The inverse fire.

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« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2013, 01:37:50 am »
Quote from: Curethan
Quote from: Callan S.
But you think if all sorcerers were exposed to it, they would have this 'revelation'?
I'm not sure, but apprently the Ishroi went 'mad' in fashion that Cet'Ingira couldn't count on them to support his new objectives.
It could be that if you're not already a certain distance down the road to damnation it's a personality destroying mindrape rather than revelatory experience.
[size=85](I don't have my AE volumes on hand, but I think I recall Mimara veiwing Akka with the JE and seeing the gold of exaltation amidst his damnation-vibes, can anyone confirm or refute that?)[/size]
Then we have the chain of broken souls dragged into the golden room during Akka's 'Nau-cayuti' dreams.  Not being recruited to the consult per se, but...
Quote from: Callan S.
How can you have an ungenuine revelation?  :twisted:
There are plenty of examples where Kellhus guides people towards 'revelations' that suit his ends.  Truth is even better than a lie when used to decieve.

@ Madness.
I had the same spark of interest when I read that part about Titirga's Grace.  Another bit that I don't recall from the first couple times I read TFS ;)
Almost certainly relates to this bit, imo.
Quote
He was certainly the most powerful Insinger ever born. And if what Cet’ingira said was true, the most powerful, period. No living Quya had the purity of his Recitations. Even his Stain was different, somehow muted, as if he could cut the Inward without scarring it. Even now, simply regarding him, his distinction literally glared from his image, a strange, sideways rinsing of the Stain.

The vital difference. The threat.
Quote from: Madness
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.
I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.

But back to the fire ;)
Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying that Shaenorra's transformation is impossible.
I'm saying it is evidence of direct neurological tampering - like getting a limb amputated etc.

The time constraints I'm talking about are what is required for an organic change in belief structures.  Something akin to Schopenhauer's epistimelogical model or DABDA.
Consider;
Shae's social personality and memories are intact, however he is suddenly inclined to behaviours that would have unacceptable previous to his exposure. 
He experiences levels of terror previously unthinkable, then peace and the resolve to enact some-one else's goals.
If this happened to someone in our mundane world, the conclusion of any psychologist examining the subject would be obvious.  Highly effective brainwashing. 
And given the time frame and the thouroughness, it would have to be enacted on a neural level. 
Technologicaly impossible, but for how long - this is the kind of thing that worries and fascinates Bakker, if I judge him correctly.

The alternate logic of the inverse fire being simply some revelation and the behaviours of Cet'Ingira and Shae being logical extensions from this is where I have an issue.   
Assuming the inverse fire only shows damnation is real and worse than anything you can imagine.
A) why did the inchies build it?  If it is merely proof then why is it holy to them?
B) the damned (sorcerers and inchies) can look at it and aquire a sense of resolve, but others (the ishroi and the vistims of the golden room) get mind-raped and husked?
C) those exposed become immoral, not simply ammoral.  They don't just do anything to avoid damnation. They suddenly exalt in it.  What is the reasoning here?  Is raping people to death really that rewarding once you take away social programming?
Quote
Shaeönanra had committed unspeakable… nay, unthinkable… acts. They all had. Debaucheries. Desecrations of self and other. Shrieks for cries of passion. Blood for grease. Mere recollection set his skin afire, such was the orgiastic ecstasy. He had exalted in the trackless void, the hole where good and evil had once been.

Quote from: Madness
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.

I don't get this.  They are violently opposed to everyone - they want to do harm, dominate and/or kill.  That puts them on the evil side of any moral spectrum that is not their own. 
Even the ammoral dunyain axiomatically oppose them (Kellhus argues Moe will defect only after he comes to believe in the truth of his damnation in TTT). 
It doesn't matter if they are right about damnation because only the damned would agree with their actions. 
According to Mimara's JE, it's not too late even for Galian to escape damnation (just before he dies) and he has done some pretty bad shit.

It will be interesting if we see what happens to a properly whelmed Dunyain who looks at it.

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« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2013, 01:37:58 am »
Quote from: The Sharmat
I think we should also consider the sampling bias in this scenario. It's not like the Maengaecca were a warm and fuzzy school to begin with. And that's saying something by sorcery standards.

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« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2013, 01:38:03 am »
Quote from: Curethan
Fair call, but I think Shae's quoted rumination above highlights that there has still been a polar shift in his morality.

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« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2013, 01:38:08 am »
Quote from: BargiltheDestroyer
I wonder if the Inverse Fire shows you your ultimate fate and you get to experience some of that, since the Outside seems unbound by time...I guess.  I wonder if Seswatha, while prowling through the Ark with Nau-Cayuti stumbled upon the IF and saw Paradise for himself, giving him the resolve he would need live through the 11 years of the No-God.  Always seemed odd to me that he was just that strong of a guy. 

Wish Bakker would release a new Atrocity Tale.

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« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2013, 01:38:14 am »
Quote from: sciborg2
No Atrocity tales until after TUC according to his Tor interview.

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« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2013, 01:38:19 am »
Quote from: Jorge
Quote from: Curethan
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.

This is also my preferred explanation. Whether the rewriting reveals, causes, or fakes damnation is a completely open question.

Crackpottery:
If we look thematically at Bakkers work as a whole, it may be that the 'Inverse Fire' represents what happens when someone experiences a "semantic apocalypse level" revelation in a world that cannot (by definition) be deprived of meaning. The Soul is a wick, and it will burn whether you see it as some kind of spirit foofoo or in completely reductionist terms. To the Outside, it doesn't really matter.

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« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2013, 01:38:28 am »
Quote from: Madness
I've definitely been trying to write about "whether the rewriting reveals, causes, or fakes damnation" in this thread. I had taken for granted that it succeeded, however it did, in convincing the observer of their subjective symptoms and certainties of damnation.

At this point, I speculate that at the end of TUC, the Inverse Fire will seem like the most objective Truth in Earwa, to the reader.

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« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2013, 01:38:34 am »
Quote from: Curethan
Interesting, that is where our opinions diverge, I think. 
The way the consult veiw the inverse fire as holy really is the thing that most disinclines me to agree. 
Bakkerisms rise from my subconcious ...  abandon your certainty... 

A couple of epigrams I think relate to this:
Quote
Faith is the truth of passion. Since no passion is more true than another, faith is the truth of nothing.
—AJENCIS, THE FOURTH ANALYTIC OF MAN

The world is only as deep as we can see. This is why fools think themselves profound. This is why terror is the passion of revelation.
—AJENCIS, THE THIRD ANALYTIC OF MEN

If the immutable appears recast, then you yourself have been transformed.
—MEMGOWA, CELESTIAL APHORISMS

What do you make of the way only sorcerers seem to gain this revelation?
Although its only speculation, the (short-lived) madness of Cet'Ingira's ishroi companions and the likelihood that Nau-Cayuti and his fellow harrowed sacrifices were fed to the inverse fire to create the no-god (the False Sun fairly describes the golden room and the inverse fire as the same place) suggests only special cases are 'converted'.

My counter speculation is that the revelation in the Unholy Consult may relate to what death and damnation actually is.  I suspect we will find that its not punishment, but a form of becoming.  But then, I'm partial to nonmen metapyhsics.

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« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2013, 01:38:41 am »
Quote from: The Sharmat
Aren't most of the rooms in the Ark golden? That's the prevailing color of the super structure.

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« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2013, 01:38:46 am »
Quote from: Madness
Quote from: Curethan
What do you make of the way only sorcerers seem to gain this revelation?

Because the Few are the only ones who actually stand to gain from the Inverse Fire's revelation. The Ishroi simply discover that all their heartbreak and suffering are for nothing.

Quote from: TTT Glossary
For twenty years they warred through the Ark's labyrinthe halls, finally hunting the last of the Inchoroi into the deep places of the earth. Unable to destroy the vessel, Nil'giccas instructed the remaining Quya to raise a power glamour about the hated place.

This is presumably when Cet'Ingira finds the Inverse Fire in Sil's Golden Court with the Ishroi. They return to Nil'giccas, the Ishroi shrieking the Truth of the Inverse Fire - presumably like the Halaroi criminal, Sirwitta, before them - and Cet'Ingira and Nil'giccas, as Quya and as King, both decide to suppress the Truth of the Inverse Fire because of the horrors the Nonmen had endured fighting the Inchoroi.

Cet'Ingira ultimately turns to the Consult because of his knowledge and, my assumption is that, Nil'giccas is probably outed from Ishterebinth when the remaining Nonmen discover the fact of his lie between TWP and TAE.

Btw, Sharmat, I share your confusion. I've always thought the Golden Room in WLW automatically being Sil's Golden Court a very contrived speculation. The whole Ark is, apparently, golden.

Also, I feel like Bakker has updated The False Sun as now at the end of Shaeonanra's memories concerning Mekeritrig breaking the glamour around the Ark, he goes to see the Inverse Fire himself. This is as close as we get:

Quote from: The False Sun
Shaeönanra finds the Nonman thus, sprawled unconscious before the Barricades–or what remains of them. He kneels at his side, lays fingers on his cheek. Warm. He looks to the shattered portal, to the hanging plates, the mangle of the Stain. His immobility shocks him as much as his terror shames. He has always been proud with power, Shaeönanra, knowing that even the Quya wonder at his subtlety. But now he is simply a Man, a lowly mortal, and he can smell his own stink taint the aura of burning.

The true sun is rising behind him.

The shadow of the Threshold arcs across the soaring cylinder of gold. He sees his frail silhouette hunched atop it. And he watches it descend, as inexorable as the rising dawn, sinking into the maw of the broken Barricades.

He shivers uncontrollably.

Only when the sun has drawn even to his height, when the first light draws his outline into the blackness within, does he stand upon the spine of his own shadow.

How? How could mere knowledge command such horror?

He will see for himself.

He walks into the golden gloom, squinting, staring. Dust puffs about his feet, particles blooming in the intrusive brilliance of the sun, then vanishing into the flanking darkness. He peers… notices a different luminance wavering across the interior, more fluid and sultry, webbed as though refracted through waters…

He hears it, a faraway wind, the groan of impossible multitudes–the collective shriek. His lungs become as stone. Horror makes pins of his skin. And he feels it, the burning vaults above, the smoldering glimpses...

Shaeönanra raises his eyes.

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« Reply #25 on: May 07, 2013, 01:38:53 am »
Quote from: Curethan
Contrived?  Thats a bit harsh... 

We know the outside of the ark is golden and there is a Golden court and a golden room, that is all. 
It certainly suggests the golden room is part of the ark, at the very least. 
It seems likely the golden room does something to the broken souls the consult herded into it... something related to the creation of Mog.
If they are not the same thing, then the golden room most be some other tekne device related to fucking with souls - perhaps something that the mangeacca have constructed based on the design of the Inverse fire or perhaps some other soul stripping tekne device they found lying around in the ark.

Tbh, I may have read golden gloom in the passage you quoted as 'golden room', but I don't think the speculation that it is something very similar to the inverse fire (if not the same thing) is forced at all.

Would you care to speculate on the original purpose of the device, given that it was almost certainly constructed before the inchies knew what sorcery even was?
I can't really imagine how you go about purposefully designing something that grants epiphanies and divine revelations.

Quote
Because the Few are the only ones who actually stand to gain from the Inverse Fire's revelation.
What do sorcerers stand to gain??  Shaenorra only believes he can avert damnation because Aurang has told him it's possible, not because the inverse fire showed him how.
Quote
The Ishroi simply discover that all their heartbreak and suffering are for nothing.
But these guys are heroes.  Are you suggesting they too are damned?  If so, why would they not also 'gain' by allying with Cet'Ingira?  Instead he has to convince NG to kill them before they can convince NG to kill him.

Quote
Cet'Ingira ultimately turns to the Consult because of his knowledge
Actually its fairly clear that the Maengecca find him pissing about around the ark and recruit him, presumably because all he cares about is trying to get back in to the ark to stare into the fire some more.  Then he and Shae find Aurang and based on their inverse fire 'revelations' and then what he tells them, they form the Consult.  Which just happens to suit the original objectives of the non-sorcerous (but now extinct) inchies exactly.  Now that is contrived.

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« Reply #26 on: May 07, 2013, 01:39:05 am »
Quote from: Madness
Lol. Common - The only Golden Room in the books (Achamian's Dream), happens to be the only Golden Court in the books (Sil's Golden Court), happens to be in the only Golden vessel in the books (the Ark)? Contrived, Sir.

You forget, I think, Curethan, that only the Judging Eye and the Inverse Fire actually show Damnation. Elsewise, to my knowledge, it's all on faith?

I'm actually getting confused here, which is a good thing. We could be onto something.

Let's reiterate.

The Inverse Fire shows the truth of Damnation - that there is an objective morality to Reality.
The Judging Eye shows the truth of personal Damnation - that individuals are Damned for their actions and words.

Does the Inverse Fire show the truth of personal Damnation?

I would think because the issue of Damnation is up in the air - people can rationalize their moral standing after all -, that certainty, in the case of Sorcerers - goes a long way to motivating them to do absolutely anything to avoid Damnation.

But you're right, Curethan, I think it takes the Inchoroi to suggest that there is another way to avoid Damnation besides Oblivion.

I guess my question ultimately becomes these: Do the Judging Eye and the Inverse Fire highlight the same Damnation and does the Inverse Fire show the truth of personal Damnation?

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« Reply #27 on: May 07, 2013, 01:39:09 am »
Quote from: Curethan
Quote from: Madness
Lol. Common - The only Golden Room in the books (Achamian's Dream), happens to be the only Golden Court in the books (Sil's Golden Court), happens to be in the only Golden vessel in the books (the Ark)? Contrived, Sir.
Heh.  You see, its just basic design principles - colour matching.  Not contrived co-incidence. 
No, I'm relating them because of technology and purpose moreso than the 'golden' adjective.  I suspect all that gold might be some requirement/product of machinery made with the tekne.  Didn't mean to suggest that they are the only golden artefacts.  As I said, I believe I misread gloom as room - so I'll certainly reduce my certainty to a suspicion here.  ;)
Quote from: Madness
You forget, I think, Curethan, that only the Judging Eye and the Inverse Fire actually show Damnation. Elsewise, to my knowledge, it's all on faith?

The Inverse Fire shows the truth of Damnation - that there is an objective morality to Reality.
The Judging Eye shows the truth of personal Damnation - that individuals are Damned for their actions and words.

Does the Inverse Fire show the truth of personal Damnation?
I don't disagree that the inverse fire shows damnation, but I think that it is a byproduct of what it does, what it is intended to do (perhaps only if you have the ability to percieve the onta?)
Don't forget that the JE also shows the truth of exaltation and the possibility of redemption.

Quote from: Madness
I would think because the issue of Damnation is up in the air - people can rationalize their moral standing after all -, that certainty, in the case of Sorcerers - goes a long way to motivating them to do absolutely anything to avoid Damnation.

Here is where the crux of the discussion lies.  (Which is, I think a continuation of Titirga and Shae's arguement.) 
I don't think certainty is enough to instantly remove and replace morality.  Because it is so much a part of how we make decisions and how we interpret meaning, moral changes are wrought slowly (albiet inevitably).  People rationalize their moral standing, yes, but that is not the same as creating your own morality or even exposing any rational structure to it.
Based on my knowledge of psychology, an earthshaking realization like that provided by the inverse fire should provoke a severe psychotic episode followed by catatonia and a slow process of intergration that would definately warp the personality and morality, most often resulting in a persistent state of barely functional aberant behaviour.   Indeed, Shae's recollection of the inverse fire sounds a lot like an acute psychotic episode.
The Mangeccae seem to have been converted straight into 'well adjusted' psychotic hedonists capable of operating within social systems and quite bemused at their sudden lack of compassion and empathy.

It may be that being of the few equips indivuals to deal with this somehow, but the question remains what the inverse fire was designed to do and why non-sorcerous inchies wanted to expose themselves (or their prisoners) to it.

Quote from: Madness
But you're right, Curethan, I think it takes the Inchoroi to suggest that there is another way to avoid Damnation besides Oblivion.

I guess my question ultimately becomes these: Do the Judging Eye and the Inverse Fire highlight the same Damnation and does the Inverse Fire show the truth of personal Damnation?

The JE focuses outward, although iirc Mimara sees herself as exalted when she looks at her reflection in a pool or something?
I mentioned above the way that Mimara can see the glow of exaltation and possibility of redemption - and this is described when she sees one of the scalpers who is about to rape her.
The assumption from this is that the Ishroi who looked at the inverse flame would be able to see this in themselves, making the experience far less traumatic if it showed them the possibility of redemption (even if it's ultimately the same thing). 
I wonder what would Mimarra's reaction be if she saw only damnation? 
Given that sorcerers can see the mark, which is pretty much proof of damnation, I guess it's quite different from actually experiencing it.

I will offer some speculation here; that the level of trauma the inverse fire uses to rewrite the neural systems of its victims is so close to damnation as to cause a sorcerous interpolation of meaning.  That is, it actually causes them to cast a spell - the inutteral component is thrust into their brains and they attach the meaning (damnation) and actually move their souls into the outside where damnation resides for a short period or some such thing, a spell with two inutterals and utteral perhaps?

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« Reply #28 on: May 07, 2013, 01:39:17 am »
Quote from: Madness
Have you read Neuropath? I'm not convinced that what you are describing requires a sorcerous component. Are you suggesting that morality is somehow more innate than neural circuitry?

Really though, I'm not disagreeing with you, just nitpicking. I want to know the Inverse Fire's relation to Earwa's Truth, the answer to the narrative riddle at hand.

Is the Judging Eye the manifestation of this fictive Truth? If so, does it contradict the Inverse Fire's Truth?

I'm sure Bakker has an answer as to how it works. The question to me is what does it mean that it does work? Is the Inverse Fire simply a product of the Tekne? What is the meaning of the extra name, Xir’kirimakra?

Another frame of context to remember here is that the Inchoroi are basically the Void's Chosen, fuck Earwa and all the other Grounds and Worlds. Somewhere, long ago, they found some kind of universal Truth that was worth a number of them banding together on a suicide mission to reduce planet - I assume - after planet to 144, 000. Was it the Inverse Fire? Was it their Gods? Was it something else entirely?

A final thought for now but there is also the Dream in TTT where Seswatha suggests that the Ark birthed the Inchoroi and also, more importantly, was a thing of meat and bone - Golden bone.

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« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2013, 01:39:28 am »
Quote from: Curethan
I haven't read neuropath, sadly my naked-brain phobia has prevented me from doing so after I read the extract.

I think really seeing actual damnation might require the subject to be of the few, but I think the inverse fire itself is non-sorcerous neural tinkering machine.
Given that morality is a haphazard framework used to moderate behaviour, I think the inverse fire is trying to stamp inchoroi morality into the neural circuitry of viewers.

And following that, the inchies are damned because of their morality, sorcerers have a special connection with meaning and the outside and it seems acceptable they really do see the Truth of their impending damnation.

A new moral compass brings revelation, yes?  Not the other way round, at least not so immeadiately. 
Moral structures are highly resistant to contrary 'revelations', and are treated as such consistently through Bakker's characterisation.  Remember the truth enslaves...
Shae walks paths fate and the gods cannot see because they no longer move him.  So who or what does?

I think it very likely that it is the Inverse Fire that sparked their interstellar genocidal campaign.  Simply because they have pursued science and hedonism so absolutely and then this holy scientific instrument that reveals the Truth...

Another thought occurs to me, surely the Scarlet Spires, practitioners of the daimos must know the truth of damnation.  I believe it is morality that shields them. 
Remove that and you can't escape the 'truth'.  Someone like Conphas would join the consult in a snap with that sort of knowledge.