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Bakker LVI: the Rectum of Creation

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16 hours ago, Callan S. said:

I had thought only gnostic had two as well. TIL

Why bother kidnapping akka then? If all sorcery is only an utterance, it’s easy to steal, just listen on the battlefield. But if all sorcery has an inutteral then you can’t just steal it, you have to access the inutteral by other means, torture in Akkas case. I always took all sorceries as having inutterals and the inutterals as the primary reason the organizational structures of schools evolved  to protect and disseminate the  potent trade secrets 

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On 11/9/2018 at 11:03 PM, Sci-2 said:

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 don't think it's so much that they have "domains" as there is "stuff associated with XYZ that you do that pleases them and maybe gets them to favor you, for arbitrary reasons". Yatwer really likes it if you give unconditionally, Gilgaol likes it if you are a war monster (maybe?), etc. That stuff then gets incorporated into a religion with practices, like the Thousand Temples taming the Kiunnat. 

I looked at Kakaliol's POV section again, and it looks like Ciphrang also do the "eternal now" thing that Mimara and the Gods have. 

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Because they wanted the Inutteral? We haven't actually seen anyone try to steal Anagogic sorcery have we? 

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4 hours ago, lokisnow said:

Why bother kidnapping akka then?

I don't understand, Akka uses the gnosis and I said I thought only the gnosis uses an inutteral as well as an utteral.

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1 hour ago, Winter Bass said:

Yatwer really likes it if you give unconditionally

Or that you're witless to how you don't give unconditionally. It's one of the funnier passages where the top priestess talks about how giving she is, then not a scant few paragraphs latter is talking about how great it'll be for her in heaven. Not giving unconditionally, just blind to her selfishness.

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6 hours ago, Winter Bass said:

I don't think it's so much that they have "domains" as there is "stuff associated with XYZ that you do that pleases them and maybe gets them to favor you, for arbitrary reasons". Yatwer really likes it if you give unconditionally, Gilgaol likes it if you are a war monster (maybe?), etc. That stuff then gets incorporated into a religion with practices, like the Thousand Temples taming the Kiunnat. 

I looked at Kakaliol's POV section again, and it looks like Ciphrang also do the "eternal now" thing that Mimara and the Gods have. 

Ah you might be right, Kakaliol is called the Seducer of Thieves...it might be a mini-godling with some purview over theft or some such.

edit: Ah Bakker does call it a godling:

"the demon-godling of the diseased slums and gutters of Carythusal"

6 hours ago, Galactus said:

Because they wanted the Inutteral? We haven't actually seen anyone try to steal Anagogic sorcery have we? 

Yeah I think Anagogic sorcrey seems easier to imitate save for the Daimos.

It does make me wonder what is being said in the utteral portion, and why the inutteral is so impossible to get right. It seems there is something technological about Cants, in that they require some work within a defined system. Like string theory but with magic, or maybe the use of an RPG stat/feat system where you need to pore over the system to min/max the heck outta reality.

Edited by Sci-2

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19 hours ago, Winter Bass said:

I don't think it's so much that they have "domains" as there is "stuff associated with XYZ that you do that pleases them and maybe gets them to favor you, for arbitrary reasons".

Well, my "theory" on souls in Eärwa rests partly in the idea that it is differentiation, away from what is the God-of-gods (that is, everything), that both Damns and, consequently, feeds the Hundred.  This differentiation (the "grain" of experience) is what predicates the Hundred's existence, really, because without it, they would all just be The God-of-gods.  So, to maintain their "personality" they must continue to devour "differentiation" lest, one, they lose their own and two, they be devoured in turn by some other "entity" of the Outside.

So, why would Yatwer ever not eat someone?  I mean, if you were endlessly hungry, why wouldn't you eat everything?  I think the answer is that a soul can become so "in line" with, say Yatwer, that upon death there is no real difference between Yatwer Herself and that particular soul.  That is to say, the soul is basically indistinguishable from Yatwer and so is both not tasty (not differentiated) and not actually separate from Yatwer anyway.  If Yatwer were tasty to Yatwer, She'd have "eaten" Herself from the beginning of time, only to be Yatwer anyway, because Yatwer devouring Yatwer only gives you the same Yatwer.

This also is why Yatwer can't just eat all the devotees of say, Gilgöal.  Because if your soul is "alligned" to the resemblance of Gilgöal, then you, in death, are far too "big" to be "eaten" by Yatwer.  Mainly because you and Gilgöal are basically One at that point.  But if you were wishy-washy in life, not really aligning yourself with any "Principle" (as the Nonmen "coincidentally" called them), but not taking the Koringhus route of completely obliterating your Self-hood, you can get scooped up by almost any of the Hundred.

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One curious bit is Ciphrang who are summoned want to return to the Outside ASAP.

I'd guess a damned soul suddenly finding itself on the Inisde would love to stay rather than return to its damnation.

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12 minutes ago, Sci-2 said:

One curious bit is Ciphrang who are summoned want to return to the Outside ASAP.

I'd guess a damned soul suddenly finding itself on the Inisde would love to stay rather than return to its damnation.

Well, it's remarked several times that for them, the Inside is akin to a "needle world."

To be a Ciphrang isn't the same as "just Damned."  That is, like Bakker describes, each carries with them "associated reality."  So, if you manage to differentiate yourself enough to not be chewed on by a god, then you become a minor one yourself, cursed to squabble in the Pits with all other little Ciphrang over minor souls, cursed with en endless Hunger that you can't ever quench.  I guess you can say that Eternal, unquenching hunger is better than Eternal, unquenching pain...

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6 hours ago, .H. said:

Well, my "theory" on souls in Eärwa rests partly in the idea that it is differentiation, away from what is the God-of-gods (that is, everything), that both Damns and, consequently, feeds the Hundred.  This differentiation (the "grain" of experience) is what predicates the Hundred's existence, really, because without it, they would all just be The God-of-gods.  So, to maintain their "personality" they must continue to devour "differentiation" lest, one, they lose their own and two, they be devoured in turn by some other "entity" of the Outside.

That's a good interpretation. Even if it's not on the mark I bet it's one Bakker would think is a good one as well.

6 hours ago, .H. said:

This also is why Yatwer can't just eat all the devotees of say, Gilgöal.  Because if your soul is "alligned" to the resemblance of Gilgöal, then you, in death, are far too "big" to be "eaten" by Yatwer. 

Maybe it's more that Yatwer needs to eat the photographic negative of herself to maintain herself? She is opposite of what she eats ('You are not what you eat'). If she eats Gilgoal followers she would slowly become the opposite of what those followers are. That's why she doesn't vie for them and vice versa.

Maybe that means souls are 'saved' because there's just nobody who wants to eat them - they are not any of the godlings polar opposites and the gods they are aligned to don't eat the same thing they are.

Personally the gods just seem to be mega ciphrang. Just super polarised souls - Cnauir became ultra polarised (becoming kind of two dimensional by the end, by deliberate writing (though pretty fucking awesome two dimensional, IMO)). Kellhus is polarised, presumably when he sees himself in the inverse fire as a hunger, it means he's a ciphrang.

Basically the more insane you are the more you get to run the asylum. And all the moderates are fucked. Just like american politics...#ohnodidhejust?

 

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It seems like souls don't just become aligned with the Gods, though- Yatwer actively embraces those of her beloved followers (like Sorweel after his death). Plus there's Kellhus' "head on a pole" vision of the "Other Sons" drinking the moaning ectasy of Countless Dead, suggesting they feed on them as much as "more demonic" powers feed on the torments of other souls. 

5 hours ago, Callan S. said:

Basically the more insane you are the more you get to run the asylum. And all the moderates are fucked.

Probably, judging by the Glossary Entry on the Inverse Fire (although that could be read as the limited number of people who look into it seeing that they're damned because the "great" always have some pretty huge personal flaws). Although from what we've seen, Yatwer probably takes the lion's share of souls that don't end up being ruled by some horrible ciphrang or another. 

This makes me really curious about the Bellicose Gods concept. How would that become a practice? I kind of love the idea of some of the Hundred rewarding those who actively struggle against them. 

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Seems bellicose works within H's frame (or H's frame plus bits I stuck on with blu tac). If you strive against the gods you are inedible to the Bellicose gods and your polar opposite is unappealing to the other gods (a god doesn't want to become a groveler to gods, do they?)

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Well, since we are on it, I'll post the "manifesto" here.  Keep in mind, some sections are rather "raw" and almost certainly incorrect.  However, this gets at the main thrust of my position on souls now.

What is the Eärwan Soul really?

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 pleroma, and so then the question would be: is the Soul of the pleroma or of the manifest world?

Given the No-God's function and whatever the Great Cycle of Souls is, it follows to think the Soul is not of the manifest world, even if neither actually proves this as a fact.  If the Cycle of Souls is a mundane process, there should be a direct mechanical way to disrupt it.  There does not seem to be a manner of doing this though.  While the No-God is a sort of mundane object, in part, its functionality is actually predicated on a Soul itself.  This points toward there being something particular about Souls and things that can interact with Souls.  That is, that it seems the mundane means alone are not sufficient to interact with Souls.  Then it follows that the Soul must be pleromatic, or it would seem it is at least pleromatic in nature (that is, in origin).  If this supposition is incorrect, however, it is not at all clear why then the Soul can connect one to the Outside, or why it endures where other mundane elements do not endure past death.  I think we must take the position, based on the circumstantial evidence that the Soul must be of the same nature of the Outside, plausibly being of the pleroma before birth and rejoining it after death.  But here we return to the issue at hand, none the closer to an actual answer to the question that opened the thread, only having arrived at the plausible idea that the Soul is of a pleromantic nature.

So, just what is the Soul?  And if Souls cycle, what makes one yours and the other mine at any given time?  Recall that the Outside, as pleroma, is atemporal.  So, if your Soul was once my Soul, then it is both our Souls at all times in the Outside.  This does not stand to what we are shown to be the case in Eärwa.  So then, 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 as well.  No, I think what is meant by the cessation of the “Great Cycle of Souls” is the Soul itself is "locked into place."  That is, it cannot undergo the cycle of transformation.  That is (presumably) it's "attachment" to life in the manifest world at conception, it's "development" during life, and its subsequent "return" to the pleroma (the Outside).  (This actually makes sense, given how the Wright of the Mountain stays fixed to a spot, how souls on the planes of Mangedda do too.)

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. These things might not be wholly separate functions/processes though and might even be one and the same.  As Koringhus seems to relate to us, part of the problem of Damnation (or a problem of simply having a Soul) might be how Souled things in Eärwa cling to identity.  That the trouble of Damnation is due to denying the true interval between each other and the world (and/or the plemora, I'm not sure).  Or could it be the acknowledgement of the interval, in imagining the interval demanded by our perceived (constructed?) singular identities is real and meaningful.

So, I guess to answer part of the initial question, along the line of Koringhus, is that the "false" identity we acknowledge as “The Self” is the Soul, as it is what is Damned.  That delusion of individuality, according to Koringhus, which is clung to and won't be let go is what constitutes what bears the “ledger.”  It is, in a manner of speaking, the Cross which is beared, or the yolk that keeps one enslaved.  Which, mind you, from the perspective of the only intercessional, manifest Divine powers (the Hundred) is exactly what they want.  (I’ll come back to that, shortly.)

We confront a problem here though.  If the Soul is of the Outside (or at least shares its nature) and the Outside, as pleroma, is timeless, than Souls are Damned the moment they exist, if they are ever to be damned.  Even more confusingly, there was never a time in which they did not exist in the state they end up!  The same if they are redeemed.  If ever to be redeemed, the Soul is so from the very moment of existence (which actually is eternity).  Since the Soul is the ledger, when is it “written?”  In the Outside, there simply is no time to inscribe the Soul and frankly, there would be no need.  Everything, timeless as it is, simply is, at all times.  There must be something else at hand, to model the process more intelligibly.

What then enables a process in which the Soul can be changed?  Somehow, there must be a process that enables a Soul to be altered.  Timeless as it is a plermomantic Soul could not change itself, since it would be the same at its end as it was at its beginning, meaning there would be no need to have changed (and of course, no time to have done it anyway).  Yet, we know that one, Souls undergo some kind of Cycle, two, that Souls experience does effect their place in the pleroma.  So, to reconcile, we must postulate something along the line that what constitutes a Soul is both timeless and subject to mundane time and experience.

How then do we figure this dual-nature of the Soul then?  The “answer” here, I think, can be that same tripartite of the real-world Gnostics to say that the Spirit (i.e. the pleromatic 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 then the Soul is not pleromantic, or of the Outside, then but of the Psyche (i.e. Logos, if not The Logos, or the consciousness, more generally).  It is the Spirit that is of the Outside.  The last portion of the division, the Body, is merely the container that binds your Soul and your Spirit, merely the vessel by which both navigate the World.  So, it may not be your Soul passing on, but rather your Spirit so imprinted by your Soul.  This can largely solve the issue of why a Spirit, timeless, can become differentiated, because the Soul is unique in being a mundane “mechanism” that can somehow operate on the pleroma.  This also would partially explain why, once dead, there wouldn’t be a chance for Redemption.  The Body, engine of union, is gone in death and so the Soul can no longer function in altering the Spirit.  All that is left is the Spirit and the markings of the Soul has left upon it.

Interestingly enough, I think this tripartite is also the “answer” to what and how the “head-on-a-pole” is and what it does.  Consider: what keeps the Soul and Spirit together?  The Body.  So, when Kellhus visits the Outside, how does he keep his Soul (Psyche) and his Spirit from being snatched by Ciphrang?  Through the understanding of there being a “head on a pole behind him.”  It was Geoffrobro’s keen observation (confirmed, by my standards, by Bakker) that when Kellhus visits the Outside, he looks within himself (of course, where else is his Spirit?) and so the head is his own head, behind him, because he is looking “backward” (that is, inward, “behind” his eyes).  The Head keeps in from being separated and destroyed by Ciphrang, because he has not left the protective shell of The Body.  So, he cannot be divided, he cannot be torn apart, cannot be taken.

But to return to what we were discussing, now the Spirit is the ledger, the Soul the stylus that writes upon it and the Body the vessel of the union.  This Spirit-as-ledger is how Mimara’s Judging Eye functions.  It’s view is the view to that ledger and in doing so, render judgment.  That is, human judgment.  Could it be then that Mimara's "power" to banish that Wight is similar to the sort of "thuamaturgy" we see Kellhus-Ajokli wield versus the Mutilated?  As in, a power not of Sorcery but of Divine providence.  That is to say, I somewhat disagree that Mimara's power is "setting the world" to a more "naturalistic" state.  Eärwa's "natural state" is that of enchantment, a place where the dead can linger.  So, the Wight's position is eminently natural.  Which, of course it is, because it is 

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.  Éowyn is no man, rightly.  So, Mimara does carry a stillborn, just also a living baby as well.

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'sjudgement.  This might well be the role of the Judging Eye.  That is, the same role taken on by God-as-Christ, post-Job, in rendering the perspective of God from the mortal vantage.  That is, the infinite cannot have a perspective on itself, because it is all things.  The Infinite cannot have any perspective, because it has all perspectives, which is no perspective at all.  (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.) (There is also something about Mimara's role being specifically conscious, as opposed to the passive unconscious role of The God.)

Now, having explored the Spirit’s function as ledger, let us explore more just what this Spirit actually is. The Spirit, of course, is of the Outside, being your share of the One, that is, of the God-of-gods.  This is a major portion of the revelation of Koringhus, that the Sprit is a portion of the Divine.  Your Soul's (that is, consciousness’) delusion, of course, is that it is both the Spirit itself and separate from the One.  Both are incorrect.  The Fanim, and Kellhus, were right in one thing, that the God was shattered and that the Outside is littered with its fragments.  In Kellhus’ words the Outside is littered with “warring splinters” of The God.  So, each Spirit is but one piece in that war.  What are they warring over?  My hunch is “more pieces.”  Each piece longs to complete itself, and so they war to achieve Unity, to achieve completeness, to become One, that is, whole.  We will return to this momentarily.

So, now we have something of a more substantial model of what “the Soul” is on Eärwa.  It is the Spirit, that is, the metaphysical pleromantic, “animating” (that is, consciousness-granting) part of life, as opposed to the Body (the physical corpus) and the Soul (the mind, the Psyche, the Self).  In his way, it is a bit confusing, how the Soul, which is actual consciousness and Spirit, that which grants the ability to be conscious, but for the sake of our own sanity, I think we need to leave that there, for now.

The state of living is pretty clear, but once one dies in Eärwa, what happens?  Well, naturally the Body expires and presumably, so with it the mind, that is, the Soul.  What is left then, is the Spirit, being as it is pleromantic, it is timeless, it cannot expire.  The Soul though, having been imprinting on the Spirit since birth, is so captured but only in that final state.  The Spirit, now, having collected all such impressions, passes back into the realm of being wholly of the Outside.  With no body to moor it against various Outside agents, is seems the Spirit is prey for various agents of the Outside.  Here we return to the “warring pieces” of The God, but just what are these pieces?

One such agent of the Outside, one sort of division of The God are Ciphrang: Spirits who's Body/Soul so marred them as to be completely incapable of being assimilated back into the any other pieces upon death.  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.  But hunger for what?  Let us consider the following quote:

Quote

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 things? Or 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.

Kellhus also liken the same thing to us, later.  How Eärwa is a granary.  That Damnation is the bread.  That is, Damnation is the “food” of the Hundred.  It is their sustenance.  That is, it sustains their differentiation.  Recall, the Hundred, like all Spirits, are simply divisions of The God-of-gods, in this the Fanim are correct.  The Hundred are not so wholly different than Ciphrang except in relative “power.”  So, in the Outside (and plausibly even on Eärwa), all things crave completeness, being that their nature is that of a division.  All things know, a priori, that they are not complete and in turn, desire to be so.

So the Hundred, their nature as divisions gives rise to the desire for wholeness, however since they are differentiated, they see the route to wholeness as through further differentiation.  So, they hunger for completeness and crave differentiation in an attempt to fill this need.  It could also be that the nature of the Outside is such that Identity, that is, marked differentiation, is passively eroded.  It could be the case continued existence in the Outside is predicated upon a source of differentiation, lest the nascent nature of the Outside dissolve singular Identity.  While it seems preferable to allow this to happen, rather than suffer such hunger, the same could be said for the living.  Why cling to a singular identity, when you can give in and dissolve back into the stuff of “nature?”  Such is not an “easy” proposition.

So, the agents of the Outside, Ciphrang, small, and The Hundred, large, crave the sustainance of differentiation, and Damnation is this marked differentiation of the Spirit/Soul.  The “experience” of difference, as the Voice tells little Kel.  The trick though, what they do not realize, is that the Completeness they desire cannot be achieved through acquisition, but through loss.  One can approach One from fractions, but cannot ever reach it: the infinite shattered pieces of the infinite God are infinite.  Being that only the God-of-gods is (was) infinite; all divisions are necessarily not infinite and so are incapable of being or becoming so. 

Here we can use one of the tools that Koringhus gives us.  The concept of Zero made One, or the Zero-God (or as I call it, Zero-as-One).  This is to say that Zero, the total loss of The Self and the acceptance of the falsity of differentiation, is made or is-as One, the Unity.  This can be rephrased as: the loss of Interval is the acceptance into, and of, the Unity.  If nothing divides, than everything is as One.  This can also be conceptualized as the loss of particular perspective, is the opening to all possible perspectives.

This is diametrically opposed to what The Hundred, Ciphrang, and actual Souled beings strive toward.  Since Identity is so key their existence, they cling to their shard and exist in a state of marked differentiation.  Their aim, given the conceits of this position, is to achieve the completeness of One, but through Zero.  Through Zero meaning that they aim at achieving zero differentiation from everything by acquiring all differentiation.  This can be rephrased as: if a thing is all things, than it is only One thing.  One thing, and so completeness, achieved by being comprised off everything.

Since the Cubit, which could be surmised as being the God-of-gods, that is the Zero-God, or a sort of principle of Zero-As-One (a unity concept) is the source of damnation, not the Hundred.   Or, if the God-of-gods does truly slumber, or in it’s shattered state is not manifest, the Cubit is at least the perspective of this origin. And damnation could well be simply your distance from this unity concept.  That is, sin could be what demarks your soul as apart from "the rest," that is, that which enforces an interval between your Spirit and that of everything else.  If Koringhus is to be believed, this denial of interval, no check that, this insistence on (of?) interval is what damns.  The true interval is Zero.  This is why the true God-of-gods is Zero-as-One, not One-as-Zero.  To rephrase that, Zero is the Unity, as in zero interval between "things" and One is the Identity, that is, the "individual."  So, in Zero-As-One, the individual Self is subsumed and replaced by the Unity, or to say the Unity is the new Self.  To attempt to gain One-as-Zero, would be to gain all portions of Selves and so enforce a Unity by acquisition, that is, if One was comprised of All, there would be no interval and would be a Unity.  This cannot work.  Or at least, not practically.  No One can acquire All, so achieving the Zero interval is functionally impossible through achieving One-ness (this is possibly why The Absolute is a trap).  What is plausibly doable though is to lose everything, achieve Zero differentiation and so through loss, gain Unity.

The Logos (the elevation of the Intellect, the Self) is another trap, so perhaps this is why Kellhus (mostly) abandons it?

As a side note, why then are Sorcerers damned?  Well, it could be because they demand (not unlike the Consult do) that reality conform to their demand.  And so offend Unity, because they are forcing a "false frame," that is a individually determined, individually demanded frame upon the Unity.  So, this fundamental violation of Unity so offends the God-of-gods (Zero-As-One, the Cubit) as to demark that soul as irrevocably "set apart."  If that is true (or even partly so), it opens the interesting next step to asked: what then of the Psûhke?  In this case, we must return to the earlier discussion, that there isn't just a bifurcation of Being (into Body and Soul), but rather a tripartite of Body, Mind and Spirit.  Body and Mind being what can "imprint" on the Spirit and give it it's metaphysical character.  OK, fine, but what does that tell us about why the Sorcery Marks, where the Psûhke does not?

Well, we are told that the Psûhke is decidedly non-intellectual.  That is, it arises not from the intellect but from the passion.  In our "normal" parlance, this hardly makes a difference, passions are of the mind and so is the intellect.  But on Eärwa, I don't think this is as true.  That is to say, that the Mind isn't the brain, but is the Intellect.  So, what damns is not the brain, but the metaphysical Intellect, that is, consciousthought.  It is conscious thought that sets Sorcery apart from the Psûhke.  It is conscious thought that then damns.  The Psûhke comes from the Body, that is, without conscious thought, without intellect.  That is why, as in the "curious case" of Titirga, it seems to just issue forth, a priori.  It is also no coincidence that Sorcery, language and so conscious thought are bound concepts in Eärwa, where the Psûhke is not linguistically based.
In Eärwa, the Body (that is, the literally corpus) is the conduit of the Darkness that Comes before, i.e. what is natural.  That is, what is indistinguishable from God's own will.  It is the conscious direction of the Mind that differentiates the Spirit.  That does open the question of whether you can be unconsciously damned on Eärwa and to that I'm not at all sure.  Although I am not sure what it would mean to live your whole life completely unconscious either.  This differentiation, with regards to Sorcery, is called The Mark. The deepness of The Mark seems proportional to some kind of metric that measures how much disjunction, or perhaps “ruin” one has caused in the “natural” fabric of reality.

My guess would be that being Marked does about the same as Sin, that is, puts your soul in a state of marked differentiation and so does damn without a question of what, specifically was done.  I think it correct that Sorcery=the Mark, and I think it reasonable that The Mark=Damnation.  So then, since we know that Sorcery is cognitive, or intellectual, then it is reasonable that in this round-about way, conscious thought, through the cypher of Sorcery, does equal Damnation.

I think the issue that makes it more, and less, clear is that of the Psûhke.  So, if the Mark is just a tally of "ruin" on the fabric of Reality, what constitutes actual "aesthetic ruin" (that is, disjunctive changes in reality) can't simply be, say, "change outside of The God's will" or else the Psûhke is actually divine and I think that Ajokli's demonstration of Thaumaturgy or Divine Magic proves that Chorae are no match for that.  So, the fact that Chorae effect the Psûhke seems to defeat the idea that something Divine is actually involved.

So, what does does "aesthetic ruin" mean?  If Sorcerous changes are and the Psûhke's changes are not, I think the answer lies in this quote from Bakker:

[Quote]Everything comes down to meaning in Eärwa. Where sorcery is representational, utilizing either the logical form (as with the Gnosis) or the material content (as with the Anagogis) of meaning to leverage transformations of reality, the Psukhe utilizes the impetus. Practitioners of the Psukhe blind themselves to see through the what and grasp the how, the pure performative kernel of meaning–the music, the passion, or as the Cishaurim call it, the ‘Water.’ As a contemporary philosopher might say, the Psukhe is noncognitive, it has no truck with warring versions of reality, which is why it possesses no Mark and remains invisible to the Few.[/quote]

They key differentiator in there seem to be (at least in my reading) to be Congitive vs. Non-Cognitive.  Both are Sorcery (which is why Chorae work all the same on all of it), just differing in how the changes are writ.  And that seems to make a real difference in how the changes made reconcile against the practitioner's soul.  So, it seems to me that the Conscious component of Sorcery is indeed what Marks and if it is true that the Mark Damns, then indeed, it seems plausible that Conscious Thought is indeed a vehicle to Damnation.  Now a Chorae does not Salt a Sinner, because a Sinner is very much in line with "natural reality" (being that Eärwa is a damnation factory and the "universality" of the Cubit) where Sorcery invites "warring versions of reality."  So, it seems that the "ruin" is the breaking of the continuity of reality.  That is, the entertaining and issuance of "warring versions of reality" that is Marking Sorcerers and in turn, Damning them and the Psûhke, given it's lack of Conscious (cognitive) intentionality does not Mark and plausibly does not even Damn, at least, on it's own.

A Chorae simply resolves the paradox that is Sorcery.  That is, it doesn’t matter if it Marked the Spirit of the practitioner, or if not.  It simply undoes Sorcery and those that practiced it.  It isn’t clear though, if the Spirit of those that practice the Psûhke isn’t Marked, it still must bear something on it’s ledger that allows a Chorae to undo them.  I guess it’s the case that while not a Mark, as it is with intellectual Sorcery, it still somehow “carries with it” the accumulated paradoxical nature of what it has done.  Unless, of course, it’s possibly the case that the Psûhke so invokes the “Divine nature” of creation, that Spirits having practiced it are actually closer to the Unity than they are distant from it.

As a side note, I think I finally actually get why the Dûnyain regard sorcery as a violation of Before and After.  I never made sense to me, because it wasn't as if Sorcery altered the past, that the After changed what happened in the Past, but I might now get it.  It is that the fundamental underlying facts of Reality determine what can come after.  So, the fundamental fact of, say, gravity (among other things, but just to keep it "simple") determines that a human can't fly.  Or, say, laws of free energy (again, among other things) dictate that Dragon's head doesn't just pop out of thin air and vomit fire.  Sorcery violates these laws, violates the facts of the Before, and so changes the After.

Since we have been discussing the fact of Damnation in Eärwa, what about the mechanism of it, the Cubit.  As in, why are some things sins and others not?  Is it arbitrary?  Are "sins" arbitrary, in the real world?  Although I can't "prove" it one way or the other, I'm not so sure.  Although I can more readily recognize that the label of "Holy" could be more arbitrary.  It certainly depends on how we choose to define "Holy" and unfortunately the books themselves don't give us many examples to build on. So, is Eärwa a place of just capricious Damnation?  Or is it discrete, like Physics?

Geometry, physics and other distinctly mathematical properties determine in a way that might seem arbitrary from a certain human rational standpoint, but are distinctly rational once the underlying mechanisms are exposed.  In the same way, nickel has the more tightly bound nucleus, follow by iron, which, is arbitrary from the standpoint of there being a whole periodic table to choose from, why those two?  No one chose them, true.  But the "rules of the game" that is, physics determined it to be so.

Perhaps I am misapprehending the notion here, but I don't think most sins are really vastly different, even though they do not necessarily come from such an objective frame.  To take a real world example, the "sin" of eating pork was very rationally grounded, since improperly cooked pork was rather dangerous.  

It then really isn't so arbitrary that pigs were considered "filthy" and "unholy."  Unconscious objects could be Vile and Holy, yes, but this (I don't think) isn't the same as Damned and Redeamed.  That is to say, I don't think pigs go to Hell and Storks go to Heaven.  No, rather these "things" are, as non-conscious objects, merely symbols of what is to be Consciously revered, or reviled.  So, a pig might be Vile because it is regarded as an "unclean animal" (plausibly due to trichinosis).  A stork might be "holy" because it invites (or invokes) thoughts of venerating parental care.  The object itself isn't destined for Hell or anywhere, since it has no soul.  Rather, it is the Souled Observer, who interprets Value.

Now, it could be that on Eärwa things are just arbitrary, I mean, of course they are, Bakker simply just chose them.  But not so arbitrary that pretty much all of them came from some real-world religion or other cultural place.  So, they are based off something, but something more nebulous and less discrete than physics.  When Mimara views, via the Eye:

Quote

Between women and men, women possess the lesser soul. Whenever the Eye opens, she glimpses the fact of this, the demand that women yield to the requirements of men, so long as those demands be righteous. To bear sons. To lower her gaze. To provide succor. The place of the woman is to give. So it has always been, since Omrain first climbed nude from the dust and bathed in the wind. Since Esmenet made herself a crutch for stern Angeshraël.

This is arbitrary from the completely objective standpoint.  Why is it that Eärwan women possess lesser Souls?  Well, first, what does that even mean?  First, we must again recognize that the Eärwan conception of the Soul is always a something of a misnomer, as used.  That is, since no one seems to differentiate Spirit from Soul, as we do above, the Soul is confusingly relegated to attempt to cover as both.  I think we have previously demonstrated this is plausibly not true.  So then, it isn’t that women in Eärwa are spiritually inferior, it is that they are placed into a position where the demands on their psyche is such that there is less demand on their Soul to differentiate their identities for than men.  In fact, dictates of biology and so societal organization largely demand it.  In this sense, the burden of birth is a call to connection.  In the manner of  Koringhus’ revelation then, women are actually Spiritually superior to men.  The designation of “Lesser” as opposed to “Greater” denotes, in this case, the acceptance of loss, forfeiture of the Self, and the path to Unity, so the actual method away from Damnation.  In the same way, Kellhus denotes a “Greater Proyas” and a “Lesser Proyas.”  We, just by the terms, would equate “Greater” as “better” and preferable to “lesser.”  This is false and it is “Greater Proyas” is lead into Damnation.  Because Greater Proyas is the Proyas who desires to be more.  It is Lesser Proyas who seeks Unity and loss, deference to the Holy.  It is the Greater, who Kellhus enslaves, which is his Proyas’ conscious desire to aspire toward The God, to be more, rather than less.  The Soul, that which differentiates, is the engine that drives the Spirit to Damnation, so calls to “Greater” individualization and differentiation are both Spiritually inferior.

In the same manner, this is why women of Eärwa are, in general, more Holy and lesser Souls.  Because they are driven, in general to a role that subsumes their individuality and drives them toward something closer to Unity.  In this way, women are the Greater Spirits.  In this way, women are more Holy.  Also, because of how shackled they are to men, by biological (as well as psychological) facts, they are also victims of men’s Spiritual deficiency.  So, while women are the Greater Spirits, they are still Damned by association with the iniquities of men’s Spirits.  This is why Mimara repeats the proclamation that women should follow a righteous man. Since not all men are righteous, then so are many women Damned.

Note that this, in general, offends the modern egalitarian, gender-equality lines of thought.  Of course it does, as it is made to approximate the situation pre-Modern people thought they lived in.  Eärwa is designed to be the Hell of a world we thought we lived in.  Not only this, but the very offense is given to highlight and cue our moral intuitions on the subject.  Since we identify the unfair nature of Mimara’s (and every other woman in the series) situation, we are directly confronted with the unfair nature of our own world.  The imposition of being is not adjudicated fairly, not in the real world, nor on Eärwa.

It’s interesting to think to the next step though, how, if women were “unshackled” from this “arbitrary” imposition of subservience, what would the effect be?  I think the answer is that they would still be Damned though.  They, taking on the same role as men would be placed in the same trap that Eärwan men are in, that of applying the Soul in carving out individuality or questing toward being “more” is seemingly a sure-fire route to Damnation.

Not only that, but since what comes before determines what comes after and since culture itself can most certainly be a vehicle of pan-societal damnation, I  think it is most certainly the case that one can be born directly into a state of being set up to be Damned.  In fact, we know it from the Dûnyain to be true.  That is the Eärwan version of Original Sin.  You are the culmination of your culture's collected sins and Damned even further by continued adherence to it's (probably) flawed precepts.

So, the “rules” that the Cubit offers might seem arbitrary, might even be somewhat arbitrary, but they are that which allows Eärwa to be the granary that feeds the Hundred.  The path to Unity is absolutely contrary to the fundamental way which consciousness construes the reality of Identity.  And that is the thing that Damns most of all.

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On 11/10/2018 at 9:14 AM, .H. said:

So, Anagogic fire only figuratively alludes to heat, where Gnostic fire is literally the essence of heat itself.

 

On 11/10/2018 at 9:53 AM, 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. 

I really like the public/private key analogy for this.

I'm definitely in the camp that interpreted all sorcery as utilising an inutteral but I think I'm conceptualising them a bit differently. I actually thought the gnosis does involve formula as part of the spell - I didn't think it was coincidental that he describes parabolas of light etc. I think it's something along the lines of the utteral is "x thousand joules of energy coursing along the described path" and the inutteral is "the path is described by the equation y=z^2 with the 0 point anchored at my target, the x axis is parallel to the ground oriented north/south, the y axis is perpendicular to the ground, and the z axis is parallel to the ground oriented east/west". By contrast the anagogic would be "a vast torrent of fire, burning as hot as magma from the earth, erupting from the gaping maw of the beast" and "the beast is a fearsome dragon who lifts his head in the span before my hands, the light from the sun glints off his bronzed scales and fury spins in his eyes and churns in his belly".

The gnosis describes a specific amount of energy being channeled along a single mathematically precise line, the anagogic sorcery simply describes a torrent of fire pouring forth into the air. The fire may contain the same total amount of energy, but even if it does it's dispersed through the air as fire so its not as concentrated and it diminishes the further from the dragon head it travels.

And when they try to copy the utteral from a gnostic sorceror they don't have a way to describe the path taken - attempting to bolt it onto their own kind of spell just doesnt work, in part because it doesn't make sense to them conceptually.

On 11/10/2018 at 10:14 AM, Kalbear said:

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). 

The precision of meaning definitely has to be an important part of it, but I thought the metagnosis adds another concept rather than just being more precise. For example the cants of calling might have an utteral that describes the location of the person they wish to visit, and an inutteral that describes their consciousness travelling to that location along the connection of the soul. The metagnostic version however retains the same utteral, changes the first inutteral to connect to their own body in the new location instead of a connected third party soul, and then adds a 2nd inutteral which describes the relocation of their physical body to the target location. I'm not sure how this would tie in with the maths I described earlier, but I'm not actually positive whether the cants of calling are even described as gnostic or kind of their own separate thing?

Another example is the walking on echoes of the ground thing - I'm not sure exactly how it would split between utteral and inutteral for the standard version, but my interpretation of what Kellhus does in TGO is supplements another inutteral that transfers the shockwave of his footfalls back down to the ground. Because his foot fall is only on a tiny echo of the ground, lets call it 0.1% of the ground, when that's transferred back to the ground its magnified 1000x. This turns one of the lowest effort spells we see used into a metagnostic version that would still be far easier than the teleportation one while still delivering incredible destruction as the amplification isn't effort he's "expending" if you will, rather its exploiting the relationship between the echoes of the ground and the ground itself.

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As I recall the Anagogic, they do stuff like summon a dragons head to spew fire out. So they rely on a kind of metaphor to inflict their effects. Where as the Gnosis describes it's effects directly.

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On 11/14/2018 at 7:44 AM, .H. said:

Well, since we are on it, I'll post the "manifesto" here.  Keep in mind, some sections are rather "raw" and almost certainly incorrect.  However, this gets at the main thrust of my position on souls now.

What is the Eärwan Soul really?

I think overall you have the right of it, and this association of damnation with the emphasis of the individual explains quite a few things:

-The Nonmen, in assuming that walking into the Void involving a triumph of the Ego to find Dissolution, ensured their damnation.

-The gods/God hate premeditation, as this emphasizes the individual acting in space/time.

-Love for another to the point one's Self is subsumed seems to at least open the door to salvation.

-Sorcery, in that it emphasizes the Individual pushing their view on to the World, invites damnation along with the Mark.

One thing that does occur to me is the question of the Cishaurim...we know the Fanim are the most wrong but are Cish therefore damned? Their cognition may have lead to the wrong conclusion but their non-cognitive sorcery seems to recall the Wholeness of the God....they also don't seem to Salt...

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32 minutes ago, Sci-2 said:

One thing that does occur to me is the question of the Cishaurim...we know the Fanim are the most wrong but are Cish therefore damned? Their cognition may have lead to the wrong conclusion but their non-cognitive sorcery seems to recall the Wholeness of the God....they also don't seem to Salt...

That is a very interesting question.  Unfortunately, we have no information at all to actually know really, one way or the other.

I think that, if my line of reasoning above is somewhat correct, then I think it stands to reason that Cishaurim are not, de facto, saved.  So, they probably are generally Damned, just not necessarily on account of their sorcerous exploits.  I think they don't salt, because for whatever reason, salting is the "reconciling" of the Mark against the Body.  This also means that the paradoxical nature of the Psûhke (and so, likely all sorcery) is not tallied in the Mark, but rather in and of the Spirit itself.

So, where we are told that the Psûkhe is akin to The God's work, it really only is so in appearance only, not in actual practice.  So, I am left to side against the Psûkhe as genuinely redemptive.  At least, redemptive of your Soul (Spirit).

There is though, the "curious case" of Titirga's "muted" and "rinsed" Mark.  So, there is a case to be made that the Psûkhe could mitigate your Mark.  But like I've likened earlier, I don't think the Mark alone is what really Damns you, it's just another ledger, one more "visible" via the Onta.

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Cishaurim are salted just like all other sorcerers. And, I don't want to spoil the fun, in fact, I enjoy reading this fan wanking, but you guys put way more thought into this than Bakker himself did. 

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1 hour ago, Gronzag said:

Cishaurim are salted just like all other sorcerers. And, I don't want to spoil the fun, in fact, I enjoy reading this fan wanking, but you guys put way more thought into this than Bakker himself did. 

They're vulnerable to chorae, but they don't salt; they basically explode. 

 

2 hours ago, .H. said:

 

There is though, the "curious case" of Titirga's "muted" and "rinsed" Mark.  So, there is a case to be made that the Psûkhe could mitigate your Mark.  But like I've likened earlier, I don't think the Mark alone is what really Damns you, it's just another ledger, one more "visible" via the Onta.

Once again, don't mistake the Mark for the sin. Marking has to do with sorcery specifically - both in being able to see it (being of the Few and seeing the Onta) and when practicing it, being seen. It appears to be entirely based on that and that alone. Damnation relies on what effective damage - real and semantic - you cause on others. 

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