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Messages - sciborg2

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The Unholy Consult / Re: What's up with the "Second" Inverse Fire
« on: May 04, 2021, 01:25:55 pm »
So who are these "Ten Simpletons"? I can't help but think they are victims of Shae's attempts to create a circuit that keeps his own soul from Damnation. How else would they come to know with such accuracy the nature of damnation?

Or did they somehow collectively possess the Judging Eye? But then why does the work end up also being called the Inverse Fire?

Yeah, unfortunately there is no other mention of them in the series.  But that is probably because there really isn't "anything" for to them.  They are probably a narrative devise to expound something of a Foucauldian view on notionally "madness."  That is, what is termed "madness," normatively, might actually be a form of insight.  Labeled "simpletons" allow normative society to marginalize them and the implications of what they "see."

In any case, maybe one (or more) of them did possess the Judging Eye or something like it.  On why it would be called The Inverse Fire, I think you could imagine that somewhere along the line of years, the term could have gotten brought up, from various "occult" or "cultic" sources, but devoid (or simply divorced from) it's exact original context.  So, someone stumbles across the term in fragmented Nonman sources and says, wow that seems to apply to that ceiling, never realizing the depth of that connection though.

I'd accept this as cultural referencing save for the 10 Simpletons to 10 Larvals + the accuracy of the Excruciata confirmed by the Judging Eye.

I really do think the Simpletons saw Hell, or at least the memory of it.

General Earwa / Re: (Spoilers All) (Srancpost) The Solitary God
« on: May 04, 2021, 07:09:30 am »
"Function" is definitely the tricky word here, as otherwise it could be a Classical Theism God who is apart from creation but also creation's concurrent cause.

Maybe the Divine Function is meant to be a matter of what outputs are produced by what inputs, sort of like a Relation that precedes Relata?

General Earwa / Re: What was the inspiration for Gierra?
« on: May 01, 2021, 11:34:22 pm »
A bit more info from the PoN Wiki ->

Gierra is the Goddess of carnal passion. One of the so-called Compensatory Gods, who reward devotion in life with paradise in the afterlife, Gierra is very popular throughout the Three Seas, particularly among aging men drawn to the “aphrodisica,” Cultic nostrums reputed to enhance virility. In the Higarata, the collection of subsidiary writings that form the scriptural core of the Cults, Gierra is rarely depicted with any consistency, and is often cast as a malign temptress, luring men to the luxury of her couch, often with fatal consequences.[1] In the Mar’eddat, she is wife of the faithless Ajokli.[2] Gierra’s “voluptuous” idol, depicts “wide-thrown ankles.”[3]

“The temple prostitutes of Gierra believes, that despite the hundreds of men who uses them, they couples with only one, Hotos, the Priapic God.”[4] Priestesses of Gierra tattoo their limbs in inscriptions and cover their bodies with oil.[5] Part of their duties is to have sex with male worshippers.[6] Sumni harlots must have the Sign of Gierra, twin serpents, tattooed on the back of their left hand, apparently in imitation of the Priestesses of Gierra.[7]

General Earwa / Re: What was the inspiration for Gierra?
« on: May 01, 2021, 10:45:15 pm »
Oddly enough Gierra / Ajokli marriage parallels the marriage between the sex goddess/spirit Pomba Gira and Exu. I wonder if Bakker saw them when researching Zeum as their histories - or rather Exu's - do seem to begin in Africa.

Pomba Gira

Pomba Gira is the scarlet woman, the sacred harlot, and the lady of crossroads and street lights. An Afro-Brazilian spirit, Pomba Gira derives from the intersection of Iberian, Gitano, and Central African roots. Pomba Gira is the crossroad where these traditions meet. She is a goddess of power, eroticism, death, and vengeance. She has dominion over sex for pleasure and power, not procreation. (That said, she can bestow fertility when and if she desires.) Pomba Gira is an oracular spirit who can reveal the past and future, but she can be a brutally plain-spoken truth-teller. Don’t ask her for information unless you are ready to hear unvarnished truths.


The West African trickster spirit Eshu Elegbara is Master of Roads. He determines whether someone’s path is clear or blocked with obstacles. Eshu determines how easy or challenging an individual’s life will be. Devotion to Eshu Elegbara was widespread; he is common to many West African pantheons. Because of this, Eshu Elegbara exists in virtually all African-Diaspora traditions although, as befitting a trickster, his name, appearance, and personalityis slightly different wherever he manifests.

General Earwa / Re: What was the inspiration for Gierra?
« on: May 01, 2021, 08:32:16 pm »
'Sacred Prostitution': An ancient tradition based on respect for the woman

One of the most unusual practices Herodotus details is the that of sacred prostitution, which he observes in the ancient city of Babylon. It “compels every woman of the land to sit in the temple of Aphrodite and have intercourse with some stranger at least once in her life . . . Once a woman has taken her place there, she does not go away to her home before some stranger has cast money into her lap, and had intercourse with her outside the temple . . . It does not matter what sum the money is; the woman will never refuse, for that would be a sin, the money being by this act made sacred. So she follows the first man who casts it and rejects no one. After their intercourse, having discharged her sacred duty to the goddess, she goes away to her home.”

“The idea of sacred prostitution,” she says, “is almost entirely incomprehensible to the modern imagination. [Sacred prostitution] involved women having sex as an act of worship. It is completely unlike what we think of as prostitution today; the relationship between men and women in this ancient tradition is based on respect for the woman. She was seen as a powerful person. I was fascinated by how alien it seemed that there could be a sexual exchange of this kind that could support, as opposed to denigrate, a woman.”

Not sure how being forced to f_ck somebody so you can leave the temple is respect but okay...Herodotus even refers to it as the most shameful of customs...It might pay to be a little suspicious of Herodotus tho ->

Did Prostitution Really Exist in the Temples of Antiquity?

"Holy harlots" in Jerusalem, temple sex in the service of Aphrodite? Many ancient authors describe sacred prostitution in drastic terms. Are the accounts nothing but legends? Historians are searching for the kernel of truth behind the reports.

General Earwa / What was the inspiration for Gierra?
« on: May 01, 2021, 08:30:00 pm »
To start here's her entry int the Glossary ->

Gierra—The God of carnal passion. One of the so-called Compensatory Gods, who reward devotion in life with paradise in the afterlife, Gierra is very popular throughout the Three Seas, particularly among aging men drawn to the “aphrodisica,” Cultic nostrums reputed to enhance virility. In the Higarata, the collection of subsidiary writings that form the scriptural core of the Cults, Gierra is rarely depicted with any consistency, and is often cast as a malign temptress, luring men to the luxury of her couch, often with fatal consequences.

Some related entries ->

Ajokli - ...competitor. In the Mar’eddat, he is the faithless husband of Gierra...

Sign of Gierra—The twin serpents that Sumni harlots must have tattooed on the back of their left hand, apparently in imitation of the Priestesses of Gierra.

Ten, the—Epithet for the ten most powerful and widely worshipped of the Hundred, consisting of Yatwer, Gilgaöl, Husyelt, Gierra, Jukan, Anagke, Onkhis, Akkeägni, Bûkris, and Ajokli.

And from the text of books proper (only AE for now) ->

...Afterwards she would decide that the insult was rather clumsy, no more subtle than the slit gowns worn by the Priestess-Whores of Gierra...

Even the priestesses of Gierra, who sold themselves with the sanction of god and temple, were broken. To sell intimacy is to be turned inside out, to make a cloak of your heart, so that others might be warmed. A soul could only be inverted so many times before it all became confused, inside and outside.


A dais the size of small barge dominated the floor beneath the high dome. She numbly gazed at the arc of idols arrayed upon it: wane Onkhis, fierce Gilgaöl, lewd Gierra, bulbous Yatwer, and others, a tenth of the Hundred, the eldest and the most powerful, cast in gold, shining and lifeless.


So we have a goddess of lust, who seems to fit the idea of a succubus, with a priestess-hood of sacred prostitutes. Will post of potential inspirations or at least parallel figures in religion next.

The Unholy Consult / Re: What's up with the "Second" Inverse Fire
« on: May 01, 2021, 07:24:15 pm »
Wilshire - are you saying that the Larvals are ten former Grandmasters from days of old or that the Ten Simpletons are former Scarlet Spire Grandmasters?

It is a bit surprising that the Consult didn't try to recruit from the Scarlet Spires. I assume they were just too diminished to engage heavily in such efforts. Perhaps the Simpletons are the result of such efforts.

I also wonder if these Glossary entries are hints of something that will be mentioned later, or something we're supposed to piece together a picture of.

The Unholy Consult / Re: What's up with the "Second" Inverse Fire
« on: May 01, 2021, 02:27:10 am »
From TUC ->


The platform was the length and breadth of a skiff, shaped and curved like a great shield, but far too large to be wielded as such by human arms. At first it appeared to bear ten great candles set in a circle, wax gutted and knobbed and pale as bacon fat, each set within a stone pedestal … Except these candles clearly moved, and possessed (as quickly became obvious) living faces, rutted and as hairless as prunes, mouths like masticating sphincters, eyes like sparks set in mucoid shadow. The pedestals, he realized, were in fact perverse cradles, stone sconces for bodies bereft of limbs … Ten senescent, larval forms had been welded upon the back of some great soggomantic shield …

Bakker, R. Scott. The Unholy Consult: The Aspect-Emperor: Book Four (The Aspect-Emperor Trilogy) . The Overlook Press. Kindle Edition.

So Ten Simpletons, ten brutalized beings Shae needs to [keep] his soul intact.

The Unholy Consult / What's up with the "Second" Inverse Fire
« on: April 30, 2021, 11:39:46 pm »
From the TUC Glossary, note the spelling error  ->


Famed fresco of the One Hundred and Eleven Hells in the Holy Junriüma, and perhaps the most well-known of the countless artistic renditions of perdition. Apparently inspired by ancient, pre-Arkfall Nonman statuary, the grand image—the product of the legendary “Ten Simpletons” to commemorate the Scholastic Wars in 3800—is the first depiction of the hells that defects from spatial and associative norms, bringing the chaos of damnation to the fore. As a ceiling fresco, it is sometimes referred to as the Hanging Hells or the Inverse Fire.

And from WLW ->

And sometimes, more rarely still, she sees the particulars of their coming damnation...

...Such torment. Clenched and cringing, huddled in ways outside worldly dimensions. Prised and flayed, the innumerable petals of his soul peeled back in shrieks and sulphurous flame. Screams braided into screams, pains heaped upon agonies. She sees it, his future, a gleam across his eyes, a fiery halo about his crown. His suffering disgorged like paint, smeared and stroked into obscene works of art. His soul passed from Ciphrang to feasting Ciphrang, dispensing anguish like milk through the endless ages. She sees the truth of the Excruciata, the One Hundred-and-Eleven Hells depicted on the walls of the Junriüma in Sumna....

So who are these "Ten Simpletons"? I can't help but think they are victims of Shae's attempts to create a circuit that keeps his own soul from Damnation. How else would they come to know with such accuracy the nature of damnation?

Or did they somehow collectively possess the Judging Eye? But then why does the work end up also being called the Inverse Fire?

My original thinking on Seswatha was that it was something like Hofstadter's Strange Loop ->

“The key question is, no matter how much you absorb of another person, can you have absorbed so much of them that when that primary brain perishes, you can feel that that person did not totally perish from the earth? In the wake of a human being’s death, what survives is a set of afterglows, some brighter and some dimmer, in the collective brains of those who were dearest to them. Though the primary brain has been eclipsed, there is, in those who remain, a collective corona that still glows.”
—Douglas Hofstadter

But so much of Seswatha seems to survive, even dominating the minds of those who grasped the Heart...and given that even the Nomen have limited storage capacity I changed my mind...

Seswatha is not in their brains/minds, but in the Heart. So Mandati And Swayali are wirelessly connecting to the Drop Box that is the Heart...

Or maybe think of it as playing games on the Playstation Network?

After Akka becomes a Wizard, a rogue Gnostic, he no longer gets the patch updates which causes memory leakage...

Admittedly computational analogies fail after a point, but I hope this expresses the general idea. Though I am still not sure if Seswatha's actual soul is in the Heart, perhaps the soul is cleaved as in the case of other artifacts so that part of the Sohonc Grandmaster's soul burns in Hell while the other part is encased in the Heart.

Atrocity Tales / Re: The Carathayan [Short Story Spoilers]
« on: April 19, 2021, 05:36:07 pm »
Awesome, thanks Madness!

I had thought that they weren't mutually exclusive, but part of me was convinced that something was in the wrong order and that "towering" should have been referring to Bogyar.

Looking forward to reading this one.

Rereading it now (or I was when I wrote the bulk of this post) and there's like an entire paragraph right at the beginning describing him ;).

Okay on my first read thru, I can't place the year. It must be before the unifaction wars because there's no mention of the holy aspect emperor or any "sweet kell" or whatever phrase. Uster is still a mercenary so maybe he hasn't met Saubon.

Uster' s sister seem to be witches or something of the sort who can correctly see the future. Uster himself know how he will die and has no worry unless there is a Bashrag invoked.

I don't think the unnamed Other Sister is of the Few - though, perhaps. But there's that passage about Esmenet's mom early in TWP about admonishing Esmenet not to practice augury by the stars and we've always wondered if there is something to that. Uster’s Sister seems aware of predestination.

I had trouble placing the year too.

I figured it was in the midst of the Unification Wars, because one section describes him "warring for the Aspect-Emperor across the Secharib cane fields". The section where he stares down a cobra.

I definitely understand his appearance now too, awkward giant is very fitting!

I actually read this as a flashback... which weirds me out dating this Atrocity Tale. Uster also seems to recall killing the Palantine et al. who asks him to dine in honour of his notoriety.

I forgot about that part. I picture him like a tall basketball player looking awkward guy.


Other random thoughts while skimming the story again:

- Uster seems to possess no sense of self (p481, 483).
- The Uster murdering surrogate fathers thing (p484).
- Mirrim, the Daughter of the Angle-Lord of Bayal, was in a position to be taken from Lady Bayal but Lady Bayal hired a Schoolman to stop that? (p487)
- Mirrim has been marked (not Marked) from birth by the Carathayan and the people of Bayal consider her birth and death tribute in order to safeguard them whatever that is? (p487-488)
- The Lady Bayal's mother describes either first daughters or just daughters generally being taken by... the demon/creature/ghost/entity/thing of the forest (p489).
- Uster can’t call his Other Sister by name (p490) and he defeats the Carathayan by naming it at the end of the story?
- "“That,” Uster observed, “would be scary.”" (p491) - Lol, Uster must have been pissed at Dagliash when the Bashrag jump out.
- The oath has been broken … the wheel must be reset (p492) – not sure what this is about.
- Uster’s Sisters sent him to deal with the Carathayan (p494).
- Uster takes the Carathayan’s head (p495).
- "Are from the curse?” (p495) - not sure what this is about.

I assume Uster dies when the Bashrag bashes his head, but I don't think we know for sure.

As I said on the Discord I liked this more than I liked KoMH. I also like how this really expands the metaphysical possibilities.

Regarding Uster, it made me think of what the Idealist Kastrup refers to as "partially-disassociated entities". He somehow sees himself embodied - he fears his own death - but also sees that in some sense all individuals are truly the One, the Absolute, the single Subject of Analytic Idealism. Consider Schrodinger's conclusion in What is Life? ->

Even in the that what seems to be a plurality is merely a series of different personality aspects of this one thing, produced by a deception (the Indian MAJA); the same illusion is produced in a gallery of mirrors, and in the same way Gaurisankar and Mt Everest turned out to be the same peak seen from different valleys. There are, of course, elaborate ghost-stories fixed in our minds to hamper our acceptance of such simple recognition. E.g. it has been said that there is a tree there outside my window but I do not really see the tree. By some cunning device of which only the initial, relatively simple steps are itself explored, the real tree throws an image of itself into my the physical consciousness, and that is what I perceive.

If you stand by my side and look at the same tree, the latter manages to throw an image into your soul as well. I see my tree and you see yours (remarkably like mine), and what the tree in itself is we do not know. For this extravagance Kant is responsible. In the order of ideas which regards consciousness as a singulare tanturn it is conveniently replaced by the statement that there is obviously only one tree and all the image business is a ghost-story. Yet each of us has the indisputable impression that the sum total of his own experience and memory forms a unit, quite distinct from that of any other person. He refers to it as 'I' and What is this 'I'? If you analyse it closely you will, I think, find that it is just the facts little more than a collection of single data (experiences and memories), namely the canvas upon which they are collected. And you will, on close introspection, find that what you really mean by 'I' is that ground-stuff upon which they are collected. You may come to a distant country, lose sight of all your friends, may all but forget them; you acquire new friends, you share life with them as intensely as you ever did with your old ones. Less and less important will become the fact that, while living your new life, you still recollect the old one. “The youth that was I', you may come to speak of him in the third person,indeed the protagonist of the novel you are reading isprobably nearer to your heart, certainly more intensely alive and better known to you...

Since the I is illusory, recast as a different person that now looks at past "I" in the third person, so Uster sees the past without the perspective of the I. His memories are at a higher vantage point closer to the God, which is why in his mind he doesn't murder anyone as his observational frame is watching a play.

There is a flaw in this reasoning, in that Uster always attributes action to the other. The husband and son of Lady Bayal wanted his body to murder them, his body wanted Mirriam to seduce him, etc. Is this merely an insane denial of responsibility or metaphysical insight then?

More thoughts, but later...

General Misc. / Re: What are you watching?
« on: April 15, 2021, 04:41:25 pm »
Starz are mother-fuckers, I tell ya. First they cancel Boss ( incomplete ) and then Counterpart ( quazi complete, but had more gas in the story to tell ) and now American Gods ( serious cliffhanger ). Really? I'm guessing because it wasn't watched by enough people, but plenty of people waited for the entire thing to be released to binge watch it, like myself. Anyways, I loved the show, some killer gay/trans sex going on near the end of season 3 ( an extraordinary scene, amazing render of unrepressed human love ).

I guess I'll have to finish the book to learn the end ( found the book boring - but I guess I suffer a lack of imagination given how beautiful the show is ). Still worth watching even though the story "ends" on a cliffhanger.

Gaiman's book, while the inspiration, does feel less exciting than the show...but then I read the book years ago. I do recall enjoying it, so it's probably worth a library rental at the least?

General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« on: March 25, 2021, 06:25:19 pm »
Sobriety is a farce. No matter how drunk you get, there will always be someone stupider than you sober. So why be sober?

- Goathead Keene

Didn't Tool write a song about this? ;-)

General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« on: March 18, 2021, 12:29:47 am »
Man's search for Meaning is def worth a read.

Bakker readers should be Frankl readers... it seems axiomatic ;).

The Bakker Appendix N would be an interesting list...

"We have a new type of rule now. Not one-man rule, or rule of aristocracy or plutocracy, but of small groups elevated to positions of absolute power by random pressures and subject to political and economic factors that leave little room for decision.

They are representatives of abstract forces, who have reached power through surrender of self. The iron-willed dictator is a thing of past.

There will be no more Stalins, no more Hitlers.

The rulers of this most insecure of all worlds are rulers by accident. Inept, frightened pilots at the controls of a vast machine they cannot understand, calling in experts to tell them which buttons to push."

 -William S Burroughs

From today onward
May I be willing
To live with chaos and confusion
And that of all other sentient beings
May I be willing
To share our mutual confusion
And work incessantly and humbly
To help and elevate everyone without exception
-Tibetan Prayer


“Once, St. Teresa was amorously complaining to God in
prayer about her sufferings & trials. The Lord told her:

 “Teresa, so do I treat My friends!” conveying the purificatory character of suffering.

But Teresa answered boldly: “That’s why you have so few (friends)”

-Raimon Panikkar

General Misc. / Re: What are you watching?
« on: March 18, 2021, 12:23:22 am »
Been doing a binging of the Blacklist, which I leave in the background.

Frustrating in that there's a good show in the morass of seasons, a questionable lead actress, and other factors.

I can't recommend actually watching it with deep focus, but if you leave it in the background your mind might be able, as mine sort of has, utilize it for an excellent show vaguely in memory. It doesn't work perfectly because of some plot points are just too big and stupid but if you are just bored and want something playing while you work it might suffice...

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