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Insanity vs. VoG revliation


Tyzack
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I have been wondering about this for sometime now, and reading these boards has made me more confused, not less.

 

In KoD we have Sameriage saying that other male channelers in the AoL "heard voices" of previous incarations of themselves, in their heads, and that this was followed closely by a decent into insanity.

 

Given that after VoG the voices in rand's head, which I always presumed to be his insanity, were merged into his own voice, does that contradict my previous assumtion about the voice of LTT being Rand's insanity? How does Samerige's statement effect this? Was LTT hearing voices in his head after sealing the bore?

 

Or, was the "insanity"\effect of the taint that belief that while channeling saidin you could do anything? We see two other instances of "insanity" in Asha'man during ToM, but both of those - shadows approaching and fades everywhere - doesn't seem to me to be the type of "insanity" that would cause the breaking.

 

Errr....so after all of that, do we know what the direct effect of the taint was on channeler's of saidin? was this different from the insansity?

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I think you are wrong to assume that there was only one possible effect of the taint. We don't know what was the determining factor, but every channeller reacted differently to the DO's touch. So while for Rand it broke away the barrier separating his current life from the past one it did something different for others.

I don't think that the Dark One has direct control over what his taint did to each channeller. Afterall it seems quite likely that the taint is what will allow Rand to win the Last Battle, because without it he would never have become the Zen-Rand we saw in ToM and the DO wouldn't have wanted that.

 

As for the Breaking, I think back then for some reason instead of something "harmless" like paranoia or regressing to infancy the taint affected a lot of men by increasing their destructive impulses or perhaps by breaking down the inhibitors in people which control our violent impulses.

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"The taint had trapped the minds of all the [male channelers] in twisted dreams of madness, while saidin gave them the power to make the dreams instant reality."

 

 

This quote comes from The World of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, the encyclopedia/guide to the world of the series. I don't have the guide myself, but I have read it. I got it from TarValon.net's Library. Here's a link to the page. My link

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"The taint had trapped the minds of all the [male channelers] in twisted dreams of madness, while saidin gave them the power to make the dreams instant reality."

 

 

This quote comes from The World of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, the encyclopedia/guide to the world of the series. I don't have the guide myself, but I have read it. I got it from TarValon.net's Library. Here's a link to the page. My link

 

So how did that manifest itself in Rand?

 

That is more in line with what I would have assumed the taint to be - the essence of the DO - descrtuctive chaos.

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"The taint had trapped the minds of all the [male channelers] in twisted dreams of madness, while saidin gave them the power to make the dreams instant reality."

 

 

This quote comes from The World of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, the encyclopedia/guide to the world of the series. I don't have the guide myself, but I have read it. I got it from TarValon.net's Library. Here's a link to the page. My link

 

So how did that manifest itself in Rand?

 

That is more in line with what I would have assumed the taint to be - the essence of the DO - descrtuctive chaos.

 

Presumably, the effect of the taint was to break down the barrier with his past life, granting him access to LTT's memories. We've seen the taint affect male channellers in different ways. Naeff saw fades where there were none, Androl began to fear shadows, Morr began acting like a small child, some unknown Ashaman thought he had spiders crawling beneath his skin according to Torval... None of those effects are particularly destructive.

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"The taint had trapped the minds of all the [male channelers] in twisted dreams of madness, while saidin gave them the power to make the dreams instant reality."

 

 

This quote comes from The World of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, the encyclopedia/guide to the world of the series. I don't have the guide myself, but I have read it. I got it from TarValon.net's Library. Here's a link to the page. My link

 

So how did that manifest itself in Rand?

 

That is more in line with what I would have assumed the taint to be - the essence of the DO - descrtuctive chaos.

 

Presumably, the effect of the taint was to break down the barrier with his past life, granting him access to LTT's memories. We've seen the taint affect male channellers in different ways. Naeff saw fades where there were none, Androl began to fear shadows, Morr began acting like a small child, some unknown Ashaman thought he had spiders crawling beneath his skin according to Torval... None of those effects are particularly destructive.

 

So the taint makes the channel think that he is actively living in a nightmere, and saidin gives him the ability to destroy the nightmere (world) in which he is living...makes sense.

 

If an MC is gentled after falling into insanity, does the insanity remain? With the taint removed, no new MCs will ever feel it, but those already "in their nightmeres" will not continue the slide?

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"The taint had trapped the minds of all the [male channelers] in twisted dreams of madness, while saidin gave them the power to make the dreams instant reality."

 

 

This quote comes from The World of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, the encyclopedia/guide to the world of the series. I don't have the guide myself, but I have read it. I got it from TarValon.net's Library. Here's a link to the page. My link

 

That book is not 100% accurate. It is deliberatly written as if the author was living in the 4th Age, with limited access to sources, and some of those sources flawed.

 

This is a rather good example of that, since we have seen that the taint does not work this way (it might in individual cases, but it is not a rule for every case).

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Bear in mind, too, that the taint had not progressed fully on basically any of the channelers so far mentioned. It's a progressive, rotting disease, not an instantaneous conversion. So while an Asha'man might only be seeing Fades where there aren't any now, if he continued to use tainted saidin, he'd probably begin seeing Shadowspawn everywhere, and he'd probably start trying to destroy the Shadowspawn, inadvertently destroying people and everything else in his way. Similarly for the rest of them.

 

In Rand's case, it's a little stranger, but we do know that LTT was a lot more aggressive about certain people ("Kill them!") than Rand was. That's probably where the Breaking-style madness in Rand was going.

Edited by Kelandon
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I think that Rand's "insanity" could probably be considered a natural emotional disturbance stemming from his inability to reconcile two completely different and rational points of view against each other. After looking at the list of povs from LTT on enc-wot, it really looks as if most (if not all) of LTTs reactions to the world around Rand are perfectly reasonable and rational responses to the world around him... if you treat LTT as a distinct person. Each person is defined by their own set of memories... that is memories they recognize as their own. Both sets of memories are within Rand's head, but for obvious reasons he can't recognize them as his own... nor can LTT. There are two sets of memories, and therefore two "people".

 

They react to this with emotional breakdowns and insanity because it's not a sane situation to be in - having the memories of someone thousands of years dead? Such makes no sense to a mortal in the world of Randland unless they have a Forsaken's perspective on things.

 

Rand's recognition and acceptance of those memories as his own removes any need for throwing fits.

 

I would speculate that the reason for Rand acquiring memories of a past life is because the taint breaks down natural protective barriers that exist between the lives on any person's thread.

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On the contrary, seeing shadows encroaching or fades everywhere, and most especially regressing to an infantile state, could be very destructive. What if one of those guys experiencing the paranoia + visual hallucinations finally decides that those hallucinations are real, and that he should do his level best to destroy them? And have you ever seen a child playing by themselves? They tear stuff up for fun, and throw things and themselves around when they get mad and frustrated. Give an 18 month old child the ability to summon fire or rend the earth or move stuff around with air, and you will eventually be left standing in a wasteland, while the child alternately laughs at the pretty colors of fire and other people's blood and rages at having stubbed a toe. I have a hard time imagining even intentionally destructive adults with the Power being more destructive than a toddler with the Power.

 

It also seems pretty clear that Rand's madness was different in kind than Lews Therin's madness. When we see Lews wandering around the ruins of his mansion, stepping over the bodies of his loved ones, it seems pretty clear that he's experiencing some kind of visual hallucination. He's running around calling for his wife, stepping over her body as he does so. Not only does he seem to have no memory of killing her, his behavior would appear perfectly sane in different circumstances, if say, his house wasn't demolished and his wife not dead, just in the garden or something. The Dragon's only awareness that something seems amiss is a problem with his memory, which he blatantly shrugs off. And he doesn't appear to be hearing voices in his head. I would guess he's experiencing some form of normative inversion, where things that are perfectly fine seem to him to be wrong somehow and things that are ruined appear better, or are at least invisible to him, coupled with the memory problems. I wouldn't be surprised if there were some paranoia thrown in there as well, but we don't really see it.

 

The insanity aspect of the taint appears to be highly individualized. If you suppose that each individual has an underlying mental weakness such as irrational fears or susceptibility to certain forms of madness, then it appears the taint brings that individual weakness or susceptibility out and manifests it. The other aspect of the taint was the rotting disease. The symptoms of that disease were fairly uniform across male channelers, but even so, onset of the disease appeared to vary among individuals. Since Semirhage confirms that true awareness of past lives and personality fragmentation on that basis is a "normal" form of madness that is particularly difficult to treat, it seems likely that this is the form of Rand's madness, and that this is brought on by Rand's (perfectly understandable) obsession with the failures of his previous life. That kind of obsession was not shared by Lews Therin, who was probably more obsessed with beating the Shadow, eliminating evil, and so forth, and so was corrupted and corruptible in a different way than Rand. Also unlike Lews Therin, Rand beat his madness "on his own."

 

And you could also argue that Rand is still insane because he still remembers his previous life, even though he's no longer manifesting two personalities as a result of those memories and fears. Rand Sedai, while a mentally healthier individual than Dark Rand or Lews Therin in Rand's head, is still a bit unnatural. He still displays anger, arrogance and selfishness, and while these displays are much quieter than displays of these emotions prior to reintegration, it seems largely because he's realized that he can't be denied. In short, Rand's insanity now is that he's got a god-complex. But because he's still Rand/Lews Therin, and those guys were pretty good guys all things considered, he believes himself to be and thus acts like a pretty good god. Of course, if you believe that in his reintegration/revelation on Dragonmount, he became something more than merely mortal, then having a god-complex wouldn't really be insanity, because he really would be a kind of god.

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When men are gentled by the Red Ajah, they pine away and often die young but they no longer go mad or suffer from the rotting disease. Likewise, Robert Jordan has stated that after the taint was cleansed, male channelers would not get any worse nor would they get any better. Whatever mental damage is done by the taint is permanent. So Logain would have stayed in the same mental condition from the time he was gentled until Nynaeve Healed him. He was then subject to the taint once more until Rand and Nynaeve cleansed the taint with the Choedan Kal.

 

 

This was posted by CandymanGT- in a seperate thread titled, "FAQ query. Was Logain cleansed from the taint when Gentled?" Apologies, but I couldn't figure out how to link another thread.

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When men are gentled by the Red Ajah, they pine away and often die young but they no longer go mad or suffer from the rotting disease. Likewise, Robert Jordan has stated that after the taint was cleansed, male channelers would not get any worse nor would they get any better. Whatever mental damage is done by the taint is permanent. So Logain would have stayed in the same mental condition from the time he was gentled until Nynaeve Healed him. He was then subject to the taint once more until Rand and Nynaeve cleansed the taint with the Choedan Kal.

 

 

This was posted by CandymanGT- in a seperate thread titled, "FAQ query. Was Logain cleansed from the taint when Gentled?" Apologies, but I couldn't figure out how to link another thread.

 

As far as we know the taint had not begun to manifest itself in Logain yet...

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I have been wondering about this for sometime now, and reading these boards has made me more confused, not less.

 

In KoD we have Sameriage saying that other male channelers in the AoL "heard voices" of previous incarations of themselves, in their heads, and that this was followed closely by a decent into insanity.

 

Actually, as far as I remember Semirhage doesn't say anything about male channelers; she and the others were all sealed away while the breaking was going on. She was just talking about random mental illness patients that Graendal and co. tried to treat.

 

I've always thought that LTT's memories (though not necessarily the voice) were actually nothing to do with the Taint, but were instead some initiative of the Pattern's. After all, Rand would have been screwed numerous times without them, and RJ would never answer whether they were Taint-caused or not.

 

I think the form the 'madness' took in Rand was his extreme depression and occasional reckless mania. The DO's Taint did invariably lead to a violent, destructive state of mind, and that pretty much sums up what Rand's sense of hoplessness led him to contemplate on Dragonmount.

 

Come to think of it, it seems like maybe the Taint was meant to exaggerate whatever negative traits the channeler already possessed. For example that happy-go-lucky, oddly innocent-seeming Asha'man in TPoD, whose madness turned him into an infant. Hard to say though, since we haven't seen that many examples.

Edited by Randommer
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I have been wondering about this for sometime now, and reading these boards has made me more confused, not less.

 

In KoD we have Sameriage saying that other male channelers in the AoL "heard voices" of previous incarations of themselves, in their heads, and that this was followed closely by a decent into insanity.

 

Actually, as far as I remember Semirhage doesn't say anything about male channelers; she and the others were all sealed away while the breaking was going on. She was just talking about random mental illness patients that Graendal and co. tried to treat.

 

I've always thought that LTT's memories (though not necessarily the voice) were actually nothing to do with the Taint, but were instead some initiative of the Pattern's. After all, Rand would have been screwed numerous times without them, and RJ would never answer whether they were Taint-caused or not.

 

I think the form the 'madness' took in Rand was his extreme depression and occasional reckless mania. The DO's Taint did invariably lead to a violent, destructive state of mind, and that pretty much sums up what Rand's sense of hoplessness led him to contemplate on Dragonmount.

 

Come to think of it, it seems like maybe the Taint was meant to exaggerate whatever negative traits the channeler already possessed. For example that happy-go-lucky, oddly innocent-seeming Asha'man in TPoD, whose madness turned him into an infant. Hard to say though, since we haven't seen that many examples.

 

The section in bold is more along the lines of what i have been thinking.

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Bear in mind, too, that the taint had not progressed fully on basically any of the channelers so far mentioned. It's a progressive, rotting disease, not an instantaneous conversion.

 

I think this is incorrect. IIRC, the madness can take you at any time, in any form. It can be progressive OR instantaneous. It sure seemed to take Fedwyn instantly, he's fine when the attack on Cairhien starts, and a few hours later he's been reduced to a child-like state. He certainly showed no other signs he was slowly progressing towards this end. On the other side would be someone like, uh, I forget the guy's name who was convinced the Fades were following him. Something tells me had the taint not been cleansed, this probably would have gotten worse and worse as he descended into madness.

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The fact that Semirhage is familiar with madness from previous-life-memories seeping through and the dissociative identity disorder that results is evidence enough for me that Rand's possession of LTT's memories is taint-induced and not Pattern-induced. And while Semi may not be experienced with specifically taint-induced madness, she, Graendal and the others would certainly be familiar with Shadow-induced madness and ordinary madness in general, since they used it on all sorts of people, often just for fun before killing them. She's not surprised at the manifestation of Rand's madness, even at the fact that the Lews Therin memories are real, therefore, Rand's madness is not special. Does Rand's madness include the paranoia, depression and mania he displays? Certainly. It also includes the memories and second personality.

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I personally dont think the memories come from the madness. Most people seem to think that the memories end at Lews Therin but they do not.

 

In VoG Rand remembered many lifetimes. We have seen this before. In TGH, when the Heroes are summoned, Rand says he remembers them both in the form he sees and in their other incarnations-he compares a few names. But then it says he had to try very hard to not remember many of his own. That was book 2. Yes, Rand had channeled some Taint by then, but terminal madness? In book 2? I dont buy that.

 

I think the memories are supposed to be a resource, something that was activated when he became Ta'veren/CotL.

 

The madness is how he deals with it, how he thinks half of his own thoughts are his past selves, and how he thinks his past self is sometimes in control. But its just him using the judgement of his previous lives, pretending to himself that its someone else, the one who knows all the Power stuff and who killed his family and who was a complete nutter.

 

The reason it stops in VoG is that he-using Lews Therins "voice" made a positive judgement with that foreign judgement. He says something about second chances and a possible Ilyena rebirth, but what hes really saying to himself is its alright. So he stops resisting, theres no need to pretend anymore because hes accepted/forgiven himself, so the voice vanishes. It was Rand, and always had been.

 

The Taint, I do not think it does anything to barriers between lives.

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Bear in mind, too, that the taint had not progressed fully on basically any of the channelers so far mentioned. It's a progressive, rotting disease, not an instantaneous conversion.

 

I think this is incorrect. IIRC, the madness can take you at any time, in any form. It can be progressive OR instantaneous. It sure seemed to take Fedwyn instantly, he's fine when the attack on Cairhien starts, and a few hours later he's been reduced to a child-like state. He certainly showed no other signs he was slowly progressing towards this end. On the other side would be someone like, uh, I forget the guy's name who was convinced the Fades were following him. Something tells me had the taint not been cleansed, this probably would have gotten worse and worse as he descended into madness.

 

Not true, there were subtle hints all through tPoD of Fedwin starting to slip that direction.

Edited by Suttree
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I personally dont think the memories come from the madness. Most people seem to think that the memories end at Lews Therin but they do not.

 

In VoG Rand remembered many lifetimes. We have seen this before. In TGH, when the Heroes are summoned, Rand says he remembers them both in the form he sees and in their other incarnations-he compares a few names. But then it says he had to try very hard to not remember many of his own. That was book 2. Yes, Rand had channeled some Taint by then, but terminal madness? In book 2? I dont buy that.

 

I think the memories are supposed to be a resource, something that was activated when he became Ta'veren/CotL.

 

The madness is how he deals with it, how he thinks half of his own thoughts are his past selves, and how he thinks his past self is sometimes in control. But its just him using the judgement of his previous lives, pretending to himself that its someone else, the one who knows all the Power stuff and who killed his family and who was a complete nutter.

 

The reason it stops in VoG is that he-using Lews Therins "voice" made a positive judgement with that foreign judgement. He says something about second chances and a possible Ilyena rebirth, but what hes really saying to himself is its alright. So he stops resisting, theres no need to pretend anymore because hes accepted/forgiven himself, so the voice vanishes. It was Rand, and always had been.

 

The Taint, I do not think it does anything to barriers between lives.

 

I agree with everything in this post.

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I personally dont think the memories come from the madness. Most people seem to think that the memories end at Lews Therin but they do not.

 

In VoG Rand remembered many lifetimes. We have seen this before. In TGH, when the Heroes are summoned, Rand says he remembers them both in the form he sees and in their other incarnations-he compares a few names. But then it says he had to try very hard to not remember many of his own. That was book 2. Yes, Rand had channeled some Taint by then, but terminal madness? In book 2? I dont buy that.

 

I think the memories are supposed to be a resource, something that was activated when he became Ta'veren/CotL.

 

The madness is how he deals with it, how he thinks half of his own thoughts are his past selves, and how he thinks his past self is sometimes in control. But its just him using the judgement of his previous lives, pretending to himself that its someone else, the one who knows all the Power stuff and who killed his family and who was a complete nutter.

 

The reason it stops in VoG is that he-using Lews Therins "voice" made a positive judgement with that foreign judgement. He says something about second chances and a possible Ilyena rebirth, but what hes really saying to himself is its alright. So he stops resisting, theres no need to pretend anymore because hes accepted/forgiven himself, so the voice vanishes. It was Rand, and always had been.

 

The Taint, I do not think it does anything to barriers between lives.

 

Well the taint must be "partly" responsible for the memories in some way, since the author said so. I suppose I'd ask why Rand, someone born "naturally" into the world, would be able to remember his past lives by default? And why would it progress the way it does?

 

The rest I believe I agree with, but that means Rand was not taint-induced "mad" at all, since his madness as we perceive it has a mundane cause, those being the denial of foreign memories (source of which we quibble over) and then external savior-of-the-world pressures.

 

Edit: Rereading the quote, it says influenced the "voice", so I suspect DM's answer would be that the voice was caused by the taint and populated by the memories. Which seems possible, still curious about their origins then though.

Edited by Kael Pyralis
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Bear in mind, too, that the taint had not progressed fully on basically any of the channelers so far mentioned. It's a progressive, rotting disease, not an instantaneous conversion.

 

I think this is incorrect. IIRC, the madness can take you at any time, in any form. It can be progressive OR instantaneous. It sure seemed to take Fedwyn instantly, he's fine when the attack on Cairhien starts, and a few hours later he's been reduced to a child-like state. He certainly showed no other signs he was slowly progressing towards this end. On the other side would be someone like, uh, I forget the guy's name who was convinced the Fades were following him. Something tells me had the taint not been cleansed, this probably would have gotten worse and worse as he descended into madness.

 

Not true, there were subtle hints all through tPoD of Fedwin starting to slip that direction.

 

Imerickson is still correct though, whatever the case may be with Morr. Flinn has shown no sign of madness and he has channelled the longest amongst all the Ashaman apart from Logain and Taim. In comparison, Torval mentionned an Ashaman who went mad after only 2 days.

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Bear in mind, too, that the taint had not progressed fully on basically any of the channelers so far mentioned. It's a progressive, rotting disease, not an instantaneous conversion.

 

I think this is incorrect. IIRC, the madness can take you at any time, in any form. It can be progressive OR instantaneous. It sure seemed to take Fedwyn instantly, he's fine when the attack on Cairhien starts, and a few hours later he's been reduced to a child-like state. He certainly showed no other signs he was slowly progressing towards this end. On the other side would be someone like, uh, I forget the guy's name who was convinced the Fades were following him. Something tells me had the taint not been cleansed, this probably would have gotten worse and worse as he descended into madness.

 

Not true, there were subtle hints all through tPoD of Fedwin starting to slip that direction.

 

Imerickson is still correct though, whatever the case may be with Morr. Flinn has shown no sign of madness and he has channelled the longest amongst all the Ashaman apart from Logain and Taim. In comparison, Torval mentionned an Ashaman who went mad after only 2 days.

 

Oh I agree, should have specified I was just referring to Mor.

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If the memories of past lives were a special advantage granted to Rand due to his role in the Pattern as the Dragon Reborn, then why is Semirhage completely unsurprised by it when she accuses Rand of being mad? She even deduces its occurrence from Rand's behavior, which means it has to be common enough to be a plausible explanation. Memories from past lives seeping through and the manifestation of voices and alternate personalities as a result appear to be a rare, but altogether normal kind of madness, capable of being induced by regular old mental instability as well as Shadow-induced insanity.

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If the memories of past lives were a special advantage granted to Rand due to his role in the Pattern as the Dragon Reborn, then why is Semirhage completely unsurprised by it when she accuses Rand of being mad? She even deduces its occurrence from Rand's behavior, which means it has to be common enough to be a plausible explanation. Memories from past lives seeping through and the manifestation of voices and alternate personalities as a result appear to be a rare, but altogether normal kind of madness, capable of being induced by regular old mental instability as well as Shadow-induced insanity.

 

I'd assume that because he's fairly "special" that when weird things happen to him they are far less surprising than they would be for anyone else. Also, we've seen two other ways people have gained access to old memories, and we've even seen the "strong" "old blood" make stuff pop out. So Semi likely wouldn't see it as an impossibility at all. Reall, his title as "The Dragon Reborn" almost suggests that he's fated to remember. Think of Lanfear calling him Lews, she almost seemed sure he would remember, I mean how could he forget her! But I don't think they attribute that to the taint.

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I personally dont think the memories come from the madness. Most people seem to think that the memories end at Lews Therin but they do not.

 

In VoG Rand remembered many lifetimes. We have seen this before. In TGH, when the Heroes are summoned, Rand says he remembers them both in the form he sees and in their other incarnations-he compares a few names. But then it says he had to try very hard to not remember many of his own. That was book 2. Yes, Rand had channeled some Taint by then, but terminal madness? In book 2? I dont buy that.

 

I think the memories are supposed to be a resource, something that was activated when he became Ta'veren/CotL.

 

The madness is how he deals with it, how he thinks half of his own thoughts are his past selves, and how he thinks his past self is sometimes in control. But its just him using the judgement of his previous lives, pretending to himself that its someone else, the one who knows all the Power stuff and who killed his family and who was a complete nutter.

 

The reason it stops in VoG is that he-using Lews Therins "voice" made a positive judgement with that foreign judgement. He says something about second chances and a possible Ilyena rebirth, but what hes really saying to himself is its alright. So he stops resisting, theres no need to pretend anymore because hes accepted/forgiven himself, so the voice vanishes. It was Rand, and always had been.

 

The Taint, I do not think it does anything to barriers between lives.

 

This is pretty much what i thought when Semirhage said what she did. The madness is the voice, not the spill-over of memories. even the voice is more or less harmless (or would be if the voice itself wasn't a madman. no harm at all if the his past life's personality was pleasant and only gave him support and helpful feedback), but it's a manifestation of the beginnings of madness. On the other hand, i wouldn't be surprised at all if Rand developed some mental disorder even without the taint. He was put under a lot of stress before he was ready.

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