Kellhus: good or evil?

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« Reply #30 on: June 01, 2013, 11:39:30 pm »
Quote from: Francis Buck
Quote from: Madness
The World Conspires, clearly. Kellhus, obviously, had to survive.

I apologize for the full editor, Francis. I made the same mistake early on. I don't believe it actually works like either of us suspected and is instead just another "Add Reply" button. I've posted the few issues we've had on the Forumer.com support forums and the wizards there have solved my issues so far. I'll see if I can get a straight answer on this.

No big deal dude. It has definitely worked for me before, I know that for sure. It seemed like when it happened that it was more my computer (or specifically my browser) doing something weird rather than the forum itself, since a bunch of the other windows I had open all popped up really quick before minimizing again. I'm shit with with computer problems though, so I really have no clue lol.

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« Reply #31 on: June 01, 2013, 11:39:38 pm »
Quote from: Sideris
And I get that he freaked out due to sensory overload. But I think I'll stick with this crack-theme until that ship is thoroughly sunk. :P

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« Reply #32 on: June 01, 2013, 11:39:45 pm »
Quote from: Triskele
I still do not know what Kellhus is all about, and I think it's impressive on the author's part how well-hidden it feels.  I would not be in the least bit surprised if Kellhus is trying to save the world from The Consult, nor would I be the least bit surprised if he's trying to help The Consult destroy the world, nor would I be the least bit surprised whether Kellhus gives not a shit about the world or the Consult and is just using the whole thing to some other end like becoming a God. 

No idea which.

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« Reply #33 on: June 01, 2013, 11:39:52 pm »
Quote from: lockesnow
It could be all of those things.

Or Kellhus could be leading a deluded life, and part of his delusion is the belief he clings to most stridently--that he is enlightened.

What is the meaning of a deluded life?

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« Reply #34 on: June 01, 2013, 11:39:59 pm »
Quote from: Twooars
Quote from: Triskele
I still do not know what Kellhus is all about, and I think it's impressive on the author's part how well-hidden it feels.  I would not be in the least bit surprised if Kellhus is trying to save the world from The Consult, nor would I be the least bit surprised if he's trying to help The Consult destroy the world, nor would I be the least bit surprised whether Kellhus gives not a shit about the world or the Consult and is just using the whole thing to some other end like becoming a God. 

No idea which.

I suspect Bakker worked really hard to get this effect. Didn't he mention in some interview that he originally never intended to have Kellhus POV even in the first trilogy, just like the AE series, but had to add them in later after many test readers kept thinking of Kellhus as the archetypal hero?

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« Reply #35 on: June 01, 2013, 11:40:05 pm »
Quote from: The Sharmat
I'm really not sure how it could have worked without a Kellhus POV in the first trilogy. Too much vital backstory would be left out. Though it would have been interesting from that perspective to have this guy turn up, all pure and good and brave, only to have the brutal rapist barbarian be absolutely horrified by him.

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« Reply #36 on: June 01, 2013, 11:40:12 pm »
Quote from: Sideris
That, actually, would have been mighty compelling, chilling even, to read.

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« Reply #37 on: June 01, 2013, 11:40:20 pm »
Quote from: The Sharmat
It would be easy to dismiss as insanity. But as time went on and you start seeing things like him murdering the child that witnessed their passage into the Nansurium, the assassinations carried out by his disciples, the seduction of Esmenet, and finally the atrocities he orders in the Thousandfold thought... I could see an increasing sense of unease and alarm. Would need some kind of final revelation though, and it would be VERY hard to carry through three books that way.

Think it's one of those things that sounds wonderful on paper but would be almost impossible to implement.

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« Reply #38 on: June 01, 2013, 11:40:27 pm »
Quote from: Mog Kellhus
I think Bakker intended to remove Kellhus POV only from the TTT but later added some parts from his perspective to solve the problem that was mentioned above. But i am not sure how his meeting with Moenghus would have worked out without his POV.....

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« Reply #39 on: April 10, 2014, 04:36:15 pm »
I'm going to go with lockesnow and the "disenchanting" party.  Kellhus (or the people using Kellhus) are aiming to erase damnation, but in a way superior to the Consult's plan.  Perhaps, instead of 'sealing' the Outside from the world, this would mean collapsing the Outside into the world.  All souls/ciphrang/gods become simple biologicals without souls.  Forgo eternal damnation for mortality, Kellhus finds and brings meaninglessness into the world?

SkiesOfAzel

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« Reply #40 on: April 10, 2014, 05:07:38 pm »
Well, good and evil aren't objective terms, not really. Besides we don't really know how the whole thing ends, so it's hard to draw conclusions about his actions without truly knowing his plan and reasoning.

Having said that, i've personally never believed that the ends justify the means. What Kellhus does on a large scale always leaves ripples throughout history. Look at the crusades, humanity is still paying for that insanity today. Or even better, look at the simple fact that Alexander the Great is admired to this day, the first guy that showed the world imperialism could actually work. Of course the story isn't over yet, he still has time to make a Leto turn, but till then i will keep hating him :p.

There is also an issue with Dunyain in general. They have actively tried to gain some traits that in our world are considered sociopathic. Lack of emotions and especially lack of empathy can't lead to a society of any kind. Society is build on trust, which in turn is build on empathy. Dunyain only have tools to control, so how can they build anything but a nightmare similar to that of a brave new world?

Cüréthañ

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« Reply #41 on: April 11, 2014, 12:00:19 am »
Quote from: E. Kant
Nothing in the world—indeed nothing even beyond the world—can possibly be conceived which could be called good without qualification except a good will.

'Ends justifies the means' ethics are still motivated by will. 
So the question should be diverted from debate about whether Kellhus' methods fall outside normative morality to what his real goal is.
If he is really acting to save humanity from extinction, then his will is good - whatever the consequences of his methods.

No question that Kellhus commits acts repugnant to normative morality though.

SoA:
I think you should consider the part of history as the causal darkness of much of the horror and suffering in Earwa.  I don't see how the New Empire is much worse or better than the way things were under the Kian/Nansur/Thousand temples et al.  Changing the history of stagnant, dwindling civilizations (secretly being guided by genocidal monsters towards extinction) doesn't seem like a bad thing to me.

And I must disagree with your statement about Alexander.  That is just so incorrect to me.  He destroyed the most stable and effective imperial structure in the ancient world and left internecine chaos in his wake that destabilized civilization in Europe and the near east for hundreds of years.

Also, Dunyain have the ability to empathize beyond comprehension.  What they lack is sympathy.
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SkiesOfAzel

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« Reply #42 on: April 11, 2014, 11:32:28 am »
'Ends justifies the means' ethics are still motivated by will.
That's not something i would contest, every action a living being performs is the result of a will and a purpose.

So the question should be diverted from debate about whether Kellhus' methods fall outside normative morality to what his real goal is.
If he is really acting to save humanity from extinction, then his will is good - whatever the consequences of his methods.

I did contest the objective definition of goodness though. If you agree that extinction (or something close to that) is the single worst thing that can happen and if you also agree that Kellhus' path is the only path, you will see him as good. I believe neither of these things, so i have a different opinion on goodness.

Even if i changed my mind about extinction due to it's finality, i would still not accept Kellhus's opinion that his is the only path. If i judged his actions according to his own opinions i could do the same with Hitler and dim him good, as long as he sincerely believed he was advancing humanity.
 
I think you should consider the part of history as the causal darkness of much of the horror and suffering in Earwa.  I don't see how the New Empire is much worse or better than the way things were under the Kian/Nansur/Thousand temples et al.  Changing the history of stagnant, dwindling civilizations (secretly being guided by genocidal monsters towards extinction) doesn't seem like a bad thing to me.

There are huge differences in my eyes though. If Kellhus is indeed laboring for the good of mankind he should have gotten rid of most of the old system. Instead, not only does he make use of most of the old system to better control the population, he establishes a theocracy. So his tyranny isn't just of the body, it's also of the mind. His subjects can't question his actions, they can't even feel dissatisfied because unlike his predecessors, Kellhus is God.

What Kellhus does is to sacrifice freedom in order to increase security. I am with Benjamin on this one. Besides, if Seswatha could unite mankind against the Consult by telling the truth, i don't see how a Dunyain couldn't do the same.

And I must disagree with your statement about Alexander.  That is just so incorrect to me.  He destroyed the most stable and effective imperial structure in the ancient world and left internecine chaos in his wake that destabilized civilization in Europe and the near east for hundreds of years.

What you state isn't antithetical to what i was saying. Alexander was a pupil of Aristotle, thus he believed great actions make a man immortal. He made war to the known world to feed his narcissism. Nations were enslaved, countless lives were lost, and in the end when he died his empire fell apart. But most people pay little attention to those facts. Instead they give weight to the fact that he managed to conquer all the known world. This was something that no one thought possible before Alexander, but he showed the world that this possibility existed. Do you doubt that Alexander, to this day, is admired for his accomplishments by the majority?

Also, Dunyain have the ability to empathize beyond comprehension.  What they lack is sympathy.

I was talking about empathy as an instinct. Dunyain observe their subject's face and deduct it's intent according to what they know of it's history and beliefs. Empathy is an instinctive reaction to people, and it uses the self as a comparison, that's why it produces sympathy. For example when Kellhus feels outrage for Serwe's abuse he empathizes instinctively with her. Empathy isn't active, it's passive, Kellhus doesn't want to put himself in her place, it just happens.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2014, 11:34:26 am by SkiesOfAzel »

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« Reply #43 on: April 11, 2014, 12:58:38 pm »
I did contest the objective definition of goodness though. If you agree that extinction (or something close to that) is the single worst thing that can happen and if you also agree that Kellhus' path is the only path, you will see him as good. I believe neither of these things, so i have a different opinion on goodness.

Even if i changed my mind about extinction due to it's finality, i would still not accept Kellhus's opinion that his is the only path. If i judged his actions according to his own opinions i could do the same with Hitler and dim him good, as long as he sincerely believed he was advancing humanity.

I won't enter a debate on objective morality, thanks.  ;)

Merely pointing out that Kellhus seems to quite deliberately embody thematic utilitarianism. Therefore I feel he should be judged by that in this case, by asking if his motivations are good according to Kant's definition of good (as he is kinda the father of the concept of utilitarianism).
I don't feel like we disagree much on this, was only trying to add to your statement.

Its not an unpopular opinion that ends over means can be a bad thing.
 
Quote from: SkiesOfAzel
If Kellhus is indeed laboring for the good of mankind he should have gotten rid of most of the old system. Instead, not only does he make use of most of the old system to better control the population, he establishes a theocracy. So his tyranny isn't just of the body, it's also of the mind. His subjects can't question his actions, they can't even feel dissatisfied because unlike his predecessors, Kellhus is God.

What Kellhus does is to sacrifice freedom in order to increase security. I am with Benjamin on this one. Besides, if Seswatha could unite mankind against the Consult by telling the truth, i don't see how a Dunyain couldn't do the same.

Now, the good of mankind is never suggested as Kellhus' goal.  The survival of mankind is his purported goal, with the shortest path as his plan.

That final sentence I cannot agree with.  Seswatha did not unite mankind against the consult.  He managed to get Celmomas to listen to him when it was too late and later worked with other nations as they tried to stave off their inevitable doom, but the remnants of humanity only gathered together at the last. How do you explain his legacy, the Mandate - ridiculed guardians of his version of the 'truth'?  Why did he not allow them to share the gnosis?  From what we know, Seswatha was a liar, master manipulator and a cheat - no better than Kellhus.

Quote from: SkiesOfAzel
And I must disagree with your statement about Alexander.  That is just so incorrect to me.  He destroyed the most stable and effective imperial structure in the ancient world and left internecine chaos in his wake that destabilized civilization in Europe and the near east for hundreds of years.

What you state isn't antithetical to what i was saying. Alexander was a pupil of Aristotle, thus he believed great actions make a man immortal. He made war to the known world to feed his narcissism. Nations were enslaved, countless lives were lost, and in the end when he died his empire fell apart. But most people pay little attention to those facts. Instead they give weight to the fact that he managed to conquer all the known world. This was something that no one thought possible before Alexander, but he showed the world that this possibility existed. Do you doubt that Alexander, to this day, is admired for his accomplishments by the majority?

"the first guy that showed the world imperialism could actually work" <- that is what I disagree with.  Differing definition of imperialism here perhaps, but he wasn't the first great conquerer or empire builder.  His conquests are notable for their speed and the fact that he took down the Persian empire with a much smaller force. There were larger empires (see the Achaemenid Empire) before Alexander and much longer lived.
His military accomplishments really were worth admiring, even if just from a logistical and engineering point of view.

Quote from: SkiesOfAzel
Also, Dunyain have the ability to empathize beyond comprehension.  What they lack is sympathy.
I was talking about empathy as an instinct. Dunyain observe their subject's face and deduct it's intent according to what they know of it's history and beliefs. Empathy is an instinctive reaction to people, and it uses the self as a comparison, that's why it produces sympathy. For example when Kellhus feels outrage for Serwe's abuse he empathizes instinctively with her. Empathy isn't active, it's passive, Kellhus doesn't want to put himself in her place, it just happens.
Okay, sure - simple miscommunication. 
My personal definition is in line with this.
Empathy to understand and therefore manipulate, sympathy as an emotional response.
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SkiesOfAzel

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« Reply #44 on: April 11, 2014, 02:10:11 pm »
I won't enter a debate on objective morality, thanks.  ;)

You are welcome :P. Still, this is the root of my argument, so i had to bring it up.

Its not an unpopular opinion that ends over means can be a bad thing.

I feel it's one of the most prominent themes in the books, there are many historical and modern parallels in Earwa that deal with that.
 
Now, the good of mankind is never suggested as Kellhus' goal.  The survival of mankind is his purported goal, with the shortest path as his plan.

Yes, but if he is to be dimmed good, his purpose, survival, must also be considered a good cause for mankind. But building a better society is also a good cause and Kellhus goes more on the opposite direction. So in order to form a conclusion about Kellhus' morality you have to first investigate if those two causes are mutually exclusive. Kellhus believes they are, i don't. Enslaving society to protect it from enslavement doesn't seem a good idea to me. A selfless leader should try to build a society that doesn't need him to protect itself.

That final sentence I cannot agree with.  Seswatha did not unite mankind against the consult.  He managed to get Celmomas to listen to him when it was too late and later worked with other nations as they tried to stave off their inevitable doom, but the remnants of humanity only gathered together at the last. How do you explain his legacy, the Mandate - ridiculed guardians of his version of the 'truth'?  Why did he not allow them to share the gnosis?  From what we know, Seswatha was a liar, master manipulator and a cheat - no better than Kellhus.

Seswatha managed to convince the Norsirai to join his cause and the Norsirai were the biggest and the most powerful part of mankind. Kellhus picked a similar case with the Inrithi and we still don't know if his ordeal will succeed ;). But my intention wasn't to compare Seswatha and Kellhus as persons. I was merely pointing out that Seswatha saved the world by following a very different path. So why should i believe that there is only one path to survival?

"the first guy that showed the world imperialism could actually work" <- that is what I disagree with.  Differing definition of imperialism here perhaps, but he wasn't the first great conquerer or empire builder.  His conquests are notable for their speed and the fact that he took down the Persian empire with a much smaller force. There were larger empires (see the Achaemenid Empire) before Alexander and much longer lived.
His military accomplishments really were worth admiring, even if just from a logistical and engineering point of view.

This is about motive. Alexander showed to every deranged narcissist out there that he could create a vast empire and be worshiped as a God during his own lifetime. He opened up possibilities...