Belief becoming reality

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profgrape

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« on: October 08, 2014, 11:19:11 pm »
After reading an RSB quote about objective reality in TSA, it struck me how close Inrithi beliefs are to what's actually going on in Earwa. 
One of the biggest examples is the belief that sorcerers are condemned, "...their blasphemy is an abomination like no other..." 

This (along with a re-reading of Thorsten's "Metaphysics of Earwa" essays) makes me wonder if the connection between shared beliefs and reality is what makes Earwa special to the Inchoroi -- it's a place where the beliefs of the ensouled can actually  shape the metaphysics of the rest of the universe.  Borrowing from (and almost certainly butchering) Plato, it's as if Earwan belief casts a shadow onto the Outside.

Given that premise, imagine that the ancient Inchoroi discover that:

1) There are a set of objective rules that apply to the universe.

2) These rules are shaped by Earwan beliefs.

3) By those rules, the the Inchoroi are damned.

Based on these discoveries, the Inchoroi set out to find Earwa and eradicate the souls whose shared beliefs had created this reality.  (I'm almost tempted to say that 144,000 was what they believed was the tipping point where this effect starts happening.  But I won't).

I'm probably tying together way too many disparate threads here.  But it was fun to ponder!














MG

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« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2014, 12:56:19 am »
THAT IS AWESOME!!!  HAVE YOU FOUND THE GOLDEN KEY TO INTERPRET IT ALL???

If what you say is true, I'm wondering if Kellhus is interested in failing to stop the resurrection of Mog.  The Great Ordeal perishes, but the rest of the 3 seas have been conditioned, via the Unification Wars & Kellhus' sermons/writings & whatever else, to believe in the Warrior-Prophet. 

So before the Consult have a chance to murder the world, Kellhus can leverage the belief of millions to rewrite reality.  Perhaps he hopes to defeat the Consult in some more permanent way or maybe he just wants to change reality *before* the world is sealed from the Outside, idk. 

Love it profgrape!   ;D

Wilshire

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« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2014, 01:50:10 pm »
I've tried to parse similar thoughts throughout, and there is a lot of speculation on the subject, though your thoughts guarding the Inchoroi may be unique.

I think there is a key somewhere that we either do not have of have collectively missed for years. Earwa being on the most objective end of the spectrum does not necessarily mean that it is entirely objective, and this leads to my belief that the inhabitants of Earwa have indeed shaped their own "outside". Its a bit of a cause/effect issue, but I think Earwa, as human populations apparently tend to do, developed theories of religion/afterlife, which ended up becoming reality, and thus they damned themselves. Extending this to the rest of the Universe is a pretty interesting idea, and I think entirely possible.

The idea that whole peoples (or species?) are damned for reason note entirely their own, with redemption not a true possibility,  is a concept that Bakker has spoken about before, or at least hinted at, even in his most recent blog post. IMO it fits into the series well, a pervasive "wrongness" that the story makes the reader feel. All the characters have something terribly wrong with them, why not the belief structure, religion, and the gods themselves? Un-redeemable damnation based on someone else's beliefs seems to fit. Or redeemable only through unspeakable atrocities, torture, and genocide, also fits.

Measure is unceasing. The old measure is grounds for the new. Objective* reality in Earwa is shaped by those that measure it . Change those that shape that measure, and the measure itself changes.

(* "objective" meaning less subjective than the outside)
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profgrape

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« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2014, 03:44:04 pm »
@Wilshire, how does redemption through atrocity fit? I recall Shae pondering this in TFS. But I haven't made the same connection you have (and I'd like to).

@mg, my guess on Mog is (again a culmination of other folks ideas) that it's a belief machine that's powered by souls.  Trap enough souls (assuming there's a tipping point) and suddenly, things like the Gods (or God) and damnation cease to exist.

I've often pondered if TSA is a giant "what if" scenario built on the following premise:

"What if the most powerful beings around discovered that they were objectively damned? How would they react?"

There are plenty of people on Earth who believe in damnation (my Grandma, for example). Or at least, they're motivated to live their lives a certain way to avoid it.  Behind it all, however, is an abstraction, just a vision of hell that's somehow stuck.  Which is pretty freaking amazing to my godless self.

As a comparison, I've never been to jail.  But between America Undercover, Oz and OITNB, I have a pretty damn good idea of what it's like and I sure as shit don't want to go there.  As a result, I definitely think twice about certain behaviors.  It's abstract to me but real enough.

Hell, on the other hand, is an order of magnitude more abstract that my vision of jail.  It's not like I can watch a 60 Minutes segment on life in hell or read a PJ O'Roarke travelogue in Rolling Stone about travelling in hell.  Really, no one has any idea what hell is actually like.  And yet, people are terrified by it.

In TSA, however, hell isn't abstract at all.  At least, not to those who have been exposed to the IF (the Consult and presumably, the Inchoroi).  Not only to they know in excruciating detail how horrible it is, they also know that regardless of what they do, they're going there.

Just imagine what they'd do...
 

Wilshire

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« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2014, 03:54:42 pm »
The connection is pretty much just irony. If the Inchoroi have any hope of saving themselves form damnation, it will be by making themselves the ones who determin how the outside works. Assuming the above discussion is close to the mark, this must be accomplished by shoving out the nonmen and humans as the major species/ensouled-beings on Earwa. This is accomplished, presumably, by reducing the populations of the others to 0 (or close to it). in order to be saved, to prevent their own damnation, they change the ruleset by becoming the major race.

Thus, the salvation of the Inchoroi rests on the shoulders of genocide. A complete inversion of the standard idea of redemption, which is typically achieved by repenting sins and making amends, etc. etc.

Its not that the atrocities themselves are supposed to save the Inchoroi, but its the means to that end.

Noteworthy that what the Inchoroi are attempting here is not the same thing as Inrilatas, who was simply heaping damnation for the sake of being damned.
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profgrape

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« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2014, 05:33:52 pm »
Thanks Wilshire!  Nothing wrong with a little irony... :-)

Francis Buck

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« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2014, 08:19:56 pm »
After reading an RSB quote about objective reality in TSA, it struck me how close Inrithi beliefs are to what's actually going on in Earwa. 
One of the biggest examples is the belief that sorcerers are condemned, "...their blasphemy is an abomination like no other..." 

This (along with a re-reading of Thorsten's "Metaphysics of Earwa" essays) makes me wonder if the connection between shared beliefs and reality is what makes Earwa special to the Inchoroi -- it's a place where the beliefs of the ensouled can actually  shape the metaphysics of the rest of the universe.  Borrowing from (and almost certainly butchering) Plato, it's as if Earwan belief casts a shadow onto the Outside.

Given that premise, imagine that the ancient Inchoroi discover that:

1) There are a set of objective rules that apply to the universe.

2) These rules are shaped by Earwan beliefs.

3) By those rules, the the Inchoroi are damned.

Based on these discoveries, the Inchoroi set out to find Earwa and eradicate the souls whose shared beliefs had created this reality.  (I'm almost tempted to say that 144,000 was what they believed was the tipping point where this effect starts happening.  But I won't).

I'm probably tying together way too many disparate threads here.  But it was fun to ponder!



Good post. This has more or less been my thought process for a while now, as I've randomly detailed at certain times on this forum. A snippet from another post of mine:

Quote
I think the line about "crimes existing only so long as men are deceived" is a very big tell, particularly in relation to the nature of damnation and the Hundred's relationship to existence. To put it simply, damnation (existential punishment for "crimes") only exists because the Outside is a distorted reflection of mankind's (obviously anthropomorphized) set of subconscious standards for right/wrong, which as we know are largely bullshit -- men being somehow objectively better than woman, for example, is a deception. Ironically, it's not mankind itself that's the issue in my opinion, but the nature of Earwa itself. Thus, everyone who isn't human is pretty much fucked, and even most humans aren't making out too well. But, replace the dominant intellect on Earwa with something closer to you own sensibilities -- as the Consult intends to do -- and all those "crimes" are different. Or better yet, non-existent.

So basically, Earwa is sort of the key to everything. I think it is literally the center of universe, and as such serves as both a lynchpin and also a lens. It is the point of least objectivity in the material universe -- that's why sorcery works there (not to mention the existence of topoi and other such things). In addition, I think the dominant ensouled population of Earwa is integral to the nature of damnation. The reason the Outside and the Gods are so anthropomorphic is because humans -- and human thought -- dominates the no÷sphere of Earwa. The Inchoroi almost certainly did not realize this at first, and that's why they went to war with the Nonman (who only seemed like the dominant peoples). The fact is that the Nonmen never possessed the dominant mindshare of Earwa -- even during the height of the Nonman's power in Earwa, they had a shitload of human slaves (not to mention the enormous amount that must have still been living in Eanna). More importantly, Bakker has detailed in some interviews that Nonmen were not an "expansionary" people. They lived long and bred slowly. For them, power was power over someone else, not a collection of land.

So even the Nonmen, living on Earwa, were (and still are) subject to the human-derived Outside. Thus they are damned. And as you say, this rule applies to literally the entire universe. The Inchoroi are the audiences viewpoint into that. They never even had the chance for salvation, and indeed they were, as Aurang puts it, born for damnation.

As for your hesitance to claim the 144,000 souls as a tipping point -- don't be hesitant :). That little, seemingly off-hand fact is essential. It explains, specifically, that the Inchoroi have been destroying the life of countless worlds until they found the chosen one. It doesn't answer WHY they do it, but that seems pretty straight forward given what has been discussed above.

One other point:

There's debate as to whether the Inverse Fire truly shows damnation, or if it's simply a goad to get people to join the Consult. Ironically, I think it's kind of both.

I definitely think the Inverse Fire is real: it really does show one's damnation. This is an important plot device, since in order for the Inchoroi's gargantuan motivations to make sense, they needed genuine, life-shattering PROOF. And that's what the Inverse Fire is. As we hear Shae describe in TFS I believe, the Inchoroi's methodology (technology) was to treat the world like a machine, and that they "dug deep into the granules of existence". Presumably, they dug deep enough, or peered deep enough, that they broke into the Outside, and realized that the meaningless, secular, mechanical universe they thought they lived in was anything but.

Fast-forward to their invasion of Earwa, and we make note that anyone who has looked into the Inverse Fire has seen their own damnation. This might seem like proof of it being a goad until we consider the types of people who have looked into: Inchoroi (damned), Nonmen (damned), and most importantly, human Sorcerers. It's my belief that the reason the Inchoroi don't go around showing everyone the Inverse Fire (namely non-sorcerous humans) is because they don't want someone to see salvation, since it would ruin the whole propaganda train they're running. This is also why the only non-sorcerous humans the Consult ever allied with were the Scylvendi -- the only peoples who did not believe in the old Kiunnatic faiths. In addition, this could also explain why the Inchoroi employed the womb-plague while making Nonmen immortal: they ensured the slow destruction of their race, while simultaneously creating a valuable future ally. The Inchoroi must have known by then that the Nonman were damned regardless, and so it was only a matter of time that most -- if not all -- of them could eventually be turned to the Consult. Remember, the Inchoroi had no problems playing a long con. We're even told during some of Aurang's POVs that "urgency does not come easily to such an ancient intellect".

I have some other thoughts I'd like to add, particularly in regards to the nature of the Hundred and the difference between them and the actual God, but I'll get to it later.

profgrape

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« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2014, 10:45:01 pm »
I agree on the Inverse Fire, FB, it *has* to be real to take away the abstraction of damnation.  I completely forgot about the "dug deep into the granules of existence" part as well -- that definitely supports the notion that Earwa is special in how the ensouled can affect the Outside.

The womb-plague explanation is fantastic.  There was a thread either here or on Westeros where someone brought up the fact that the womb plague seemed like a relatively benign weapon compared to what an advanced race could achieve.  But it's not really a weapon to kill, it's a weapon to enslave.

The place where the whole thing falls apart for me is with the Tusk.  If the Inchoroi gave the Tusk to men to deceive them and knew that it was the men of Earwa who had effected their damnation, why not add a line or two about how "there is no damnation"?   Why did they instead instruct them to destroy the Nonmen? 

What if it's actually the Nonmen whose beliefs shape existence?

*Very* interested to hear your thoughts on the Hundred!


locke

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« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2014, 11:06:23 pm »



What if it's actually the Nonmen whose beliefs shape existence?



When sorcerers sing they use an utteral and an inutteral.  perhaps the beliefs that shape existence are also utteral (man beliefs) and inutteral (non man beliefs).

That would also set up as a tidy dialectic: thesis nonthesis yields a synthesis that is existence.

All typ0s courtesy of Samsung.


MG

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« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2014, 04:18:29 pm »
@ profgrape! - damnit!  i was starting to love where u were going, why did u have to bring up the tusk?!?!  :(

@ Francis Buck - would be neat if earwa was the point of maximal objectivity!  inchoroi have to flee everywhere else because the outside floods in and sorcery is used on a much greater scale - they need a place where their science has a chance to do it's thing, hence sil's impatience--he thought it was too good to be true that on earwa science was leveraging reality

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« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2014, 12:02:43 am »
I agree on the Inverse Fire, FB, it *has* to be real to take away the abstraction of damnation.  I completely forgot about the "dug deep into the granules of existence" part as well -- that definitely supports the notion that Earwa is special in how the ensouled can affect the Outside.

The womb-plague explanation is fantastic.  There was a thread either here or on Westeros where someone brought up the fact that the womb plague seemed like a relatively benign weapon compared to what an advanced race could achieve.  But it's not really a weapon to kill, it's a weapon to enslave.

The place where the whole thing falls apart for me is with the Tusk.  If the Inchoroi gave the Tusk to men to deceive them and knew that it was the men of Earwa who had effected their damnation, why not add a line or two about how "there is no damnation"?   Why did they instead instruct them to destroy the Nonmen? 

What if it's actually the Nonmen whose beliefs shape existence?

*Very* interested to hear your thoughts on the Hundred!



Thanks for you thoughts. The notation regarding the Tusk is a good one, but I don't think it ruins the theory necessarily. The motivations for giving the Tusk to men were likely manifold.For starters, we don't know that the Inchoroi knew humanity determined the nature of the Outside when giving them the Tusk. Additionally, we know that both the Inchoroi and the Nonmen greatly underestimated men; the former thought them little more than vermin, while the latter didn't even think there was much of a difference between men and Sranc. Obviously, they were both proven wrong. I'd hazard that the Inchoroi themselves may never have even figured out the true nature of men until the Consult was formed (in otherwords, when men actually proved their worth as sorcerers). As for giving them the Tusk, at the time it was probably just seen as a way of helping their plan to weaken the Nonmen to the point where they could be converted. The Inchoroi were probably quite desperate at that moment. In addition, it may have served as a method of bringing the better part of humanity out from Eanna and into Earwa. This works in two ways: it puts their enemies all in the same general area (easier for mass slaughter), while also giving them the opportunity to turn those peoples into allies as well (eventually, should they feel so inclined -- though I except the Inchoroi were still quite ignorant at that point). Also, I don't think simply adding "there is no Damnation" would have actually ended it. I think Damnation DOES actually exist in a semi-objective sense -- a soul entering the Outside has three options: Damnation, Salvation, or Oblivion. Oblivion is the default state, but the sins of ensouled beings are what calls the attention of the Agencies in the Outside. That's why the Zeumi try to avoid it altogether, and simply worship their ancestors.

Something else I meant to touch on is Sorcery and the Mark. I personally believe that sorcerers are specifically "marked" by denizens of the Outside NOT merely because sorcery is a "sin" in the typical sense, but because sorcerers are in-fact a threat the powers of the Outside. Sorcerers are, after all, the only ensouled beings who can wield subjective power. Even Achamian -- while certainly powerful, I don't think he's is an example of "most powerful sorcerer ever" -- is actually able to hold his own against a Ciphrang that the SS consider among the most powerful (not to mention straight-up defeating on earlier). More interestingly, the greater of the Cishaurim seem to outclass them outright. If an Anagogic sorcerer like Iyokus can both summon and to some extent control a particularly powerful Ciphrang, then what could someone like Seswatha, Shauriatas, or a Quya Mage do? Let alone someone like Moe or Kellhus? So I think that, as a sort of safety-measure, the Hundred "mark" sorcerers the moment they reveal themselves, ensuring that upon death they're immediately "seized", lest their ability to perceive the Onta lends them some manner of subjective power in the Outside. I think all of this is tied-in with the Cishaurim, though I can't say why just yet.