Jump to content

DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
False Dragon1991

Confused by Rand and the Dark One discussion

Recommended Posts

What reason do we have to believe that the lack of Shai'tan results in a lack of free will? The world created by Rand. As already stated, this is a world shaped by Rand's mind, and he is not a perfect creator with lots of experience of shaping worlds. I think it far more likely he simply made things wrong - we have no reason to believe this is truly what would happen. The idea that Shai'tan is somehow integral to our freedom of choice is poorly supported, and doesn't really make a lot of sense. In the context of a series that has always understood that knowledge can be incomplete and misleading, it makes far more sense that Rand's knowledge remains incomplete and misleading to the end. Thematically, it is more appropriate that Rand is wrong than that he is right.

 

 

 

But if the world Rand created was shaped only by his own mind then why did it not reflect Rand's expectations of what a world free of the DO would be?  Why would he find a very unexpected consequence in something that came from his own mind?  Thematically it works just as well if all the allusions to human knowledge being incomplete and misleading were a build up to the fact that when the truth finally was revealed it was very different from what the people believed and what Rand expected to be true.  The people's knowledge of the cosmos was incomplete and so they were mislead into believing that Shia'tan was completely alien to the pattern while in truth his presence is necessary for it to function as intended.  I admit that I was mistaken in believing that The Dark One was a force within the pattern, as RJ's quote disproved that, but I still maintain that he is a necessary part of a greater system.  So the fact remains that the people misunderstood the relationship of Shai'tan to the pattern.

 

As to the DO's presence being necessary for people to truly be free you must realize that the ability to make certain choices for oneself does not necessarily equal freedom.  There are very few instances in the real world where a person can be prevented from making any choice for themselves, and yet there are many instances were people can be said to have been deprived of their freedom.  Even if you take a person and lock them in a prison cell they are still able to make certain choices for themselves.  For example they can choose to walk around the cell or lie on the bed, they can choose to converse with the other prisoners or to keep to themselves.  Yet despite their ability to make certain choices for themselves it can still be said the they have been deprived of their freedom.  Thus it is possible to take away someone's freedom without completely eliminating their ability to make choices.  Even those who have gotten the 13 x 13 treatment are probably still able to make certain choices for themselves, yet due to the alteration they now act in ways that are contrary to how they would behave if left to their own devices.  Given this, despite their ability to make certain choices for themselves can we really say that they have free will?   The unexpected consequence that Rand found in his Shai'tan free world was the people could no longer make evil choices.  Having lost this choice, much like those who have been subjected to the 13 x 13, they are unable to behave as they would if left to their own devices.  Even thought they are still able to make certain choices for themselves they have still lost their free will.  

Edited by Leopoled Boothe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I kind of run with the "Wheel of Time" as a cosmic loom analogy.  Rand is able to use the loom and sets the settings (though using a very limited number of threads as compared to reality) to weave a sample reality.  He basically sets the same settings as reality minus the existence of the dark one, turns the loom on to find out what the fabric looks like.  He doesn't create the reality, he sets the rules for the reality and then lets it go.

 

It isn't so much that I think the ability to choose good or evil or light or dark would negate free will, it's that Rand explicitly says it will:

"If you have no choice,  then you aren’t a man at all.  You’re a puppet  .  .  ."

 

Just as a puppet performs no actions of it's own motivations, so too do I take that to mean that a world without the dark one is a world without free will.  I don't think that's how things will actually play out but the book says it does so it must.  All that's left is for me to rationalize a reason why.

 

It reminds a little bit of the line in "Star Wars; A New Hope" when Han Solo that the Millenium Falcon, "made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs."  You and I know that a parsec is a measure of distance and this is really a mistake on the part of the writer but it's part of the Star Wars universe now so we're stuck with it.  So we've got to create some rationalization around why a measure of distance is getting used to measure time (it's some nonsense about being about to chart a shorter course or something).  Though in AMoL I don't think it was a mistake, just a chain of logic that I don't agree with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

 Here's the thing.  Tolkien kind of set some expectations with the Lord of the Rings.  The man obsessively fleshed out his fantasy world writing "The Silmarillion" that was only ever kinda-sorta intended to stand on it's own.  Mostly it became background for the "Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit."  None of what is written in "The Silmarillion" is really required to understand LotR but it helps that world make a little more sense and be a little more internally consistent.  I get this sense that everyone would like to have something like "The Silmarillion" for every other fantasy series but that just isn't normal.

True. But neither is WoT. RJ spent far more time and effort on his world and story than just about any other author other than Tolkien, as his masses of world-building notes will attest to. It's certainly true that a lot of authors don't spend a lot of time world building, they just write the story - RJ was an exception. He also had the ending of the story planned for years. The guy spent a decade planning before he wrote the first book.

Right but he didn't always have all of those notes handy when answering questions and I'm sure he wouldn't have taken the time to make sure that his response didn't contradict everything he'd written or intended to write.  Even then, there would have been gaps in his plans and those plans may very well have changed by the time that part of the story got written.

 

We're talking past each other a bit here.  All I'm saying is that things the author said in an interview can certainly provide some incite but given the constraints on them when they answered the questions, it shouldn't be taken as the gospel truth.  If what they said doesn't seem to fit the story/world, you should feel free to ignore it if you want.

RJ had a good memory, he was capable of issuing corrections to erroneous statements that he made, and was always willing to give RAFO as an answer, for a host of reasons. Ignoring things which don't seem to fit the world can just be a case of letting your biases have free reign - rather than adjust your view in the face of new evidence, you simply ignore inconvenient facts.

 

 

So take everything the man said as the gospel truth then, no one is stopping you.  There is no way to know that he was 100% accurate in every response he gave every time or that he never changed things later so I'll go ahead and ignore the things I don't like.  There is nothing wrong with either approach, do whatever makes you happy, I'm just offering options.

 

For crying out loud, these are books, most of the world exists visually in the reader's head so it's already subject to my own biases.  The world that I've built in my head from RJ's words is just as valid as the one that you're built in yours.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It isn't so much that I think the ability to choose good or evil or light or dark would negate free will,

 

 

What it would actually do is eliminate the ability to make moral choices because if the default is to always choose good or do the right thing then the concept of morality would become meaningless.  This of course begs further questions such as:

Is a sense of morality essential to our freedom?

Would the loss of morality alter what we are as human beings?

Is a sense of morality a fundamental aspect of humanity and would we cease to be human without it? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think about my dog.  Dogs are pretty simple compared to humans and that makes them a lot more consistent.  For example, I know that she doesn't like the vacuum cleaner.  If I take it out and turn it on, she runs a short distance away and then watches it.  If we're at home (away from distractions) and I have food in my hand and tell her to sit (with the appropriate hand signal) she'll sit every time.  There are a few variables that, if I know what they are, I know how she'll react.  I can then manipulate those variables to influence her behavior.  Given a set of choices and enough knowledge, I know what she'll choose and I can predict it with 100% accuracy.

 

Now step up to the prisoner example up-thread.  You've not only taken away a lot his choices but also removed a lot of variables.  Given enough information about him, you can probably predict how he'll react to changes in those variables.  If you do X, Y, then Z and then leave the door to his cell open, you might be able to predict that he'll try to escape.  He made the choice to escape but you manipulated his environment to drive him to it.  If you can predict that choice with 100% accuracy, did the prisoner really make that choice or was it you pulling the strings to make the puppet dance?

 

By eliminating the ability to choose evil, people are stripped of their ability to choose anything but the highest good they are capable of.  They still have to care for themselves since that lets them do more good longer.  Like how Warren Buffet is going to give all his money away but not until after he dies since, because of the affect of compound interest, it will do more good that way.  But, if you know enough about what their choices are, you can predict what they'll choose 100% of the time.  Furthermore, you could then make subtle changes to those variables and know exactly how people will react.  It might take more information than any human could comprehend to make those predictions but I'm sure the creator could.

 

Personally, I think it holds true that the creator should be able to predict choices even with the dark one existing.  I mean, if you look at a darkfriend like Jaichim Carridin, he could always be trusted to make a selfish choice right?  But, the books says that removing the dark one removes free will so, in the universe of WoT it must be so.  I just can't interpret the "puppet" line any other way.

 

The simplest answer to the OP's question is really, "Because the book says it does."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

What reason do we have to believe that the lack of Shai'tan results in a lack of free will? The world created by Rand. As already stated, this is a world shaped by Rand's mind, and he is not a perfect creator with lots of experience of shaping worlds. I think it far more likely he simply made things wrong - we have no reason to believe this is truly what would happen. The idea that Shai'tan is somehow integral to our freedom of choice is poorly supported, and doesn't really make a lot of sense. In the context of a series that has always understood that knowledge can be incomplete and misleading, it makes far more sense that Rand's knowledge remains incomplete and misleading to the end. Thematically, it is more appropriate that Rand is wrong than that he is right.

But if the world Rand created was shaped only by his own mind then why did it not reflect Rand's expectations of what a world free of the DO would be?  Why would he find a very unexpected consequence in something that came from his own mind?

 

Because it's not just shaped by Rand's concious mind, but also his subconscious. What he's presenting is not just a world without Shai'tan, but a world without evil. How could such a world come to be? What form would it take? What if he showed a world with Shai'tan gone, but nothing had changed - all the evils of men were still there, there was still war and corruption and suffering and death? So he searches for a way to make his struggle meaningful, a way to truly create a better world, an ideal world, without regard for how this could come to be. Subconsciously, he finds the answer his concious will not accept - for a perfect world to exist, men must be denied the ability to make wrong choices. What would a perfectly good person look like? Someone devoid of all hate and selfishness and greed and avarice - he shapes a world stripped of the dark side of human nature. On some level he knows, and the Pattern knows, the world he wants to show can never be - the closest thing to it was an abomination in his eyes. He cannot make a perfect world. Removing Shai'tan won't make the world perfect, even if it makes it better. Rand is not a god, he doesn't understand all the choices before he him, he doesn't see all the myriad possibilities. And he mistakes his own failure for a universal constant.

 

As to the DO's presence being necessary for people to truly be free you must realize that the ability to make certain choices for oneself does not necessarily equal freedom.

But it does equal free will, which is what we are talking about. Freedom is lessened by the reduction in the available choices, free will is lessened by the reduction of the ability to make choices.

There are very few instances in the real world where a person can be prevented from making any choice for themselves, and yet there are many instances were people can be said to have been deprived of their freedom.  Even if you take a person and lock them in a prison cell they are still able to make certain choices for themselves.  For example they can choose to walk around the cell or lie on the bed, they can choose to converse with the other prisoners or to keep to themselves.  Yet despite their ability to make certain choices for themselves it can still be said the they have been deprived of their freedom.  Thus it is possible to take away someone's freedom without completely eliminating their ability to make choices.  Even those who have gotten the 13 x 13 treatment are probably still able to make certain choices for themselves, yet due to the alteration they now act in ways that are contrary to how they would behave if left to their own devices.  Given this, despite their ability to make certain choices for themselves can we really say that they have free will?   The unexpected consequence that Rand found in his Shai'tan free world was the people could no longer make evil choices.  Having lost this choice, much like those who have been subjected to the 13 x 13, they are unable to behave as they would if left to their own devices.  Even thought they are still able to make certain choices for themselves they have still lost their free will.

Yes, people who have undergone the 13x13 process can still be considered to have free will - it has changed the nature of their desires, not their ability to act upon them. While the process itself, being carried out against their will, is a violation of their free will they have, so far as we know, as much free will afterwards as they did before. They have lost the desire to make morally good choices, but they have not lost the capacity.

 

So take everything the man said as the gospel truth then, no one is stopping you.  There is no way to know that he was 100% accurate in every response he gave every time or that he never changed things later so I'll go ahead and ignore the things I don't like.  There is nothing wrong with either approach, do whatever makes you happy, I'm just offering options.

 

For crying out loud, these are books, most of the world exists visually in the reader's head so it's already subject to my own biases.  The world that I've built in my head from RJ's words is just as valid as the one that you're built in yours.

No, it isn't. Not all opinions are equal. "You are not entitled to your opinion, you are entitled to your informed opinion. No-one is entitled to be ignorant." Simply ignoring things which don't fit your world view is not the same as offering a plausible interpretation for the facts presented. Simply choosing to ignore an inconvenient fact is not the same as offering a valid reason as to why a given fact should be ignored.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not ignoring anything, I'm analyzing all available information and choosing to discard the information that I deem unreliable or that doesn't seem to fit the world of WoT.  The only information that I know to be 100% reliable is that which is written down in the books.  There were notes and drafts and edits and more drafts.  For all we know, responses given to questions in interviews were based on early drafts that later got changed.  If something RJ said contradicts what he wrote on the pages, you can bet your ass I'll ignore it.  If that isn't an informed opinion, then I don't know what is.  It's a work of FICTION for crying out loud.  There is no right answer because the world only exists as a figment of the reader's imagination.

 

Star Wars is a perfect example.  George Lucas has said that it's the story of the fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker.  He wrote the damn thing so he would know, right?  Well I think the original trilogy is clearly about the rise of Luke Skywalker.  The redemption of his father is just a subplot.  When it comes to weighing the content of the story against the words of the author, I'll put more weight on the content if they disagree.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not ignoring anything, I'm analyzing all available information and choosing to discard the information that I deem unreliable or that doesn't seem to fit the world of WoT.  

 

Ignore the information that would make your theories incorrect because you don't view it as reliable? Convenient that... :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're making assumptions about why I'm discounting those comments but you're not completely wrong.  Statements made by ANYONE outside of the books themselves can and SHOULD be ignored if they don't fit with or help inform your interpretation of the story.

Edited by Heloc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Especially if the consequences are that you enjoy and/or understand the story a little more and somebody on the internet that you don't know will tell you're wrong.

 

We're talking about brief, vague descriptions of the mechanics of the supernatural forces in a FICTIONAL WORLD that exists for the purposes of ENTERTAINMENT.  The consequences of "wrong" interpretations are nil.  Try to keep some perspective.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're making assumptions about why I'm discounting those comments but you're not completely wrong.  Statements made by ANYONE outside of the books themselves can and SHOULD be ignored if they don't fit with or help inform your interpretation of the story.

So if it doesn't fit your preconceived notions about how things work, it should be ignored, rather than you change your opinion to fit new evidence?

 

Especially if the consequences are that you enjoy and/or understand the story a little more and somebody on the internet that you don't know will tell you're wrong.

 

We're talking about brief, vague descriptions of the mechanics of the supernatural forces in a FICTIONAL WORLD that exists for the purposes of ENTERTAINMENT.  The consequences of "wrong" interpretations are nil.  Try to keep some perspective.

Who's lost perspective? That there are no consequences to being wrong doesn't make you any less wrong. What I'm saying is that you're wrong, not that the world will end because you're wrong.

 

I'm not ignoring anything, I'm analyzing all available information and choosing to discard the information that I deem unreliable or that doesn't seem to fit the world of WoT.  The only information that I know to be 100% reliable is that which is written down in the books.  There were notes and drafts and edits and more drafts.  For all we know, responses given to questions in interviews were based on early drafts that later got changed.  If something RJ said contradicts what he wrote on the pages, you can bet your ass I'll ignore it.  If that isn't an informed opinion, then I don't know what is.  It's a work of FICTION for crying out loud.  There is no right answer because the world only exists as a figment of the reader's imagination.

There are times when the books and RJ's statements are opposed, because RJ speaks from a certain perspective and the characters in world speak from a different perspective. For example, Rand estimates Taim's age on first meeting. RJ gave a different age, but also an explanation as to why Rand had misjudged Taim's age. Simply discarding anything because of a contradiction when the characters are deliberately crafted to speak from a flawed and imperfect perspective is not an informed opinion.

 

Star Wars is a perfect example.  George Lucas has said that it's the story of the fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker.  He wrote the damn thing so he would know, right?  Well I think the original trilogy is clearly about the rise of Luke Skywalker.  The redemption of his father is just a subplot.  When it comes to weighing the content of the story against the words of the author, I'll put more weight on the content if they disagree.

The author can be wrong. But what is the case he presents to back up his interpretation? Can he resolve this apparent contradiction between his view and the content of the story provided? Only if he cannot should his words be discarded. Of course, an author cannot provide a "definitive" interpretation of what a work is about, because such a thing doesn't exist - all he can do is provide his informed opinion, and his views can be considered, alongside those of anyone else. But we are not talking thematic interpretation. RJ crafted the underlying metaphysics of his world - therefore, his views on how things work are directly relevant. Going back to before the conclusion of the series, if RJ said something like "no, that won't happen", or "no, that doesn't work that way", these things weren't just his opinions, and given the same weight as anyone else's. Theories that ignored these statements were going to be wrong. Even though he'd dead, even though the series has finished, the metaphysics of his world haven't changed, and speculation on how things work that doesn't take all the facts into consideration is not an informed opinion.

Edited by Mr Ares

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

You're making assumptions about why I'm discounting those comments but you're not completely wrong.  Statements made by ANYONE outside of the books themselves can and SHOULD be ignored if they don't fit with or help inform your interpretation of the story.

So if it doesn't fit your preconceived notions about how things work, it should be ignored, rather than you change your opinion to fit new evidence?

 

Especially if the consequences are that you enjoy and/or understand the story a little more and somebody on the internet that you don't know will tell you're wrong.

 

We're talking about brief, vague descriptions of the mechanics of the supernatural forces in a FICTIONAL WORLD that exists for the purposes of ENTERTAINMENT.  The consequences of "wrong" interpretations are nil.  Try to keep some perspective.

Who's lost perspective? That there are no consequences to being wrong doesn't make you any less wrong. What I'm saying is that you're wrong, not that the world will end because you're wrong.

 

I'm not ignoring anything, I'm analyzing all available information and choosing to discard the information that I deem unreliable or that doesn't seem to fit the world of WoT.  The only information that I know to be 100% reliable is that which is written down in the books.  There were notes and drafts and edits and more drafts.  For all we know, responses given to questions in interviews were based on early drafts that later got changed.  If something RJ said contradicts what he wrote on the pages, you can bet your ass I'll ignore it.  If that isn't an informed opinion, then I don't know what is.  It's a work of FICTION for crying out loud.  There is no right answer because the world only exists as a figment of the reader's imagination.

There are times when the books and RJ's statements are opposed, because RJ speaks from a certain perspective and the characters in world speak from a different perspective. For example, Rand estimates Taim's age on first meeting. RJ gave a different age, but also an explanation as to why Rand had misjudged Taim's age. Simply discarding anything because of a contradiction when the characters are deliberately crafted to speak from a flawed and imperfect perspective is not an informed opinion.

 

Star Wars is a perfect example.  George Lucas has said that it's the story of the fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker.  He wrote the damn thing so he would know, right?  Well I think the original trilogy is clearly about the rise of Luke Skywalker.  The redemption of his father is just a subplot.  When it comes to weighing the content of the story against the words of the author, I'll put more weight on the content if they disagree.

The author can be wrong. But what is the case he presents to back up his interpretation? Can he resolve this apparent contradiction between his view and the content of the story provided? Only if he cannot should his words be discarded. Of course, an author cannot provide a "definitive" interpretation of what a work is about, because such a thing doesn't exist - all he can do is provide his informed opinion, and his views can be considered, alongside those of anyone else. But we are not talking thematic interpretation. RJ crafted the underlying metaphysics of his world - therefore, his views on how things work are directly relevant. Going back to before the conclusion of the series, if RJ said something like "no, that won't happen", or "no, that doesn't work that way", these things weren't just his opinions, and given the same weight as anyone else's. Theories that ignored these statements were going to be wrong. Even though he'd dead, even though the series has finished, the metaphysics of his world haven't changed, and speculation on how things work that doesn't take all the facts into consideration is not an informed opinion.

 

 

1. No, not preconceived notions, the notions are they are presented in the book.  I have a preconceived notion that the world without evil does not mean a world without free will.  The book says otherwise so it's up to me to rationalize how that must be so unless the book itself provides some rationalization for me.  If the author says something (or anyone else, for that matter) that gives me a better way to rationalize it, I'll go with that and/or incorporate it into my conception of the world works.  Obviously I'll put a lot of weight on what the author tells me but I know that the author is not infallible so if what they said seems to contradict what IN THE BOOK, then feel free to ignore it.  I mean, if anyone on this forum gave you an interpretation that seemed off, you'd ignore that right? A LOT more weight should be given to anything that Anderson says about it and even more weight should be given to anything RJ said and if/when his notes are ever published, those should only be secondary to the books themselves but the books are the only thing that you cannot ignore under any circumstance.

 

2. What I'm saying is that the fact that this is a fictional world that is built in the reader's head as much as with the words on the page means that it's hard for anyone to be wrong.  Debate is good, other ideas are good but, ultimately, whatever enhances your enjoyment of the story is what's best.  If someone else's idea helps to facilitate that, great.  If it doesn't, ignore it.  It isn't like the place really exists where we can go ask the people who live there for their opinions or conduct experiments to obtain the objective truth.  The most straightforward example is that the picture in my head of what a certain character looks like will be different from that same character looks like to you.  We're both right.  I heard someone say that they don't like the Aiel because they're thinly veiled (heh) neo-native Americans.  I said to myself, "I suppose I can see why someone would think that but it doesn't fit my conception of the Aiel at all."  Neither is really wrong and it doesn't matter because it doesn't affect anything in the story or otherwise.  But, if it helps you to picture the Aiel better by thinking of them as being inspired by native Americans, there is nothing wrong with that.  You just have to incorporate the descriptions in the book, anything outside of that can certainly fill in the blanks just fine.

 

3. That's an example of the author's words helping to understand the story better so that's fine.  It's not really a contradiction because Rand tells us how old he thinks his father is, he doesn't actually know.  The important part is how old Tam looks.

 

4. I take into account all of the facts but discarding information is perfectly normal.  Facts, by definition, can be proven or disproved. Which means that some facts will be wrong.  Since this is a fictional world we're talking about, there is no way to prove or disprove anything.  We can't go there and test it out.  The author's opinion should certainly be taken into consideration but with the caveat that he isn't 100% reliable or infallible.  George Lucas is not a very good film-maker and not a great story teller.  He doesn't ever really back up his case and any evidence to the contrary would fly in the face of films.  It's an obvious and clear example.  RJ knows what he is talking about but I still find plenty of wiggle room in his statements (and I DO read everything critically and try to interpret it from multiple points of view) and, much like the words of the books themselves, can be interpreted in different ways.

 

What I don't get is why it's so important for you to be right.  My argument is that as long as it doesn't contradict what's written in the books and it enhances your enjoyment of them, great!  I'm saying, "It's okay to have your own interpretation.  Just because it's different than mine doesn't mean you're wrong."  I'm not saying that I'm right, just that I'm not wrong and neither is anyone else.  I mean, it's a work of fiction and the ultimate goal is to enjoy it so whatever helps reach that goal is good.

 

You seem to be saying, "RJ is infallible.  I have taken his statements to mean X.  Anyone who disagrees is wrong."  Are we just stuck in a "somebody on the internet said I'm wrong" corner now?  I'm trying to be clear but I feel like you're misreading what I'm writing because it somewhat contradicts your viewpoint.  I'm just taken aback by how vehemently you're arguing this point because I'm taking anywhere near as firm a stance as your reaction makes it out to be.

 

This whole thing is a massive derail so maybe just let it go?  Any reference to AMoL is unintentional.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

You're making assumptions about why I'm discounting those comments but you're not completely wrong.  Statements made by ANYONE outside of the books themselves can and SHOULD be ignored if they don't fit with or help inform your interpretation of the story.

So if it doesn't fit your preconceived notions about how things work, it should be ignored, rather than you change your opinion to fit new evidence?

 

Especially if the consequences are that you enjoy and/or understand the story a little more and somebody on the internet that you don't know will tell you're wrong.

 

We're talking about brief, vague descriptions of the mechanics of the supernatural forces in a FICTIONAL WORLD that exists for the purposes of ENTERTAINMENT.  The consequences of "wrong" interpretations are nil.  Try to keep some perspective.

Who's lost perspective? That there are no consequences to being wrong doesn't make you any less wrong. What I'm saying is that you're wrong, not that the world will end because you're wrong.

 

I'm not ignoring anything, I'm analyzing all available information and choosing to discard the information that I deem unreliable or that doesn't seem to fit the world of WoT.  The only information that I know to be 100% reliable is that which is written down in the books.  There were notes and drafts and edits and more drafts.  For all we know, responses given to questions in interviews were based on early drafts that later got changed.  If something RJ said contradicts what he wrote on the pages, you can bet your ass I'll ignore it.  If that isn't an informed opinion, then I don't know what is.  It's a work of FICTION for crying out loud.  There is no right answer because the world only exists as a figment of the reader's imagination.

There are times when the books and RJ's statements are opposed, because RJ speaks from a certain perspective and the characters in world speak from a different perspective. For example, Rand estimates Taim's age on first meeting. RJ gave a different age, but also an explanation as to why Rand had misjudged Taim's age. Simply discarding anything because of a contradiction when the characters are deliberately crafted to speak from a flawed and imperfect perspective is not an informed opinion.

 

Star Wars is a perfect example.  George Lucas has said that it's the story of the fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker.  He wrote the damn thing so he would know, right?  Well I think the original trilogy is clearly about the rise of Luke Skywalker.  The redemption of his father is just a subplot.  When it comes to weighing the content of the story against the words of the author, I'll put more weight on the content if they disagree.

The author can be wrong. But what is the case he presents to back up his interpretation? Can he resolve this apparent contradiction between his view and the content of the story provided? Only if he cannot should his words be discarded. Of course, an author cannot provide a "definitive" interpretation of what a work is about, because such a thing doesn't exist - all he can do is provide his informed opinion, and his views can be considered, alongside those of anyone else. But we are not talking thematic interpretation. RJ crafted the underlying metaphysics of his world - therefore, his views on how things work are directly relevant. Going back to before the conclusion of the series, if RJ said something like "no, that won't happen", or "no, that doesn't work that way", these things weren't just his opinions, and given the same weight as anyone else's. Theories that ignored these statements were going to be wrong. Even though he'd dead, even though the series has finished, the metaphysics of his world haven't changed, and speculation on how things work that doesn't take all the facts into consideration is not an informed opinion.

 

 

1. No, not preconceived notions, the notions are they are presented in the book.  I have a preconceived notion that the world without evil does not mean a world without free will.  The book says otherwise

 

No, it doesn't. It is never shown to be a world lacking free will (as I pointed out back on page 1), that's your preconceived notion again. You've made up your mind about what you're seeing, based on no evidence.

I mean, if anyone on this forum gave you an interpretation that seemed off, you'd ignore that right?

No, I'd argue against it, get them to justify their position.

A LOT more weight should be given to anything that Anderson says about it and even more weight should be given to anything RJ said and if/when his notes are ever published, those should only be secondary to the books themselves but the books are the only thing that you cannot ignore under any circumstance.

Except when you can. For example, because they are wrong.

 

2. What I'm saying is that the fact that this is a fictional world that is built in the reader's head as much as with the words on the page means that it's hard for anyone to be wrong.

And yet people manage it with astonishing frequency. Just because something enhances your enjoyment of the story doesn't make it right. If you have a view of the story or the characters that you prefer to stick to, it can still be wrong. Right and wrong isn't about what makes you happy. Yes, you can choose to believe what you like - but you will be wrong.

 

3. That's an example of the author's words helping to understand the story better so that's fine.  It's not really a contradiction because Rand tells us how old he thinks his father is, he doesn't actually know.  The important part is how old Tam looks.

But all the information in the story is provided through POV. The books say one thing, the author says another - that's a contradiction, but one that is easily explained. And Mazrim Taim is not Rand's father.

 

4. I take into account all of the facts but discarding information is perfectly normal.  Facts, by definition, can be proven or disproved. Which means that some facts will be wrong.

"Fact: Thing certainly known to have occurred or be true, datum of experience, (often with explanatory clause or phrase)." By definition, facts cannot be wrong - it it is wrong, it is not a fact, even if it was previously believed to have been one.

 

What I don't get is why it's so important for you to be right.

What I don't get is why you would be happy being wrong.

My argument is that as long as it doesn't contradict what's written in the books and it enhances your enjoyment of them, great!

My argument is that it doesn't matter if it enhances your enjoyment of the books, it matters only if it is right.

 

You seem to be saying, "RJ is infallible.  I have taken his statements to mean X.  Anyone who disagrees is wrong."

If you think that, you need to read better. RJ is fallible, but that doesn't mean he is wrong about this - justify your viewpoint.

I'm just taken aback by how vehemently you're arguing this point because I'm taking anywhere near as firm a stance as your reaction makes it out to be.

Maybe you should pay attention to what it says in my sig: "If you don't know who I am, then maybe your best course would be to tread lightly." Don't go thinking this is personal - I'm like this to everyone. I'll rip your argument to shreds if I can. What's left afterwards? Well, either a good core, or nothing. So you can either rebuild more strongly, or you can try a new path as yours is clearly wrong. Thus, better arguments are crafted by my methods. And if a few feelings get trampled in the meantime, it hardly matters. Pussyfooting about and playing nice - these things don't help. They don't encourage people to think - quite the reverse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, so it's more important than anything for you to be right.  It's very important to your ego to always be right and you'll argue forever, long after it stops being productive until the other person drops it rather than acknowledge that someone else might have a valid viewpoint.  I was just hoping to get you to agree that maybe there is something useful in my ideas instead of YOU ARE WRONG IN EVERY WAY!

 

Fine.  You're very smart and are 100% correct in every way and I'm wrong and a bad person.  You win.  You will now feel a need to get in the last word.  Especially because I'm not going to post in this thread again.  I dare you to resist.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 I was just hoping to get you to agree that maybe there is something useful in my ideas instead of YOU ARE WRONG IN EVERY WAY!

 

Well that's not what Mr Ares said at all so...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read this dumbed down for laymen theological article today which on what would life be like after Evil is vanquished  http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/832728/jewish/Free-Choice-When-Moshiach-Comes.htm

 

 


Think of both an airplane and a rocket. They both require a form of resistance in order to fly. In the airplane, this resistance is provided through interplay with an external factor: the varied degrees of air pressure on both sides of the wings. Now, above a certain elevation this is no longer possible. You have to create your own resistance that pushes downwards. This is the rocket.

Today, our battle is between good and bad. With evil working against us, we make the right decisions and propel ourselves forward. But when Moshiach comes, we'll leave this atmosphere. Evil will become a no-brainier. We will need our own rockets - the challenge of good versus better. And we will use freedom of choice to decide just how high we want to soar.

 

Now we each have our own interpetaton of the books(some more correct than others), but for _me_ this article really resonated with what I found so off-putting about the book's version of a no evil world. So much so that it brought me back to these boards today.

 

Maybe what we saw in the book fits with the everything else in the WOT's cosmology, or maybe it doesn't, but it always seemed at odds with what such a life might be like in the real world. Enough so that it took me out of the book a bit.

 

 

Edited by Zorlon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'Good' and 'evil' are too normatively loaded to be useful terms here.  It would be better to use 'correct' and 'incorrect.'  Here's what I mean:  Whenever there is the possibility for a choice to be made, that choice can be framed as a problem.  Without a problem, there is no choice.  Problems have solutions, and generally, human intuition tells us the every unique problem has a unique solution.  Usually, the solution we choose is not the correct solution, in large part because we don't know the correct solution.  There are edge cases where it doesn't work and where new problems are introduced.  The Dark One is, in essence, the personification of our tendency to choose incorrectly, to be biased by things like ambition, selfishness, despair, and the like and to thus create new problems and new opportunities to choose.  Without that tendency to choose incorrectly, at least according to the cosmology of this series, whatever we choose is the correct solution, new problems are not created from the imperfections of those choices, and the problematicalness or problematicity of the original problem is lost.  There's nothing problematic about problems anymore because we can't ever really choose wrongly anymore, and because unique problems have unique solutions and we are constrained to always choose that unique solution, we lack choice.  We become slaves of perfection.  

 

If the Dark One were to break free, that would remove our ability to choose rightly, but because there is a whole universe of ways to choose wrongly, and only one way to choose rightly, the Dark One winning wouldn't completely eliminate choice.  It would, instead, make choice the vehicle of wrongness.  In that world, if it were possible to be able to choose to have the ability to choose or not, it would never be the correct choice to choose choice.  (Say that 5 times fast!)  In a world without the Dark One at all, it wouldn't be possible to choose choice in the first place.  But in a world with the Dark One imprisoned, choice is always the correct choice to make.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read this dumbed down for laymen theological article today which on what would life be like after Evil is vanquished  http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/832728/jewish/Free-Choice-When-Moshiach-Comes.htm

 

 

Think of both an airplane and a rocket. They both require a form of resistance in order to fly. In the airplane, this resistance is provided through interplay with an external factor: the varied degrees of air pressure on both sides of the wings. Now, above a certain elevation this is no longer possible. You have to create your own resistance that pushes downwards. This is the rocket.

Today, our battle is between good and bad. With evil working against us, we make the right decisions and propel ourselves forward. But when Moshiach comes, we'll leave this atmosphere. Evil will become a no-brainier. We will need our own rockets - the challenge of good versus better. And we will use freedom of choice to decide just how high we want to soar.

 

Now we each have our own interpetaton of the books(some more correct than others), but for _me_ this article really resonated with what I found so off-putting about the book's version of a no evil world. So much so that it brought me back to these boards today.

 

Maybe what we saw in the book fits with the everything else in the WOT's cosmology, or maybe it doesn't, but it always seemed at odds with what such a life might be like in the real world. Enough so that it took me out of the book a bit.

 

If you want to know how this translates into the real world it goes like this.  In the real world evil is not something that exists unto itself nor is there some dark deity or force of nature that allows human beings to do evil.  No such deity or force is necessary because in the real world evil only exists because human beings choose to do evil things.  Therefore, the only way to forcibly eradicate evil from the world would be to eliminate humanity's ability to choose.  Brandon Sanderson (using Robert Jordan's ideas) illustrates this point by showing that when Rand creates a world without evil human beings no longer have the ability to make choices.  This is why the Dark One "is not the enemy and never was", for even in the cosmology of the wheel of time where the presence of an evil deity is what allows humans to choose evil, evil still cannot exist unless people choose to give in to The Dark One's influence.

Edited by Leopoled Boothe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Oh and as an aside, the only time anyone thought to eradicate the DO totally was Rand when he was at his darkest.

 

 

Actually, it appears as though Rand had been thinking about it as early going through the doorway in Tear to see the Aelfinn. His third question is strongly hinted as having asked how to kill the Dark One, but he didn't understand the answer until later (like his other answers). We'll know for sure I guess when the Encyclopedia comes out.

 

From the Epilogue of AMoL:

"I see the answer now," he whispered. "I asked the Aelfinn the wrong question. To choose is our fate. If you have no choice, then you aren't a man at all. You're a puppet . . ." 

 

Also there was apparently a twitter chat where BS said something about this. I don't have the transcript, but from:

 

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/01/brandon-sandersons-wheel-of-time-answers-from-torchat

 

"Rand’s third question to the Aelfinn involved Rand asking how to kill the Dark One. More detail on these will most likely be put in the Encyclopedia."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

 

Oh and as an aside, the only time anyone thought to eradicate the DO totally was Rand when he was at his darkest.

 

 

Actually, it appears as though Rand had been thinking about it as early going through the doorway in Tear to see the Aelfinn. His third question is strongly hinted as having asked how to kill the Dark One, but he didn't understand the answer until later (like his other answers). We'll know for sure I guess when the Encyclopedia comes out.

 

From the Epilogue of AMoL:

"I see the answer now," he whispered. "I asked the Aelfinn the wrong question. To choose is our fate. If you have no choice, then you aren't a man at all. You're a puppet . . ." 

 

Also there was apparently a twitter chat where BS said something about this. I don't have the transcript, but from:

 

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/01/brandon-sandersons-wheel-of-time-answers-from-torchat

 

"Rand’s third question to the Aelfinn involved Rand asking how to kill the Dark One. More detail on these will most likely be put in the Encyclopedia."

 

 

Thanks for that Athrian. Good stuff...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that the Creator and Dark One are one and the same, two halves of the same being.  Destruction and Creation, Order and Chaos, Life and Death.  They are Nature.  You can not have creation without destruction.  You can not have Life without death.  A being who can not die can not truly be called alive to begin with. 

 

For there to be creation, you must have destruction.  For example, molten lava destroys all in it's path, but it also makes the ground fertile, so things can grow.  Through destruction, new life is created. 

 

If you destroy the Dark One, you destroy the cycle of life and death that drives the universe. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Also there was apparently a twitter chat where BS said something about this. I don't have the transcript, but from:

 

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/01/brandon-sandersons-wheel-of-time-answers-from-torchat

 

"Rand’s third question to the Aelfinn involved Rand asking how to kill the Dark One. More detail on these will most likely be put in the Encyclopedia."

 

 

OK. I know this is the official word, but wasn't there some kind of a rule or warning against asking questions that pertain to the Shadow?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IIRC questions about the shadow are dangerous though they don't ever say what the consequences are.  I'd guess that it puts the same kind of stress on their world that having a ta'veren in it does which is why when Rand and Mat are both in there and Rand is asking about the shadow, the whole thing nearly rips itself apart.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's also possible that Moiraine was wrong about the consequences of asking about the Shadow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...