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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Rand World isn’t Earth


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Topologically speaking, a spiral is the same "shape" as a line.  A circle isn't, though.  If I were to take an infinitely long line, I could pass that line through a single point on the spiral/slinky, just like I could with another line.  If I tried to do that on a circle, it would always pass through another point on that circle.

 

And obviously Randland's physics are different than ours.  Not just insofar as the sun never going nova, but in lots of other ways as well.  That's sort of irrelevant, though.  Physics isn't what makes time linear.  What makes time linear is the possibility of ordering events in time into "befores" and "afters." It's metaphysics, not physics.

 

And I was hoping someone would bring up the possibility of a sort of transcendental weaving of the Pattern, such that the Wheel in a sense weaves all the Turnings in a way that's outside temporal ordering, such that Turnings could be both simultaneous and sequential (just as God is said to have created dinosaur bones 6000 years ago to be millions of years old).  The problem this raises is how do we, in principle, link up the transitions from one Turning's Seventh Age to the next Turning's First Age?  And if the Turning of the Wheel was itself temporally transcendental, then wouldn't it be equally valid to say that Time isn't cyclical, it's still linear, and that the Wheel spins out all possible Turnings at once, and at the same time?

 

This is why I say RJ was making a sort of conceptual mistake, here.  And it's not really an uncommon one, or one that's obvious to avoid.  The mistake is in thinking that when the Greeks came along with their linear time, that that's just another way of thinking about time.  The Greeks didn't just come up with a competing model of time, that one would be free to choose its rival.  They showed that the very idea of circular time is impossible, that it always involves some inconsistency in the very idea of it.  It either can't be distinguished, in principle, from a finite length of linear time, or it makes ordering events in time nonsensical, and thus impossible.  And it is because we can order events in time that we are even aware that there is such a thing as "time."

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5 hours ago, Rissanen said:

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

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?

You clearly haven't seen some of my monstrosities! Talk about "Wall of Text." I took lessons in verbosity from Jordan, and oft put them to good use 😎.

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28 minutes ago, Thrasymachus said:

Topologically speaking, a spiral is the same "shape" as a line.  A circle isn't, though.  If I were to take an infinitely long line, I could pass that line through a single point on the spiral/slinky, just like I could with another line.  If I tried to do that on a circle, it would always pass through another point on that circle.

 

And obviously Randland's physics are different than ours.  Not just insofar as the sun never going nova, but in lots of other ways as well.  That's sort of irrelevant, though.  Physics isn't what makes time linear.  What makes time linear is the possibility of ordering events in time into "befores" and "afters." It's metaphysics, not physics.

 

And I was hoping someone would bring up the possibility of a sort of transcendental weaving of the Pattern, such that the Wheel in a sense weaves all the Turnings in a way that's outside temporal ordering, such that Turnings could be both simultaneous and sequential (just as God is said to have created dinosaur bones 6000 years ago to be millions of years old).  The problem this raises is how do we, in principle, link up the transitions from one Turning's Seventh Age to the next Turning's First Age?  And if the Turning of the Wheel was itself temporally transcendental, then wouldn't it be equally valid to say that Time isn't cyclical, it's still linear, and that the Wheel spins out all possible Turnings at once, and at the same time?

 

This is why I say RJ was making a sort of conceptual mistake, here.  And it's not really an uncommon one, or one that's obvious to avoid.  The mistake is in thinking that when the Greeks came along with their linear time, that that's just another way of thinking about time.  The Greeks didn't just come up with a competing model of time, that one would be free to choose its rival.  They showed that the very idea of circular time is impossible, that it always involves some inconsistency in the very idea of it.  It either can't be distinguished, in principle, from a finite length of linear time, or it makes ordering events in time nonsensical, and thus impossible.  And it is because we can order events in time that we are even aware that there is such a thing as "time."

Hard to argue with a lot of that. I will say this though.

 

1) It's entirely possible that the "ends" of that infinitely long spiral connect, thereby creating an infinite convoluted loop.
 

2) We're viewing this from am outsider perspective looking in. RJ's interviews imply circular/cyclical time, and while RJ was definitely fallible and probably made conceptual mistakes, those are largely irrelevant to this piece of fiction. 😉

We can argue the metaphysical semantics of an infinitely linear time line that looks like a spiral that ultimately resembles a circle until we're all blue in the face. But ultimately, this is a work of fiction that has non-sense impossible physics & metaphysic rules that won't/can't work in reality. (Or break down entirely when you go through the logical ramifications)

Regardless, even if we were to go with a "strict" circular flow of time, in a deterministic no-free will WoT universe, having a sense of "before and after" would still work due to the fact that information is lost, and humanity is allowed to perceive time in "one" direction. Making it irrelevant whether us the outside viewer, or his "creator" views time in all "directions".

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22 minutes ago, Thrasymachus said:

Time isn't cyclical, it's still linear, and that the Wheel spins out all possible Turnings at once, and at the same time?

Take your "line" and then make your line a spiral with each turn around adding a dimension of verticality to the line. The only thing that makes this linear - as opposed to cyclical - is that the end points of the spiral never connect. 

 

But why can't that spiral also be an endless loop? The end points may never actually connect, but they chase one another so closely that there is almost no perceptible difference between the beginning point and the end point. It's in that small gap between beginnings and endings that Rand battles the Dark One.

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Why not something like this. It doesn't have to be 3 dimensional. A helix-like shape. The dots represent time converging. The colored lines represent two Turnings. The should be much more than 2 colored lines. Apologies for my shitty drawing skills, I'm using a mouse.image.thumb.png.419aa4520b22858c3e2e71985d47b416.png

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If you connect the ends, then you make it a topological circle.  And once you do that, you inherit all the conceptual problems that we've already gone over regarding cyclical time. 

 

And your second point, Sinister, is the point I've been making, probably badly, all along.  It's an affectation of the world-building that Randland is some far-flung future and past to our own.  Reams of fanon have been written trying to take that seriously and work out how that can be the case.  But it's an affectation we can't really take that seriously, because at least that aspect of the metaphysical structure of RJ's world is formally incoherent.  Drill down deep enough, take it seriously enough, and it stops making sense.  Because it is fundamentally incoherent at the deepest levels, it must be fictional, and therefore cannot be the same as "our world." None of that has any real implications for the enjoyment of that fiction, though.  Nobody's really asking anybody to take it that seriously or drill down that deeply into the coherence of RJ's metaphysics for his world.  As I noted a long time ago, RJ himself had some advise regarding the temptation to do so, involving distracting oneself with amorous canines of the German Shepherd variety.

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The sun isn’t a problem so long as on a long enough scale, the entire universe can collapse and regenerate via Cyclic Universe, very much in line with cyclic time.

As to the factuality of our time line, we merely chose to represent time as a line, it need not be so. If you project our travel thru space, we are actually spinning around the center of the planet, while flying thru space around a star as that star moves around the galactic core. Think of a spring that has 365 coils for every 360 degrees it travels around the sun, but that is a helix following the traveling star. 

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9 hours ago, Jsbrads2 said:

The sun isn’t a problem so long as on a long enough scale, the entire universe can collapse and regenerate via Cyclic Universe, very much in line with cyclic time.

As to the factuality of our time line, we merely chose to represent time as a line, it need not be so. If you project our travel thru space, we are actually spinning around the center of the planet, while flying thru space around a star as that star moves around the galactic core. Think of a spring that has 365 coils for every 360 degrees it travels around the sun, but that is a helix following the traveling star. 

Except RJ basically implied that the Sun & by extension the Earth are eternal. There can't be a big crunch if the sun never fails.

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Even if that were true, then you still have 10 billion years. Besides aliens could be secretly be removing helium and adding hydrogen from the other side of the sun, but that is too Ankmorpork universe.

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It's not really a choice to represent time as a line, versus a circle.  Just like it's not really a choice to represent the natural numbers as "linear" rather than circular.  Numbers keep getting bigger as you go, there's never a point where it wraps back around and a googleplex plus one becomes zero, just like time keeps on getting later and later, there's never a point where "later" becomes "earlier." And motion through space or periodic events are not time.  We can use those things to measure time, but how we measure is not what we measure.  It's easy to make those mistakes, though.

 

As fun as theory-crafting in the WoT is, there comes a point where you just have to throw in the towel and stop trying to make it all make perfect sense, so you can get down to just enjoying the story and appreciate the vast room the world-building gives us for theory-crafting, as long as it's not taken too seriously or too far.

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Perhaps the theory of time being circular isn’t physics based, but a sociological and spiritual theory.

much like the representation of history being a series of swings to one extreme followed by a swing in the opposite direction, world populations can follow a similar pattern.

Example, Collectivism and it’s inevitable failure has happened many times thru history (Marx didn’t invent Marxism). So the exasperated description of “here we go again!” doesn’t refer to a repetition in time, but the failure of people to learn from history sufficiently distant to them (be that hundreds of years or a mere few decades). 

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1 hour ago, Jsbrads2 said:

Perhaps the theory of time being circular isn’t physics based, but a sociological and spiritual theory.

much like the representation of history being a series of swings to one extreme followed by a swing in the opposite direction, world populations can follow a similar pattern.

Example, Collectivism and it’s inevitable failure has happened many times thru history (Marx didn’t invent Marxism). So the exasperated description of “here we go again!” doesn’t refer to a repetition in time, but the failure of people to learn from history sufficiently distant to them (be that hundreds of years or a mere few decades). 

I would say that Jordan's work was entirely spiritual. He certainly didn't care about whether his metaphysics could be squared with any sort of real world physics.

 

The spiritual basis of his work draws heavily from eastern religion and philosophy. Starting from that philosophical underpinning, he then takes from mythology all over the world (heavily Scandinavian/Norse) and harmonizes the mythology with the philosophy.

 

On this level, it's more interesting (for me) to talk about WoT's commentary on dualities and the nature of humanity than to worry about whether it should be considered cannon that Rand World is Earth.

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The notion that the cyclical representation of time is merely sociological cycles doesn't square with other aspects of the canon, though.  Harid Fel, for instance, would be wholly unjustified in his reasoning about the Bore, its original conditions and its patch job.

 

And it is, of course, canon that the WoT takes place in the distant future, and distant past, of Earth.  We have Word of Jordan verification of that.  The fact remains, though, that that canon is not really possible.  And it's not merely because the physics and knowledge we posses are wholly incompatible with the physics and knowledge possessed in Randland, but because the metaphysics of Randland is not really possible.  Even if we discounted the canon of Randland being a future/past state of Earth, the rest of the canon of that world is conceptually and physically impossible. 

 

Randland can't exist, not as a possible world in some other universe in the infinite multiverse, not even as an engineered creation.  But that's fine, because Randland is fiction, and fiction can do all kinds of impossible things, with a little help from the suspension of disbelief.  Fiction can have square circles and people living backwards through time, and entropy decreasing without increasing it elsewhere, or whatever other impossible thing you want.  But our ability to say or write impossible things has no bearing on our ability to actually conceive those things or for them to possibly be.

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My argument is actually much stronger than that.  Randland can't possibly be Earth because Randland is not a possible world at all.  It's not just its physics or cosmology that's incompatible with ours, its own physics and cosmology, as relayed in both the text and through WoJ interviews, is fundamentally incoherent.  Still entertaining, though.

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5 minutes ago, Thrasymachus said:

My argument is actually much stronger than that.  Randland can't possibly be Earth because Randland is not a possible world at all.  It's not just its physics or cosmology that's incompatible with ours, its own physics and cosmology, as relayed in both the text and through WoJ interviews, is fundamentally incoherent.  Still entertaining, though.

Must have missed that. But yes, entertaining.

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Came up with the solution to destroy cuellindar. The Dark One can destroy cuellindar. Also it is possible that if it is subsumed into the liquid core of the planet, the extreme pressure and heat combined with nuclear radiation can create a solution in which it can slowly over time dissolve.

As to God, I don’t claim that there can never be a possible scientific answers to resolve the Four/Five Big Bangs, but for now, science seems to indicate these things couldn’t have happened.

1. The Big Bang required such a precise magnitude of energy to create our universe 3 separate cosmologists are now positing our universe was created, one of them is trying to say it in a way that it doesn’t sound like God. 
2. 10^-32 seconds after the Big Bang, the temperature of the universe was non homogenous. That also seems to indicate a supernatural interference in the way our universe formed.

3. Life. While evolution can explain some of the diversity of life (and perhaps not other) the creation of the first life seems to require outside help.

4. Human psychology is unique and may require explanation.

5. Moral thought seems even counter productive at times and its formation may have required interference to exist.

While true that Panspermia just pushes off the problem, it makes life and evolution more likely if the original life could have started 12 billion years ago from even simpler building blocks. Then advanced slower for billions of years before starting the DNA project which resulted in our relatively rapid formation of life from seemingly complex and less reducible building blocks. 

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1.  Those cosmological constants, so far as we know, could have been anything.  But if they were anything else, we wouldn't be here to wonder about it.  Invoking a creator isn't necessary.  We just won a game of chance.

 

2. That's explained by quantum noise being blown up and spread out through the expansion of spacetime in the early universe.

 

3. The creation of life is less a theoretical mystery than it is a practical one.  The precise sequence of events and chemical precursors involved are still being investigated, but we have a pretty good idea of how it could have happened, and made a lot of the individual steps necessary in the lab to generate life from a chemical soup.

 

4. Human psychology is due to evolution and the unique social situation and adaptations early humans and their ancestors lived in.  The subjective character of our experience is not different in kind than, say, a dog's or a starfish's.  But where a dog is unaware of the symbolic nature of a stimulus, humans are (or are capable of becoming) aware of just that by including among those meanings of what is percieved a peculiar social character.  Our social adaptation is to operate under the assumption of an intentional, motivated personality for all the objects of which we are aware, and "negotiating" with them on that basis.  We symbolically "take their perspective" in figuring out how to deal with things, and that tendency redounds back upon ourselves.

 

5. Morality is a result of 4.  By being aware of ourselves, we are able to manipulate our own behavior, similarly to the way we'd manipulate the behavior of our prey, or the behavior of one of our social group members.  Thus we become aware of our ability to choose, and the question of "what ought I to do" becomes both possible for us to ask, and meaningful for us to ponder.

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19 minutes ago, Thrasymachus said:

1.  Those cosmological constants, so far as we know, could have been anything.  But if they were anything else, we wouldn't be here to wonder about it.  Invoking a creator isn't necessary.  We just won a game of chance.

 

2. That's explained by quantum noise being blown up and spread out through the expansion of spacetime in the early universe.

 

3. The creation of life is less a theoretical mystery than it is a practical one.  The precise sequence of events and chemical precursors involved are still being investigated, but we have a pretty good idea of how it could have happened, and made a lot of the individual steps necessary in the lab to generate life from a chemical soup.

 

4. Human psychology is due to evolution and the unique social situation and adaptations early humans and their ancestors lived in.  The subjective character of our experience is not different in kind than, say, a dog's or a starfish's.  But where a dog is unaware of the symbolic nature of a stimulus, humans are (or are capable of becoming) aware of just that by including among those meanings of what is percieved a peculiar social character.  Our social adaptation is to operate under the assumption of an intentional, motivated personality for all the objects of which we are aware, and "negotiating" with them on that basis.  We symbolically "take their perspective" in figuring out how to deal with things, and that tendency redounds back upon ourselves.

 

5. Morality is a result of 4.  By being aware of ourselves, we are able to manipulate our own behavior, similarly to the way we'd manipulate the behavior of our prey, or the behavior of one of our social group members.  Thus we become aware of our ability to choose, and the question of "what ought I to do" becomes both possible for us to ask, and meaningful for us to ponder.

Man. What I wouldn’t give for a dose of whatever makes you so certain. My philosophy is much closer to “Fear of The Lord is the beginning of Wisdom...”

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On 8/26/2020 at 12:54 PM, Robert Laurel said:

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

 

17 hours ago, Robert Laurel said:

The Great White Book?

This is the map.
There is no long peninsula at the equator connecting Randland with Senachan... 
Unless you're specifically talking about the Seanchan continent having several long peninsula's that juust barely touch.
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Just to be a bit of a pedant, a peninsula doesn't connect two bodies of land.  That would be an isthmus.  A peninsula is surrounded by water on three sides.  There's a clue to what it looks like in the first four letters of that word.

 

Oh, and I also cannot see the image.  Though if memory serves, the Seanchan continent roughly lines up to where the Americas would be, but if someone took big gouges and holes out of them.  Though it would seem that what would be the Atlantic, now the Aryth Ocean, has expanded, while the Pacific has shrunk.

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4 minutes ago, SinisterDeath said:

Works fine for me. Here's a link if you still can't see the image. It's from the BWB.

Weird. I still just get an icon.

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1 hour ago, Thrasymachus said:

Just to be a bit of a pedant, a peninsula doesn't connect two bodies of land.  That would be an isthmus.  A peninsula is surrounded by water on three sides.  There's a clue to what it looks like in the first four letters of that word.

Yep. I said "just barely touch", because the map is fairly low quality, even in the BWB. I cannot be 100% certain that some of those land masses are true peninsula, while others probably are.

 

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