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BAKKER IX: Warrior-Prophet reread


Happy Ent

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Which in itself raises some interesting questions:

i. were the Consult as determined to find out about whatever was behind the extermination of their skin spies in Shimeh?

ii. if not, why not? They certainly couldn't have thought it an anomaly.

iii. is it because Moe decided not to risk tipping his hand to the Consult, as Kellhus did?

iv. does this indicate Moe's conditioned abilities are possibly beyond those of his son?

v. if so or if not, why did he blind himself?

vi. why did he blind himself?

vii. why?

1) Yes, that was the whole point of the Holy War. They thought the Cishaurim had found some way to use the Psukhe to expose their skin spies. Hence, they must all be destroyed.

Moenghus blinded himself to gain the Psuhke, not understanding at the time that it relies on passion for power, making it useless to the Dunyain.

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But they should know what the Psukhe is capable and not capable of, should they not, in a world where age is power?

Why should they?

The secrets of the Psuhke are confined to the Cishaurim. And they can't get spies into the ranks of the sorcerors themselves (baring that one freak one in the Mandate)

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1) Yes, that was the whole point of the Holy War. They thought the Cishaurim had found some way to use the Psukhe to expose their skin spies. Hence, they must all be destroyed.

Moenghus blinded himself to gain the Psuhke, not understanding at the time that it relies on passion for power, making it useless to the Dunyain.

Another thing I don't understand [or agree with] is how he couldn't know that.

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Why should they?

Then I'd ask why they shouldn't.

The Consult were present some time before the First Apocalypse, yet I don't recall mention of the Psukhe in what we know of Earwa's early history. Such an order, or school if you like, could not have maintained the kind of initiated exclusion you're suggesting.

Most definitely without a Dûnyain to reveal skin spies.

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Another thing I don't understand [or agree with] is how he couldn't know that.

Because Sorcerors don't go telling everyone their secrets. All he knew at the time was:

1) They could do magic

2) it required blinding himself

3) even though they were blind, they could still see

It's only after he takes that risk that he finds out the Psukhe is completely unsuitable for a Dunyain.

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Then I'd ask why they shouldn't.

The Consult were present some time before the First Apocalypse, yet I don't recall mention of the Psukhe in what we know of Earwa's early history. Such an order, or school if you like, could not have maintained the kind of initiated exclusion you're suggesting.

Most definitely without a Dûnyain to reveal skin spies.

Why not? The first of the Cishaurim was Fane himself from what I remember. The only people who know how the magic works are the Cishaurim themselves, who are all fanatics of one sort or another. How would ANYONE outside the order get ahold of this information?

We see many times in the trilogy that how a schools sorcery is performed is their most closely guarded secret.

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Why not? The first of the Cishaurim was Fane himself from what I remember. The only people who know how the magic works are the Cishaurim themselves, who are all fanatics of one sort or another. How would ANYONE outside the order get ahold of this information?

We see many times in the trilogy that how a schools sorcery is performed is their most closely guarded secret.

Assumptions, except for Fane.

I would think the beginnings of that religious movement, and the Psukhe, might be something the Consult would want to keep an eye on-- like everything else, for however long it was between the First Apocalypse and the Holy War. Or wouldn't you?

It's curious to me that Bakker might not have conceived that the Consult would find it interesting indeed that their skin spies suddenly started disappearing. Yet he then has them imagine it's the Psukhe?

And the schools, as far as the first trilogy has laid out, have explicitly forbidden the sharing of their knowledge. Or, the Mandati, anyway. Nothing was said about the Cishaurim bureaucratic structure or otherwise, iirc. And again, iirc, I seem to recall Achamian mentioning bits and pieces of the Gnosis to Esemenet. Descriptions and such, enough to give her an idea.

But come on. What worldborn could keep a secret from a Dunyain? Even those most impervious, Conphas and Cnaiur, could not.

I have to go home. I'll look forward to your responses.

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No, their not Assumptions. Seriously, Achamian spends like most of a book trying to figure out whether he should teach Kellhus sorcery or not. How they do sorcery is a school's most treasured possession, one they are more then willing to kill for. We see this several times in the book, and it's mentioned even more.

We know Moenghus knew nothing of how it worked before joining, which is a pretty good hint that no one even in Fanim lands knows much about it. Hell, the other schools have been trying to crack the secre of the Psukhe for years, and have turned up NOTHING. That's pretty good evidence it's a well kept secret.

Remember, the Cishaurim are the High Priests of Fane. These are some very commited people. Sorcerors don't go around explaning specifics of the metaphysics of their sorcery to outsiders. And since Skin Spies can't pass as sorcerors (baring the 1 freak) it's not that hard a secret to keep.

Achamian talked ABOUT sorcery to Esme, but he never tells her HOW it works.

It's curious to me that Bakker might not have conceived that the Consult would find it interesting indeed that their skin spies suddenly started disappearing. Yet he then has them imagine it's the Psukhe?

What else would they think? Seriously, what other option is there?

"Oh, I know, maybe this secret sect that has been hiding in the wilderness for thousands of years that we've never heard of before randomly sent someone to join this school"?

I mean seriously, what other rational explanation is there, given the facts they had at hand. Remember NO ONE outside of Ishual, NO ONE knew about the Dunyain.

All the skin spies around the Cishaurim are disappearing => Something to do with the Psukhe

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Sorry for the tardy response. Seems like the only opportunity for free time I get these days is when I’m at work. Go figure. Anywho…

No, their not Assumptions. Seriously, Achamian spends like most of a book trying to figure out whether he should teach Kellhus sorcery or not. How they do sorcery is a school's most treasured possession, one they are more then willing to kill for. We see this several times in the book, and it's mentioned even more.

Achamian spends a great length of time deliberating whether or not he should teach the gnosis to Kellhus. Every other school wants the gnosis, and no school will suffer a hedge wizard, as it undermines their power. Kellhus wouldn’t have been a mandate schoolman. He would have been an outsider, armed with the most powerful sorcery known in Earwa. My assumption was always that Achamian was first and foremost afraid of that, as well as the implications of what someone with Kellhus’s piercing intellect could achieve. Those, and he’s the scion of the Anasûrimbor.

But, all of this is beside the point. From what we’ve seen of the different schools, all of the social and functional strata of their structures are filled with schoolmen, from scribe to Grand Vizier. I am not denying that. But as you’ve been saying, none of these schools knows anything about the structure of the Cishaurim. There's no reason, yet, to assume that Moe couldn't have gleaned some information about the Cishaurim, or the Psukhe. My argument isn't based on whether or not the Cishaurim or the Consult might suspect the existence of the Dûnyain.

It's that the Dûnyain exist.

We know Moenghus knew nothing of how it worked before joining, which is a pretty good hint that no one even in Fanim lands knows much about it. Hell, the other schools have been trying to crack the secre of the Psukhe for years, and have turned up NOTHING. That's pretty good evidence it's a well kept secret.

Where has it been said that Moe knew nothing of the Psukhe prior to joining the order? Here’s another place where the internal logic of the story breaks down. If it’s entirely as you say, then Moe couldn’t have known he’d be able to send a message to Ishuäl. If Moe didn’t know he’d eventually possess this ability, enabling a request that his son be sent to him, why then, when it came to the crux would he have allowed himself to be blinded? Without sight a Dûnyain is so… reduced. He would’ve been exchanging one of his greatest advantages, to read the movements of souls, for what?

Mystery?

Doesn’t sound like the thinking of a Dûnyain to me.

Remember, the Cishaurim are the High Priests of Fane. These are some very committed people. Sorcerors don't go around explaning specifics of the metaphysics of their sorcery to outsiders. And since Skin Spies can't pass as sorcerors (baring the 1 freak) it's not that hard a secret to keep.

I wasn’t suggesting the skin spies had penetrated the sanctum sanctorum of the Cishaurim, just that they’d evidently been infiltrating all political factions of Earwa for quite some time. If memory serves, the knuckle-heads were an old creation of the Techne, were they not, with the means of their creation forgotten? Irreplaceable assets like that, gone missing, would arouse mighty suspicion I’d think, just as it did when the Holy War was purged. And apparently it did, but why would it be the Psukhe? I mean, after all of that time, suddenly knuckle-heads start going missing… and it’s some miraculous new development of the Psukhe, is it?

I don't buy that the Consult would so easily be duped. Not when they singled out Kellhus so quickly, despite his penchant for gambling, i.e. the push-pull game with skin spy-Sarcellus, etc

Achamian talked ABOUT sorcery to Esme, but he never tells her HOW it works. What else would they think? Seriously, what other option is there?

"Oh, I know, maybe this secret sect that has been hiding in the wilderness for thousands of years that we've never heard of before randomly sent someone to join this school"?

I mean seriously, what other rational explanation is there, given the facts they had at hand. Remember NO ONE outside of Ishual, NO ONE knew about the Dunyain.

All the skin spies around the Cishaurim are disappearing => Something to do with the Psukhe

But Achamian knew better than to even talk about the gnosis with Kellhus. I’d contend that it’s because he feared what Kellhus might be able to figure out with his intellect alone, much less what he could actually do if someone of that insightful caliber possessed the gnosis.

And oddly enough, Achamian didn’t know about the Dûnyain either.

Look, we’re obviously not going to convince each other, but Bakker hasn’t convinced me. This isn’t to say I don’t like his series. Quite the opposite.

But I will never say it’s flawlessly constructed.

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Achamian spends a great length of time deliberating whether or not he should teach the gnosis to Kellhus. Every other school wants the gnosis, and no school will suffer a hedge wizard, as it undermines their power. Kellhus wouldn’t have been a mandate schoolman. He would have been an outsider, armed with the most powerful sorcery known in Earwa. My assumption was always that Achamian was first and foremost afraid of that, as well as the implications of what someone with Kellhus’s piercing intellect could achieve. Those, and he’s the scion of the Anasûrimbor.

But, all of this is beside the point. From what we’ve seen of the different schools, all of the social and functional strata of their structures are filled with schoolmen, from scribe to Grand Vizier. I am not denying that. But as you’ve been saying, none of these schools knows anything about the structure of the Cishaurim. There's no reason, yet, to assume that Moe couldn't have gleaned some information about the Cishaurim, or the Psukhe. My argument isn't based on whether or not the Cishaurim or the Consult might suspect the existence of the Dûnyain.

It's that the Dûnyain exist.

Sure, Moenghus could figure out:

a) they do magic

B) blinding is somehow involved

c) they can still see

But beyond that? None of the rest is known outside the schools. Kelhuss knew nothing of the Inutteral part of a spell before Achamian told him. Why would anyone else, who wasn't a sorceror?

I mean, there's every basis in the book for the fact that no one expect hte sorcerors themselves know how magic really works. And even they don't know how the Psukhe works. Why would anyone else?

Where has it been said that Moe knew nothing of the Psukhe prior to joining the order? Here’s another place where the internal logic of the story breaks down. If it’s entirely as you say, then Moe couldn’t have known he’d be able to send a message to Ishuäl. If Moe didn’t know he’d eventually possess this ability, enabling a request that his son be sent to him, why then, when it came to the crux would he have allowed himself to be blinded? Without sight a Dûnyain is so… reduced. He would’ve been exchanging one of his greatest advantages, to read the movements of souls, for what?

Mystery?

Doesn’t sound like the thinking of a Dûnyain to me.

Because he didn't NEED to send for Kelhuss till after he was blinded. Because, once blinded, he could no longer hope to to unite the Three Seas the way Kelhuss did.

We know Moenghus knew nothing of the Psukhe, because if he HAD, he would have know he'd be crap at using it. All he got out of joining the Cishaurim was a diminishment of his potential.

And it's BECAUSE of that, that he called to his son. He needed a full, uncrippled Dunyain to accomplish the goal of uniting the Three Seas. He didn't need to use sorcery till after he'd already figured out the sorcery he'd learned was useless to him.

I wasn’t suggesting the skin spies had penetrated the sanctum sanctorum of the Cishaurim, just that they’d evidently been infiltrating all political factions of Earwa for quite some time. If memory serves, the knuckle-heads were an old creation of the Techne, were they not, with the means of their creation forgotten? Irreplaceable assets like that, gone missing, would arouse mighty suspicion I’d think, just as it did when the Holy War was purged. And apparently it did, but why would it be the Psukhe? I mean, after all of that time, suddenly knuckle-heads start going missing… and it’s some miraculous new development of the Psukhe, is it?

I don't buy that the Consult would so easily be duped. Not when they singled out Kellhus so quickly, despite his penchant for gambling, i.e. the push-pull game with skin spy-Sarcellus, etc

What else would they think it was? The SKin Spies are all disappearing inside the Cishaurim. What's the obvious conclusion? That they Cishaurim themselves are eliminating them. And how would they do that? Well, the only thing different about the Cishaurim is the Psukhe. It's a logical conclusion. What else could it be?

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Where has it been said that Moe knew nothing of the Psukhe prior to joining the order? Here’s another place where the internal logic of the story breaks down. If it’s entirely as you say, then Moe couldn’t have known he’d be able to send a message to Ishuäl. If Moe didn’t know he’d eventually possess this ability, enabling a request that his son be sent to him, why then, when it came to the crux would he have allowed himself to be blinded? Without sight a Dûnyain is so… reduced. He would’ve been exchanging one of his greatest advantages, to read the movements of souls, for what?

Mystery?

Doesn’t sound like the thinking of a Dûnyain to me.

He didn't see it as a mystery, he saw it as power. He knew that the Cishaurim were powerful, both as sorcerers and as priests. They are able to use the Psukhe in order to see, so being blinded wouldn't seem to be a tremendous loss. A Dunyain, stripped of any sort of mission, will be motivated to do nothing other than possess. Joining the most powerful faction in Kian would seem like a good way to do that. The Cishaurim don't truly understand how the Psukhe works, apart from some religious justification. They are priests after all. Moe would have simply assumed that it works much the same as other sorcery, and that the religious element was a simple falsehood. He likely didn't believe in the Outside at this point, beyond the existence of sorcery. Maybe its a little contrived, but I think there is enough logic in his decisions that it makes sense for him to take that risk.

Although, to be honest, I think it would have made more sense for him to travel to High Ainon. It is perhaps the second most powerful nation in the Three Seas, and the Scarlet Spires are a powerful faction in their own right, one whose metaphysics are much better understood. The Kianene are fairly open to ships from all over the Three Seas, for pilgrims and trade and the like, and Moe has shown himself capable of escaping from slavery in the past. He couldn't, or the story would never have happened, and I think that Bakker's explanation, while not the best course of action for Moe to have taken, is relatively good.

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So Moe basically becomes leader of the Cishaurim despite the fact that he can barely use their sorcery? That's a pretty strong case for the Dunyain skill.

2nd in command actually.

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I wouldn't go so far as to say that he is second in command. He is very highly respected due to his supreme bullshitting skills, but it is stated that because his abilities are limited due to his blinding that he does not have the kind of hold over people that Kelhus is able to achieve. I would say that philosophically he is very respected.

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During his conversation with Kellhus, it's said that his intellect is well respected by the Cishaurim, but most of the high-ranking Cishaurim think he is cursed by the God. Because of this, his control over their organization is somewhat limited. For instance, they ignore his advice regarding the skin spies and attack the Scarlet Spires.

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Moe commands a faction within the Cishaurim. No more, no less.

Those that he commands apparently give their life for him. (We see such an individual in Caraskand – he delivers a message to Kelly and then lets himself be killed.) That's complete domination.

On the other matter, the metaphysics of the Phsukhe is "little understood" according to the appendix. I'm quite sure that the Cishaurim themselves have little understanding of it. They don't systematically research their own like the other schools do. How should anybody have known that Moe wouldn't master it like he masters everything else?

Especially, how should Moe have known? He's conditioned, his whole value system implies that his skills at everything are superiour, and assumption that he has had confirmed all the time. The very idea that there is an intellectual feat that he should not master is unthinkable to him because it breaks one of the fundamental axioms he lives his life by. We see that even after decades outside of Ishuäl he basically retains his priors, even after realising that sorcery exists, that the Outside exists, and that his "intellectual" skills fail to surpass worldborn men in specific tasks (namely, master of the Psukhe). I don't think he had a chance of guessing that he would not become the most powerful sorcerer in Shimeh. Moe is very, very stubborn and has remained Dunyain.

Kelly hasn't. His mind is open to the possibility of mastering circumstance through passion, not Logos. He is uniquely qualified to actually understand the basics of Cishaurim metaphysics because his conditioning is broken.

--

Here's an argument that I find harder to reject: After learning about sorcery, Moe should have heard that The Gnosis pwns everything else, including the Psukhe. Hence he should have set sail for Mandate Headquarters and presented himself there. Not because he could infer that he would be better suited for the Gnosis, but simply because the Gnosis is stronger.

But we know little of Mandati recruitment, so this could easily be rationalised. (Gnostic recruitment posters – We want YOU for Atyersus! –  might state a maximum age.) Cishaurim practice seems to be ensconced in the Fanim clerical hierarchy, so it might be the most realistic school to get entrance to. (Just start as a Level 1 monk, no magic, and get noticed.)

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