Do Dragons descended from Wutteat Comprehend Paradox?

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SmilerLoki

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« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2021, 09:51:25 pm »
I'm firmly on the "not enough data to draw conclusions" train.

Wilshire

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« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2021, 12:15:40 am »
What points us to 1? We don't have a whole lot of tests for seeing if something has a soul. Doing sorcery (having a mark, being salted by a chorae) or solving a paradox. That's pretty much it.

Wracu are never described as having a mark or being salted by chorae, so we can infer that they dont do sorcery. That only leaves us with solving a paradox.

OTOH, The No-God controls them so they are similar to all the other weapon races. IIRC that control is because said races don't have souls.

Sranc have language and culture, its mentioned a few times throughout the series but is then dismissed as heresay. I think its pretty safe to assume cultural bias, first by Nonmen and then by Humans, make it a safe bet that Sranc actually do have these things. And they don't have souls.

Skin-spies are complex enough to pass as humans under the closest scrutiny, except by Dunyain and by the halfsies that are trained to see them. They don't have souls.

Wracu don't even have a culture - too few. They speak, but their thoughts run in pretty close circles. Their base obsessions seem similar to the vocalizations you'd get from a calm sranc (if we could understand them).

So to me there's no evidence that even suggests they have souls (with the exception of one cagey response from Bakker shrouded in hypotheticals). On the contrary, everything in the books says that they don't.

Which is why I struggle to see the contrary argument.

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« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2021, 01:19:03 pm »
Well, you are right, I cannot conclusively prove that Wracu have souls, which is why it's a prior, not a conclusion.  However, one thing is not a conclusive "test" though.  Inchoroi came off the Ark with souls, but could not preform sorcery.  So, just notionally having a soul isn't actually enough to use sorcery, which is why they needed to resort to Grafts to see the Onta.  It could well be that Wracu have souls, but not ability to see the Onta.

However, I am willing to concede that I simply take Bakker's extra-textual comment at face value.  But it could readily be the case that, say, only Wutteät has a soul and all descendent Wracu do not.  I don't know that they text provides anything conclusive either way.  Admittedly, part of this comes, for me personally, from the manner in which Skafra speaks but that hardly proves anything.
I am a warrior of ages, Anasurimbor. . . 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 #18 on: October 10, 2021, 11:16:22 am »
One should remember that the Inchoroi didn't want to create large number of souled beings.   That they are incapable is purely our projection on the text and contradicted by the existence of rare souled members of the Weapon Races.  The Wracu, unlike the Sranc or Bashrag, would in exist in numbers small enough that their possession of souls wouldn't endanger the plan.   There's another data point in favor of them having souls, namely the conversation Akka has the with scalpers in The Judging Eye.  A dragon would choose to withdraw from men it didn't want to confront instead of being driven by its instincts to fight them.

Bakker has mentioned that some apes and whales as well as a the rare Sranc or Bashrag have souls.  Sranc and Bashrags have language and tool use, but are ruled by their instincts and appear to have no capacity for introspection or reflection.   Wracu seem, like the Inchoroi, to possess similar instincts (plenty of sadism is on display in their interactions and they seem to love cruel word games) but can choose how they act.  They seem tied to the No God by allegiance to a common cause, not puppets that the No God can shout through.

The Wracu are clearly an engineered race, but one based on a template created by high level biological mastery and then derived using cruder methods and selective breeding.  They are unlikely to be "cybernetic" as opposed to having a biology that concentrates iron in the bones and so forth.  They are also products of a people who know about the Outside and have technology that can contact it to some degree but do not have sorcery.   They are likely something like biological warmachines connected to the Outside.

It is also important to remember that Chorae do not salt practitioners of the Psuke.  The Psuke is close enough to sorcery that the Chorae still block it and are lethal to its practitioners, but the effects are not the same.  The Wracu are likely close enough to sorcerers that Chorae are mildly toxic to them.

SmilerLoki

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« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2021, 12:52:29 pm »
Bakker has mentioned that some apes and whales as well as a the rare Sranc or Bashrag have souls.
I remember Bakker saying that an occasional animal can develop a soul, but nothing about Sranc or Bashrag doing the same.
Quote from: R.Scott Bakker
The idea has been that only the rare animal ever 'awakens' enough to develop a soul in Earwa, but that's not something I've ever explored to date
https://www.second-apocalypse.com/index.php?topic=2083.msg31786#msg31786

Wilshire

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« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2021, 01:26:31 pm »
I'm pretty sure that if the Inchoroi could have created a great deal of skin-spy schoolmen, they would have. That they did not is proof that they cannot. The same goes for Wracu. They created the wracu to compete with the Nonmen Quya. If they were able to make more effective tools that could compete directly, meaning with the use of better and stronger magic, they would have. But again they didn't, which to me clearly means they cannot.

The Inchoroi themselves are a created ensouled race - or appear to be. But they were definitely not given the tools to make ensouled weapons-races themselves. The Inchoroi themselves know very little other than what the proginators gave them, and I doubt the proginators wanted their weapon-race to be creating a bunch of ensouled being and leaving them around the galaxy.

Regarding wracu breeding, its extremely unlikely the Inchoroi were using animal husbandry to create wracu. For one, they appear to be very divergent as individuals which is basically impossible with selective breeding (we don't have dogs that have 85 legs or that can breathe underwater). There are also simply not enough wracu for it to be possible for some kind of breeding system to have taken place. I also think they have a lifespan that is far to  great to make breeding in the few thousands years they've had on Earwa to be in the cards. Its really just not possible all around.

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« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2021, 02:35:49 pm »
Indeed, my own personal theory, based off nothing but maybe circumstantial evidence at best, is that the Inchoroi themselves know very, very little of the Bios.  It was likely Ark itself that it most of the work, pre-Fall.  But Wracu are post-Fall creatures, since at the Fall only Wutteät seems to have been around.

This is what makes me favor idea that Wracu, like Sranc and Bashrags and "hacked" in the sense of not being totally "original" creations, but manners of recombining and reconstituting existing designs.  Where Sranc and Bashrags debase Nonmen genetics, I think, in my opinion, it is likely that Wracu are a sort of debased combination of Wutteät's and Inchoroi genetics, since that is what was likely at hand.
I am a warrior of ages, Anasurimbor. . . 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 #22 on: October 11, 2021, 11:18:47 pm »
The Wracu are not like skin spies, sranc or bashrag because their original template was created at the height of their arts.  The others were kludged out using what remained of their knowledge and technology after the Ark and over 99% of their people were dead.  They were still capable of impressive feats of biological engineering, but with seemingly high rates of failure.   The pits they fill with the failures and the low survival rate of the grafting of the abilitly to perceive the Onta are indicative of that. 

Selective breeding is basic biological selection, and given the rest of Scott's work, overwhelmingly likely to have been employed.  It seems likely that their ability to produce Wracu was flawed with the loss of the Tekne, given the high mutation rate which suggests a significant number of nonviable dragonlings going into the pits as failures.  However the presence of young Wracu during the Apocalypse means that the Wracu can either breed among themselves or the Consult acquired the knowledge with which to produce them.

As for being ensouled, the Consult overwhelmingly want little of that and they want iron control over their creations.   The Wracu are different as they are few enough in number that their souls would not interfere with plans and their powerful abilities would be better deployed by a creature not totally ruled by their instincts.   It may also, given their connection to Outside, be essential for them.   

I'm not able to produce any quotes supporting the rare souled sranc or bashrag at the moment.  It was ages ago, spun off from the discussion of ensouled animals IIRC.   My memory may be faulty, of course but it makes logical sense.   I'll keep looking and see what I can produce.

SmilerLoki

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« Reply #23 on: October 12, 2021, 07:07:26 am »
Selective breeding is basic biological selection, and given the rest of Scott's work, overwhelmingly likely to have been employed.
Wilshire's right, the variety of traits Wracu possess makes it demonstrably unlikely. Selective breeding produces similar-looking creatures, not extremely diverse ones.

Wilshire

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« Reply #24 on: October 12, 2021, 12:46:55 pm »
Wracu were created on Earwa just like the rest of the weapons races, iirc. Wutteat was apparently found somewhere in the void and tagged along, but the Wracu were created to fight the Quya, which would have been centuries after The Fall once the Inchoroi exhausted their other weapons.

The Wracu are also controlled by the No God, just like the other races. They might be more intelligent than sranc, for example, but we have seen high levels of intelligence from skin-spies. Maybe even more so - they are in fact so intelligent that no one can tell they are fakes based on their behavior or speech. My point being that we know that Skin Spies do not have souls and imo they are smarter than Wracu, so it seems unlikely that Wracu have souls - especially since their behavior is so bestial compared to the skin-spys.
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SmilerLoki

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« Reply #25 on: October 12, 2021, 03:02:34 pm »
Wutteat was apparently found somewhere in the void and tagged along
Let's say he was on the Ark before the Fall, there is no real data as to how and why.

My point being that we know that Skin Spies do not have souls and imo they are smarter than Wracu
The inability of skin-spies to comprehend paradox is pretty damning smarts-wise. In this sense they seem to be a stand-in for real-world psychopaths, who you can spot fairly easily if you know what to look out for. They try to counter that by only interacting with others superficially, but that fails the moment anyone presses the issue with them.

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« Reply #26 on: October 12, 2021, 03:44:40 pm »
Wracu were created on Earwa just like the rest of the weapons races, iirc. Wutteat was apparently found somewhere in the void and tagged along, but the Wracu were created to fight the Quya, which would have been centuries after The Fall once the Inchoroi exhausted their other weapons.

I definitely agree here.  Immediately post-Arkfall, there is only Wutteät.  It is only later that derivative Wracu are made.

The Wracu are also controlled by the No God, just like the other races. They might be more intelligent than sranc, for example, but we have seen high levels of intelligence from skin-spies. Maybe even more so - they are in fact so intelligent that no one can tell they are fakes based on their behavior or speech. My point being that we know that Skin Spies do not have souls and imo they are smarter than Wracu, so it seems unlikely that Wracu have souls - especially since their behavior is so bestial compared to the skin-spys.

I disagree here, because I don't consider a "soul" to have anything to do with notional "intelligence" (and I also don't know that I agree that skin-spies are "smarter" than Wracu).  Certainly, neither Wracu or skin-spies are act the way Sranc and Bashrags are shown to, but I don't think that really relates much to their souled or un-souled status.  To me, a soul is a particular sort of self-consciousness, relating to understanding how contradiction works and it's role in Being.  This isn't really an intellectual endeavor though, not in the way Bakker frames it, it's a constitutive sort of process.  If it were, skin-spies could learn to have souls, which would be easy, since they excel at mimicry.  It's not though.  Just because most of the Wracu we see are crazy and act irrationally, does not mean they don't have a soul.  In fact, one way to consider this is as evidence they do have souls.
I am a warrior of ages, Anasurimbor. . . 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 #27 on: October 12, 2021, 05:29:56 pm »
Why does the Wracu high rate of mutation rule out selective breeding?  Its a basic tool of managing traits and the high rate of mutation means you're going to have a bunch that don't function very well or can't live because they're messed up internally.  Sky high hatching mortality is likely and probably keeps their numbers low.   Wracu are long lived so its quite possible their have only been a few generations with which to direct their development.

I've seen zero evidence that Skin Spies are more intelligent than Wracu.  Skin Spies are trained to mimic men and infiltrate, which is something Wracu obviously can't do but they certainly comprehend and use language.

Did they find Wutteat in space?  The lines given suggested to me that he had been created in the Ark while it was in space. 

As for the No-God controlling the Wracu, the writings suggest to me willing submission not control.   The No-God does not shout through Wracu throats.   They behave like vassals, not puppets.

Souls in Earwa aren't the product of pure intelligence, but they do seem to require a near human level of intelligence because souls clearly require a significant level of self awareness. The Wracu seem to possess this, although that might not be true.  Unlike Skin Spies we are not privy to their thoughts. .  The other Weapon Races are dominated by their instincts and seem to lack both self awareness and ability to process contradictions.

SmilerLoki

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« Reply #28 on: October 12, 2021, 07:36:40 pm »
Why does the Wracu high rate of mutation rule out selective breeding?  Its a basic tool of managing traits and the high rate of mutation means you're going to have a bunch that don't function very well or can't live because they're messed up internally.  Sky high hatching mortality is likely and probably keeps their numbers low.   Wracu are long lived so its quite possible their have only been a few generations with which to direct their development.
It's because selective breeding doesn't break species barriers so drastically, nor by producing so few organisms. There is no realistic way to selectively breed a species in such a manner that one member of it would have many legs (Skuthula) while others contemporary with it, not so much (every other dragon we've seen). There is also no in-between Wracu here, which would've happened if it was a randomly encountered and then specifically bred for trait.

All of this is a clear sign of engineering as opposed to breeding.

As for the No-God controlling the Wracu, the writings suggest to me willing submission not control.   The No-God does not shout through Wracu throats.   They behave like vassals, not puppets.
Wutteat phrases his claim of freedom from the Black Heaven in a way that suggests it's something extraordinary.

Wilshire

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« Reply #29 on: October 13, 2021, 12:28:47 pm »
Why does the Wracu high rate of mutation rule out selective breeding?  Its a basic tool of managing traits and the high rate of mutation means you're going to have a bunch that don't function very well or can't live because they're messed up internally.  Sky high hatching mortality is likely and probably keeps their numbers low.   Wracu are long lived so its quite possible their have only been a few generations with which to direct their development.
This just isn't how selective breeding works. It takes thousands of generations to get any meaningful separation of species/traits. When dealing with something that has any kind of generation time measured in years, let alone decades, this is just not possible. It would take millions, 10s of millions, of years to get what you have with the wracu. Since they were created on Earwa, its just not possible.

Granted, there's a ton of nonsensical biology that goes on in Earwa. We can simply say that "alien biology works differently", and therefore literally anything is possible. I find this unsatisfying, but acceptable. Magical Inchoroi "technology" coupled with infinitely "alien" biology, and a case can be made for anything. But if we're assuming any kind of IRL biology, selective breeding isn't possible.

I've seen zero evidence that Skin Spies are more intelligent than Wracu.  Skin Spies are trained to mimic men and infiltrate, which is something Wracu obviously can't do but they certainly comprehend and use language.
I disagree completely, but we're reading the same stuff so there's nothing else to say for this one. IMO, complex social behaviors indicate an extraordinary level of intelligence, well beyond anything we see of the wracu - which are closer to bashrag/sranc though maybe a bit smarter.

Did they find Wutteat in space?  The lines given suggested to me that he had been created in the Ark while it was in space. 
Its vague, but the general consensus is Wutteat was found in space. I believe the books are more clear that Wutteat is the template that the Earwa inchoroi used to create the Wracu.

As for the No-God controlling the Wracu, the writings suggest to me willing submission not control.   The No-God does not shout through Wracu throats.   They behave like vassals, not puppets.
That's not how I remember it, but its been a long time.

Souls in Earwa aren't the product of pure intelligence, but they do seem to require a near human level of intelligence because souls clearly require a significant level of self awareness.
I agree with H here, intelligence and souls seem to be unrelated imo. If random animals can have souls, then its not an intelligence thing.

The Wracu seem to possess this, although that might not be true.  Unlike Skin Spies we are not privy to their thoughts.
We have few intereaction with Wracu, especially disregarding Wutteat, but imo they show very limited awareness of any kind. Something closer to a sranc than anything else.


The other Weapon Races are dominated by their instincts and seem to lack both self awareness and ability to process contradictions.
Being dominated by instincts doesn't preclude the existence of a soul, nor does it guarantee it. Again, random animals can have souls.
Skin-spies must be extremely self aware to do what they do. As for the rest, probably not, and I include Wracu in that.

Sranc aren't as senseless as you seem to think though. For example, they have language, culture, complex social structures. They also are used as Elju for Nonmen, which indicates a huge capacity for not just memory and recall, but also communication.

All this to say, Wracu very much fit into the standard Weapon Race role. They aren't exceptional, other than their physical variation. I see no significant reasons for why they should have special rules.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2021, 12:33:12 pm by Wilshire »
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