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The Unholy Consult / Re: Rereading again, new insights again
« Last post by H on September 02, 2021, 03:52:57 pm »
Another thing that I found interesting, were the similarities and continuity between PON Chapter 17 and the whole chapter 14 of TGO, where the Survivor has his insights (the "Cuts and cuts and cuts" chapter): It's the chapter where you have both the whole showdown between the great names and the emperor, the unmasking of Skeaös, and Kellhus's intruction by the pragma. Ever since reading it, I've been of a mind that the TGO chapter was key for understanding some major elements of the book. But together with the PON chapter, I think it explains exactly what has been going through Kellhus's mind ever since he was hung from the tree in Caraskand (so in TWP). It's still heavy stuff; I'm still trying to decipher it and share what I get, but I'll get to that when I reach the passages during the reread of the series ^^.

Yeah, I had, for a pretty long time, figured that Korginghus was "right" in his framing of the Absolute.  That is, in thinking of the Absolute not as a generative, "positive" accumulation of Being, but rather as a notionally negative Abolsute of loss.  I still think he is "more right" than anyone else (perhaps minus Mimara, but that is another issue really) but he probably misses something in his sort of Kierkegaardian frame.

From Todd McGowan:
Quote
The substantial Other in the case of Kierkegaard is more subtle. In many ways, Kierkegaard, despite his rabid opposition to Hegel, formulates a very Hegelian philosophy that identifies dialectical moments in the structure of belief. But Kierkegaard refuses Hegel’s interpretation of Christ’s death. For Kierkegaard, God remains utterly distinct from the world of finitude. The humiliation of Christ in the finite world does not manifest God’s descent or desubstantialization. This is an impossibility that would eliminate the infinite distance that separates the subject from God, but it becomes everyday theology in the Christendom that Kierkegaard excoriates. This infinite distance is correlative to the subject’s freedom. Kierkegaard poses it in opposition to Hegelian absolute knowing as the emblem of freedom.

The subject’s freedom, for Kierkegaard, depends on an absence of knowledge about God, who thus acquires a substantial status. Despite God’s appearance in the finite form of Christ, Kierkegaard’s God is not subjectivized. Kierkegaard’s critique of Hegel focuses on how the latter fails to grasp his own inability, as a finite subject, to know God. We can have access to God, but this access is only indirect, which is why Christianity requires the leap of faith on the part of the subject. Unlike Hegel, Kierkegaard gives the subject a task—accomplish the leap and become an authentic Christian—but the cost of this task is prohibitive.

And further:
Quote
The fundamentals of the critique originate with Søren Kierkegaard, who mounts it soon after Hegel’s death. For Kierkegaard, the problem with the whole is double: it is always only an illusory totality, a conceptual whole that fails to capture the actuality of the particulars, but the very attempt to conceptualize the whole has the effect of violently altering the status of the particulars. For critics of Hegel like Kierkegaard, the conceptual inadequacy of the whole augments rather than mitigates its violence. The thought of all particulars in light of their relationship to the whole distorts their particularity by framing it in terms of an illusion—the totality—and does not do them justice. The whole can never become whole enough to include the variegations of multiplicity that constantly escape it.
(Bolding added by me.)

Now, granted, I do take a sort of Hegelian Absolute (i.e. that contradiction is inextricable and is constitutive) to generally be the case, so where Koringhus does make some fair points, I think ultimately he does fail in some regard.  But he, I think, does give us something to think about in regards to just what we should even consider the Absolute to even possibly be.  That, of course, is situated very much astride what Kellhus' (and the rest of the Dûnyain) consider as the "achievable" Absolute.  There is a lot more here though, how the Kellhus/Dûnyain program adheres very much to a Logocentric idea, where I think Koringhus well and abandons that sort of thought.

In any case, I have likely rambled on enough with tangential nonsense at this point.
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The Unholy Consult / Re: Rereading again, new insights again
« Last post by Wilshire on September 02, 2021, 12:19:14 pm »
I have always found rereads rewarding for TSA, especially going back through the whole series once a new book was released. I admit that I haven't done this post-TUC though. After  X many reads it feels like there shouldn't be anything left... obviously this isn't the case though! What comes after determines what comes before.

I don't have a great memory so connections between books has always been somewhat fleeting to me unless I'm coming down from a reread. I'll have to take a look through the two chapters you've mentioned there and see what there is to see.

As always, thanks for posting! Its been quite around here for a while, but there are still those of us lurking. Share with us, the silent audience, your revelations as they come ;)
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The Unholy Consult / Rereading again, new insights again
« Last post by Monkhound on September 02, 2021, 07:41:03 am »
It's been a while since I visited here, but you know... You reread PON for the so-manyeth time and you're inexorably drawn back to this Place, since everytime there are new insights, and new things that stand out. This time is the first one since finishing TUC a few years back though. A passage in Chapter 12 related to Cnaiür remembering his youth after capturing Kellhus, struck me as interesting:

Quote
The revelation was as breathtaking as it was heartbreaking. Once, when Cnaüir was a child, a whirlwind had roared through the Utemot encampment, its shoulders in the clouds, yaksh, cattle, and lives swirling like skirts about its feet. He had watched it from a distance, wailing, clutching his father’s rigid waist. Then it had vanished, like sand settling in water. He could remember his father running through the hail to assist his kinsmen. He could remember beginning to follow, then stumbling to a halt, transfixed by the vista before him as though the scale of the transformation had dwarfed his eyes’ ability to believe. The great rambling web of tracks, pens, and yaksh had been utterly rewritten, as though some mountain-tall child had drawn sweeping circles with a stick. Horror had replaced familiarity, but order had replaced order.

Like the whirlwind, his revelation regarding Moenghus had blasted a different, far more horrifying order from what he had known. Triumph became degradation. Pride became remorse.

The passage continues referring to the whole whirlwind theme that fits Cnaiür's fear (PON) and vengeance (TUC). This is especially awesome when you keep in mind that Bakker mentioned Cnaiür walking into the whirlwind at the end being THE image he had in mind all along for the end of the series (Can't find that specific quote anymore though  :-\).

Another thing that I found interesting, were the similarities and continuity between PON Chapter 17 and the whole chapter 14 of TGO, where the Survivor has his insights (the "Cuts and cuts and cuts" chapter): It's the chapter where you have both the whole showdown between the great names and the emperor, the unmasking of Skeaös, and Kellhus's intruction by the pragma. Ever since reading it, I've been of a mind that the TGO chapter was key for understanding some major elements of the book. But together with the PON chapter, I think it explains exactly what has been going through Kellhus's mind ever since he was hung from the tree in Caraskand (so in TWP). It's still heavy stuff; I'm still trying to decipher it and share what I get, but I'll get to that when I reach the passages during the reread of the series ^^.
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Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« Last post by The P on August 30, 2021, 12:34:05 pm »
Miserere by Teresa Frohock (17)

I picked this up on a whim.  I heard it was good, but got bad marketing because the publisher ran out of money and collapsed.  I liked it.  It's pretty short (under 300 pages), has decent writing, good characters, some intense moments.  The setting is kind of a barrier world between hell and earth, with the main characters as the force preventing the fallen/demons from conquering earth and being able to war against heaven.  In this place are supposedly all religions working together, but aside from brief blurbs, the characters are all christian-centric.  Which isn't bad, but I would have liked a more diverse cast, or at least some more detail of the other groups' roles in the world.  As it is, I enjoyed the interesting take on these religious mages using psalms and prayers to channel power, etc.

Reading some author comments online after reading, she said one big problem with the marketing of the book was that they decided to sell it in christian book stores.  I certainly don't blame whoever was in charge for making that mistake, but it surely would have bothered any wholesome parents trying to shelter their kids from secular fiction.  (There's swears, violence, gore, sex, abuse, oh my!)  So I'm not sure the audience for this one, it has enough overt christian religiosity to scare away the non-religious, but is plenty gritty to stand alongside others in the "grimdark" genre.

I'll probably check out some other stuff by Frohock at some point.  She has other unrelated fantasy.  While the ending was satisfying, this book could easily have sequels, but it seems unlikely after 10 years.
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General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« Last post by sciborg2 on August 12, 2021, 08:37:21 pm »
Archaic Torso of Apollo

We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.
— Rainer Maria Rilke
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The No-God / Re: What else will the No-God say?
« Last post by SmilerLoki on August 12, 2021, 05:01:26 am »
As a result, what "we" hear the No-God say might only be residual or leftover remnants of the Insertant, while what the Consult (Wracu, Sranc) "hears" comes from the System itself.
This would not, in fact, be a take on the philosophical zombie thought experiment, or at least not in any way a fruitful one. It'd just be, ultimately, a technical detail.
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The No-God / Re: What else will the No-God say?
« Last post by H on August 11, 2021, 06:52:37 pm »
It could well be the case that what happens once the Insertant serves it's "circuit-fulfilling" function, that the No-God does what it is made/programmed to do.  The leftover "identity" of the Insertant is incidental and irrelevant to the general functioning of the System.  The Insertant only serves to initiate Resumption.

As a result, what "we" hear the No-God say might only be residual or leftover remnants of the Insertant, while what the Consult (Wracu, Sranc) "hears" comes from the System itself.
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The No-God / Re: What else will the No-God say?
« Last post by SmilerLoki on August 11, 2021, 01:51:38 pm »
One of the most interesting traits of the No-God is the seeming disconnect between its actions and statements. While its statements perhaps signal a sort of existential confusion, its actions are precise and show clear intentionality, which is corroborated by various accounts (Aurang's, Skafra's, to an extent Wutteat's) testifying to the agency of the No-God. It does things, it's not just a predetermined algorithm, at least not from the point of view of its intelligent servants. It possesses all the common signs of intentionality in its actions.

The issue, thus, is in its statements. I would say that this disconnect outlines Bakker's original framing of the philosophical zombie thought experiment - here, the aforementioned zombie is behaving intelligently, but, if we're to go by its own account, doesn't recognize it itself. It lacks a crucial something that makes humans human, the exact something the philosophical zombie experiment endeavors to pinpoint. I'm currently unprepared to make any assumptions as to how that might work or what it might ultimately mean.

Returning to the question at hand, my guess is, any further pronouncements of the No-God would only strengthen the framework of Bakker's take on the philosophical zombie idea. One thing I want to note is that I don't believe the Insertant retains in any way enough identity to impact the System while it's operational, although maybe at the end of the cycle, when the System is less stable, that might change. During the First Apocalypse, the No-God was active for nearly 12 years, and the number 12 appears to be thematic for both TSA and the Book of Revelations (the biblical Apocalypse), being present in the much discussed 144000.
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Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« Last post by The P on August 11, 2021, 01:48:02 pm »
Inside Man by K. J. Parker (16)

I like just about anything he writes; have I said that before?  This is another novella.  It's kind of a sequel to last year's Prosper's Demon.  This is some time later, now from the demon's perspective.  He's been dubbed "fragile" due to prior events, and assigned to "other work of equal value."  Parker gives a fun depiction of a bureaucratic hell in opposition to, but also in support of the Plan.  There are lots of real-world Judeo-Christian analogues throughout (mostly poked for fun and given a wry take), but it has plenty of Parker-verse connections (Perimadea, Robur, Saloninus, etc.).  Thoroughly enjoyable, it drew an audible chuckle on several occasions.  The next Parker book looks delayed until January, alas.
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The No-God / Re: What else will the No-God say?
« Last post by H on August 10, 2021, 01:00:28 pm »
I think you're correct, but if no internality, why is it asking quasi-self reflecting questions? Some remnant of consciousness expressing itself through the software? An effect of consciousness as code, perhaps.

Or, could it be that, since it lacks that might be called "genuine" introspection, it asks because it cannot feel or have an idea it's own state.

Perhaps more clearly said that the No-God is "pure" consciousness, absent self-consciousness.  To get even more direct, let us say, perhaps, it has seeming awareness absent any sort of self-awareness.  Since it's perception seems necessarily limited, since that perception seems to exclude (or, not include) itself, but the Insertant on which it is based likely has some memory, or sense, pointing to the idea that this is now a lack, it asks about it incessantly.
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