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neurotopia
02-11-2013, 11:56 PM
Stuff goes here




More stuff





Yet more stuff.





Ok, so aside from the fact that there are still spiders, is anybody here not particularly put off by Rand's world without the DO? Sounds pretty damn good to me.

Demon
02-12-2013, 12:32 AM
Well no. It takes away a persons choice. What fun is that.

Frenzy
02-12-2013, 01:11 AM
Rand's perfect world can't be "good," because "good" in WoT is defined by not being "evil." Nothing to strive against, nothing to improve, no growth, no development, etc.

That and it's a total rip-off of the first Matrix.

Cortar
02-12-2013, 02:40 AM
Ok, so aside from the fact that there are still spiders, is anybody here not particularly put off by Rand's world without the DO? Sounds pretty damn good to me.

Ya complete and utter mental rape sounds pretty cool to me.

GonzoTheGreat
02-12-2013, 03:56 AM
Ya complete and utter mental rape sounds pretty cool to me.
The spiders, though, make it "not good enough".

maacaroni
02-12-2013, 04:22 AM
Bearing in mind he started writing this in the late 80s, you can't accuse RJ of ripping of the matrix.

GonzoTheGreat
02-12-2013, 04:46 AM
Bearing in mind he started writing this in the late 80s, you can't accuse RJ of ripping of the matrix.
Why not? He just ripped off the Matrix from the previous Turn of the Wheel, is all.

neurotopia
02-12-2013, 08:58 AM
Rand's perfect world can't be "good," because "good" in WoT is defined by not being "evil." Nothing to strive against, nothing to improve, no growth, no development, etc.
There's also no particular need of those things since there's no suffering. Seems sort of like a Buddhist's Nirvana, or at least being able to live fully in the present.

That and it's a total rip-off of the first Matrix.

Which was a rip-off of Ghost in the Shell and a comic book. How the Wheel turns... :p

Tollingtoy
02-12-2013, 09:07 AM
This is a pretty universal idea that existed long before Keanu Reeves acted badly in a movie :)

Debating the nature of good and evil is "ripping anything off"

Weird Harold
02-12-2013, 09:59 AM
There's also no particular need of those things since there's no suffering. Seems sort of like a Buddhist's Nirvana, or at least being able to live fully in the present.

I think the DO himself explained what was wrong with Rand's utopia fairly well.

Rand looked into Elayne’s eyes, looked into them deeply. A shadow lurked back there, behind them. Oh, it was an innocent shadow, but a shadow nonetheless. It was like . . . like that . . .

Like that shadow behind the eyes of someone who had been Turned to the Dark One.

Rand jumped to his feet and stumbled backward. “What have you done here?” he shouted into the sky. “Shai’tan! Answer me!”

Elayne cocked her head. She wasn’t afraid. Fear did not exist in this place. “Shai’tan? I swear I remember that name. It has been so long. I get forgetful sometimes.”

“SHAITAN!” Rand bellowed.

I HAVE DONE NOTHING, ADVERSARY. The voice was distant. THIS IS YOUR CREATION.

“Nonsense!” Rand said. “You’ve changed her! You’ve changed them all!”

DID YOU THINK THAT REMOVING ME FROM THEIR LIVES WOULD LEAVE THEM UNALTERED?

The words thundered through Rand. Aghast, he stepped away as Elayne rose, obviously concerned for him. Yes, he saw it now, the thing behind her eyes. She was not herself. . . because Rand had taken from her the ability to be herself.

I TURN MEN TO ME, Shaitan said. IT IS TRUE. THEY CANNOT CHOOSE GOOD ONCE I HAVE MADE THEM MINE IN THAT WAY. HOW IS THIS ANY DIFFERENT, ADVERSARY?
IF YOU DO THIS, WE ARE ONE.

“No!” Rand screamed, holding his head in his hand, falling to his knees. “No! The world would be perfect without you!”

PERFECT. UNCHANGING. RUINED. DO THIS, IF YOU WISH, ADVERSARY. IN KILLING ME, I WOULD WIN.
NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO, I WILL WIN.

Rand screamed, curling up as the Dark One’s next attack washed over him. The nightmare Rand had created exploded outward, ribbons of light spraying away like streaks of smoke.

If you remove half of what makes people Human, it doesn't matter which half you remove; the result is only half-human.

Dom
02-12-2013, 10:47 AM
If you remove half of what makes people Human, it doesn't matter which half you remove; the result is only half-human.

Exactly.

It goes beyond the concept of "good" and "evil".

Living is making choices, and accepting what can't be changed.

If you remove the reality of "not loving your children" or "harming your neighbor", then "loving your children" or "harming your neighbor" are totally meaningless. You can't even think that loving is nice and good or derive any feeling from it. You don't derive any joy from "being happy", and you won't feel any pain for any loss, as the concept of loss don't even exist. You lose a child and you just go on. You're just an automaton going through programmed "good"/"right" actions, without rhyme or reason except for the enjoyment of the Creator watching his happy perfect little, static, meaningless world.

Or the opposite of this, in one of Shai'tan's version.

The world needs to be the Creator's, because Shai'tan won't allow free will. If the Creator had any such pulsion, he mastered it long enough to make Creation and built the non sentient Wheel to keep it in balance. The whole LB thing seems to be a fail-safe, allowing people inside rather than the Creator outside to "renew their lease" or move with the other landlord.

The Unreasoner
02-12-2013, 03:30 PM
The idea that life without the DO would be devoid of meaning might not be true if time was linear. Since time in WoT is a wheel, the only meaning you can derive from life is from how you deal with what you have ('have' is used loosely, here). But eternal tension gives people ways to measure themselves.

In linear time though, progress (real progress) is possible, and people might take meaning from that.

fionwe1987
02-12-2013, 05:56 PM
The idea that life without the DO would be devoid of meaning might not be true if time was linear. Since time in WoT is a wheel, the only meaning you can derive from life is from how you deal with what you have ('have' is used loosely, here). But eternal tension gives people ways to measure themselves.

In linear time though, progress (real progress) is possible, and people might take meaning from that.
Based on what RJ said, its more a slinky of time than a real Wheel. There may be broad similarities to the Ages, but details can be wholly different. Which implies that progress over turnings of the Wheel is not impossible at all.

Dom
02-12-2013, 06:07 PM
In linear time though, progress (real progress) is possible, and people might take meaning from that.

There wouldn't be any progress. To progress, you need to perceive a need or desire to progress.

RJ's wheel is not vicious circle, nor is Time circular. Time is linear but cyclical, history goes through a seven Age cycle, with main characteristics of each Age being present each time.

As for your main point, it depends who you ask. RJ's whole "good doesn't exist without evil" and "being good or evil is meaningless unless humans have a choice between the two", it echoes a very great deal St. Augustine. And others. Nearly all religions having a concept of Devil touch on this one way or another.

The Unreasoner
02-12-2013, 06:19 PM
Based on what RJ said, its more a slinky of time than a real Wheel. There may be broad similarities to the Ages, but details can be wholly different. Which implies that progress over turnings of the Wheel is not impossible at all.
Of course it is. They still use candles, no one has evolved the ability to fly, no one can even remember what happened 1000 years ago with much accuracy. Technological innovation might be possible in local time, but the Wheel always knocks down anything of real permanence. Evolution is impossible.
There wouldn't be any progress. To progress, you need to perceive a need or desire to progress.
Some people are moved to innovate for its own sake.
As for your main point, it depends who you ask. RJ's whole "good doesn't exist without evil" and "being good or evil is meaningless unless humans have a choice between the two", it echoes a very great deal St. Augustine. And others. Nearly all religions having a concept of Devil touch on this one way or another.

That may be RJ's belief. Its certainly a common one. And since RJ believes it it might be true of the world of WoT.

But the fact remains that linear time not bound to the Wheel imparts a responsibility for the future in humanity that goes beyond one lifetime.

fionwe1987
02-12-2013, 06:48 PM
Of course it is. They still use candles, no one has evolved the ability to fly, no one can even remember what happened 1000 years ago with much accuracy. Technological innovation might be possible in local time, but the Wheel always knocks down anything of real permanence. Evolution is impossible.

We don't know this for a fact. For example, they use candles now because of an event 3000 years ago that completely destroyed a very advanced civilization. It wasn't the Wheel, it was human choice to bring in the Dark One. Who's to say that human choice, and human interaction with the Dark One, are not the factors that actually end up causing the cyclical nature of history? Its a chicken or egg think. Are there repeating Patterns in history because the Wheel mandates it so, or are there Ages that show cyclical repetition because human activity in the end has patterns.

It could be, that the Wheel merely starts placing its chips in somewhat familiar patterns when it observes certain human activities that may in the end lead to the Dark One being given access. This could bring in the cyclical nature of the Ages. Every time a human does something that could free the DO, the Wheel introduces certain course corrections that result in an "Age" that in broad strokes looks like a previous Age. But there's always doubt. People don't all call this the Third Age. And we don't know that the Ages are of equal length all the time. So it could be that we don't see anything that resembles complete evolution because eventually, some human activity results in the world being mostly destroyed. Then the Wheel starts from scratch, and in one of the mirror worlds, normal evolution results in human-like beings that look the same, and are at the right stage of development to be able to access the DO. That is the story we are seeing. Who's to say that in another Parallel world, or a mirror world where living beings have evolved in a completely different way, the DO doesn't find access in another way, another time?

The thing people forget is that the Wheel encompases all possibilities, all relaties that account for all variations in the development of society. Freedom for the DO in any one of these will reset the clock once again, making Time begin again. And in some variant of events in this new progression of Time, there will be a mirror world that resembles, in broad strokes, a mirror world in a previous turning. This doesn't change the fact that all mirror worlds in a previous turning are still represented in this turning too. Who knows, maybe the Dragon soul was actually reborn in a scaly, winged creature that could breathe fire in one turning, because the evolution of life then led to winged lizards being the most advanced creatures. The story can look like this one in broad strokes and still satisfy conditions of the Wheel. But those winged creatures won't be using candles...

fdsaf3
02-13-2013, 11:59 AM
Of course it is. They still use candles, no one has evolved the ability to fly, no one can even remember what happened 1000 years ago with much accuracy. Technological innovation might be possible in local time, but the Wheel always knocks down anything of real permanence. Evolution is impossible.

Wait, what? I'm not sure I'm tracking this. The people who survived the Last Battle in A Memory of Light are entering a paradise 4th Age. Men and women are probably even going to learn to tolerate each other, or even *gasp* learn to communicate with one another. It's going to be crazy.

I think what I'm not sure about is what you mean by evolution. I guess I view the Pattern (and the Wheel and all that jazz) as a pretty complex system with a few hard and fast parameters. All the other metaphysical stuff (mirror worlds, for example) represent the countless possibilities of what could be if people made different choices. In the context of growth (and decay) from Age to Age, there's surely evolution (and devolution, as well). Obviously you know the books well enough to know this, so I feel like you're trying to say something else.

So do you mean to say that evolution of human potential (channeling, technology, etc.) is somehow capped? That in an infinite number of Turnings of the Wheel, human civilization will never evolve past a certain point? Like I said before, I am kind of confused about what you're trying to say here.

The Unreasoner
02-13-2013, 01:50 PM
@fionwe:
You need to touch up on your WoT metaphysics. Some of the theories you seem to be arguing go against what we know to be true.

@fdsaf3
I could have been clearer, I suppose. I also could be wrong. One thing people seem to overlook is that there is a 'true' world. Mirror worlds that are sufficiently improbable have no substance (or people). Maybe the case can be made that these remote worlds have substance that (having been derived from nearly impossible circumstances) cannot be witnessed by anyone from the True World.

But my point is that sure, the coming Fourth Age will be full of amazing progress. But the time will come when all of the progress is lost, when the Third Age comes again. Maybe even sooner. All memories fade. No one has found a way to protect information for an entire Turning.

Practically the only constant is humanity, as a species. And species can evolve (irl, at least), they can become more intelligent, stronger, healthier. And evolution seems like it would be the only kind of progress that could last (the only past that endures lies wordlessly within you, rep for quote id).

But there are no transhumans or posthumans in WoT. They aren't even marginally smarter than us. No achievement of any kind can last in Randland, because eventually the Wheel will turn.

fionwe1987
02-13-2013, 02:22 PM
@fionwe:
You need to touch up on your WoT metaphysics. Some of the theories you seem to be arguing go against what we know to be true.
Don't think so, but I'd be happy to hear what you think I have wrong.
@fdsaf3
I could have been clearer, I suppose. I also could be wrong. One thing people seem to overlook is that there is a 'true' world. Mirror worlds that are sufficiently improbable have no substance (or people). Maybe the case can be made that these remote worlds have substance that (having been derived from nearly impossible circumstances) cannot be witnessed by anyone from the True World.
The bolded part is true. But there is a ton of proof that that "true" world is very different in each Age, except for very broad strokes.
But my point is that sure, the coming Fourth Age will be full of amazing progress. But the time will come when all of the progress is lost, when the Third Age comes again. Maybe even sooner. All memories fade. No one has found a way to protect information for an entire Turning.
How is this any different in linear time? Nothing says that in linear time, devolution and destruction cannot occur.
Practically the only constant is humanity, as a species.
We assume this. We don't have any proof. We don't know that the creatures fighting the DO in every "Third Age" are two legged, two handed, upright beings. What's to say that in some turning, this fight doesn't happen in the Finn world? We know that souls that can be born as humans can be put into other species, like Nym or Trollocs. Who's to say the souls of Ogier, or the Finns, or any other strange creatures is not exactly the same? Why should we assume that Ogier like creatures don't end up fighting the Last Battle in some other Third Age?

And species can evolve (irl, at least), they can become more intelligent, stronger, healthier. And evolution seems like it would be the only kind of progress that could last (the only past that endures lies wordlessly within you, rep for quote id).
Evolution is not progress that always lasts. Our own evolution is filled with repeat events, pinnacles that were reached, and then went to waste due to some major environmental change, then happened again. Developmental patterns and evolutionary changes get repeated time and again, till they blend and form things that are stranger than what came before. A nuclear holocaust could destroy human civilization today, and many million years from now, we could have beings that evolve from today's cockroaches, that live through the existential crises and social difficulties we face today, but they could be four legged creatures with exoskeletons. Nothing in the basic theory of evolution contradicts that possibility.
But there are no transhumans or posthumans in WoT.
What are the Ogier or the Finns, then? Sure, you can say aliens. But we don't know that, again.
They aren't even marginally smarter than us.
Not in the Third Age, perhaps. In the second age? Who knows how intelligent an 800 year old Aes Sedai was?
No achievement of any kind can last in Randland, because eventually the Wheel will turn.
And no achievement of any kind will last on Earth either. You act as if permanence is some kind of inevitable feature of linear time. It is not.

The Unreasoner
02-13-2013, 03:42 PM
Don't think so, but I'd be happy to hear what you think I have wrong.

Fair enough:
We don't know this for a fact. For example, they use candles now because of an event 3000 years ago that completely destroyed a very advanced civilization. It wasn't the Wheel, it was human choice to bring in the Dark One. Who's to say that human choice, and human interaction with the Dark One, are not the factors that actually end up causing the cyclical nature of history? Its a chicken or egg think. Are there repeating Patterns in history because the Wheel mandates it so, or are there Ages that show cyclical repetition because human activity in the end has patterns.
See this...
Question

In the Wheel of Time there is focus on events occurring again and again throughout history. Is it just history which is circular, or is it time itself which is in a loop?
Robert Jordan

If you think of history being in a loop, then time must be in a loop. The Greeks were the first, as far as we know, to think of time being linear which allows for change. Almost every other culture prior to them had believed in circular time, if time is a wheel there is no possibility of change. Whatever I change now, whatever injustices I correct, the wheel will inevitably return, the inequities will return, there is no possibility for change, therefore there is not impetus to change. So time and history are in a loop in this world, a large enough loop...ah...it is really quite immense.
Question

So, the sun will never go nova, will never die?
Robert Jordan

In this universe, no


It isn't human history that repeats. Time itself is circular. You keep thinking of something linear, periodic. Sure there are minor differences (Rand might be Quentin, next time), but you keep thinking that there is room for massive changes.
It could be, that the Wheel merely starts placing its chips in somewhat familiar patterns when it observes certain human activities that may in the end lead to the Dark One being given access. This could bring in the cyclical nature of the Ages. Every time a human does something that could free the DO, the Wheel introduces certain course corrections that result in an "Age" that in broad strokes looks like a previous Age. But there's always doubt. People don't all call this the Third Age. And we don't know that the Ages are of equal length all the time. So it could be that we don't see anything that resembles complete evolution because eventually, some human activity results in the world being mostly destroyed.
The Ages and the Wheel aren't some hypothetical entities used by philosophers. They exist here. You still seem to think that Ages are more or less arbitrarily defined by people, and the Wheel merely reacts to them. This is false.
Then the Wheel starts from scratch, and in one of the mirror worlds, normal evolution results in human-like beings that look the same, and are at the right stage of development to be able to access the DO. That is the story we are seeing. Who's to say that in another Parallel world, or a mirror world where living beings have evolved in a completely different way, the DO doesn't find access in another way, another time?
No clue what you mean by the bold part.

They may fight the Shadow in a Parallel world in another Age, but not in another Third age. Mirror Worlds do not have enough substance to host a Tarmon Gaidon. And Mirror Worlds do not just up and become True Worlds. They branch off and grow further and further apart until they become so remote and insubstantial that they might as well not exist.
The thing people forget is that the Wheel encompases all possibilities, all relaties that account for all variations in the development of society. Freedom for the DO in any one of these will reset the clock once again, making Time begin again. And in some variant of events in this new progression of Time, there will be a mirror world that resembles, in broad strokes, a mirror world in a previous turning. This doesn't change the fact that all mirror worlds in a previous turning are still represented in this turning too. Who knows, maybe the Dragon soul was actually reborn in a scaly, winged creature that could breathe fire in one turning, because the evolution of life then led to winged lizards being the most advanced creatures. The story can look like this one in broad strokes and still satisfy conditions of the Wheel. But those winged creatures won't be using candles...
Other than the idea that Time 'resets' there are a few obvious problems here. I'm also not at all sure that evolution even exists in WoT. But you keep forgetting that the Mirror Worlds are not real, and that they only have people (and likely life at all) in a bare local few.

Onto the rest...

The bolded part is true. But there is a ton of proof that that "true" world is very different in each Age, except for very broad strokes.
This is a question of semantics. What is major? Rand as an actual Dragon that hates candles seems like a major difference.
How is this any different in linear time? Nothing says that in linear time, devolution and destruction cannot occur.

Exactly. But at least they are not certain. Meaning could be found there through progress, through a race against time (bonus points: no villain need be, time is the the enemy)
We assume this. We don't have any proof. We don't know that the creatures fighting the DO in every "Third Age" are two legged, two handed, upright beings. What's to say that in some turning, this fight doesn't happen in the Finn world? We know that souls that can be born as humans can be put into other species, like Nym or Trollocs. Who's to say the souls of Ogier, or the Finns, or any other strange creatures is not exactly the same? Why should we assume that Ogier like creatures don't end up fighting the Last Battle in some other Third Age?
Again, Major/Minor.

Evolution is not progress that always lasts. Our own evolution is filled with repeat events, pinnacles that were reached, and then went to waste due to some major environmental change, then happened again. Developmental patterns and evolutionary changes get repeated time and again, till they blend and form things that are stranger than what came before. A nuclear holocaust could destroy human civilization today, and many million years from now, we could have beings that evolve from today's cockroaches, that live through the existential crises and social difficulties we face today, but they could be four legged creatures with exoskeletons. Nothing in the basic theory of evolution contradicts that possibility.
I'm not looking for guaranteed progress. In fact, it is that it is not guaranteed that might give purpose to life.
What are the Ogier or the Finns, then? Sure, you can say aliens. But we don't know that, again.
We have good evidence that evolution is impossible.
Not in the Third Age, perhaps. In the second age? Who knows how intelligent an 800 year old Aes Sedai was?
I always forget why I hate arguing with you...
And no achievement of any kind will last on Earth either. You act as if permanence is some kind of inevitable feature of linear time. It is not.

I don't want inevitable. I want possible. Which it isn't here.

You're missing one of RJs central themes, you know:
Laura Wilson

What about this notion of time as a wheel? Is that your idea?

Robert Jordan

No. It's not mine. It is from Hindu mythology that time is a wheel. But actually, most eastern cultures believed that time was circular. The Greeks gave us the great gift of believing that time was linear. And that's a great gift because if time is circular, if everything repeats in cycles, then change is impossible. No matter what you do, it's always going to come back to what is here. But if time is linear, then change is possible. But I wanted the circularity because I wanted, again, to go into the changes by distance. So, the myths and legends and a few of the stories that these people tell, well, some of them are based on our own current events, on the present. What they are doing is based on our myths and legends. So they are the source of our myths and legends, and we are the source of theirs.

Weird Harold
02-21-2013, 08:00 PM
I think the DO himself explained what was wrong with Rand's utopia fairly well.



If you remove half of what makes people Human, it doesn't matter which half you remove; the result is only half-human.

Lanfear gave a fair explanation to Perrin when discussing the Turned asha'man:

“They’ve been Turned,” she said. “I’ve always found that to be a wasteful business. You lose something in the transformation—they will never serve as well as if they’d come willingly. Oh, they’ll be loyal, but the light is gone. The self-motivation, the spark of ingenuity that makes people into people.”


Rand's Utopia was basically the mirror image of the entire Population being Turned.

ShadowLord
02-23-2013, 10:38 PM
To get back to the original point. RJ wrote as if the impetance toward "good" and "evil" were external to humanity. They are not. The DO could not make you be evil, aside from the 13x13 thing. He could magnify what is already in all of us. So, Rand's vision would have worked. The darkness behind the eyes was the DO's real lie.

fionwe1987
02-23-2013, 10:51 PM
To get back to the original point. RJ wrote as if the impetance toward "good" and "evil" were external to humanity. They are not. The DO could not make you be evil, aside from the 13x13 thing. He could magnify what is already in all of us. So, Rand's vision would have worked. The darkness behind the eyes was the DO's real lie.
Its exactly the opposite. The choice between good and evil is always humanity's. Removing the Dark One removes that choice. RJ's wrote as if good and evil were ultimately sourced from two deities. Removing one means their influence on humanity is lost.

GonzoTheGreat
02-24-2013, 05:08 AM
To get back to the original point. RJ wrote as if the impetance toward "good" and "evil" were external to humanity. They are not. The DO could not make you be evil, aside from the 13x13 thing. He could magnify what is already in all of us. So, Rand's vision would have worked. The darkness behind the eyes was the DO's real lie.
What the 13x13 trick does is not magnify the bad, but remove (part of) the good. The result is a being that is less than a human.
What Rand had done in "his" world was remove the bad, also leaving beings that are less than human.