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Judging Eye IX (spoilers)


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You'd be surprised the things we've done historically, or not I think, knowing some of the intellects here. Lots of those same cults used orgies and drugs in order to push the boundaries of experience. Actually, lots of our historical rulers, governments, powers that be are notorious for excessive drug use combined with power. We are beings prone to find experiential novelty.

Anyhow, skipping some Jersey Shore here, I'll type up some of the more prevalent excerpts from the Dunyain entry in the Appendix that made me voice a disagreement.

Dunyain: Repudiated history and animal appetite in the name of finding enlightenment through the control of all desire and all circumstance . . . belief system is unique, leading some to conclude their original inspiration had to be philosophical rather than religious in any traditional sense. Much of Dunyain belief follows from their interpretation of what they consider their founding principles. The Empirical Priority Principal (sometimes referred to as the Principle of Before and After.) The Rational Priority Principle asserts that Logos, or Reason, lies outside the circle of the world (though only in a formal and not an ontological sense.) The Epistemological Principle asserts that knowing what comes before (via the Logos) yields "control" of what comes after. Given the Priority Principle, it follows that thought, which falls within the circuit of the before and after, is also determined by what comes before. The Dunyain . . . believe the will to be illusory, an artifact of the soul's inability to perceive what comes before it - shades of Neuropath here. The soul, in the Dunyain world view, is part of the world, and therefore as much driven by prior events as anything else . . . Men do not possess "self-moving souls." Far from a given, such a soul is an accomplishment for the Dunyain. All souls, they claim, possess conatus, the natural striving to be self-moving, to escape the circle of before and after - shades of Buddhism . . . They naturally seek to know the world about them and so climb out of the circle. But a host of factors make outright escape impossible. The soul men are born with is too obtuse and clouded by animal passions to be anything other than a slave of what comes before. The whole point of the Dunyain ethos is to overcome these limitations and so become a self-moving soul - to attain what they call the Absolute, or the Unconditioned Soul. But unlike those exotic Nilnameshi sects devoted to various other forms of enlightenment, the Dunyain are not so naive as to think this can be attained within the course of a single lifetime. They think of this, rather as a multi-generational process. Quite early on they recognized that the instrument itself, the soul, was flawed, so they instituted a program of selective breeding for intellect and dispassion. In a sense the entire sect became a kind of experiment isolated from the world to maintain control, with each prior generation training the next to the limit of their capabilities, the idea being that over the millenia they would produce souls that could climb further and further from the circle of before and after. The hope was that eventually they would produce a soul utterly transparent to Logos, a soul capable of apprehending all the darknesses that come before.

Sorry, I started there just trying to get what I needed but then there's so much of interest. I think something to remember is that Bakker has said he just meant for soul to mean mind, as historically we've refered to many of our observations specific to mind as soul.

I always had a thought about Kellhus. I think he's meditating in TWP and he sees past all the physical structures and dimensions around him, through the historical weight of human lives responsible for that spot, and I thought to myself that, maybe, Kellhus might just see all the way back to the Omega Point, Absolute, or God. That last part really fits this.

I agree they've gotten a lot done, Curethan. Maybe ultimately they'll be responsible for a version of their success.

I was making the point that their 'faith' is based on philosophic principles that cut to the core of how things actually work in Earwa. Without history and sorcery they are free to get to grips with the metaphysical 'science' of the world.

The dunyain principles of progressing their belief system hinge on some pretty deep understanding of the metaphysics of Earwa. Erasing history and sorcery as a first step demonstrates this. Their 'goal' of awakening the God (Moenghus' interpretation) seems like a diametric opposition to the Consult's objective of summoning the No-god, something Seswatha would find very interesting, I think.

I just don't think their belief system necessarily hinges on deep understanding of Earwa's metaphysics. In fact, I think they're operating under the framework of incomplete variables for those metaphysics as I said. Consider the possible nature of belief and sorcery itself. Perhaps, that's where I feel you contradicted things from the Dunyain excerpt.

EDIT:

Neuropath Spoilers

Anyone else find the complimentary contrast between Neuropath and PON awesome? The book is named for the Neuropaths, like Sam, that the "shadow government" has placed throughout the world, essentially neurological equivalents of the Skin-Spies, with a splash of Dunyain, which I think is gold, really showcases the craziness of the Skin Spies or Neuropaths themselves.

Also, I have this crazy theory that Kellhus and Neil are almost like the same thing but antithetic versions of each other. Sorry, had to do a Nerdanel for a second.

Sorry, Triskele; minor things, I assure you.

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I think Razor just meant that Aurax was the more viscerally jarring Inchoroi; it's, perhaps, more difficult to imagine such an entity worshiping anything beyond what he was doing to the tribesmen of the North.

You know, its funny, but Gnostic Christian actually believe something similar to the Dunyain. They believe the world is a lie, our reality is created by the deceiver, and humanities goal was to create the space - possibly composed of human minds/souls - for the emergent Omega Point, Transcendent Object at the End of Time, or simply, God. I never thought Bakker took much of that into account though.

It could just be like the New Age thought that we're all consciousness and the God will, or next entity in succession in the Great Chain of Being towards the God, emerge from culminative human consciousness.

Gives credence to the belief begets reality idea of Earwa.

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The comment on "The God sleeps" wasn't quite literal. Moenghus is saying that the God doesn't exist. But he can exist, sort of. That the God does not give us meaning and purpose because the Outside is just a distorted reflection of the real world.

The Dunyain, in a sense, seek to create God. To create a real meaning and purpose outside the circle of causality and hence outside the world itself.

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I just don't think their belief system necessarily hinges on deep understanding of Earwa's metaphysics. In fact, I think they're operating under the framework of incomplete variables for those metaphysics as I said. Consider the possible nature of belief and sorcery itself. Perhaps, that's where I feel you contradicted things from the Dunyain excerpt.

Okay, I see. I didn't mean to suggest that they have a complete understanding or any absolute answers - but they obviously have a handle on some of the objective principles that are certainly not self evident. When formulating a scientific experiment to test a theory we do much the same, eliminating interference and isolating the interaction of the elements we believe we understand in order to measure our theories and accumulate uncontaminated data. My supposition that their cloistering demonstrates deep understanding should perhaps be rephrased as posessing an advanced working theory ;)

Those kind of sophisticated presuppositions suggest their foundations and tenets were based on the work of well educated (and therefore highborn and leisurely) individuals. You know; philosophers, sorcerers and intellectual patrons - the kind of peeps Seswatha would likely hang around with.

eta. Well put, Shryke. Don't know if I would say 'doesn't exist' though. The No-god seems kinda existentially challenged in the way a sleeping God might be if given immanence.

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@ Curethan: Classy rephrase, Sir. Very good.

@ Shryke, despite Moenghus' interpretations, don't the Gods existing stand for something there? I don't think Moenghus necessarily thought Yatwer was a real force in Earwa. I certainly didn't until TJE.

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You know, its funny, but Gnostic Christian actually believe something similar to the Dunyain. They believe the world is a lie,

Possibly a ... Frame? ;)

Did Kel see the Mark on Mek when he meets him in the prologue of TDTCB?

Maybe Mimara can "summon" the No God bby pulling him through an inverted chorae.

Interesting thought on Mimara. Trippy scene in TJE - still can't get my mind around it.

Re: Kellhus and Mek - here is the scene where Kellhus first sees him. US trade paperback, p. 26

Through the sleet, the horse and rider were mere grey shapes. Kellhus watched their slow approach, standing his ground, his shaggy hair frozen into little tusks [never noticed this before] that clicked in the wind. The horse was large, some eighteen hands, and black. Its rider was draped in a long grey cloak stitched with faint patterns--abstracts of faces. He wore an uncrested helm that obscured his countenance.

p. 27

Kellhus studied him, noting that his cloak was not stitched with stylized representations of faces but with actual faces, their features distorted by being stretched flat. Beneath the cloak, the man was powerfully built, heavily armoured, and from the way he comported himself, entirely unafraid.

p. 30

A furious incandescence. Like a petal blown from a palm, Kellhus was thrown backward. He rolled through the snow and, stunned, struggled to his feet. He watched numbly as the Nonman was drawn upright as though by a wire. Pale watery light formed a sphere around him. The ice rain sputtered and hissed against it. Behind him rose the great tree.

Sorcery? But how could it be?

So, I guess the shorter answer to your question would be, simply, no. The only aura Kellhus sees is clearly a ward of some kind.

However, perhaps one cannot distinguish the Mark before one has practiced some sorcery?

The text tells us that "Only the Few can see the Few." And yet, it never tells us how. Is it because of the Mark? Could Akka feel somehow (if he weren't distracted) that Maitha was of the Few? Or did he simply know because Maitha knew him?

If that were the case, then they'd never be able to recruit new children for the Schools - at least, not without asking every child if they could see the Mark around some Schoolman.

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@ Curethan: Classy rephrase, Sir. Very good.

@ Shryke, despite Moenghus' interpretations, don't the Gods existing stand for something there? I don't think Moenghus necessarily thought Yatwer was a real force in Earwa. I certainly didn't until TJE.

Moenghus is essentially saying "The God" as the Inrithi or Fanim believe him to be, doesn't exist.

But the "God" as the Dunyain might conceive of him is possible. It can exist, if the Dunyain succeed. In that sense, the God "sleeps", waiting for the Dunyain to wake it. Although this isn't quite right and is more simply poetic allusion, since the God doesn't exist independently or anything.

But ultimately that's not really what he's talking about. The whole point of the comment is that the signs men interpret as coming from the God are merely them reading what they want to see into the world. There is nothing actually there. "The God sleeps".

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@Wrath. The Few can see the Mark and the Onta before casting spells. Kel tells Akka in TWP that he can see it. Akka, while thinking that Kel might be lying, does recognize that if Kel were of the Fe, he would see the Mark. Conversely, Akka cannot just look and tell whether Kel is of the Few, because Kel had never used Sorcery so was not Marked. Hence, the Wathi doll test.

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Kellhus clearly has the ability to work sorcery. Perhaps, it was just a descriptive constant Bakker forgot to include in TDTCB prologue. I mean, his writing evolved so quickly from TDTCB to Disciple of the Dog. I hate to say it but maybe he just forgot about the descriptive continuity?

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Sure, could be that. Or maybe more evidence that Bakker had not yet fully worked out the metaphysics (as can also be inerred from the Inrau casting spells in his death) scene.

Or maybe applying the principle of charity, it is Bakker purposefully not showing the audience that Kel sees the Mark to keep from the reader that Kel is of the Few.

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What does the mark look like anyway? Does experience help to pick it out? Can it be obfuscated? Are wards (like those Akka sets against the SS when camping in the holy war with Xinemus) evident before they are activated or just a clear sign of where not to go?

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What does the mark look like anyway? Does experience help to pick it out? Can it be obfuscated? Are wards (like those Akka sets against the SS when camping in the holy war with Xinemus) evident before they are activated or just a clear sign of where not to go?

Gnostic Wards are apparently just luminescent spheres around the caster, as in the scene I quoted. Anagogic Wards seem to be ghostly representations of actual walls, as seen in TTT. I would guess that until they are fully "cast" they are not evident, though.

ETA: You seem to be talking about the subtler Wards, not combat Wards. I think those must be invisible, even to the Few - they seem to see the Mark only on the Few (non Cish Few), and not the sorcery itself.

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Looking at yesterday's posting after a good night's sleep it occurs to me that you thought I was talking about The Judging Eye the book while I was talking about the Judging Eye the ability. I think Kellhus's reference to the "Third Sight" in late TTT most likely refers to the Judging Eye the ability.

So is Moënghus damned or not? Kellhus doesn't seem to connect shining bright in the Third Sight (which he thinks Moënghus does) and damnation, but I am not of a mind to consider Kellhus an expert on what he is talking about there.

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I got that; I disagree completely on Moenghus having the Judging Eye. However, I believe Curethan and I were correcting the whole description of social memes that you labeled the Judging Eye & we thought you surely meant TTT.

I didn't mean to imply that Moënghus had the Judging Eye. I meant that Kellhus thinks Moënghus shines brightly when viewed by someone with the Judging Eye ability, such as Mimara in the next book. The Cishaurim apparently call the Judging Eye the ability the Third Sight.

Oh well, maybe I did get more confused in my sleep-deprived state than I though... It turns out that I thought you were talking about the book when you were talking about the ability. I also might not have been properly woken up when I reviewed what everyone wrote last night.

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