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Chorae (SPOILERS!!!!) posted 22 March 2009 in The Judging EyeChorae (SPOILERS!!!!) by Landrew, Candidate

the interesting thing with the Chorae - we're told they were made 'by sorcery' - aporetic sorcery (whatever that is). But you'd have to wonder at the mechanics of that . It is a paradox. how can mere sorcery create something which entirely negates sorcery? It is like using hot to produce absolute cold (which is the complete absence of heat). The more 'hot' you add, the further you are from the destination.

One analogy I had thought of (but discard) is how by cramming enough matter together - eventually you get a black hole (which from the outside appears to 'destroy' matter or be an 'absense' of matter). Except that we really know that a black hold doesn't destroy matter at all and isn't at all an absence of matter.

So there is an inherent paradox in the seemingly simple explanation of Chorae as being merely sorcerous artifacts. one needs something more than mere sorcery. Hard to believe, however, that 'tears of god' could have any literal truth considering for whom the chorae were originally produced.

On another point, I keep reading comments that refer to the internal order of Earwa in terms of Truth and whether 'truth' becomes 'objectively true' once 'subjectively believed' by enough people. So damnation of sorcerers could be undone if enough people stopped believing in it. And other people have written that the supposed inherent falseness of objective morality has been one of Scott's targets throughout this series. I disagree. Seems to me to be crystal clear that there is an objective, unchanging moral order in Earwa. There are, objectively, gods (in the pantheistic sense of lesser powers who have specific personalities). There may be (likely is) a GOD. There is also something there which, when spoken to, produces (sorcerous) power. What this is that makes sorcery available is a question which I don't believe has been satisfactorily answered.

In Earwa there are objective moral answers to many (perhaps all) questions, however, we (and the characters in the book) don't necessarily know what those answers are. Scott's quarrel is with certainty, not objective morality. the statement (and proof of the statement) that "People are easily deceived", or even "all people are deceived" bears no relationship whatsoever to the statement "there is no objective Truth". It only bears relationship to the statement that 'one should be slow to judge'. The fact that a person is willing to kill and die for the answer they believe to be correct is not sufficient proof that it is the correct answer. This is patently true and anyone can think up dozens of examples of beliefs about the world which differ and yet one of them is true to the exclusion of all others (or at least more true than all others). It is always a mistake to go from proposition 'A', that "people believe different things about X" to conclusion 'B', "nothing about X is True". This is also true in the realm of morality. Scott shows all sorts of examples of people committing terrible crimes in the name of beliefs which aren't true. Or, two peoples fighting each other with righteous certainty in the truth and justice of their own cause. One side, at least has to be mistaken. That doesn't mean there is no objective yardstick. It only means people are easily deceived. Given that knowledge, one should think very hard before making a judgment about another person.

Sorcery is (probably) objectively evil regardless of whether the user has the best intentions. Maybe we will never know. Scott often uses ambiguity and conflicting information to make the point that certainty is dangerous and the Truth is elusive. However, regarding the morality of sorcery, ponder the following: have we ever seen sorcery which is not destructive or having a predominantly destructive use/purpose? The few exceptions i can think of is speaking over a distance to another and the very new trick of translocation. Presumably there are a few other tricks which are not inherently destructive but for the most part they are inherently destructive and actually used to kill. But even these, while not necessarily destructive are possibly destructive of the created order. Now we say 'well sorcerers may kill but they do so in pursuit of worthy goals'. How many people do you think Akka has killed in his lifetime? At least hundreds, probably thousands. The 'good intentions' of the Mandate don't absolve that anymore than in the real world we forgive the cops if they beat and torture a criminal in order to get information about his confederates all in the name of law and order. We didn't look the other way at Abu Ghraib just because things were done in the name of undermining a murderous insurgency.

Moreover, as noted previously, we don't know the origin of sorcery. What activates it? what makes it effective? who is the sorcerer speaking to when he calls power into focus? Is he speaking to God? a small g god? the devil? demons from another realm/dimension? How many kindly old sorcerers have we seen? How many would you like to see as your father/grandfather? Haven't the vast majority been despicable? Maybe we are deceived about the nature and inherent morality about sorcery because we don't want it to be true that sorcerers are necessarily damned because we like Akka? view post


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