus, and that Kellhus as the insertant was their backup plan, their last bit of desperate hope. 

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30 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Again, it's really unclear, especially with the idea that he was unaware of Ajokli's possession. 

What's a shame is that Kellhus ruling as Ajokli's human avatar and making the world a granary is entirely a great ending for Kellhus. It reinforces the idea that neither the Consult nor Kellhus nor the gods are the 'good' choice, and all of them suck as far as the fate of humanity. Being obliterated save for a few people, or being made into more tasty food for an evil demon to avoid the fate of the eternal torture of other demons - that's a great either/or thing. I really liked that as an ending ,though I felt Kellhus being possessed came quite out of left field (again, Kellhus having a PoV throughout the series would have greatly aided this). 

But apparently that's wrong, so...

Well, I guess Bakker really wanted Kellhus to still have his own agency, despite basically selling his soul?

31 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Maybe? That's totally reasonable, but not particularly supported by the text. It's certainly a possibility, and it would have been awesome if Kellhus had mentioned it as part of his plan to Proyas at some point. Tell Proyas that the real reason the gods oppose him (or so he thinks) is because they know his ultimate goal, which is to use the No-God as a way of disabling the gods and stop their evil preying. (the reason the gods oppose him is because they know he's Ajokli's, and they cannot allow Ajokli unfettered and sole access to the granary).

Yeah, exposition of it all is so lacking, it's hard to tell what is even supported by the text at all.

34 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

But...why? How is it distracting to them? I mean, their goal is to get Kellhus to the Golden Room and put him in the carapace. That's what they want, and Kellhus suspects as such. Kellhus wants to get to the Golden room and enslave/defeat them. Why do they need to distract, well, anyone? Who are they distracting? The Ordeal only makes sense if Kellhus' goal is to obliterate the Consult. Maybe that's it - that the Ordeal is the stick to go with Kellhus' offer, and he'll give them a choice - work with him to rejigger the No-God, or face utter destruction at his superior forces. But again - very unclear, and very weird. 

Well, really our "best source" on Kellhus plan is Serwa:

Quote

“Serwa—” he began.
“We have no time,” she interrupted. “I saw Father upon the Vigil.”
A heartbeat of passionless scrutiny.
“So soon?”
“We need to storm the Ark now!”

This means that Serwa's understanding was that they should already be inside the Ark before Kellhus was going to enter the room.  Plausibly, Kellhus wouldn't have lied or misled her, because I'm not sure there would be much benefit.  So, why then did he go into the Golden Room before it was planned?  It's possible though that the plan given Serwa was a lie, just to have them kill themselves all the quicker.  It's also possible that, as Bakker alludes to, "Darkness has been claiming more and more of Kellhus as the Great Ordeal advanced. Ajokli was his destination, and the closer he came, the more he began to resemble him, finally becoming him in the Golden Room."

So, maybe he just couldn't resist going off plan at that point.  Again, I think the aim was to use Ajokli, even though the plan was not to be possessed by Ajokli.  But Ajokli planned to use Kellhus and doubtful he was keen on waiting.  So, maybe it was Kellhus' plan that the Ordeal clears the Ark to some degree, then once it's mostly done, he gets in there and faces much less opposition, since the skin-spies would likely be defending them from more mundane forces.

53 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

If that's the case, they should have just nuked the army more definitely. Their plan required Kellhus to find the nuke in time, realize what it was, and deploy it to wipe out most of the sranc horde. Blowing up the mountain which already had collapsed doesn't make sense as a trap. There were a lot of other places that they could have deployed the nuke more effectively to disable or slow the Ordeal. 

I think it makes more sense that they were trying to kill Kellhus, and that Kellhus as the insertant was their backup plan, their last bit of desperate hope. 

Well, it's almost like a Catch-22 for them.  If Kellhus is the one for the prophecy, they literally cannot kill him no matter what, so if they can kill him, well that scratches him off the list of candidates?  Sort of a litmus-test?  I mean, I guess that's sounds in theory, except it doesn't deal with the case of what happened.  Mostly because what happens is outside of what any of them could expect.

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On 12/4/2018 at 1:27 AM, .H. said:

Mortal suffering doesn't seem to be midigated, but consider what the Consult had been up to, the lines of people fed to the Sarcophagus, the suffering pits of places like Wreoleth, is Ajokli's plan likely magnitudes worse?

Well easily yes? The consult can only make your mortal life time a living hell.

Anyway I wonder if 'Save the world' was literal? Maybe if the population drops below a certain number Earwa actually vanishes along with its people, as much as any dream world vanishes upon our waking.
 

Because really 'the world' would be there no matter the state of the people - we're talking literalist Dunyain here. You don't need to save something that's just going to be there regardless.

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11 hours ago, Callan S. said:

Well easily yes? The consult can only make your mortal life time a living hell.

Anyway I wonder if 'Save the world' was literal? Maybe if the population drops below a certain number Earwa actually vanishes along with its people, as much as any dream world vanishes upon our waking.
 

Because really 'the world' would be there no matter the state of the people - we're talking literalist Dunyain here. You don't need to save something that's just going to be there regardless.

Well, a la Koringhus, and it is possible to think that Kellhus realizes this at least in part, is Rule Zero: Survive.

So, yeah, I'd buy "save the world" as pretty literal.  In the sense that if survival is priority #1, the Consult plan is definitely the worst option.

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Well the Dunyain are what they are so saving the world for them makes a hell for us.

And Harweel who none of us gave credence as a deep metaphysical thinker, and indeed probably because he isn't is right about everything and is probably yucking it up in the feast halls of Gilgaol. While all the philosophers burn.

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1 hour ago, Darzin said:

Harweel who none of us gave credence as a deep metaphysical thinker, and indeed probably because he isn't is right about everything and is probably yucking it up in the feast halls of Gilgaol. While all the philosophers burn.

Hmmm, not sure of this. We, AFAIK, have one person who was saved by Gilgaol.

IIRC Bakker said the gods save Who They Will...which makes me think anyone who is saved has to be completely caught up in the domain of the God. For example Sorweel was, in some sense, actually Yatwer before his death.

As to whether all philosophers burn, I suspect you're on to something - IIRC both Anjecis and Malowebi were atheists. They chose...poorly...

Edited by Sci-2

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3 hours ago, Dora Vee said:

Malowabi is a head on Kellhus's belt. He's not dead. As for Ajenics, it's uncertain where he really is.

Ah you're right sorry I was thinking of Memgowa.

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I disagree that the Great Ordeal was unnecessary or a distraction - it was actually vitally important to defeating the Consult. If you accept that it was not Kellhus' plan to get possessed by Ajokli, his only hope of victory is the Great Ordeal smashing the gates down and overwhelming the Consult. I think it was only when he starts getting possessed that he goes offscript and invades the golden room by himself; where, despite being surrounded by the dunsult and 100 skin spies he defeats them because he is Ajokli. 

If he isn't Ajokli, then he needs the Great Ordeal to support him in taking the ark.

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7 hours ago, gigaputty said:

I disagree that the Great Ordeal was unnecessary or a distraction - it was actually vitally important to defeating the Consult. If you accept that it was not Kellhus' plan to get possessed by Ajokli, his only hope of victory is the Great Ordeal smashing the gates down and overwhelming the Consult. I think it was only when he starts getting possessed that he goes offscript and invades the golden room by himself; where, despite being surrounded by the dunsult and 100 skin spies he defeats them because he is Ajokli. 

 If he isn't Ajokli, then he needs the Great Ordeal to support him in taking the ark.

Okay, sure. Let's assume that Kellhus' plan is to defeat the Consult.

So...why did he state that he knew that at some point the No-God would arise? Was he just delaying the inevitable? And if that's the case, why is he willing to basically sacrifice everything else - all the kingdoms of men - in order to do what is simply a delay?

Furthermore, it seems clear that Kellhus didn't really need the Ordeal to beat the Consult. He appeared to be able to handle whatever they threw at him without any real issue. He decapitates Mek and easily beats Aurang. We've seen him obliterate thousands of Sranc. He was able to use a nuke without any real concern. Why can't he just go and smash Golgotterath? 

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