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The metaphysics of Eärwa - some thoughts posted 30 October 2008 in The Thousandfold ThoughtThe metaphysics of Eärwa - some thoughts by Thorsten, Candidate

The Inchoroi problem and its solution - the No-God

The goal of the Consult is, at least as guessed by Kellhus, to seal the world to the outside to avoid the possibility of damnation (TT, Ch. 16) and thus to save their souls. Given the fundamentally different mindset and morality of the Inchoroi, they would surely fail by the moral standards of Inrithism and Fanimry, so their concern was quite real once the Inchoroi accepted the reality of the Outside and he afterlife.

In the light of what has been said above, what happens is that the Inchoroi intruded into the superconsciousness of Eärwa which emerged from the minds of mankind (and, prior to that, the Nomen) which shaped reality and, to a much greater degree, the nature of the Outside. In their own world, there was either no superconsciousness, or it was of a very different nature as it was dominated by Inchoroi minds, but on Eärwa the Inchoroi (especially after the wars against Nomen) were a minority and the nature of the Outside was dominated by mankind, leaving no influence to them. As a result, they were caught up in a reality which did not judge them by their own standards, and therefore damned by the superconsciousness of Eärwa, the God. The role of the human members of the Consult is rather similar, although they lack the 'excuse' that their amoral conduct is genuinely part of their nature.

One solution to the dilemma is the extermination of mankind. After all, the superconsciousness so inimical to them emerges from the minds of men, so if mankind can be exterminated to the point that the minds of the Inchoroi dominate the superconsciousness and hence reality, their problem is solved.

Note that there is no evidence that the Inchoroi initially realized this problem. When dealing with the Nomen, they actually gave the male members of the race immortality whereas they killed the females with the Womb Plague. Simply giving back youth to the Nomen, but not immortality would have exterminated them quite efficiently within a generation. It is probably fair to say that the Inchoroi had opportunity for genocide at this point, but (for whatever reasons) chose not to do so. Presumably, their decision is driven by cruelty - after all, the Nomen could not possibly have the brain capacity to deal with the memories of a vastly increased lifetime, nor did they have the technology to address the problem, so the original plan may have been to see the surviving Nomen go mad over time without any hope of renewal for their race. This in essence is exactly what happened to the Nomen. Presumably, only after the Inchoroi learned sorcery and grew familiar with the nature of the Outside did they make plans to seal the world.

Summarized, the problem of the Consult is an emergent superconsciousness, the God, which is determined by the majority of Eärwan minds. Their solution to this problem is another superconsciousness of their own making, the No-God, and all of his known properties can be understood from this perspective.

The God emerges from multiple self-referencing loops. The perception of the God determines reality, but reality determines the brains of people, those determine minds, and these minds in turn determine the God. So the God shapes reality and is in turn shaped by reality. Likewise, he perceives in reality his own action and hence himself - the main feature of conscious awareness.

The No-God cannot arise as a self-referencing concept (otherwise he would, as the God, become dominated by the minds of men). It cannot be allowed to be shaped by reality but must be 'anchored' somehow in reality and from this point shape only. Thus, note that unlike the God, the No-God can be localized. Not only is he inside the Carapace, but people even feel where he is from afar (TT, Gl. 'Mursiris'). The core of the No-God is some creation of both Tekne and sorcery, presumably some kind of computing core, which can support a superconsciousness. 11 Chorae are embedded in his Carapace (TT, Gl. 'No-God'). The idea that this would be to guard some creature of flesh against sorcery is rather absurd - after all, we know that Chorae only work when touching skin! Rather, the point of the Chorae seems to be to anchor the core of the No-God such that it cannot be shaped (because the Chorae suppress any possibilities in true reality beyond the local perceived reality, and hence any room for shaping) but can shape everything else except himself.

Being a superconsciousness, the No-God primarily conducts a 'spiritual warfare' - in other words wars with the God for domination in shaping reality, in particular the Outside. The 'alternative' Outside created by the No-God can be felt as presence (or absence) in the onta rather similar to the way Chorae can be felt as absence in the onta - as a discrepancy to the 'normal' state of reality caused by the God. The 'alternative Outside' at least partially works - the cycle of souls is disrupted by the No-God - children are stillborn (TT, Gl. 'No-God') and those who died on the field of Mengedda encountering the No-God pass no further. But on the other hand, the 'alternative reality' is not absolute - mankind is not exterminated outright.

The No-Gods has the ability to control Sranc, Bashrag, Dragons and other creations of the Tekne. Again, this is a one-way pattern: The No-God comes from outside the minds of the creatures (i.e. from the core inside the carapace) and controls them, unlike the God he is not in any way influenced by their minds. The ability probably is connected to the idea to make vast majorities of (admittedly almost soulless) creatures believe and perceive reality in a given manner, but certainly proved useful in battles. However, in order to do so, the Consult needed to equip the No-God with enough self-awareness to understand the (self-aware) creatures he was supposed to control.

Nevertheless, the No-God was a superconsciousness, a being of vast intelligence and ability far surpassing any of the Consult, but with only a rudimentary self-awareness and determined by a set of instructions how to shape the alternative reality the Consult desired. Thus, in a sense the Consult worshiped him as a being far beyond their abilities. The No-God, being self-aware, must have asked the question about himself at some point, and its vast intelligence probably very quickly revealed the huge blind spots in his self-image. But by the very purpose of his design as acting one way, the No-God could only shape but not be shaped, only control but not be controlled and only perceive the outside, but not himself directly.

To bring out this difference more clearly: Every time a man experiences the God or the action of God somewhere, the God is directly aware of this and hence also self-aware, since the mind of the man having the experience is also part of the superconsciousness of God. Not so for the No-God - even in any creature (say a Sranc) experiences the No-God or an action of the No-God, the No-God is not directly aware of this since its 'mind' is different from the mind of the Sranc by design.

The No-God's situation can be understood in analogy with the situation of a man having no conscious experience or memory of, say, going to work. He can infer from various facts (money on his account, the passing of time indicated by his watch, people mentioning having seen him at work...) that he indeed is going to work on weekdays, but that is indirect knowledge. Quite possibly, figuring out what happens with him will shortly be an overwhelming desire of this man, and he will continuously ask questions like 'Did you see me yesterday? What did I do?'.

Similarly after a while, this absence of information must have been the main question driving the No-God (quite contrary to what the Consult would have wanted), and thus his main concern on the field of Mengedda was to know himself:

What do you see?
I must know what you see.
Tell me!
What am I?
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