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Lews Therin


Terez
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  1. 1. What was the nature of the 'voice'? (Keep in mind that all three options acknowledge that the memories were very real.)

    • The voice was the real Lews Therin from the Age of Legends, talking to Rand and trying to take over.
    • The voice was an illusion subconsciously constructed by Rand (with the help of the taint) to disassociate himself from Lews Therin's memories.
    • The voice was a taint-induced delusion, and had nothing to do with Rand's motives.


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I was just curious as to the locals' opinions on the subject. I have gotten the impression that the old guard is mostly in the real camp and that there are a lot of constructors among the new members. I have read Luckers' article on the subject, and I think it confuses the issue a good bit, but seeing as how he told me once (at least, I think it was him) that it was never really a popular debate here, that's not too surprising.

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I was just curious as to the locals' opinions on the subject. I have gotten the impression that the old guard is mostly in the real camp and that there are a lot of constructors among the new members. I have read Luckers' article on the subject, and I think it confuses the issue a good bit, but seeing as how he told me once (at least, I think it was him) that it was never really a popular debate here, that's not too surprising.

 

To me, even before the VoG revelation, it seemed as though it was simply something that would allow Rand to access the knowledge from one specific pastlife, and it did so in such a way as to keep him from questioning the info too closely. I mean if you look at the first time Rand hears the voice, he had already used many weaves that he had no idea where they came from, but he was feeling unsure about them. He used them, but was trying to figure out how he knew them. If he had had the VoG-epiphany then, it truly would have driven him insane or it would have allowed those memories to subsume his personality. Allowing LTT's memories to take precedence over the personality of a TR shepherd. The voice seemed to me to be the necessary adjustment period that he required to be able to accept the memories without losing himself in them.

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To me, even before the VoG revelation, it seemed as though it was simply something that would allow Rand to access the knowledge from one specific pastlife, and it did so in such a way as to keep him from questioning the info too closely. I mean if you look at the first time Rand hears the voice, he had already used many weaves that he had no idea where they came from, but he was feeling unsure about them. He used them, but was trying to figure out how he knew them.

Well, as you say, he deliberately avoided questioning it very closely. When he briefly remembered Lanfear in TSR 9, he glossed over it in his head and just didn't dwell on it.

 

If he had had the VoG-epiphany then, it truly would have driven him insane or it would have allowed those memories to subsume his personality. Allowing LTT's memories to take precedence over the personality of a TR shepherd. The voice seemed to me to be the necessary adjustment period that he required to be able to accept the memories without losing himself in them.

I agree with all of that except the bolded bit. The choices Moiraine saw indicated that it was possible, but I tend to believe that there would have been some Compulsion involved in that scenario, even though Lanfear claimed she didn't want to use it on him.

 

I'm a constructionist. I believe that he was getting very real memories from LTT and his subconsious came up with this LTT "voice" to help him feel as sane as possible.

That's very much a part of it too; I put 'to disassociate himself from Lews Therin's memories' in the poll option but it's not that simple really. He assumed that Lews Therin was 'really there' because that meant he wasn't hearing voices in his head, and therefore wasn't really insane. But he assumed that it was a 'voice' in the first place because he refused to acknowledge the obvious fact that they were his memories from his past life. He's known since TGH that he was the Dragon Reborn, but in a way he never really accepted it until TGS. Hard to blame him.

 

In VoG, Rand says something like "There was no other voice and there never had been" (I'll find the quote later if nec)

I'm firmly in camp 2.

Here 'tis:

 

TITLE - The Gathering Storm

CHAPTER: 50 - Veins of Gold

 

Rand opened his eyes for the first time in a very long while. He knew—somehow—that he would never again hear Lews Therin's voice in his head. For they were not two men, and never had been.

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It came off to me that the voice in Rand's head was a mixture of taint-madness/his suppressed emotions. He really doesn't start hearing the voice until book 4 and it doesn't kick into high gear until around the end of book 6. This coincides to how deeply he begins to suppress himself. The more he suppresses the louder the voice gets, if he lets his emotions loose the quieter the voice gets. There's an instance in I think Book 7 to where he got really angry during a meeting and basically explodes. Then afterwards he claims that the voice was unusually quiet during those moments. And when he goes Dark Rand we see that the voice is pretty much out of control. Then at the end of TGS when he finally embraces his emotions again he no longer hears the voice and knows he won't again.

 

The fact he attributes the voice to Lews Therin was just a way for him to subconsciously rationalize the memories he had of his former life.

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I want to vote both 1 and 2. I thought of the voice as an echo of LTT from the age of legends, but as Rand is LTT it was not so much a different person as a personification of the memories that crept up on Rand.

So, both. Kinda. Real memories that almost overwhelmed Rand at some points, not a whole different person as such and certainly not an illusion created by the taint.

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I want to vote both 1 and 2. I thought of the voice as an echo of LTT from the age of legends, but as Rand is LTT it was not so much a different person as a personification of the memories that crept up on Rand.

So, both. Kinda. Real memories that almost overwhelmed Rand at some points, not a whole different person as such and certainly not an illusion created by the taint.

Option 1 represents the (rather large) portion of the fandom that always believed that Lews Therin had his own thoughts that Rand was not privy to, and his own free will, etc. Before TGS most of them (not all, but most) believed that Rand and Lews Therin would merge as per Min's viewing, and that Lews Therin would finally 'die' and rest in peace so that Rand could get on with it. KOD started to turn the tides on the interpretation of that viewing, but most real'ers still believed it would play out like that. In a metaphorical sense, you might say that's what happened, but Rand changed so much with the (unsuppressed) memories that if anything, Lews Therin took over at last. I tend to believe Rand for the most part when he says he's still Rand, but we're talking about 400 years' worth of memories compared to 22 or so. Maybe Rand will forget it all after the Last Battle, and Lews Therin can finally rest in peace after all. Maybe it's not necessary.

 

I agree that in some ways the voice was 'a personification' of the memories, in the sense that Rand believed it was, but Rand also thought in KOD (pretty late in the game) that the voice seldom shared important information with him. It mostly expressed Rand's suppressed thoughts and emotions, including those associated with Lews Therin's memories, such as the Ilyena bits. In that sense, it is not really an echo of 'the real Lews Therin', but rather an echo of Rand's subconscious mind. With the memories (as far back as the early books), Rand himself becomes an echo of the real Lews Therin.

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I noticed that the old guard is for the most part not voting. I wonder if it's because they didn't like how I worded the options. I get a lot of complaints about that from real'ers every time I post the poll, but the way I worded it in this one was deliberate because that's the gist of what I have been arguing against all these years. If you don't like the wording of it, then chances are I don't disagree with you much. As for the Theorylanders, I don't care if they don't like it because that's exactly what they argued before TGS.

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Yes, clearly there were two personalities. I think the main point of contention has always over the issue of two separate conscious/subconscious entities, one of them Rand, and the other Lews Therin. That is what the real'ers believed. The constructors, on the other hand, believed the voice to be a manifestation of Rand's subconscious rather than a manifestation of Lews Therin.

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Would you believe that I finally registered, after lurking here for ages, just to post this? :P No, neither do I. But the discussion of Rand's little (ahem) psychiatric issues IS an interesting topic.

 

Anyway, to add to the discussion, I look at Rand's situation this way:

 

Say a man, on a trip far away from his home, suffers a serious head injury. He falls, gets into an accident - the details don't matter. Just assume that he got a nasty knock on his noggin that didn't quite manage to kill him.

 

This man recovers physically from the head trauma, but when he wakes he finds that he has no memory of his life before the injury. Not knowing who he is or where he came from, much less how to get back, he begins to build a life for himself in these new circumstances. Some constants of his personality remain the same, but his new experiences conspire to shape him into a subtly different person than the man he was before.

 

Then (and this has nothing in particular to do with actual neurological science, it's just a really tortured metaphor that I'm beating to within an inch of its life), his brain finally begins to heal. Neurons re-route their connections. Old memories spark. Bit by bit, they come back to him, though at first he doesn't even know where they're coming from, or whether or not they're just delusions.

 

Then one day he wakes up, and he realizes that he remembers it all, although his past life feels so distant that it's more like a dream to him than a true memory. He remembers who he was. he remembers his name, where he lived, his loved ones, the whole arc of his life.

 

He remembers it, but he's living a new life under a new name.

 

Now, does that make him a different man? Or is he fundamentally the same person as he always was?

 

As you can probably guess, I tend to take the latter point of view. (Assisted by the very clear statement at the end of TGS that they were not, and never had been, two men.)

 

Rand was always Lews Therin was always Rand was always himself. Now he has two lives and two subtly different personalities to process and assimilate, but he is not and has never been different. He just got a little knock on the noggin. Or, well, went critical with an overload of saidin. And then had a period of amnesia that lasted about three thousand years.

 

Yeah. My metaphor starts to fail right around here, but I generally choose to think of the whole suicide-followed-by-being-dead-for-three-thousand-years thing as just a really, really long coma. :P

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Would you believe that I finally registered, after lurking here for ages, just to post this? :P No, neither do I. But the discussion of Rand's little (ahem) psychiatric issues IS an interesting topic.

I don't find it to be all that unbelievable. I have always thought that Lews Therin was one of the most interesting mysteries of WoT. I've also used the amnesiac argument before, though to some people, an amnesiac really is a different person. The way I see it is this: there are soul traits, and then there are personality traits that are cultivated through the various experiences of each incarnation. The personalities can change a lot, but the person essentially remains the same. Nature and nurture. The various stories of Birgitte and Gaidal are a good way of demonstrating that.

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Not really "old guard" on DM, but I was a lurker and occational poster to the usenet group back when, so I'm semi old guard.

I have always believed, and still do, that Lews Therin was real - i.e. a seperate consciousness, and I have to say, that the second option doesn't really make sense. If the memories are real, and the personality is "constructed" from the memories to dissociate from them, then the situation is the same as if it was an actual consciousness - we are all, after all, personality wise, a construct of inheritance and environment - we are the sum of our experiences and our starting point, so if the voice was a "construct" based off the real memories of LTT and LTT's starting point, then, by that point, the personality and consciousness of said personality would be LTT's.

Of course it all comes down to how we define consciousness, philosophically. Is a consciousness a single, unique entity, or are single entities defined by their consciousness? If the first, then the first 2 options are the same, if the second, then the first 2 options - as stated - are still the same, but intentionwise they should be reformulated to ask whether LTT and RaT are the same entity, or 2 seperate. That restating of the question is, however, equally meaningless as we know that LTT and RaT are the same entity (soul in the WoTverse).

So, philosophically speaking, The answer doesn't matter as much as the question.

 

Corrolating to real world, do people suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder have more than 1 consciousness? (yes, that is the definition of MPD). Are they more than 1 entity within the same body? philosophically speaking I mean?, does each personality have the sam freedom rights as the others and everyone else (as long as each personality does not act in a way that would curtail said freedoms)? and does a MPD sufferers personalities have the rights seperately and independantly? (assuming still that each personality is functioning and capable in a societally and legal sense).

 

 

The books provide the simple answer for our conundrum - we know that souls exist with absolute certainty and that in this case the answer, whichever one we chose, is caused by LTT and RaT being the same soul, thus a same, single entity, while being 2 seperate entities at the same time.

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Not really "old guard" on DM, but I was a lurker and occational poster to the usenet group back when, so I'm semi old guard.

I have always believed, and still do, that Lews Therin was real - i.e. a seperate consciousness, and I have to say, that the second option doesn't really make sense. If the memories are real, and the personality is "constructed" from the memories to dissociate from them

There's already a disconnect in the premises. The personality is not constructed from the memories. The memories simply provide a convenient name and face to assign to Rand's suppressed thoughts and emotions - convenient because it allows Rand to believe that Lews Therin is another man, rather than himself. If the 'personality' was constructed completely from Lews Therin's memories, and if Rand did not exhibit Lews Therin's personality traits and memories more often than the voice, then these premises might work toward the argument, but neither is true. As Rand says, the voice seldom shares important information. It just whines about Ilyena whatever else Rand doesn't want to think about, and even acts as Rand's 'small voice' of conscience sometimes.

 

So, philosophically speaking, The answer doesn't matter as much as the question.

Of course. And, of course, that's what the construct camp was all about - it was a fascinating subject for questioning the face-value interpretations of incidents involving Lews Therin. The 'real' theory, that assumes there are two separate conscious/subconscious minds interacting with each other, doesn't make much sense to most of us - it's acceptable only in the fantasy mindset, and even then, only barely - but the idea that Rand accidentally (subconsciously) constructed the voice with his because of his motives makes perfect sense. Every detail of how Rand's perceptions and motives influenced the development of the voice is in the text.

 

In other words, the part we had the biggest problem with was the assumption that Lews Therin, for example (one example of many), chose to 'go away' when Cadsuane made that comment about hearing voices, for one reason or another. If Lews Therin had some motive, then Rand was unaware of it. So how, then, is it even possible for 'Lews Therin' to have a motive? Does he have thoughts that Rand is not privy to? How? Lews Therin seems capable of listening to Rand's thoughts whenever he feels like it, and commenting on them (again, if he feels like it). Why can't Rand hear Lews Therin's thoughts? What was Lews Therin even thinking when he 'went away', anyway? What was the reason? We don't know. Everything you can come up with sounds really dumb. He was scared of Cadsuane. Okay, then why didn't he come back until well after Rand had left Cadsuane behind?

 

But, analyzed from the construct perspective - that is, the assumption that the voice is a defense mechanism, a coping mechanism - it makes perfect sense. The voice went away because Rand became convinced that it was a sign of his madness, even though he still told himself that it was real. It was a disconnect. The voice was his means of pretending that he was sane, and no one had really challenged him on that point until Cadsuane.

 

Skip to the campaign against the Seanchan in Altara. Rand is having a short conference with Torval. Three times in the same chapter, Rand denies that he needs Lews Therin's voice to know that he can't trust Torval. Well, duh. Because Lews Therin's voice was Rand all along - Lews Therin always ranted about Taim because Rand didn't trust him, but he couldn't afford to admit it to himself because he needed Taim. Without Lews Therin around to rant about Torval, Rand quickly started losing control of his temper. He almost stabbed Torval in the heart with his Dragon Scepter. And then, at the end of the chapter, Lews Therin magically reappears, ranting about killing Torval as if Rand hadn't been doing just the exact same thing. And after that, Lews Therin tries to convince Rand to kill Torval.

 

The point of the construct camp was always more or less along the lines of, 'Well, it's a fantasy world and RJ can do whatever the hell he wants and it doesn't have to make sense....but one explanation is more interesting than the other.'

Edited by Terez
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Yes, clearly there were two personalities. I think the main point of contention has always over the issue of two separate conscious/subconscious entities, one of them Rand, and the other Lews Therin. That is what the real'ers believed. The constructors, on the other hand, believed the voice to be a manifestation of Rand's subconscious rather than a manifestation of Lews Therin.

 

 

I think that is a meaningless distinction. Besides, Semirhage says that "Sometimes, very rarely, the voices they hear are voices of past lives... Clearly he is hearing Lew Therin's voice. It makes no difference that his voice is real, however. In fact, that makes his situatioin worse. Even Graendal usually failled to achieve reintergration with someone who heard a real voice."

 

Now, granted Semirhage is the physician and not the pyschologist, and Graendal probably could explain in better detail, but the way it describes makes it sound very much to me like there is a real voice. That does not at all contridict the idea that Rand and Lews are the same person (same soul) but does suggest that the "real'ers" are not wrong to use the terminology they do. Nor is Rand wrong to recongnize that Lew Therin's voice was always his own voice and not the voice of a seperate person, because Lews and Rand were always the same person at the fundamental level, even if they had somewhat different personalities (not just knowledge and memory, but also habits and manerisms). Part of Rand's reintergration process is accepting the past life as being as much a part of him as his current life.

 

I would say one entity, one person, one soul, two personalities/memories, but with the border between the personality/memories to be fuzzy instead of sharply defined. After reintergration (a medical term which describes a way to attempt to treat MPD), one personality who has the sum knowledge, memory and identity of both Lews and Rand.

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Yes, clearly there were two personalities. I think the main point of contention has always over the issue of two separate conscious/subconscious entities, one of them Rand, and the other Lews Therin. That is what the real'ers believed. The constructors, on the other hand, believed the voice to be a manifestation of Rand's subconscious rather than a manifestation of Lews Therin.

 

 

I think that is a meaningless distinction.

Why? I think it's an important distinction, and that those who believe the 'voice' was really Lews Therin are selling the man short. Is there any similarity between Rand's current personality and the personality of the 'voice'? If not, then why not?

 

Now, granted Semirhage is the physician and not the pyschologist, and Graendal probably could explain in better detail, but the way it describes makes it sound very much to me like there is a real voice.

Like Rand said:

 

Yes, that was definitely sobbing, not laughter. Sometimes it was hard to tell with Lews Therin. Rand continued to think of the dead man as a separate individual from himself, regardless of what Semirhage had said. He had cleansed saidin! The taint was gone and it could touch his mind no longer. He was not going to go insane.

Semirhage's use of 'real voice' and the real'ers' use of 'real voice' should not be conflated. They are two separate things.

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Yes, clearly there were two personalities. I think the main point of contention has always over the issue of two separate conscious/subconscious entities, one of them Rand, and the other Lews Therin. That is what the real'ers believed. The constructors, on the other hand, believed the voice to be a manifestation of Rand's subconscious rather than a manifestation of Lews Therin.

 

 

I think that is a meaningless distinction.

Why? I think it's an important distinction, and that those who believe the 'voice' was really Lews Therin are selling the man short. Is there any similarity between Rand's current personality and the personality of the 'voice'? If not, then why not?

 

??? Not sure what you are getting at with short selling. Really, I think trying to be too precise about the psychology of a fictional character suffering from a fictional condition is an exercise in futility, considering even real pyschologists barely understand many real conditions in real people that they've been treating for a long time, and also considering that the book was written by a physicist, not a clinical pyschologist.

 

Now, granted Semirhage is the physician and not the pyschologist, and Graendal probably could explain in better detail, but the way it describes makes it sound very much to me like there is a real voice.

Like Rand said:

 

Yes, that was definitely sobbing, not laughter. Sometimes it was hard to tell with Lews Therin. Rand continued to think of the dead man as a separate individual from himself, regardless of what Semirhage had said. He had cleansed saidin! The taint was gone and it could touch his mind no longer. He was not going to go insane.

Semirhage's use of 'real voice' and the real'ers' use of 'real voice' should not be conflated. They are two separate things.

 

I can't even figure out what you are arguing for here. Sorry but I haven't been spending years following this particular debate and I have no investment in anyone else's detailed theories of what is going on, so excuse me is I don't know all the detailed four page treatises on how Real'ers define Real, even assuming there is a single definiation of Real that has been put out by the Pope of Real'ers and must be subscribed to by all Orthodox Real'ers.

 

I simply think that Rand is insane, that the manefistation of his insanity is in the form of a "real voice" from a "past life", that he is in denial at that particular point about not being insane, and that Lews Therin and Rand are and have always been the same person in that they share the same soul.

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Andrew, if you don't want a debate about something, simply don't have it. There's no merit in arguing that a debate between two other people isn't worth having, because they will obviously disagree.

 

 

I was reacting against other people trying to bring up some other unknown (to me) partisan defintion of the word "real" by saying that I'm only trying to express my opinion on the topic of the thread, not pick a side in someone else's debate.

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In response to how two seperate and destinct entities (to use that word to avoid confusion, hopefully) can coexist and keep stuff from eahcother, with seperate motives, I don't have to make up too much, luckily.

Robin Hobb has done quite well in the Soldier Son trilogy;

 

Soldier Son and the Speck magic man are definately different entities, coexisting in 1 body, with different amounts of access to control of said body, and different amounts of access to eachothers thoughts. They have specifically contradictory motivations and actively work against eachother as far as they can.

This is most clear in book 3, but somewhat hinted in book 2.

Now I won't reccomend reading the series for anything useful (its not the best writing RH has done imo) but the coexistance of 2 opposingly motivated entities within the same body, based on the same soul without being caused by a psychological / psychiatric condition or insanity is pretty well written, and could easily be the way RaT/LTT entities interact.

 

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