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Mashiara Sedai

Culling the Power

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It's been stated by a few number of Aes Sedai that they think they have been culling the ability to channel out of the population by gentling all the men with the spark.

 

However, people born with the spark are rare.  Even with women, only a handful have the spark inborn.  Most are only able to learn.  So since people with the spark are a vast minority of the channelers, I don’t think the power has been culled at all.  Men with the ability to learn are still reproducing and passing the trait on.  With the taint clean, I think the amount of male channelers will skyrocket since people with the ability to learn won't be afraid anymore.

 

Anyone agree?

 

~Mashiara

 

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I agree that the ability to channel has not been culled.

Though about being afraid of saidin, they would need to be told then be convinced about the Cleansing; even then some might still be afraid.

 

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Many of the strongest have the spark inborn, even though it's uncommon to have the spark among the population as a whole. We don't know for sure if there are any special genetic factors responsible for such things ... RJ said that "as a result" (of the culling of men), the percentage of those with some ability had dropped from 3 to 1 percent. That could indicate some (unknown) genetic factors.

 

Many, or probably most, of the Aes Sedai have not been birthing children. So they are culling themselves from the breeding pool. There are other practices for other cultures. This should be a contributing factor to the drop from 3 to 1 percent.

 

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Even in the Age of Legends, the amount of channelers (both men and women) was relatively small compared to the total population. Maybe around 5% could channel the One Power. Now in current times, around say, 2-3% can channel, and perhaps less than 1% have the spark inborn, while the rest can learn to channel by being taught.

 

Some estimations..

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For Papazen, while I have spoken of souls being born with the ability to channel in response to questions, I think of it as being genetic also.  In the Age of Legends, between 2 and 3% of people had some ability, following a bell curve distribution in strength.  For over 3000 years, though, Aes Sedai have been removing men who actually learned to channel from the gene pool.  They have been very efficient at this.  As a result, the “present day” sees about 1% of the population who can learn to channel, with a much, much smaller percentage of that being born with the spark.

 

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I figured that the decline in those who could channel and overall strength in the One Power was due to the disharmony between Saidin and Saidar after the Breaking

I never thought about this, I think it's an interesting idea.

 

It's been stated by a few number of Aes Sedai that they think they have been culling the ability to channel out of the population by gentling all the men with the spark.

I agree, but what they weren't taking into account was the other women in different societies that were having children. (richnewton82 pretty much said the same thing). So even thoguh we aren't seeing a lot of women who can channell in Randland, there are more in other countries and what not. So the question I've been trying to get to is do we know an approximate number of women or men than can channell in other societies that are born with the spark? (I certainly hope that isn't to confusing to follow haha.) Since they aren't being as stingy as the Aes Sedai then we should see a slight difference between those born with the spark and those born without.

 

I think it has been culled somewhat and I think Rj even stated that its dropped from an AoL amount of roughly 3% to something lower.

 

I don't see how it could have though. There is nothing exerting enough pressure to decrease the population of channelers that significantly in just 3000 years.

 

Males die before breeding or are killed but those are only the ones who cant' help but channel. There are thousands upon thousands of males with the ability who never channel as we've seen with the rise in Black Tower members. The red ajah just finds a handful throughout 3k years... they aren't that common so the net effect of deaths/killings should be small.

 

The white tower aes sedai hardly have babies (if ever) but look at the Aiel wise ones, Seafolk, Kinswomen, Sharans, and other groups of channelers - all having plenty of children. I don't know if Damane have children (doubtful) but Suldam do. And nothing is causing any selective pressure against channeling in Madmanland that we know of.

 

I just am not seeing why a decrease in channelers would be happening unless RJ was only refering to active channelers. Because it seems to me that there's a huge number of both male/females channelers in the world who simply haven't ever been tested or have learned how while in the AoL I'm sure all potentials were tested and taught.

Completely agree with you. So then the question for this is why are active channelers not plentiful now? Is it that they just aren't plentiful in Randland or the entire world? And most importantly why is this happening?

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Completely agree with you. So then the question for this is why are active channelers not plentiful now? Is it that they just aren't plentiful in Randland or the entire world? And most importantly why is this happening?

 

Aes Sedai don't actively go out to recruit as a goal in itself. For the most part it's left up to each girl to go to the White Tower to be tested and with the different attitudes towards Aes Sedai that probably isn't something that will automatically occur in all lands. Where in the Borderlands it is considered (as in the AoL) a great honor and cause for celebration, in Tear for instance it is seen as a dishonor and a disgrace. So unless someone has the ability inborn, not that many Tarens would actively go to the White Tower to see if they could learn how to channel.

 

Then there's the unwritten rule in the White Tower that women will be entered into the novice book only up to a certain age and all others beyond that age are considered too old. This too cuts down on the actual activation of the ability in those that could learn, since they never get a chance because of that (for those that live in Randland). With Egwene now opening up the novice book to everyone already the number of new novices are such that they reach a level the White Tower hasn't seen in centuries.

 

The no breeding policy of Aes Sedai definately has something to do with it, I'm sure. Though I am puzzled wy the Wise Ones didn't force Rand's mother into apprenticeship as that seems to be the way with all Aiel women that can channel. Aviendha was forced to apprenticeship to the WO's once it was clear she had the ability. I don't know if they actively test for it, but maybe that's only with those that have it inborn too, I don't know.

 

Damane certainly don't breed as that's considered the hight of bad taste in the Seanchan empire.

 

But that still doesn't explain the genetic ability being passed on, as someone said. Even without having been taught, the ability would still be passed on from one generation to the next. We know that strength in the power isn't a factor (Morgase can barely grab hold of the OP, let alone channel but Elayne is considered quite strong though not as strong as Nyneave or Egwene). And we know that the ability to channel can pass from mother to daughter as well as to son (unless Rand got his ability from Tam, but I've never seen any reference to Tam having the ability).

 

Maybe the decrease is linked to a lack of need? In nature, things that are not used in a long time (generations) tend to weed themselves out of a species' physiology. Such as the tail in humans, which today is only  tailbone and scientists are saying that in time that tailbone will have vanished entirely due to it having lost it's reason for being. As less and less humans use the OP, and instead use mundain things to do what once was done with the OP, maybe this too is a result of that. Though it sounds like a weak theory to me to stand on it's own as the sole reason for the decrease.

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Completely agree with you. So then the question for this is why are active channelers not plentiful now? Is it that they just aren't plentiful in Randland or the entire world? And most importantly why is this happening?

 

Aes Sedai don't actively go out to recruit as a goal in itself. For the most part it's left up to each girl to go to the White Tower to be tested and with the different attitudes towards Aes Sedai that probably isn't something that will automatically occur in all lands. Where in the Borderlands it is considered (as in the AoL) a great honor and cause for celebration, in Tear for instance it is seen as a dishonor and a disgrace. So unless someone has the ability inborn, not that many Tarens would actively go to the White Tower to see if they could learn how to channel.

I understand that, but I just don't see why younger women aren't going. They seem to like the idea of being able to channell (unless they have the same mind set as Nyn haha). 

 

Then there's the unwritten rule in the White Tower that women will be entered into the novice book only up to a certain age and all others beyond that age are considered too old. This too cuts down on the actual activation of the ability in those that could learn, since they never get a chance because of that (for those that live in Randland).
haha I never thought of this point, nice catch ^.^

 

The no breeding policy of Aes Sedai definately has something to do with it, I'm sure. Though I am puzzled wy the Wise Ones didn't force Rand's mother into apprenticeship as that seems to be the way with all Aiel women that can channel. Aviendha was forced to apprenticeship to the WO's once it was clear she had the ability. I don't know if they actively test for it, but maybe that's only with those that have it inborn too, I don't know.
Hmm, his mother might not have been able to channel, perhaps channelling can skip a couple generations or something? For all we know someone else in either his mothers or fathers family could channel.. liek a grandparent? (I think that's already been disproven, but I figured I could throw it out there anyways, gives us something to talk about haha.)

 

Maybe the decrease is linked to a lack of need? In nature, things that are not used in a long time (generations) tend to weed themselves out of a species' physiology.
*Nods* I can see how that would factor into it,

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I dont know why the tower didnt have recruiting parties out all the time like the AM do, like they could have triple the numbers, instead of forcing them to come to the tower, like how many peasants can afford to do that especially if there is a high chance they cannot channel

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As the old adage says, power corrupts.  I'd think that having the Power would corrupt even more.

 

After all, If you had some ability that made you "special" would you go out seeking others who had that same ability?  Maybe some who had that ability to a greater extent than you did?  Others who could well eclipse your "specialness"?

 

For the record, Tam is not Rand's biological father.  Whatever characteristics Rand inherited came from either Taringail Damodred or the Daughter-heir Tigraine.

 

EDIT:  OOOPS, wrong, Tarigail wasn't his father, either.  Daddy was the Aiel chieftain whose name I can't remember right now.

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Aes Sedai don't actively go out to recruit as a goal in itself. For the most part it's left up to each girl to go to the White Tower to be tested and with the different attitudes towards Aes Sedai that probably isn't something that will automatically occur in all lands. Where in the Borderlands it is considered (as in the AoL) a great honor and cause for celebration, in Tear for instance it is seen as a dishonor and a disgrace. So unless someone has the ability inborn, not that many Tarens would actively go to the White Tower to see if they could learn how to channel.

 

Actually, I've seen it suggested that, while gentling saidin users is important, the principal purpose of the Red Ajah may at one point have been recruiting for Tower. Namely that Reds would, in theory, be constantly walking around testing to see if men were channeling, and so it seems highly likely they could also be doing so for women who could as well.

 

My feeling is that what *happened* to disrupt this process was Artur Hawkwing.

 

Remember, he had basically every Aes Sedai locked up in the Tower for 20 years. Moreover, the Amyrlin who caused this was a Red, and that made the Reds look extraordinarily bad.

 

However, I would think that in the old days, when Aes Sedai were extremely respected and had no problem going around looking for girls, they would have found a lot more. After all, Eggs is able to find over a thousand novices in a very short time.

 

Of course, after Hawkwing you have the War of a Hundred Years, which has been repeatedly explained as being maybe less fatal than the Trolloc Wars, but even worse for human knowledge. And after the War, you have the Whitecloaks, who made being Aes Sedai a hell of a lot more dangerous than before.

 

Now, all of this taken together means that Aes Sedai are far more reluctant to involve themselves in the world than previously. Moreover, if the Red Ajah really had been the main recruiter, but then lost a ton of respect and so turned in on itself, the other Ajahs would not have taken up the old mantle of recruitment. We're told, remember, over and over how much custom and tradition count in the Tower. I think that, over the last thousand years, the Reds have forgotten one of their absolutely vital purposes and the rest of the Tower forgot - or never really thought about - how girls had gotten to the White Tower before Artur Hawkwing.

 

Note: I think this general trend towards isolation on the part of the Tower, and the Reds in particular, probably also resulted in the increasingly small catches of channeling men. Just like Eggs has no problem finding novices, the Black Tower's been extraordinarily effective at finding Asha'man.

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Nice catch Mr. Micawber, I never thought about the red ajah that way. I completely agree with you.

 

Bob T Dwarf I agree with your reasoning too. Haha I saw what you said about Tam and I started to laugh, I almost did the same thing earlier when I first posted in this topic and was like 'Wow I think I've actually lost my mind now.' Uh I think his name was Janduin? Something like that.

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I think the ashaman have been so effective because of how bad the times are and that offers a better life than otherwise possible and everyone has heard about how the lord dragon pays so well

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The Reds as recruiters would also explain a lot about their decision not to bond warders.

 

If one thinks of them as the internal affairs and human resources section of the Tower and the Westlands' channeling population, then they don't seem to need warders nearly as much, since they're concerned with recruitment, training, and disciplinary (for the men anyway) proceedings, rather than intervening in international politics, conflicts, or battles against the Shadow

 

Note in this analysis that the Browns and Whites rarely bond, and the Blues, Grays and Yellows need Warders practically as much as the Greens, though not as many, since they're operating in on a political/ideological, command (dealing directly with national leaders), or support (medical bureaucracy) level in the ongoing wars against the Shadow, or in the case of Blues and Grays, protection *and* coercion - notice there's no Oath against an Aes Sedai ordering her Warder to kill or torture - in political life. However, none of the three groups really *require* more than one highly trained blade for this kind of work.

 

The Greens, by contrast, need lots because they're the edge of the knife against the Shadow, with several Warders apiece allowing them to work the Power at a certain distance from enemy troops while still being in line of sight.

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The Reds as recruiters would also explain a lot about their decision not to bond warders.

 

If one thinks of them as the internal affairs and human resources section of the Tower and the Westlands' channeling population, then they don't seem to need warders nearly as much, since they're concerned with recruitment, training, and disciplinary (for the men anyway) proceedings, rather than intervening in international politics, conflicts, or battles against the Shadow

 

Note in this analysis that the Browns and Whites rarely bond, and the Blues, Grays and Yellows need Warders practically as much as the Greens, though not as many, since they're operating in on a political/ideological, command (dealing directly with national leaders), or support (medical bureaucracy) level in the ongoing wars against the Shadow, or in the case of Blues and Grays, protection *and* coercion - notice there's no Oath against an Aes Sedai ordering her Warder to kill or torture - in political life. However, none of the three groups really *require* more than one highly trained blade for this kind of work.

 

The Greens, by contrast, need lots because they're the edge of the knife against the Shadow, with several Warders apiece allowing them to work the Power at a certain distance from enemy troops while still being in line of sight.

That makes a lot of sense. I never really thought about any of the ajahs like that honestly.

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I think the ashaman have been so effective because of how bad the times are and that offers a better life than otherwise possible and everyone has heard about how the lord dragon pays so well

 

No, that's a variable that affects how many people volunteer. But since none of the Asha'man appear to be ta'veren, it's incredible that *among the people who volunteer* they're finding so many. That suggests the real issue is that, at least since Hawkwing, the Aes Sedai have been too aloof from the world. Rand, Eggs, Nynaeve, Elayne, hell, Moiraine herself thinks this in New Spring.

 

And Cadsuane, of course, is the exception that proves the rule. In a way, she's like an author avatar for RJ. She'll keep looking for adventure until the day they nail her shut in her coffin *sigh*  :-[

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The Reds as recruiters would also explain a lot about their decision not to bond warders.

 

If one thinks of them as the internal affairs and human resources section of the Tower and the Westlands' channeling population, then they don't seem to need warders nearly as much, since they're concerned with recruitment, training, and disciplinary (for the men anyway) proceedings, rather than intervening in international politics, conflicts, or battles against the Shadow

 

Note in this analysis that the Browns and Whites rarely bond, and the Blues, Grays and Yellows need Warders practically as much as the Greens, though not as many, since they're operating in on a political/ideological, command (dealing directly with national leaders), or support (medical bureaucracy) level in the ongoing wars against the Shadow, or in the case of Blues and Grays, protection *and* coercion - notice there's no Oath against an Aes Sedai ordering her Warder to kill or torture - in political life. However, none of the three groups really *require* more than one highly trained blade for this kind of work.

 

The Greens, by contrast, need lots because they're the edge of the knife against the Shadow, with several Warders apiece allowing them to work the Power at a certain distance from enemy troops while still being in line of sight.

 

Ach, and yet another thing I should mention (since one of my degrees is in military history, and it's a particular fascination of mine how well RJ's knowledge and personal experience has filters into the series).

 

The Reds are the single largest Ajah, followed not too far behind by the Greens. After the Greens come the Grays, then the Browns, and then the Yellows. The Blues are second smallest.

 

If we remove the Browns and the Whites, who seem to be, really, the academia of the Tower, you've got five other Ajahs.

 

Now, if you think about this from the perspective of a sophisticated military organization, it's not surprising in the least that the bureaucracy and support organizations (the Reds and Yellows in this analysis; recruitment and other internal matters including discipline, and of course, the medical unit is worthy of its own separate bureaucracy due its signal importance) are at least as large as the actual fighting part of the organization (even Wehrmacht/Waffen-SS and Soviet divisions in WW2 had a plurality of support personnel, iirc).

 

If we look at Blues and Grays as being, if not the commanders, since those really ought to be experienced combat veterans, then the staff and operation planning section, then it makes sense they're smaller.

 

The Greens plus their warders are thus the actual grunts, the foot soldiers, in short the "Battle" Ajah even though everyone in the White Tower, in theory, is fighting the war against the Shadow.

 

Considering the average US infantry division - which RJ would be intimately aware of from his time in Nam, since rotary wing aircraft, ie. helicopters, are the province of the Army - is only something like 30-40% combat troops at most, and maybe even smaller due to its larger logistical "tail", and the organization of the Tower becomes extraordinarily rational.

 

Meanwhile, the Asha'man, rather than having a set organization, function a lot more like how the Wehrmacht/Waffen-SS worked, in that the ratio of support personnel to combat troops was much smaller. This also plays into the fact that the Waffen-SS had a dual ranking system, whereby an officer would hold a Heer equivalent rank and then a specific SS one; Eg. Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS; which is kind of like the dual system (Soldier, Dedicated, Asha'man vs. the Old Tongue ranks Taim gives) that the black coats use.

 

 

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