The inverse fire.

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« on: May 07, 2013, 01:30:03 am »
Quote from: Curethan
So, most people seem to be of the opinion that this provides some kind of 'relevation'. 

Specifically about how damnation is unavoidable for sorcerers and what damnation actually entails, which then subsequently justifies any measure taken to avoid it as well as simultaneously removing any ability to care about the earthly suffering of oneself or any other individual.

Which is not, in my opinion, how revelation works. 
I'm sure we've all experienced some new way of understanding or thinking that makes everything seem changed or different before.  And perhaps on reflection we can see that these 'epiphanies' are little more than blips of adjustment rather than redefining our personalities in any major way.  The human personality is elastic and requires a deal of training to change. 

As RSB is fond of pointing out, people don't just shift their moral goalposts in the manner that Nin and then Shae seem to, just through a little bit of firsthand experience (after all, 5 seconds of eternity is still just 5 seconds).  It requires a lot of conditioning to make one ammoral in the manner of Kellhus, for example. 

Those familiar with the way that many child molesters become so through the experience of being abused, and how internet porn can act as a type of skinner box might understand what I think the inverse fire actually is. 

A neurological weapon that becomes a holy object after its used on you.

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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2013, 01:36:17 am »
Quote from: The Sharmat
I don't find it that hard to believe that it's just a technological artifact that lets the user look into hell. The reason it has such a transformative effect is that Hell is so inconceivably horrifying compared to any atrocity possible in the physical world that the viewer becomes instantly and permanently desensitized to any crime they may commit. Simply because Spanish Inquisition level torture is a Hawaiian vacation by comparison.

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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2013, 01:36:23 am »
Quote from: Curethan
But that is not how it works. 

Simply increasing the magnitude of a traumatic or 'reveletory' experience creates dissonance - like in people who suffer PTSD.  Amp that up and you eventually get mental collapse. 

The effect here is transformative in a specific manner, and results in specific operative behavioural differences.  It's precisely the kind of directed change that RSB is worried that governments will be able to enact on 'criminals' and other deviants using neuroscientific methods.

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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2013, 01:36:29 am »
Quote from: Wilshire
I could see both cases, but I don't think we have nearly enough information to simply say "thats just not how it works". We would need to know a lot more about who they were before measuring how much they changed. For that matter, we would need more than 1 or 2 biased character perspectives to come to any adamant conclusions at all.

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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2013, 01:36:35 am »
Quote from: sciborg2
I have to say I still find the 120 Days of Sodom adventures post seeing the Inverse Fire to be nonsensical. But I'm beginning to suspect that Bakker and I have very different understandings about the nature of humanity.

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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2013, 01:36:41 am »
Quote from: Madness
Quote from: The Sharmat
I don't find it that hard to believe that it's just a technological artifact that lets the user look into hell. The reason it has such a transformative effect is that Hell is so inconceivably horrifying compared to any atrocity possible in the physical world that the viewer becomes instantly and permanently desensitized to any crime they may commit.

I second this.

Curethan, I'm not sure the normal rules of cognitive dissonance apply. Also, perhaps, "seeing" the Inverse Fire is more experiential than the metaphor implies. Maybe it's a completely visceral, sensual, VR experience, where three seconds is experienced as an eternity of bodily pain and torment?

Like, "I never want to experience that shit ever again, what can I do never to ever die and be damned? Now."

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« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2013, 01:36:48 am »
Quote from: sciborg2
One thing to keep in mind is that Kellhus could have apprehended the God and secured his own redemption. That doesn't mean he can't keep lying through his teeth to everyone else who is still damned.

An interesting question is what happens to all those Dunyain that are supposedly damned? Dunyain don't have many emotions, so how much fun is it to torment them compared to tormenting more emotional beings?

Also, what motivates the tormentors of damnation - I mean there are apparently, according to Mimara's Judging Eye, whole species of demons devoting their eternal, immortal existences to tormenting souls...doesn't this get boring after awhile?

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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2013, 01:36:55 am »
Quote from: Curethan
Quote from: Madness
Curethan, I'm not sure the normal rules of cognitive dissonance apply. Also, perhaps, "seeing" the Inverse Fire is more experiential than the metaphor implies. Maybe it's a completely visceral, sensual, VR experience, where three seconds is experienced as an eternity of bodily pain and torment?

Like, "I never want to experience that shit ever again, what can I do never to ever die and be damned? Now."

I'm more looking at the whole, "That was intense, but now I've got a hankering for genocide, torture and interspecies sex.  Ha, and my concience has completely disolved."

I'll back that up by pointing out how Shae is worried that the possibility of Aurang seducing Titirga would result in him (Shae) getting killed (thus eternal damnation for him).
But that doesn't concern him...

Quote
Did Aurang seek to seduce the Sohonc Archideme? Could he not see that Titirga was not one to suffer rivals, that Shaeönanra himself would be doomed were he to embrace their Holy Consult?

But these were vain questions. They fell away as quickly as Onkhis offered them up, so flimsy were the concerns that moved them. All that mattered, the Ground’s only consequential thing, was what he had seen…

Damnation.

So at once he will do anything to forestall damnation - but it's not really his own fate that worries him?

And then there's the fate of the Three - the two ishroi killed on Cet'ingira's recomendation because they were 'possessed'...  it just doesn't add up to me.

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« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2013, 01:37:01 am »
Quote from: Madness
I'm not sure what you mean about the Three (Cet'ingira was one of them).

I interpret that passage you are quoting as Shaeonanra reaffirming that Titirga would simply be another obstacle. Shaeonanra knows that at some point he will die and he had better have solved the damnation issue.

Quote from: Curethan
I'm more looking at the whole, "That was intense, but now I've got a hankering for genocide, torture and interspecies sex. Ha, and my concience has completely dissolved."

Well, Cnaiur is a perfect example of cognitive dissonance becoming a reason, a license for any and all trespass. I believe the Mengaecca committed all their atrocities because they were hoping that something in life would feel worse than the "fact of Damnation," as they perceived it by the Inverse Fire.

And they found nothing...

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« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2013, 01:37:08 am »
Quote from: Curethan
Well, there's not really enough info about what happened to the three.
However, the Ishroi weren't sorcerers, and their minds were broken. 
 
Cet'Ingira has regained enough of his faculties to betray them when they return from the golden room.  The fact that he tells CC they have been possessed is telling, the easiest lie is the one that is closest to the truth.
-

Your example of Cnaiur serves my point.  He is actively and purposefully broken by Moeghus so that he can conspire in Moe's escape. 

The alteration of his moral code proceeds from an existing weakness and must be carefully nurtured and steered until Moenghus controls his moral framework enough that Cnaiur serves Moe's ends.  Repitition and conditioning, using the framework from which aberant behaviour usually arises.

But because it is steered, it becomes an act of possession.  Moe breaks him in order to use him for his own ends.
When Moeghus no longer guides him, it is only by strictly adhereing to cultural norms and traditions, and thus supressing his aberant behaviour that Cnaiur forestalls his spiral into self destructive madness, becoming a time bomb in the process.
-

I'm fairly sure that Scott has edited TFS a bit since my last read.  Beyond arguing about how psychological change tends to occur, I'll quote a few of the bits that further inform my veiws on this subject (some that I suspect might have changed); subscript is mine.
Quote
He [size=50](Shae)[/size] had exalted in the trackless void, the hole where good and evil had once been.
...
They had visited lunatic misery on innocents, and they had found themselves utterly impervious, immune to the least remorse. Some of them had even laughed.
...
[size=50]Shae[/size] “Possessed, you tell yourselves. Possessed! We are different because we are no longer ourselves. ...
“So tell me , if we are possessed, who is our new owner?”"
...
[size=50]Titirga[/size] “A lunatic God… perhaps. The Hells that you think you see. Something… Something adulterate, foul. Something that craves feasting, that hungers with an intensity that can bend the very Ground.”

Ulimately my point is that the human brain just doesn't rewrite itself so abrubtly and effectively (that is, maintaining rational cognitive behaviours) upon such massive changes. 

I think the inverse fire has something to do with the outside, yes, but it is not some ultimate, freeing truth about damnation.  It's got to be some kind of brain frying thing.
 -

off topic; Perhaps this thread should be moved to the Atrocity Tales subforum, it's getting pretty spoilery.

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« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2013, 01:37:18 am »
Quote from: Callan S.
I'm not sure, is the idea that the whole experience is faked?

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« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2013, 01:37:25 am »
Quote from: Curethan
@ Callan. 
I'm suggesting that the inverse fire actually rewrites the neural wiring of those who veiw it, rather than provoking such a dramatic an almost instantaneous shift in attitude, empathy and belief by revealing some deeper understanding of the ultimate fate of one's soul.

It seems reasonable to speculate that the inchies developed the inverse fire in order to remove their compassion, and experiencing the fact of their (now inevitable) impending damnation was an unexpected side-effect that then prompted their interstellar quest to avoid their (now inevitable) damnation.
Or perhaps they opened a door to the uber ciphrang in the outside directly into their minds or something.
Either way, I don't think the experience is faked per se - but I do think it's not a genuine revelation that need apply to all sorcerers.

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« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2013, 01:37:30 am »
Quote from: Madness
I am going to move it Curethan. Follow me ;).

Quote
How could the man [Titirga] know? Even with his rumoured Grace.
Quote
A rasp like the screams of faraway children tangled in the wind. Inchoroi laughter. “You are already damned. All of you are already damned.“

“So say you.”

A deep chested rumble. Popping mucous. “So says the Inverse Fire.”

A flush of horror. Shaeönanra tensed against the sudden loosening in his bowel, not quite believing that the Inchoroi had dared name it aloud. Xir’kirimakra. The Inverse Fire. For a heartbeat he found his Voice divided between mere fear and what mattered. What? Did Aurang seek to seduce the Sohonc Archideme? Could he not see that Titirga was not one to suffer rivals, that Shaeönanra himself would be doomed were he to embrace their Holy Consult?

But these were vain questions. They fell away as quickly as Onkhis offered them up, so flimsy were the concerns that moved them. All that mattered, the Ground’s only consequential thing, was what he had seen…

Damnation.

Experience shredded into a thousand strings, each clawed and burned and burned, sucked like bottomless bones. Agony. Anguish. Horror. Lament. Shame… Shrieking-thrashing-screaming through the throat of his every memory, innumerable and one, groaning-choking-vomiting, his every particle a unique agony, a bereavement, a weeping-howling-scratching out eyes that grew and grew to witness anew, while burning-blistering-breaking–

It defeated the tongue, the intellect, what he had seen. Nevertheless it was in him, every moment in him, if not at the centre of his care then beneath, a hole that endlessly gnawed at his gut…

A terror, so profound, so abiding–and, yes, pure–that all other fears guttered into nothingness for lack of air. A terror that was a gift… such was the peace and certainty that followed upon it.

My bolding. The first part of the quote is just interesting Grace, capital G. I honestly should take a reread through the False Sun and give it some philosophic rigour - it has got a bunch of golden nuggets in it.

Again, I'm not convinced, Curethan, that this extra time is necessary. There are two known instances, that I can think of, where the brain's structure changes drastically and permanently (as permanent as any topography the brain takes) - in cases of amputation and in certain developmental stages when a theorized mechanism or neurotransmitter allows for heightened efficiency of cortical neuroplasticity.

However, I don't think Bakker even needs those explanations.

I'm rereading and I feel your biggest gripe is the time constraints on conditioning - however, a theme of Shaeonanra's perspective is the immediate certainty he's garnered from the Inverse Fire. He and Titirga discuss the changes in all the Mengaecca, how before they were the most licentious and treacherous of men and after seem welded by singular purpose and will.

I feel like many of the discomforts you have are the very threads being address by Bakker in the False Sun.

Also, I feel like we're all suffering Bakker Inversion Syndrome. We have to put the revelations of the False Sun in their proper place.

Firstly, the revelations of TFS are ours - not Earwa's. While the Inverse Fire is this interesting tidbit - a direct challenger to TJE for Judging the World - none of the characters we're following have had to deal with "Xir’kirimakra. The Inverse Fire."

Secondly, after all this time, I think many of us want and need the Consult to be Evil. Its easy for those of us who think so to deny this latest moral revelation and happily await Bakker's next Inversion. However, I think that we might end TUC with the ongoing assumption that the Inverse Fire is Truth.

Bakker did suggest that TFS spoilered events - and characters obviously - occurring at the end of TUC. Kellhus seeing the Inverse Fire and then unleashing Evil Dunyain?

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« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2013, 01:37:37 am »
Quote from: Madness
*Moved due to spoilers from the False Sun*

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« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2013, 01:37:43 am »
Quote from: Callan S.
Quote from: Curethan
Either way, I don't think the experience is faked per se - but I do think it's not a genuine revelation that need apply to all sorcerers.
But you think if all sorcerers were exposed to it, they would have this 'revelation'?

How can you have an ungenuine revelation?  :twisted: