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AleoMagus Commoner | joined 29 May 2005 | 9 posts


Dunyain and Poker influences. posted 07 June 2005 in Author Q & ADunyain and Poker influences. by AleoMagus, Commoner

Hello all.

Mr Bakker, first of all, congratulations on what is the finest new epic fantasy series in a very long time. I see a little speculation so far on this board about how far reaching, popular, and recognized these books will become. Perhaps I'm getting a little ahead of myself, as I'm not even finished TWP yet, but if you can keep it up, I have no doubt that these books will not just be big - they will be a new standard in the genre. I'm sure you are told this a lot on here (we must all be fans, right?) but I can pick winners, and you sir have two with you name on them.

Anyways, enough gushing. I have a question, albeit somewhat strange and obviously brought on by my own interests. All the same...

Were you in any way influenced by a gambling background when you imagined the characteristics and abilities of the dunyain.

If not, I suppose this suggestion may even sound odd, so let me explain.

The first thing that struck me was the probability trance. Poker players call this 'going into the tank'. It happens often in no-limit poker play where a player must make a play that has numerous considerations, usually mathematical/logical. They count their 'outs', consdier probability and risk reward of all possible actions and in a sense, adopt almost exactly what you call the probablity trance. Now obviously this is in a much lesser and more specifically applied form but I still couldn't help but draw a comparison.

Secondly, we have the facial expression and body language understanding that allows them to understand an manipulate others so well. It's not quite as prevalent as the uneducated might think, but this is still a major part of poker. Reading tells and understanding what the body language of other players mean is a very valuable skill, and can often be a major factor in tipping a tough decision one way or another. Some great players have made amazing reads on other players through facial recognition or other body language tells.

Third, we see the detatchment of emotion from experience and the calculating mindset of the logos. Poker players fight constantly to battle what they call 'tilt' and a great many ascribe to very zen like principles of understanding and acceptance. Poker is a game with a large element of luck, after all, and even with perfect play, you can still lose.

Again, I know it is often just hubris that leads people to believe that some facet of their life must apply to everything around them, but these comparisons just seemed striking to me. Whether you intended it or not, Khellus is the perfect professional gambler. The dunyain understand the odds and they understand people.

More likely I suppose, it is just a fantasization of game theory/decision theory principles (with a healthy dose of logic thrown in). Poker and other skilled gambling is really just a specifically applied instance.

anyways, I am rambling now. Great work, and thanks.

Regards
Brad S view post


What philosopher suits you most? posted 07 June 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionWhat philosopher suits you most? by AleoMagus, Commoner

That's actually a strange list. Some very notable exceptions and some surprising options for a list ten names long. Is there a reason for that?

I vote Quine, if I can.

Regards
Brad S view post


Chorae issues posted 08 June 2005 in Author Q & AChorae issues by AleoMagus, Commoner

Of all the things in the books that I have difficulty with, chorae are definitely at the top of my list.

I simply find it hard to understand the manner in which chorae could actually protect their wearers from sorcery. Sure it's easy to just say it - they render their wearers immume, but in so many ways, this doesn't make sense.

Consider for example a situation where someone is standing on top of a structure of some kind while wearing a chorae. A sorcerer lights this structure on fire, or otherwise explodes/destroys it. How can the wearer be immune? Can the sorcerer not even begin a chain of events which will hurt the wearer? This seems unlikely, because assuming this, I could easily build an argument where no sorcery at all is possible so long as anyone is wearing chorae anywhere, as any chain of events would eventually affect everyone.

On the other hand, maybe a sorcerer cannot directly affect a wearer but can start a chain of events which would affect the wearer. In this case, a sorcerer simply needs to affect nearby objects instead. He can explode rocks, or melt the earth, or burn down buildings. Heck, even at the battle of Kiyuth, we can imagine that it must have gotten hot for Cnair while everything was burning up around him. What about the oxygen that the fire consumes? How could one survive this? Maybe Sorcerous fire doesn't need oxygen, but then, it still must produce heat, and that would produce real fire when the flash point of any object was reached - And then that would consume oxygen. If this is the case, I think sorcerers would have long ago mastered ways of battling chorae wearers. In some sense, they might not need to change anything at all, as almost all of their sorcery would produce enough effects external to the chorae wearers, to actually affect them anyways.

Going even deeper, there is just a basic question about what 'external' to a chorae wearer is to begin with. Can a sorcerer burn off clothing, or melt weapons?

It's easy to conjure up a lot of scenarios like this that are troublesome, and one can even build logical contradictions around most chorae assumptions. Maybe I'm just missing something.

I know it's a fantasy novel, but this is a real difficulty for me. It's the only aspect doesn't seem to lend itself to a satisfying explanation. Even the very notion of sorcery, I can imagine some kind of physics for, but the chorae just don't seem to make sense however I try to rationalize them.

I'm sure you have encountered questions like this before so I'll stop and give you a chance to respond.

In any case, it hasn't stopped me from loving the books.

Regards
Brad S view post


Chorae issues posted 09 June 2005 in Author Q & AChorae issues by AleoMagus, Commoner

Chorae are made based on Aporotic cants which is why they nullify gnostic and anagogic sorcery


but again, nullify how?

if they nullify only sorcery that would immediately affect the wearer, then it's really pretty easy to just affect the world around a wearer in such a way as to harm, or otherwise affect him...

but on the other hand, if they nullify any chain of events which would ultimately affect a chorae wearer, then it's a slippery slope to sorcery being altogether impossible so long as anyone has a chorae anywhere. At very least, it's easy to see how a chorae wearer could protect huge numbers of people just by somehow linking his fate to theirs.

also, we have other secondary effects of sorcery that MUST affect chorae wearers, such as created light, or sound. What if this light is blinding, or this sound is deafening?

...

Truth be told, I really like the idea that sorcerers can still affect chorae wearers by starting a chain of events, because I don't like the idea of chorae wearers being TOTALLY immune to sorcery. That said though, It's hard to see how this can make sense because if sorcerers can still start a chain of events to hurt wearers, chorae are basically useless. Also, it's hard imagine how sorcery is anything but a chain of events in the first place. After all, if I create a huge fireball, technically I'm not directly affecting anyone. I'm just creating lots of heat and, and that in turn accelerates molecules of air, which bump up against molecules of clothing which get really hot also and start on fire, etc...

Regards
Brad S view post


Holy war: the ultimate blasphemy posted 09 June 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionHoly war: the ultimate blasphemy by AleoMagus, Commoner

Those who claim God approves or foster hatred and killing are nothing but blasphmers.


...and we all know what god says we should do to blasphemers...

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Take the blasphemer outside the camp, and tell all those who heard him to lay their hands on his head. Then let the entire community stone him to death. Say to the people of Israel: Those who blaspheme God will suffer the consequences of their guilt and be punished. Anyone who blasphemes the LORD's name must be stoned to death by the whole community of Israel. Any Israelite or foreigner among you who blasphemes the LORD's name will surely die. (Leviticus 24:10-16 NLT)


Then again, maybe those who claim god approves or fosters killing aren't blasphemers. Maybe they have just been reading and living by the teachings of the bible.

Regards
Brad S view post


Holy war: the ultimate blasphemy posted 09 June 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionHoly war: the ultimate blasphemy by AleoMagus, Commoner

Yes, holy war does seem like any oxymoron, but there was also that time god ordered holy war against babylon...

"Go up, my warriors, against the land of Merathaim and against the people of Pekod. Yes, march against Babylon, the land of rebels, a land that I will judge! Pursue, kill, and completely destroy them, as I have commanded you," says the LORD. "Let the battle cry be heard in the land, a shout of great destruction". (Jeremiah 50:21-22 NLT)


and that time he ordered the holy war against Ai...

Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid or discouraged. Take the entire army and attack Ai, for I have given to you the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land. You will destroy them as you destroyed Jericho and its king. But this time you may keep the captured goods and the cattle for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city."


yeah, god seems to like killing....

"Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, "Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all – old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin your task right here at the Temple." So they began by killing the seventy leaders. "Defile the Temple!" the LORD commanded. "Fill its courtyards with the bodies of those you kill! Go!" So they went throughout the city and did as they were told." (Ezekiel 9:5-7 NLT)


Uh oh! When was the last time you worked on the sabbath? Know anyone who has, because god has some clear instructions for you...

The LORD then gave these further instructions to Moses: 'Tell the people of Israel to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between me and you forever. It helps you to remember that I am the LORD, who makes you holy. Yes, keep the Sabbath day, for it is holy. Anyone who desecrates it must die; anyone who works on that day will be cut off from the community. Work six days only, but the seventh day must be a day of total rest. I repeat: Because the LORD considers it a holy day, anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death.' (Exodus 31:12-15 NLT)


Know any homosexuals, cause I have more orders from god to relay...

"If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives." (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)


How about non-virgins on their wedding night?

But if this charge is true, and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father's house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB)


People who commit adultery?

If a man commits adultery with another man's wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)


Sometimes you can even kill your slaves, if done properly...

When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)


...

Food for thought anyways.

Regards
Brad S view post


Holy war: the ultimate blasphemy posted 09 June 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionHoly war: the ultimate blasphemy by AleoMagus, Commoner

Thas was the oldTestament. Jesus abrogated that.


Ah yes, the old testament was wrong, it's the new testament that is right now. Though Jesus himself does say...

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill


“For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:18-19 RSV)


Besides, my Bible has 1056 pages, and 808 of them are old testament. You would have christians just disregard all that? Thankfully Jesus helps us with this one...

"It is easier for Heaven and Earth to pass away than for the smallest part of the letter of the law to become invalid." (Luke 16:17 NAB)


Whes you said...

And in any case, it was not God, only men pretending to convey the willof God.


Tht got me thinking that maybe some of the old testament might be wrong. It's good that you think you can interpret scripture how you like, otherwise you might be out gunning down mall employees on a sunday but Jesus does have some helpful words in this regard...

"Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God." (2 Peter 20-21 NAB)


Finally let me offer just one example of Jesus himself advocating killing...

"Whoever curses father or mother shall die" (Mark 7:10 NAB)


Yes, anyway you slice it, your god seems to love death, killing and violence. And if you think he doesn't you are worshiping a different god altogether (thankfully, I suppose). In fact most christians today are, because most of them know nothing about what the bible REALLY says.

Regards
Brad S view post


Holy war: the ultimate blasphemy posted 23 June 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionHoly war: the ultimate blasphemy by AleoMagus, Commoner

I find that intersting considering the fact that most people who hate God spend a lot of time trying to disprove the very Bible that they quote from.


It's actually not that interesting at all.

It's simply a matter of deriving a logical contradiction from another person's assumptions to show that at least one of their assumptions MUST be incorrect.

For example, I might assume the following assumptions (ALL of which are perfectly reasonable in the context of this thread):

1. God does not sanction killing
2. The bible is true
3. According to the bible, God sanctions the killing of Blasphemers
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Take the blasphemer outside the camp, and tell all those who heard him to lay their hands on his head. Then let the entire community stone him to death. Say to the people of Israel: Those who blaspheme God will suffer the consequences of their guilt and be punished. Anyone who blasphemes the LORD's name must be stoned to death by the whole community of Israel. Any Israelite or foreigner among you who blasphemes the LORD's name will surely die. (Leviticus 24:10-16 NLT)

---------------------------
4. therefore, god does and does not sanction killing

I beleive this is called a reductio ad absurdum argument, and it is quite valid. Take your pick which of those assumptions you want to throw out.
#3 is a simple fact, so it has to be either #1 or #2. So, either god does sanction killing, or the bible is false. Or both.

Now I cans ee that you may be ready to conceed that god does sanction killing, but that this is not 'holy'. After all, you did say:

There were wars ordered by God for a purpose


well, this might work, but I'll put together another argument for you. this one is a simple syllogism:

1. there were wars ordered by God for a purpose
2. All that god would have us do is holy
Just as He who called you is holy, so you are to be holy in all that you do" [1 Peter 1:15 NIV].

--------------------------------------------
3. There were wars that were holy

QED

Now, do I believe this? Of course not. This conclusion just fits into a part of another reductio ad absurdum argument. Do I need to spell it out?

Regards
Brad S

PS - I don't 'hate' god (the christian conception of god) anymore than I hate Clifford the big red dog. But if someone tries to tell me Clifford is real, I might just try to convince them otherwise. view post


Holy war: the ultimate blasphemy posted 24 June 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionHoly war: the ultimate blasphemy by AleoMagus, Commoner

Most people who have declared a holy war or jihad heard only from their own booket book or their own hate not God


Agreed

Yet I must add that not every war spoken of in the Bible was a direct order of God.


Agreed

Your posts are not offending at all. Don't apologize so much. As for pushing your beliefs, I'd be offended if you weren't trying in at least some way. After all, isn't the consequence of my disbelief in your worldview something like a lake of fire and lots of gnashing teeth. You are right, I am not a christian (anymore) but I totally understand the urge to spread the 'word'. Lord knows if I was a christian and believed that something like 2/3 of the world was all going to hell, I'd be shouting it from the rooftops. Annoying as they are, I TOTALLY understand those missionaries who knock on my door.

So anyways... On to the part of your post, and this thread that I think so many are still missing...

When you said:

Yes God used them for His own purpose, but they were not holy


It almost sounds to me like you are saying that though god did use wars for some or other purpose, they were not holy. If you are saying that this is true of most wars in the bible, I could probably agree. Trouble is, it is not true of ALL wars in the bible. Some wars very much seem to be endorsed by god, and he does seem to take sides now and then.

By definition, all that god does is holy, and all that god would have us do is holy. It can only follow then that if god wants us to wage a war, it must be a holy war.

Not even getting into other issues about why I think the bible or christianity is untenable, I just want the christans on this forum to admit that yes, there are holy wars. Maybe even only a few, but SOME. To suggest otherwise is to deny a LOT of passages in the bible.

the title of this thread after all, implies that the very concept of a holy war is blasphemy!

Because I like clean concise arguments, I'll put this all another way

1. There are times in the bible where god ordered his people to wage war. Times where he quite clearly favored one group of people and saw war as a kind of 'judgement ' for the unfavored side. A couple examples:

Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid or discouraged. Take the entire army and attack Ai, for I have given to you the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land. You will destroy them as you destroyed Jericho and its king. But this time you may keep the captured goods and the cattle for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city."


"Go up, my warriors, against the land of Merathaim and against the people of Pekod. Yes, march against Babylon, the land of rebels, a land that I will judge! Pursue, kill, and completely destroy them, as I have commanded you," says the LORD. "Let the battle cry be heard in the land, a shout of great destruction". (Jeremiah 50:21-22 NLT)


2. All that god would have us do is holy. At very least, everything that god does is holy, and his purposes must be holy.

Just as He who called you is holy, so you are to be holy in all that you do" [1 Peter 1:15 NIV


----------------------

3. Conclusion. There are holy wars

Looking back, this is very very similar to the argument in my last post, but I guess it just bears repeating. If one is to truly consider themself a christian, it's hard to avoid this conclusion. The only way to do so would be to deny the truth or accuracy of the bible.

Maybe you agree with this and were just making the more point that MOST wars in the bible were not, in fact, holy. I just want to be clear whether or not you beleive that any of them were. Actually this is not just directed at you either. It is directed at all the people who claimed that 'NO war can be holy' within the context of a christian worldview.

Regards
Brad S view post


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