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Rhom

The Unholy Consult Previews 2: Murder Shae Wrote

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Previous thread was at 21 pages. Please continue conversations way over my head from here:

Lockesnow, can you elaborate on the metaphysics you're seeing in the idea that everyone is their own center?

Also, we have the Yatwerians cursing "whores" for making pits of their womb. The sin seems to be denying pregnancy, which would make a new person who would be a new subjective angle from which the God would view the world. Is the Carapace a similar pit?

I also like the idea of Mimara being a liminal being. Not only in terms of space, but given her PoV is in a different tense she also seems to exist in between present, past and future in a way the other characters do not.

I'm not sure if the original purpose of chorae was to find spaces between gods, but I do think there was more to Aporetic sorcery than making artifacts that can negate magic. It's interesting that a soul is required to apprehend paradox, and thus possibly an understanding of paradox is necessary to even partially apprehend the onto onta in the way magic users do.

I think you're on to something good here. There must be a reason Aporetic sorcery was so feared. Could its ability to undo the magic of others be enough to ban it? If Nonmen continually seek power over each other, wouldn't it be desirable if it's its only power was challenging the Gnosis?

I think you might be right about this. The chorae may offer protection against magic, but the number 11 seems precise and suggests the possibility that the ability of chorae to assert frames was used to draw in an aspect of the God.

Interesting how dreams come up so often. Akka's waking dream brings [him] back into the past here, and later allows him access to not just Seswatha but Nau Cayuti as well. Bakker describes anarcane ground as a place where the God dreams lucidly.

My issue with this is Seswatha seems to be crying out, but there's no certainty that the No God heard him. The final dream in TTT has Anaxophus seemingly possessed by the No God, which would imply he was either a skin spy or had lost his soul in some way.

Also, before Akka wakes, he here's hears the No God say "TELL ME ACHAMIA-".

What I do think happens is the No God spoke to Akka because bringing It down into the material world bruised time. Though it is destroyed, it still exists in the past and thus is always extant even when no longer incarnated in the Carapace. Kellhus actually wondered about this when talking to Big Moe - how could the No God speak to him if It had been destroyed?

I would say the dreaming mind touches the timeless God, and thus touches the No God which is the timeless God deformed and crippled by the arrow of time. [This would suggest Kellhus is dreaming even while awake, but this would make sense if He's really grasped the God of Gods who dreams the world.]

eta: There's a Heron Spear ref in False Sun?...gotta go check...

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Thanks for quoting my last post. Let me add my final message to Lockesnow:

eta 2: I do think it's interesting that Mandati don't like to talk about the death of the No God. Shouldn't that be the one thing that they don't stop going on about, how their founder triumphed and saved all of humanity?

There's also a pit reference in False Sun, describing the ruins of Viri. Others have noted that if it contained the kennels for human slaves it too was likely a topos. Chorae are pits in the onta, whore shells make pits [of wombs] where souls should arise as [the] No God makes babies still borns, and physical pits that are mentioned in the texts are connected to topos.

I wonder if every time Bakker uses the word pit there was a connection to the Outside?

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presumably The Viri pit they were standing atop was similar to standing atop the great medial screw, perhaps all Nonman mansions contain such pits, iirc, TGMS was very near the pits of humanity that so appalled Mimara, right?

I'm not sure, but didn't the mountain top above TGMS have a frozen lake filled with bodies? what's that all about.

Are whore's shells chorae? Akka continually describes chorae as pits when he is near them. or a fragment of chorae, or an artifact of the aporos? Robin Hobb had a similar bit with fragments of a liveship wood being used to prevent pregnancy, so that may be where that idea came from...

re: centre.

I thought it was interesting that Ajencis was taking Bakker's two biggest trigger buzzwords, doubt certainty, and equating them. I don't really get how it all relates to the 'not saying this phrase' I think if I related that to the not saying "the logos is without beginning or end", it might be a stretch, but I think Kellhus describes the 'not saying' the phrase for a day as origin of the utter calmness/centredness that gives him his ninja kungfu super powers. Bakker often talks about doubt as a superpower, so I'm not sure if he's positing here that doubt is the same as certainty, perhaps he's suggesting that both doubt and certainty are illusions?

No thought.

The boy extinguished.

Only a place.

This place.

Motionless, the Pragma sat facing him, the bare soles of his feet flat against each other, his dark frock scored by the shadows of deep folds, his eyes as empty as the child they watched.

A place without breath or sound. A place of sight alone. A place without before or after . . . almost.

For the first lances of sunlight careered over the glacier, as ponderous as great tree limbs in the wind. Shadows hardened and light gleamed across the Pragma’s ancient skull.

The old man’s left hand forsook his right sleeve, bearing a watery knife. And like a rope in water, his arm pitched outward, fingertips trailing across the blade as the knife swung languidly into the air, the sun skating and the dark shrine plunging across its mirror back . . .

And the place where Kellhus had once existed extended an open hand—the blond hairs like luminous filaments against tanned skin—and grasped the knife from stunned space.

The slap of pommel against palm triggered the collapse of place into little boy. The pale stench of his body. Breath, sound, and lurching thoughts.

I have been legion . . .

In his periphery, he could see the spike of the sun ease from the mountain. He felt drunk with exhaustion. In the recoil of his trance, it seemed all he could hear were the twigs arching and bobbing in the wind, pulled by leaves like a million sails no bigger than his hand. Cause everywhere, but amid countless minute happenings—diffuse, useless.

Now I understand.

Bakker, R. Scott (2008-09-02). The Darkness that Comes Before (The Prince of Nothing) (pp. 526-527). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.

Damn, so not centre in that selection, but place, which perhaps ties in to the discussion about chorae finding a place between the gods...

And that's assuming Kellhus is correct in his conclusion there at the end, that the cause that is everywhere is diffuse and useless, it seems that cause everywhere has a direction and purpose within Earwa, instead he instantly comes out with two thoughts, both triumphant, one, "I have been legion," two, "now I understand" I think both his sense of triumph and his belief that he understands--when he literally discards meaning and cause in the previous sentence as not worth his royal notice--to be deep set delusions.

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And there's a pit when describing how shae survives and his soul stays here - the soul prison ever circling the abyss.

Souls apparently are always being pulled down.

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Makes sense souls are pulled down, since death swirls down. Not to mention we've talked about how sin is like gravity.

The proposition “I am the centre” need never be uttered. It is the assumption upon which all certainty and all doubt turns.

—AJENCIS, THE THIRD ANALYTIC OF MEN

Actually I think you're right about connecting this to Kellhus's transcendent moment. The quote seems to be about perspective, how you are always the center of your conscious experience. The God would be the center, the No God is when the center cannot hold...

Or something. Can't connect the dots, but let me offer a bit more observation regarding that incident with the Pragma:

Kellhus notes that he is a place, "A place without before or after . . . almost". We also see a similar idea when Kellhus is the tree that wars to perserve its space.

Compare this to Inri criticism to Maitha, that Dunyain are always chasing the origin of their thoughts. So in Ishual the Dunyain are akin to the God above linear time. But in the world, they are like the Ouroboros of the No God.

eta:

Also, when thinking about twigs and leaves he thinks of cause as useless and diffuse. Contrast this with the twig scene in TTT.

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Little, Brown (Orbit) autumn 2013 catalogue doesn't include The Unholy Consult. The book is missing from this listing, too. I believe it's safe to say that TUC won't be published until 2014.

Based on what we were hearing, I didn't think we'd get it this year anyways. This book just seems like it will be massive by necessity.

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That is what he last said, yeah, but a small margin.

I forget if we're getting a big appendix w/ this one or not.

Regardless, I need this book yesterday. I feel like I'm becoming increasingly erratic in its absence.

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@HE

The paradox of the Chorae is “A barber who shaves everybody who doesn’t shave themselves.” This is a paradoxical claim that exhibits the inherent contradiction of language, thereby invalidating Language’s attempt to exert meaning over reality. The paradox renders magic, or any other language-based projection of dominance, powerless.

The paradox of the Uroborian circle is “A snake that devours itself”. This does not invalidate meaning. (After all, the snake, unlike the barber, can actually be imagined, or “watched”.) It merely identifies actor and target. Magic still exists, but it hurts the wielder.

Paradox doesn't necessarily render magic powerless though, as the chorae itself depends on the Aporetic school. It's also unclear if Mimara's banishment of Hell (or as Lockenow put it, assertion of the World's frame) [via the chorae] is sorcery or not.

I think you're right though that the Uroborian Circle is operating in a way that is different from Chorae. Akka even refers to it as one of the Spire's "potent poetic devices". I'm not sure it completely invalidates my idea of the No-God being the World Dreamer dragged into linear time. The idea of turning on oneself is the key.

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(a thought I had last night: what if the cunoroi created pits--like the great medial screw--and made them into a topos because they wished to hide from the gods in the "shadow" of the topos? you could say that perhaps they established metaphysical gates to protect their metaphysical mansions from the topos... so just what was the Breaking of the Gates... (the Halaroi howl piteously at the Gates...)?

Crackpot: mankind was never in Eanna. ;)

Also, when thinking about twigs and leaves he thinks of cause as useless and diffuse. Contrast this with the twig scene in TTT.
You don't need to go all the way to TTT to contrast, you have the same scene BEFORE (it determines what comes after) in the prologue of TDTCB Kellhus is constantly and often literally slapped with meaning by the world/flora/fauna. whether it's in the first paragraphs of the prologue when he's hypnotized by water or a twig or in the last paragraphs of the prologue when trees try to prevent him from climbing to the wolf/deadtree mansion where he encounters Mekeritrig.

On the other hand I'm often reverting to thinking about how the "reading" experience is somehow significant as well, as readers we stand outside time, able to flip time back and forth, an author can do the same, an author can place a flashback so an event that comes after determines what comes before. Often an author works backwards from what they know the entire story to be to fill out all the details of the story, the climax--the after--determines what comes before, all of this contradicts the natural causality of our world, or the beliefs of the Dunyain.

In any event, I can't assert that it's significant that the twig scene in the prologue or the water-hypnotism scene in the prologue "come before" the revelations of Kellhus' training, these revelations "come after" in the flow of the narrative, but technically they "come before" in the diagetic experience of the characters. Speaking of coming after, a few pages After Kellhus remembers discarding the meanings and causes of the world/flora/fauna Esmenet has a dream of the world tree, a communication Kellhus isn't privileged to experience until he's crucified, no meaning there, cause is clearly diffuse and useless.

Also, Kellhus' conclusion at the end of that recollection is extremely similar to his arrogant conclusions about the world throughout the prologue, he keeps being shown he is wrong in the prologue but he never acknowledges or assumes he's wrong, he just revises his internal narrative to tell himself the lie that he was always right to begin with--for the most part Bakker hides this failing of Kellhus by having him be wrong in a way that flatters the reader causing the reader to identify/agree with Kellhus and thus participate in and become complicit in the self deceptions that continually blind Kellhus.

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(a thought I had last night: what if the cunoroi created pits--like the great medial screw--and made them into a topos because they wished to hide from the gods in the "shadow" of the topos? you could say that perhaps they established metaphysical gates to protect their metaphysical mansions from the topos... so just what was the Breaking of the Gates... (the Halaroi howl piteously at the Gates...)?

This is an interesting idea. I've assumed that topos put you closer to the gods who are Outside, but we don't really know what the juxaposition of Outside and Inside does to divine perception. Could you hide from the gods in the folds of Hell?

Also, Kellhus' conclusion at the end of that recollection is extremely similar to his arrogant conclusions about the world throughout the prologue, he keeps being shown he is wrong in the prologue but he never acknowledges or assumes he's wrong, he just revises his internal narrative to tell himself the lie that he was always right to begin with--for the most part Bakker hides this failing of Kellhus by having him be wrong in a way that flatters the reader causing the reader to identify/agree with Kellhus and thus participate in and become complicit in the self deceptions that continually blind Kellhus.

This is a great point and something I hadn't considered. It's easy to believe Kellhus has the upper hand, that he knows what he is doing, but his feeling of superiority might very well be his undoing. [i accepted his guesses might be off, but didn't think how he to[o] might suffer from confirmation bias and denial.]

Of course, we don't know his plans. If it takes the sacrifice of many souls, and thus many subjective angles, to approximate the Dreaming God within the Carapace, perhaps you can reduce that number by providing lots of Few who recollect more than others.

At the same time, I don't think souls sacrificed to power the No-God are obliterated. After all, if it was that easy, I suspect Shae or other human Gnostic magi of the Consult would have offered himself up early on.

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Just some addendums for this latest train of speculation:

Achamian says the Wathi Doll's name in TWP, not a specific Cant or Ward; you could argue that that's interpretation but it seemed clear cut to me.

Unless Pregnancy, a linking between Outside and World, the act of ensoulling, is related to sorcery - ? - artifacts of aporetic sorcery wouldn't do anything...

Whore's Shell is a sorcerous plug? Stops the Outside leaking in?

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since we're talking about pits, I noticed this last night in my reread of Warrior Prophet, selection bias is fun. :D

Esmenet wanted to laugh, but then, as though suddenly seeing through her reflection across waters, she saw the plate of heaven dissolve into impossible depths, emptiness heaped upon emptiness, hollow upon hollow, with stars— no suns!— hanging like points of dust in a shaft of light. She caught her breath. Somehow the sky had become a vast, yawning pit. Without thinking, she clenched the grasses, as though she stood upon a ledge rather than lay across the ground.

“How could they believe such a thing?” she asked. “The sun moves in circles about the world. The stars move in circles about the Nail.” The thought struck her that the Nail of Heaven itself might be another world, one with a thousand thousand suns. Such a sky that would be!

Bakker, R. Scott (2008-09-02). The Warrior Prophet: The Prince of Nothing, Book Two (Kindle Locations 2288-2290). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.

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Somehow the sky had become a vast, yawning pit. Without thinking, she clenched the grasses, as though she stood upon a ledge rather than lay across the ground.

Actually I was thinking of something similar about pit and the Outside. I have to find the reference, but there's an account of Hades extending into the darkness beyond the world. Calasso mentions it in his work The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony if anyone has a copy handy.

It's interesting to think of outer space as a pit beyond the sky, as that is sort of what the Outside is....it almost makes me pity the Inchies. Imagine traveling from world to world as the Ark acts like the ship from Event Horizon, becoming more and more of a topos, sliding into Hell and you can't escape because you're traveling through the Void.

Every time you land on a world, it's like exhaling a breath you've held for ages, especially if the Inchies didn't have FTL. And then you find you're till damned, and it's back into the Ark....

No wonder that ship crashed and so much technology [and knowledge] was lost. Was Sil always their king, or was he just the strongest dude in lower management?

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Those are neat thoughts, Sci but, no matter what, the Ark is likely the deepest Topoi on Earwa irregardless; Cil-Aujas is but a taste, neh?

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Do you think outerspace is "closer" to the Outside?

I just find it interesting that pits seem to be connected to the Outside, so how about the Void?

I agree the Ark is likely the place in the world where the barrier between Inward and Outside is thinnest...though I wonder what this means for the God's dream?

If anarcane ground is where the God dreams most lucidly, could a topos be a place where the God's dream is most malleable? Is that what Kellhus is thinking?

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We were talking about this in a thread [EDIT:The Ground, the Void and the Outside]on SA:

Firstly, Bakker's been pretty clear about the Void and the Outside not being the same thing.

So if that's true, what are the boundaries? Obviously, the consequences of the Outside are prevalant throughout the Void unless the Inverse Fire is a falsity. Is it a single local, Planet Earwa is the Font of the Outside? Is it a gradient from a single point? Is it worlds with a certain threshold of consciousness? Is it analogous to Cnaiur's recalled metaphor by Achamian that certain planet's break (maybe under the weight of Moral Degredation to Topoi) and once the bubble pops, the Outside leaks in?

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Maybe the Nonmen already thought about pits a lot before they renamed the Ark the Pit of Obscenities?

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Yeah, I'm not sure. I think it is clear you are still damned if you die in the Void, but is that airless space between stars more resistant to the Outside leaking in or is it all one big topos?

We don't really have anyway of knowing what the onto onta is like in Void, given the Inchies didn't know about sorcery. Of course, they must know something about frames if they made the Inverse Fire...assuming the Inverse Fire itself isn't a big hoax to goad the human and Quya members of the Consult.

Maybe the Nonmen already thought about pits a lot before they renamed the Ark the Pit of Obscenities?

I think they like[ly] thought about absence a great deal, if they believed they could walk into Oblivion. It's sorta Zen after all.

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I think consciousness (which I suppose also means ensouled beings?) is an essential factor in the boundaries between the Outside and "reality". The Outside is dominated by successive beings of consciousness. It would appear that the more people (consciousnesses) who worship a particular god make it more powerful in reality (Yatwer, for example) and maybe vice-versa as well...although it's not always "worship" in the way we think of it of course, what with the compensatory and bellicose gods, etc. From the "inside out", a place like Cil-Aujas is a topoi because of the condensed suffering of the Emwama, correct? So it seems like consciousness is the boundary, and it cuts both ways. At least that's my understanding as of yet.

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