Eärwa and the Nature of the Soul.

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« on: September 10, 2018, 03:42:30 pm »
So, just looking to log a conversation had elsewhere, about just what is the nature of the Soul in Eärwa:

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I think your post highlights just how little we know (understand?) about what the Eärwan soul really is.  On the one hand, it seems fairly obvious that the soul is one's connection to the Outside, if nothing else.  The Outside, of course, is the plemora, then the question would be: is the soul of the plemora or of the manifest world?

Given the No-God's function though and whatever the Great Cycle of Souls is, then I don't think the soul can be of the manifest world.  It must be pleromatic, then, and wholly so.  Or at least, in nature at least.  But here we return to the issue at hand, none the closer to an actual answer.  Just what is the soul?  And if souls cycle, what makes one yours and the other mine?  Or am I misunderstanding what cycle means?  I surely am, since if it was a 1:1 cycle in and out, the population of Eärwa could never grow.  No, I think what is meant is the the soul itself is "locked into place."  That is, it cannot undergo the cycle of it's own transformation.  That is (presumably) it's "attachment" to life in the manifest world (at Birth), it's "development" (during life), and it's subsequent "return" to the plemora (the Outside).  (This actually makes sense, how the Wright of the Mountain stays fixed to the spot, how souls on the planes of Mangedda.)

It's unclear what this "development" really is though.  In some ways, the soul must be a ledger of sorts.  In others, a manner of identity preservation.  As Koringhus (seems) to relate to us, part of the problem might be the clinging to identity.  That we are in the trouble of damnation because we deny the true interval between ourselves and the world (or the plemora, I'm not sure).  Or is it that we acknowledge the interval, in imagining (or acknowledging) the interval demanded by our perceived (constructed?) identity.

So, I guess to answer your question, along the line of Koringhus, the "false" identity we acknowledge is what is damned.  Which we cling to and won't let go.  And so costs eternity and the price of the now.

Or something, man, I don't know...

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I think your post highlights just how little we know (understand?) about what the Eärwan soul really is.  On the one hand, it seems fairly obvious that the soul is one's connection to the Outside, if nothing else.  The Outside, of course, is the plemora, then the question would be: is the soul of the plemora or of the manifest world?

Hmmm. We know Bakker was greatly influenced by Blood Meridian, where the Judge considers the Good within the kid to be of alien origin. I would dare to suggest that Outside is of the psyche but not the pneuma - see this quote from Geoff Klock's X-men, Emerson, Gnosticism:

"It ia Gnosticism's conception of the self that is most interesting and radical: Gnosticism makes a distinction between the soul (in Greek the psyche) and the spirit (the pneuma). The psyche is primarily what we traditionally associate with the mental self, most exhaustively treated by Freud in his psychoanalysis: appetites and passions certainly, but also our love and our tastes, and much - perhaps all - of our personality. Emerson, an implicit Gnostic, referred to this as the "adhesive self."[4] Christianity, implicitly or explicitly, conceives of the body as a prison for the soul; Gnosticism conceives of BOTH the body and the soul (again, the personality, appetites and desires) as a prison for the spirit, the Gnostic spark, the part of God."

I'm thinking of how Mimara sees past the "false foil" of the Abyss to the drowsy compassion of the God. It also seems this connection the foundational power of the One is what allows her to banish the Wight. Of course there she is maintaining the "Gate", the boundary between the Outside/Abyss and the dreamed world rather than banishing in the way a Catholic exorcist invokes Christ/God. This however could make a certain sense, as anarcane ground itself is where the God dreams most lucidly.

So by enforcing the Gate Mimara is in fact summoning the dreaming mind of God which is, in fact, the world of Earwa in its more naturalistic aspects. (Naturalist being different than our conception for our world, since Earwa is an enchanted world and at the least Naturalism usually refers to a disenchanted world in context of our reality..."enchanted" I guess would be the interweaving of sentient purpose and physics/chem/bio)

This is also suggests animals may naturally be of the One, given they have no souls to damn whereas humans - really all sentient entities with reflective consciousness - only exist due to the lapses in the God/One's own consciousness. Individuals, then, might be that aspect of the One that is lead into the illusion of a persona...the closest analogous reality I can think of is the "voices" in our heads offering praise, criticism. shame, etc. 

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Given the No-God's function though and whatever the Great Cycle of Souls is, then I don't think the soul can be of the manifest world.  It must be pleromatic, then, and wholly so.  Or at least, in nature at least.  But here we return to the issue at hand, none the closer to an actual answer.  Just what is the soul?

     

The soul seems to be microcosmic, perhaps even fractal/holographic, portions of the One. This would distinguish them from the Hundred who are, from what I gathered out of Bakker's AMA, subconscious processes smeared across the Eternal/Now joint of reality more than fully complete conscious entities.

I believe it was Eskeles who compared the Hundred to shattered fragments and Kellhus to a perfect rendition of the One writ small? We now know that was incorrect, given Kellhus was no savior, but the model works to distinguish the Hundred from an actual soul. (This leaves the issue of Ciphrang who seem to be individuals within the Now though they exist in the supposedly Eternal place of the Ouside?)

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And if souls cycle, what makes one yours and the other mine?  Or am I misunderstanding what cycle means?  I surely am, since if it was a 1:1 cycle in and out, the population of Eärwa could never grow.


Well souls could come and go from other worlds, but I agree with your latter assement:

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No, I think what is meant is the the soul itself is "locked into place."  That is, it cannot undergo the cycle of it's own transformation.  That is (presumably) it's "attachment" to life in the manifest world (at Birth), it's "development" (during life), and it's subsequent "return" to the plemora (the Outside).  (This actually makes sense, how the Wright of the Mountain stays fixed to the spot, how souls on the planes of Mangedda.)

I also suspect the cycle refers to the creation of souls through birth and then the movement of that soul into the afterlife. But if souls are pinched off bits of Outside then it would be a cycle...a harvest in some sense if the Hundred are responsible for this cycle. Perhaps there is nothing natural at all about birth/death of ensouled beings, and the One truly intended every conscious being to play out P-Zombie characters in Its dream?

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It's unclear what this "development" really is though.  In some ways, the soul must be a ledger of sorts.  In others, a manner of identity preservation.  As Koringhus (seems) to relate to us, part of the problem might be the clinging to identity.  That we are in the trouble of damnation because we deny the true interval between ourselves and the world (or the plemora, I'm not sure).  Or is it that we acknowledge the interval, in imagining (or acknowledging) the interval demanded by our perceived (constructed?) identity.
     

Yeah, that's how I see it, that one must escape identity/individuality to be free from damnation. Or at the least one must see one's "self" as an emanation of the One rather than an individual with a subjective-boundary. After all what is an "individual" but this boundary, this being that feels the its feeling only extending to the outer surface of its skin?

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So, I guess to answer your question, along the line of Koringhus, the "false" identity we acknowledge is what is damned.  Which we cling to and won't let go.  And so costs eternity and the price of the now.

Or something, man, I don't know...

Agreed on this...but then the challenge is that Kellhus could get past that "here-ness" but this didn't save him from damnation...or perhaps his own fears kicked in while on the Circumfix. The figure beneath the World Tree was waiting for him to give in, the Trickster at the Crossroads offering a deal to save the "self" of Kellhus. Ajokli seems like a cross between Satan, Papa Legba, and Mara the Tempter to me.

Could Kellhus have found the One? Or is Dunyain conditioning problematic in the sense that it can, in theory, lead to awareness of the One but given the millennia of breeding for survival in the material world one is predisposed toward preservation and thus damnation?

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Hmmm. We know Bakker was greatly influenced by Blood Meridian, where the Judge considers the Good within the kid to be of alien origin. I would dare to suggest that Outside is of the psyche but not the pneuma - see this quote from Geoff Klock's X-men, Emerson, Gnosticism:

Hmm, in fact, I round-aboutly came across the same sort of idea from a completely different place in the last week.  No such thing as coincidence though, must mean something.

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I'm thinking of how Mimara sees past the "false foil" of the Abyss to the drowsy compassion of the God. It also seems this connection the foundational power of the One is what allows her to banish the Wight. Of course there she is maintaining the "Gate", the boundary between the Outside/Abyss and the dreamed world rather than banishing in the way a Catholic exorcist invokes Christ/God. This however could make a certain sense, as anarcane ground itself is where the God dreams most lucidly.

So by enforcing the Gate Mimara is in fact summoning the dreaming mind of God which is, in fact, the world of Earwa in its more naturalistic aspects. (Naturalist being different than our conception for our world, since Earwa is an enchanted world and at the least Naturalism usually refers to a disenchanted world in context of our reality..."enchanted" I guess would be the interweaving of sentient purpose and physics/chem/bio)

This is also suggests animals may naturally be of the One, given they have no souls to damn whereas humans - really all sentient entities with reflective consciousness - only exist due to the lapses in the God/One's own consciousness. Individuals, then, might be that aspect of the One that is lead into the illusion of a persona...the closest analogous reality I can think of is the "voices" in our heads offering praise, criticism. shame, etc.

Hmm, could it be that Mimara's "power" to banish that Wight is similar to the sort of "thuamaturgy" we see Kellhus-Ajokli wield versus the Mutilated?  I.e. not sorcery (i.e. of the psyche, read: soul) but of divine providence (i.e. of the pneuma, read: spirit).  That is to say, I somewhat disagree that Mimara's power is "setting the world" to a more "naturalistic" state.  Because, as you say, Eärwa's "natural state" is that of enchantment.  So, the Wight's position is eminently natural.  Which, of course it is, because it is.

What Mimara seems to be doing, rather, is waking the God.  That is, "fixing" the frame, such that the world is as it should be, by Mimara's judgement.  This might well be the role of the Judging Eye.  That is, the same role taken on by by God-as-Christ, post-Job, in rendering the perspective of God from the mortal vantage.  (This could easily be bias on my part, as I have at other times personally noted that there is a plausible parallel of sorts between Mimara and a Christ-figure.)

Your last point though is interesting though, since if the soul is not pleromantic, or of the Outside, but of the psyche (i.e. Logos, if not The Logos) than it is more confusing how the soul is enduring, when the mind (that is, the physical brain) is not.  The only way I think I can square that, off the top of my head, is to say that the Spirit (i.e. the divine spark in each individual, gained at birth) is imprinted by the Soul (i.e. the psyche) in an indelible, or at least semi-permanent manner.  So, it may not be your soul passing on, but rather your Spirit so imprinted by your soul.  Your Spirit, of course, being your share on the One.  Your soul's delusion, of course, is that it is both the Spirit itself and separate from the One.  Both are incorrect.

However, I think I need to preface the use of One though.  One is not the Unity.  As Koringhus puts it, it would be the Zero-as-One.  For brevity's sake, I shall continue to just use One to denote this, even though the actual unity concept must be Zero-as-One.

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The soul seems to be microcosmic, perhaps even fractal/holographic, portions of the One. This would distinguish them from the Hundred who are, from what I gathered out of Bakker's AMA, subconscious processes smeared across the Eternal/Now joint of reality more than fully complete conscious entities.

I believe it was Eskeles who compared the Hundred to shattered fragments and Kellhus to a perfect rendition of the One writ small? We now know that was incorrect, given Kellhus was no savior, but the model works to distinguish the Hundred from an actual soul. (This leaves the issue of Ciphrang who seem to be individuals within the Now though they exist in the supposedly Eternal place of the Ouside?)

Well, if we follow our earlier line of thinking, it isn't the Soul than, rather it is the Spirit.  The Spirit is the division of the One, the Soul is the manifest world's interface to the Spirit.  That is, the Body does not work directly on the Spirit, rather it is Mind, the Psyche, that so interfaces the Pleromantic (Outside).

In this way, Ciphrang are Spirits who's Body/Soul so marred them as to be completely incapable of assimilating back into the One.  Or, at least, so marred as to be incapable of existing within the Pleroma (Outside) without extreme discomfort.  So, a Ciphrang could be a thing so temperamentally opposed to the Unity concept (that is, so distinctly marred as to maintain identity) that it cannot and never will be able to rejoin the One, or join oblivion.  It's a forever torper, hungering when nothing can feed.

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I also suspect the cycle refers to the creation of souls through birth and then the movement of that soul into the afterlife. But if souls are pinched off bits of Outside then it would be a cycle...a harvest in some sense if the Hundred are responsible for this cycle. Perhaps there is nothing natural at all about birth/death of ensouled beings, and the One truly intended every conscious being to play out P-Zombie characters in Its dream?

Well, I think you have relapsed a bit.  Souled being simply flavoring for Spirits.  It is Spirits that the 100 harvest, gaining greater share of One.  Souls simply give "taste" to the Spirit.  In that vein:

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But if there’s no hiding from Him, why doesn’t He simply kill me?

Because He plays you!

But how could a God play at anything?

Because that is what he feeds upon ‘ere you die, the grain of your experience.

Fool! I asked how, not why!

Who can say how the Gods do what they do?

Maybe because they can’t!

And when the ground shakes, when mountains explode, or the seas rise up?

Pfah. The Gods do these things? Or do they simply know they will happen before they happen?

Perhaps there’s no difference.

This is little Kel's internal discussing with his Voice.

So the 100, divisions of the Zero-as-One, desire divisions of Spirit, to demark their existence as One-not-Zero.  Damnation, as Kellhus puts it, "is their harvest" because damnation, the Soul's selfish tainting of the Spirit as to exclude it from Zero-as-One, i.e. as Indentity, helps to define the Hundred.

This means that Koringhus is even more correct.  The way out of the trap of Eärwa is regressive.  Or at least, regressive of the Self.

The Logos is another trap, so perhaps this is why Kellhus (mostly) abandons it?

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Yeah, that's how I see it, that one must escape identity/individuality to be free from damnation. Or at the least one must see one's "self" as an emanation of the One rather than an individual with a subjective-boundary. After all what is an "individual" but this boundary, this being that feels the its feeling only extending to the outer surface of its skin?

Yes, yes, I believe now we are getting somewhere.  I'd say it a bit differently though, that one must realize that these is no Self, rather is it a delusion of perspective.

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    Souls can no more see the origins of their thought than they can see the backs of their heads or the insides of their entrails. And since souls cannot differentiate what they cannot see, there is a peculiar sense in which the soul cannot self-differentiate. So it is always, in a peculiar sense, the same time when they think, the same place where they think, and the same individual who does the thinking. Like tipping a spiral on its side until only a circle can be seen, the passage of moments always remains now, the carnival of spaces always sojourns here, and the succession of people always becomes me. The truth is, if the soul could apprehenditself the way it apprehended the world—if it could apprehend its origins—it would see that there is no now, there is no here, and there is no me. In other words, it would realize that just as there is no circle, there is no soul.

—MEMGOWA, CELESTIAL APHORISMS

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Agreed on this...but then the challenge is that Kellhus could get past that "here-ness" but this didn't save him from damnation...or perhaps his own fears kicked in while on the Circumfix. The figure beneath the World Tree was waiting for him to give in, the Trickster at the Crossroads offering a deal to save the "self" of Kellhus. Ajokli seems like a cross between Satan, Papa Legba, and Mara the Tempter to me.

Could Kellhus have found the One? Or is Dunyain conditioning problematic in the sense that it can, in theory, lead to awareness of the One but given the millennia of breeding for survival in the material world one is predisposed toward preservation and thus damnation?

It's hard to say, because if you read TTT Chapter 10, where my above quote comes from, Kellhus seems to "get" this.  The question than is, what of it?  Koringhus seems to have been able to "get it."  But only through the lens of Mimara, through her forgiveness, and (the) Eye.  I think Kellhus could have found that, but he doesn't seem to have.  In other words, it would seem that Kellhus knew the fundamental nature of the meta-physics, but still (like the Consult) demanded the world to change rather him change to it.  In other words, I do not buy that Kellhus ever gave up his Self, or allowed his Soul to die to his Spirit.

No, in the way Bakker likens it, I'd say it makes sense that Kellhus is "dead but not done."  He is at minimum a Ciphrang, a Spirit too marred by his Soul to be devoured.  But considering his power, perhaps even more.  If the Fanim are right, that the Hundred are basically Ciphrang, than Kellhus might well be a near god-like Ciphrang.

Sorry for the weird nested nature, being quotes from somewhere else and transplanted here.
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasûrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira