PoN themes & philosophy

  • 7 Replies
  • 2874 Views

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

What Came Before

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Emwama
  • *****
  • Posts: 0
    • View Profile
    • First Second Apocalypse
« on: June 04, 2013, 07:02:12 pm »
Quote from: solzenietzsche
Ok, noticed there is an absence of such a topic, so I venture to do it. If i'm wrong, please do inform me.

From my point of view the very central theme of the pon trilogy seems to be causality. This is quite obvious, what with
the darkness that comes before and all that. Causality is a subject traditionally belonging to metaphysics, which also makes
its appearance frequently. What I find interesting is that the causality theme is extended to include and connect fatherhood, conditioning, teaching and
homosexual relationships. Numerous references of people acting like fathers or sons, portrayal of real father-son relationships, people teaching/conditioning and being taught/conditioned and also moenghus coming-before khellus literally and metaphorically. Also, the relationship between akka and inrau, moenghus and cnaiur, which is a teaching-fathering-conditioning and a sexual relationship.

Apart from that, I think there is also a deeper theme, which concerns the possibility of a subject (in the philosophical sense).
The possibility that a human mind can be autonomous from the rest of the world. Obviously the dunyain are trying to achieve this, but i feel it is a big concern of Mr. Bakker. Not only people who are trying to do this are present at center stage, but also their very existence is the threat to the autonomy of the rest of the individuals of Earwa.

Cnaiur and Akka manage to become a bit autonomous, and it is interesting that they both manage to do it via heartbreak.
Mr. Bakker seems to be implying that the way to the autonomous subject is linked to love. Interestingly enough this is also the view of Alain Badiou, a contemporary philosopher. Other contemporary philosophers like Agamben and Zizek are also interested in a new understanding of the subject. So I find that these books take part in the contemporary debate concerning the possibility of a subject.

So, how about you? Any thoughts?

What Came Before

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Emwama
  • *****
  • Posts: 0
    • View Profile
    • First Second Apocalypse
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2013, 07:02:19 pm »
Quote from: Jorge
Quote
From my point of view the very central theme of the pon trilogy seems to be causality.

As I understood it, yes. Causality and the implications on the human sense of agency. If you read Neuropath, it's like a Cheat Sheet or Cliff Notes for some of the philosophy explored in PoN.

Quote
Apart from that, I think there is also a deeper theme, which concerns the possibility of a subject (in the philosophical sense).

Also yes. I wanted to correspond with Scott, since I knew he was getting at this after reading it. Eventually I found his blog. I was coy about the whole qualia/consciousness thing at first, but now he's given us his whole take on the problem and wrapped it nicely together under what he calls Blind Brain Theory.

This is all tangentially related to Earwa, which explores the metaphysical consequences of Souls, Magic, Volition, and Divine Judgment and Absolute Morality all being explicitly real.

The consequences, in my opinion, are completely bizarre. Causality still applies on Earwa, but the relationship between it and the Subject (or Soul) is very different there than it is here on Earth.

At any rate, you'll hopefully agree that what Scott has done for the genre is absolutely astounding. I have had a hard time reading any other fantasy author since (except Rothfuss, who also dabbles in philosowankery of the highest order occasionally).

What Came Before

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Emwama
  • *****
  • Posts: 0
    • View Profile
    • First Second Apocalypse
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2013, 07:02:25 pm »
Quote from: solzenietzsche
Quote from: Jorge
Divine Judgment and Absolute Morality all being explicitly real.

I am still not sure about that. I'm not sure if I buy the reasons the consult are doing what they are doing. The first trilogy is among other things an indictment of the atrocities a religion and the aforementioned ideas can cause to the world. Mr. Bakker seems too polemical to accept these things as real. Maybe he is considering an alternate reality of 'what would happen if these things were real'. I haven't read the aspect-emperor yet, and I guess I'll never know till the last book, so i'll just wait.

Quote from: Jorge
The consequences, in my opinion, are completely bizarre. Causality still applies on Earwa, but the relationship between it and the Subject (or Soul) is very different there than it is here on Earth.

Also, I'm not sure it is not the 'real' earth he is talking about. I don't think you can write anything, without really talking about this world, this life. All that, without wanting it to sound too.. immanent. Yes of course, there is no magic here, but words do affect the world. The dunyain philosophy seems to me a bit like structuralism. The thousandfold thought is the structure of the world, what the structuralists would call "language". The relationships between objects that move the world. A living thing that is objective and not a subject. So magic is a bit like the thousandfold thought in that respect. Using the most basic structure of the world to affect the world. Also, weirdly enough, the Inrithi idea of the immanence of god in the world and history comes a bit close to that.

Then again i suspect you are closer to the analytic tradition, referring to qualia. I'm afraid i know nothing about it apart from a little wittgenstein.

Quote from: Jorge
At any rate, you'll hopefully agree that what Scott has done for the genre is absolutely astounding. I have had a hard time reading any other fantasy author since (except Rothfuss, who also dabbles in philosowankery of the highest order occasionally).

For me yes. I've been away from fantasy for too long, and before, i'd never read the new stuff much. But of course fantasy and philosophy? I am surely in. Thats the reason I decided to read the books in the first place.

What Came Before

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Emwama
  • *****
  • Posts: 0
    • View Profile
    • First Second Apocalypse
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2013, 07:02:32 pm »
Quote from: Jorge
Quote from: solzenietzsche
I haven't read the aspect-emperor yet

Ah, be careful on this forum. We can unwittingly spoil many cool things for you. Suffice to say, Aspect-Emperor trilogy changes things substantially.

Quote from: solzenietzsche
I'm not sure it is not the 'real' earth he is talking about.

If you read only PoN, then it's very easy to think Scott is using Earwa as a metaphor about the real world, with Sorcery standing in for science. Indeed, the geography, cultures, religions, philosophies, and wars have very strong real-world parallels. However, I think this is just a stock trick used by fantasy authors to anchor their world to something we recognize.

Quote from: solzenietzsche
i suspect you are closer to the analytic tradition

Quote from: Bakker, in Time Light and Gravity
For all they knew, I could be a dreaded Quinean.

Cue evil laughter. No sir! I am even worse than that. I'm a scientist! All hail the Unholy Consult.

Quote
I'll never know till the last book, so i'll just wait.

There is a metaphysical 'whodunnit' at the center of the series, according to Scott. I get this dreadful feeling though, given his epistemic position regarding human cognition, that the end of the series will be like a Necker Cube... subject to two (or more) completely consistent interpretations that yield dramatically different meanings.

What Came Before

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Emwama
  • *****
  • Posts: 0
    • View Profile
    • First Second Apocalypse
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2013, 07:02:39 pm »
Quote from: solzenietzsche
Quote
If you read only PoN, then it's very easy to think Scott is using Earwa as a metaphor about the real world, with Sorcery standing in for science. Indeed, the geography, cultures, religions, philosophies, and wars have very strong real-world parallels. However, I think this is just a stock trick used by fantasy authors to anchor their world to something we recognize.

I never said its a metaphor. I just think its impossible to write anything without in the end saying something about the real world. Just as LOTR was not an allegory, but it certainly contains an ethics that originated from this world.

Quote
Cue evil laughter. No sir! I am even worse than that. I'm a scientist! All hail the Unholy Consult.

"Just then, its face opened and revealed its lidless eyes and bare teeth"

Quote
the end of the series will be like a Necker Cube... subject to two (or more) completely consistent interpretations that yield dramatically different meanings.

That would indeed be great!

What Came Before

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Emwama
  • *****
  • Posts: 0
    • View Profile
    • First Second Apocalypse
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2013, 07:02:46 pm »
Quote from: Madness
I agree. Watch yourself, solzenietzsche. I put a Spoiler warning within the description of this sub-forum. The Misc. Chatter has become a haven of only the most unruly.

What Came Before

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Emwama
  • *****
  • Posts: 0
    • View Profile
    • First Second Apocalypse
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2013, 07:02:53 pm »
Quote from: Sideris
Should we be put out by the 'most unruly' moniker? :p

What Came Before

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Emwama
  • *****
  • Posts: 0
    • View Profile
    • First Second Apocalypse
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2013, 07:03:00 pm »
Quote from: Madness
I thought it was a compliment ;).