What is the Eärwan Soul?

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« on: October 19, 2018, 01:43:47 pm »
What is the Eärwan Soul really?

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 pleroma, and so then the question would be: is the Soul of the pleroma or of the manifest world?

Given the No-God's function and whatever the Great Cycle of Souls is, it follows to think the Soul is not of the manifest world, even if neither actually proves this as a fact.  If the Cycle of Souls is a mundane process, there should be a direct mechanical way to disrupt it.  There does not seem to be a manner of doing this though.  While the No-God is a sort of mundane object, in part, its functionality is actually predicated on a Soul itself.  This points toward there being something particular about Souls and things that can interact with Souls.  That is, that it seems the mundane means alone are not sufficient to interact with Souls.  Then it follows that the Soul must be pleromatic, or it would seem it is at least pleromatic in nature (that is, in origin).  If this supposition is incorrect, however, it is not at all clear why then the Soul can connect one to the Outside, or why it endures where other mundane elements do not endure past death.  I think we must take the position, based on the circumstantial evidence that the Soul must be of the same nature of the Outside, plausibly being of the pleroma before birth and rejoining it after death.  But here we return to the issue at hand, none the closer to an actual answer to the question that opened the thread, only having arrived at the plausible idea that the Soul is of a pleromantic nature.

So, just what is the Soul?  And if Souls cycle, what makes one yours and the other mine at any given time?  Recall that the Outside, as pleroma, is atemporal.  So, if your Soul was once my Soul, then it is both our Souls at all times in the Outside.  This does not stand to what we are shown to be the case in Eärwa.  So then, 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 as well.  No, I think what is meant by the cessation of the “Great Cycle of Souls” is the Soul itself is "locked into place."  That is, it cannot undergo the cycle of transformation.  That is (presumably) it's "attachment" to life in the manifest world at conception, it's "development" during life, and its subsequent "return" to the pleroma (the Outside).  (This actually makes sense, given how the Wright of the Mountain stays fixed to a spot, how souls on the planes of Mangedda do too.)

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. These things might not be wholly separate functions/processes though and might even be one and the same.  As Koringhus seems to relate to us, part of the problem of Damnation (or a problem of simply having a Soul) might be how Souled things in Eärwa cling to identity.  That the trouble of Damnation is due to denying the true interval between each other and the world (and/or the plemora, I'm not sure).  Or could it be the acknowledgement of the interval, in imagining the interval demanded by our perceived (constructed?) singular identities is real and meaningful.

So, I guess to answer part of the initial question, along the line of Koringhus, is that the "false" identity we acknowledge as “The Self” is the Soul, as it is what is Damned.  That delusion of individuality, according to Koringhus, which is clung to and won't be let go is what constitutes what bears the “ledger.”  It is, in a manner of speaking, the Cross which is beared, or the yolk that keeps one enslaved.  Which, mind you, from the perspective of the only intercessional, manifest Divine powers (the Hundred) is exactly what they want.  (I’ll come back to that, shortly.)

We confront a problem here though.  If the Soul is of the Outside (or at least shares its nature) and the Outside, as pleroma, is timeless, than Souls are Damned the moment they exist, if they are ever to be damned.  Even more confusingly, there was never a time in which they did not exist in the state they end up!  The same if they are redeemed.  If ever to be redeemed, the Soul is so from the very moment of existence (which actually is eternity).  Since the Soul is the ledger, when is it “written?”  In the Outside, there simply is no time to inscribe the Soul and frankly, there would be no need.  Everything, timeless as it is, simply is, at all times.  There must be something else at hand, to model the process more intelligibly.

What then enables a process in which the Soul can be changed?  Somehow, there must be a process that enables a Soul to be altered.  Timeless as it is a plermomantic Soul could not change itself, since it would be the same at its end as it was at its beginning, meaning there would be no need to have changed (and of course, no time to have done it anyway).  Yet, we know that one, Souls undergo some kind of Cycle, two, that Souls experience does effect their place in the pleroma.  So, to reconcile, we must postulate something along the line that what constitutes a Soul is both timeless and subject to mundane time and experience.

How then do we figure this dual-nature of the Soul then?  The “answer” here, I think, can be that same tripartite of the real-world Gnostics to say that the Spirit (i.e. the pleromatic 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 then the Soul is not pleromantic, or of the Outside, then but of the Psyche (i.e. Logos, if not The Logos, or the consciousness, more generally).  It is the Spirit that is of the Outside.  The last portion of the division, the Body, is merely the container that binds your Soul and your Spirit, merely the vessel by which both navigate the World.  So, it may not be your Soul passing on, but rather your Spirit so imprinted by your Soul.  This can largely solve the issue of why a Spirit, timeless, can become differentiated, because the Soul is unique in being a mundane “mechanism” that can somehow operate on the pleroma.  This also would partially explain why, once dead, there wouldn’t be a chance for Redemption.  The Body, engine of union, is gone in death and so the Soul can no longer function in altering the Spirit.  All that is left is the Spirit and the markings of the Soul has left upon it.

Interestingly enough, I think this tripartite is also the “answer” to what and how the “head-on-a-pole” is and what it does.  Consider: what keeps the Soul and Spirit together?  The Body.  So, when Kellhus visits the Outside, how does he keep his Soul (Psyche) and his Spirit from being snatched by Ciphrang?  Through the understanding of there being a “head on a pole behind him.”  It was Geoffrobro’s keen observation (confirmed, by my standards, by Bakker) that when Kellhus visits the Outside, he looks within himself (of course, where else is his Spirit?) and so the head is his own head, behind him, because he is looking “backward” (that is, inward, “behind” his eyes).  The Head keeps in from being separated and destroyed by Ciphrang, because he has not left the protective shell of The Body.  So, he cannot be divided, he cannot be torn apart, cannot be taken.

But to return to what we were discussing, now the Spirit is the ledger, the Soul the stylus that writes upon it and the Body the vessel of the union.  This Spirit-as-ledger is how Mimara’s Judging Eye functions.  It’s view is the view to that ledger and in doing so, render judgment.  That is, human judgment.  Could it be then that Mimara's "power" to banish that Wight is similar to the sort of "thuamaturgy" we see Kellhus-Ajokli wield versus the Mutilated?  As in, a power not of Sorcery but of Divine providence.  That is to say, I somewhat disagree that Mimara's power is "setting the world" to a more "naturalistic" state.  Eärwa's "natural state" is that of enchantment, a place where the dead can linger.  So, the Wight's position is eminently natural.  Which, of course it is, because it is

I would divide out is that her intentions and the God's intentions aren't specifically one.  That is to say that Mimara's intentions are still her own.  The God couldn't care less if the Wight stayed there or not.  But Mimara certainly did.  In this way, she is right to declare that she holds the Gates.  This is not divine justice carried out by Mimara.  No, this is Mimara's justice carried out by the divine.  That distinction is important, at least in my estimation, because it means that Mimara is the locus of Judgement, the Eye only a tool to that end.  The "stillborn" issue, it was pointed out to me, seems to be a linguistic play on words, in the same manner as Éowyn can kill the Witch King in LotR.  Éowyn is no man, rightly.  So, Mimara does carry a stillborn, just also a living baby as well.

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 God-as-Christ, post-Job, in rendering the perspective of God from the mortal vantage.  That is, the infinite cannot have a perspective on itself, because it is all thing.  The Infinite cannot have any perspective, because it has all perspectives, which is no perspective at all.  (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.) (There is also something about Mimara's role being specifically conscious, as oppossed to the passive unconscious role of The God.)

Now, having explored the Spirit’s function as ledger, let us explore more just what this Spirit actually is. The Spirit, of course, is of the Outside, being your share of the One, that is, of the God-of-gods.  This is a major portion of the revelation of Koringhus, that the Sprit is a portion of the Divine.  Your Soul's (that is, consciousness’) delusion, of course, is that it is both the Spirit itself and separate from the One.  Both are incorrect.  The Fanim, and Kellhus, were right in one thing, that the God was shattered and that the Outside is littered with its fragments.  In Kellhus’ words the Outside is littered with “warring splinters” of The God.  So, each Spirit is but one piece in that war.  What are they warring over?  My hunch is “more pieces.”  Each piece longs to complete itself, and so they war to achieve Unity, to achieve completeness, to become One, that is, whole.  We will return to this momentarily.

So, now we have something of a more substantial model of what “the Soul” is on Eärwa.  It is the Spirit, that is, the metaphysical pleromantic, “animating” (that is, consciousness-granting) part of life, as opposed to the Body (the physical corpus) and the Soul (the mind, the Psyche, the Self).  In his way, it is a bit confusing, how the Soul, which is actual consciousness and Spirit, that which grants the ability to be conscious, but for the sake of our own sanity, I think we need to leave that there, for now.

The state of living is pretty clear, but once one dies in Eärwa, what happens?  Well, naturally the Body expires and presumably, so with it the mind, that is, the Soul.  What is left then, is the Spirit, being as it is pleromantic, it is timeless, it cannot expire.  The Soul though, having been imprinting on the Spirit since birth, is so captured but only in that final state.  The Spirit, now, having collected all such impressions, passes back into the realm of being wholly of the Outside.  With no body to moor it against various Outside agents, is seems the Spirit is prey for various agents of the Outside.  Here we return to the “warring pieces” of The God, but just what are these pieces?

One such agent of the Outside, one sort of division of The God are Ciphrang: Spirits who's Body/Soul so marred them as to be completely incapable of being assimilated back into the any other pieces upon death.  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.  But hunger for what?  Let us consider the following quote:

Quote
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.

Kellhus also liken the same thing to us, later.  How Eärwa is a granary.  That Damnation is the bread.  That is, Damnation is the “food” of the Hundred.  It is their sustenance.  That is, it sustains their differentiation.  Recall, the Hundred, like all Spirits, are simply divisions of The God-of-gods, in this the Fanim are correct.  The Hundred are not so wholly different than Ciphrang except in relative “power.”  So, in the Outside (and plausibly even on Eärwa), all things crave completeness, being that their nature is that of a division.  All things know, a priori, that they are not complete and in turn, desire to be so.

So the Hundred, their nature as divisions gives rise to the desire for wholeness, however since they are differentiated, they see the route to wholeness as through further differentiation.  So, they hunger for completeness and crave differentiation in an attempt to fill this need.  It could also be that the nature of the Outside is such that Identity, that is, marked differentiation, is passively eroded.  It could be the case continued existence in the Outside is predicated upon a source of differentiation, lest the nascent nature of the Outside dissolve singular Identity.  While it seems preferable to allow this to happen, rather than suffer such hunger, the same could be said for the living.  Why cling to a singular identity, when you can give in and dissolve back into the stuff of “nature?”  Such is not an “easy” proposition.

So, the agents of the Outside, Ciphrang, small, and The Hundred, large, crave the sustainance of differentiation, and Damnation is this marked differentiation of the Spirit/Soul.  The “experience” of difference, as the Voice tells little Kel.  The trick though, what they do not realize, is that the Completeness they desire cannot be achieved through acquisition, but through loss.  One can approach One from fractions, but cannot ever reach it: the infinite shattered pieces of the infinite God are infinite.  Being that only the God-of-gods is (was) infinite; all divisions are necessarily not infinite and so are incapable of being or becoming so.

Here we can use one of the tools that Koringhus gives us.  The concept of Zero made One, or the Zero-God (or as I call it, Zero-as-One).  This is to say that Zero, the total loss of The Self and the acceptance of the falsity of differentiation, is made or is-as One, the Unity.  This can be rephrased as: the loss of Interval is the acceptance into, and of, the Unity.  If nothing divides, than everything is as One.  This can also be conceptualized as the loss of particular perspective, is the opening to all possible perspectives.

This is diametrically opposed to what The Hundred, Ciphrang, and actual Souled beings strive toward.  Since Identity is so key their existence, they cling to their shard and exist in a state of marked differentiation.  Their aim, given the conceits of this position, is to achieve the completeness of One, but through Zero.  Through Zero meaning that they aim at achieving zero differentiation from everything by acquiring all differentiation.  This can be rephrased as: if a thing is all things, than it is only One thing.  One thing, and so completeness, achieved by being comprised off everything.

Since the Cubit, which could be surmised as being the God-of-gods, that is the Zero-God, or a sort of principle of Zero-As-One (a unity concept) is the source of damnation, not the Hundred.   Or, if the God-of-gods does truly slumber, or in it’s shattered state is not manifest, the Cubit is at least the perspective of this origin. And damnation could well be simply your distance from this unity concept.  That is, sin could be what demarks your soul as apart from "the rest," that is, that which enforces an interval between your Spirit and that of everything else.  If Koringhus is to be believed, this denial of interval, no check that, this insistence on (of?) interval is what damns.  The true interval is Zero.  This is why the true God-of-gods is Zero-as-One, not One-as-Zero.  To rephrase that, Zero is the Unity, as in zero interval between "things" and One is the Identity, that is, the "individual."  So, in Zero-As-One, the individual Self is subsumed and replaced by the Unity, or to say the Unity is the new Self.  To attempt to gain One-as-Zero, would be to gain all portions of Selves and so enforce a Unity by acquisition, that is, if One was comprised of All, there would be no interval and would be a Unity.  This cannot work.  Or at least, not practically.  No One can acquire All, so achieving the Zero interval is functionally impossible through achieving One-ness (this is possibly why The Absolute is a trap).  What is plausibly doable though is to lose everything, achieve Zero differentiation and so through loss, gain Unity.

The Logos (the elevation of the Intellect, the Self) is another trap, so perhaps this is why Kellhus (mostly) abandons it?

As a side note, why then are Sorcerers damned?  Well, it could be because they demand (not unlike the Consult do) that reality conform to their demand.  And so offend Unity, because they are forcing a "false frame," that is a individually determined, individually demanded frame upon the Unity.  So, this fundamental violation of Unity so offends the God-of-gods (Zero-As-One, the Cubit) as to demark that soul as irrevocably "set apart."  If that is true (or even partly so), it opens the interesting next step to asked: what then of the Psûhke?  In this case, we must return to the earlier discussion, that there isn't just a bifurcation of Being (into Body and Soul), but rather a tripartite of Body, Mind and Spirit.  Body and Mind being what can "imprint" on the Spirit and give it it's metaphysical character.  OK, fine, but what does that tell us about why the Sorcery Marks, where the Psûhke does not?

Well, we are told that the Psûhke is decidedly non-intellectual.  That is, it arises not from the intellect but from the passion.  In our "normal" parlance, this hardly makes a difference, passions are of the mind and so is the intellect.  But on Eärwa, I don't think this is as true.  That is to say, that the Mind isn't the brain, but is the Intellect.  So, what damns is not the brain, but the metaphysical Intellect, that is, conscious thought.  It is conscious thought that sets Sorcery apart from the Psûhke.  It is conscious thought that then damns.  The Psûhke comes from the Body, that is, without conscious thought, without intellect.  That is why, as in the "curious case" of Titirga, it seems to just issue forth, a priori.  It is also no coincidence that Sorcery, language and so conscious thought are bound concepts in Eärwa, where the Psûhke is not linguistically based.
In Eärwa, the Body (that is, the literally corpus) is the conduit of the Darkness that Comes before, i.e. what is natural.  That is, what is indistinguishable from God's own will.  It is the conscious direction of the Mind that differentiates the Spirit.  That does open the question of whether you can be unconsciously damned on Eärwa and to that I'm not at all sure.  Although I am not sure what it would mean to live your whole life completely unconscious either.  This differentiation, with regards to Sorcery, is called The Mark. The deepness of The Mark seems proportional to some kind of metric that measures how much disjunction, or perhaps “ruin” one has caused in the “natural” fabric of reality.

My guess would be that being Marked does about the same as Sin, that is, puts your soul in a state of marked differentiation and so does damn without a question of what, specifically was done.  I think it correct that Sorcery=the Mark, and I think it reasonable that The Mark=Damnation.  So then, since we know that Sorcery is cognitive, or intellectual, then it is reasonable that in this round-about way, conscious thought, through the cypher of Sorcery, does equal Damnation.

I think the issue that makes it more, and less, clear is that of the Psûhke.  So, if the Mark is just a tally of "ruin" on the fabric of Reality, what constitutes actual "aesthetic ruin" (that is, disjunctive changes in reality) can't simply be, say, "change outside of The God's will" or else the Psûhke is actually divine and I think that Ajokli's demonstration of Thaumaturgy or Divine Magic proves that Chorae are no match for that.  So, the fact that Chorae effect the Psûhke seems to defeat the idea that something Divine is actually involved.

So, what does does "aesthetic ruin" mean?  If Sorcerous changes are and the Psûhke's changes are not, I think the answer lies in this quote from Bakker:

Quote
Everything comes down to meaning in Eärwa. Where sorcery is representational, utilizing either the logical form (as with the Gnosis) or the material content (as with the Anagogis) of meaning to leverage transformations of reality, the Psukhe utilizes the impetus. Practitioners of the Psukhe blind themselves to see through the what and grasp the how, the pure performative kernel of meaning–the music, the passion, or as the Cishaurim call it, the ‘Water.’ As a contemporary philosopher might say, the Psukhe is noncognitive, it has no truck with warring versions of reality, which is why it possesses no Mark and remains invisible to the Few.

They key differentiator in there seem to be (at least in my reading) to be Congitive vs. Non-Cognitive.  Both are Sorcery (which is why Chorae work all the same on all of it), just differing in how the changes are writ.  And that seems to make a real difference in how the changes made reconcile against the practitioner's soul.  So, it seems to me that the Conscious component of Sorcery is indeed what Marks and if it is true that the Mark Damns, then indeed, it seems plausible that Conscious Thought is indeed a vehicle to Damnation.  Now a Chorae does not Salt a Sinner, because a Sinner is very much in line with "natural reality" (being that Eärwa is a damnation factory and the "universality" of the Cubit) where Sorcery invites "warring versions of reality."  So, it seems that the "ruin" is the breaking of the continuity of reality.  That is, the entertaining and issuance of "warring versions of reality" that is Marking Sorcerers and in turn, Damning them and the Psûhke, given it's lack of Conscious (cognitive) intentionality does not Mark and plausibly does not even Damn, at least, on it's own.

A Chorae simply resolves the paradox that is Sorcery.  That is, it doesn’t matter if it Marked the Spirit of the practitioner, or if not.  It simply undoes Sorcery and those that practiced it.  It isn’t clear though, if the Spirit of those that practice the Psûhke isn’t Marked, it still must bear something on it’s ledger that allows a Chorae to undo them.  I guess it’s the case that while not a Mark, as it is with intellectual Sorcery, it still somehow “carries with it” the accumulated paradoxical nature of what it has done.  Unless, of course, it’s possibly the case that the Psûhke so invokes the “Divine nature” of creation, that Spirits having practiced it are actually closer to the Unity than they are distant from it.

As a side note, I think I finally actually get why the Dûnyain regard sorcery as a violation of Before and After.  I never made sense to me, because it wasn't as if Sorcery altered the past, that the After changed what happened in the Past, but I might now get it.  It is that the fundamental underlying facts of Reality determine what can come after.  So, the fundamental fact of, say, gravity (among other things, but just to keep it "simple") determines that a human can't fly.  Or, say, laws of free energy (again, among other things) dictate that Dragon's head doesn't just pop out of thin air and vomit fire.  Sorcery violates these laws, violates the facts of the Before, and so changes the After.

Since we have been discussing the fact of Damnation in Eärwa, what about the mechanism of it, the Cubit.  As in, why are some things sins and others not?  Is it arbitrary?  Are "sins" arbitrary, in the real world?  Although I can't "prove" it one way or the other, I'm not so sure.  Although I can more readily recognize that the label of "Holy" could be more arbitrary.  It certainly depends on how we choose to define "Holy" and unfortunately the books themselves don't give us many examples to build on. So, is Eärwa a place of just capricious Damnation?  Or is it discrete, like Physics?

Geometry, physics and other distinctly mathematical properties determine in a way that might seem arbitrary from a certain human rational standpoint, but are distinctly rational once the underlying mechanisms are exposed.  In the same way, nickel has the more tightly bound nucleus, follow by iron, which, is arbitrary from the standpoint of there being a whole periodic table to choose from, why those two?  No one chose them, true.  But the "rules of the game" that is, physics determined it to be so.

Perhaps I am misapprehending the notion here, but I don't think most sins are really vastly different, even though they do not necessarily come from such an objective frame.  To take a real world example, the "sin" of eating pork was very rationally grounded, since improperly cooked pork was rather dangerous. 

It then really isn't so arbitrary that pigs were considered "filthy" and "unholy."  Unconscious objects could be Vile and Holy, yes, but this (I don't think) isn't the same as Damned and Redeamed.  That is to say, I don't think pigs go to Hell and Storks go to Heaven.  No, rather these "things" are, as non-conscious objects, merely symbols of what is to be Consciously revered, or reviled.  So, a pig might be Vile because it is regarded as an "unclean animal" (plausibly due to trichinosis).  A stork might be "holy" because it invites (or invokes) thoughts of venerating parental care.  The object itself isn't destined for Hell or anywhere, since it has no soul.  Rather, it is the Souled Observer, who interprets Value.

Now, it could be that on Eärwa things are just arbitrary, I mean, of course they are, Bakker simply just chose them.  But not so arbitrary that pretty much all of them came from some real-world religion or other cultural place.  So, they are based off something, but something more nebulous and less discrete than physics.  When Mimara views, via the Eye:

Quote
Between women and men, women possess the lesser soul. Whenever the Eye opens, she glimpses the fact of this, the demand that women yield to the requirements of men, so long as those demands be righteous. To bear sons. To lower her gaze. To provide succor. The place of the woman is to give. So it has always been, since Omrain first climbed nude from the dust and bathed in the wind. Since Esmenet made herself a crutch for stern Angeshraël.

This is arbitrary from the completely objective standpoint.  Why is it that Eärwan women possess lesser Souls?  Well, first, what does that even mean?  First, we must again recognize that the Eärwan conception of the Soul is always a something of a misnomer, as used.  That is, since no one seems to differentiate Spirit from Soul, as we do above, the Soul is confusingly relegated to attempt to cover as both.  I think we have previously demonstrated this is plausibly not true.  So then, it isn’t that women in Eärwa are spiritually inferior, it is that they are placed into a position where the demands on their psyche is such that there is less demand on their Soul to differentiate their identities for than men.  In fact, dictates of biology and so societal organization largely demand it.  In this sense, the burden of birth is a call to connection.  In the manner of  Koringhus’ revelation then, women are actually Spiritually superior to men.  The designation of “Lesser” as opposed to “Greater” denotes, in this case, the acceptance of loss, forfeiture of the Self, and the path to Unity, so the actual method away from Damnation.  In the same way, Kellhus denotes a “Greater Proyas” and a “Lesser Proyas.”  We, just by the terms, would equate “Greater” as “better” and preferable to “lesser.”  This is false and it is “Greater Proyas” is lead into Damnation.  Because Greater Proyas is the Proyas who desires to be more.  It is Lesser Proyas who seeks Unity and loss, deference to the Holy.  It is the Greater, who Kellhus enslaves, which is his Proyas’ conscious desire to aspire toward The God, to be more, rather than less.  The Soul, that which differentiates, is the engine that drives the Spirit to Damnation, so calls to “Greater” individualization and differentiation are both Spiritually inferior.

In the same manner, this is why women of Eärwa are, in general, more Holy and lesser Souls.  Because they are driven, in general to a role that subsumes their individuality and drives them toward something closer to Unity.  In this way, women are the Greater Spirits.  In this way, women are more Holy.  Also, because of how shackled they are to men, by biological (as well as psychological) facts, they are also victims of men’s Spiritual deficiency.  So, while women are the Greater Spirits, they are still Damned by association with the iniquities of men’s Spirits.  This is why Mimara repeats the proclamation that women should follow a righteous man. Since not all men are righteous, then so are many women Damned.

Note that this, in general, offends the modern egalitarian, gender-equality lines of thought.  Of course it does, as it is made to approximate the situation pre-Modern people thought they lived in.  Eärwa is designed to be the Hell of a world we thought we lived in.  Not only this, but the very offense is given to highlight and cue our moral intuitions on the subject.  Since we identify the unfair nature of Mimara’s (and every other woman in the series) situation, we are directly confronted with the unfair nature of our own world.  The imposition of being is not adjudicated fairly, not in the real world, nor on Eärwa.

It’s interesting to think to the next step though, how, if women were “unshackled” from this “arbitrary” imposition of subservience, what would the effect be?  I think the answer is that they would still be Damned though.  They, taking on the same role as men would be placed in the same trap that Eärwan men are in, that of applying the Soul in carving out individuality or questing toward being “more” is seemingly a sure-fire route to Damnation.

Not only that, but since what comes before determines what comes after and since culture itself can most certainly be a vehicle of pan-societal damnation, I  think it is most certainly the case that one can be born directly into a state of being set up to be Damned.  In fact, we know it from the Dûnyain to be true.  That is the Eärwan version of Original Sin.  You are the culmination of your culture's collected sins and Damned even further by continued adherence to it's (probably) flawed precepts.

So, the “rules” that the Cubit offers might seem arbitrary, might even be somewhat arbitrary, but they are that which allows Eärwa to be the granary that feeds the Hundred.  The path to Unity is absolutely contrary to the fundamental way which consciousness construes the reality of Identity.  And that is the thing that Damns most of all.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 05:28:05 pm by H »
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« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2018, 01:52:24 pm »
Just want to add the following disclaimer: There is no possible way that all of this is "correct" in any way.  In fact, there is a very good chance that none of it is correct.  It's mainly just a thought exercise in bringing disparate ideas.

Given the length of it all though, if you want to discus parts, I'd advise you take one small bit at a time, because there is no real way to discuss 10 points at once.  We can resolve issues one at a time.
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2018, 07:00:35 pm »
Amazing thread, and one much needed as the metaphysics of the soul are definitely more complex than at first glance and there's been very little dedicated research put into it.

Just gonna make a few comments here for now:

1. I definitely agree with your connection between the Outside --- Pleroma and the threefold system regarding Body, Soul, and Spirit as seen in Gnosticism. It may be the most direct analogue in the series to Gnostic beliefs, I think.

2. I very much like your thought-process on the nature of Ciphrang and specifically the idea that their resistance to Unity is what makes them into distinct identities (Spirits) in the Outside. I think this may be the most (or one of the most) salient and vital points you make here. This also further supports my own belief that Ciphrang and, by extension, the Gods, are in fact amalgamations of "lesser souls" -- we see this hinted in (not-verbatim) quotes like "The tragedy of humanity is that they only matter in their sum" and how Ciphrang are described as speaking/roaring "with the exhalation of countless Damned souls". In this sense I think the Outside can be likened to a pyramid, with individual souls forming the foundation of it, and with ever-greater Ciphrang, Godlings, Gods and finally the God-of-Gods sitting at the top of the pyramid. Just below the top, we can presume is where Yatwer (Birth, life) and Gilgaol (War, death) reside, who together form the "engine" of the cycle of souls.

3. As a side note, I would mention that I think the notion of "angelic Ciphrang" is tied up with your unity concept. We know that angelic Ciphrang cannot be summoned, but we don't know why. The only clear-cut (IMO) glimpse we've had of an angelic Ciphrang is Esmenent-as-seen-by-the-Judging Eye. So what is it that makes a Ciphrang angelic? I think that at least one of the elements here is that an angelic Ciphrang is one who contributes to the Life/Birth side of the Yatwer/Gilgaol soul cycle engine, as opposed to the War/Death side. In addition, the concept of submission and unification dovetails with this idea. Angelic Ciphrang cannot be summoned because 1. They are, in some manner, already Saved. You can't summon that which is already "locked in place" within the Outside. Then, 2. Angelic Ciphrang have no utility for being summoned to begin with. I think Esmenet's quote in TUC about "thinking of childbirth like a Cant, only blood instead of light, life instead of ruin" is very telling, and may be more literal than it comes across. To be clear, I don't think demonic Ciphrang are "evil" per se while the angelic are "good" (at least not from our perspective) -- murderous warriors are as much a part of the Cycle as those who foster life -- but rather they are just different parts of the greater scheme. Angelic Ciphrang are Saved probably because they WILLINGLY submit to a greater Spirit (presumably a God or Goddess), whereas the demonic are not because their way of "unifying" is through consumption and power.

3. This last bit is something I'll get into more later when I'm not just waking up, but one thing I feel fairly certain of is that Ciphrang and Gods alike do not actually feed on "the souls/spirits in the Outside", but rather, they feed on the experiences of souls/spirits in the WORLD. The Gods are the easiest example of this since they're the broadest -- Akkeagni "feeds" on the experience of the diseased and/or those who combat disease, and so on with all other Outside agencies. I have more quotes/ideas on this but my brain is foggy ATM.

Regardless, great thread and great work here. I have numerous other comments that spring to mind which I will return to elaborate on further, but I definitely think you've struck (or come very close to striking) the kernel of the workings of the Soul/Spirit/Outside.

ETA: Some pictures that might help visualize/digest some of these ideas, perhaps:

Gnostic stuff








Platonic Forms



« Last Edit: October 20, 2018, 07:32:03 pm by Francis Buck »

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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2018, 08:00:09 pm »
Good stuff -

Soul here refers to the phenomenal experiencer that exists during one's time in the Inside right?

So is it then the impression of the body that the Spirit recreates in the afterlife due to its conditioning?
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« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2018, 02:11:34 pm »
2. I very much like your thought-process on the nature of Ciphrang and specifically the idea that their resistance to Unity is what makes them into distinct identities (Spirits) in the Outside. I think this may be the most (or one of the most) salient and vital points you make here. This also further supports my own belief that Ciphrang and, by extension, the Gods, are in fact amalgamations of "lesser souls" -- we see this hinted in (not-verbatim) quotes like "The tragedy of humanity is that they only matter in their sum" and how Ciphrang are described as speaking/roaring "with the exhalation of countless Damned souls". In this sense I think the Outside can be likened to a pyramid, with individual souls forming the foundation of it, and with ever-greater Ciphrang, Godlings, Gods and finally the God-of-Gods sitting at the top of the pyramid. Just below the top, we can presume is where Yatwer (Birth, life) and Gilgaol (War, death) reside, who together form the "engine" of the cycle of souls.

I would be careful here, because I think this is the exact ontological trap that Fane and the Fanim fall into.  That is, to presume that The God-of-gods is a pinacle.  If we follow the lines of Koringhus, as I am want to to do, this is exactly the folly that so demarks every individual.  That is, the assumption that Unity is achievable through acquisition.  That is, that One can be (re)made though the addition of it's infinitely divided parts.  This is what every differentiated entity in the Bakkerverse thinks can be done, because they are deluded about their own nature.  It is why the Hundred war with each other, it's why Ciphrang seek to gain and torture.  It's the trap of individuality.

It's a sneaky, sneaky Bakker move to place The God-of-gods at the bottom of the hierarchy.  Consider though how much sense it makes if the Infinite God is at the bottom of the hierarchy:  the infinite God, fractured, becomes all "souled" things.  Then, as you describe, Ciphrang and the Hundred become amalgams of these fractured pieces.  There is no pinacle though, because the Go-of-gods comes before them, not after.

3. As a side note, I would mention that I think the notion of "angelic Ciphrang" is tied up with your unity concept. We know that angelic Ciphrang cannot be summoned, but we don't know why. The only clear-cut (IMO) glimpse we've had of an angelic Ciphrang is Esmenent-as-seen-by-the-Judging Eye. So what is it that makes a Ciphrang angelic? I think that at least one of the elements here is that an angelic Ciphrang is one who contributes to the Life/Birth side of the Yatwer/Gilgaol soul cycle engine, as opposed to the War/Death side. In addition, the concept of submission and unification dovetails with this idea. Angelic Ciphrang cannot be summoned because 1. They are, in some manner, already Saved. You can't summon that which is already "locked in place" within the Outside. Then, 2. Angelic Ciphrang have no utility for being summoned to begin with. I think Esmenet's quote in TUC about "thinking of childbirth like a Cant, only blood instead of light, life instead of ruin" is very telling, and may be more literal than it comes across. To be clear, I don't think demonic Ciphrang are "evil" per se while the angelic are "good" (at least not from our perspective) -- murderous warriors are as much a part of the Cycle as those who foster life -- but rather they are just different parts of the greater scheme. Angelic Ciphrang are Saved probably because they WILLINGLY submit to a greater Spirit (presumably a God or Goddess), whereas the demonic are not because their way of "unifying" is through consumption and power.

This is an interesting point.  My default position is to assume that angelic Ciphrang cannot be summoned, mainly because they simply do not exist.  That is to say, that if one is "saved" one just does not become a Ciphrang.  If, for a moment, we assume that I am alt least partly correct, then there seems to be (at least) three options for your Spirit upon the dissolution with your body.  Damnation is the one we seem to be presented with most often.  This seems to be when your Spirit, so differentiated, becomes "food" for some outside entity.  The next seem to be Oblivion, that is, when he Spirit seems to find a "gap" in the Outside and passes to some other state, perhaps plausibly a state of nonexistence.  The last is less clear, but there seem to be an "option" of some kind of Union.  In the case of Sorweel, it seems, that his purpose in the "name of" Yatwer was such that, upon his death, he might actually become a part of Yatwer.  In this same sense, I think if one, like Koringhus, successfully dissolves the Self, one could achieve a Unity with the God-of-gods.

3. This last bit is something I'll get into more later when I'm not just waking up, but one thing I feel fairly certain of is that Ciphrang and Gods alike do not actually feed on "the souls/spirits in the Outside", but rather, they feed on the experiences of souls/spirits in the WORLD. The Gods are the easiest example of this since they're the broadest -- Akkeagni "feeds" on the experience of the diseased and/or those who combat disease, and so on with all other Outside agencies. I have more quotes/ideas on this but my brain is foggy ATM.

This is actually a very good point, but I'm unsure how to square it.  I think that the Hundred do "harvest" something from the living.  But I don't think it is the same as the bounty given in death.  Because if it were, shouldn't then your soul be subject to the same torment in life that it is in death?  Then the Consult's plan would be useless.  I think there is something else, that in life, the Conscious directive of thought toward them relates directly to the allocation of souls in death.
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« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2018, 02:18:00 pm »
Good stuff -

Soul here refers to the phenomenal experiencer that exists during one's time in the Inside right?

Yes, the Soul is that which experiances, the Spirit that which is marked and so "holds" the experiential nature.

So is it then the impression of the body that the Spirit recreates in the afterlife due to its conditioning?

Well, the Body is both the physical vessel, but it also is a part (perhaps even the biggest part) of the experiential character of life.  So, indeed, I would imagine that part of the "passed on" portion of that must be an impression of the body.  How could we imagine experience from a point of reference that is not of the Body?  Surely we can imagine it, but only from the perspective of a Body.
“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

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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2018, 04:36:51 pm »
Good stuff -

Soul here refers to the phenomenal experiencer that exists during one's time in the Inside right?

So is it then the impression of the body that the Spirit recreates in the afterlife due to its conditioning?


Welcome back sci :)
One of the other conditions of possibility.

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« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2018, 11:14:12 pm »
Welcome back sci :)

Thanks!

Good stuff -

Soul here refers to the phenomenal experiencer that exists during one's time in the Inside right?

Yes, the Soul is that which experiances, the Spirit that which is marked and so "holds" the experiential nature.

So is it then the impression of the body that the Spirit recreates in the afterlife due to its conditioning?

Well, the Body is both the physical vessel, but it also is a part (perhaps even the biggest part) of the experiential character of life.  So, indeed, I would imagine that part of the "passed on" portion of that must be an impression of the body.  How could we imagine experience from a point of reference that is not of the Body?  Surely we can imagine it, but only from the perspective of a Body.

I think experience in the Bakkerverse is through the Monad, the body only serves as a filter conditioning the experience to be from a limited perspective. (The body, after all, is within the the experience of the phenomenal.)

We've had POVs divorced from bodies - Saubon, Malowebi have experiences of existing without a body. Saubon feels himself whirling in the Void before entering a new body in the afterlife. Malowebi witnesses his own beheading.

The WLW - both the nameless one & Sorweel - also see the world from a vantage point that seems to include their body.

My guess is the "Spirit" is an Observation Frame, the perspective of Creation from a particular vantage point seemingly divorced from the God. The "Body" is the limited boundary of experience, and the "Subtle Body" is the recreation of this boundary due to the conditioning of the Spirit. I guess "Soul", to me, is nothing but the restriction of experience narrowing to a POV within creation.

I think we're on the same page here, for the most part? I chose the word "Monad" b/c Monads have a continued reflection of the Whole, the View from God's eye. If a Spirit could, in Blake's terms, cleanse its "eyes" it would see the Infinite. But then it would just be the God, and thus experience Oblivion.
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« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2018, 06:51:01 am »
So assuming these ideas are on the right track generally speaking, what does that make of the Proxies used for stuff like the Gates to the Coffers, or the Wathi doll? I've never totally understood that but I suppose a Proxy (if just a soul) is basically like a metaphysical computer running a sorcerous program?

I find this even more confusing with regards to Shauriatas and the Larvals. I know it's described that he "jumps from one to the other "more as the intervals between them than inhabiting the Larvals themselves...but what exactly does that mean?

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« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2018, 05:49:15 pm »
To continue on a thought process from the Moengus thread (it's a better fit here):

Quoting myself from there:
Quote
It [the God-of-Gods] seems to most resemble a fusion of Demiurgic qualities with that of Hegelian and/or Theosophical "Nature". I'm uncertain whether or not it qualifies as the Absolute -- I'm inclined to believe that if anything is the Absolute, it is the No-God, but I'm by no means certain of that either!

And what of the Meta-God? Was that just a throwaway line meant to be an alternative title to the God-of-Gods, or...something else? I wonder if there might not also be the Hegelian/Theosophical equivalent of Spirit, or "fohat". 

Some possibly relevant conceptualizations of Spirit, or Weltgeist -- "World-Soul" -- according to Hegel:

Quote
...it turns out that the agent of knowing all along has been Spirit -- even before it knew it was conscious, self-conscious, reason or spirit. Largely, this is a journey of increasing self-awareness. Spirit is thus the active element in consciousness.

In the section called "RELIGION", Hegel will argue that the death and resurrection of Jesus and the reception of the Holy Spirit is the recognition in history that we are the divine Spirit that is consciousness engaged in the task of knowing itself. For Hegel, Jesus is a man who realizes he is God, who dies, and then is "resurrected" as Spirit's self-consciousness in all men that they are Spirit -- meaning they are the conscious part of the universe that makes what surrounds us a "universe" (as a concept for us) and gives things meaning).

For Hegel, this turns out to be necessitated. You can understand this necessity either as a contingent necessity built into the nature of consciousness or as an absolute necessity built into the inevitability of everything that happens in the world. I would tend towards the latter as an interpretation of Hegel's own view.

It's mentioned in one of the answers above, but Spirit is ultimately panentheist or pantheist insofar as it turns out that God is Spirit and we are Spirit and all we do is Spirit. But this is because the objects, etc., we know and perceive are already being imbued with Spirit through our acting and perceiving.

Im not sure if that's helpful for you, but it's a brief sketch of what happens in PhG as it relates to Spirit.

What about "world Spirit"? Well, it turns out World Spirit is the recognition that consciousness is ultimately non-individual. The cultural backgrounds, etc., in which we think make it so that the agency of understanding is not localized but rather occurs within societies and cultures as their agency. For Hegel, this also includes their destiny. World Spirit is the necessity of the unity of rational consciousness that Hegel believed happens inevitably (whether this is contingent or necessary inevitability is a matter of debate).


Quote
There's actually a way to talk about this idea with physics: invariants. A well-known invariant is the conservation of mass–energy. In a closed system, we strongly believe that while energy can move from one place to another, it is never created nor destroyed. Barfield claims that we need an invariant to have it be 'evolution' instead of "one-damn-thing-after-another". He doesn't use the word 'invariant'; instead, he uses the word 'spirit'. The spirit stays the same while other things change; indeed, Barfield has the spirit causing the change.

Philosopher Jonathan Pearce recently posted The “I”, personhood and abstract objects, in which he argues against the existence of a "continuous 'I'". In other words, there is nothing to a person which keeps him/her the same person over some time period. There is no continuous 'identity'. If there is no continuous identity of persons, surely there is no continuous identity of groups of people, including villages and nations.

It seems to me that maybe Hegel is using the idea of a spirit to unify a group of people. From what you say, he also has the spirit acting on groups of people, like Barfield. One could say that the spirit very gently manipulates people, a bit like the recent experiment Facebook ran on manipulating people's emotions. Perhaps spirits use some sort of nonlocal causation, which cannot even be identified without "zooming out" enough.


https://philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/14533/what-did-hegel-mean-by-world-spirit


« Last Edit: October 25, 2018, 05:51:36 pm by Francis Buck »

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« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2018, 03:02:33 pm »
So assuming these ideas are on the right track generally speaking, what does that make of the Proxies used for stuff like the Gates to the Coffers, or the Wathi doll? I've never totally understood that but I suppose a Proxy (if just a soul) is basically like a metaphysical computer running a sorcerous program?

I find this even more confusing with regards to Shauriatas and the Larvals. I know it's described that he "jumps from one to the other "more as the intervals between them than inhabiting the Larvals themselves...but what exactly does that mean?

Could it the use of a suggogate Body, as "unifier" of Mind and Spirit?  That is, a way to keep the Outside from claiming the Spirit, in the same way a Body seems to?  Akka does warn that trapping souls (that is, Spirits in our parlance) some times sheers identity from it (Mind, in our parlance).  So, perhaps in some sense, what Shauriatas manages to do is evacuate the Minds and Spirits from "hosts" then use those to put his own in?  I don't really gt the while circle thing though, I need to think more about that aspect.  I think it has to do with something of an ouroboros though, that is, being "smooth" in the sense of no "loose ends," as in, no beginning or end.
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« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2018, 07:33:23 pm »
Schrodinger's What is Life?

A good read but admittedly I was thinking of how the last part relates to the metaphysics of the Bakkerverse:

Quote
Do animals also have souls? It has even
been questioned whether women, or only men, have souls. Such consequences, even if only tentative, must
make us suspicious of the plurality hypothesis, which is common to all official Western creeds. Are we not
inclining to much greater nonsense, if in discarding their gross superstitions we retain their naive idea of
plurality of souls, but 'remedy' it by declaring the souls to be perishable, to be annihilated with the
respective bodies? The only possible alternative is simply to keep to the immediate experience that
consciousness is a singular of less is never which the plural is unknown; that there is only one thing and
Even in the that what seems to be a plurality is merely a series of different personality aspects of this one
thing, produced by a deception (the Indian MAJA); the same illusion is produced in a gallery of mirrors,
and in the same way Gaurisankar and Mt Everest turned out to be the same peak seen from different
valleys. There are, of course, elaborate ghost-stories fixed in our minds to hamper our acceptance of such
simple recognition. E.g. it has been said that there is a tree there outside my window but I do not really see
the tree. By some cunning device of which only the initial, relatively simple steps are itself explored, the
real tree throws an image of itself into my the physical consciousness, and that is what I perceive. If you
stand by my side and look at the same tree, the latter manages to throw an image into your soul as well. I
see my tree and you see yours (remarkably like mine), and what the tree in itself is we do not know. For
this extravagance Kant is responsible. In the order of ideas which regards consciousness as a singulare
tanturn it is conveniently replaced by the statement that there is obviously only one tree and all the image
business is a ghost-story. Yet each of us has the indisputable impression that the sum total of his own
experience and memory forms a unit, quite distinct from that of any other person. He refers to it as 'I' and
What is this 'I'? If you analyse it closely you will, I think, find that it is just the facts little more than a
collection of single data (experiences and memories), namely the canvas upon which they are collected.
And you will, on close introspection, find that what you really mean by 'I' is that ground-stuff upon which
they are collected. You may come to a distant country, lose sight of all your friends, may all but forget
them; you acquire new friends, you share life with them as intensely as you ever did with your old ones.
Less and less important will become the fact that, while living your new life, you still recollect the old one.
“The youth that was I', you may come to speak of him in the third person, indeed the protagonist of the novel you are reading is probably nearer to your heart, certainly more intensely alive and better known to
you. Yet there has been no intermediate break, no death. And even if a skilled hypnotist succeeded in
blotting out entirely all your earlier reminiscences, you would not find that he had killed you. In no case is
there a loss of personal existence to deplore. Nor will there ever be.
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« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2018, 08:04:08 pm »
"Soul" as the "conveyor" (substrate?) of narrative?  That is, of narration?  That is, of experience?
“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

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« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2018, 08:32:55 pm »
"Soul" as the "conveyor" (substrate?) of narrative?  That is, of narration?  That is, of experience?

Heh something like that. It struck me that his thoughts on the illusory "I" match up well enough with some of the ideas we've had regarding identity/individuality as what allows for Damnation...and, I suppose, Salvation of sorts...

Also want to say I think Hegel is important, both to the Idealist metaphysics and potentially to the nature of sorcery. Sadly I'm unfamiliar with his works beyond just some cursory commentary that crossed my path.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2018, 08:35:05 pm by sciborg2 »
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« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2018, 09:53:33 pm »
Heh something like that. It struck me that his thoughts on the illusory "I" match up well enough with some of the ideas we've had regarding identity/individuality as what allows for Damnation...and, I suppose, Salvation of sorts...

Also want to say I think Hegel is important, both to the Idealist metaphysics and potentially to the nature of sorcery. Sadly I'm unfamiliar with his works beyond just some cursory commentary that crossed my path.

I think that is very likely.  I have to plead ignorance as well and I'm not sure I have the intellect to read him direct.  I should probably look up some kind of introduction to Hegel, perhaps, or something like that.
“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