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Bakker LVI: the Rectum of Creation

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15 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Right; the analogy I was making was about how it is like baking and chemistry. Both sorcery types are about the preciseness of intent and meaning, and both essentially revolve around being able to be as precise in meaning as you can possibly be. But you're right, it has nothing to do with measure - it has to do with being able to be more able to dictate your intent.

Right, OK, I see what you are saying.

15 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

No, both the Gnosis and the metagnosis have more than one statement. The Gnosis has the utteral and inutteral. The Anagnosis has the utteral. The metagnosis has apparently at least two inutterals, and possibly more. There's also a big discussion in the books about using a dead language because it has no linguistic drift. This all implies to me at least that the meaning of the words themselves is not anchored in stone, and is instead being used as a crutch to imply meaning. When you have multiple statements that back each other up, the real intended meaning becomes stronger. But it's still not perfect; it is not, as you might say, mathematically precise.

I'm not sure that is correct.

From the glossary entry for "Sorcery":

Quote

Sorcery requires precise meanings. This is why incantations are always spoken in a non-native tongue: to prevent the semantic transformation of crucial terms due to the vagaries of daily usage. This also explains the extraordinary “double-think” structure of sorcery, the fact that all incantations require the sorcerer to say and think two separate things simultaneously. The spoken segment of an incantation (what is often called the “utteral string”) must have its meaning “fixed” or focused with a silent segment (what is often called the “inutteral string”) that is simultaneously thought. Apparently the thought incantation sharpens the meaning of the spoken incantation the way the words of one man may be used to clarify the words of another.

I think you might be thinking of this part:

Quote

“So the inutterals serve to fix the utterals,” Kellhus said, “the way the words of one man might secure the words of another.”
“Precisely,” Achamian replied. “One must think and say two different things at once. This is the greatest challenge—even more so than the mnemonics. The thing that requires the most practice to master.”
Kellhus nodded, utterly unconcerned. “And this is why the Anagogic Schools have never been able to steal the Gnosis. Why simply reciting what they hear is useless.”
“There’s the metaphysics to consider as well. But, yes, in all sorcery the inutterals are key.”

But what I think Akka is saying is that they don't grasp that the inutterals are different too, not just the utterals. So they can't steal it, because they don't get the difference in the inutterals, not because they don't know there are inutterals.

EDIT: I think that actually answers SCi's question.  It's the key to the Gnosis.  Can't have that just running around...

Edited by .H.

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Huh. I always took the conversation to mean that the gnosis was special because of the inutteral. Interesting. In the first series, do we have any first-person thoughts of the anagnosis users using their stuff?

And I don't think that the other schools don't grasp that the inutterals are different; it's that they can't know them. They're getting the public key and not having access to the private key. They know it exists, but they don't know what it is. 

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Just now, Kalbear said:

Huh. I always took the conversation to mean that the gnosis was special because of the inutteral. Interesting. In the first series, do we have any first-person thoughts of the anagnosis users using their stuff?

And I don't think that the other schools don't grasp that the inutterals are different; it's that they can't know them. They're getting the public key and not having access to the private key. They know it exists, but they don't know what it is. 

Ah, right, yeah.  Well, I mean, they might realize the inutterals would be different in nature or they might not.  In either case, they can't really "get it" via utterals.  Unfortunately, I can't recall us geting the POV of an Anagogic sorcerer actually doing their thing.  Maybe one of them doing something via the Daimos?  I'd have to hunt very hard, but I'll try to find a case.

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1 minute ago, .H. said:

Ah, right, yeah.  Well, I mean, they might realize the inutterals would be different in nature or they might not.  In either case, they can't really "get it" via utterals.  Unfortunately, I can't recall us geting the POV of an Anagogic sorcerer actually doing their thing.  Maybe one of them doing something via the Daimos?  I'd have to hunt very hard, but I'll try to find a case.

I thought there were some with Eleazaras in TTT towards the end, but I could be wrong. 

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2 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

I thought there were some with Eleazaras in TTT towards the end, but I could be wrong. 

Yeah, there seem to be, but confusingly enough, he makes no mention of any inutterals, but rather just "singing."

Perhaps it's something of a case of the Gnosis' inutterals being more formal, that is logical, where the Anagogic ones are more representational, that is analogous or figurative.  That might be why the Gnosis appears "mathmatical" where the Anagogic ones appear as sorcerous versions of things, like dragon's heads or lightning.

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That could be.

In any case, the point is still reasonably valid even without that. The goal is to turn the intent into action, and the intent is expressed in something that has meaning. The more exact the meaning, the stronger the spell can be. The metagnosis works on that principle at least. The gnosis itself still doesn't seem mathematical, it is instead logical, which isn't the same thing at all (in philosophy or elsewhere). 

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5 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

The gnosis itself still doesn't seem mathematical, it is instead logical, which isn't the same thing at all (in philosophy or elsewhere). 

Well, now I will need to let @Sci-2 pick up the heavy lifting of his idea, because I think math and logic are related in the manner he was referring to, but certainly not the same thing.  In any case, I am out of my depth in that territory.

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Well, sure. Logic is similar to math, just like poetry is similar to analogy, but both are more imprecise than the actual words, and are moving more away from each other than towards. Logic and simile aren't nearly as far apart as math and poetry as far as concepts go. 

And then there's the other possibility - which is that anagnosis isn't necessarily less powerful than gnostic magic, just different, and the anagnostic schools have simply not been around as long or had as much of a rigorous experimental system as the gnostic ones. Since the gnostic schools are the ones that were first really started, they've had like thousands of years of experimentation and work to play with, compared to anagnosis having only more recently come around. Both require experimentation to determine what recipes work. Neither appear to have a particularly good idea of how to produce new results - basically, none (until Kellhus) have had anything resembling a theoretical model of sorcery, only experimental results that did and didn't work. We see Cleric basically using the exact same spells Akka uses, for example, despite there being literally thousands of years of difference between them. 

They knew how to bake bread, but they didn't know why bread needed yeast to rise, much less that yeast was an actual organism. 

The Pshuke works differently, of course, and only relies on the emotive ability of the user combined with how in-synch they are with hearing the world's song. Their 'experiment' is basically how close they can sing relative to the worldsong, and they get that naturally. 

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26 minutes ago, .H. said:

Well, now I will need to let @Sci-2 pick up the heavy lifting of his idea, because I think math and logic are related in the manner he was referring to, but certainly not the same thing.  In any case, I am out of my depth in that territory.

Well I'd include Mathematics and Logic as part of the Transcendental Universals, the aspects of thought/reality that for Plato both existed in the World of Ideas/Forms and our comprehension of [which] resulted in the argument for the Soul's immortality.

But yeah, unless I can find the exact quote I'm willing to concede the Gnosis is a formal description that is not mathematical...but then, what, exactly, would such a description consist of? Existence/Essence distinctions? Potentiality/Actuality?

What is a formal, consistent way to describe the world that is non-mathematical?

Edited by Sci-2

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3 minutes ago, Sci-2 said:

What is a formal, consistent way to describe the world that is non-mathematical?

Well, technically it is, because logic is both a branch of philosophy AND mathematics. However, since they're using actual languages and not formula to describe things, I would say that it is closer to logical proofs in philosophy than it is mathematical proofs. So instead of saying something like

P v Q (in language, the statement is "true if P or Q are true"

you would say something like 

Bob is blue if he is over 6 feet tall or has a hairy mustache

The latter is a logical construction, but it isn't in a formal language, and it is still bound by inconsistencies found in the meaning of the language (notably, things like 'hairy' and even things like 'feet'). For actual spells, you might have something like 'describe a sphere that is three cubits wide which can resist all manmade forces' and the inutteral is something akin to 'a sphere is defined as a three-dimensional concept where all points on the surface are equidistant from the center and a cubit is about 3 feet long''.

Another possibility is that the entire gnosis is complete bullshit. The meaning doesn't come from the words used or  the phrases used at all; it comes from the fact that when sorcerers use that utteral with this inutteral, it ALWAYS means a certain thing, and has basically become sorcerous idiom. They've combined enough concepts together that the chances of it repeating accidentally are impossible. Again, we don't have any idea about what kind of experimental or theoretical backing any of this has, save that spells don't seem to change a whole lot in thousands and thousands of years. 

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1 minute ago, Kalbear said:

The latter is a logical construction, but it isn't in a formal language, and it is still bound by inconsistencies found in the meaning of the language (notably, things like 'hairy' and even things like 'feet'). For actual spells, you might have something like 'describe a sphere that is three cubits wide which can resist all manmade forces' and the inutteral is something akin to 'a sphere is defined as a three-dimensional concept where all points on the surface are equidistant from the center and a cubit is about 3 feet long''.

Another possibility is that the entire gnosis is complete bullshit. The meaning doesn't come from the words used or  the phrases used at all; it comes from the fact that when sorcerers use that utteral with this inutteral, it ALWAYS means a certain thing, and has basically become sorcerous idiom. They've combined enough concepts together that the chances of it repeating accidentally are impossible. Again, we don't have any idea about what kind of experimental or theoretical backing any of this has, save that spells don't seem to change a whole lot in thousands and thousands of years. 

On the first part, isn't the person saying the same thing different ways, both of which are ultimately mathematical (spheres, cubits, etc)?

I suppose one might use two metaphysical schemes, like say a Aquinas-Aristotilean description of reality vs that of Whitehead who made up his own words to better get away from diluted meaning. So you'd solidify meaning with two different metaphysics describing your intention with precision. In the aformentioned example one description would involve a Prime Mover and Final Causation the other "Prehension" and "Concrescence"

On the second...I have been wondering if there is any coherent explanation to separate the varied means of casting spells. Did Akka, Khellus, ANYONE, ever describe the actual verbs of their inutterals?

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12 minutes ago, Sci-2 said:

On the first part, isn't the person saying the same thing different ways, both of which are ultimately mathematical (spheres, cubits, etc)?

Well, no. Spheres are mathematical concepts, but cubits are simply measurements that are relative to something. Equidistant is a mathematical concept, but 'resist all force' is not. 

12 minutes ago, Sci-2 said:

I suppose one might use two metaphysical schemes, like say a Aquinas-Aristotilean description of reality vs that of Whitehead who made up his own words to better get away from diluted meaning. So you'd solidify meaning with two different metaphysics describing your intention with precision. In the aformentioned example one description would involve a Prime Mover and Final Causation the other "Prehension" and "Concrescence"

 

On the second...I have been wondering if there is any coherent explanation to separate the varied means of casting spells. Did Akka, Khellus, ANYONE, ever describe the actual verbs of their inutterals?

Right, and that's what I don't really know. I would think that if you had an actual theoretical framework - a logical one - you'd see a LOT of experimentation and lots of spells, especially since for thousands of years you have basically a bunch of people learning this shit and doing work on it and talking to each other about nothing else but it. But...we don't get that. Not only don't we get that from the Mandate, we don't get it from the Nonmen, who appear to have done basically nothing for like 4000 years. We don't even get that kind of experimentation from Shae; he uses his spells tactically intelligently, and he knows how to use certain things (like the Mathesis pin), but he isn't coming up with new spells and whatnot. 

Probably the only one who ever did was Emidilis. 

Now, I guess we can ascribe this to simple fantasy tropes; worlds typically don't have things alter or change via science or experimentation like they did in our world. GRRM kept his world in the Iron age for something like 8000 years. Still, I like the idea that basically humans learned how to do these things but barely had any grasp of why they worked, and have been cargo culting this shit for, like, ever.

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@KalbearAre you saying Shae doesn't come up with new spells because he just borrowed soul-trapping techniques or that those things aren't spells, per se?  

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10 minutes ago, Triskele said:

@KalbearAre you saying Shae doesn't come up with new spells because he just borrowed soul-trapping techniques or that those things aren't spells, per se?  

Soul trapping, per akka, is one of the oldest techniques. 

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5 hours ago, Sci-2 said:

It's also odd that some of the damned, even according to the Judging Eye, seem destined to be Ciphrang...which doesn't seem that bad comparatively?

So why is the Inverse Fire so convincing?

Good question. I wonder if all of the Consult and Inchoroi would become Ciphrang, if it amounts to being a powerful soul with intense hatred, desire, and determination. 

I guess that still kind of sucks. Even if you're feeding on souls instead of being fed upon (most of the time), you're still just a very, very small fish in a dangerous hell-pond - and we know that the Gods feud and fight with each other (with Yatwer, Ajokli, and Gilgaol straight up seizing souls if it pleases them). 

Then again, maybe you only need one of your sorcerers to become a Ciphrang, and then you can cut a deal with him in the Outside to claim the souls of follow-up dead sorcerers. 

24 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Soul trapping, per akka, is one of the oldest techniques. 

It's not the only technique for doing it too. I re-read the AMA, and Bakker said that Shae had a couple of techniques for soul-trapping (the other members of the Mangaecca tried them as well, but apparently sucked at them more and eventually all died). 

I could see the Mandate being super-conservative with their spell-casting, and having an ideology of "well, of course we're not going to improve on the Quya who were doing this for ages past".  Not so much the Anagogic Schools, and they do seem to have had some innovation that gets mentioned in the Glossary. 

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3 hours ago, Kalbear said:

Right, and that's what I don't really know. I would think that if you had an actual theoretical framework - a logical one - you'd see a LOT of experimentation and lots of spells, especially since for thousands of years you have basically a bunch of people learning this shit and doing work on it and talking to each other about nothing else but it. But...we don't get that. Not only don't we get that from the Mandate, we don't get it from the Nonmen, who appear to have done basically nothing for like 4000 years. We don't even get that kind of experimentation from Shae; he uses his spells tactically intelligently, and he knows how to use certain things (like the Mathesis pin), but he isn't coming up with new spells and whatnot. 

Probably the only one who ever did was Emidilis. 

Now, I guess we can ascribe this to simple fantasy tropes; worlds typically don't have things alter or change via science or experimentation like they did in our world. GRRM kept his world in the Iron age for something like 8000 years. Still, I like the idea that basically humans learned how to do these things but barely had any grasp of why they worked, and have been cargo culting this shit for, like, ever.

Maybe the effort for any new spell takes an incredible amount of cognition, like say something like the proof of Fermat's Theorem which necessitated a good deal of mathematical work.

Or you also need to be able to look at things from such a vantage point it takes a high level genius to truly add new magic - Shae & Emidilis are to magic what some say Ramanujan was to mathematics.

But all of this still makes it difficult to understand what the Gnosis actually is, why it has more precise meanings than the Anagnosis, and why the Scarlet Spires could never figure out how to get from Anagnosis to Gnosis.

One consideration is that Nonmen cognition, for whatever reason, was required for invention of the Gnosis and humans will never on their own invent though then can learn it. Similarly Koko could learn sign language but gorillas (arguably) could never invent it. Maybe you need a race that (IIRC) doesn't see paintings and has other major differences to humanity?

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On 11/9/2018 at 12:44 PM, Kalbear said:

Basically, as Foz Meadows points out, his viewpoint is largely that sexism, rape, abuse, etc is very heavily based not on environment or social dynamics but simply on biology. And that all the things that we do to try and fight it - more laws, more education, more discussion of equality and equity - all of those are doomed to fail, because unless you are changing the fundamental biological programming of humans it'll never actually work. 

That or it's a bad reading and Foz built quite a strawman to lay into. Is there a source on this? Better yet how would someone say that biological tendencies exist without just saying 'and there's nothing you can do about it'? Because biological tendencies do exist - but if someone reads that as 'Well then there's nothing to be done', that's a bad reading. It's like people want to believe they are so free willed that anything that contradicts that a little suddenly gets read as them having no free will at all. Like it's absolutely all or absolutely nothing.

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2 hours ago, Winter Bass said:

Good question. I wonder if all of the Consult and Inchoroi would become Ciphrang, if it amounts to being a powerful soul with intense hatred, desire, and determination. 

I guess that still kind of sucks. Even if you're feeding on souls instead of being fed upon (most of the time), you're still just a very, very small fish in a dangerous hell-pond - and we know that the Gods feud and fight with each other (with Yatwer, Ajokli, and Gilgaol straight up seizing souls if it pleases them). 

Then again, maybe you only need one of your sorcerers to become a Ciphrang, and then you can cut a deal with him in the Outside to claim the souls of follow-up dead sorcerers.

Perhaps being a Ciphrang is to always feel an endless, maddening hunger. Like a sex addict at an orgy who can never orgasm, or a glutton at a buffet who can never be full. There's pleasure, certainly, but the gnawing exhaustion of being insatiable is a torture of its own kind.

Additionally, perhaps to be a Ciphrang is to have power in some facets of Eternity but to be tormented far more in others. The Inverse Fire never shows the same torment twice, apparently, which makes me wonder about Mimara's visions that show someone being a Ciphrang and others undergoing specific tortures.

In the AMA Bakker said this about Ciphrang:

Gods are greater shards of the Shattered God, and Ciphrang the lesser. The greater the Shard, the greater the associated reality, or 'heaven/hell.'

But this opens up its own questions - Gods seem to be entities that have domains over aspects of the Inside - War, Motherhood/Harvest, Disease, etc. They also seem to be spread across Time (or timelines?) in a way Ciphrang are not.

I also feel like the Hundred are akin to Gnostic Archons, while the Ciphrang are both corrupted souls and naturally "born" entities who always existed in the Outside.

Edited by Sci-2

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My reading was similar to the earlier ones: Anagogic Sorcery had only an utteral string, Gnostic had two (one silent and one utteral), and metagnosis had three (one utteral and 2+ inutterals) . 

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TUC glossary says sorcery - which excludes the Psukhe - always needs at least an inutteral and an utteral.

Quote

The spoken segment of an incantation (what is often called the “utteral string”) must have its meaning “fixed” or focussed with a silent segment (what is often called the “inutteral string”) that is simultaneously thought. Apparently the thought incantation sharpens the meaning of the spoken incantation the way the words of one man may be used to clarify the words of another. (This gives rise to the famous “semantic regress problem”: how can the inutteral string, which admits different interpretations, serve to fix the proper interpretation of the utteral string?) Though there are as many metaphysical interpretations of this structure as there are sorcerous Schools, the result in each case is the same: the world, which is otherwise utterly indifferent to the words of Men, listens, and sorcerous transformations of reality result.

Bakker, R. Scott. The Unholy Consult: The Aspect-Emperor: Book Four (The Aspect-Emperor Trilogy) (Kindle Locations 12383-12389). The Overlook Press. Kindle Edition.

 

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