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View Full Version : Why Ishamael is wrong: The Nature of the Pattern and the Dark One - spoilers


MuKen
01-31-2013, 04:34 PM
I'd like to present my interpretation on the nature of the Dark One, the Pattern, and why Ishamael's belief that the Dark One must eventually win is misguided. This is a larger writeup of what I posited in another forum (you can read just this quote as a TLDR summary):


For Rand to interact with the DO, Rand's mind had to interpret what was going on within the context of being Rand, but from the DO's perspective the Wheel is one wheel and he is interacting with one point on it (the Last Battle). He doesn't see "Rand", he sees and fights "The Dragon" a single soul that is present at that point of the wheel in every turning. He made a metaphysical attempt to break it that affected all of the incarnations of the Dragon who are currently doing the Last Battle, and each of those Dragons saw that same attempt in the context of their own age. Rand the Dragon saw himself and the DO showing each other what-if worlds in Rand's time. In the next turning Bob the Dragon will see those worlds from the context of Bob's time, but he is seeing the same battle Rand did, his mind is just interpreting it differently.

But from the DO's perspective, he made one attempt on the Wheel and the Dragon beat him off. There is no "next time" that he can do something differently in.



Ishamael bases his reasoning on the idea that time continues forever, which is a perspective that comes from someone who lives inside the Pattern. We are told repeatedly in AMoL that there IS NO time outside the Pattern. Not that time is somehow "different", but that it does not exist at all. When Rand first leaves the Pattern, he has to "re-anchor" himself to it so he can feel time, which is the only way he can deal with the experience at all. For Rand (and everyone else), experiencing time is what is natural, and the "space" outside the Pattern where there is no time is a foreign and abstract concept.

For the Dark One (and one would assume, the Creator), that timeless existence is the natural state of things. It's told to us that the Dark One only experiences time when entering the Pattern, which is why he can only be destroyed if pulled into the Pattern. There is no such thing as "destruction" outside the Pattern, because destruction is the concept of existing at one moment and then not existing at the next moment. If there is no time, such transitions are meaningless.

So what does it mean to be without time? From an outside perspective, the Wheel and the Pattern do not change. Because "change" is a concept that relates only to time. The Dark One, when outside the Pattern, sees all of existence as one object, there is no "flow" of time. Furthermore, he sees it as a circle, because in the WoT universe, that's what it is. Meaning that although time repeats from the inside perspective, from the outside it is not repeating at all. It just is what it is, one single circle that can be viewed in its entirety.

Now let us examine the Bore and the "prison". Is the Dark One really in a prison? That is a matter of perspective. There is a joke that goes as follows: "An engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician are told to fence in a flock of sheep with as little fencing as possible. (the engineer and the physicist do blah blah blah) The mathematician fences himself in, and then declares 'my side of the fence is the outside'." The "space" that the Dark One is in has no definable size, it is meaningless to say he is either "inside" a prison, or "outside" the Pattern. All that needs be said is that he is separated from the Pattern, and he can only touch it through the Bore.

Now let's go back to the previous point. From outside, he sees the Wheel, the Pattern, and all of time as one object. And since time is a wheel, there is only one part of that wheel he can touch it at: the Bore. So since he only experiences time when touching it, and he can only touch it at one point on the Wheel, from his perspective, there is only one Last Battle, not an infinite number like Ishamael thinks. The Dark One's experience does not continue on forever, he flows through time for that one portion of the wheel, and the rest of the "time" there is no time. He just IS.

What does this translate to in our terms? For that period, the Dark One is "one of us", experiencing the flow of the Wheel's time the same way everyone else does. And how does everyone else experience time? Through multiple repetitions, that carry over the same "bigger picture", but vary in the details with each turning of the Wheel. He doesn't carry memory over from one turning to the next, and cannot learn from his mistakes or do anything different on a larger scale. Because he isn't experiencing a continual turning, he has one "macro-experience" which spans time between the second and third age, and that "macro-experience" gets spun out by the wheel into an infinite number of "micro-experiences" which vary in the details, but go along more or less the same lines.

So from the outside perspective, the Dark One attacks the Wheel in one place, and loses. Period. The fight is what it is, and we saw the result which is set in stone. From the inside, that attack happens countless times, but those are all interpretations of the same fight, it cannot change on a large scale, because the fact that it happens multiple times is only under the interpretation of the Wheel, which demands that the big parts remain the same. You can either view it multiple times under this restriction, or you can view it as one single battle from outside the Wheel. There is no way to view it that results in a different outcome than the one we saw.

Zombie Sammael
01-31-2013, 09:22 PM
I have to say, this is absolutely brilliant reasoning. It solves a major flaw in the series for me, which is the idea that eventually the Dark One will win. I like this theory very much. Have a rep.

Kimon
01-31-2013, 09:53 PM
I have to say, this is absolutely brilliant reasoning. It solves a major flaw in the series for me, which is the idea that eventually the Dark One will win. I like this theory very much. Have a rep.

Contrariwise, Elan and the DO simply need to work on their propaganda messaging. Maybe in the next turning Elan is reborn as Siddhartha Gautama and teaches that the Wheel and its reincarnation cycle is the real prison, that the Creator is the real enemy, and that the DO is the embodiment of Enlightenment.

Sinistrum
01-31-2013, 09:56 PM
Agreed. That was extremely well reasoned. That makes Rand's observation all the more poignant. The Light can't lose unless it chooses to. It has to give up in order for the DO to win. And only it gets that choice because only it can change due to those who are under it being bound to the Wheel and a concept of time. The DO can't alter the equation at all. And from the DO's perspective, the Light has chosen to continue fighting in all of the various iterations of the DO's fight with it at any given point in time.

yks 6nnetu hing
02-01-2013, 04:38 AM
um.I have a slight improvement to this: the DO cannot "touch" the pattern on one moment and not touch it the next while experiencing and processing the whole event because all existence, to the DO, is one thing. it's not like the DO can simply reach out and touch the Pattern in one spot - because that would involve an action and because time does not exist, actions do not exist either. Therfore, it would appear that if time doesn't exist for the DO, he fundamentally cannot even want change to the pattern? He couldn't conceive of change because change as a concept doesn't exist.

However, if we think of the DO as one constant, and the Pattern as another constant, they're like vectors that intersect - in order to make it visual, imagine the pattern as a circle and the DO as a straight line with no start and no end. Mathematically both are endless but but as they intersect, both of their "essence" - for lack of a better word - gets disrupted because now they both have specific points in which they HAVE to interact with each other. Now, because time exists in the Pattern and doesn't exist for the DO, then it's perfectly possible that for the DO the state of being in touch with the Pattern is a constant but for the Pattern it's a variable - enter at point A, exit at point B.

For the Pattern, then, as time passes, the DO regularly influences it. However, for the DO, the Pattern is a blimp within its existence, for all we know, only one of many blimps on the endless space of no time. Though with no time outside of the Pattern, and endless time inside of the pattern, I wonder if the DO's awareness of itself is infinitely magnified while he's in the pattern. Or is he a constant and it's only the perception of the Pattern that the DO wants it destroyed. It's probably the former.

fionwe1987
02-01-2013, 05:24 AM
I'm not sure this fully works. Sure, there's no time outside. But this doesn't mean that someone outside the Pattern cannot perceive time's flow within it. In fact, Rand does seem to do exactly that. We could argue this is because Rand is human, and his perception is bound to time, so he will interpret what he sees of the Pattern as time, but the Dark One's conversation clearly implies he understands time too, just doesn't experience it outside the Pattern.

That said, Verin has already explained the constancy of the DO:

Look here.” With one finger, Verin drew a number of parallel lines across the area she had cleared, lines clear in dust atop the old beeswax. “Let these represent worlds that might exist if different choices had been made, if major turning points in the Pattern had gone another way.”
“The worlds reached by the Portal Stones,” Egwene said...
“No, child. There is one Creator, who exists everywhere at once for all of these worlds. In the same way, there is only one Dark One, who also exists in all of these worlds at once. If he is freed from the prison the Creator made in one world, he is freed on all. So long as he is kept prisoner in one, he remains imprisoned on all.”

The Worlds of If are alternate realities, that get increasingly tenuous the further away from probability they get. They're all encompassed within the Pattern, and each moment, an infinite amount of new worlds of If are created, for each moment encompasses multiple choices.

Since these infinite worlds are being produced each moment, and each of them has the same DO, obviously the same DO must exist in each moment, in each world. And since he is outside of space and time, he exists in each moment and each world at once.

But what we don't know is what happens when one turning of the Wheel is completed and another begins. Does the Dark One get his compromise of "nothingness", perhaps, thus forcing the Creator to start it all again, imprisoning the Dark One at the "moment of Creation"? Or, perhaps, the transition is such that the Wheel itself essentially destroys all the infinite worlds of If, and starts Time again, like the Big Crunch-Big Bang cycle? The Dark One, from the outside, cannot perceive time, but I think he can sure as hell perceive these changes. He may thus be perfectly well aware that it is a new cycle, and the Dragon he faces this time around would be a different person with the same soul, and if the entirity of the Pattern is remade each turning, then time begins anew as well, so the DO isn't facing multiple Champions simultaneously.

Why, then, does the DO not learn and correct its mistake, as Ishamael beleives? The answer is simple, I think. It cannot change. The DO can perceive change, and effect change. But it has no ability to learn and grow. And it fundamentally cannot percieve goodness and understand it. If it could, it would be the DO. It is pretty one note, which is why Rand says it was never the true enemy.

It is only men, who can not just perceive both good and evil, but also make the choice of acting for good or evil, that can finally allow the DO victory. In a way, the Dark One is only a tool for the desires of men. And there will always be men who refuse to accede to its victory, who will fight it, and its followers. And since it cannot understand these men who do so, it can never game the system it has such a unique perspective on. It doesn't matter if you can see everything if you can't understand such important human traits as goodness and stubborn courage. And so the DO can only win if some human who can perceive these things manages to crush them enough that the DO can burst free into the Pattern.

yks 6nnetu hing
02-01-2013, 05:41 AM
it's all totally feasible if you think of the Pattern as one vector (circular) and the DO as another vector (linear), where, the Pattern vector is a variable formula (because time exists there), with an "anchor" to the DO whereas the DO is an unvariable formula. So, as the worlds of if are spun out, they would all still have an anchor to the DO.

now, my question is, obviously the Pattern understands that it is not the same pattern in all the mirror/if worlds. But does the DO perceive that the if/mirror worlds are not the same? Or does it experience them all at the same time, thus making the cacophony of information to process that much greater?

Frankly, no wonder he'd want to end time, it's got to be really disturbing, particularly if the DO's perception of time and therefore self within time is exponentially and infinitely magnified as he is in contact with the Pattern and all of it's if worlds.

Boli
02-01-2013, 07:10 AM
The biggest irony of the entire books is Rand chooses not to kill the Dark One because doing so removes "choice" and "human decision". But his actions done thousands of times just demonstrate that when it comes down to it... for him and every on else on the wheel there *is* no choice.

MuKen
02-01-2013, 08:56 AM
Thanks for the replies everyone!

Therfore, it would appear that if time doesn't exist for the DO, he fundamentally cannot even want change to the pattern? He couldn't conceive of change because change as a concept doesn't exist.

That is exactly what I'm saying. You can think of the view outside the Pattern as a single picture. There is a wheel in it, and a DO-mass outside the wheel that touches the wheel in one specific area. This tableau is set in stone and unchanging.

The Dark One in his natural state does not have consciousness in the way we do, because the very concept of our consciousness (a mechanism that learns and reacts to its environment) relates to flowing time. The anthropomorphized, conscious form of the DO that we are able to interact with exists only inside the Pattern during the time of the Bore. You could say humans in fact created him when they made the Bore and brought that timeless being into the flow of time.


I'm not sure this fully works. Sure, there's no time outside. But this doesn't mean that someone outside the Pattern cannot perceive time's flow within it. In fact, Rand does seem to do exactly that.

It's stated specifically that Rand "anchors" himself to the Pattern so that he can continue to feel time. If he were to fully leave it, he would not perceive time's flow either. Beginning of Chapter 34, as soon as he exits the Pattern, he anchors himself, and mentions that if he did not, he would be 'consumed by blackness'.

This is because, unlike the DO, he is a human being and there is nothing to him beyond his time-based consciousness. If he were to go to an area where time does not exist, he would no longer be able to think, he would no longer really BE Rand.

fionwe1987
02-01-2013, 10:03 AM
It's stated specifically that Rand "anchors" himself to the Pattern so that he can continue to feel time. If he were to fully leave it, he would not perceive time's flow either. Beginning of Chapter 34, as soon as he exits the Pattern, he anchors himself, and mentions that if he did not, he would be 'consumed by blackness'.
Thanks for pointing me to this.
This is because, unlike the DO, he is a human being and there is nothing to him beyond his time-based consciousness. If he were to go to an area where time does not exist, he would no longer be able to think, he would no longer really BE Rand.
Hmmm.... not so much. Consider this:
Everything that had ever been, everything that could be, everything
that could have been . . . it all lay right there, before him.
Rand could not comprehend it. The blackness around it sucked on him,
pulled him toward it. He reached out to the Pattern and somehow anchored himself in it, lest he be consumed.

Rand is unable to comprehend the vastness of the Pattern. But he can still tell that he's seeing past, alternate past, present and future possibility. Being human, this is just too much for him to process.

However, the reason he reaches out to anchor himself is because otherwise, he'd have been consumed by the DO. Once he does do so, he gets a different view of the Pattern:

That changed his focus. It locked him, slightly, into a time. The pattern
before him rippled, and Rand watched it being woven. It was not actually
the Pattern, he knew, but his mind saw it that way. Familiar, as it had
been described, the threads of lives weaving together.
Rand anchored himself in reality again and moved with it. Time had
meaning again, and he could not see ahead or behind.moved with it. Time had meaning again, and he could not see ahead or behind. He still could see all places, like a man standing above a globe as it turned.

Now he has a global view of the present, which is much more comprehensible to him. This is very similar to what happened to Aginor and Balthamel during the Sealing.

Now, the Dark One is almost certainly more able than Rand to comprehend the vastness of the Pattern, and like him, I think it can differentiate between past present and future, as well as real and possible worlds. The only question is, do the futures Rand sees include future turnings of the Wheel?

Now, since Rand brought up the analogy of feeling he's above a globe staring at it, I'm going to take it further. Think of time as the rotating of the Earth. When you're on the Earth, you can't feel it spinning, just like we can't feel time. We can't sense ourselves moving in the time dimension. We can only infer it via change, and we infer the change by comparing our surroundings to our memories of the past.

Similarly, we infer the Earth's rotation by looking at changes in the sun's position.

Now, a guy in space can't do that. His perception of the Earth's rotation by the movement of the sun is impossible. But can he tell the Earth rotates? Yes, because he can actually see the Earth itself whole, and see that from a fixed point, the part of the Earth that is in front of him is changing.

The DO is in a similar position. It can see and comprehend the entirety of the Pattern. Like Rand, it can tell the difference between past, present and future possibilities, even though it can't feel or perceive time like humans in the Pattern can. But it doesn't have to feel time to know it exists, because it can see the flux in the Pattern. It can comprehend time, though it isn't touched by it.

fionwe1987
02-01-2013, 10:05 AM
now, my question is, obviously the Pattern understands that it is not the same pattern in all the mirror/if worlds. But does the DO perceive that the if/mirror worlds are not the same? Or does it experience them all at the same time, thus making the cacophony of information to process that much greater?

Based on how Rand describes it, I'd say the latter. He sees them later. But he's vaster than Rand, and his comprehension is of a whole other league. What feels like an impossible cacophony to Rand probably does not, to the DO.

And the DO will have to know what the If worlds are, because it is able to manipulate the fringes of Reality into various possible If worlds to show Rand.

Dom
02-01-2013, 10:23 AM
There is no way to view it that results in a different outcome than the one we saw.


I think most of your post is brilliantly reasoned out, but I'm not sure I agree with your last conclusion.

It's not only Rand who is anchored in the Pattern (he merely had a foot outside) and bound by Time. With the Bore, with part of his essence inside (Shaidar Haran) Shai'tan was also anchored in the Pattern and bound by Time. And he did perceive those dimensions, and showed frustration about it at least twice: he showed it to Demandred when he failed to seize Rahvin's soul and Asmodean's because balefire and the fact it happened beyond the Pit and Bore shortened his window of opportunity. He showed it when roaming the world inside Shaidar Haran, spying on Sammael. We also know now even Shai'tan doesn't perceive everything, that he has to pay attention (by calling him in TDR, Ishamael probably saved his soul.. irony since forcing him to return as Moridin was for him a punishment).

How the force that's Shai'tan perceives the multiple LB from his dimension where "where" and "when" don't exist is in the end immaterial for everyone inside. Inside, the battle happens cyclically and it has been since the time of Creation, and it will go on forever unless the Dragon one day makes the choice to give up and embrace Shai'tan for all of Creation. Inside the Pattern, the possibility of that choice has to exist for real each and every time, otherwise it becomes completely meaningless.

RJ used to crush theories that Creation was static and the Pattern made evolution through each turning of the Wheel impossible. He was also adamant to reject the view that the existence of ta'veren and pre-destined "nexus points" reflected by prophecies meant freewill didn't really exist and everything was predestined. The whole concept of the "if worlds" was a confirmation choices existed. Evolution means the choice the Dragon makes could be different in the future, even though the story implies the choice has never been different in the past, at least not in the present version of Creation (if the Dark One has won before and made his static world without choices, the Creator has then won back and remade/freed Creation).

I think if he had wanted us to perceive the confrontation between Rand and Shai'tan as multi-dimensional but unique for Rand's soul, RJ would have used the only device available to make this understood, and it would have been to turn Rand as he put a foot out of Space/Time into the Dragon "sum", with all his lives present and future. It was the only way to convey the fact the Dragon at this stage of the confrontation "outside the Pattern" was making the choice once for the past, present and the future.

All the actions of the Dark One inside the Pattern were also bound in Time and Space. He did perceive both. We've never seen signs of the sort of confusion from the Dark One you'd expect if he couldn't conceive of Time and Space and couldn't act within present, past and future. Shaidar Haran understood concepts like "being yet bound to SG and unable to stray far from it for very long", and Shai'tan was quite able to follow the progression of his plans, which rested on "details" on the present Pattern... seizing a soul in time or not, transmigrating a soul from one unique body to another unique body, reacting to minute decisions from Rand, etc. We don't know the constants of the Third Age, except RJ emphasized from afar two versions would look the same, but in close-up they'd be completely different.

All the rest is brilliant. I think you nailed down how Shai'tan doesn't learn, etc. But I think for him it's more similar to the time loop made by Fain in TGH, like flickers. He can't tell which of those flickers when/where he got bound to Space/Yime happen before or after - that doesn't exist for him. However, there is a duration for those flickers, as they are "bubbles" of interaction with the Pattern, when Shai'tan touches it, and that part of its mind/perception gets bound in Space/Time. And in every one of those flicking "bubbles" is the possibility the Dragon choose Him.

GonzoTheGreat
02-01-2013, 12:11 PM
The fight between the DO and Rand boiled down to a very simple question: choice or no choice.

If the answer was "choice", then the future would be fixed, unchanging, with no more free will for anyone. It didn't matter who made the choice, so in that sense, the futures created by Rand and the DO were similar.
If the answer was "no choice" then the future would have to take care of itself, and humans (and others) would have free will.

That is why Rand couldn't kill the DO. What the DO would have picked if he had won is still not clear, of course.

MuKen
02-01-2013, 12:17 PM
Rand is unable to comprehend the vastness of the Pattern.

Vastness is one thing that stops him, but on top of that, it is simply not possible for a linear thinking mind to comprehend a timeless view of things. Our brains only process things in sequence, one thought leads to the next, etc. Even if the Pattern were very small, I still don't think he'd be able to work with that view of it.

Now, since Rand brought up the analogy of feeling he's above a globe staring at it, I'm going to take it further. Think of time as the rotating of the Earth. When you're on the Earth, you can't feel it spinning, just like we can't feel time. We can't sense ourselves moving in the time dimension. We can only infer it via change, and we infer the change by comparing our surroundings to our memories of the past.

The problem is you're equating the points in time to points on Earth, and the flow of time to the spinning of the Earth. But now your observer still has to observe the revolution in front of him, and that takes time. So "time" is represented as the Earth being in one position, and then being in a different one, and you are observing that motion itself which takes a separate flow of time in order to do. So you are using TWO dimensions of time. To look over time in its entirety, requires a separate time.

Basically this equates to saying the Dark One has a separate timeline, from which he can observe all of our timeline at once. While that's a possible model, it is not the one the book stated to us. The book states that outside of the Pattern, there is no time. I'm not home right now so I can't say the exact chapter, but I remember the line word for word, when Rand uses the three power link and considers killing the DO: "Only here is there time." There IS NO time outside the Pattern. When outside the Pattern all that can be described is a single picture of the state of everything that does not change.

He was also adamant to reject the view that the existence of ta'veren and pre-destined "nexus points" reflected by prophecies meant freewill didn't really exist and everything was predestined.

Here is where I think we diverge, the way we interpret what RJ was saying here. He rejects the idea that this means you don't have free will, but at the same time he DOES say that the wheel is a wheel and every revolution looks the same on a large scale. He is not rejecting the simple fact that there are "nexus points" which have to look the same in every turning. That part is not up for debate, it's the basis of the entire series. RJ simply doesn't agree that means you don't have free will.

There is a choice, but the choice is made once for all revolutions, and that choice manifests in endless variation. That is the nature of the Wheel of Time, and the only difference with the Dark One is that he is he exists outside the Pattern, from where you can see all the repetitions as a single macro-choice.

If the overall picture of the choice could be shifted in future iterations, it wouldn't be a Wheel of Time, it would be a Slinky of Time.

Consider it like this: you have the choice to look left, or look right. You don't have the choice to do both, because the laws of our universe do not allow such a thing. That doesn't mean you have no free will, you are free to act within the restrictions of our universe. In their universe, the restriction is that the overall flow of repetition is the same for every turn of the Wheel. You can choose what your overall flow looks like, but you cannot change your mind for the next repetition. Your choice is made once for all eternity, but it is still your choice.

I think if he had wanted us to perceive the confrontation between Rand and Shai'tan as multi-dimensional but unique for Rand's soul, RJ would have used the only device available to make this understood, and it would have been to turn Rand as he put a foot out of Space/Time into the Dragon "sum", with all his lives present and future.

In my view, he WAS acting as the Dragon "sum", he just can't see it because he is perceiving things as one incarnation of the Dragon. But all the incarnations of the Dragon were there fighting Shai'tan, each perceiving their iteration of it.

fionwe1987
02-01-2013, 01:28 PM
Vastness is one thing that stops him, but on top of that, it is simply not possible for a linear thinking mind to comprehend a timeless view of things. Our brains only process things in sequence, one thought leads to the next, etc. Even if the Pattern were very small, I still don't think he'd be able to work with that view of it.
This is simply you enforcing your knowledge of how thought works in our world to the WoT world. While in normal situations in the series, you'd be perfectly right, we've seen any number of cases of thought not working in ways real neuroscience can explain. Consider Rand getting all of LTT's memories. That kind of thing requires immense neurological rewiring, and will entail all sorts of side effects. In one moment Rand got a flood of memories, four hundred years worth of it. Recovering that as soon as Rand did is plumb impossible in real life.

Then consider Nynaeve, who spent the LB in a place where time flowed differently. Did that alter her thought process? In reality, existing in a dimension with faster moving time would imply that for normal thought to occur, your brain chemistry and electrophysiology would also have to speed up to match. So consider vision. When Nynaeve saw Alanna in a zone where time flows faster, the speed of light will perforce have slowed, since distance was not distorted at all. This means the light is of a different frequency and wavelength, which means the receptors in Nynaeve's eyes cannot possibly detect the light as normal, which means she should have either been blind, or have very wonky vision. Yet she reports no such thing.

As you can see, trying to impose normal neuroscience to WoT is a fools errand. Its never going to work, and the impossibilities quickly pile up. I think its best to stick to what the books tell us. In this case, Rand can't mange to understand the Pattern because of its immensity, as the book says.

The problem is you're equating the points in time to points on Earth, and the flow of time to the spinning of the Earth. But now your observer still has to observe the revolution in front of him, and that takes time. So "time" is represented as the Earth being in one position, and then being in a different one, and you are observing that motion itself which takes a separate flow of time in order to do. So you are using TWO dimensions of time. To look over time in its entirety, requires a separate time.

Basically this equates to saying the Dark One has a separate timeline, from which he can observe all of our timeline at once. While that's a possible model, it is not the one the book stated to us. The book states that outside of the Pattern, there is no time. I'm not home right now so I can't say the exact chapter, but I remember the line word for word, when Rand uses the three power link and considers killing the DO: "Only here is there time." There IS NO time outside the Pattern. When outside the Pattern all that can be described is a single picture of the state of everything that does not change.
Read Rand's quote again. He says he can see past, present and future at once. Since this happened before he anchored himself, he had no sense of time. Yet, he could distinguish between past, present and future. Which means that outside the Pattern, you can distinguish past, present, and future without needing to perceive time. If Rand can do it, why not the Dark One?

If the overall picture of the choice could be shifted in future iterations, it wouldn't be a Wheel of Time, it would be a Slinky of Time.
The Wheel is a metaphor, not an actual scientific representation of how Time works. After all, another metaphor for Time in the series is the Great Serpent, and every book has featured the serpent coiled in the shape of the mathematical symbol for infinity. And what does a really coiled serpent look like? A slinky...

MuKen
02-01-2013, 02:18 PM
As you can see, trying to impose normal neuroscience to WoT is a fools errand.

It's not about neuroscience at all, I'm not basing what I'm saying on anything about how the brain works. Just the simple concept of thought, of taking observations and having thoughts about them, is an expression of cause and effect. And cause and effect is a consequence of time. Without time none of that can happen, regardless of whether you think with neurons or any other mechanism.

The point is that in a timeless space, there is no change, and thus there is no cause-and-effect. Nothing happens because some thought process made it happen. Nothing "happens" at all, things just are. There is a Wheel, all of the eternity of that Wheel is just laid there in place unchanging. The Dark One is touching that Wheel at an area that corresponds to the Bore. He's not thinking "oh, this happened in the last turn, and this happens in the next turn, so I should touch it in this way to deal with that." He's just touching it, period. Nothing caused him to do that, because there is no time for something to cause anything else.

Read Rand's quote again. He says he can see past, present and future at once. Since this happened before he anchored himself, he had no sense of time.

I read that scene as him being in the process of drifting out of time, and 'anchoring' himself close to the pattern to stop himself before he left time entirely. To say that he had already exited time "before" re-entering it is itself a contradiction. The concept of one thing happening that causes another to happen is an expression of time. You can't leave time, get concerned because having no sense of time feels weird, then because of that decide to go back into time.

The Wheel is a metaphor, not an actual scientific representation of how Time works. After all, another metaphor for Time in the series is the Great Serpent, and every book has featured the serpent coiled in the shape of the mathematical symbol for infinity. And what does a really coiled serpent look like? A slinky...

But the metaphor is FULLY accurate, time does not deviate gradually further and further away. Every turning stays within a set range of every other. The wheel may have "thickness", allowing for things to deviate from the center. But those deviations do not build on each other drifting further and further away. RJ has stated (I'm paraphrasing, but this is taken from an interview) that all the turnings look like tapestries that look the same from afar, but if you got close you could see deviations in the details.

If those deviations built up over time, then the tapestry a thousand turns into the future would not look like the tapestry we have now. But that is not the case, they all look the same in a large scale. It is not a gradually evolving cycle, it is a complete wheel that has no 'drift'. Every turn we will ever see comes back to being similar to every turn we have ever seen.

The Unreasoner
02-01-2013, 04:06 PM
Not bad. I liked the joke about the sheep. When I first got here I had similar thoughts on the prison, but I proposed a planet with one landmass and asked if there was an island, or a sea. But I like the theory on the whole. I have had some thoughts similar to these in the past.

But your reasoning has a gap, my friend. You say that without Time, there can be no Change? That the Dark One stays the same? Well then the Dark One never stopped fighting Tarmon Gaidon. He never will. He is in a perpetual state of war (likely the reason he was bound at the moment of creation). Every incarnation of the battle matters. Victory is never certain. You say 'from the outside, the Dark One attacks and loses'. This is false. The truth is: 'from the outside, the Dark One attacks'. He never 'lost'. It's never 'over'. There is no change outside of Time (by your logic). The battle is ongoing.

Creation, existence is a battle. It may always be the same fight, but it's never won by either side. (Also, I disagree that there can be no change sans time, but that for later)

MuKen
02-01-2013, 04:21 PM
I think we're just using different language to say the same thing, except where you disagree about change being possible without time (you'll have to clarify that for me).

Regarding whether or not he 'lost' the battle, the term may be incorrect because calling it a battle at all when looking at it from the perspective outside time is not fully accurate. A battle is only a meaningful term when looking at it from the inside, you can't be fighting each other if there is no time and therefore nothing is happening. From the outside, it is neither lost as I say, nor is it ongoing as you say. Those are all terms that relate to time.

Where I say 'lost', perhaps the more accurate though wordier description is that the touch does not break the Wheel. There is nothing ongoing, there is a touch and either the touch could be to a broken wheel or to an unbroken wheel.

As we saw, it is to an unbroken wheel, and this is a frozen picture that will never change.

The Unreasoner
02-01-2013, 04:46 PM
I think we're just using different language to say the same thing, except where you disagree about change being possible without time (you'll have to clarify that for me).
Simultaneity, quantum nonsense, Unreason. A few other things. Beside the point.
Regarding whether or not he 'lost' the battle, the term may be incorrect because calling it a battle at all when looking at it from the perspective outside time is not fully accurate. A battle is only a meaningful term when looking at it from the inside. From the outside, it is neither lost as I say, nor is it ongoing as you say. Those are all terms that relate to time.
Ongoing may relate to time. I don't know if I used that word, but that doesn't matter. I'll try to be clearer: Simply by existing, the Dark One acts against humanity. Think of his war on the Dragon like gravity. No time, it just is. A perpetual state of an opposing force. No action need be taken, there is no cause/effect, no volition. Simply by being, Shai'tan wages war.
Where I say 'lost', perhaps the more accurate though wordier description is that the touch does not break the Wheel. There is nothing ongoing, there is a touch and either the touch could be to a broken wheel or to an unbroken wheel. It is to an unbroken wheel, and this is a frozen picture that will never change.

But this isn't true either. Though Shai'tan may choose to do otherwise; if he wins the war, he can break the Wheel. Think simultaneous states, not histoical re-enactment. Every so-called 'Last Battle' may be a physical incarnation of what is going on Outside, but Outside never changes. You don't win, you avoid losing.

The Unreasoner
02-01-2013, 04:52 PM
I don't know if you've read this, MuKen, but it is worth reading...
Question

You're a scientist, you have a degree in physics I saw.
Robert Jordan

Eh, yes. I'm not sure I'd call myself a scientist, but, my degree is in physics, yes.
Question

It'd be logical for a physicist to write science fiction, and not fantasy. How did you come to fantasy and not science fiction?
Robert Jordan

Because I write what I want to write, really, but I'm not certain I'd say that it would be logical for a physicist to write science fiction. Are you aware of the paradigm [and now I finally know how to correctly pronounce that English word] called Schrödinger's Cat?
Questioner

No.
Aan'allein

[This guy just lost all respect I could possibly have for him, and it's getting worse.]
Robert Jordan

It's a mind test in a way, really. If you can wrap your mind around it in the right way, believe it, then you are ready for higher physics. Imagine a cat, sealed in a lead box, and there's no way to look into the box. Inside the box there is a flask of cyanide gas. Attached to the flask of cyanide gas is a Geiger counter. The Geiger counter is pointed at an atom. The atom has a 50-50 chance, in any given second, of decay. Now tell me, is the cat alive, or is the cat dead?
Questioner

He's fifty-fifty.
Robert Jordan

No, no, no, is the cat alive, or is the cat dead? I'm not asking you to give me odds. Is the cat alive, or is the cat dead?
Questioner

Ah, he's alive.
Robert Jordan

No.
Question

Why not?
Robert Jordan

If you're an engineer...If you have an engineering mindset, you'll say that the only way to do it is to open the box and check. If you have the mindset that could take you into higher physics, you're willing to accept that the cat is alive and dead, both, and will be fixed in one state or the other when the box is opened. But until the box is opened, the cat is alive, and it is dead, simultaneously.
Questioner

Yeah, that's fifty-fifty.
Robert Jordan

No, it's not a fifty-fifty chance. A fifty-fifty chance says that it's fifty percent chance that the cat is one way, and fifty percent that it's the other way.
Questioner

So it's either way.
Robert Jordan

No, the cat is not either way; it is both. It is 100% alive, and 100% that the cat is dead, and both things are true. And must be acceptable as true. If you cannot accept this as true, then you are not ready for quantum...for the most basic quantum physics, much less getting into anything beyond.
But the thing is that if you can wrap your mind around Schrödinger's cat, you can also wrap your mind around fantasy. As a matter of fact, the thing that I find very interesting is that...I don't really follow theoretical physics to any degree now, and haven't for more than twenty years. But when I find myself talking to a theoretical physicist, I sometimes get stuck on panels with theoretical physicists. I'm always afraid that I'm going to be left way behind because I haven't kept up in the area, but I find that I can keep up quite nicely. As long as...while they're discussing theoretical physics, I discuss theology. And ah, I find myself able to keep up quite nicely, talking about the same thing.

Dom
02-01-2013, 04:54 PM
Here is where I think we diverge, the way we interpret what RJ was saying here. He rejects the idea that this means you don't have free will, but at the same time he DOES say that the wheel is a wheel and every revolution looks the same on a large scale. He is not rejecting the simple fact that there are "nexus points" which have to look the same in every turning. That part is not up for debate, it's the basis of the entire series. RJ simply doesn't agree that means you don't have free will.

Or perhaps he simply grasped better the parameters and rules of his own universe and had a forcibly more accurate view of what is always happening and what varies from Age to Age. The point is: he wanted us to understand this perception that his universe was devoid of free will and evolution through the Ages because was incorrect.

It's not a very fruitful line of theorizing to flatly contradict his explanations.

There are plenty of examples in the series where free will came into play in relation to Shai'tan. The best one is probably Moiraine, who saw in the WO's rings dozens of possible choices related to Lanfear. Some of those choices lead to Rand serving her and the Shadow, only one of those choices put her and Lanfear out of play in Sindhol. It's Moiraine's choice that set the weave in the Pattern. The Wheel seems to be using the "Worlds of If" to calculate probabilities. It's like a giant Quantum computer. The whole notion that the future isn't set in stone outside the Wheel's parameters is very present in the series. Of course it's not as obvious when most of the series is set around three ta'veren and their entourage as the main witnesses.

There are plenty of RJ quotes where he confirms the outcome of the LB is uncertain, for instance when he spoke of how this or that mode of prediction of the future is absolute unless the Dark One wins.

The mistake I think you're making is to give prevalence to the Dark One's perception/experience of the LB and place it above the reality of Creation itself, making what happens outside the Pattern the only reality, and what happens inside merely a false perception of that greater reality.
This makes Creation a prison for souls, where people in the second and third Age are condemned to replay meaninglessly a confrontation with Shai'tan which outcome has been determined in the first Turning of the Wheel. It's a vicious circle, without an issue. That's close to Elan Morin's view of the Pattern, but it's even worse. Even he believed Shai'tan was an issue to this, if not in this Turning in a future one.

The idea it's a unique Last Battle occuring out of time and space is attractive, but it's wrong as far as the Creator's reality within Creation is concerned. It's for Shai'tan it's all part of the same cosmic battle.

You basically make Rand a fool for his epiphany that a universe without choice is Evil, and that's the outcome that would happen if Shai'tan won or if he destroyed Shai'tan. It makes the third path, the one he chose to avoid a world without choice and free will where people wouldn't be puppets meaningless.

MuKen
02-01-2013, 05:13 PM
Think of his war on the Dragon like gravity. No time, it just is.

Every so-called 'Last Battle' may be a physical incarnation of what is going on Outside, but Outside never changes. You don't win, you avoid losing.

Like I said, I think we are pushing the same view and disagree on what language to describe it with. I wouldn't call it a 'war' or a 'battle' if there is no time spent on it, but that's irrelevant. They are just words. I agree that he is a primal force that opposes the light even while frozen in that one picture.

Thanks for the link, it's interesting to know that RJ thinks like a quantum physicist when considering these issues.


It's not a very fruitful line of theorizing to flatly contradict his explanations.

I don't know how you got from what I said that I disagree with RJ. I was explaining to you my interpretation of his words, I agree with everything he said. I never said there isn't free will, my whole response was about how there can be free will without contradicting the model where every turn must look the same.

The Unreasoner
02-01-2013, 05:29 PM
Thanks for the link, it's interesting to know that RJ thinks like a quantum physicist when considering these issues.
To a point, he does. After all, Schrodinger's Cat was proposed as something ridiculous. And you're welcome.
Like I said, I think we are pushing the same view and disagree on what language to describe it with. I wouldn't call it a 'war' or a 'battle' if there is no time spent on it, but that's irrelevant. They are just words. I agree that he is a primal force that opposes the light even while frozen in that one picture.I think we are divided by argument, not language, actually. I'm not sure we are debating the same issue.

But if you think of the Wheel as the cat, you might see what I'm getting at.

You said
there is a touch and either the touch could be to a broken wheel or to an unbroken wheel. It is to an unbroken wheel, and this is a frozen picture that will never changeI bolded the part where you say the measurement takes place (or, the box is opened). But no measurement has been taken yet, so 'it is to both a Dark One victory and a Dragon victory'. And, not or.

MuKen
02-01-2013, 05:35 PM
You said
I bolded the part where you say the measurement takes place (or, the box is opened). But no measurement has been taken yet, so 'it is to both a Dark One victory and a Dragon victory'. And, not or.

Oh, I see what you are saying now. And yes, I do disagree, I would argue that the measurement is done. That's what we got by reading the final chapter.

There's two states for the timeless view. In one, there is a Dark One blob that touches an unbroken Wheel in one place. In the other, there is a Dark One blob that touches a broken Wheel everywhere. Those two states are each stable, and the only question is which one is the universe in.

By observing the relevant part of the Wheel for one revolution, we know that the universe is in the first state. If it were in the second state, the events we saw never would have happened.

The Unreasoner
02-01-2013, 05:48 PM
Oh, I see what you are saying now. And yes, I do disagree, I would argue that the measurement is done. That's what we got by reading the final chapter.

There's two states for the timeless view. In one, there is a Dark One blob that touches an unbroken Wheel in one place. In the other, there is a Dark One blob that touches a broken Wheel everywhere. Those two states are each stable, and the only question is which one is the universe in.

By observing the relevant part of the Wheel for one revolution, we know that the universe is in the first state. If it were in the second state, the events we saw never would have happened.
But the box is closed, so to speak. You can't take the measurement. If Rand slew Shai'tan, that would lock the world into one state and take the measurement. If Shai'tan destroyed the Wheel, that would take another measurement and lock the world into another state. And if they agreed to mutual annihilation, that would be yet another measurement.

Consider your position: since you claim that each Confrontation is basically just a re-enactment, either the outcome was decided a priori (in which case, why have it at all?) or it was only done once (presumably the first time). But that would mean that the DO couldn't win, and we know from RJ that this is not true.

fionwe1987
02-01-2013, 06:34 PM
It's not about neuroscience at all, I'm not basing what I'm saying on anything about how the brain works. Just the simple concept of thought, of taking observations and having thoughts about them, is an expression of cause and effect. And cause and effect is a consequence of time. Without time none of that can happen, regardless of whether you think with neurons or any other mechanism.
I'm not disagreeing with your logic here. Just that it applies to WoT. You're right, thought is a matter of cause and effect, and that depends on time. But clearly, the Dark One is able to transcend this. He is wholly outside of time, yet when Rand makes a world where the DO is absent, the DO is able to compare it with his previously made world where he had absolute victory. Rand is anchored to time, but the DO is not. How can the DO make statements about before and after, if he doesn't perceive time? How is it that the DO can feel anger at Rand's statements?

The point is that in a timeless space, there is no change, and thus there is no cause-and-effect.
Cause and effect as discrete entities is a matter of perception. And that kind of perception certainly relies on time. Take blackholes, for example. To an external observer, something falling into a black hole will seem to take an infinite amount of time to reach the event horizon, while at the same time appearing to become dimmer and dimmer to the point of being unobservable. As the object becomes invisible, it will appear to be frozen in time. So there is no perception of changing time for the object, as far the external observer can see, but there is change, in that it is becoming dimmer.

Its also worth noting that just because Rand thinks he stepped outside of time doesn't mean the DO exists outside of it:

RAHVIN DEAD IN HIS PRIDE. HE SERVED WELL, YET EVEN I CANNOT SAVE HIM FROM BALEFIRE. EVEN I CANNOT STEP OUTSIDE OF TIME. For an instant terrible anger filled that awful voice, and—could it be frustration?
An instant only.

Per the Dark One, he cannot step out of time. It could be that when Rand enters the outer void, he cannot sense time there because of human limitation. As he is but a thread in the Pattern, he needs to be anchored to it to sense time. The Dark One is no mere thread. And since it makes clear that it cannot step outside of time, it must have time, only of a wholly different nature than the time within the Pattern.
Nothing happens because some thought process made it happen. Nothing "happens" at all, things just are. There is a Wheel, all of the eternity of that Wheel is just laid there in place unchanging. The Dark One is touching that Wheel at an area that corresponds to the Bore. He's not thinking "oh, this happened in the last turn, and this happens in the next turn, so I should touch it in this way to deal with that." He's just touching it, period. Nothing caused him to do that, because there is no time for something to cause anything else.
Except the DO clearly understands things like motivation, and clearly has its own motivation. If nothing caused him to touch the Pattern, he can also have no motive in touching the Pattern. Yet, he clearly does.

I read that scene as him being in the process of drifting out of time, and 'anchoring' himself close to the pattern to stop himself before he left time entirely.
Except Rand says that he was in a place outside of time. To his perception, there was no time. If he was only stepping into it, he would have said "Rand started stepping into a place that was not. A place outside of time, outside of the Pattern itself"

Instead, he says:
Rand stood in a place that was not. A place outside of time, outside of the Pattern itself

The tense is very clear.

To say that he had already exited time "before" re-entering it is itself a contradiction.
It is, and that kind of contradiction is the nature of the Dark One. The Dark One is paradox, remember?
The concept of one thing happening that causes another to happen is an expression of time. You can't leave time, get concerned because having no sense of time feels weird, then because of that decide to go back into time.
Yet, Rand does precisely that.

Consider, for a minute, this statement from the DO:

IT IS NOT ENOUGH, AND WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH. YOUR DREAM IS FLAWED. YOUR DREAM IS A LIE. I AM THE ONLY HONESTY YOUR WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN.

The use of "ever" there is very suggestive. If the entirety of the world is laid out before the DO, unchanging because he cannot sense time, how than can he make such a statement, or have any conception of it? That he does is further proof of the contradiction in the DO's existence. He is outside the bounds of the Pattern's time. Yet he knows what time is, and can conceive of events past, present and future.

But the metaphor is FULLY accurate, time does not deviate gradually further and further away. Every turning stays within a set range of every other. The wheel may have "thickness", allowing for things to deviate from the center. But those deviations do not build on each other drifting further and further away. RJ has stated (I'm paraphrasing, but this is taken from an interview) that all the turnings look like tapestries that look the same from afar, but if you got close you could see deviations in the details.
But he never quite gave us exact parameters to define "afar" and "close" in his statement. If you place two tapestries next to each other and I'm more than 20 feet away, all I'll be able to see is that there are two tapestries. Even if one is a square and another a triangle, I can't tell if the triangle is simply a result of you folding the square.

RJ has said, for example, that Fain was unique to this turning of the Wheel:

Question: Has the Padan Fain/Mordeth character been present in the previous Ages, or is he unique to this particular Age?

Robert Jordan: He is unique to this particular Age. A very unique fellow, indeed. In some ways, you might say he has unwittingly side-stepped the Pattern.

All Ages are the same in certain nexus points. But what are these nexus points? One would think the Cleansing of Saidin would be one, but the way it happened now cannot happen without Fain and Shadar Logoth. It is also true that without Fain and his unique power which Mat is infected with, Aginor doesn't find them all at the Green Man's place. Does that mean the Eye is left intact, a source for the final resealing?

Is there an alternate Age where saidin is never cleansed at all? Is there another where saidin is cleansed, but the truce reached between the Dragon and Amyrlin is a different one, where the Dragon agrees to use just saidin to seal the DO again, and accepts saidin being retainted? Both these alternatives would look similar, from afar. But they would imply free will with no constraints, at least not in enormously weighty issues like the cleansing of the taint, the resealing of the DO, etc.

If those deviations built up over time, then the tapestry a thousand turns into the future would not look like the tapestry we have now.
From how far away is the question? Beyond a certain distance, a tapestry is a tapestry.
But that is not the case, they all look the same in a large scale.
Again, what is that scale if something so important like the Cleansing can be different in each Age?

It is not a gradually evolving cycle, it is a complete wheel that has no 'drift'. Every turn we will ever see comes back to being similar to every turn we have ever seen.
Not true. There are similarities. There is no sameness.

The Unreasoner
02-01-2013, 06:52 PM
I just want to point out that the Dark One experiences some form of Time in his dealings within the Pattern, while he is touching it. So, fionwe, all of your examples of Time applying (in some way) to the DO aren't necessarily relevant. It may be that any 'change' Rand notes in the DO is a result of his own observation. And furthermore, the DO we see may be far less. The intersection of a multidimensional DO and the Pattern may be something far less than the DO itself.

fionwe1987
02-01-2013, 07:49 PM
I just want to point out that the Dark One experiences some form of Time in his dealings within the Pattern, while he is touching it. So, fionwe, all of your examples of Time applying (in some way) to the DO aren't necessarily relevant. It may be that any 'change' Rand notes in the DO is a result of his own observation. And furthermore, the DO we see may be far less. The intersection of a multidimensional DO and the Pattern may be something far less than the DO itself.

True, but the DO's quote about being unable to step outside of time can't be explained by this. If it's always outside of time, it can't possibly complain that it is impossible to do. Nor does it make any special distinction of the part of itself in contact with the Pattern being unable to step outside of time. The "Even I can't..." part makes no sense, if that were the case, IMO.

Further, even if it is just the intersection of the DO and the Pattern that allows some part of the DO to experience time, then the argument that it is fighting all the Dragons in all the Ages at "once" loses meaning. And its statement about being the only honesty l that humanity has "ever" known proves that the part of the DO intersecting with the Pattern, at least, has such things like memory, and a sense of history. And that means it sees its previous fights with the Dragon Reborn. as distinct from its current fight. It also explains why the DO calls the Dragon "MY ANCIENT ENEMY" to Demandred. Clearly, the DO is able to identify the Dragon as a Soul it has fought multiple times over a long stretch of time. It doesn't perceive the Dragon as a Soul it is fighting at one point only.

The Unreasoner
02-01-2013, 08:00 PM
True, but the DO's quote about being unable to step outside of time can't be explained by this. If it's always outside of time, it can't possibly complain that it is impossible to do. Nor does it make any special distinction of the part of itself in contact with the Pattern being unable to step outside of time. The "Even I can't..." part makes no sense, if that were the case, IMO.
We may be in agreement. I am saying that he cannot step outside of time as far as his dealings with men go, as far as his dealings with the Pattern. He is beyond time.

The part in contact with the Pattern is all of the DO the world will ever know. It's almost like the sphere in Flatland, with the Pattern being the intersecting plane, and the Pattern moves but the Dark One stays the same. He may be able to step out of time easily, but be unable to do anything once there.

MuKen
02-02-2013, 01:44 PM
But the box is closed, so to speak. You can't take the measurement. If Rand slew Shai'tan, that would lock the world into one state and take the measurement. If Shai'tan destroyed the Wheel, that would take another measurement and lock the world into another state. And if they agreed to mutual annihilation, that would be yet another measurement.

The theory is that seeing one repetition is equivalent to seeing all of them, so seeing the point of victory as we did is sufficient to take the relevant measurement.

Consider your position: since you claim that each Confrontation is basically just a re-enactment, either the outcome was decided a priori (in which case, why have it at all?) or it was only done once (presumably the first time). But that would mean that the DO couldn't win, and we know from RJ that this is not true.

You're misunderstanding the position slightly. I am not saying the DO engaged in one battle, then the rest are all "reenactments". They each ARE the original battle all at once. Each period where the DO exists is a result of the same fundamental state of the DO touching the Wheel, so they are all spawned as one, and each is bound by the rules of the Wheel to follow the same course.

It's like a group of people watching the same event, all through different colored lens. One says "well since I saw one guy save a baby in red, what is the point of you seeing it in blue? why not just skip that since in your scene we already know he must save the baby?" You can't not do it in one, and you can't forego the responsibility in one. They are all the same scene viewed through different lens.

I'm not disagreeing with your logic here. Just that it applies to WoT. You're right, thought is a matter of cause and effect, and that depends on time. But clearly, the Dark One is able to transcend this. He is wholly outside of time, yet when Rand makes a world where the DO is absent, the DO is able to compare it with his previously made world where he had absolute victory. Rand is anchored to time, but the DO is not. How can the DO make statements about before and after, if he doesn't perceive time? How is it that the DO can feel anger at Rand's statements?

Rand is experiencing time by sticking to or near the wheel (whatever 'anchored' means). To battle him, the DO must occupy the same conceptual space, and so is experiencing the same time Rand is.

It could be that when Rand enters the outer void, he cannot sense time there because of human limitation.

That's another theory, but you can't disprove one theory by proposing an alternate one.

It is, and that kind of contradiction is the nature of the Dark One. The Dark One is paradox, remember?

That doesn't make Rand a paradox. Plus, I don't remember the DO ever being described as a paradox.

Instead, he says:
Quote:
Rand stood in a place that was not. A place outside of time, outside of the Pattern itself
The tense is very clear.

Fair enough, so Rand did exit the Pattern, meaning that like what I am proposing for the DO, there is a timeless component of the Dragon Soul that also touches the Wheel from outside, and a time-experiencing parallel to that inside the Wheel.

To suggest otherwise is, as we both agreed, a contradiction. And whatever you believe about the DO, Rand is not a creature of contradiction.

If the entirety of the world is laid out before the DO, unchanging because he cannot sense time, how than can he make such a statement, or have any conception of it?

He makes that statement while experiencing time. Clearly in this scene he can have a conception of time. This statement is made by the portion of the DO that is in the Wheel.

But he never quite gave us exact parameters to define "afar" and "close" in his statement.

Sure it is left to be defined. But whatever definition of "afar" you want to go with, I'm sure you have to agree that the Last Battle being lost is a difference that can be seen at any distance that you are seeing the tapestry at (since it results in the whole tapestry being a different one).

Not true. There are similarities. There is no sameness.

Didn't you just agree with what I said? I didn't say they are all the same, I said they are all similar...

The Unreasoner
02-02-2013, 02:32 PM
The theory is that seeing one repetition is equivalent to seeing all of them, so seeing the point of victory as we did is sufficient to take the relevant measurement.
Suppose I accept the bolded portion. There still is no point of victory. Your colored lens argument is colorful, but poor. It would be more accurate to say that Person A saw it from the north, while Person B saw it from the east, and so on. And to acknowledge that each perspective is limited.


You're misunderstanding the position slightly. I am not saying the DO engaged in one battle, then the rest are all "reenactments". They each ARE the original battle all at once. Each period where the DO exists is a result of the same fundamental state of the DO touching the Wheel, so they are all spawned as one, and each is bound by the rules of the Wheel to follow the same course.But then you've never seen 'a repetition'. You've seen part of one.
It's like a group of people watching the same event, all through different colored lens. One says "well since I saw one guy save a baby in red, what is the point of you seeing it in blue? why not just skip that since in your scene we already know he must save the baby?" You can't not do it in one, and you can't forego the responsibility in one. They are all the same scene viewed through different lens.
I addressed this above. But I'll add this as well:
http://smilepanic.com/wp-content/uploads/Ames_Room5.jpg
Some information is hidden to the observer, and not just color. The truth is not measurable (from where we sit).
I don't remember the DO ever being described as a paradox.
He is described as the "embodiment of paradox and chaos, destroyer of reason and logic, breaker of balance, the unmaker of order" by Verin.

Who could very well be mistaken.
Didn't you just agree with what I said? I didn't say they are all the same, I said they are all similar...
Actually I think you claim that they are the same, and simply look 'merely similar'. At least as far as the Confrontation goes.

MuKen
02-02-2013, 02:45 PM
Suppose I accept the bolded portion. There still is no point of victory. Your colored lens argument is colorful, but poor. It would be more accurate to say that Person A saw it from the north, while Person B saw it from the east, and so on. And to acknowledge that each perspective is limited.

What aspect of this situation is better captured by that alternate analogy? And why does said analogy not also fit just fine into what I said?


But then you've never seen 'a repetition'. You've seen part of one.
I addressed this above. But I'll add this as well:
Some information is hidden to the observer, and not just color. The truth is not measurable (from where we sit).

We've seen the cessation of the Dark One's contact with the Wheel for one repetition. For purposes of distinguishing between those states where he wins from those states where he loses, that is sufficient.

He is described as the "embodiment of paradox and chaos, destroyer of reason and logic, breaker of balance, the unmaker of order" by Verin.

Who could very well be mistaken.

Alright, so at least one person has said he is paradoxical. That still does not make Rand paradoxical.

Actually I think you claim that they are the same, and simply look 'merely similar'. At least as far as the Confrontation goes.

You're making a linguistic link for two thematically different discussions. The word 'same' is not used in the same way in these conversations.

They are the 'same' in that they are colorations of the same out-of-wheel event. The use of the word 'same' in the discussion we were having here is that the details of the physical events in each turning are not the same. And I never claimed they were.

The Unreasoner
02-02-2013, 03:02 PM
What aspect of this situation is better captured by that alternate analogy? And why does said analogy not also fit just fine into what I said?
I thought I made it clear. Really, your analogy might be fine, but you missed a pretty big point with it, so I proposed mine instead.

Look at the picture again:
http://smilepanic.com/wp-content/uploads/Ames_Room5.jpg
By your logic, I could say: well, the boy on the far right is the tallest, and since I've seen this seen from one side, I have all the information it can provide, and do not need to see any other.

But the true extra-Pattern Confrontation is not just this picture, but the entire scene. It must be looked at from every side to fully know it.

Think of time as the fourth spatial dimension instead of something that moves. Think of the Dark One engaged in his war with every point on the surface. Remember that some tendrils of darkness occur in other Ages, other Turnings.
We've seen the cessation of the Dark One's contact with the Wheel for one repetition. For purposes of distinguishing between those states where he wins from those states where he loses, that is sufficient.

No, because within the Wheel the Confrontations seem unique. But since there are more happening 'simultaneously' if you remember to think of time as the fourth spatial dimension, it is like looking at the scene above from one side.

Alright, so at least one person has said he is paradoxical. That still does not make Rand paradoxical.
Agreed.


You're making a linguistic link for two thematically different discussions. The word 'same' is not used in the same way in these conversations.

They are the 'same' in that they are colorations of the same out-of-wheel event. The use of the word 'same' in the discussion we were having here is that the details of the physical events in each turning are not the same. And I never claimed they were.

You misunderstood me.

I understand exactly what you mean. Catholics see the bread and wine they eat at church as the 'actual' Body and Blood of Christ (not symbolically). The fact that the Blood is (to all appearances) a cheap Merlot doesn't change what it 'is'.

MuKen
02-02-2013, 03:20 PM
By your logic, I could say: well, the boy on the far right is the tallest, and since I've seen this seen from one side, I have all the information it can provide, and do not need to see any other.

But the true extra-Pattern Confrontation is not just this picture, but the entire scene. It must be looked at from every side to fully know it.

Then let me propose another correction. Instead of making the decision about who is the tallest (regarding which the two-dimensional view hides relevant information), make the decision about whether or not that boy exists.

This view is sufficient to see that. The independent revolutions of the cycle would not hide information about whether or not the DO was sealed. You can see the relevant information from every view. This analogy is introducing non-applicable concepts to the discussion.

You don't need to fully know the confrontation. You only need to know whether or not the DO's contact with the Pattern ended. Schrodinger's cat is not about doing a full Star-Trek-style scan revealing every possible detail of the cat, it is about opening the box and seeing enough of the cat to know whether it is dead or alive.


You misunderstood me.

I understand exactly what you mean. Catholics see the bread and wine they eat at church as the 'actual' Body and Blood of Christ (not symbolically). The fact that the Blood is (to all appearances) a cheap Merlot doesn't change what it 'is'.

I guess I am continuing to misunderstand you, I've lost track of your analogy altogether. What are you saying about the discussion regarding the similarity/sameness of the turnings, and what argument against the theory does it support?

The Unreasoner
02-02-2013, 03:46 PM
Then let me propose another correction. Instead of making the decision about who is the tallest (regarding which the two-dimensional view hides relevant information), make the decision about whether or not that boy exists.
But suppose I covered him with a board (or 10,000 years). You would no longer be able to say whether the boy exists or not. Not from here. Or maybe he's just a cunningly made cardboard cutout, or wax sculpture.
This view is sufficient to see that. The independent revolutions of the cycle would not hide information about whether or not the DO was sealed. You can see the relevant information from every view. This analogy is introducing non-applicable concepts to the discussion.But they are applicable. Time does not move to the Dark One. At the moment of Creation, he was touching the different Confrontations with tendrils of darkness. All of them, as if the Pattern was an unfolded Tesseract. But while the Dark one only touches the Pattern once, it is felt as different events within the Pattern. Covering the left flank doesn't mean you are fully protected.
You don't need to fully know the confrontation. You only need to know whether or not the DO's contact with the Pattern ended. Schrodinger's cat is not about doing a full Star-Trek-style scan revealing every possible detail of the cat, it is about opening the box and seeing enough of the cat to know whether it is dead or alive.
But we cannot see 'all' of the battle. There are multiple battlefronts, as for as humanity can tell (and as far as the DO can tell, as fionwe has so kindly pointed out).

I guess I am continuing to misunderstand you, I've lost track of your analogy altogether. What are you saying about the discussion regarding the similarity/sameness of the turnings, and what argument against the theory does it support?I'm saying that the extra-Pattern confrontation exists on such a scale that trying to measure all aspects of it (or even only this one) by any one confrontation is ridiculous. You could say that since the Pattern hasn't ended yet, a statistical sample indicates that it won't or cannot. But 'yet' to the people bound by Time is simply another way of saying 'here' to the Dark One. One moment of Creation, and the Dark One fighting in many places at once from that point. Each Confrontation is the same only from the point of view of a observer outside time. Within time, they are distinct.

I could explain it another way. Observations, measurements, take 'time'. Change takes 'time' (I'm using 'time' loosely, you'll see why in a second). To an outside observer, the Dark One is touching the Pattern at at least one point. For him to no longer be touching it, or for the Pattern or DO to cease to exist, the situation must change ('time' must pass). Taking an accurate measurement of the extra-Pattern Confrontation is impossible without changing it; or in other words, without locking it into something else. So basically, it is impossible to make a claim like yours unless someone actually does kill Shai'tan. Until then, things are held in tension, balance. We know that victory was never certain.

MuKen
02-02-2013, 04:09 PM
But suppose I covered him with a board (or 10,000 years). You would no longer be able to say whether the boy exists or not. Not from here. Or maybe he's just a cunningly made cardboard cutout, or wax sculpture.

As I said, this idea of hidden information is an addition to this analogy that does not apply to the situation at hand. We do know whether the DO was sealed. We have all the information we need to make the decision.

I could explain it another way. Observations, measurements, take 'time'. Change takes 'time' (I'm using 'time' loosely, you'll see why in a second). To an outside observer, the Dark One is touching the Pattern at at least one point. For him to no longer be touching it, or for the Pattern or DO to cease to exist, the situation must change ('time' must pass). Taking an accurate measurement of the extra-Pattern Confrontation is impossible without changing it;

Forgive me of cutting out a significant portion of your post, but I think what you are saying here captures our disagreement through all of those points.

If you want to say that an entity in that space cannot take a measurement than you have a point. You can't measure things in the Outside space because there is no time to do it.

But we, the readers, are capable of taking the measurement. We have our own separate timeline: real life. I can observe all of Randland's time that is covered by the books in any order at my leisure. I'm not living in timeless space. I can observe the things I read, and reason things about timeless space that we've been told and do it on my own time because I have time to do so. We can observe that the state is as described: there is a Wheel, and a Dark One mass that touches it in one area but not everywhere else, and the Wheel is not broken.

I am saying that we the readers are able to know that the Dark One is beaten.