Kellhus: good or evil?

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« on: June 01, 2013, 11:35:28 pm »
Quote from: Wilshire
Is he trying to save the world or destroy it? To kill the consult, or to save them? Close the world to the gods or keep that bridge unburned.

Anyone thoughts?

I realize that good/evil is not clear at all in the book. We don't even know what being damned even means, or saved for that matter. In the end, everyone may just go to some kind of eternal suffering at the hands of the gods or whatever.

That aside, what is Kullhus' goal? In TTT I felt like Moe was more or less in agreement with the consult, and he wanted to shut the world. And he seemed to think Kellhus was crazy, not only because of his visions and the halos, but also because Kell wanted to stop the consult from succeding. Though maybe I totally blew that interpretation.

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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2013, 11:35:40 pm »
Quote from: Francis Buck
Well, obviously I don't really think that concepts such as good and evil can be applied to someone -- or really, something -- like Kellhus. That being said, I do believe that Kellhus, in some sort of remote way, is working for the "best of humanity". To me, that's what makes his character work; he strives to defend humanity at all costs. How he treats individual people to further his goal is meaningless. It's the whole that counts.

Now, the question is, what actually IS best for humanity? Is it better to kill almost every living person in an effort to shut off the Outside and thus save untold numbers of souls from an eternity of horrible damnation? Or is that result not worth the cost of all those lives? It's a tough question to answer.

Personally though, I think the Consult (and by extension the Inchoroi) are the lesser of two very great evils. To me, the Gods are completely unsympathetic. The small portion of souls that the Gods "reward" is irrelevant compared to the vast quantites that they punish. And that's just on Eärwa. We don't know if that applies to all of the life in the Bakkerverse (though I suspect it does), and if that's the case then it makes the Inchoroi's goal even more reasonable. In a sense, Kellhus and the Consult are similar in that they're both trying to end the tyranny of the Gods, no matter the cost, because the cost will always be less than the cost of failure. At least that's the way I see it.

I think we'll see this concept realized through Achamian as well. When Kellhus tells Achamian that the next time they see each other, Akka will kneel before him, he really means it. Except it won't be a gesture of submission; Akka will kneel beside Kellhus's dying body on the battlefield of the No-God, realizing that despite all his seemingly "evil" actions, Kellhus was ultimately working to save humanity (and perhaps life in general) from eternal damnation.

So yeah, I guess Kellhus is "good". Sort of.

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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2013, 11:35:48 pm »
Quote from: Mog Kellhus
I believe that Kellhus is still a Dunyain deep inside and so his ultimate goal is to achieve the Absolute and become a real God.To do so he must obtain the Tekne to extend his lifespan or even achieve some kind of immortality like the Consult.I think that the Ordeal is just a big ruse so he can infiltrate Golgotterath alone and achieve his goal destroying the Consult members in the process.The fate of his army and humanity in general is irrelevant to him.

So is Kellhus good or evil?I believe he is just a Dunyain.

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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2013, 11:35:54 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
I think Kellhus is contained by no particular borders that we'd look upon as good. Or for that matter, he is contained by no particular borders that we'd look upon as evil. And he is mad. Apparently.

Anyway, how do you navigate when those borders, those compasses, are gone? He's definately still moving. But is it like a epileptic seizure? Just one long spasm, but Kellhus is complicated enough that his spasm seems to us intentful practice?

Even as a spasm, I guess the question remains - where does this spasm ultimately end up? It seems composed of atleast components of the actions we think in, so if one spasmodic component follows another, is there an order? Or will he just suddenly run out at some point? Or take some non sequetuer angle at random?

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he strives to defend humanity at all costs. How he treats individual people to further his goal is meaningless. It's the whole that counts.
I'm pretty sure that's what the gods do as well.

Such a hole.

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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2013, 11:36:07 pm »
Quote from: lockesnow
I think it doesn't really matter because I think that:

The gods are a falsehood that really just nom nom souls after death

Kellhus is constrained because he can't restructure the beliefs of the entire world to save the souls of the world from getting munched, post death. 

Ironically, Kellhus has realized that the Consult's goal of shutting the world is also a theory to save the souls of the world from getting munched, post death, but in practice, the theory fails because the species dies out.  Stupid programming bugs.

The solution is to modify the process such that Kellhus can control the reproductive element, while also protecting the souls from munching.  This probably means something like he's going to go outside and shut the door behind him.   

In other words, he will shut regions of the outside to the world. (different from shutting the world to the outside)  Meaning, he's going to disenchant the world.  This would echo what the Dunyain attempted to do in "disenchanting" Ishual when they arrived there.   Long term, Kellhus' actions should protect the species for the forseeable millenia, while also saving the souls of the world from being munched. In a sense, Kellhus will ascend to godhood, the way that we presume Jesus to have ascended (even if he doesn't become a god or have any more connection to inward he will still be worshipped as a god, that worship just may not benefit him).  And as an added bonus, this would explain why magic 'works' in pre modern worlds but doesn't work in modern worlds. ;)

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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2013, 11:36:16 pm »
Quote from: Francis Buck
Quote from: Callan S.
I'm pretty sure that's what the gods do as well.

Except their idea of "saving humanity" is actually bad for humanity. It's not just about saving their lives, it's about saving their souls. Even if Kellhus isn't intentionally trying to save the souls of all humanity, he's still doing (or is likely going to do) what's "better" for them than what the Gods are doing. I mean, unless you think eternal torture is better than oblivion.

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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2013, 11:36:23 pm »
Quote from: Curethan
Why the assumption that the gods are consuming souls? 
I know that is what ciphrang seem to do and that the hundred are likely larger versions of ciphrang, but Bakker has mentioned angelic ciphrang... 
why shouldn't many of the bellicose or recompensive gods actually be treating the souls that reach for them in a more positive manner?

Meaning and experience seem to be the prime real estate in the outside, and I think souls drag it back with them.

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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2013, 11:36:31 pm »
Quote from: Madness
I +1 Mog Kellhus' post but with the one adjustment that I think everything he wrote and ultimately that Kellhus still wants Humanity to oppose him and win, even though he's gonna become the big bad to do so. However... Bakker's not so big on happy endings...

Edit: Real quick thought.

I never put any stock at all in the sacrificing 144,000 souls to manifest the No-God or that Nau-Cayuti was in anyway connected to the No-God's persona.

I've long flogged that Kellhus is going to fake his own death at the end of TUC to infiltrate the Consult alone and that Proyas and Achamian will be reunited at the ruins of Dagliash. What if Kellhus intends to get sacrificed to manifesting the No-God?

Well, I don't put much stock in that as I said. I think Kellhus wants the Tekne over being the No-God at this point.

Whatever happens, Dagliash is Bakker's Helm's Deep and I can't fucking wait. I can already imagine. Achamian as Gandalf riding to their aid at the last minute leading the Nonmen as Rohirin. And I can't wait to see Kayutas on the walls.

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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2013, 11:36:39 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
Quote from: Francis Buck
Quote from: Callan S.
I'm pretty sure that's what the gods do as well.

Except their idea of "saving humanity" is actually bad for humanity.

Devil gods advocate: You're just seeing that from an individual level. If you look at the greater whole...it's really about saving humanity! You keep thinking of individuals being tortured for eternity and that keeps you just thinking of those individuals and not seeing the whole.

Or of course Kellhus is about saving humanity as a whole - that's why all the men rape murdered by sranc during this war is okay, cause that's just individual.

You can see I'm getting at that it's merely the scale that differs. The sentiment is the same.

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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2013, 11:36:47 pm »
Quote from: Jorge
In a recent post, Bakker described Kellhus as an inverse Ubermensch: a man looking for meaninglessness in a meaningful world. In a world where morality is an objective force, like gravity, that makes him unspeakably evil.

HOWEVER, that's 'evil' vis-a-vis the Earwan 'Ground'. What YOU make of him is entirely different. Since the universe Kellhus occupies is one of absolute morality, where people are destined to suffer in eternity for their sins (and women are objectively inferior), a man trying to rend the status quo asunder might be viewed as heroic.

Too many unanswered questions remain for me to firmly judge Kellhus: the nature of damnation, the Inverse Fire, the Thousandfold Thought, the history of the Dunyain, the nature of the Solitary God, etc... there's just too much still open for us to really grip what's going on.

I do, however, condemn Kellhus on one simple fact: he stole Esmenet*. And as has been noted elsewhere, I'm not the only one who wants to see Achamian fry him to cinders.


*Feel free to hate him for other actions, such as abandoning Leweth, or killing a child while travelling with Cnaiur.

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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2013, 11:36:57 pm »
Quote from: anor277
@Jorge; just with respect to Kellhus stealing Esme...

In the old forums there was a long discussion about this.  I myself was of the opinion Esme was fair game.  But for an improbable circumstance Achamian was dead or would be dead - had that occured, and had not Kellhus espoused Esmenet, she would have been swiftly dead also.  When Achamian returned to (Shimeh?) find that Esmenet and Kellhus were lovers I thought that he (A) behaved as an adolescent, not as a portly 50 year old.

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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2013, 11:37:04 pm »
Quote from: The Sharmat
It wasn't the fact that she got over him and hooked up with another man. It's the fact that she got over him and hooked up with another man at lightning speed. How long was it before she slept with him? A month? Two? Not that I blame Esmenet. It's Kellhus. But I didn't find Akka's reaction that unreasonable.

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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2013, 11:37:12 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
I think if I'd been tortured, I'd have a bit of a right to hope to come back to something. In fact thinking about it, I'd almost think his reaction was unrealistic in how well mannered it was?

Quote
or killing a child
The thing is, he'd throw a million children into the sun if it was the shortest path. And even to put a number on it, a million, is not even to understand him - an infinitude of scorched children do not matter. He aught to auto qualify as a topos.

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« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2013, 11:37:18 pm »
Quote from: The Sharmat
The only reason he didn't murder Kellhus when he found out was the revelation of the Skin-Spy. After that it took all of Kellhus' skill at manipulation to keep him on side. I think Achamian's reaction was plausible.

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« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2013, 11:37:25 pm »
Quote from: anor277
Quote from: Callan S.
I think if I'd been tortured, I'd have a bit of a right to hope to come back to something. In fact thinking about it, I'd almost think his reaction was unrealistic in how well mannered it was?

Somewhere, when Achamian has been taken, he mutters, "Esme, survive me".  I did not think that the subtext was,..... "Esme survive me, but stay on the game, and don't take a remarkable man whom we both admire for a lover".  I think if I'd been tortured and miraculously survived,  I think I'd be rather glad that I survived, and my one-time lover, whom I abandoned, had also survived.  Anyway, if you want to discuss this further, please start a new thread.