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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Cyclical Nature of the Wheel of Time (full spoilers)


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You may be correct about which Age the WOTS occurred, but that still doesn't mean that knowledge will be forgotten. Unless a major disruption of a civilization occurs,even immense passage of time doesn't necessarily mean knowledge will be forgotten. Advanced societies, absent a major disruption, do not forget. It just doesn't happen that way. At least, not in this world. Besides, there would have had to be a second breaking for the world to appear as it did during the AOL and why would something like that occur. The only way to make that fit is to accept Mr. Jordan's posit that the overall situation repeats, but not the interior details. In other words, there will be another AOL (The Second age), but the landscape, etc (The minor, interior details) will not be the same. The next Breaking will change the current landscape back to what it was before the Breaking that this version of the WOT experienced.

 

tud

 

@tud - I agree with you on the landscape changing, I would go a little further and say that the civilisations will not be the same, although they'll fill the same role (e.g. at some stage the Aiel will be wiped out, but in the next AoL there will be a group of servents who rise (or fall dependent on pov) to become a super warrior race. 

 

But as to things becoming forgotten, of course they will.  My history knowledge isn;t great, but go back a few centuries and we have some books left (most of which (if not all) have to be treated with sceptism due to author bias), go back further and their's less and less.  Go back a couple of thousand years and theirs what? (copies of a book written a couple of hundred years after the time)  Even now, our information isn't stored particularly safely - what if the internet died, what if the 'cloud' crashes.  We're then back to paper and paper doesn't last...  There are many ways for knowledge to be lost, what if language changes, definitions change... 

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@tud

 

Don't think there will be another breaking before the AoL comes again. There are 5 ages to come in building up to another AoL. That is more than enough time for memory to fade to myth and then be long forgotten before the age comes around again.

Edited by Suttree
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Is there a set time between ages?

It's impossible to say, we have a sample size of one.  It is entirely possible that a single turning of the Wheel encapsulates the whole lifespan of a universe, in our case we're at something like 14.5 billion years and counting.  Afaik, nothing says one Age has to be the same length as another.

 

@Tud, Here's an example of knowledge that's lost or corrupted: Atlantis.  Now, I'm not saying Atlantis ever really existed, but the first and oldest reference to it that we know if is in Plato's the Timaeus.  Here's the thing, the Timaeus is incomplete.  We've gota bit more than half that work, we think, and what we do have is a recounting of a bunch of old men sharing Creation myths.  But we're missing a heck of a lot of context in this recounting.  We don't know why they're telling each other these stories and we don't know whether the men telling them actually believe them as if they were historical fact (and some of the stories in the Timaeus are so fanciful that it seems hardly likely they were meant literally).  This story is the entire foundation on which the modern legend of Atlantis is built, and today, we not only have people who believe Atlantis existed, but think they know where to find it, and some of them have actually found something!  But for all we know, Atlantis was the Ancient Greek equivalent of Avalon or Oz, a fairytale place that was the setting for morality stories.  

 

And the Timaeus is only about 2500 years ago, and you can actually read the text of the Timaeus today, in the original ancient Greek if you prefer, or translated into any modern language you wish.  That's how easy it is even in the real world for knowledge to be lost, corrupted and twisted into something else.  

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It is entirely possible that a single turning of the Wheel encapsulates the whole lifespan of a universe, in our case we're at something like 14.5 billion years and counting.  Afaik, nothing says one Age has to be the same length as another.

 

Different Ages don't have to be the same length, and even when the same Age comes again it won't necessarily be the same length as it was in the last turning.

 

As for a full turning of the Wheel encapsulating the whole lifespan of the universe, that is extremely unlikely. The Third Age has myths from the seventh or first Age (our time), and the seventh or first Age certainly has myths of the Third Age (just look at the various mythologies that the WoT is based on and is supposed to be the telling of).

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Thrasymachus,

 

While I readily accept your thoughts about information being fragmented and/or corrupted, I submit that corrupted /fragmented is not synonomous with forgotten. In fact, the examples you cite actually prove my point. Go back and re-read my first post.I specifically mention that for the WOT posit that TG is forgotten sufficient that even the most learned people don't recognize Rand's re-seal (And, don't bother correcting me, I know what Rand did wasn't a "Seal", I just don't know how else to describe it), you would need a combination of two things to occur/exist (One I stated explicitly and the other I implied):

 

1. You would need a major disruption of civilization on the scale of something like the fall of Rome in the West, the Mongol invasions, the burning of the great Library Of Alexandria, the coming of the Sea Peoples (brought on by the Fall of Troy, oddly enough), the eruption of Santorini, etc..

 

2. A certain lack of technology such that information is suceptible to loss. It's the functional equivalent of putting all your information eggs in one basket and then having that basket destroyed, This is precisely what happened when the Great Library was destroyed. In a single event, we lost about 95 % of all our first hand knowledge of the ancient world.

 

However, if your information is stored in many places and forms, even a major disruption will not result in information being forgotten. A very good example of this is our recent past where we suffered through a major world shattering war that involved approx 3/4 of the world's countries and featured massive destruction. Even the devastation of WWII did not result in the loss of information about earlier times on the scale of the WOT because our technology had progressed sufficiently that we had it stored in many places and in many forms. That dispersal prevented what happened in earlier times when isolated centers of knowledge were destroyed. Oddly enough, we may actually be in a more fragile situation right now than back sixty years go because so much of our data is now tied up in inter-connected information systems (the computer/world wide web). What would happen if the planet suffered a major asteroid impact? While we might well survive, the world wide electrical system woul almost certainly collapse and with it the world wide web and with that most of our informqation about ourselves. It would be the destructtion of the Great Library on a global scale.

 

As for simple distance in time ( 6,000) causing events to be forgotten,I again disagree and cite the very Story of Gilgamesh which you mentioned as well as the written langangue of the Summerians as examples supporting my postion. These are generally accepted as the oldest written forms of information which we posses, dating, as you noted, from about 4,500 years ago. Prior to this we have legends that have come down to us in the form of susperstitio/mtyths (For example, the idea of Werewolves are thought to derive from our hunter/gatherer ancesters' experiences with people exposed to rabies). In both situations, the information is fragmented to be sure and not well understood, but it is not forgotten even though our world experienced precisely the major disruptions which I described.

 

Speaking to the WOT itself, what might be lost over time are the precise details of what Rand did, but not the tradition that it's bad luck to fool around with the True Power as opposed to Saidar and Saidin. Remember, that while much of what existed in the Age Of Legends was lost, much wasn't and that information persisted even though the world went thorugh The War of The Shadow, The Breaking, The Trolloc Wars and The 100 years War. Even though 3,000 years have passed and civilization has experienced such enourmous disruptions, most everyone knows what caused the WOS, they all know about the Foresaken, they all know about the Breaking and TG. The important parts were retained.

 

I like the way BFG put it. The precise details are not repeated (at least not through the next cycle), but the results are. By that I mean that the next time the bore occurs perhaps it isn't at the point Rand made his seal and doesn't occur in the same way. but rather at some other spot where The Dark One has been working at the barrier and in a fashion unlike what happend at the Collam. That way the breach still occurs, the fall of the AOL still occurs and the Great Wheel turns yet again.

 

tud

Edited by Tud
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Tud,

 

Information does get lost. See the Fall of the Roman Empire, as you noted. Aome of the technology was maintained in the middle east, but Britain fell to deep dark age.

Edited by OneWhoMustBeLeashed
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According to RJ, WoT-1 and WoT+1 would be similar enough to watching 2 plays of Hamlet with different actors. but WoT-10000 and WoT+10000 would be like Hamlet and the Lion King. Slight variations build in each turning.

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Actually, most of the stuff that was in the Library at Alexandria was copied in many other libraries scattered throughout the Mediterranean.  After all, most of that knowledge was written and compiled by Greeks, and later Romans, and it's not like the stronghold of Hellenistic and Roman civilization was Egypt.  That was just the breadbasket.  A lot of the stuff that was lost when the Christians burned the Library, would have been recoverable if the Christians hadn't also burned the libraries in Jerusalem, Rome, Constantinople, Athens, etc.

 

Your point is taken that it usually requires a catastrophe to cause such loss of knowledge, but in the Wheel of Time, there's been 4 civilization-altering catastrophes in 3000 years.  The first, and worst, the Breaking, the Trolloc Wars, Hawkwing's Conquest and the Hundred-Years War, and the Last Battle.  It's not that much of a stretch to think that there'll be another one or two in the next Age, or the one afterthat. 

 

You cite Gilgamesh as an example of how knowledge is passed down?  I suppose.  Tell me, if knowledge is passed down, who Huwawa really was, and what were his 7 auras?  What was in his secret abode in the forest?  Is there really a plant that lives at the bottom of the sea that can restore one's youth?  Is Utnapishtim really Noah (who is himself from a later-told story)?  If we're assuming that the stories of Gilgamesh were attempts to recount some truth about this purported King of Uruk, then surely these things are some attempt to communicate something important or interesting about what was going on.  And those things as they are recounted may well have had some concrete meaning to the people who lived in that time and wrote these stories down.  But I certainly can't tell what they really mean, and I very much doubt they relay literal truth about what occurred to this King.  There's no telling how much of that story is true, how much is allegory or embellishment, or how much truth in those allegories or embellishments is lost simply because we lack the cultural context to interpret it in. 

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@Thrasymachus We do have an instance of balefire causing temporal anomalies with objects. When Nyn is on the boat that gets balefired by Moggy. She hits the rowers so the boat is back upstream because their rowing is undone, but she also cuts diagonally through the boat and it undoes the wood from keeping out water and suddenly the boat is as if it had been filling with water for several minutes. 

 

"Because that slice from the boat's center had gone at the same time the boatmen really died, the river had had minutes to rush in. The two parts of the boat sank out of sight in a great froth of bubbles even as her eyes shifted to them." 

 

Don't have much to say on the topic, just remembered this instance and wanted to point it out. 

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A couple of points, Thrasy. First,where do you get the idea that Hawkwing's Conquest was a catastrophe? Maybe if you happen to be one of the rulers of the countries that tried to take him out, but for the common folk, it certainly wasn't. By everything we've been provided, it was actually a period of stability and peace (read that as the opposite situation where knowledge would be lost) and he did prevent the trollocs from instituting another Trolloc War.His era would never be consided anything catastrophic. Now, if you talking about the aftermath (The War Of The Hundred Years), then I'd agree with you..But I already mentioned that in my earlier post.

 

Actually, even so, your point about those catastrophes actually makes my point..Those all occurred in the period between the opening of the bore and Tarmon Guidan and yet virtually everyone knowns about them. Despite the distruptions, the core knowledge of the event wasn't lost.

 

You posit that the next age will have similar events and I have to respond in two ways. First,I doubt that anything as terrible as The War Of Power, The Breaking, The Trolloc Wars and Tarmon Guidon and second, even if they do occur, so what? If events as terrible as the Breaking and The Trolloc Wars were insufficient to eradicate knowledge of the Bore, why would lesser events wipe TG and the reasons for it from the collective memory of the world's population?

 

 

 

OneWhoMustBeLeashed cites Rome in Britain as information that was lost because of such a disruption, but that isn't true. While much specific knowledge of what happened during the time that Britain was part of the Roman empire was lost (and recovered later), the fact was that even during the height of the viking invasions, some scholars still knew that the Romans had been there. Not only that, but we now know a great deal about Rome in Britain (I'm a Roman era historical re-enactor, so I'm well versed on the subject) based off simple reveiw of existing records and archeology.

 

I'll not dispute you about the details of Gilgmesh except to note that even though the story is clearly a distortion of earlier events and out of context (so we can't clear up some of the open questiosn you cite), the story still relates events which did occur. The knowledge may be distorted over time, but it does not go away.

 

I think Benevolentcrow's cite of Mr. Jordan's explaination says it best. Even though the thrid Age will come again, it won't be the same as the one just past. The details will be different. different enough that somehow, the bore will be opened again and the Dark one let loose. Just not in the way that it occurred this time around.

 

tud

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What was it that ushered Hawkwing onto the scene, and began his continent-wide conquest of Randland?  Oh, that's right, the rampage of a False Dragon, Guaire Amalsan.  That's certainly not gonna be disruptive.  And the decades of war and consolidation following his defeat was, I'm sure, a minor inconvenience for the everyday Randlander, and not, you know, like every other major war that brings famine, disease and destruction in its wake.  Hawkwing's consolidation was certainly not as disruptive and destructive to knowledge as the Breaking or the Trolloc Wars, but it was still disruptive and destructive.  Witness Thom's remarks regarding Hawkwing fighting 100 duels in a day.

 

As for Gilgamesh, we still don't know if those stories relate anything true or not. For all we know, they were that era's version of Harry Potter.  The Bore was remembered because it was still present, and presented an ongoing problem for 3000 years.  One could still go to Shayol Ghul, feel the thinness in the Pattern, and even have the Dark One speak directly to you.  Trollocs and Fades and Darkfriends still roamed the land.  And one must remember that most of the knowledge of the Shadow and the War of Power and the Bore was kept by Aes Sedai and Ogier, who live between three and 8 times longer than humans.  3000 years for us amounts to a mere 1000-400 years for them.  So sure, Aes Sedai, Ashaman and Ogier will be able to keep a pretty accurate knowledge of the Last Battle for probably thousands of years in the absence of any catastrophic event.  But eventually, they will lose all knowledge of it, just as we have lost all knowledge of some things in our deep past.

 

Here's another example of knowledge from our own history that's been lost.  In the late Neolithic period, around the same time that the cities of Uruk and Sumer were established, there was actually a rather large city that was discovered in a large valley in Southeastern Europe.  I've seen paleontological estimates of some 30,000 people who lived there continuously, which is astounding given the era.  It was the largest permanent settlement in that area and it was a center of trade and cultural exchange.  Artifacts were found there that were sourced from places as far as current-day Spain and France, as well as from Cyprus and Mesopotamia.  And not only do we not know the name of this settlement (or even whether it had one), we didn't even know it existed until a few decades ago when it was rediscovered.  

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If Rand were to have killed the Dark One, eliminating his touch from the Pattern, he would have, in effect, become the Dark One by eliminating choice.  Many dozens of decades ago, a famous philosopher attempted to rank moral outcomes from best to worst.  Morally, he claimed, the best outcome would be if everyone was perfectly happy and they deserved to be so happy.  The worst outcome would be if everyone was perfectly happy, but nobody deserved that happiness.  That was the outcome Rand would have created if he'd killed the Dark One.  The 2nd best outcome would be if nobody was perfectly happy, but everybody deserved perfect happiness, while the 3rd best (or 2nd worst) outcome would be if nobody was perfectly happy, but nobody deserved perfect happiness.  The general belief is that the DO would have created either option 2 or 3 if he had taken over the Wheel (or more likely, some blend of those two), if he didn't just annihilate everything.  The real world is some blend of all 4, where some people (very few) are perfectly happy, some people (again, very few) deserve perfect happiness, and there is some, often small and fleeting, overlap between these two.

 

So I have lurked here forever and posted a bit on wotmania back in the day, and was happy to keep lurking but something is driving me crazy.

 

How would killing the Dark One have eliminated choice?

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If Rand were to have killed the Dark One, eliminating his touch from the Pattern, he would have, in effect, become the Dark One by eliminating choice.  Many dozens of decades ago, a famous philosopher attempted to rank moral outcomes from best to worst.  Morally, he claimed, the best outcome would be if everyone was perfectly happy and they deserved to be so happy.  The worst outcome would be if everyone was perfectly happy, but nobody deserved that happiness.  That was the outcome Rand would have created if he'd killed the Dark One.  The 2nd best outcome would be if nobody was perfectly happy, but everybody deserved perfect happiness, while the 3rd best (or 2nd worst) outcome would be if nobody was perfectly happy, but nobody deserved perfect happiness.  The general belief is that the DO would have created either option 2 or 3 if he had taken over the Wheel (or more likely, some blend of those two), if he didn't just annihilate everything.  The real world is some blend of all 4, where some people (very few) are perfectly happy, some people (again, very few) deserve perfect happiness, and there is some, often small and fleeting, overlap between these two.

 

So I have lurked here forever and posted a bit on wotmania back in the day, and was happy to keep lurking but something is driving me crazy.

 

How would killing the Dark One have eliminated choice?

The way I understood it is if the Dark One was killed, then the spark of "darkness" that is in everyone would be extinguished. This would leave everyone with only the "light" side of things and it would be a catatonic, happy, okay kind of place. However, good is relative, so if there is no bad, good doesn't have to be that good and everyone will be completely fine.

 

I didn't say this well, hopefully someone else can.

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I don't think anyone can, because it doesn't make any sense.

 

Not the least of which - isn't it the Dark One who showed Rand this would happen? There's a real impartial source of information...

 

Anybody know how much input RJ had into the confrontation? I try to give BS as much leeway as I can manage, but there didn't seem to be any logic behind how this went down.

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@jjp: It wasn't the Dark One that showed Rand what would happen if Shai'tan died. When the Dark One created the shadow worlds he did this by weaving fragments of the pattern. From what I could tell this seems almost like a mix of TAR, weaving the one power and the weaving of the pattern itself. Nevertheless, they essentially were creating mirror worlds which showed a single possibility given that certain things worked out. The Dark one wove the pattern to create a mirror world where he had won and eleminated all forms of compassion. Rand did the same thing but where he had killed the Dark One. The reason Rand believed it was because it was the pattern that showed him the outcome, not the Dark One.

@Tud: You've repeatedly pointed out that an advanced culture has memory and you're skeptical that the second age would forget the bore and the Dark One. Consider this, assume the second age lasted 3000 years just like the last age. Then, as I believe Thrasymachus already explained, the beginning of the second age for Randlan ders would be the equivalent of 1500 years before the Epic of Gilgamesh for us. But that's not enough, so let's consider some more. You're claiming the second age should remember at least some fragments of events from the third age. Again, using the assumption (Which I understand is quite probably wrong) that every age is 3000 years, that is 18000 years! Can you tell me what gods the different tribal groups of humanity worshipped during those times? Can you tell me what rites they followed and why? It's quite possible that memory of the bore survived as some vague recollection of evil: memories that came indirectly from distant memories of war (which was already a disused words only really known to scholars). Finally, one last thing, realize to Randlanders, in a broad sense one turning of the wheel is roughly equivalent to the entire history of the human race. I find it very plausible that the bore and the Dark One would be long forgotten when the Second Age came again.

@Muken: Regarding your conception of how the Dark One "sees" the wheel of time, brilliant!

@Thrasymachus: I loved reading your posts, but I do disagree with a few things you said. Thermodynamics: you said theoretical physicists often do a lot of their work in fictional universes where none of the laws quite apply. You're right about that. However, all of the work theoretical physicists do involves creating models. In each of these fictional universes they work in, super-symmetry holds or the curvature of space is defined in a certain way. The important things are the assumptions. You created a model of the wot universe under the assumption that thermodynamics holds. As a consequence of that wot must be an open universe powered by the one power. That doesn't make Muken wrong though, since his assumptions did not necessarily require the laws of thermodynamics to hold. As for you're point about time and space, since this is fictional, we may do some metaphysics. Assume relativity no longer holds. The speed of light is the speed of light, but it is no longer a speed limit. Now, with this assumption, it is quite easy to see that space and time may be independent of each other. So the Dark One is outside time, but he has his own concept of space, one which is not a singularity. Thus it would be quite possible for him to have some concept of the geometry of a wheel.

 

Edit: deleted a sentence

Edited by Semirhagesbane
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Of course, you are right. "THIS IS YOUR CREATION."

 

But my first question stands... how would killing the DO remove choice?

 

It makes no sense.

 

How does sealing him away differ from killing him? Does he still affect the Pattern ("choice") being totally sealed off from it?

 

This whole time I was most interested in how Rand's confrontation with the DO would pan out - it's what I asked RJ about when I had the opportunity. His answer to me then doesn't really mesh with what happened.

 

Maybe somebody will say that RJ wrote all of this part, but I have to believe it would have made more sense if he did. Any sense.

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And again I ask, even after the War of the War of The False Dragon, did they lose their awareness that the AOL, WOTS and/or the cause therof? No, they did not. Did they lose knowledge of Shai'tan? No, they did not.now, i will dispute the assertion that Hawkwing's rise to power was a major disruptive event (After all, there's never been any statements that he destroyed citie, libraries, places of learning or depopulated any areas. He simply fought other armies in the field). It may because, unlike this world, in Randland the threat of The Dark One is ever present and palpable (RJ stated that one of the reasons there were no organized religion in WOT was because the presence of the Creator and Shai'tan were pervasivive ), but it proves my point. If the knowledge of the WOTS (in general, not in the details of what happened when) wasn't wiped out after all those major disruptions, why would it disappear during a period of prolonged peace?<br /><br />And you can't use the speculation that there will be future disruptive events..The only real evidence we have is that the aOL was a long period of profound peace and stability.<br /><br />tud

Edited by Tud
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@tud

 

How does the fact that we know one age to be mostly peaceful(and yet it still ends in major upheaval) preclude disruptive events in other ages? You can't use lack of evidence to rule it out and we know heroes are spun out to fit the patterns of different ages. If there were never any disruptive events the heroes would not be needed. Further if we go by the 3,000 year per age rule that means it is 18,000 years before the third age comes again. It is totally unrealistic to think the memory would last over that length of time.

Edited by Suttree
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Sure, it's an assumption that Thermodynamics holds, but I maintain that that's the same assumption as assuming that the Wheel of Time cosmology makes sense, that is, that the rules that govern how everything acts, "The Laws of Nature" are both complete, i.e. that nothing that happens violates them, and consistent, i.e. that the rules don't allow contradictions.  If you deny that thermodynamics holds for the Wheel of Time, you're essentially asserting that the Wheel of Time cosmology is fundamentally nonsensical.  And if that's what you want to assert, that's fine, but it's also nonsensical to try to keep talking about it as if it were possible to figure anything out about it.

 

The same thing is true for relativity.  You can't just "assume relativity doesn't hold."  If you think you can, you don't understand relativity.  The very concept of space doesn't make any sense without time.  Duration and length are identical operations.  You can't tell that something is extended without taking the time to notice the extension.  You can only tell how long something lasts by comparing it to something else that's moving around in space.  Relativity is just about how one's judgments about those things vary when observers start moving around in space as well.  This is metaphysics, and it does form the foundation of the physics we know as E=mc^2, but you can trace it to Kant, Leibniz and Spinoza, and traces of it can even be found in Aristotle.  The speed of light doesn't have to be a speed limit for the fundamental equivalence of space and time to be true.  For the Dark One to have "his own concept" of the shape of the Wheel, he has to have "his own concept" of time.  But that's not standing outside Time.

 

@Tud All wars are disruptive.  You really think Hawkwing was able to consolidate the whole of the Westlands without holding even one city under siege?  You don't think cities under siege burn their own libraries because they've run out of other more convenient stuff to burn?  And let us not forget that Hawkwing's Consolidation was preceded by the War of the Second Dragon.  And then, after 31 years of relative peace, well, 11 years if you're an Aes Sedai, he died, followed by a century of brutal war.  

 

And much of the War of Power was forgotten.  How many of the Forsaken's real names were forgotten?  Look at everything that was forgotten: Travelling was lost since the Breaking, as was most Healing, everything but a battlefield Healing weave, the ability to make ter'angreal, angreal and sa'angreal, cuendillar, the purpose of the Eye, the original nature and role of the Aiel, and on and on.  And this is in a situation that has an ongoing, clear and present need to preserve as much of that information as it can, because the fight with the Dark One is ongoing.  People don't hate and fear the Aiel because they believe they served the Forsaken, or the Shadow, or the Aes Sedai, or the Dragon, or anything like that, which they should if that memory was at all preserved.  They hate and fear them because of the Aiel War, and Laman's Sin, and because they generally don't let people into the Waste.

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People will remember Tarmon Gai'don on some level until the so-called seventh or first Ages, at least. We know that because the modern, real world is supposed to be one of those two Ages, and we retain the mythology. Most of it has been forgotten, but as we know, history fades to legend, legend fades to myth . . .

 

And given that the modern world is one of those two Ages, and that the Fourth Age starts off highly productive, it's logical to assume that there will be some civilization destroying event between them that will reduce the world to stone-age society from which the modern world will emerge. RJ may never have considered the specifics, but personally I like the Tower of Babel story and the great flood, not as history, but as warped legend and myth, at least with regards to how they might fit into the WoT. Everyone in the world speaking one language attempting something so grand that ultimately ends in people being scattered.

Edited by Agitel
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Sure, it's an assumption that Thermodynamics holds, but I maintain that that's the same assumption as assuming that the Wheel of Time cosmology makes sense, that is, that the rules that govern how everything acts, "The Laws of Nature" are both complete, i.e. that nothing that happens violates them, and consistent, i.e. that the rules don't allow contradictions.

You may assume the laws of nature are complete and consistent. In fact, since the series is full of hints that our own world is just one age in the wheel of time that is probably a good assertion (I wasn't thinking about that when I wrote the first post). That said, I would agree that consistency would be required for the world to make sense. Completeness would be nice as well, but the rules don't have to be OUR rules for the world to make sense. Just think about the Aelfinn world. RJ and BS actually made that world a perfect example of what I'm trying to say. Their world makes no sense to us because it is so different, but it has it's own set of rules and works like any other. It makes perfect sense to its inhabitants, and Mat et al were able to make conclusions about that world despite the odd way things worked. How did Mat realize the Aelfinn could control the shifting corridors to let everyone out? He noticed that the Aelfinn and Eelfinn had no problem navigating that world. He also noticed that his path to the chamber where he made the deal was extremely convoluted when he went on his own, but when he was led by a guide the path was perfectly straight. Besides, by your definition the very existence of the One Power is an anethema, so why analyze WoT at all? Muken pointed out that you can violate conservation of energy with gateways. It takes the same amount of energy to lift a rock two feet as it does to lift it a mile. Lifting objects with the power violates Newton's third law of motion. The power lifts the boulder, what is the opposite force? The channeler doesn't suddenly get any heavier. Any use of the power violates the second law of thermodynamics. The cleansing of Saidin demonstrated that the True Source is finite even if it is massive, yet RJ has said it can be used up if enough people use it simultaneously, but once its use is completed it is returned to the source. I think we can assume the source hasn't shrunk appreciatively since AOL. And what about Tel'aran'rhiod? The laws of thermodynamics certainly don't hold there, and physics comes custom-made.

 

 

 

 

The same thing is true for relativity.  You can't just "assume relativity doesn't hold."  If you think you can, you don't understand relativity.  The very concept of space doesn't make any sense without time.  Duration and length are identical operations.  You can't tell that something is extended without taking the time to notice the extension.  You can only tell how long something lasts by comparing it to something else that's moving around in space.  Relativity is just about how one's judgments about those things vary when observers start moving around in space as well.  This is metaphysics, and it does form the foundation of the physics we know as E=mc^2, but you can trace it to Kant, Leibniz and Spinoza, and traces of it can even be found in Aristotle.  The speed of light doesn't have to be a speed limit for the fundamental equivalence of space and time to be true.  For the Dark One to have "his own concept" of the shape of the Wheel, he has to have "his own concept" of time.  But that's not standing outside Time.

Two things. First, regarding relativity. I admit, I don't understand relativity as well as a physicist. I don't know the mathematics behind general relativity. Here's the thing though, the basic assumptions behind special relativity are very simple. There is no such thing as the true reference frame and the speed of light is constant in all reference frames. That's it. Add that there is no way to tell the difference between gravity and acceleration and you've got all of relativity. So why do I assert that you can have a consistent world without relativity? Why, let's break the basic assumptions shall we? Choose, oh I don't know, Randland to be the true reference frame and abolish the light speed limit. Let's say with the one power there exists a weave that will tell you if you're accelerating or it's just gravity. I don't really care if photons are massless, I suppose in this context they'd have to have mass, but either way just make light act the way it should. There would also be some differences in how the star's act and Randlanders, once they reached our technological levels, would doubtless find very different results when they tried some major precision experiments. But who cares, this is a consistent world that makes sense. Any classical physicist could figure out the details and we have a world that makes sense which we can draw conclusions about. But wait! "You can't tell something is extended without taking the time to notice the extension." I'm not sure what this has to do space and time being connected. You can't do anything without taking the time to do it. It's one of the basics of living in a world with time (I'll get to worlds without time in a moment). That really has nothing to do with space. "You can only tell how long something lasts by comparing it to something else that's moving around in space." Not necessarily true. The human circadian rhythm is about 25 hours. That means we can roughly tell how long a day is even if we're stuck in a featureless dark room completely unable to tell how far anything has moved at all. Have you ever counted to 10 in your head? You probably counted at roughly one number per second. We definitely have some conception of time as separate from space. Mathematically, look at the simplest example of space: a vector space. There is no concept of time in the raw mathematical conception of space. It has to be added. In order to tell time with any accuracy we need to create machines that do it for us or measure natural events. Well, what natural events are there? There is no physical manifestation of time except for movement so how else do we measurement. We're not measuring time directly however, we simply assume that movement implies time and work from there.

 

One last thing. This time I'm not skeptical, but I'm genuinely curious. There are suggestions of relativity in Aristotle's work? I didn't know that! What kind of suggestions?

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Now, let's consider a scenario where we're travelling Randland and we decide to dive out of the pattern and visit the Dark One in his comfy timeless abode. What do we see? Maybe we're disappointed. Every character in the book including Rand who claimed to actually experience lied to us and time actually passes in some form or other. Alternatively, he's right and time really does not exist outside the pattern. What does that mean? I don't know, and you don't know. No one has experienced it, and the book had little to say except Rand was unable to deal with it until he returned to touching the pattern. That does not mean we can't draw conclusions about it. First, you yourself noted that we have a contradiction if outside the pattern everything falls into a singularity. Then there is a definite lack of information, so I think we can assume there is space of some form or another. I also think the idea of the pattern is abstract enough that we can assume the Dark One does not live in space, but in an entirely different dimension. Thus space is not necessarily approximately Euclidean like it is for that. That might be one reason that Rand, seeing the pattern was forced to look at his own interpretation for it. Think about it. It's almost certain our perception would take a long time to adjust to say a warped four dimensional world. I could very well see any of us struggling to understand what we're seeing and interpreting it the way we've always been told it looks.

What about time? Without time, there is no such thing as speed, but there is no such thing as change either. How can anything happen outside time? Here's where things get a bit iffy. Consider instead of time being frozen it seems to us to be infinitely accelerated. You go visit Shai'tan, drink some tea with Him and discuss his dear uncle the Creater. All of it simultaneously. You were opening the door to his humble abode at the exact same time that you drank tea and the exact same time that you first touched the teacup wondering how he found such marvelous Sea Folk porcelain all the way out here.

How does relativity work in all of this? Well speed has no conception the way we imagine it, so if you want no exceptions there must be some equivalent to speed. Suppose all events are discrete in a timeless space. While the Dark One led you to his house you were essentially traveling light speed so everything became a singularity, but then you hit a force that was the Dark one which brought you to a stop outside his door. Now you weren't moving so everything appeared normal. We seperate this notion from our own notion of time by making everything discrete. When you return to the pattern, you remember a jumble of individual events. Each one was characterized by moving or not moving. That would probably seem timeless enough (I know, you can argue there is still some concept of time in that, but I admit I don't have the imagination to concieve of true timelessness. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist, but I hope this works as an approximation).

So what conclusions about WOT can we draw from this since I made most of that up? We can draw the conclusion that it is possible for there to exist a timeless space which is not a singularity. From this looking at the pattern as a ring, the Dark One may not concieve of it as such, but he would could very well have some conception of shape. Sorry about the monster posts, but I was being as thorough as I could. So while Muken's model isn't necessarily correct (the books do not give us enough information to come up with a unique explanation for the physics of this) it is certainly a possibility and an interesting one in my opinion.

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I don't think anyone can, because it doesn't make any sense.

 

Not the least of which - isn't it the Dark One who showed Rand this would happen? There's a real impartial source of information...

 

Anybody know how much input RJ had into the confrontation? I try to give BS as much leeway as I can manage, but there didn't seem to be any logic behind how this went down.

It was Rand's "reality" that showed this possibility - not the DO - and it was Rand that saw the inevitability of removing the DO from reality.

 

Imagine a world in which there is only good - there is no option for evil. Everywhere you look are people doing good things. What do you have?

 

In effect - you have a world of automatons - mindless robots that have no choice in morality. That's what Rand saw - mindless eyes that only mimicked life. The DO's comment to Rand was that the loss of that choice made Rand no better than the DO and they were "one and the same."

 

By letting the DO "live", people maintain their freedom of choice. They can choose to be kind or to be evil. It is our ability to be MORAL or IMMORAL that makes us great, and is the biggest threat to evil. RJ and BS have adopted the "most people are good" ideology, and that "good will prevail over evil."

 

And there wasn't much writing for BS to do - just fill out the OMG huge outlines that RJ left for him (from what I remember it being reported). Okay, that's not fair... there was about 300 pages worth of notes for this book... and it ended up being 900 pages long.

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@Malruhn

 

Brandon had a huge amount of creative control. More than 50% of the content was all his creation without direction from the notes. They were far less robust than originally thought. In addition RJ only had 200 pages of written material spread out over all three books

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