Three Seas Forum

the archives

dusted off in read-only

  •  

The Logos/Dunyain posted 19 May 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtThe Logos/Dunyain by Oumo Di Spada, Commoner

I’m just rereading the series and have read through a lot of this board and rather than follow up on a number of different threads I’ve decided to drop all my theories in one place to be savaged at your leisure. <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: -->

On the board there has been some speculation as to the number of Dunyain, their abilities, and the Logos. Here’s my two cents on these subjects.

1. The population of Dunyain, it would seem to me, is limited by several factors. Primarily their expressed desire to remain undiscovered. Let us assume that the population numbers as little as 1,000 functional adults (I’ll come back to the functional part in a short while). Considering the technology available to them (mid to late iron age) and their lack of horses (Kellus walked out) we would need to assume that the majority of the population (75%-90%) are farmers. Were these farms as small as 20 acres each (7.5 acres is considered subsistence farming using modern techniques) this would lead us to assume that the Dunyain community was cultivating 15,000-18,000 acres ( approx. 23-31 square miles.) Which I think we can agree is a sizable area. In that they have not been discovered sitting on the Consult’s doorstep I think it safe to assume they haven’t grown much beyond these limits.

2. The Dunyain started with a very limited gene pool (my guess is that there were probably less than 100 refugees). Were there more than this to begin with they would have been thinned out during the first few years from starvation and 11 years of stillborn. Even with their breeding program we can assume a large number of culls (non-functionals), probably the source for Kellus’ “face” training. This is a very inbred population. With the breeding program in place we can also assume that the vast majority of the population is related within a few generations. The population shares Kellus’ genes and therefore are probably numbered among the Few. If we assume a 10% failure rate (the non-functionals) and a 10% outstanding success rate (the ruling elite). This gives us about 100 (actually about 87 now that they’ve purged themselves) of the Conditioned and 900 lesser Dunyain.

3. I’m basing some of my arguments on several assumptions (even Euclid had three)

A. Sorcery is supernatural in origin. By supernatural I do not mean more than nature but instead outside of nature.
B. The outside source of sorcery is The God(s).

The Logos is a brand of sorcery. Wait…wait…wait, put down the rocks… hear me out. I have a couple of reasons to think this. First off is that every form of sorcery in the books is loaded with a capital letter to make it stand out (Gnosis, Psuke, Tekne… Logos). But beyond this admittedly thin argument, I have several thoughts. First off is that the Dunyain have been able maintain a bloodline over two thousand years in such purity that it is recognizable (Akka recognized Kellus as an Anisurimbor). Second, the probability trance smacks of the super natural/sorcerous (even Herbert’s Mentats required greater time than this and they had been bred for tens of thousands of years). Even reaching the point of the probability trance is less than 2000 years implies sorcerous interference. Third the existence of sorcery indicates that the Few eventually have to use it and the Schools merely teach outlets. With the inward focus of the Logos it would seem that the Logos is the sorcery of self manipulation. This would explain why the Chorae did not effect Kellus… not Cants to stop. It would also explain how Kellus defeated Cnaiur with so little effort (beat him as a man would a child) despite Cnaiur being arguably the best (unaltered) warrior presented in the books as yet.

More thoughts to come as they are formed. view post


The Logos/Dunyain posted 19 May 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtThe Logos/Dunyain by White Lord, Subdidact

Some comments. Don't have a lot of time for detailed speculation, so I'll just point out where I think you're wrong:

Quote: &quot;Oumo Di Spada&quot;:3voq4tpc
1. The population of Dunyain, it would seem to me, is limited by several factors. Primarily their expressed desire to remain undiscovered. Let us assume that the population numbers as little as 1,000 functional adults[/quote:3voq4tpc]

I think your figure is too small. My reckoning puts the Dunyain at a minimum of four thousand people. Ishual is a citadel, i.e. built in the first place to host a large body of fighting men and to provide the sustenance they would need year round.

Quote: &quot;Oumo Di Spada&quot;:3voq4tpc
(I’ll come back to the functional part in a short while). Considering the technology available to them (mid to late iron age) and their lack of horses (Kellus walked out) we would need to assume that the majority of the population (75%-90%) are farmers. Were these farms as small as 20 acres each (7.5 acres is considered subsistence farming using modern techniques) this would lead us to assume that the Dunyain community was cultivating 15,000-18,000 acres ( approx. 23-31 square miles.) Which I think we can agree is a sizable area. In that they have not been discovered sitting on the Consult’s doorstep I think it safe to assume they haven’t grown much beyond these limits.[/quote:3voq4tpc]

That's impossible. Ishual is situated in the middle of a substantial chain of mountains, there's no space fit for farming outside Ishual's walls to speak of, and it's plain that they have all the food they need grown inside Ishual. About how their technology stands, I think you are underestimating what the Dunyain know or use. If you think they started the community in the Bronze Age, and have been isolated ever since, how do you think they came up with steel that is stronger than any steel in the Three Seas? I think that, given time and thought, they'd be able to solve any problems they encounter without exiting the walls of Ishual. Anyway, if they farmed such a large tract of land there is no way they'd have escaped the Consult, no way.

Quote: &quot;Oumo Di Spada&quot;:3voq4tpc
2. The Dunyain started with a very limited gene pool (my guess is that there were probably less than 100 refugees). Were there more than this to begin with they would have been thinned out during the first few years from starvation and 11 years of stillborn. Even with their breeding program we can assume a large number of culls (non-functionals), probably the source for Kellus’ “face” training.[/quote:3voq4tpc]

The face-training specimens come from outside. The Dunyain maintain some contact with the nearest human tribes, and sometimes people simply wander too close to Ishual and are captured. This is also a source of trade for the advanced goods the Dunyain can manufacture in exchange for food, when it's needed.

Quote: &quot;Oumo Di Spada&quot;:3voq4tpc
A. Sorcery is supernatural in origin. By supernatural I do not mean more than nature but instead outside of nature.
B. The outside source of sorcery is The God(s).[/quote:3voq4tpc]

With this I agree.

Quote: &quot;Oumo Di Spada&quot;:3voq4tpc
The Logos is a brand of sorcery. Wait…wait…wait, put down the rocks… hear me out. I have a couple of reasons to think this. First off is that every form of sorcery in the books is loaded with a capital letter to make it stand out (Gnosis, Psuke, Tekne… Logos). But beyond this admittedly thin argument, I have several thoughts.[/quote:3voq4tpc]

The Tekne is not sorcery, it's bioscience. The Logos is also not sorcery as one understands it IMO.

Quote: &quot;Oumo Di Spada&quot;:3voq4tpc
First off is that the Dunyain have been able maintain a bloodline over two thousand years in such purity that it is recognizable (Akka recognized Kellus as an Anisurimbor). Second, the probability trance smacks of the super natural/sorcerous (even Herbert’s Mentats required greater time than this and they had been bred for tens of thousands of years). Even reaching the point of the probability trance is less than 2000 years implies sorcerous interference.[/quote:3voq4tpc]

It implies a divine, not a sorcerous intervention, and I hope you see the difference.

Quote: &quot;Oumo Di Spada&quot;:3voq4tpc
Third the existence of sorcery indicates that the Few eventually have to use it and the Schools merely teach outlets.[/quote:3voq4tpc]

You do not have to learn sorcery, or use it if you do not want it. It doesn't work that way. The College of Luthymae of the Thousand Temples is full of sorcerers who have never uttered a single cant.

Quote: &quot;Oumo Di Spada&quot;:3voq4tpc
With the inward focus of the Logos it would seem that the Logos is the sorcery of self manipulation. This would explain why the Chorae did not effect Kellus… not Cants to stop.[/quote:3voq4tpc]

This is explained well enough in the books. Chorae affect the Few only when they utter a sorcerous cant and gain the Mark. You can be one of the Few and be immune to Chorae if you have never actually worked sorcery. There are also certain cants one can utter and be immune to them, which is what Kellhus did in TWP.

Quote: &quot;Oumo Di Spada&quot;:3voq4tpc
It would also explain how Kellus defeated Cnaiur with so little effort (beat him as a man would a child) despite Cnaiur being arguably the best (unaltered) warrior presented in the books as yet.[/quote:3voq4tpc]

He beat Cnaiur because of his breeding. It's as simple as that. I'd guess any Dunyain's musculature is much more powerful, i.e. efficient than any world-born's, and also his reflexes are much more rapid and controlled. Also about the probability trance, and other techniques the Dunyain use to aid reason, but also to fight better, I see no sorcerous origin.

I guess you may be right on an interference from the Outside, I too think of such an interference, but choose to call it divine rather than sorcerous, because you would then have to postulate an existing sorcerous metaphysics explaining the Logos or the Probability Trance. I view it simply as the result of a highly successful breeding and training process. As to divine intervention, I hold Achamian's view that everything has a purpose, so the purpose of the Dunyain, regardless of what they think or do, was to enhance physically and mentally the line of Anasurimbor, and bring it intact to the present time, when it has to fulfill its purpose.

Comments welcome. view post


The Logos/Dunyain posted 20 May 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtThe Logos/Dunyain by diarmuid, Peralogue

it seems to me that there is, here, an uneeded distinction between the natural and sorcery.

view sorcery as merely the understanding of more in our world and a vein of different knowledge and suddenly the Logos must be that...but at the same time is not


perhaps the few are simply those gifted with no more than an ability for a certain type of thought

much like air force pilots must think in dimensions of up and down as well as n,s,e,w.....

perhaps there is no deliniation between the natural and supernatural

save for knowledge and the ability to grasp it view post


The Logos/Dunyain posted 22 May 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtThe Logos/Dunyain by Twayleph, Auditor

I would disagree with that last point; in my opinion, the very essence of traditional sorcery, as we know it in Fantasy, is that it's unnatural. It wouldn't be magic if it worked inside the laws and boundaries of the world; when a sorcerer just says a word and the person in front of him bursts into flames, I don't think it's a simple question of understanding the world. Sure, there are laws ruling sorcery, but they're not the ones governing this world and that's why to non-sorcerers it appears wondrous and incomprehensible.

In PON, when one of the Few witnesses sorcery, he is at once able to recognize it because it is not of this world but rather of the force that created this world (the God?). As I see it, common people are like cartoon characters living in their little 2D world and forced to follow its rules - and the Few are the ones able to take the cartoonist's pencil and draw a big "X" over those they don't like. view post


The Logos/Dunyain posted 23 May 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtThe Logos/Dunyain by diarmuid, Peralogue

hmm good points.

however, if the few can see the "bruise" or mark of sorcery as affecting nature..or what is natural

could not it be argued that their specialized knowledge and studies have led them to simply be more sensitive to those things that occur in the "natural" world?

consider "supernatural" better than, yes. beyond the natural , yes

but not nesc. totally apart from natural.

As for other Fantasy series and books.....

Guy Kay tends to treat magic thus.

David Eddings, in my youth, seemed to be exploring along these lines as well.

Anyway, good arguments all around. Makes for an interesting debate and I would invite all interested parties to join in.

Maybe even the Author?

Course I am betting he knows more than we. view post


The Logos/Dunyain posted 23 May 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtThe Logos/Dunyain by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

The face-training specimens come from outside. The Dunyain maintain some contact with the nearest human tribes, and sometimes people simply wander too close to Ishual and are captured. This is also a source of trade for the advanced goods the Dunyain can manufacture in exchange for food, when it's needed.


I have to disagree with this, White Lord. I don't think the Dunyain have had ANY contact with the outside world. The face specimens were failed Dunyain who as a result of physical and/or mental defects (probably from too much inbreeding) were unable to complete training and were used for training purposes such as these. I am pretty sure this is outright stated that they are failed Dunyain in TWP.

I also think that the Kelhus's physical abilities and mental abilities are naturally quite elevated and have had the benefit of being honed even further by Dunyain training. But what we see in the book is unique I think because no Dunyain (except Moengus and we don't know the extend of what he's managed yet) has ever been tested the same way Kelhus has. They have never had to put the Probability trance in the service of taking control of a holy war and they don't have all the information that Kelhus has (like the existence of sorcery). Remember that Kelhus was tripping out over the variety of leaf patterns when he first leaves the stronghold of the Dunyain... his natural abilities and his training have been even further honed by the challenges he has faced in the outside world, which none of his brethren have.

I personally think that Moenghus has also received this honing, but in a different way, as per his own experiences in the world. I think this is considerable, since I also think that he is the driving force behind this whole holy war... and the taking control of it by Kelhus.

Some clues hint at the similarities: for instance, when Kelhus meets Cnauir, it's about the same stage in his experience with the world as Moenghus was when he was captured by the tribe. The first thing he tries on Cnaiur is the trackless steppe line, which his dad tried too... the only difference is that Cnaiur has already heard it. So Kelhus and Moenghus see the same kinds of openings at about the same point in their honing in the outside world. What happens next is very different though and I am interested to see how this is reflected when we meet Moenghus... the standardization of Dunyain life and the diversification brought on by time in the outside world... view post


The Logos/Dunyain posted 23 May 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtThe Logos/Dunyain by bovine_buddha, Commoner

About the question whether sorcery is natural or supernatural, where most Fantasy books tend to use the latter, I think it it most important to have in mind the opening quote from PoN Chapter 3:

"If the world is a game whose rules are written by God, and sorcerers are those who cheat and cheat, then who has written the rules of sorcery?"

- Zarathinius, A Defense of the Arcane Arts

As Zarathinius obviously thinks and states (and maybe Bakker), sorcery is not what God used to create the world and is thus not divine, since he believes God also wrote the rules of sorcery (or so I interpret the quote). So while sorcery is certainly not something everyone is capable of, the issue of whether it is natural or supernatural will probably never be fully revealed, since a solution to the question posed in the quote would be philosophical in nature, and thus subjective and highly normative.

Furthermore, Bakker himself has stated that sorcery is hereditary, connected with our genes, which gives further inclination of it being more "natural" than "supernatural". view post


The Logos/Dunyain posted 25 May 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtThe Logos/Dunyain by White Lord, Subdidact

Quote: &quot;Tattooed Hand&quot;:2ca3pdsn
The face-training specimens come from outside. The Dunyain maintain some contact with the nearest human tribes, and sometimes people simply wander too close to Ishual and are captured. This is also a source of trade for the advanced goods the Dunyain can manufacture in exchange for food, when it's needed.


I have to disagree with this, White Lord. I don't think the Dunyain have had ANY contact with the outside world. The face specimens were failed Dunyain who as a result of physical and/or mental defects (probably from too much inbreeding) were unable to complete training and were used for training purposes such as these. I am pretty sure this is outright stated that they are failed Dunyain in TWP. [/quote:2ca3pdsn]

I know no such thing is stated in TWP (about Dunyain defectives). What I was referring to was mentioned by Scott on this board. I'll try to find the exact quote (buried somewhere in the Q&amp;A board), but I don't have time right now. Anyway, I agree with you that the Dunyain have no extensive contact with the outside world (they never stray far from Ishual, but they do get outside to some extent -- remember the forest training scene from Kellhus's recollections), still some contact with humans (defectives) exists, and was mentioned by Scott on the board. I'm positive he mentioned the neuropuncture scene and the origin of the specimens.

Quote: &quot;Tattooed Hand&quot;:2ca3pdsn
I also think that the Kelhus's physical abilities and mental abilities are naturally quite elevated and have had the benefit of being honed even further by Dunyain training.[/quote:2ca3pdsn]

I agree. The Anasurimbor have Nonman blood, which gives them some "advantages" Scott has hinted at. What they are is open to debate, but the fact is that the Anasurimbor were superior to ordinary men at the time of the Apocalypse and are infinitely more so after Dunyain conditioning, which is a reason why I think there was some divine interference responsible for the Dunyain finding Ishual in the first place and "nurturing" the Anasurimbor line. view post


The Logos/Dunyain posted 25 May 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtThe Logos/Dunyain by White Lord, Subdidact

Quote: &quot;bovine_buddha&quot;:9znqp6gi
About the question whether sorcery is natural or supernatural, where most Fantasy books tend to use the latter, I think it it most important to have in mind the opening quote from PoN Chapter 3:

"If the world is a game whose rules are written by God, and sorcerers are those who cheat and cheat, then who has written the rules of sorcery?"

- Zarathinius, A Defense of the Arcane Arts

As Zarathinius obviously thinks and states (and maybe Bakker), sorcery is not what God used to create the world and is thus not divine, since he believes God also wrote the rules of sorcery (or so I interpret the quote). So while sorcery is certainly not something everyone is capable of, the issue of whether it is natural or supernatural will probably never be fully revealed, since a solution to the question posed in the quote would be philosophical in nature, and thus subjective and highly normative.

Furthermore, Bakker himself has stated that sorcery is hereditary, connected with our genes, which gives further inclination of it being more "natural" than "supernatural".[/quote:9znqp6gi]

I don't know about that. First of all, we know other dimensions of reality (the Outside for one) exist, which obviously have different "natural" rules, and still sorcery can bridge this gap between realities, can bring a demon in the flesh from another world to the one of Earwa.

There is nothing, either in the quote you cite, or in the other references in the books, that somehow negates that sorcery is what was used by the divinity to create all realities. The god has written all rules, so the fact that sorcery has some rules (or that the kind of sorcery men use has these rules, and the relative strength in it available to them) does not preclude some deeper and stronger sorcery that men cannot use.

I also think there is a very good reason behind the availability of sorcery to certain persons in this particular reality. I think it's the use of it by men that is somehow blasphemous, because misunderstood in its original purpose. But there is no question of its divine origin, not even the religions in Earwa doubt that, their condemnation of sorcerers results from the fact they do not think man worthy enough to use the highest power (the power of the God) that can modify reality itself, can bend the rules of nature with the utmost ease. This is also interesting because it makes us ask ourselves whether man is really unworthy, or if maybe the God made sorcery available in the first place because it is the best pathway man can use either to come closest to the God, or to become a god . . . <!-- s:) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:) -->

Another interesting thought is that no one really knows what is or isn't possible with sorcery. It is entirely dependent on the intellect and the experience of the sorcerer. So if you consider the God himself as the greatest sorcerer of them all (the one with the greatest intellect), there is nothing that would prevent a human with a big enough imagination, a deep enough intellect, to modify reality to an incredible degree, to somehow achieve a sort of divinity (in the sense that sorcery has absolute control of space and time, as well as other dimensions). It will be very interesting to see what Kellhus can "do" with the Gnosis . . . <!-- s:) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:) --> view post


  •  

The Three Seas Forum archives are hosted and maintained courtesy of Jack Brown