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Saidin and Saidar like a drug?


Galeros
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I am reading through the series and one of the most striking things I have noticed is how Saidin and Saidar are descrobed as making the user feel wonderful while they are using it, and how Channelers are basically addicted to the stuff. This always made me feel a tad uncomfortable. Due to my persoanlity and upbringing it seems to me that Saidin and Saidar are akin to drugs or alcohol, thus making them bad. It seems to me the world would be better off without these addictive forces. I admit, I do enjoy the battles using the One Power, but there is always that lingering discomfort in the back of my mind that the characters are basically drug addicts.

 

Boy, I hope this is not too controversial for this forum. :(

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    Not controversial at all. The only answer I have for you is When you have a power like this, you also have a responsibility to use it wisely.

Of course, there are drawbacks. You can burn yourself out or without the knowledge can do some really bad things. Yes it's like drugs, so lets hope they use them to benefit instead of to destroy.

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It has nothing to do with drugs, it's just plain old addiction. People can be addicted to TV, World of Warcraft, Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll, and many other things. Not all of them are necessarily bad though addiction is usually associated with bad things. Some people are addicted to working out, and that isn't really a bad thing unless extremely excessive.

 

The joy felt from embracing Saidar and Saidin would imply something along the lines of a stimulant but any of the things I mentioned above can bring joy as well and the joy may be a side effect of the enhanced senses rather than an actual chemical-like reaction in the brain. Probably one of the most addictive features of embracing the One Power is the upgrade to your senses. I could myself could do with some super hearing, eyesight, taste. Imagine eating Belgian chocolate while embracing the source. Yum yum!

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It has nothing to do with drugs, it's just plain old addiction. People can be addicted to TV, World of Warcraft, Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll, and many other things. Not all of them are necessarily bad though addiction is usually associated with bad things. Some people are addicted to working out, and that isn't really a bad thing unless extremely excessive.

 

Actually by definition all addictions are bad as "addiction" is defined as having an uncontrollable (either physical or phycological) dependence on a substance or activety. Its the fact that you can not control the desire that makes addiction bad.

 

As seeing the power as a drug or alcohal, I think the point is that when used properly (to treat illness in case of drugs, and as an anti-septic in the case of alcohal if your religion precludes all consumption of alcohal) there is no problem. However, the use or very existence of such substances means that there is always a chance that people will misuse them and become addicted to them. Similarly, the power can be used for good purposes however it to has a seductive quality that can lead the user to become addicted with dire consequences.

 

Whether the power is meant to bemore like sex or drugs in my view is somewhat subjective. The imagry of the cleansing is quite sexual in my view but the effects of the power to increase once senses is quite reminicent of the claims of what one experiences when taking hellucinagenic drugs. So I think its not an either or answer but a some of both answer.

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No control over a desire, a bad thing?  I think only when fulfilling that desire eventually leads the person to harm.

If the addiction is a beneficial book, I think there would be no harm.  Or in the case of sex, it would be ok if it is with one's own spouse.

 

There are some desires that are God-given.  Being addicted to those in their right context would to me be good.  Sex within marriage is one of them.

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What's wrong with drugs (alcohol is a drug)?  Everyone wants to feel different now and then.  You get lost in a book, someone else gets high.  Obviously drugs can ruin your life but what can't?  It seems to me that the social stigma against drug use is an unnecessary tradition (especially because alcohol has an inexplicable free pass in most places).

 

I also agree that the inability to control something it is not bad in itself.

 

I think the ability to channel is similar to having a 6th sense.  Imagine that you have another sense organ, and when you "open" it you experience a new kind of sensation.  It's not like a drug in the sense that a drug changes your perception while the OP enhances your perception.  With drugs, any "enhancement" is a trick of the mind, but with the OP you are actually getting more info about your environment.  Also, even though the OP is a "foreign" substance like drugs, humans have a specific mechanism for using it, unlike drugs which must exploit a person's body to have an effect.  If we were all born with an alcohol-generating sack on our back with a straw leading to our mouth, then I doubt alcohol would be considered a drug.

 

This makes me wonder...besides booze and tabac, are there any drugs mentioned in the books?  Maybe those "lazy" Coplins and Congars are holding out...

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it seem smore like sex to me than drugs.

 

the cleansing is a pretty clear indication of it.  saidin going through saidar conduit.

 

Please tell me that was a joke, because I laughed long and hard when I saw that!

 

The fact that channeling is addictive is a very realistic thing I think. The way it enhances your senses, dulls pain to a mere awareness of injuries, the way Rand describes channeling Saidin as "a fight for survival" every time he channels, I think it makes for brilliant reading.

 

Channeling is indeed addictive and I think thats good; imagine if nowadays people could channel as in WoT. Every channeler would be walking round holding the source and marvelling at the enhanced senses they benefit from.

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It has nothing to do with drugs, it's just plain old addiction. People can be addicted to TV, World of Warcraft, Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll, and many other things. Not all of them are necessarily bad though addiction is usually associated with bad things. Some people are addicted to working out, and that isn't really a bad thing unless extremely excessive.

I think it's a little bit of all that. But about the "drugs" I would think this is working differently from drugs like narcotics. This is more like water from the fountain of youth crossed with "super senses" crossed with happiness without side-effects. No drugs in real life is without side-effects. If the One Power has side-effects, then they are all for the better. Until you get severed that is.

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it seem smore like sex to me than drugs.

 

the cleansing is a pretty clear indication of it.  saidin going through saidar conduit.

 

Please tell me that was a joke, because I laughed long and hard when I saw that!

 

The fact that channeling is addictive is a very realistic thing I think. The way it enhances your senses, dulls pain to a mere awareness of injuries, the way Rand describes channeling Saidin as "a fight for survival" every time he channels, I think it makes for brilliant reading.

 

Channeling is indeed addictive and I think thats good; imagine if nowadays people could channel as in WoT. Every channeler would be walking round holding the source and marvelling at the enhanced senses they benefit from.

 

It doesn't dull pain.  Male channelers are in the Void which disassociates them from there bodies so they are aware of the pain, but don't "feel" it.  It makes pain more intense for women because of the hieghtened sensation.  When Egwene entered TAR to go from Cairhien to Salidar she mentions the joy of embracing saidar being diminished because she felt the pain of her welts from the Wise Ones more.

 

LoC, Ch. 34:  Journey to Salidar

Nervously rubbing her fingers over her palms, she embraced saidar, letting it fill her. And shifted her feet. Saidar made you more aware of everything, including your own body, which she would just as soon have missed right then. Trying something new, something no one had ever tried before that she knew, should have been done slowly and carefully, but for once she wanted to be rid of the Source. She channeled briskly, flows of Spirit, woven just so.

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well. first of all, addiction is not "evil" or "good".

Its how you deal with your addiction that matters. If you have no control over your addiction, it is mostly a bad thing. Either for your health/wellbeing (depending on the addiction) or for those around you.

 

Being addicted to Saidin or Saidar goes the same. However more devestating for those around you.

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No drugs in real life is without side-effects. If the One Power has side-effects, then they are all for the better. Until you get severed that is.

 

Actually using the power had some rather significant side effects on men before Rand cleansed Saiden. Moreover, use of the True power by Darkfriends also has some rather significant drawbacks.

 

I also agree that the inability to control something it is not bad in itself.

 

 

If you cannot control to use it (and more and more of it as time goes by) there is a chance that you will loose control, take to much of it (overdose), and either burn out or kill yourself. So the inability to control the use of the power may not be evil but as in drug addiction its a bad thing.

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No control over a desire, a bad thing? I think only when fulfilling that desire eventually leads the person to harm. If the addiction is a beneficial book, I think there would be no harm. Or in the case of sex, it would be ok if it is with one's own spouse.
So an inability to control desire is alright if it is sex with one's own spouse that one is unable to control? So if one's spouse were to be against it, given that one is unable to control one's desire, then one would be...unwilling to accept one's spouse's refusal. I don't see how uncontrolled desire is alright. In these circumstances, it would be rape. After all, if you can restrain your desire in the face of an unwilling spouse, then it is not uncontrolled, surely?

 

There are some desires that are God-given. Being addicted to those in their right context would to me be good. Sex within marriage is one of them.
I'm guessing you didn't think this through, given what I outlined above.

 

well. first of all, addiction is not "evil" or "good". Its how you deal with your addiction that matters. If you have no control over your addiction...
If you have control, is it an addiction, given that an addiction is "defined as having an uncontrollable (either physical or phycological) dependence on a substance or activety"? It is that lack of control that makes it an addiction.

 

Remember that withdrawal from the OP is lethal, the only way to not die from it is by distractions from the OP.
Not entirely true. While it does induce depression, the only examples we have are of male channelers and Aes Sedai, and the former is already stigmatised (not a big help for getting over depression) while the latter are defined by their ability to channel, and are ditched as soon as they lose it - like no other skill they have matters, their friends don't like them any more (again, not a big help for depression). So we do not know if it is automatically a death sentence without distraction. We do not know how well it was dealt with in the AoL, for example.
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Remember that withdrawal from the OP is lethal, the only way to not die from it is by distractions from the OP.
Not entirely true. While it does induce depression, the only examples we have are of male channelers and Aes Sedai, and the former is already stigmatised (not a big help for getting over depression) while the latter are defined by their ability to channel, and are ditched as soon as they lose it - like no other skill they have matters, their friends don't like them any more (again, not a big help for depression). So we do not know if it is automatically a death sentence without distraction. We do not know how well it was dealt with in the AoL, for example.

Males are being "stigmatised" because they would rather go mad and kill their neighbors/family/friends than being gentled. That's a bit selfish of those men. Some red sisters are probably cruel, but not all of the sisters. Cadsuane's gentled men didn't live long either. Setalle Anan lived long, but she wasn't stilled, she was burnt out. She isn't constantly reminded of the One Power as the stilled/gentled are. I think the sisters don't interact with the burnt out sisters, because they want to encourage them to leave tar valon. They have a greater chance of hanging on for a long time if they find something else that can replace the source.

 

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There is a difference between having an uncontrollable desire, and being unable to control your actions.  An addict can not stop themselves from wanting more, even if they know it might harm them and others.  That is the "uncontrollable" aspecet of addiction.  Addicts might claim that their addiction "made" them do things.  However, it is merely the desire that can not be controlled. Some people, in moments of weakness, succomb to those desires.  The addiction doesn't force them to abuse drugs or rape people.  If that were true it would be impossible to end addiction through willpower.

 

My heart is "uncontrollable".  I can't make it beat, or change my blood pressure by adjusting the strength of the beating.  Desires from addiction are uncontrollable in a similar way.  The actions of people in the grip of addiction are not uncontrollable.

 

For example, if I am addicted to sex with my spouse, and my spouse doesn't want to have sex, I am not forced by my addiction to have sex with them.  My addiction only forces me to want to have sex.

 

After all, if you can restrain your desire in the face of an unwilling spouse, then it is not uncontrolled, surely?

You can restrain your actions even if you can't control your desires.

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Males are being "stigmatised" because they would rather go mad and kill their neighbors/family/friends than being gentled. That's a bit selfish of those men. Some red sisters are probably cruel, but not all of the sisters. Cadsuane's gentled men didn't live long either. Setalle Anan lived long, but she wasn't stilled, she was burnt out. She isn't constantly reminded of the One Power as the stilled/gentled are. I think the sisters don't interact with the burnt out sisters, because they want to encourage them to leave tar valon. They have a greater chance of hanging on for a long time if they find something else that can replace the source.
Males are stigmatised because male channelers went mad and broke the world, and now they are fated to go mad and rot. They are hated and feared for that. Not because of something they have done, not because they refuse to be Gentled, because of something they have no control over. As for some Reds being cruel, that's part of the problem. AS are not welcomed, they are not loved. They are distant and scary. Hated and feared. Why should men go with them? The attitude the AS have is part of the problem. Cadsuane treated men better, and those she brought in tended to live markedly longer. We don't know how much longer, we do not know what the average is, we do not know how long they would live if they were treated better. The examples we have in the books? Logain, a prisoner, Owyn, a victim of the Red Ajah's search and destroy. Without the stigma attached to male channlers, we don't know what the survival statistics would look like, how much of an improvement it would be over those of the present. We don't know how well it was dealt with in the AoL. As for Sister's not wanting to interact with burnt out women, wanting to encourage them to leave Tar Valon, that is precisely the problem. It is not done through selflessness, a desire to help them. It is done through fear - they don't like looking at theose women and thinking it could be them, so they get rid of them. Out of sight, out of mind. To the AS, the Power is all important. If a Sister loses it, then they aren't a Sister, they are nothing. That is how they are treated. It's disgraceful. Friendships they have built up don't matter, they are sent away. Other skills they have don't matter. They are sent away. They come to the Tower as young girls, so any Sister who has worn the shawl for a number of years, that is their life, and has been for a long time. And they lose all of that, all their friends, their life, their home, their job, get dumped somewhere, like nothing they have done over the past few years, decades, centuries matters a damn. Doesn't matter that much of what they do could be done just as well without the Power, they are sent away. At a time when they need support. The depression associated with losing a connection to the Source can only be exacerbated by such inhumane treatment.

 

There is a difference between having an uncontrollable desire, and being unable to control your actions.
Yes, it's the difference between wanting something and addiction. Let us say, for the sake of argument, that you want a beer. You cannot just decide not to want beer any more. Turning your desires on and off like a light switch. You can distract yourself, you can decide that you don't want the beer that much, decide not to drink it. But that puts you in control. What is refusing to act on desire, refusing to give into it, if not control? An addict lacks the will power to do that. The alcoholic doesn't just want the beer, he needs it. A person addicted to sex? He or she doesn't just want it, they need it. That is the difference. If a person needs sex, then they have to have it. And if they can't find anyone willing?
If that were true it would be impossible to end addiction through willpower.
Not true. Willpower is not a constant. Someone who lacks the will to stop themselves from indulging their desires at one time will not always lack the will.
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All of these points further support my point.  the power is like sex, not like drug.  You generally won't get people dying from sexual overdose, similarly most people know when to stop drawing more power.

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You generally won't get people dying from sexual overdose,
Although I'm sure plenty are willing to give it a shot.
similarly most people know when to stop drawing more power.
But if they do draw too mch, then they OD, and are severed or dead.

 

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