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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
Kilroy_was_here

World Without the DO

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But how would we account for Min's viewings? Her viewings aren't restricted to ta'veren and they've happened all through her life. If Moraine is to be trusted, Min is seeing images and pieces of the pattern. And since Min's viewings always come true then it's pretty indicative that the pattern allows no one free will ultimately. Not even in little things like their marriage.

Edited by driedraspberry

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Well, first of all, Min's viewings aren't exactly consistent to any laws, even their own. Primarily, Min's viewings are a plot device to enhance the story, not for validity. 

 

However, I won't use that as a cop out, I believe it can be sufficiently explained. 

 

Min's viewings are as you said, glimpses of the Pattern. But they are just that, glimpses. She cannot see someone's entire life - and can't see anything around most people at all. 

 

The things she can see are things that have been decided. But that doesn't necessarily mean the Pattern forced it. 

 

The viewings are things that are made certain. For example, when X meets Y, they are bound to be married. Not because they are forced to be, but because their "data" (if we look at the Pattern in terms of a computer) makes it certain. Their personalities and circumstance make it certain etc.. 

 

Now, this is depending on your view of free will. One could argue that none of us - in the real world - have free will. We don't choose to be born, and our DNA chooses our personalities. Events in our life dictate our personalities. Disease isn't something we chose freely, but it is something that can end our lives. 

 

If a man kills someone of their own free will, does the other man lack free will because he was destined to die? 

 

In the purest sense of the word, nobody has entirely free will. There are always factors that prevent or urge us to make decisions. 

 

So when I say free will, I mean that the majority of people have their own mind, and make their own choices. (Of course, Ta'veren and other speical cases, the Pattern intervenes, as discussed).

 

So when Min views something, she sees parts of the persons life that are certain because the probability is at 100% counting all factors. 

 

Now that in itself isn't exactly perfect, I know. It's a point of view. But consider Min's viewing of Gawyn. IN this viewing of Gawyn, where he has a choice of two roads, that isn't certain. 

That indicates that free will exists. 

 

Then we have the viewing of Perrin/Rand. Where Perrin had to be there for Rand two times, or else he was screwed. If he wasn't there - MIn said-  Rand was definitely screwed, and even if he was there, there was only a chance it wouldn't happen. 

 

That really messes with the whole thing. It's a bunch of contradictions, since it isn't certain if Perrin would come, and if he did, how things would work out. Again, it indicates that there is a certain amount of freedom. 

 

Similarly, the viewing with the lights v dark around the main cast. They change constantly and Min basically surmises that they all have to be together to win. Which doesn't say they will be together. 

 

That indicates that there is free will to be made. 

 

The argument can be made that this is all the Dark One's doing, messing with the Pattern and all. In which case, it makes it all the more important that the DO remain alive. Because then the DO is what gives people free will.

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Fair enough. My interpretation of Min only seeing glimpses was to account it to limitations of her ability. But fixed points make sense, though 100% probability of anything so complex is an uncomfortable notion.

 

The argument can be made that this is all the Dark One's doing, messing with the Pattern and all. In which case, it makes it all the more important that the DO remain alive. Because then the DO is what gives people free will.

The DO's doing when he's partially free of his prison? That is a very small space of time altogether in the cycle, is it not?

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Fair enough. My interpretation of Min only seeing glimpses was to account it to limitations of her ability. But fixed points make sense, though 100% probability of anything so complex is an uncomfortable notion.

 

The argument can be made that this is all the Dark One's doing, messing with the Pattern and all. In which case, it makes it all the more important that the DO remain alive. Because then the DO is what gives people free will.

The DO's doing when he's partially free of his prison? That is a very small space of time altogether in the cycle, is it not?

 

1. Yeah, the whole thing is really pretty vague. I suppose my point is that while it's not 100% free will, it isn't 100% pre-determined either. 

 

2. You could say just the DO's life allows free will even when sealed from human consciousness (that the DO is still there, just unable to be sensed or act). But if it is like you said, then wouldn't that mean the DO should never be sealed away? In either case, the death of the DO is a bad thing.  

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So you sided with Jasmine then?  Don't mean that as any sort of flippant answer, just asking.  We may just be on the opposite sides of the fence regarding the importance of our choice vs overall goodness.

Don't forget, Earth wasn't the first world Jasmine brought peace to, and we see the results of what she did elsewhere. There was no guarantee that she wouldn't leave again. So while I don't have a problem with what she offered, I do with who was offering it.

 

You may even have a point re: those in the non-free will world won't know what they're missing.  But the issue isn't what they know, it's what I know on this side of the divide.  I'm not willing to give up mine or other's choices and world.

What you know? You don't know that you have free will. You believe you do. I believe you don't. Who can say which of us is right? (Although I gather that most scientific evidence these days supports the no free will conclusion.) To go from the world we are in to one akin to the world Rand created, we don't know that we're losing any free will - either that we had it and now don't, or that we never had it to begin with. It might even be the case that we don't, and that we would only have free will in a perfect world, as absurd as that might seem (that would mean that we are only nasty to one another or miserable because we have no choice but to be). What if what Rand showed us was a world that really did have free will? To place value on the choices we make with no way of knowing whether we are actually making choices or simply responding to circumstance in the way we are programmed to seems rather silly to me. You don't know that you are giving up your choices, or even that you have choices to give up. You may end up with as much, more or less free will than you had before with no way of knowing.

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Meh, paging through wikipedia under free will, determinism and related I see a lot of that's not what those experimental results prove or this theory proves x (if you ignore the theory's scope and stringent caveats). I'm not aware science claims so much on the matter--although Hawking loves to throw food for thought into his books :)

 

Sure, RJ has some good throwaway sentences on describing the Wheel and mechanisms thereof at a very high level. But if there's anything interesting in there besides Kant retread, I can't pry it out of AMoL...

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Well, what I take from the WoT world:

 

Whatever you do has no eventual point. It has meaning for those around you, but in the long run, the wheel will turn as it always has. No matter how free your will, the end-result is all the same anyway. Moridin concluded he might as well see it end, then... and I agree with him, except we know the cycle of pain can be broken in another way than oblivion. If all you're doing is be a mindless cog in the great machine (which, on a large enough scale, you are) why, best be a happy one.

 

 

Of course I despise the WoT world for being inherently pointless and no true progress being possible, but from various RJ interviews I take that that's the point (that even without true progress, the story is worth telling).

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The way I see it, the wheel weaves out threads (lives), and sets them on a direction.  Depending on the individual importance of those threads is what determines how much they can "stray" as the pattern unfolds.  Think of taveren as "thicker" threads, harder to manipulate (less free will), but also stronger and imposing more rigidity in the threads around them.  Less important, "thinner" threads can stray wildly and not have much of an effect on the "picture" the wheel is weaving.

 

As far as Min's viewing, I used the analogy before that she can better predict what the pattern is weaving.  We don't know that all her visions come true, just the ones she understands.  It's possible that the visions she DOESN'T understand are visions of the pattern that are not solid enough to make an accurate prediction on, and if she could understand them, they might stand a much larger chance of not coming true. 

Also don't forget that some of her predictions (a la Siuan and Bryne) are conditional.

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Well, what I take from the WoT world:

 

Whatever you do has no eventual point. It has meaning for those around you, but in the long run, the wheel will turn as it always has. No matter how free your will, the end-result is all the same anyway. Moridin concluded he might as well see it end, then... and I agree with him, except we know the cycle of pain can be broken in another way than oblivion. If all you're doing is be a mindless cog in the great machine (which, on a large enough scale, you are) why, best be a happy one.

 

 

Of course I despise the WoT world for being inherently pointless and no true progress being possible, but from various RJ interviews I take that that's the point (that even without true progress, the story is worth telling).

How is it any different from real life? In the long run, nothing you do matters, everything you do will be forgotten. Anything you achieve will be undone. "I am Ozymandias, King of Kings. Look on my works, ye mighty and despair." Regardless of free will, universal heat death means the same end result regardless.

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Progress is possible, I dare say. We are currently at risk from a single asteroid, and unless mankind spreads to 50 lightyears out, a single gamma burst can kill us all. Once we spread that far, we would have billions of people able to study the intricacies of the big bang and, perhaps, escape even the heat death of the universe.

 

We can predict some ends, but we don't know that it is impossible to avoid them. In fact, barring the heat death of the universe, we know how to avoid nearly every bad end at least theoretically: we can't build nuclear-fusion powered spaceships, but once we can (and we have nearly achieved usable fusion, at least) we could at least start spreading at sub-light speeds. It'd be damn expensive, but if we could build a few large enough ships to be self-contained, we could start spreading far enough that no threat bar the dissolution of the universe through heat-death would eliminate us all.

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I think its instructive to look at the mechanism of the Dark One Free world. Its not that the DO provides for free will, its that the DO is one of the products of collective free will- ie the choices humanity always makes somehow provide for a DO (as though each sin provided a little cosmic joujou that feeds his existence).  So is a perfectly evolved world where humanity unanimously chose goodness at all times, the DO would indeed cease to exist.

Rand's problem is his vision skipped over all that karmic growth and perfecting. In order to establish his order, HE would have to crush the free will of humanity (otherwise, humans would continue to choose evil and continue to regenerate the DO, as the Wheel turns). IE- its not the lack of the DO that sucks away free will, its that free will keeps producing the DO so the only solution to obliterating the DO without the concent of all humanity is to lobotomize them by removing their free will.

 

I think the logical conclusion to the cosmology, and what Rand's revelation is in VoG, is that each turn of the wheel DOES make humanity a tiny bit better and more enlightened. Ishmael had it backwards that the DO's victory was inevitable if you play out enough permutations of turnings- its actually that ultimately and eventually and after near infinite turns of the wheel, humanity will come to an evolved state and free itself from the karmic cycle, the exit at the axis. Thats the Buddhist worldview as well.

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