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Rand World isn’t Earth


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RW= Rand World
The general consensus is that RW is Earth in another Age but is it? Yes we have the stories Thom tells about Len, Moska, Merk and Anla but all that does is proves that the Humans of RW are descended from Humans that evolved on Earth, it does not prove that Humans evolved on RW. 
 

The big issue against RW being Earth is the Global Map, it is completely and totally different. I find it difficult to believe that the insane Male Aes Sedai could have so completely changed the Map of Earth without making Earth totally unliveable and wiping out all life. I think it would be more likely to be a Map that has some resemblance of Earth. 

 

My possible theory is that Humans come to RW by either Portal Stones or some other unknown lost technology in a later/earlier Age, bringing Legends and Myths with them, Humans possibly go extinct on RW in a later/earlier Age and then arrive back on RW in a yet later/earlier Age. 

 

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But on the other hand you have the stories Thom alludes to, when humanity was brother to animals, and the wolves' delight at finding someone new who can talk to them just like they did way back in the beginning ...

 

My take on it - my .02c worth - is that the Randland that nearly all the action takes place on, is a horribly mixed up - and diminished - Eurasia plus fragments of Africa and most of China. The Seanchan islands are an equally horribly mashed up North and Central and South America with a lot of Africa and South-East Asia thrown in for good measure. While the solitary island continent in the Southern Hemisphere is of course Australia and New Zealand.

 

So the destruction of the old world during the Breaking of the World, was rather more comprehensive than otherwise.

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I mean, on the one hand, you're right.  Tectonic movement of sufficient scale to alter our distribution of landmasses into Randland's in the span of about 300 years, most of which is taking place in the first century or so, would generate enough heat from friction to boil away the planet's oceans and turn the whole surface into a glowing sea of magma.

 

On the other hand, these are works of fiction full of physics-defying magic, and there's a Jordan quote relevant to those who take that fictional world too seriously, suggesting relationships with canines as a possible antidote to such silliness.

 

If we're gonna go that far in trying to reconcile Randland physics and cosmology to real-world physics and cosmology, then we might as well go for the whole hog.  Not only is Randland not really Earth, but it's not even the same universe as ours.  They've got cyclical time, we've got (as best as we can tell) linear time.  We've got the origins of new creatures via evolution through natural and artificial selection, while they've got new creatures via introduction through portal-worlds and Power-based engineering.  They've got natural forces that operate to reduce entropy in closed systems, while in every closed system we've ever studied, entropy always increases.

 

So if you really want to maintain the link between our world and Randland, the best way that I've ever thought of to do that would be to suggest that we created Randland's universe, at some point in the future when faced with the ultimate heat-death of our own universe or some other unavoidable calamity, as a way to escape and preserve humanity. 

 

We made it eternally cyclical and altered the nature of entropy in that universe, and gave limited "admin access" to the inhabitants to access the forces which keeps the whole thing in motion so they wouldn't be reliant on any level of technology to be able to make a decent life for themselves.  We made the universe somewhat permeable so that there could be access to other, similarly constructed universes such as the Finn's, while the Ogier constructed a method of merging and separating their universe with others. 

 

And we built in a bunch of "parallel" mirror universes governed by Tel'aran'Rhiod as a sort of backup data cache so if anything goes extinct, like giraffes, they can be restored later on.  The Dark One is an artifact of the construction of the universe such that it respects the free will of the inhabitants to choose to continue living in that universe, so they don't become imprisoned slaves to it, and the Dragon is the mechanism by which that choice gets actively made and reaffirmed in each cycle.

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Harldin I clicked on this topic planning on saying: “thems fighting words” but after reading you comment... I’m like okay, I see where you are coming from.

 

Worth noting, no one said 20th century earth was 4500 yrs ago. The story survived, but in theory, 20th century could have been many ages prior to the 3rd age.

Many opportunities for smaller shifts and more time for natural movements to accumulate a greater change. Changing sea levels also would greatly change the shape of land masses without very much change in tectonic position. 

Right now the American Northeast tectonic sheet isn’t moving as much as it is rotating. The mile plus ice sheet that was resting on the northern American Midwest, melted. That loss of mass happened very rapidly on tectonic time scales. The American Northeast tectonic sheet had its western half pressed down and the coastal edge was tipped up. Now it is rotating relatively rapidly to a new equilibrium position.

Additionally, some of the change in topography can be due upthrusts, not lateral motion. The increased elevation in the Dragonwall may have been triggered in the breaking, but continuing at a slower rate since then. Admittedly, that looks more like two continents colliding much like the Himalayas today which I presume is not typical breaking type changes.

The Aiel waste may have been a tropical garden in the prior age. It may have been very similar topology, but without the weather terangreal which regulated the entire planet, it rapidly reverted to a seer desert.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/15/2020 at 6:41 PM, Harldin said:

The big issue against RW being Earth is the Global Map, it is completely and totally different.

 

I disagree with this. I made a topic eleven (!!!) years ago looking at the geography, and honestly I think Randland-through-Shara maps up to Europe, North Africa, and most of Asia insanely well. I know much of Africa is "gone" but looking closely at maps of North Africa I feel like hints of the Shadow Coast and even Tremalking are present.

 

 

I post additional pictures later in the topic, too.

 

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On 8/16/2020 at 9:31 PM, Thrasymachus said:

If we're gonna go that far in trying to reconcile Randland physics and cosmology to real-world physics and cosmology, then we might as well go for the whole hog.  Not only is Randland not really Earth, but it's not even the same universe as ours.  They've got cyclical time, we've got (as best as we can tell) linear time.  We've got the origins of new creatures via evolution through natural and artificial selection, while they've got new creatures via introduction through portal-worlds and Power-based engineering.  They've got natural forces that operate to reduce entropy in closed systems, while in every closed system we've ever studied, entropy always increases.

 

We actually know very very little about the nature of our reality and universe to make such claims. We have theories only and lots of unanswered questions. Even the inflationary big bang is just that. There are cosmological models that support cyclic universes.

 

It is very possible that we live in a multiverse, that one full expansion and contraction of the universe constitutes one full turning of the Wheel.  No specific average timespan for an Age exists so it is perfectly possible to have an Age that lasts billions of years while another lasts only a few hundred.

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1 hour ago, finnworld said:

We actually know very very little about the nature of our reality and universe to make such claims. We have theories only and lots of unanswered questions. Even the inflationary big bang is just that. There are cosmological models that support cyclic universes.

... A Scientific Theory is more than just a "theory". When you diminish it as "just a theory" you're actively perpetuating the misinformation that a Theory isn't backed up by a ton of peer reviewed scientific research.

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It is very possible that we live in a multiverse,

This is very possible yes.

 

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 that one full expansion and contraction of the universe constitutes one full turning of the Wheel. 

In all the random interviews Q&A's with RJ that have been recorded over the years, his  various answers regarding the turnings of the Wheel, and Time itself. He's explicitly said that Time is quite Literally cyclical in WoT. There IS no big-bang in his universe, because there are literally no beginnings or endings within the wheel. Evolution as we know it, isn't even really a thing within his universe.

 

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No specific average timespan for an Age exists so it is perfectly possible to have an Age that lasts billions of years while another lasts only a few hundred.

Somewhat true. We are given no specific time span for each age. But if you've read his description of each age being a tapestry, and if you were to look at the tapestry from each age from each turning they might be nearly identical when looking at them side by side from a distance. But if you get up real close, you'll see different color threads throughout. This implies that each age, within each turning is probably very similar in time-span, at least from the perspective of the serpent. 

 

On 8/15/2020 at 5:41 PM, Harldin said:

The general consensus is that RW is Earth in another Age but is it?

The easiest way I look at it is this.

It's "Earth" but it is not Earth. 
Time operates in a completely different way.

How the universe, Galaxy, Sol System, and Earth came into fruition are completely different. Evolution, biology, it's all different but similar.

 

The stories Thom tell both "could" have happened, and been just like our earth in his universe. Or they could have just been fun Easter Eggs like a certain little Dusty Inn.

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7 hours ago, SinisterDeath said:

... A Scientific Theory is more than just a "theory". When you diminish it as "just a theory" you're actively perpetuating the misinformation that a Theory isn't backed up by a ton of peer reviewed scientific research.

 

Thank you.  That was just the point I would have made.  Here's another thing about those "theories".  Every feature of human technology, all of the things that we can do, including contributing to this discussion with others scattered around the globe in more-or-less real-time, depends on those "theories" being almost entirely right.  Is there stuff missing?  Sure.  But there's virtually no chance that what's missing is going to radically alter our understanding of the natural world.  Particularly the nature of things like entropy and the Conservation Laws.  You can do the math yourself to calculate the amount of energy released by, say, dropping an entire continent 100 feet so that it's now underwater.  Or lift a new mountain range several thousand feet out of flat prairie.  It's the same math that's used to build your car, or design the heat-sink in your computer.  Even the creation of Dragonmount should have boiled away the nearby river and left the plain it grew out of a sea of magma that would take tens of thousands of years to cool off enough to be tolerable.

 

And it's possible that our universe is cyclical.  Even Big Rip scenarios for the death of our universe in the vastly distant future typically preserve the possibility of some kind of quantum fluctuation spawning in a new Universe in a new Big Bang.  But that kind of circularity is almost certainly not what Jordan is after.  After all, the myths becoming legends which are themselves "long forgotten" by the time the Wheel turns to that Age again suggests there's someone around to do the forgetting.  A universe that begins in a Big Bang, goes through stellar evolution, the origins of life, and the biological evolution of sapient species, is gonna have a very long period of time where there's no one around to forget anything.

 

The healthiest thing is just to accept that the Wheel of Time is fiction, and that the affectation that it's some far-flung future/distant past of our world is sort of neat, but not at all necessary for the suspension of disbelief required to enjoy the stories.  Jordan loved his fans to engage in theory-crafting, and that particular tidbit only serves to motivate that.  It's not an important part of the plot, or the world-building more generally.  And I strongly suspect that a big reason Jordan didn't monetize the hell out of his world by allowing other authors to "play" in it is just so that all those little throw-away vagaries he sprinkled in to motivate theory-crafting didn't get undermined and fans could continue to cuss and discuss over them forever.  After all, we're still arguing about what happens when someone balefires themselves through their own Gateway.

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On 8/26/2020 at 6:59 PM, Thrasymachus said:

Here's another thing about those "theories".  Every feature of human technology, all of the things that we can do, including contributing to this discussion with others scattered around the globe in more-or-less real-time, depends on those "theories" being almost entirely right.  Is there stuff missing?  Sure.  But there's virtually no chance that what's missing is going to radically alter our understanding of the natural world.  Particularly the nature of things like entropy and the Conservation Laws

 

Well, there's actually one thing that could actually (potentially) "radically alter our understanding" of Conservation Laws, and that is the solution to whatever the heck Dark Energy is, because that already seems like it may be violating them on a Universal scale.

 

As to the rest, no, WoT doesn't take place in our world's future, but in the future of a parallel Earth. That Earth is one of the seemingly infinite (but not quite infinite) parallel worlds accessed via Professor Burrough's "continua device" in Robert Heinlein's The Number of the Beast. Those who have read that book see why that is totally obvious and makes perfect sense. Those who don't should read the Wikipedia article, or better yet, read the book.

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I think we're trying too hard if we're trying to work in real-world cosmology and evolution into The Wheel of Time. Randland is set on Earth. But obviously it's a fictional, mythological alternative history in which we suspend our disbelief. Everything going on is the origin of Norse mythology with Tyr, Thor, Odin, etc.... And it's also at the same time Ragnarok. Plus other mythological/religious/legendary motifs are worked in.

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Eh, even with Dark Energy, the conservation of energy can still hold.  You just have to generalize "energy" to be defined as "that which does work," which in a sense, it already is, though we typically categorize the various types of energy as "kinetic," "potential," "chemical," and so forth.  That and allow spacetime itself to be a thing which has energy.  Which is to say, allow spacetime itself to do work.  Particle interactions under General Relativity don't conserve energy under changing spacetime, unless spacetime is conceived as a thing which can do work on the particles, and on which work can be done by the distribution of matter and energy within it.

 

And I don't want to imply that modern science has learned all there is to learn, and just has a few gaps and details to fill in.  There are some deep questions that still have to be answered, and those answers may lead to new and astounding technologies.  But those discoveries will add to and go beyond what we've already learned.  Just as Einstein didn't overthrow Newton; he went beyond Newton to a place where Newton's theory broke down and either gave their own singularities/infinities, or just gave wrong answers.  The room for the sorts of revolutionary discoveries/theories that prove wrong basic understanding of the events of everyday life, like Lavoisier's discovery of oxygen that overthrew the phlogiston model of combustion, or Hook's discovery of the cell, leading to the "cell>tissue>organ>organism" model of animal physiology that supplanted the Hippocratic/Galen model of the four humours, is all but non-existent.  There's some room for that in high-energy physics and deep cosmology, but any such revolution there would still have to reproduce all the predictions and explanations already provided by the currently accepted theories that have been experimentally verified.

 

That's one of the advantages of science as an error-seeking and self-correcting process.  The big, obvious errors, the ones with the biggest potential for being radically wrong,  are spotted and corrected first.  And since we've been doing this science thing for a while now, and have gotten pretty good at it in the last couple hundred years, most of the errors left are smaller, more subtle ones, unlikely to require a complete overhaul of the theory which commits them, often requiring no more than a tweaking of parameters or possibly the addition of a nearly-always negligible term.  Even Einstein's revolution over Newton falls more into the latter camp, as the v^2/c^2 term he added to Newton's equations of motion is nearly always negligible.

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If the Earth is flat(been proved beyond all doubt by the Flat Earth🤡🤪😂 on YouTube)does that mean all the fictional worlds created in fantasy are Flat too?

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19 hours ago, Harldin said:

If the Earth is flat(been proved beyond all doubt by the Flat Earth🤡🤪😂 on YouTube)does that mean all the fictional worlds created in fantasy are Flat too?

No a fictional world can be a sphere 🤪😂🤣, and they can say the planet pulls everyone to it so the people on the bottom don’t fall off.

 

Theories, fell like quoting Feynman here, theories can never be proved right, they can only be proved wrong.

Conservation of energy may be with us forever, but lots of scientific observations contradict Big Bang and the Cyclic theories. 
 

As to water levels changing, a land mass doesn’t always have to move. Climate change can lead to growing glaciers sequestering water out of the oceans. The land bridge that existed between Britain and Europe was contemporary to the mile high glaciers over the US Midwest.

 

Far Madding can’t exist tho, because it would turn into another Sodom, Salt Lake, or Salton sea. 

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  • 3 months later...
On 8/26/2020 at 8:32 AM, SinisterDeath said:

The easiest way I look at it is this.

It's "Earth" but it is not Earth. 
Time operates in a completely different way.

How the universe, Galaxy, Sol System, and Earth came into fruition are completely different. Evolution, biology, it's all different but similar.

Couldn't it be the same planet with a different model of time or is that not possible? The amount of intelligence in the topic is huge and I could only minimally understand what most of the stuff here meant. I still haven't read A Memory of Light so if there are any spoilers just try your best to keep them out. Thanks!

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On 8/26/2020 at 10:54 AM, Robert Laurel said:

I remember seeing a map that the two continents were joined by a long peninsula at the equator.

Do you recall which book that was?

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11 hours ago, Rissanen said:

Couldn't it be the same planet with a different model of time or is that not possible? The amount of intelligence in the topic is huge and I could only minimally understand what most of the stuff here meant. I still haven't read A Memory of Light so if there are any spoilers just try your best to keep them out. Thanks!

Well... I did say think of it like "it Is Earth, but not Earth". Similar to how the Earth in Avatar, Blade Runner, Alien(s) is Earth, but not our Earth. Randland's Earth shared some of our history (probably diverged in the early 90s), and those fragments still exist as myths and legends within Randland.

I don't get too hung up on these similarities, and view them more as "Easter Eggs", then anything actually relevant to the main plotline.

There are many that get so sucked up into the mythos of WoT, that it's easy people to forget that this is a work of fiction, set in a a sci/fantasy setting. Rand the Dragon reborn & The Dark One don't actually exist within our reality within our future/past.

 

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This is one of those interesting threads where it turns out that the topic isn't really Wheel of Time, per se, but the Wheel of Time plays a useful role as an example in a discussion about the nature of knowledge and science.

 

The reason why Randland can't be "the same planet with a different model of time" is because models aren't reality, they're just representations of reality.  Think of it like a map.  If I were to draw you a map to my house, there's lots of little ways that someone else can come along and change or improve my map.  They can do things like add locations of gas stations or other landmarks along the way.  They can re-draw it so that the distances between the things drawn on the map are spaced out in a way more precisely accurate to the way they're actually spaced out in real life.  They could translate it into another language.  Or they could use different symbols to represent things like distance.

 

But there are also things they can't change.  If, for example, my map indicates that my house is three miles west of some landmark along a particular road, and someone else came along and changed the map to indicate that my house was three miles east of that landmark, along a completely different road, then that new map would be completely useless as a tool to use to try to get to my house.  Indeed, it would no longer even be a map to my house, and if you tried to use it to get to my house, you'd get lost.  What it wouldn't do is move my house.

 

For Randland to be "the same planet" as ours, it's "map of time" would have to be substantially the same as our map.  It could have the kinds of improvements I mentioned earlier, marking events (landmarks) that are different than ours, or improving the accuracy of their positions.  But it can't fundamentally change the "locations" of things that are in both maps. 

 

A model of circular or cyclical time is even more problematic that that, though.  Imagine I asked you to draw me a map to your house such that it didn't matter whether I held the map right-side up or upside down, it would still work to get me there.  Your reply would, or at least rightly ought to be, that you can't.  In order for such a map to work, we would have to live in a world where it wouldn't matter if you turned left or right, a world where there was no difference between left and right.  But we don't live in that world.  If you were to hand me a sheet of paper with some symbols drawn on it, claiming that it was a map to your house, and that it didn't matter which way I held the map, it would still work, I would be able to conclude one of two things: either you live in a world wholely unlike mine in some pretty fundamental ways, or you're crazy and just handed me a sheet of nonsense. 

 

Cyclical time has a similar problem.  If you were to draw a circle, and put two points on that circle, you wouldn't be able to tell me which point on the circle comes before the other one.  It would depend on where you started, and which direction along the circle you went, and even if we stipulated the direction, it would still depend on where you started.  A circle has no natural beginning point (there are no beginnings to the Turning of the Wheel).  Cyclical time has no way to distinguish between before and after.  There's also the problem of how to distinguish between the same event on different cycles, or more generally, how to count cycles.  All of this gets very deep, and implicates even the nature of causality itself.

 

RJ, perhaps cleverly, gets around this metaphysical and philosophical problem by stipulating that in his world, time isn't really cyclical, (though he would probably object to that phrasing).  Events in subsequent Turnings don't really repeat, they just rhyme very strongly.  Events aren't really the same in each Turning of the Wheel, it can just be made to look the same if you if ignore a bunch of details.  There are differences between Turnings such that you can distinguish them, you just have to look for those small differences in detail, and therefore you can have "befores" and "afters." There still have to be some cyclical things, of course.  We can't keep turning iron into cuendillar and not expect to run out of iron, after all, unless there is some cyclical process that removes the cuendillar and refreshes the iron somehow.  But time itself isn't cyclical, even in the Wheel of Time.

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Yeah, that's a pretty good way to view it. I doubt that RJ and BS had put that much effort into making  Randland's timeline converge with our Earth's timeline.

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Blood and ashes, that's the longest post I've seen yet! 

3 minutes ago, Thrasymachus said:

This is one of those interesting threads where it turns out that the topic isn't really Wheel of Time, per se, but the Wheel of Time plays a useful role as an example in a discussion about the nature of knowledge and science.

 

The reason why Randland can't be "the same planet with a different model of time" is because models aren't reality, they're just representations of reality.  Think of it like a map.  If I were to draw you a map to my house, there's lots of little ways that someone else can come along and change or improve my map.  They can do things like add locations of gas stations or other landmarks along the way.  They can re-draw it so that the distances between the things drawn on the map are spaced out in a way more precisely accurate to the way they're actually spaced out in real life.  They could translate it into another language.  Or they could use different symbols to represent things like distance.

 

But there are also things they can't change.  If, for example, my map indicates that my house is three miles west of some landmark along a particular road, and someone else came along and changed the map to indicate that my house was three miles east of that landmark, along a completely different road, then that new map would be completely useless as a tool to use to try to get to my house.  Indeed, it would no longer even be a map to my house, and if you tried to use it to get to my house, you'd get lost.  What it wouldn't do is move my house.

 

For Randland to be "the same planet" as ours, it's "map of time" would have to be substantially the same as our map.  It could have the kinds of improvements I mentioned earlier, marking events (landmarks) that are different than ours, or improving the accuracy of their positions.  But it can't fundamentally change the "locations" of things that are in both maps. 

 

A model of circular or cyclical time is even more problematic that that, though.  Imagine I asked you to draw me a map to your house such that it didn't matter whether I held the map right-side up or upside down, it would still work to get me there.  Your reply would, or at least rightly ought to be, that you can't.  In order for such a map to work, we would have to live in a world where it wouldn't matter if you turned left or right, a world where there was no difference between left and right.  But we don't live in that world.  If you were to hand me a sheet of paper with some symbols drawn on it, claiming that it was a map to your house, and that it didn't matter which way I held the map, it would still work, I would be able to conclude one of two things: either you live in a world wholely unlike mine in some pretty fundamental ways, or you're crazy and just handed me a sheet of nonsense. 

 

Cyclical time has a similar problem.  If you were to draw a circle, and put two points on that circle, you wouldn't be able to tell me which point on the circle comes before the other one.  It would depend on where you started, and which direction along the circle you went, and even if we stipulated the direction, it would still depend on where you started.  A circle has no natural beginning point (there are no beginnings to the Turning of the Wheel).  Cyclical time has no way to distinguish between before and after.  There's also the problem of how to distinguish between the same event on different cycles, or more generally, how to count cycles.  All of this gets very deep, and implicates even the nature of causality itself.

 

RJ, perhaps cleverly, gets around this metaphysical and philosophical problem by stipulating that in his world, time isn't really cyclical, (though he would probably object to that phrasing).  Events in subsequent Turnings don't really repeat, they just rhyme very strongly.  Events aren't really the same in each Turning of the Wheel, it can just be made to look sort of cyclical if you if ignore a bunch of details.  There are differences between Turnings such that you can distinguish them, you just have to look for those small differences in detail, and therefore you can have "befores" and "afters." There still have to be some cyclical things, of course.  We can't keep turning iron into cuendillar and not expect to run out of iron, after all, unless there is some cyclical process that removes the cuendillar and refreshes the iron somehow.  But time itself isn't cyclical, even in the Wheel of Time.

Blood and bloody ashes, that's the longest post that I have ever seen. Anyways, yeah that does make sense. Although, doesn't the Horn of Valere call back heroes the have been in every Turning of the Wheel, doesn't the Dark One always comeback, which signifies the end of one Turning, and Bridgette is always reunited with her husband, Gaidal Cain?

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That is far from the longest post I've made here.  :P. I don't even think it's as long as one of the previous ones in this thread.

 

You can arbitrarily mark any point in a circle to be the beginning, but that's the point, it's arbitrary.  Keep going around the circle, and you'll come back to the very same point.  Which means that any event in a cyclical time is both before and after itself.  Which makes "before" and "after" meaningless, as terms used to distinguish events in time.  Which happened first, Rand's epiphany on Dragonmount, or his walking down the Quarry Road with Tam and Bela pulling a cart with Tam's brandy and cider in it?  It depends on where you start.  If you start where the books do, the latter comes first.  If you start from where Semirhage captures Rand with the Sad Bracelets and makes him kill Min, then keep going through the end of the Third Age, through the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh, then continue through the First, Second and most of the Third, Rand's epiphany comes first.

 

The Horn of Valere calls back the Heroes of the Horn.  We know that there are about a hundred of them.  And we know that it's possible to join their ranks, as Noal did.  So it must be possible for some Heroes to leave their ranks in some manner, else in infinite Turnings of the Wheel, there'd be a lot more than a hundred Heroes, there'd be an infinite number of Heroes, or at least, everybody would be a Hero.  It seems that the Horn calls back the current Heroes, those regarded as such in myth, legend and dreams, which is fitting as they reside in the World of Dreams.  If they are forgotten, no longer dreamed or thought about, then their souls likely just go back to where everybody else's soul goes as it awaits the hope of rebirth. 

 

What RJ has said about the Turnings of the Wheel is that the Pattern created by different Turnings are like different pattern rugs that, from a distance, seem identical, but that when viewed up close, are completely different in detail.  The confrontation between the Dragon and the Dark One does seem to be something built into the Turning of the Wheel, but we have no idea whether different Turnings even have a Birgitte or Gaidal, let alone whether they are always reunited.

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1 hour ago, Thrasymachus said:

Events aren't really the same in each Turning of the Wheel, it can just be made to look the same if you if ignore a bunch of details.  There are differences between Turnings such that you can distinguish them, you just have to look for those small differences in detail, and therefore you can have "befores" and "afters." 

Another way to explain this; Photo Collage/Mosaics.
Bruce Springsteen Photo Mosaic Print Art 8x10" Print Only

The Details are interesting, but largely irrelevant to the full picture.

Also: In WoT, Time is literally circular/cyclical. Source: Theoryland
No big bang, no evolution. Just the ever present Universe/world that Exists for eternity.
image.thumb.png.87c7b0fd13b30110bf1f27935d9fed83.png

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RJ's sort of making a conceptual mistake here, and a bit of an historical one as well.  The Greeks didn't so much invent linear time as point out the inconsistencies  and errors involved in thinking of time itself as circular, as opposed to thinking of the things happening in time as cyclical.  And this is the conceptual mistake RJ's making.  The very first thing he says in this quote, "if you think of history being in a loop, then time must be in a loop," is quite false.  We know of many things that happen that are periodical, or cyclical in their appearance.  From the cycle of day to night, to the seasons of the year, or the simple swinging of a pendulum.  The development of human civilization and knowledge could easily be among them.  So too could be the very laws of physics and the operation of the forces of causation itself.  The periodicity of things in time has no bearing on whether time itself is linear or circular.

 

Further, it's precisely because each Turning of the Wheel has differences in detail that one can distinguish subsequent Turnings from prior Turnings.  Those differences make the whole thing an eternal and infinite line, not a circle.  Just a line where certain segments of a certain size bear astounding similarity to an infinite number of other segments of the same size that are pi times the diameter of the Wheel away.  Grant me the infinite knowledge of all the details of every Turning of the Wheel, or at least the means to discover enough of them, and then give me two arbitrary Turnings of your choice, distinguished by those differences in detail, and I will always, at least eventually, be able to place them such that one comes before the other, and be correct.  Circular time demands an absolute identity between the Turnings, and those differences destroy the absoluteness of that required identity.

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1 hour ago, Thrasymachus said:

Further, it's precisely because each Turning of the Wheel has differences in detail that one can distinguish subsequent Turnings from prior Turnings.  Those differences make the whole thing an eternal and infinite line, not a circle.  Just a line where certain segments of a certain size bear astounding similarity to an infinite number of other segments of the same size that are pi times the diameter of the Wheel away.  Grant me the infinite knowledge of all the details of every Turning of the Wheel, or at least the means to discover enough of them, and then give me two arbitrary Turnings of your choice, distinguished by those differences in detail, and I will always, at least eventually, be able to place them such that one comes before the other, and be correct.  Circular time demands an absolute identity between the Turnings, and those differences destroy the absoluteness of that required identity.

I think of it more as a very tight spiral, like a slinky. It continues to bend around itself in the same general pattern, but each time around is just a fraction different from the last one.

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1 hour ago, Thrasymachus said:

Further, it's precisely because each Turning of the Wheel has differences in detail that one can distinguish subsequent Turnings from prior Turnings.  Those differences make the whole thing an eternal and infinite line, not a circle.  Just a line where certain segments of a certain size bear astounding similarity to an infinite number of other segments of the same size that are pi times the diameter of the Wheel away.  Grant me the infinite knowledge of all the details of every Turning of the Wheel, or at least the means to discover enough of them, and then give me two arbitrary Turnings of your choice, distinguished by those differences in detail, and I will always, at least eventually, be able to place them such that one comes before the other, and be correct.  Circular time demands an absolute identity between the Turnings, and those differences destroy the absoluteness of that required identity.


The above image I quoted, the second question is relevant towards cyclical vs linear time. I'll quote it below.

Quote

Q: So, the sun will never go nova, will never die?
A: In this Universe, no.


Here I read that as RJ confirming, that in the WoT Universe, the Sun will never go Nova.
 

To me this means the fundemental laws of physics are completely different. That the WoT universe is "eternal". There is no Big Bang, no evolution from microbes to sentient life.

In RJ's WoT Universe, all of reality was created at some irrelevant point in one age or another and as far as anyone knows, the world/universe has always existed, and will forever exist as long as the DR wins the "last battle". (I personally think the last battle and the "moment of creation/creator sealing the dark one" are the same event.)

As an aside:

There are parallels to the above, and some beliefs I've heard some Christians espouse in regards to justifying that earth is really only "6000 years old".
They expressed that idea like this:.

"6000 years ago, God created everything, both the past and the present. So those dinosaur bones may scientifically say they are X millions of years old, but they're really only 6000".
 

17 minutes ago, Elder_Haman said:

I think of it more as a very tight spiral, like a slinky. It continues to bend around itself in the same general pattern, but each time around is just a fraction different from the last one.

This is similar to how I view it as well.

It's like that mosaic picture above.
It doesn't matter if we use pictures of the same subject to make a bigger picture. We could do it with dogs/cats, thousands of other people, or even other artwork. The larger canvas would look relatively the same regardless of the details.

The last book highlights the role of chaos/order in the wheel/pattern. 

As long as the WoT universe has both chaos and order, people will largely have free will, while being guided to fit the larger canvas.

If there was no Chaos, WoT would be a 100% deterministic universe with no freewill.
If there was no Order, WoT would be 100% anarchist universe, with no rules and ultimately destruction of all things.

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