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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Forced conversion


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So, we know that it's possible to forcibly convert a channeler to the "Dark Side". It seems like such a big point I'm surprised that there hasn't been any living evidence of it happening yet. Or is there?

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Many people suspect that Taim is living evidence of this.

 

Otherwise not that I'm aware of, although it did seem that it was being set up when the Myrddraal were paying people to kidnap Nyn and company early on.

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But do we know anything about it?  I can't really remember the requirements but doesn't it require a circle of 13 channeling through a Myrddraal or something?

 

Okay, and how does it work?  Is it merely a form of compulsion or are their attitudes and character really turned to sympathize with and worship the Shadow?  Does the person become a mere puppet and not a Darkfriend with their own agency?

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Thirteen channelers weaving the flows through thirteen Myrdraal (yet more comfirmation that Myrdraal are what happen when the human trait for channeling breeds true).

 

And what happens is the personality is inverted. Here is RJ's description.

 

Week 15 Question: When a channeler is forcibly turned to the Dark, is his/her former personality lost to eternity? Are they in a permanent state of mindless Compulsion? Furthermore, can a channeler forcibly turned to the Dark return to the Light unaided?

 

Robert Jordan Answers: They are not in a mindless state of Compulsion. Their former personality is twisted, the darker elements that everyone has to some degree elevated while what might be called the good elements are largely suppressed. I don't mean things like courage, which is useful even to villains, but they are unlikely to be very charitable, for example, and forget any altruistic impulses. Call it being turned into a mirror image of yourself in many ways. It is very unlikely that a channeler forcibly turned to the Shadow could find a way back to the Light unaided. For one reason, by virtue of the twisting he or she had undergone, it is very unlikely that he or she would have any desire to do so.

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A past thread asked about this.

 

Taim would be the most likely character that might have gone through this.

Though I have not read any proof one way or the other.

 

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I dont know if i would say he was well meaning, but maybe the fear of being able to channel convinced him that he WAS the Dragon. That is the only person that the WT would not gentle, that had some chance of not going crazy!

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So you're telling me that at one point Taim was just some well-meaning and congenial false dragon who just wanted to do the right thing?

 

Yes. He just can't seem to catch a break. He just doesn't know whats going on. He has such a big ego his mind is capable of mental gymnastics, bit like Cartman.

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I'm not at all happy about the concept of someone who can channel being forcibly 'turned' to the Shadow against their will (TDR,Ch22). I think RJ got it wrong.

 

Evil (and good, for that matter) requires the consent of the will. Consider the difference between murder and manslaughter; murder is intentional, manslaughter is 'accidental'; possibly negligent, but not intended. A person can be seduced into evil, their will becoming aligned to evil by securing their co-operation. But if they do not want to become evil, if they do not wish to be turned, if it is happening 'against their will', they will not become evil. The most that will happen is that they become puppets (possibly Shadowsoul-possessed?), as Rand did when Semi tried to make him murder Min. In fact the act was Semi's, not Rand's; she was the one in control. Rand's will fought back, successfully.

 

No amount of 'inversion' of the personality would change this. It's what the will does that's important.

 

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Think of it as forced brain damage.  Sociopathy is a genetic trait, their are physical things and processes in our brain that allow us to be "good" or be "moral"  Things like aggression, empathy, etc.

 

The person loses their respect for life, they have their negative traits enhanced.  We have to understand that good and evil play physical roles in the Wheel of  Time.  Evil is a very real concept that can have physical affects on you.  It's not that people are good and the do is evil, and you are only really evil if you swear to the dark one.  All of the people of Randland have part of the DO inside them.  They are all touched by the physical manifestation of evil.

 

Consider the influence that the One Power and the True Power have over the material realm.  Using those tools Aginor was able to create the Shadowspawn, creatures that have fantastic powers in some aspects but are twisted and evil completely subservient to the DO.  Within Randland Good (Order can be equated with OP) and Evil (Chaos can be equated with the TP) are more than just philosophical concepts to be debated, our world doesn't have a DO whose evil is present and malignant like the Randland does.  Thus it doesn't seem so odd that a full circle of 13 channeling through 13 Myrddraal (examples of True Power's affect on life) could have that power over a mind.

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I would like to think if this is a "suppression" of your good side, and an enhancing of your bad side, it should be possible to reverse it.  Perhaps one of the forsaken was "forced" to turn evil, and will be freed from the dark ones grasp.  Also maybe I am missing another requirement, but why wasn't LTT turned?

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Lews Therin Telamon was the strongest chaneller of that age (Ishamael too). He would have been surrounded by soldiers and other very strong chanellers too. Forsaken/Dreadlords/Fades couldn't march up, capture Lews Therin and convert him, he was far too strong for that. I'm sure the Shadow would have loved Lews Therin turned, but they couldn't turn him.

 

I find the concept of forced conversion morbidly fascinating. In regards to FarShainMael's post, I am mostly in agreement with Myyrth's reply. Forced conversion actually screws with the victims mind, enchances negative aspects and surpressed postive ones, so much so that if you offered a converted person to be turned back they would most certainly decline. Or laugh menancingly and kill you.

 

The point is forced conversion is an abomination, very much so, but in the world of Wheel of Time, too possible. Hopefully, Rand or Nynaeve (or Flinn!) will work out some way to "fix" forced conversion but perhaps it's impossible. Maybe they can't revert a person back to their original state, but forcibly convert them to the Light too...but that isn't very good/Light of them...hmm...

 

Sorry for rambling there! Yes, Robert Jordan says forced conversion surpressed one's "good" elements and enchances the negative ones-for example, if Rand was forcibly converted, he would probably become extremely paranoid, prone to fits of rage, distrustful, aggressive and arrogant and a lot less sympathetic, compassionate, humble, responsible and loving. We can assume forced conversion is so strong, enchances and surpress so much, that if Rand was converted (perhaps not Rand because he has such strong will, but certainly the majority of characters in the series) he would not want to be good, he would be content to be of the Shadow.

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As Myyrth says:

 

"a full circle of 13 channeling through 13 Myrddraal (examples of True Power's affect on life) could have that power over a mind."

 

Power over the mind, certainly. Not over the will. I'm no expert, but I see the two as distinct.

 

As Samuel says:

 

"Robert Jordan says forced conversion suppressed one's "good" elements and enhances the negative ones-for example, if Rand was forcibly converted, he would probably become extremely paranoid, prone to fits of rage, distrustful, aggressive and arrogant and a lot less sympathetic, compassionate, humble, responsible and loving. We can assume forced conversion is so strong, enhances and suppress so much, that if Rand was converted (perhaps not Rand because he has such strong will, but certainly the majority of characters in the series) he would not want to be good, he would be content to be of the Shadow."

 

I'd agree with this, entirely. It's all down to strength of will, being able to handle what is done to the mind. Ask anyone who's tried to lose weight, give up smoking, or recover from alcoholism! (I'm working on the first, but thankfully don't have probs with the other two..  ;-)  )

 

 

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I see the Will as intrinsically connected to the Mind.  Were does the Will arise from i would ask if not the Mind?  Our mind is and organic and social construct, the things we perceive as good are only relatively good according to our social upbringing.  Within the Wheel of Time there is a very clear dualism between the Spirit and the Mind, our Souls exist, and according to RJ our soul can either be "good" or "evil" in nature.  A Trolloc has a soul, but it has been malformed by the DO.

 

A Human has a soul, and it as well can be malformed and twisted by the DO's power.  The conversion works on both a spiritual and a physical level.

 

Our concept of Will is mostly an illusion anyway, our "freedom" is merely an inability to predict actions we will undertake based on external and internal stimuli.

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Mind I take relates mostly to the present.

Will I take relates mostly to the future.

 

There is some degree of distinction there.

 

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If free will is an illusion, there is neither good nor evil, which depend on personal responsibility.

 

mb's comment is interesting..

 

Certainly the will and the mind are connected, but that doesn't make them identical. For me the will is the director of actions of the self within the 'landscape' of the mind; and mind, will and self are 'features' of the soul/spirit.

 

Only my own philosphy, that, not an authoritative statement!

 

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Yet truly for me, the future is merely a fanciful illusion.  It is our mind projecting itself and it's wants and desires into the future.  "how do I wish myself to be tommorow"

 

You view your potential future through the lens of the present, there is simply no other way.  When, as you say, "the director of the mind" is malformed and twisted then it will Will evil not Will good.

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