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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Serving the Great Lord is morally OK?


Shaidar
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Hello all. Have finished KoD a week or so ago after taking a 4 yr break from WoT, have lurked a bit on the forum and have come up with a nice theory.

 

 

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Serving the Great Lord is morally OK? Or how I learned to stop worrying and love Ishamael.

 

This is a rather long theory so let us break it up into several parts, which we will consider separately.

 

1) What is the Wheel of Time?

a) it doesn't exist

b) it is finite

c) it is infinite

 

2) Can the DO break free in principle?

a) yes

b) no

 

3) What will happen if he does?

a) destruction of the Wheel and total oblivion

b) 'Dark Ages' where the world is full of evil and a good 'Creator' figure takes the DO's place, while the DO becomes non-interventionist.

c) linear time with neutral people - neither utopia nor dystopia, aka our own world, where the DO, in breaking his prison, is forced to become non-interventionist.

d) dystopian linear time where the Shadow covers and the land and evil reigns.

 

After outlining possible paths, I will consider the morality of serving the DO.

 

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The Wheel of Time is the mechanism which weaves human lives, soulthreads, into the Pattern which forms the substance of reality for each Age, as defined by RJ. I can't remember whether an 'Age' is ever defined, but let us consider it as the periods on a time graph when the DO's power peaks before being checked. The purpose of the Wheel is to keep the DO imprisoned. The evidence for its existence is overwhelming, and if noone objects I'll exclude 1a straight away.

 

Now we will consider several logical paths from the above.

 

1) If it is assumed that the DO cannot break free in principle, then the whole question of what will happen if he does becomes moot. What this means is that the Wheel of Time is woven in such a way as to exclude the possibility of the DO being freed. The Creator (there almost certainly is one for a universe with such an artificial cosmology, as the chances of it evolving by chance approach zero) is an omniscient being, outside of Time, who works the loom and can gaze into the future via a time graph, being outside of Time. The loom in general maintains order and harmony within the fabric, which is a circular garment, despite the savage creature within which tries to tear itself out of it at one point while the garment spins around it. Every time the fabric comes around again, it is changed slightly by the loom. If the Creator notices the yarn becoming chaotic, spangled and ripped further on, It will take actions to remedy the problem in time. Spew out ta'veren and Heroes in an emergency. Radically increase ta'veren powers as needed. If the savage creature has nearly poked its ugly head out of the garment, smother it over with chance. The Dragon is prostrate at Moridin's mercy and the DO is moments from being free. Moridin has a change of heart, procures the Choedan Kal and seals the Bore with Rand and their new best buddy Semirhage. An impossible scenario, but less so than the DO getting free, which is ABSOLUTELY impossible. Another consequence is that it makes no difference as to whether there have been infinite or finite turnings, 1c or 1b. Given enough turnings, with legend fading to myth fading to nothing, it makes no meaning to the observers, DO and humans, trapped alike within the Wheel, their fates, eternally or otherwise, dependent on the Creator's whim.

 

Hence consider I) 1? - 2c - moot

 

 

2) Let us consider 1c, that the Wheel has seen infinite turnings (something implied by the books - there are 'neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the WoT'). Also let us assume that 2a, ie that the DO can break free in principle. But in this case, HOWEVER low the probability of this happening in any particular Age, it WILL happen eventually given an infinite number of turnings.

 

The DO explicitly states as his intention to slay the Great Serpent, which can lead to either 3a - what Ishamael apparently believes, 3d - which the Forsaken and Darkfriends hope for i.e. eternal dominion. However, if the Wheel has been turning infinitely long, these possibilities are impossible. 3c is not possible for the same reasons.

 

Hence the only path from here is to 3b. The Age of Legends is described as being close to utopia. Hence its likely in such a situation that the world will become a dystopia, but like the AoL with no interventionist deities. However, there is a need for a good imprisoned Creator figure who swaps places with the DO. (Otherwise, 3b becomes equivalent to 3d). Now you have the swap. Persecuted Lightfriends trying to free the Creator.

 

Hence consider II) 1c - 2a - 3b

 

3) Let us assume 1b, the Wheel of Time has been spun a finite number of times, and that the DO can break free in principle, ie 2a. In such a scenario, 3a, 3b, 3c and 3d are all possible. Let us label these paths:

 

III) 1b - 2a - 3a

IV) 1b - 2a - 3b

v) 1b - 2a - 3c

VI) 1b - 2a - 3d

 

And consider them in turn.

 

III) If the DO can break free, no matter how low the probability, eventually he will in a finite number of rounds/Ages/game sessions. If that results in eternal oblivion for the soul pool - no more threads available to be occupied - well that's just too bad, but inevitable.

 

IV) There will be a series of Dark Ages. This is identifical to II, except that here the Wheel turnings are finite instead of infinite. However, this point is moot since no observer inside the Wheel, at least in the AoL, would have been able to tell. So we shall consider IV equivalent to II.

 

V) The DO breaks free, creating linear time. However, since he is now outside Time, he is no longer able to influence the world. It becomes essentially like ours in its cosmology, governed by (ever accelerating) evolution.

 

VI) The DO breaks free, and his presence permeates linear time. The Creator is unable or unwilling to contain him. (Note that in both situations, if the Creator WERE to intervene and put the Dark One back in, it would be equivalent to I, and if the Creator and DO were to swap places, it would be equivalent to II, the only difference being that the Wheel would have to be patched up, or replaced.) There follows a linear time, also governed by evolution, but heavily influenced, or dominated, by evil.

 

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From the perspective of an educated person within the Wheel, say from the AoL, we have reached a few conclusions on what the actual nature of the Wheel is.

 

I) Slavery

I have a piranha which I keep in an acquarium, ie a prison. Being not very intelligent, and without further information, it doesn't realize that it is a prison. Ultimately, though, it doesn't matter, since if it were to break out, it will not be able to have a proper social life amongst humans. In fact, it would die, unless I throw it back into its acquarium in time, for its own good. I imprison the piranha in an acquarium, nor do I shove my hand into the acquarium, I rather value my fingers. Nor am I evil for enslaving the fish, as I am sure you will all agree. That is another metaphor for the Creator and the DO.

 

But human souls are also enslaved within the Wheel. Yes, they have a measure of free will. They can decide to go right or go left, they can decide whom to marry, can even decide to serve the DO (how else to have a hope of breaking the Wheel?, but in the majority of cases for baser reasons). But they are essentially constrained by the glass walls of the acquarium. In a million reruns of the aforementioned Moridin and Rand scenario, Moridin would keep the Dragon bound and will free the DO. But...he won't. Not in the WoT universe. He will express remorse at the last minute and help Rand seal the Bore. Or he'll slip and break his neck on the grass. Whatever happens, the DO doesn't get free. And Moridin will remain a slave along with the rest of humanity.

 

II, IV) Dark Ages

The WoT is the platform for a finitely or infinitely long battle, or game, between the Creator and the DO. They agree to swap places whenever one of them manages to break out. While we consider the DO to be evil, that is not necessarily so; to play with the Creator implies an intellectual gap between him and us so great as for our concepts of good or evil to be non-applicable to them. Yes, the DO from his influence does exert what we perceive as an evil force - however, maybe the DO is constrained while imprisoned to radiate such a force. Heck, maybe its the rules of the game. In any case, humans within the WoT are still effectively slaves, pawns for higher pleasures.

 

III) Total Oblivion

The inevitable. I believe when Moridin says that 'death holds no fear' for him, this is what he means. It will come sooner or later, and why not appreciate and understand the causes of your own and the world's final demise?

 

V) Earth

Welcome to our world.

 

VI) Dark Earth

Welcome to a world under the Shadow.

 

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Let us step into Elan Morin's shoes. (Note that this is not necessarily what he really thought - really, it is just what I think he might have thought). In the Guide, it says he wrote books with titles like the 'Reality and the Absence of Meaning', etc. Indeed, what was the point of life? You were born, grew up, enjoyed life, had children, grew old and died. Yet civilization was curiously static - an unchanging utopia - despite the fact that the world population then numbered in the billions, was well educated, lived long, healthy and generally happy lives. This is in direct contrast to our civilization, which has had its ups and downs, but in the long run has been growing exponentially in its technological prowess. Agriculture = 10000yrs ago, Industrial Rev = 230 yrs ago, Information Rev = 30 yrs ago. Examples can be provided ad nauseam. But in the AoL, there were no computers. Even if the power infrastructure didn't exist, you can use the One Power. But Aes Sedai, the elite, were extremely conservative. Even mass production didn't really exist for Power appliances - notice how all ang'real/ter'greal are different. The only ones which were made in a sizable batch that we know of are the binding rods.

 

I assume the existence of the Wheel was known in the AoL - after all, they had fragments (myths) about earlier ages, and some people had the voices of their previous life in their heads. Elan had assumed that the Wheel was unbreakable by any means he could imagine. The tyranny of monotony and hence his books with depressive titles. So he was understandably quite excited over the implications arising from the drilling of the Bore and the discovery of an entity which wanted to break free and apparently destroy the Wheel (and remake the world in its own image).

 

He turned to the Great Lord. The DO might even have presented a pleasant face to the world in those early days. Who knows? (If he didn't, wouldn't he have been isolated and cordoned off from civilization while they could?). Elan might not have wanted to become what we understand as evil when he first went to Shayol Ghul, along with the other Forsaken who joined early on, e.g. Lanfear, who in the Aiel history chapter in Shadow Rising was described as once being a pleasant person. But who knows what effects the connection with the DO, the black cords, has on even a decent person's psyche? Until that is known, it is not fair to judge those Forsaken who joined early on, just as we do not judge the mentally unbalanced but seek to cure them. (On the other hand, those who joined late, when the DO's true face was there for all to see, like Sammael and Demandred, don't have this excuse).

 

Why did he turn?

 

Consider the possible outcomes.

 

The DO is defeated. Try again in another life. What is there to lose? In the long run, nothing, and everything (or nothing) to gain.

 

I and II are possible, in which humanity is permanently imprisoned within the Wheel, unable to progress and constantly leaking accumulated knowledge. On the other hand, it is NOT certain that this is indeed the case.

 

If it isn't, then Elan might have imagined himself a fighter for progress. In a world where misery is close to nonexistent, making people unhappy (e.g. by feeding them to Trollocs) might not have seemed particularly bad, considering the bigger picture of breaking the wheel, unbounding Prometheus and eventually reaching a post-singularity civilization capable of simulating its own universes and using them as its playing fields. So utiliarianism, at least for the present day, can be dismissed. And what is the instrinsic value of good, in a world whose Gods are too advanced to be able to even understand the concept, and in a world where it is in such abundance, but where it fails to make progress?

 

But if I and II are really the case, then what's the great evil in leading a life of great evil, if its going to be diluted by so many turnings of the Wheel that observers can't tell whether or not there is an infinite amount of turnings? It's like feeling guilty over shoplifting once in a lifetime of say 77 years which is US life expectancy today.

 

If the result is total oblivion, again, why not? If it CAN happen, it WILL happen, sooner or later. Why not end it and have the satisfaction of seeing your theory come true before your eyes, and to know the REASON for why you and reality fade away into nonexistence on the Day of Return?

 

Same reason for the Dark Earth scenario. It might not be a pleasant world, but it is an INEVITABLE one, in the long run. Why not get yourself a front-row seat? Besides, while the DO is very powerful, he is not necessarily omnipotent even when free. There is a chance that he might be defeated, which I believe was Lanfear's idea with her talk of challenging the DO, and even the Creator, with Rand. Let the DO break the Wheel, then destroy him. If she and Rand using the Choedan Kal wouldn't be able to do it, no-one could. Maybe she didn't love Rand particularly; maybe, she didn't even love power, as such, not in the way LTT accuses her of loving it. She also wants progress, to drive progress, and why not be in the driving seat while you're at it?

 

As for neutral Earth, well, that's where we're at now. Apparently we have complete free will, are bound by purely physical constraints, but are constantly pushing these constraints further and further away via technology. Achieving such a goal is laudable. The Wheel would no longer grind away all previous knowledge, no matter how hard people try to preserve it and expand upon it. Leaving Moridin a lot less frusrated, amongst other things...

 

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So...

 

1) From the point of view of longterm progress, fighting for the Dark One is unequivocally good. Success is highly uncertain, but there is nothing to lose.

 

2) Ultimately, it is also OK from a utilitarian perspective. If you're wrong, in the big scheme of things, later good will balance out today's evil. If you're right, then either all suffering will cease (oblivion), or there will be ever greater opportunities to do good (neutral linear time), as well as bad. Hence an apparently neutral effect from longterm utilitarianism. But then again... progress tends to vastly improve life. In prehistoric hunter-gatherer cultures, life expectancy is in the low 20's and around a tenth of people die violent deaths. Today in advanced industrial countries, life expectancy is 75-82 yrs and the murder rate typically 1-6/100,000. Anarcho-primitivists might argue earlier societies were happier and sustainable, but given the choice I know which period I, and the vast majority of people, will choose to live in. Hence the overall effect might even be somewhat positive.

 

3) It is wrong from the perspective of the Abrahamic religions and their ethics, by which most of us live whether we subscribe to these religions or not. But even here, there are caveats. 1st, Shai'tan probably presented a pleasant image when he was first discovered. Otherwise he'd have been warded off, guarded and resealed, I'd imagine. The first Forsaken who joined him were not necessarily 'evil'. 2nd, religions need their sacrificial scapegoats. Shai'tan (Satan) is one, as is his chief lieutenant Ishamael (Judas Iscariot?). Yes, according to the Bible Jesus was supreme good, Judas supreme baseness. Yet might they not be swapped, because of the former's self-righteousness and latter's vilification in the face of what they had to do? (If Judas doesn't betray Jesus, how is Jesus supposed to die for our sins?). I'm really going off on a tangent here, the point is even from a Judeo-Christian ethics point of view things aren't entirely clearcut.

 

4) Depending upon one's viewpoint, serving the DO (helping him break out) can well be morally good. This is not to say the converse, that serving the Light is bad. It's good from the viewpoint of those who strongly believe in 3). Bad from those who value progress especially high ie 1). An interesting consequence is that in a sophisticated society like that of the AoL these ideas that serving the DO can be justified were more socially acceptable, whereas in today's world Darkfriends are regarded as 'witches' and atheists were seen in our medieval past. Even today there are reflections of this idea in the fact that relative to their numbers, the White Ajah, which concerns itself with philosophical matters, has an unusually high percentage of Black Ajah in their ranks.

 

5) We need a major rethink about the motivations and characters of the Forsaken, above all that of Ishamael, to a lesser extent Lanfear. (Ironic that by this analysis the two most important of the Chosen are also the most sympathetic - if it is indeed the case that they came to the conclusions outlined here).

 

While their crimes while serving the DO are not justifiable in themselves by most ethical systems, they might be if considered as means to a possibly better end. There is also of course the question of whether they can be put on trial, i.e. whether their link with the DO, by affecting their mental state, makes them answerable for their actions. That is certainly the case for Semirhage, who is disturbed and needed psychiatric care long before the Bore was drilled, as did possibly Graendal and Aginor to a lesser extent.

 

The stated excuses for the others are not valid, however, as they were typically based on a desire for power, immortality or some kind of revenge or payback for alleged wrongs. Nonetheless, even in those cases it must be noted that the end they work towards can be considered good, even if by foul means and selfish motivations. The same goes for most Darkfriends and Black Ajah we have encountered so far.

 

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Summary

 

Serving the Dark One, with all that it entails, is not justifiable an an end in itself by most ethical systems. However, doing so with the intention of freeing soulthreads from the tyranny of the Wheel, in the understanding that as far as we know the Dark One is the only entity within the Wheel that MAY have a possibility of breaking and as such should be freed, is justifiable.

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I'll be honest, I haven't completely read your theory and I'm replying partly because I like being the first to reply.. HOWEVER... that said I do like the general gist of your theory with one exception. Whether or not serving the dark one is morally okay the things you'll be asked to do in his service will certainly be morally reprehensible. 

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Well, I suppose I believe option 3a of those you listed (of the 2s, if he cannot get out in theory then isn't the series a bit redundant - Rand fails at TG and Shai'tan goes "HANG ON GUYS. I'LL BE OUT SOON" for the rest of time, and of the 1s, the Wheel exists, but beyond that can we be sure of it being finite or infinite?). Basically, Shai'tan seeks to destroy the Wheel, slay the Great Serpent, and kill time - or at least that's what we are told. I see no reason for him to wish to create linear time, nor do I see any reason why breaking the Wheel would provide said linearity. He doesn't need time at all. Ishy, I believe, knows this and agrees with this. He follows Shai'tan because Shai'tan plans to destroy the world. Ishy's philosophy is nihilistic - he sees the world as meaningless and worthless, and seeks to destroy it for no greater reason than that. He is not a good guy, nor is he acting for the greater good, he is utterly amoral (some people have suggested an "Ishy as anti-hero" understanding of the books, I generally argue against it). It may be possible for someone to become a Darkfriend while believing that Shai'tan will create a world with no freedom, but we haven't seen anyone like that - they all joined for selfish reasons.

 

He turned to the Great Lord. The DO might even have presented a pleasant face to the world in those early days. Who knows? (If he didn't, wouldn't he have been isolated and cordoned off from civilization while they could?). Elan might not have wanted to become what we understand as evil when he first went to Shayol Ghul, along with the other Forsaken who joined early on, e.g. Lanfear, who in the Aiel history chapter in Shadow Rising was described as once being a pleasant person. But who knows what effects the connection with the DO, the black cords, has on even a decent person's psyche? Until that is known, it is not fair to judge those Forsaken who joined early on, just as we do not judge the mentally unbalanced but seek to cure them. (On the other hand, those who joined late, when the DO's true face was there for all to see, like Sammael and Demandred, don't have this excuse).
Shai'tan didn't, from what we know, present a pleasant face to the world. At first people didn't know what they had unleashed, and they didn't know the reason for the Collapse, taking place at the time. Ishy revealed that nature to the world, and caused riots. They couldn't seal him off because, at first they didn't know what they were facing, and when they did they stil didn't know how to stop him - and he had people on his side from then on. All of them joined when His true nature was known about. And if Lanfear was such a good person then why did she join? No-one else involved with the project did, so that should tell you something about her.

 

Basically, there is no reason to assume that the ur-control freak (described by RJ) with a stated goal of destroying the world (from his most loyal servant, among others) has any reson to give anyone greater freedom. His plan is destruction, and ruling what's left, which won't include people or freedom. It may be morally OK to join with Shai'tan if you were stupid enough to believe that any good could come of it, but there is really no reason to believe this, and the acts he requires of his followers are rather immoral by the usual way of looking at these things in these parts. So basically, and ultimately, serving Shai'tan is immoral. Unless you think the destruction of the world is morally OK?

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" The stated excuses for the others are not valid, however, as they were typically based on a desire for power, immortality or some kind of revenge or payback for alleged wrongs. Nonetheless, even in those cases it must be noted that the end they work towards can be considered good, even if by foul means and selfish motivations. The same goes for most Darkfriends and Black Ajah we have encountered so far."

 

 

yes, if this is the type of gathering the DO musters, then it can only be assumed that he is not morally ok. i am quite sure that ish is well aware of this as well.

 

 

 

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dlan4327,

 

"Whether or not serving the dark one is morally okay the things you'll be asked to do in his service will certainly be morally reprehensible."

 

That is certainly true and I've never disputed that. The real question is whether those things balance out the potential good coming from him breaking out.

 

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Mr. Ares,

 

"Well, I suppose I believe option 3a of those you listed ... Basically, Shai'tan seeks to destroy the Wheel, slay the Great Serpent, and kill time - or at least that's what we are told."

 

If we could be certain that this is indeed the case, then there would indeed be little point in serving him unless you are a nihilist like Ishamael. HOWEVER...that is only a BELIEF of yours (and Ishamael's, apparently), whereas in fact its just one of several options.

 

First, the Dark One can lie - he is in fact the Father of Lies. He tells someone like Asmodean that he'll have an eternal life as an esteemed musician; he tells Ishamael that he will slay the Great Serpent. That's what each of them wants to hear.

 

Secondly and more importanly, how can the Dark One know whether he CAN break the Wheel in principle, EVEN if he breaks free? Presumably he has never been free that he can remember. And if he has been, that would make it a 'Dark Ages' scenario and your point would be moot. Maybe the DO will not even have a choice of what to do if he breaks free, instead he's just ejected from Time, making him happy, and leaving that world like our own world, making people happy, at least in the long run. Everybody wins.

 

Thirdly, and this ties in, if he becomes free, we don't know his power then. He need not necessarily be omnipotent. Lanfear thought that with Rand and the Choedan Kal they could take him down. Doesn't make it true, of course, nor does it make it false.

 

Fourthly, don't take anything you read at face value. One Randland catechism is that the Creator imprisoned the Dark One at the moment of Creation along with the Forsaken. If we take it apart, the first part we cannot know, the second part is true and the last part is false.

 

The key point is that we simply don't and arm CANNOT know what the DO can and will want to do for certain and as such all options must be considered.

 

"Shai'tan didn't, from what we know, present a pleasant face to the world. At first people didn't know what they had unleashed, and they didn't know the reason for the Collapse, taking place at the time. Ishy revealed that nature to the world, and caused riots. They couldn't seal him off because, at first they didn't know what they were facing, and when they did they stil didn't know how to stop him - and he had people on his side from then on. All of them joined when His true nature was known about. And if Lanfear was such a good person then why did she join? No-one else involved with the project did, so that should tell you something about her."

 

I think some would have made the link between that spherical building in the air-thing exploding, the drilling of the Bore going wrong and the subsequent Collapse. Shayol Ghul was described as an 'idyllic resort', presumably frequented by tourists and the link; surely someone would have looked at the rising volcano and tunnel and twisting of reality and evil voice on a megaphone and thought, "HEY, maybe we should kinda...you know...seal it off, investigate it, try to cover it up??" Besides, in fantasy it is not unknown for weak evil characters to masquerade as good, until they become strong enough. Heck, Sauron did it, why not Shai'tan?

 

As for those on the project, the only two people we know of from it are Beidomon and Mierin. One joined, one sank into miserable obscrutity, blamed for the disaster. That's 50%, we don't know anything about the others in the team AFAIK.

 

"It may be morally OK to join with Shai'tan if you were stupid enough to believe that any good could come of it, but there is really no reason to believe this, and the acts he requires of his followers are rather immoral by the usual way of looking at these things in these parts. So basically, and ultimately, serving Shai'tan is immoral. Unless you think the destruction of the world is morally OK?"

 

There is no fundamental reason why we should believe one or the other. Rather, we can analyze the POSSIBILITIES, and conclude that:

* if the DO CAN break free in principle, he WILL. What happens after? We can hope it's a world with linear time from which he vanishes, or where we can overpower him, or enslave him but without remaking the Wheel. Or he might destroy the world. The point is, whatever he does do will be INEVITABLE, one Age or another.

* if the DO CANNOT break free in principle, then the Wheel will continue to enslave souls within it for as long as it turns. Then any bad one does will be balanced by good (otherwise the Wheel would not be a stable mechanism), eventually.

IF one could be certain that the DO can't break free, then serving him is indeed morally wrong. You yourself think that such a thing would be anticlimatic for the series. So you consider the the DO indeed can break free. So you must consider ALL the possibilities arising from such a scenario.

 

Lastly, the main mechanism in our world is evolutionary (and not just in the biological sense of the world). Our ideas of what is good and what is evil tie in well so as to allow that mechanism to work better. (An anarchic society with no security, etc will not generate much in the way of technological advanced, for example).

 

The main mechanism of Randland is that of long term balance and cycles. Long periods of stasis (be they at high levels like in AoL or low like today), interrupted and divided by catastrophic change. (The Fourth Age seems like it's going to be 'high' - what with them discovering how to use a steam engine for transport in one year, whereas it took around 130 years in our world to make the same transition from technology to application.

 

But so what? The Fourth Age will also end, probably in a downturn. Perhaps the Fifth Age will have societies fighting with sticks and stones like on the Isle of Madmen. Knowledge will be lost, again. We can be quite certain, I think, that humans never become extinct, if the Wheel is indeed infinitely turning (else how can they still exist), nor do they ever move to an advanced post human stage of civilization, or even mass genetic engineering (same reason - the people we encounter are comparable to our own). So we have an endless up and down oscillation, never gaining anything, or losing anything. So is it really surprising that Ishamael wants to try out something radical? His choices are: a) nothing changes since it can't change, at least not by an agency within Time, b) the Dark One, as is INEVITABLE, breaks free and does (or has done to him) whatever it is that would also have to eventually happen.

 

"yes, if this is the type of gathering the DO musters, then it can only be assumed that he is not morally ok. i am quite sure that ish is well aware of this as well."

 

That's the problem isn't it. There aren't many philosophy types like Ishamael available, so he has to make do with whoever he can get. Which tend to be the disaffected.

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well, the philosophy that ishmael was working on was over 3000 years old, and in his saa induced adiction, that philosophy may have altered over time. i dont believe that ish believes that the DO means to desrtoy the wheel in order to create linear time,to save mankind from "slavery" he never states that. it has been stated, in the books and the reference guide that the DO seeks to destroy the wheel to re-create time and the world in his own dark image.the DO may simply wish to reverse positions with the creater and "imprison" the creater outside the newer darker wheel. maybe this means smurfs and shadow puppets, but i really dont think so.....

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Whether or not serving the dark one is morally okay the things you'll be asked to do in his service will certainly be morally reprehensible.
That is certainly true and I've never disputed that. The real question is whether those things balance out the potential good coming from him breaking out.
What potential good, and what in the text or the authors statements support that any good could come from it?

Well' date=' I suppose I believe option 3a of those you listed ... Basically, Shai'tan seeks to destroy the Wheel, slay the Great Serpent, and kill time - or at least that's what we are told.[/quote']If we could be certain that this is indeed the case, then there would indeed be little point in serving him unless you are a nihilist like Ishamael. HOWEVER...that is only a BELIEF of yours (and Ishamael's, apparently), whereas in fact its just one of several options.
Firstly, there is no full stop after the Mr in my name, and it doesn't need one, so try not to incorrect it. Secondly, and more importantly, it is a belief supported by the books. So is the view hels by the other Chosen. Create linear time, give the world freedom, spend rest of time partying with mortals are all unsupported by the books. And certainly one of those is deluded.

 

First, the Dark One can lie - he is in fact the Father of Lies. He tells someone like Asmodean that he'll have an eternal life as an esteemed musician; he tells Ishamael that he will slay the Great Serpent. That's what each of them wants to hear.
So he lies. Always? Somewhat counter-productive, eh? And can't they come to these conclusins by themselves, independant of His lies?

 

Secondly and more importanly, how can the Dark One know whether he CAN break the Wheel in principle, EVEN if he breaks free? Presumably he has never been free that he can remember. And if he has been, that would make it a 'Dark Ages' scenario and your point would be moot. Maybe the DO will not even have a choice of what to do if he breaks free, instead he's just ejected from Time, making him happy, and leaving that world like our own world, making people happy, at least in the long run. Everybody wins.
You don't need to do something to know that you can do it. You don't need to throw a brick through a window to prove that you can, and I don't need to shoot the PM to know that I could, if I wanted to. Why would ejecting Him from time make Him happy? HE IS A CONTROL FREAK. Why would He be ejected anyway?

 

Thirdly, and this ties in, if he becomes free, we don't know his power then. He need not necessarily be omnipotent. Lanfear thought that with Rand and the Choedan Kal they could take him down. Doesn't make it true, of course, nor does it make it false.
We have seen His power with only a finger free. The ripples in KOD, the decay of food, regardless of keepings, shadoweyes in the Tower despite the wards, the ghosts, the summer. We have seen the tip of the iceberg - and even that could wipe us out.

 

Fourthly, don't take anything you read at face value. One Randland catechism is that the Creator imprisoned the Dark One at the moment of Creation along with the Forsaken. If we take it apart, the first part we cannot know, the second part is true and the last part is false.
Don't take it as automatically false either, unless you have evidence to the contrary.

 

The key point is that we simply don't and arm CANNOT know what the DO can and will want to do for certain and as such all options must be considered.
Control freak god gets free and we can't figure out His plans? Weknow enough - people don't figure into His plans, or at least we have no reason to believe they do.

 

Shai'tan didn't, from what we know, present a pleasant face to the world. At first people didn't know what they had unleashed, and they didn't know the reason for the Collapse, taking place at the time. Ishy revealed that nature to the world, and caused riots. They couldn't seal him off because, at first they didn't know what they were facing, and when they did they stil didn't know how to stop him - and he had people on his side from then on. All of them joined when His true nature was known about. And if Lanfear was such a good person then why did she join? No-one else involved with the project did, so that should tell you something about her.
I think some would have made the link between that spherical building in the air-thing exploding, the drilling of the Bore going wrong and the subsequent Collapse. Shayol Ghul was described as an 'idyllic resort', presumably frequented by tourists and the link; surely someone would have looked at the rising volcano and tunnel and twisting of reality and evil voice on a megaphone and thought, "HEY, maybe we should kinda...you know...seal it off, investigate it, try to cover it up??" Besides, in fantasy it is not unknown for weak evil characters to masquerade as good, until they become strong enough. Heck, Sauron did it, why not Shai'tan?
Why would they make a link between a building blowing up and society Collapsing over the course of the next century. It could be a decade or more before the effects are even noticeable. Did the volcano appear during the Collapse? When? When did Sahi'tan start speaking? Who knew of His exitence beforehand? Who believed in Him? Here's an example: Ishtar. A goddess. How manyt people have heard of her? How many believe in her? If bad things start happening, why would anyone go "Ishtar must be pissed"? Apply to Shai'tan. And as for your Sauron point - we are told about him, we are not told about Shai'tan acting the same. He simply shows up and starts screwing up an idyllic (more or less) society.

 

As for those on the project, the only two people we know of from it are Beidomon and Mierin. One joined, one sank into miserable obscrutity, blamed for the disaster. That's 50%, we don't know anything about the others in the team AFAIK.
RJ says:
As an aside, for those who think that Lanfear was in some way twisted against her will by being involved in drilling the Bore---I have heard the theory advanced---of all those involved in the project, she was the only major figure to go over to the Shadow. She was ripe for the Shadow's plucking long before the Bore was drilled.
So, not quite right on my part, no major figures went over.

 

It may be morally OK to join with Shai'tan if you were stupid enough to believe that any good could come of it, but there is really no reason to believe this, and the acts he requires of his followers are rather immoral by the usual way of looking at these things in these parts. So basically, and ultimately, serving Shai'tan is immoral. Unless you think the destruction of the world is morally OK?

There is no fundamental reason why we should believe one or the other. Rather, we can analyze the POSSIBILITIES, and conclude that:

* if the DO CAN break free in principle, he WILL. What happens after? We can hope it's a world with linear time from which he vanishes, or where we can overpower him, or enslave him but without remaking the Wheel. Or he might destroy the world. The point is, whatever he does do will be INEVITABLE, one Age or another.

We have no reason to believe that Mr control freak god will create linear time for our benefit, nor will He set us free, and every reason t believe that humanity will not be playing a part in what comes next.

* if the DO CANNOT break free in principle, then the Wheel will continue to enslave souls within it for as long as it turns. Then any bad one does will be balanced by good (otherwise the Wheel would not be a stable mechanism), eventually.
Wheel doesn't enslave souls.

IF one could be certain that the DO can't break free, then serving him is indeed morally wrong. You yourself think that such a thing would be anticlimatic for the series. So you consider the the DO indeed can break free. So you must consider ALL the possibilities arising from such a scenario.
I think if he couldn't break free anyway, then all the struggle in the series towards preventing his escape is pointless, and thus so is the series. Just think, if LTT had said "let them try and free Him, He can't get out the series would have been shorter but less of a waste of time than He can't get out after 12 books trying to stop Him regardless of their efforts (not the same as can't get out because rand & co. stop him). I consider that Shai'tan can break free. I consider all likely scenario's arising from that, and the 2 most likely are: 1, He is a creature of absolute chaos, and will destroy everything and will rule because nothing can challenge Him, and 2, He is a creature of absolute order, and He will rule every last particle of matter absolutely and there will be no people and no will but His own. I prefer the second, but ultimately there is very little difference - either way the world gets broken up into little pieces and there are no people. Both of these are true to His character and actions. If you have a better interpretation that fits the evidence, then please post it.

 

Lastly, the main mechanism in our world is evolutionary (and not just in the biological sense of the world). Our ideas of what is good and what is evil tie in well so as to allow that mechanism to work better. (An anarchic society with no security, etc will not generate much in the way of technological advanced, for example).
The Wheel is evolutionary as well, outside of the biological sense (and possibly inside as well). Certainly progress is possible.

 

The main mechanism of Randland is that of long term balance and cycles. Long periods of stasis (be they at high levels like in AoL or low like today), interrupted and divided by catastrophic change. (The Fourth Age seems like it's going to be 'high' - what with them discovering how to use a steam engine for transport in one year, whereas it took around 130 years in our world to make the same transition from technology to application.
The Wheel is our world in the future/past, and as such is no more inclined to stasis and catastrophic change than our own.

 

But so what? The Fourth Age will also end, probably in a downturn. Perhaps the Fifth Age will have societies fighting with sticks and stones like on the Isle of Madmen. Knowledge will be lost, again. We can be quite certain, I think, that humans never become extinct, if the Wheel is indeed infinitely turning (else how can they still exist), nor do they ever move to an advanced post human stage of civilization, or even mass genetic engineering (same reason - the people we encounter are comparable to our own). So we have an endless up and down oscillation, never gaining anything, or losing anything. So is it really surprising that Ishamael wants to try out something radical? His choices are: a) nothing changes since it can't change, at least not by an agency within Time, b) the Dark One, as is INEVITABLE, breaks free and does (or has done to him) whatever it is that would also have to eventually happen.
It could be that people evolve into something else and evolve back, or other turnings have non-humans instead, and we evolve again, and are wiped out. Everything is possible. And they can progress, they can change, just within the confines of certain structures. If Ishy doesn't like the world, the polite thing to do would be kill himself, not destroy the world.

 

yes' date=' if this is the type of gathering the DO musters, then it can only be assumed that he is not morally ok. i am quite sure that ish is well aware of this as well.[/quote']That's the problem isn't it. There aren't many philosophy types like Ishamael available, so he has to make do with whoever he can get. Which tend to be the disaffected.
Why don't normal non-disaffected types want to join if he is such a force for good?

 

Oh, and Shaidar, author quote to support my control freak assertation:

He…dislikes…things that happen outside his control or not at his order. Call him the ur-control freak.
It's an extract from the TOR question of the Week' date=' archived at WOTmania. http://www.wotmania.com/faqtopic.asp?ID=152. It's week 9 of the third and final set of questions.

 

 

well, the philosophy that ishmael was working on was over 3000 years old, and in his saa induced adiction, that philosophy may have altered over time. i dont believe that ish believes that the DO means to desrtoy the wheel in order to create linear time,to save mankind from "slavery" he never states that. it has been stated, in the books and the reference guide that the DO seeks to destroy the wheel to re-create time and the world in his own dark image.the DO may simply wish to reverse positions with the creater and "imprison" the creater outside the newer darker wheel. maybe this means smurfs and shadow puppets, but i really dont think so.....

Nice to know someone has their head screwed on straight. And what could be more evil than smurfs and shadow puppets? *shudders*
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Mr Ares (without the dot),

 

"What potential good, and what in the text or the authors statements support that any good could come from it?"

 

The current system is essentially neutral, where in the long run good must balance evil so that the whole system can be stable. By freeing the DO, there is a chance the Wheel may be broken. The long term consequences of that will be bad (the DO rules forever), neutral (reality breaks down) or good (the DO vanishes, or is destroyed).

 

There is nothing specifically in the texts to support it, but you must bear in mind that the series is written from the POV's of the protagonists whose knowledge, and breadth of worldview, is extremely limited. Had we been reared from the cradle to fight against the Shadow with its nasty Trollocs and Fades its unlikely that we'd even want to consider the possibility of the DO winning.

 

"Firstly, there is no full stop after the Mr in my name, and it doesn't need one, so try not to incorrect it."

 

Yikes calm down! I wasn't trying to 'correct' it, I copied it incorrectly!

 

"Secondly, and more importantly, it is a belief supported by the books."

 

But still a belief. The books are not infallible.

 

"So he lies. Always? Somewhat counter-productive, eh? And can't they come to these conclusins by themselves, independant of His lies?"

 

There are no definitive conclusions to come to because of their lack of knowledge. If I were in WoT, deciding whom to serve would be determined by how dear, respectively, I hold deontological ethics vis-a-vis consequentilist. Deontology favors the Light; consequentialism favors the Shadow.

 

I am not saying the DO always lies. Maybe what he says to Ishamael is true, what he says to Asmodean is not; maybe its the other way round. Maybe he himself doesn't know.

 

"You don't need to do something to know that you can do it. You don't need to throw a brick through a window to prove that you can, and I don't need to shoot the PM to know that I could, if I wanted to. Why would ejecting Him from time make Him happy? HE IS A CONTROL FREAK. Why would He be ejected anyway?"

 

Uh well not really. The analogy falls flat on its face. What if its a superstrong bulletproof kind of window? And no, I really doubt you'd be able to shoot the PM even if you really wanted to. Maybe once out of fifty theoretical attempts.

 

If he is ejected from Time, he can create his own custom universe where the Shadow reigns, and weave his own Dark Pattern. One which allows no free will, ie independent agents.

 

Why would he be ejected? Well, why not? Being inside the Wheel, he cannot know all the details of its operation. That is only a privelege of its maker, who we designate Creator.

 

"We have seen His power with only a finger free. The ripples in KOD, the decay of food, regardless of keepings, shadoweyes in the Tower despite the wards, the ghosts, the summer. We have seen the tip of the iceberg - and even that could wipe us out."

 

How do you know it's a finger? Why not already a hand, or even an arm? (Moiraine was saying it was a finger way back in tEOTW, after all). Old wards might have failed, but we see that new ones still work.

 

Besides, what could be more challenging, more life affirming, than challenging a freed Dark One himself?

 

"Fourthly, don't take anything you read at face value. One Randland catechism is that the Creator imprisoned the Dark One at the moment of Creation along with the Forsaken. If we take it apart, the first part we cannot know, the second part is true and the last part is false.

 

"Don't take it as automatically false either, unless you have evidence to the contrary.""

 

Erm, well it IS partly false in that the Forsaken were imprisoned rather recently, in the big scheme of things. Certainly not at the moment of Creation. (Well, theoretically that's also possible but let's no go there for now). And it IS true that at some point, the Dark One was SOMEHOW imprisoned.

 

---------------------------------------------

 

I concede the point about the Bore drilling, society collapsing and the Dark One being evil at the start and attracting bad apples from the start.

 

But ultimately my aim is not to 'rehabilitate' the Forsaken.

 

It is about serving the DO for purely philosophical reasons, and why from the point of view of consequentialist ethics it is not a bad choice.

 

---------------------------------------------

 

We have no reason to believe that Mr control freak god will create linear time for our benefit, nor will He set us free, and every reason t believe that humanity will not be playing a part in what comes next.

 

Been covered about. And I repeat another thing again. SOONER or LATER, the DO breaking free, assuming he can, is INEVITABLE. Why prolong?

 

Wheel doesn't enslave souls.

 

Not in a direct sense, but in the sense than an acquarium enslaves a fish (or even an ocean, for that matter). I.e. it limits horizons.

 

I think if he couldn't break free anyway, then all the struggle in the series towards preventing his escape is pointless, and thus so is the series.

 

Well in a literary sense - OF COURSE, you are correct. BUT, we are not considering this from a literary sense.

 

consider that Shai'tan can break free. I consider all likely scenario's arising from that, and the 2 most likely are: 1, He is a creature of absolute chaos, and will destroy everything and will rule because nothing can challenge Him, and 2, He is a creature of absolute order, and He will rule every last particle of matter absolutely and there will be no people and no will but His own. I prefer the second, but ultimately there is very little difference - either way the world gets broken up into little pieces and there are no people. Both of these are true to His character and actions. If you have a better interpretation that fits the evidence, then please post it.

 

1) it's inevitable, if the DO can break free, 2) however strong your belief in the above interpretation, you must concede that there exists a chance, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, that the DO will vanish, or can be vanquished.

 

And I've been trying to outline my 'interpretation' for...well...pages now.

 

The Wheel is evolutionary as well, outside of the biological sense (and possibly inside as well). Certainly progress is possible.

 

While there exist evolutionary processes, they are OVERRIDEN by much stronger cyclical processes. So what if you have another AoL? It will be followed by an ASS. (Age of Sticks and Stones). LONG TERM progress IS impossible because, being a balanced system, the WoT works on the principle of one step forwards one step back, each being of equal probability. They cluster to a mean and to move the mean upwards is impossible.

 

The Wheel is our world in the future/past, and as such is no more inclined to stasis and catastrophic change than our own.

 

The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that it is. Our world is almost certainly not run on the same principles as WoT, no matter how many times RJ references Mosk and Merk and the Mercedes sign.

 

It could be that people evolve into something else and evolve back, or other turnings have non-humans instead, and we evolve again, and are wiped out. Everything is possible. And they can progress, they can change, just within the confines of certain structures. If Ishy doesn't like the world, the polite thing to do would be kill himself, not destroy the world.

 

I suppose that's theoretically possible (but what are the chances of this particular turning having agents that resemble us so closely?). But the point about truly LONG TERM progress being impossible stand.

 

Killing himself would solve nothing for Ishamael. He will still be subject to the same cycle of death and rebirth. He seeks to escape it permanently.

 

Why don't normal non-disaffected types want to join if he is such a force for good?

 

Because the DO's 'essence' attracts bad apples. And a few overthinking madmen/women.

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Another thing to ponder... The Creator is present in NAME only in the books - there is never a mention of so much as a divine presence - unless it is embracing the source - and even that is not a possibility for everyone, only those who can channel. The Dark One plots, plans, and if we believe the Forsaken, makes promises to his followers so they end up fighting each other while jockeying for position, but the Creator is absent in the machinations of fighting the Dark One. Believing He is good and that serving Him is the right thing to do are largely matters of faith. So, if He were imprisoned, would He send forth legions of ponies, smurfs and hushpuppies? Or would He leave it to the good folk of Randland and their faith to free Him?

 

(My original response to this thread was going to be... Whoa! Dude!)

 

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Mr Ares (without the dot),

it's called a full stop. And you can always refer to me as "the Ancient and Wise Mr Ares", "Mr Ares, Hero of the Revolution", "the Glorious and Wonderful Mr Ares, Light of our Existence" and so on. Or not, it's your choice.

 

"What potential good, and what in the text or the authors statements support that any good could come from it?"

The current system is essentially neutral, where in the long run good must balance evil so that the whole system can be stable. By freeing the DO, there is a chance the Wheel may be broken. The long term consequences of that will be bad (the DO rules forever), neutral (reality breaks down) or good (the DO vanishes, or is destroyed).

 

There is nothing specifically in the texts to support it, but you must bear in mind that the series is written from the POV's of the protagonists whose knowledge, and breadth of worldview, is extremely limited. Had we been reared from the cradle to fight against the Shadow with its nasty Trollocs and Fades its unlikely that we'd even want to consider the possibility of the DO winning.

yes, the series is written from the protagonists' (and antagonists') POVs, and some sections are not written from the POV of anyone in particular. Various characters on the side of the Shadow have POVs, and they are able to speculate on what might happen. But basically you admit that my view is supported, and yours isn't, and so it is reasonable to assume that something with some sort of support in the text is a better bet than something with no support in the text whatsoever - essentially, your theory exists solely within the confines of your own mind, mine exists within the covers of the book.

 

"Firstly, there is no full stop after the Mr in my name, and it doesn't need one, so try not to incorrect it."

 

Yikes calm down! I wasn't trying to 'correct' it, I copied it incorrectly!

Some people could do with learning when I am, and when I'm not, being entirely serious. But if you make the same mistake again, I will kill you. (That's a serious bit.)

 

"Secondly, and more importantly, it is a belief supported by the books."

 

But still a belief. The books are not infallible.

No, but something in the books is supported by evidence, and a theory supported by evidence is better than rampant speculation with nothing to back it up.

 

"So he lies. Always? Somewhat counter-productive, eh? And can't they come to these conclusions by themselves, independant of His lies?"

 

There are no definitive conclusions to come to because of their lack of knowledge. If I were in WoT, deciding whom to serve would be determined by how dear, respectively, I hold deontological ethics vis-a-vis consequentilist. Deontology favors the Light; consequentialism favors the Shadow.

 

I am not saying the DO always lies. Maybe what he says to Ishamael is true, what he says to Asmodean is not; maybe its the other way round. Maybe he himself doesn't know.

They can make educated guesses based on evidence (that word again), which, while not necessarily correct, will at least have a bit more going for them than the rantings of some lunatic, backed up by nothing. And if Shai'tan doesn't always lie, then He sometimes tells the truth, and if someone agreed with His plans before they joined Him, they when lie? If we accept that someone is capable of discovering Shai'tan's plans, and that person is capable of agreeing with them then it would be counterproductive to lie, and Elan Morin seems more capable of figuring out Shai'tan's plans than anyone else we have seen. He could still be wrong, of course. But at least we have evidence supporting his viewpoint, we don't have any evidence to support the breaking of the Wheel instituting linear time, as opposed to simply ending time, which has more going for it. Again, while anyone could be wrong, even Ishy, why assume he is when we have evidence for his view but we don't have any for your view. And if were in the WOT, who I served would depend on whether or not I wished to stay alive, if I could be bothered to fight, and various other practical considerations.

 

"You don't need to do something to know that you can do it. You don't need to throw a brick through a window to prove that you can, and I don't need to shoot the PM to know that I could, if I wanted to. Why would ejecting Him from time make Him happy? HE IS A CONTROL FREAK. Why would He be ejected anyway?"

 

Uh well not really. The analogy falls flat on its face. What if its a superstrong bulletproof kind of window? And no, I really doubt you'd be able to shoot the PM even if you really wanted to. Maybe once out of fifty theoretical attempts.

 

If he is ejected from Time, he can create his own custom universe where the Shadow reigns, and weave his own Dark Pattern. One which allows no free will, ie independent agents.

 

Why would he be ejected? Well, why not? Being inside the Wheel, he cannot know all the details of its operation. That is only a privelege of its maker, who we designate Creator.

My analogy does not fall flat on its face, unless you start adding ridiculous objections. You do not need to do something to know that you can. You can usually see, at a glance, if glass has been reinforced enough to be bulletproof, and you can judge for yourself whether you can throw a brick through it. And as for shooting the PM, doubt away. The point still stands. We could try a different analogy, but what would be the point? I could say "you don't need to walk to the bottom of your garden to know that you can", but you could always come back with "I'm a cripple" or "I don't have a garden" or "I could die of a heart attack halfway there". They are ridiculous objections.

 

If He were unable to destroy the Wheel, why would He give up on His plans to get at it and destroy it? Seriously, He has spent a long time waiting to get His hands on creation, so He is supposed to just give up and  make another one despite that fact that HE IS AN ABSOLUTE CONTROL FREAK, WHO, TO QUOTE THE AUTHOR (EVIDENCE, AGAIN) "He…dislikes…things that happen outside his control". Did you get it that time? Here it is again, with big scrolling letters:[move]He…dislikes…things that happen outside his control[/move]If He doesn't like things beyond His control (dislike being an understatement) then why would He be happy with something beyond His control, and just bugger off elsewhere? Either you didn't read the quote or you didn't think it through. Another uiverse is not enough while this one exists.

 

As for Shai'tan being ejected from time for reasons that are not entirely clear despite there being no evidence that this is even possible, and despite the fact that He is currently sealed away from the Wheel, not within it. And why can only the Creator know how it all works? Why can't Sahi'tan know this as well? EVIDENCE please. You have been lacking in it to this point, so I don't hold out a lot of hope.

"We have seen His power with only a finger free. The ripples in KOD, the decay of food, regardless of keepings, shadoweyes in the Tower despite the wards, the ghosts, the summer. We have seen the tip of the iceberg - and even that could wipe us out."

 

How do you know it's a finger? Why not already a hand, or even an arm? (Moiraine was saying it was a finger way back in tEOTW, after all). Old wards might have failed, but we see that new ones still work.

 

Besides, what could be more challenging, more life affirming, than challenging a freed Dark One himself?

We don't even know that Shai'tan has fingers, but probably not. "Finger" serves. And remember, only the tip of the iceberg. Only a tiny part of what He can do. Old wards fail, but why? Because of Shai'tan. His power is getting shadoweyes into the Tower despite the wards. Who else can do that? The wards remain intact, they just don't work. As for the second part, nothing could be more challenging than challenging a free Shai'tan, because nothing could be more challenging than the impossible. No man could stand against Him - even Rand. What could be more life affirming? I don't know, what could be life affirming than certain death at the hands of a control freak god?

 

"Fourthly, don't take anything you read at face value. One Randland catechism is that the Creator imprisoned the Dark One at the moment of Creation along with the Forsaken. If we take it apart, the first part we cannot know, the second part is true and the last part is false.

 

"Don't take it as automatically false either, unless you have evidence to the contrary.""

 

Erm, well it IS partly false in that the Forsaken were imprisoned rather recently, in the big scheme of things. Certainly not at the moment of Creation. (Well, theoretically that's also possible but let's no go there for now). And it IS true that at some point, the Dark One was SOMEHOW imprisoned.

See, evidence. We have evidence that part of it is false, so we treat it as false. We have no evidence that the rest is, so we do not treat it as false, although we may be wary of it. We still need evidence.

 

---------------------------------------------

 

I concede the point about the Bore drilling, society collapsing and the Dark One being evil at the start and attracting bad apples from the start.

 

But ultimately my aim is not to 'rehabilitate' the Forsaken.

 

It is about serving the DO for purely philosophical reasons, and why from the point of view of consequentialist ethics it is not a bad choice.

It is a bad choice, except from a point of view of no morals, no ethics, just a desire for armageddon. If all you want is the end of the world, then serving Shai'tan is OK, otherwise it is bad, as that is what it will lead to.

 

---------------------------------------------

 

We have no reason to believe that Mr control freak god will create linear time for our benefit, nor will He set us free, and every reason to believe that humanity will not be playing a part in what comes next.

 

Been covered about. And I repeat another thing again. SOONER or LATER, the DO breaking free, assuming he can, is INEVITABLE. Why prolong?

Unwillingness to die? Isn't that the reason we carry on anyway? Given enough time and enough chances Shai'tan will win. Doesn't mean you want Him to. "Rage, rage, rage, against the dying of the light". Give it long enough and you will die. Why not throw yourself under a bus now, it will save a lot of time. Is that the right thing to do from a standpoint of "consequentialist ethics"? Of course, if you tried that you would never make it to my age, and would miss out on a lot.

 

Wheel doesn't enslave souls.

 

Not in a direct sense, but in the sense than an acquarium enslaves a fish (or even an ocean, for that matter). I.e. it limits horizons.

Then everything is a slave because nothing has unlimited horizons, except possibly the universe and my ego.

 

I think if he couldn't break free anyway, then all the struggle in the series towards preventing his escape is pointless, and thus so is the series.

 

Well in a literary sense - OF COURSE, you are correct. BUT, we are not considering this from a literary sense.

"We" are not considering this at all. I am, and you are making some sort of point about consequentialist ethics and not needing to bother providing any evidence at all to support your point because anyone in the series can be wrong, while neglecting the fact that those outside can be as well, but it is generally considered better to put forward some evidence to support your view.

 

consider that Shai'tan can break free. I consider all likely scenarios arising from that, and the 2 most likely are: 1, He is a creature of absolute chaos, and will destroy everything and will rule because nothing can challenge Him, and 2, He is a creature of absolute order, and He will rule every last particle of matter absolutely and there will be no people and no will but His own. I prefer the second, but ultimately there is very little difference - either way the world gets broken up into little pieces and there are no people. Both of these are true to His character and actions. If you have a better interpretation that fits the evidence, then please post it.

 

1) it's inevitable, if the DO can break free, 2) however strong your belief in the above interpretation, you must concede that there exists a chance, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, that the DO will vanish, or can be vanquished.

 

And I've been trying to outline my 'interpretation' for...well...pages now.

It may be inevitable. It mat be that time will reset and He will never get a chance. And I do consider the minute possiblity that neither of the scenarios will ever come to pass. But if He is to vanish, then why? If He is to be vanquished, then why? EVIDENCE! SUPPORT YOUR BELIEF! You have not been supplying evidence. You have merely outlined something that may perhaps possibly have a slight chance of being the correct interpretation. Consider this: some supporter of intelligent design puts forward a view backed by evidence to support it. Some Darwinist responds with "evolution may perhaps possibly happen, but I'm not going to support that in any way with any evidence because the evidence could be wrong". Even if evolution makes more sense and has more evidence then the ID supporter wins the argument because he puts forward evidence to support his claim. Another Darwinist then puts forward all the evidence for evolutino and wins, because he has more and better evidence than the opposition. You are the first Darwinist here. I am either the second Darwinist or the IDist, depending on who is winning the argument (note the aforementioned big ego. Also, I've just been reading Science of Discworld III, which is about Darwin, hence that particular analogy). And don't say you have been arguing for pages when the argument is still on page 1. Wait until at least page 2. And lastly, PROVIDE SOME EVIDENCE. I asked for a better theory that fit the evidence, you failed to provide, and claimed that you had already been doing so. Not good.

 

The Wheel is evolutionary as well, outside of the biological sense (and possibly inside as well). Certainly progress is possible.

 

While there exist evolutionary processes, they are OVERRIDEN by much stronger cyclical processes. So what if you have another AoL? It will be followed by an ASS. (Age of Sticks and Stones). LONG TERM progress IS impossible because, being a balanced system, the WoT works on the principle of one step forwards one step back, each being of equal probability. They cluster to a mean and to move the mean upwards is impossible.

The evolutionary processes are not overriden, they are by their nature cyclical, which is not quite the same. An AOL will not necessarily always be followed by an AOSAS. It is not one step forward one back, it would be closer to two forward, one back. Progress, long term progress, even, is entirely possible. I can even attempt to find the authors quote on the matter, but that may take a bit of time. He has said that progress is possible. You are talking about something that you do not completely understand here.

 

The Wheel is our world in the future/past, and as such is no more inclined to stasis and catastrophic change than our own.

 

The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that it is. Our world is almost certainly not run on the same principles as WoT, no matter how many times RJ references Mosk and Merk and the Mercedes sign.

The people are the same, and inclined to the same behaviours. Just as our world is in a constant state of flux, so is this world. People discover new things in this world and that, and have periods of relative stasis and rapid change. But neither of our worlds is inherently more inclined to this sort of behaviour than the other, because the people are the same. If you can prove otherwise, then evidence. Maybe our world doesn't have cyclical time, or a Creator, or the OP, etc. The people are the same, and will act in the same way, and if they are in a culture where things are held in relative stasis, then little progress wil be made, but much of Randland isn't in such a culture, and so progress is made, and things do change.

 

It could be that people evolve into something else and evolve back, or other turnings have non-humans instead, and we evolve again, and are wiped out. Everything is possible. And they can progress, they can change, just within the confines of certain structures. If Ishy doesn't like the world, the polite thing to do would be kill himself, not destroy the world.
I suppose that's theoretically possible (but what are the chances of this particular turning having agents that resemble us so closely?). But the point about truly LONG TERM progress being impossible stand.

 

Killing himself would solve nothing for Ishamael. He will still be subject to the same cycle of death and rebirth. He seeks to escape it permanently.

RJ decided to tell a story about humans. Therfore he arranged to tell of a time in his worlds history when it was populated by huans who faced this threat. It could be that the only other times Shai'tan has come close to breaking free there have been no humans, or there have always been humans, or anywhere in between. And your point was knocked down before, long term progress is possible, RJ says so, I will get back to you with the quote, your point just got knocked down again, aren't I wonderful?

 

And as for Ishamael, if he killed himself then his next incarnation  would be unaware of his previous existences, or at least would be no more aware than any other person, and they aren't bothered. Ishamael would have escaped the cycle. His soul wouldn't have, and his next incarnation would probably be OK with no world ending. Ishy is very selfish.

 

Why don't normal non-disaffected types want to join if he is such a force for good?
Because the DO's 'essence' attracts bad apples. And a few overthinking madmen/women.
"Can good people have bad essences?" Discuss. Or how about "Can good celestial superbeings try to wipe out humanity?" Discuss. Look, come back when you have some evidence to support your point, or just admit that it is rampant speculation, backed up by nothing, and is unlikely to be true, and many of your lesser points arte just plain wrong, and hopefully I won't have to get impolite in my attempts to make you see reason - that your "it's morally OK to side with a being that hates independant thought and action and wants to destroy those things, because it will lead to greater freedom" is unsupported, spectacularly unlikely, and just plain wrong. In more ways than one.
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Um, the idea that progress can never happen is absurd.  Healing severed people wasn't possible in the age of legends.  Neither was a lot of stuff our two riverslings and friends have been accomplishing.  Also like mr. ares said, you have no evidence.  = Fail.
Thank you for your support. Unfortunately, you got my name wrong: it's Mr Ares (2 capitals, no full stop). I now have to kill you. It's nothing personal, just give me you address and we can get this over with. I will attempt to make it painless.

 

And Shaidar, I promised a quote, and here it is:

Because the Wheel of Time contains the Dark One’s prison, and the Ages repeat with each revolution, then isn’t humanity itself also imprisoned, unable to truly evolve?

 

No.

http://www.wotmania.com/faqtopic.asp?ID=58

So progress and evolution are possible. And to put one final boot in, while I acknowledge the spectacularly unlikely possibility that some good may come of helping unleash Shai'tan, because the chances of it happening are so very, very slim it can hardly be considered morally justified. Analogy: for the sake of argument, let us presume that there is a tiny possibility that the holocaust would leave us with a better world. Would it be justified to wipe out a race based on that miniscule possibility, that massive improbability? Not really, because it is very difficult to say how or why such a "better" world may be brought into existence by the mere fact of an evil bastard commiting genocide. It could be only considered morally justified if the people commiting the atrocities could say why this better world would spring into existence but they can't so it isn't. In WOT, the most likely outcome of Shai'tan breaking free is only good for him. So it is hardly justified to go along just because He may decide not to destroy the world after all, when there is no reason other than blind chance for such a thing to happen. Morally wrong? Yes!

 

Now, I think that lays this thread to rest. The only question that remains is, should I bother with a victory speech, or not?

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All good points, but basicly it comes down to this.

 

If the DO wins then your decision to follow him was morally ok, if he loses well you made a bad choice and are an evil morally corrupt heathen.

 

And isn't this like the arguemnt in clerks?  Wether it was ok to blow up the death star with all the contractors on it?  Was that murder or by them working on it were they evil and deserved their fate?

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All good points, but basicly it comes down to this.

 

If the DO wins then your decision to follow him was morally ok, if he loses well you made a bad choice and are an evil morally corrupt heathen.

Not really. After all, genocide does not become a more acceptable crime if you're better at it. Shai'tan probably intends to destroy the world. Destroying the world will result in a lot of deaths. Committing atrocities is no more acceptable if you manage to achieve your goal of destroying the world, in fact it is less so, than if you fail. Of course, if Shai'tan wins then no world, so no morality, so it's OK from that perspective. Now, real world analogy - Hitler attempted to exterminate the Jews. Are you saying that the decision of various people to follow Hitler would have been morally right if they had succeeded? Now there's a way to make friends. "The holocaust would have been OK if they had managed to finish the job." I take it you see the flaw in your argument?

 

And isn't this like the arguemnt in clerks?  Whether it was ok to blow up the death star with all the contractors on it?  Was that murder or by them working on it were they evil and deserved their fate?
Not much like it, but they would only be evil if they were aware of what the Empire planned to do with the Death Star, and if they knowingly assisted in building and running a weapon designed for destroying planets, and that it would be used against inhabited worlds. if they didn't know what they were building, or thought it would have a less genocidal application (large scale mining, say) then they wouldn't be evil. Anyone who did know what it was used for, or would be used for is evil. But that is all beside the point.

 

But now, by request from young lou, a Mr Ares victory speech:

"My fellow Dragonmounters. We are fortunate to have great minds among us, who contribute to and futher our understanding of these great books. Occasionally (or a bit more often than that) we are 'treated' to wonderfully ill thought out theories, argued with little evidence, poor reasoning and much passion. We must not let these theories go unchallenged. We must fight them, with all the energy, with all the evidence, with all the reasoning power we have, until these people realise that they were just a little bit on the wrong side. We must fight on the general and structured threads, we must fight on the beaches, we must fight on the landing grounds, we must fight in the fields and in the streets, we must fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, until Winston Churchill and anyone else who ever gave a good speech has been thoroughly plagiarised. And when the evidence turns against us, and it looks like a U-turn would be the sensible option, I say this: you turn if you want to. Mr Ares is not for turning, unless he happens to be wrong, and how likely is that? Gods bless Dragonmount."

 

How's that for a victory speech? No-one else here is prepared to put in the effort, are they?

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