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Daekyras
05-01-2013, 11:48 AM
A complex world with unique magic and culture? I recently read a book set in ancient India, replete with all sorts of unique culture and magic. Complex, too. I suppose I should credit the author with a work of fantasy, and dismiss the rather large list of historical sources he cites as nothing more than convenient D&D imaginings?


Hi Fionwe1987, Could you tell me the name of this book? It sounds really intriguing and I'm on an india vibe at the moment...

Daekyras
05-01-2013, 11:58 AM
Interesting point. Are you saying that Lews Therin released the Power because of Rand's love for Min?



Teeheehee. For some reason this comment is really funny to me..

Davian93
05-03-2013, 05:41 PM
Interesting point. Are you saying that Lews Therin released the Power because of Rand's love for Min?

Am I the only one that is going to mention this? Rand was LTT...LTT was a figment of his imagination he created. Therefore, bringing him back to reality instead of the imaginery personality in his head is EXACTLY the right thing to do.

I'm guessing you skipped this part of the text:


TITLE: The Gathering Storm
CHAPTER: 50 - Veins of Gold
And Rand opened his eyes for the first time in a very long while. He knew—somehow—that he would never again hear Lews Therin's voice in his head. For they were not two men, and never had been.

I mean, granted your hero BS had to spell it out for you but you still missed it?!?

Isabel
05-04-2013, 02:23 AM
Davian: as you know it is not confirmed or not if ltt was created by Rand, or that it was the real LTT created by the taint.

Davian93
05-04-2013, 08:13 AM
Davian: as you know it is not confirmed or not if ltt was created by Rand, or that it was the real LTT created by the taint.

I know that you think that despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Terez
05-04-2013, 12:58 PM
Davian: as you know it is not confirmed or not if ltt was created by Rand, or that it was the real LTT created by the taint.
I think neither of these options make much sense. Lews Therin wasn't created by anyone aside from the Creator; Lews Therin was a real person who was reborn as Rand. The memories weren't created by either Rand or the taint, either; they were a part of Rand. The voice that talked to him in his head—this idea that Lews Therin was another man trying to take over—that was a delusion. That delusion was made possible by Rand's motives to dissociate himself from Lews Therin and certainly facilitated by the taint.

Zombie Sammael
05-04-2013, 04:50 PM
I think neither of these options make much sense. Lews Therin wasn't created by anyone aside from the Creator; Lews Therin was a real person who was reborn as Rand. The memories weren't created by either Rand or the taint, either; they were a part of Rand. The voice that talked to him in his head—this idea that Lews Therin was another man trying to take over—that was a delusion. That delusion was made possible by Rand's motives to dissociate himself from Lews Therin and certainly facilitated by the taint.

I feel like I should point out that this interpretation (which I do believe to be the correct one) necessarily discounts the idea that the "Lews Therin" voice in Rand's head was in any way the voice of the actual Lews Therin Telamon.

Terez
05-04-2013, 05:00 PM
I feel like I should point out that this interpretation (which I do believe to be the correct one) necessarily discounts the idea that the "Lews Therin" voice in Rand's head was in any way the voice of the actual Lews Therin Telamon.
I'm not sure what you're getting at, but the voice was constructed using the memories, so there are elements of the real Lews Therin in it, to be sure. If it's essentially Rand talking to himself, and Rand=Lews Therin, then it might as well be Lews Therin talking to him. ;) It's just the idea of Lews Therin as a separate person with a will of his own that was always terribly wrongheaded.

Zombie Sammael
05-04-2013, 09:56 PM
I'm not sure what you're getting at, but the voice was constructed using the memories, so there are elements of the real Lews Therin in it, to be sure. If it's essentially Rand talking to himself, and Rand=Lews Therin, then it might as well be Lews Therin talking to him. ;) It's just the idea of Lews Therin as a separate person with a will of his own that was always terribly wrongheaded.

The voice in the back of Rand's head wasn't Lews Therin as Lews Therin was when he was alive, at any point. It was a construct with the same name and made up of bits of Lews Therin, but it was really Lews Therin about as much as a hamburger is a cow.

...Lews Therin.

Terez
05-04-2013, 10:42 PM
The voice in the back of Rand's head wasn't Lews Therin as Lews Therin was when he was alive, at any point.
You're preaching to the choir. I'm just saying, there were bits of the genuine Lews Therin that were integrated into the constructed personality; that's part of what made it convincing. Of course, it most resembled the last iteration Lews Therin, the crazy one, which was a convenient fiction.

Chosen
05-06-2013, 03:33 AM
off-topic posts from Literary Criticism thread moved to a separate thread

GonzoTheGreat
05-06-2013, 03:52 AM
I think that to even a chance at reaching agreement, we will first have to deal with "what is a person in the WOT?"

A seemingly good starting point for that would be the following two pertinent questions:
Were Rand al'Thor and the original Lews Therin Telamon different persons?
If so, what precisely made them different persons?

Cortar
05-06-2013, 05:17 AM
I think that to even a chance at reaching agreement, we will first have to deal with "what is a person in the WOT?"

A seemingly good starting point for that would be the following two pertinent questions:
Were Rand al'Thor and the original Lews Therin Telamon different persons?
If so, what precisely made them different persons?

They weren't different people... Unless you conclude that me at 20 is a different person than me at 30. Yes, they have different memories and different personalities, but still the same person.

In WoT, a person is probably best defined by his 'soul' or more aptly: his "thread."

GonzoTheGreat
05-06-2013, 05:43 AM
That may be true, but if so, then RJ was wrong:
Everybody fears death because the being that is reborn, while possessing the same soul, will not be the same person. The fear is simple. I will cease to exist. Someone else will exist, bearing my soul. But I will cease. I have met many believers in reincarnation, and most of them seem to fear death just as much as anyone else.(Bolding mine.)

In WOT, a very definite (though not always clear to us) distinction is made between "soul" and "person".
Thus, Padan Fain/Mordeth/Shalalala was one person, with at least two souls. Luc/Isam were two persons with two souls in one body.

LTT and RaT were two different persons. The question is what the LTT in Rand's mind was.

Terez
05-06-2013, 07:22 PM
We've been through this before, but RJ is talking about beliefs, not reality. Birgitte makes that clear enough, if Rand doesn't. The belief is a practical reality in cases where past life memories aren't available, but when they are available, then the belief is a misunderstanding. And when one starts having conversations with one's past self, misunderstanding becomes psychotic delusion.

GonzoTheGreat
05-07-2013, 03:41 AM
We've been through this before, but RJ is talking about beliefs, not reality. Birgitte makes that clear enough, if Rand doesn't. The belief is a practical reality in cases where past life memories aren't available, but when they are available, then the belief is a misunderstanding. And when one starts having conversations with one's past self, misunderstanding becomes psychotic delusion.
If the examples of Birgitte and Rand are indeed actually completely the same. Seeing as how Rand was a very special case come into being through one very special mechanism, and Birgitte was a very special case come into being through a very different very special mechanism, I do not think that it is justified to simply lump them together and pretend that there are no differences.

For starters, Rand didn't start to lose memories, as Birgitte did, he kept gaining them. That's a massive difference right there. If the analogy had held, then Rand would have been born with all the memories of LTT easily available to him. Which, as far as we know, was not the case.

suttree
05-07-2013, 01:25 PM
For starters, Rand didn't start to lose memories, as Birgitte did, he kept gaining them. That's a massive difference right there. If the analogy had held, then Rand would have been born with all the memories of LTT easily available to him. Which, as far as we know, was not the case.

We did see hime lose the other past life memories after VoG however. Would be an interesting question to pose if the LTT ones will start to fade moving forward.

Terez
05-07-2013, 03:19 PM
If the examples of Birgitte and Rand are indeed actually completely the same.
They are the same for the purposes of the point that I am making—i.e. they are both examples of immortal beings who are born in different guises. The differences in how they were 'born' don't change that simple fact. (I wasn't even thinking of Birgitte after she was ripped out; I was thinking of her as a dead hero. She is simply the one we got to know best.)

neurotopia
05-07-2013, 07:59 PM
This whole thread is making me feel a little Loose Therein.

GonzoTheGreat
05-08-2013, 03:38 AM
They are the same for the purposes of the point that I am making—i.e. they are both examples of immortal beings who are born in different guises. The differences in how they were 'born' don't change that simple fact. (I wasn't even thinking of Birgitte after she was ripped out; I was thinking of her as a dead hero. She is simply the one we got to know best.)
Yes, but the big deal with the Dragon Reborn is that he is definitely not like a Hero called up by the Horn. He is different from that. Ignoring that difference is not warranted.

The Heroes in TAR are not born there, as far as we know. They do not grow up there, as far as we know. They are adults, with adult minds, the whole time there (perhaps except when they themselves choose differently, or when Moghedien reverts them to childhood).
Rand was born. He was a baby, with a baby's mind, not an adult mind. Rand grew up. He was a child, with a child's mind, not a child with an adult mind. When he was grown up and had acquired an adult mind of his own, at some point, suddenly, a second adult mind started interacting with him, also in his own body. That second adult mind was tied to the same soul, and thus in a clear* way related to himself.

* But, to us, not an obvious way. We're not very familiar with reincarnation and the complications that can be introduced by that, after all.

Terez
05-08-2013, 12:50 PM
Yes, but the big deal with the Dragon Reborn is that he is definitely not like a Hero called up by the Horn. He is different from that. Ignoring that difference is not warranted.
I haven't ignored it, as you know well. We have discussed this in detail for years, after all. I had a suspicion they were going to break this off from the literary criticism thread. I was going to suggest not doing so, but there was probably no better way to ensure that they did, so... ;)

...suddenly, a second adult mind started interacting with him
That is an interpretation that goes beyond the facts. The facts are, he started remembering his past life. I think it's clear enough that the 'interaction' aspect was a delusion on Rand's part.

GonzoTheGreat
05-08-2013, 01:13 PM
I think it's clear enough that the 'interaction' aspect was a delusion on Rand's part.
That is where I disagree with you. I think that it is possible that it was a delusion, but I do not think at all that it is certain.
After all, Rand was the Dragon Reborn, not the Dragon Soul Reborn. That is a big difference. Whether or not he would have been called the DSR if your interpretation is correct is of course undeterminable. Which is why this debate is still open.

Terez
05-08-2013, 02:00 PM
That is where I disagree with you.
I know. :)

I think that it is possible that it was a delusion, but I do not think at all that it is certain.We have also discussed this before. It was I who brought RJ's Schrödinger quotes into the discussion, was it not?

After all, Rand was the Dragon Reborn, not the Dragon Soul Reborn.An observation which just happens to coincide with the reality that Rand only has one set of past life memories to draw from. But when it comes to the relevance of the immortal soul, the difference between two and infinity is simply a matter of insight, as we saw in Rand's eventual epiphany. The interesting part is that he had to come to the correct conclusion on his own before he was able to access infinite past life memories.

Tollingtoy
05-08-2013, 04:50 PM
As Rand moved closer to the Last Battle, he saw many changes--remembering LTT's memories being just one of them. This in no way means there was ACTUALLY another person in his head any more than him affecting the weather, the growth of crops or identifying DFs indicate he developed new special "powers".

I've always assumed that the Pattern required Rand to have LTT's knowledge and provided it to him for that specific purpose until they were no longer needed. Rand's denial of who he truly was caused his psyche to invent another persona in his head to deal with those thoughts. It's as simple as that. How could a real, second person be inside Rand's head and where would he have gone after VOG if there is any possible way it could be true?

Terez
05-08-2013, 10:24 PM
And for that matter, where did he go when not talking to Rand? (Isa explained this once; I wish I could remember what she said because it was funny.) What was he doing? What was he thinking about? If nothing, then what was he, really?

Zombie Sammael
05-09-2013, 12:57 AM
The thing is that to argue that LTT was anything more than a construct is not only to ignore the evidence from the series - reread TSR, you can see as early as that that Rand is repressing his past life memories and deliberately forming the Lews Therin construct - but also to ignore the real life sources from which RJ's version of reincarnation is drawn. He's taking examples from religions such as Buddhism where individuals of enlightenment are said to be able to remember their past lives and applying them to a situation where an individual is not particularly enlightened or emotionally prepared for receiving the memories, and is suffering from a sickness which makes him even less able to deal with the situation. He then shows us the consequences.

In my opinion, to argue for LTT as a real voice diminishes the power of the series. I think RJ kept it ambiguous because it's so clear, on a careful reading, what is actually going on that to state it outright would further diminish the power of the story. Rand is unenlightened when he first receives the memories but they contribute massively to his enlightenment. He has reversed the paradigm and given us a compelling and powerful story. The end of TGS almost works as an ending to the entire series, so long as you accept the conclusion that LTT was a construct and always had been.

And of course, there's the fact that the LTT voice barely even resembles what we saw of LTT when he was insane.

Terez
05-09-2013, 02:35 AM
He's taking examples from religions such as Buddhism...
And as WH often points out, also PTSD, especially as it applies to veterans (perhaps especially Vietnam veterans).

GonzoTheGreat
05-09-2013, 03:48 AM
And for that matter, where did he go when not talking to Rand? (Isa explained this once; I wish I could remember what she said because it was funny.) What was he doing? What was he thinking about? If nothing, then what was he, really?
When you are unconscious, where are you?

The end of TGS almost works as an ending to the entire series, so long as you accept the conclusion that LTT was a construct and always had been.
Which could perhaps count as evidence against the construct theory, seeing as how it is not the ending of the series.

Weird Harold
05-09-2013, 04:58 AM
And as WH often points out, also PTSD, especially as it applies to veterans (perhaps especially Vietnam veterans).
Not just PTSD, but many pop culture elements from the Vietnam era. Especially the popularity of "past life regression" in movies like "The Three Faces of Eve" and Shirley McLain's claims of many past lives.

Terez
05-10-2013, 09:56 PM
When you are unconscious, where are you?
When you're not unconscious, why are you?

GonzoTheGreat
05-11-2013, 03:48 AM
When you're not unconscious, why are you?
That is indeed the kind of philosophical question highlighted by the WOT series. The nature of personal identity is something that is addressed from a variety of angles, and it seems far too simple to me to conclude that the central question in this regard has a simple, obvious, and uninteresting answer.

As an aside, I just now thought of the similarity between the various "possible worlds" that Rand and the DO showed each other, and the "possible worlds" that Rand manufactured during the trip to Falme in TGH. Now I'm wondering whether any other channeler could or would have produced anything similar at all.

Tollingtoy
05-11-2013, 10:24 AM
The thing is that to argue that LTT was anything more than a construct is not only to ignore the evidence from the series - reread TSR, you can see as early as that that Rand is repressing his past life memories and deliberately forming the Lews Therin construct - but also to ignore the real life sources from which RJ's version of reincarnation is drawn. He's taking examples from religions such as Buddhism where individuals of enlightenment are said to be able to remember their past lives and applying them to a situation where an individual is not particularly enlightened or emotionally prepared for receiving the memories, and is suffering from a sickness which makes him even less able to deal with the situation. He then shows us the consequences.

In my opinion, to argue for LTT as a real voice diminishes the power of the series. I think RJ kept it ambiguous because it's so clear, on a careful reading, what is actually going on that to state it outright would further diminish the power of the story. Rand is unenlightened when he first receives the memories but they contribute massively to his enlightenment. He has reversed the paradigm and given us a compelling and powerful story. The end of TGS almost works as an ending to the entire series, so long as you accept the conclusion that LTT was a construct and always had been.

And of course, there's the fact that the LTT voice barely even resembles what we saw of LTT when he was insane.



Agreed! Even in TEOTW, Rand is capable of channeling flows even though he has never learned them at the end of the book. To me, that would be evidence of him accessing past life memories.

GonzoTheGreat
05-11-2013, 12:32 PM
Agreed! Even in TEOTW, Rand is capable of channeling flows even though he has never learned them at the end of the book. To me, that would be evidence of him accessing past life memories.
Just as Nynaeve was accessing LTT's past life memories when she channeled balefire in TDR? And as Neald was accessing LTT's past life memories when he helped Perrin make his hammer? And as all those AS wannabees are accessing LTT's past life memories when they come up with rudimentary Compulsion?

Somehow the argument doesn't seem quite as strong as it should when taking those other examples into account.

Zombie Sammael
05-11-2013, 08:23 PM
That is indeed the kind of philosophical question highlighted by the WOT series. The nature of personal identity is something that is addressed from a variety of angles, and it seems far too simple to me to conclude that the central question in this regard has a simple, obvious, and uninteresting answer.

As an aside, I just now thought of the similarity between the various "possible worlds" that Rand and the DO showed each other, and the "possible worlds" that Rand manufactured during the trip to Falme in TGH. Now I'm wondering whether any other channeler could or would have produced anything similar at all.

There is nothing simple or uninteresting about the explanation that LTT is a construct. As I tried to explain before, this conclusion enhances the series, since the reader can read those early books, and see the psychosis forming and identify its causes, rather than making the somewhat simplistic assumption that Rand is hearing a real voice belonging to someone else. Obviously some element of fantasy is involved in both explanations, but the real explanation is entirely lacking in the subtlety and creativity that the construct one possesses. RJ's great skill with this was to hide in plain sight the evidence for the construct argument; his mis-step was in ever giving any weight to the "realer" argument.

LTT as a real voice is simplistic, dull, and lacks subtlety. It is a cookie cutter fantasy story trope that lacks the skill of the construct explanation. It gives no insight into Rand's psychological state, since he is simply hearing someone else talk to him. It tells us nothing about the real effect of the taint, since the real voice must be communicated by magic somehow. It develops the world in only the most superficial way, since it presents the possibility that one incarnation of a person can actually talk to another across time, rather than demonstrating the possibilities involved in a cosmology where reincarnation is the norm. It sucks, and that's why I don't believe it.

Terez
05-12-2013, 03:48 PM
That is indeed the kind of philosophical question highlighted by the WOT series. The nature of personal identity is something that is addressed from a variety of angles, and it seems far too simple to me to conclude that the central question in this regard has a simple, obvious, and uninteresting answer.
I agree, which is why I've always argued against the realers. ;)

Terez
05-12-2013, 03:59 PM
Sorry for the separate post.

As an aside, I just now thought of the similarity between the various "possible worlds" that Rand and the DO showed each other, and the "possible worlds" that Rand manufactured during the trip to Falme in TGH.
I tried to foreshadow that in my review (http://www.theoryland.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=7666).

Agreed! Even in TEOTW, Rand is capable of channeling flows even though he has never learned them at the end of the book. To me, that would be evidence of him accessing past life memories.
As Gonzo said, just coming up with something on your own is not precisely evidence of past life memories, though I suppose it's possible Nynaeve and Aviendha and the others accessed their own past life memories to come up with new weaves. There is, however, a matter of degree in Rand's case that has caused some to argue in the past that Rand started getting memories earlier than TSR (when it first becomes blatant). The same argument has been used to explain why he got so good at the sword so quickly.

RJ's great skill with this was to hide in plain sight the evidence for the construct argument; his mis-step was in ever giving any weight to the "realer" argument.
I don't think that's a misstep; that's part of the genius. He writes it so that you believe one thing, just to make you feel stupid when you realize that it was in fact the other thing and that you should have known all along.

fdsaf3
05-12-2013, 10:47 PM
The same argument has been used to explain why he got so good at the sword so quickly.

Part of it has to be natural talent. Lan tells Rand in The Great Hunt that he could make him a blademaster in time (my memory escapes, but the paraphrased quote is something like "you have quick wrists and don't make the same mistake twice"...).

Maybe the Dragon Soul is always born into a body which will excel at swordfighting.

Terez
05-12-2013, 11:17 PM
Part of it is also his early experience with the Void, which Gawyn for example never mastered. Though one could argue that was Brandon trying to do a retcon.

GonzoTheGreat
05-13-2013, 04:13 AM
RJ's great skill with this was to hide in plain sight the evidence for the construct argument; his mis-step was in ever giving any weight to the "realer" argument.
I don't think that's a misstep; that's part of the genius. He writes it so that you believe one thing, just to make you feel stupid when you realize that it was in fact the other thing and that you should have known all along.
I agree with Terez that it wasn't a misstep from RJ, I disagree with the rest of it. I think that RJ went to great lengths to deliberately keep the question unanswered.

Terez
05-13-2013, 04:18 AM
Of course he did, because confirming it makes it too easy, and removes the need to think (which is why certain people have annoyed the luminaries for a direct answer and why certain others have never bothered).

Daekyras
05-13-2013, 05:53 AM
It's just the idea of Lews Therin as a separate person with a will of his own that was always terribly wrongheaded.

Hence the "Teeheehee" in my original post.

GonzoTheGreat
05-13-2013, 07:13 AM
It's just the idea of Lews Therin as a separate person with a will of his own that was always terribly wrongheaded.
I'd missed this. Sorry about that.

So, now the first question is: can we show that any of the characters had a "will of his* own"?
The second question, which only arises if the first one is answered in the affirmative, is: how?

* Or "her", if you want to.

Terez
05-13-2013, 03:37 PM
I'd missed this. Sorry about that.
No big deal; I've heard all your arguments before anyway. They're just as irrelevant as they always were.

GonzoTheGreat
05-14-2013, 03:13 AM
It may very well be that my main problem with the Construct theory is that I'd already read Sybil (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sybil_(book)), and don't want to bother with a reread of it. RJ probably intended to insert the idea of repressed memories into the story line, but I hope he did not actually intend for us to believe in that bunk, nor even to accept it for the purpose of appreciating the story.

Weird Harold
05-14-2013, 08:40 AM
It may very well be that my main problem with the Construct theory is that I'd already read Sybil (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sybil_(book)), and don't want to bother with a reread of it. RJ probably intended to insert the idea of repressed memories into the story line, but I hope he did not actually intend for us to believe in that bunk, nor even to accept it for the purpose of appreciating the story.
Sybil (along with The Three Faces of Eve and other accounts of DID) is only part of the basis for the development of Lews Therin.

In ancient Indian literature, the Upanishads mention past-life regression,[6] but the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali discuss the concept in greater detail. Writing during the 2nd century BC, the Hindu scholar Patañjali discussed the idea of the soul becoming burdened with an accumulation of impressions as part of the karma from previous lives.[7] Patañjali called the process of past-life regression prati-prasav (literally "reverse birthing"), and saw it as addressing current problems through memories of past lives. Some types of yoga continue to use prati-prasav as a practice.[8][9]

In the religious mythology of China the deity Meng Po, also known as the "Lady of Forgetfullness", prevents souls from remembering their past lives: she gives them a bittersweet drink that erases all memories before they climb the wheel of reincarnation.[10]

(Mythical)Past life regression and even Shirley Mclain's New Age theories of reincarnation and publication (some) of her "past lives" are also only part of the basis for Lews Therin.

To confuse the issue, Past Life Memories (Soul Memories) aren't the only source of memories in the WOT. There are also Old Blood Memories to deal with -- which don't apply to "Lews Therin Kinslayer" because he left no descendants to pass on fragmentary bits of Lews Therin Memories. Things like spontaneous "re-invention' of weaves can be either kind of 'external' memories, or they can be genuine innovation, like Healing severing; which was 'impossible.'

I never seriously considered the "real" hypothesis because I grew up with same pop culture, hippy-dippy, New Age exposure that RJ did, but what hammer a huge nail into the coffin of that hypothesis for me was RJ's assertion that Rand/LTT only possessed one Soul; For LTT to be 'real' (and thus separate from Ra'T) would mean there were two Souls -- There is only one Soul so LTT CANNOT be "Real."

GonzoTheGreat
05-14-2013, 12:07 PM
I never seriously considered the "real" hypothesis because I grew up with same pop culture, hippy-dippy, New Age exposure that RJ did, but what hammer a huge nail into the coffin of that hypothesis for me was RJ's assertion that Rand/LTT only possessed one Soul; For LTT to be 'real' (and thus separate from Ra'T) would mean there were two Souls -- There is only one Soul so LTT CANNOT be "Real."
But that only works if you assume that the original LTT also was merely a construct fabricated by Rand al'Thor, even though the latter wouldn't be born for another 4,000 years.

The way that I think RJ set it up is that the various incarnations of a soul are different persons from each other, even though they are (usually) very similar. Like identical twins raised in different environments, only now serially rather than parallel. Those identical twins start out as one person (one fertilised egg), but then diverge. The incarnations of a specific soul in the WOT also start out the same, then diverge, but they are reintegrated again after death. In some few cases someone gets two of his lives/persons at the same time, and that's the kind of case to which Semirhage referred when she explained Rand's situation. Two persons, one soul, not yet processed by the "automatic after death reintegration". So what Rand had to do was manage on his one what would normally be handled automatically by the Pattern, and combine his two (or more) persons into one.

Weird Harold
05-14-2013, 01:39 PM
But that only works if you assume that the original LTT also was merely a construct fabricated by Rand al'Thor, even though the latter wouldn't be born for another 4,000 years.


I think you're just being willfully obtuse. :(

LTT lived and created the memories that Rand has trouble coping with; there is no doubt about that. The memories are genuine past-life memories. That proves nothing about whether the "LTT personality" Rand's subconscious constructed is identical to the personality LTT had during his incarnation.

Memories of past incarnations are encoded in every soul -- Birgitte's testimony proves that without doubt for the HotH. There is no reason to assume HotH are unique in this regard because non-heroes can be promoted -- they must have past-life memories to draw on if they are promoted.

Garak
05-14-2013, 03:44 PM
I seriously debated not making any further posts but since I don't think this will cause too much of an uproar – at least, I hope it won't – I think it should be safe to share my theory as to the nature of the Lews Therin voice in Rand's mind.

After reading this thread, I've noticed that people seem to fall into one of two camps. I did a search of the word “construct,” found a thread by Terez called “Construct theory in a nutshell,” and familiarized myself with the theory. I've provided links to the thread below and we will begin with a summary of both positions before I offer a third option.

http://www.theoryland.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=4777

So, based on what I've read, I believe the essential division between the two groups goes as follows.

“Realers” believe that the voice in Rand's head was a separate consciousness with a will of its own, possibly based on that of the original Lews Therin Telamon.

“Constructors” believe that the voice in Rand's head is a psychological defense mechanism born of his inability to accept culpability for his crimes as Lews Therin. In essence, Rand attempted to convince himself that he and Lews Therin were two different people so that he would not have to feel guilt over the death of Ilyena, the death of his children and the horrors of the Breaking of the World.

The result was a kind of psychosis in which Rand experienced the influence of Lews Therin's memories and knowledge as a voice in his head. Most likely one that he imagined but it is possible that the taint had some influence there.

Is this essentially correct? Have I summarized these positions accurately?

All right, here's my take.

Neither of these theories are correct.

Let's start by refuting the “Real” theory. Rand al'Thor is Lews Therin Telamon; Lews Therin Telamon is Rand al'Thor. They are the same person and always have been because that's what rebirth means. The same soul in different bodies. And we know from Birgitte that the soul carries with it the concept of identity. Meaning that even though she had a different face and a different name with each incarnation, she was always the same person.

There is also a quotation from Eye of the World in which Moiraine explains the concept of rebirth and specifies that even though a man will have many names and bear many faces, he will always be the same man. I won't retype it here. Suffice it to say Rand is Lews Therin.

Now on to the “Construct” theory.

Just about everything in this theory is acceptable and the theory would be an excellent explanation of the Lews Therin phenomenon if not for one thing.

In the Knife of Dreams chapter “Vows,” something else is in control of the One Power and Rand is not able to regain control. At one point, Rand pleads with “Lews Therin” to save the Saldeans and “Lews Therin” ignores him, choosing to focus on killing trollocs. The voice grows agitated when it realizes that it cannot move Rand's hands and seems to think of Rand's body as its own. The release of saidin coincides with “Lews Therin's” statement “We can die at Tarmon Gaidon.” This would seem to suggest that the voice was, in fact, in control of the One Power.

If I understand the theory correctly, at this point Constructors will argue that Rand is an unreliable narrator and therefore his perceptions cannot be trusted. In other words, the entire notion that Lews Therin usurped control of the One Power was simply a delusion. Rand was in control the entire time. The problem I have with this is that the voice is clearly belligerent and does not respond to any of Rand's pleas.

Something else is clearly in control of the One Power.

So, what was it?

Towers of Midnight gives us a clue

She Delved deeper. The darkness had tiny thornlike projections stuck into Naeff's mind. She ignored the people gathering around her and inspected those thorns. She carefully used weaves of Spirit to pry one free.

It came out with some resistance and she quickly Healed the spot where it had punctured Naeff's flesh (Side note: the fact that it punctured Naeff's flesh means that this is a physical object attached to his brain) The brain seemed to pulse, looking more healthy. She was forced to maintain her weaves, holding the barbs back, lest they plunge down again. She began to sweat. She was already tired from sweeping the area clean and no longer could spare the concentration to keep the heat off her. Tear was so muggy.

She continued working, preparing a counterweave. Once she had pride up each and every thorn, she released the new weave. The dark patch undulated and shook like something alive(Emphasis Brandon's).

Then it vanished.

I believe this “weave” of the taint to be a parasite, one that attaches itself to key locations in the host's brains, starting with those centres that process visual and auditory information and eventually moving onto things like motor control and whatever part of the brain controls the One Power. In essence, it is alive. In the most rudimentary sense, of course. On its own, it is no more conscious than a bacterial infection but it gradually diverts Rand's mental hardware to its own purposes. Exposure to the taint causes this parasite to grow in size. Had saidin remained tainted, the parasite would have eventually taken over the cerebellum (the part of the brain responsible for motor control) and the cerebral cortex, essentially replacing Rand's consciousness its own. As the parasite grows, it becomes more self-aware, using Rand's sentience as the basis for its own. It begins to understand its environment through Rand's senses.

There are now two consciousnesses warring for control of the body: Rand's and that of the parasite. The construct theory applies in the following context: something is taking control of Rand's cognitive functions but he doesn't know what it is. Because this process coincides with (and possibly causes) the emergence of his past life memories, he assumes that the separate consciousness must the that of Lews Therin. So, he labels the intruder “Lews Therin.”

The voice is a delusion caused by the parasite. However, sensory information is filtered both through Rand's cerebral cortex and through the parasite's neural network, which means that the thoughts in Rand's mind are a result of blending these two consciousnesses. Rand becomes a darker version of himself, disposed toward violence and megalomania. Any thought that Rand's brain generates is altered by the parasite and the parasite also works to produce auditory hallucinations. The result is a voice that Rand associates with the persona of his former self.

Rand's parasite is much larger than those of the other Asha'man and as a result, they have not reached the point where it begins usurping control of the Power.

The radiance in Rand's mind (the one that coated each of the black thorns) restrained the parasite so it couldn't control him anymore.

Terez
05-14-2013, 03:58 PM
The control issues were probably due to the link with Moridin. That said, it's entirely possible for delusion to reach those levels—there is documentation of this sort of thing in psychological literature—so no, something was not 'clearly' in control.

Weird Harold
05-14-2013, 04:08 PM
In essence, Rand attempted to convince himself ...

Your wording implies a conscious decision to reject the past life memories. Rand had no control over the process; conscious or otherwise.

I don't believe the Taint is a parasite any more than I believe those afflicted with heavy metal poisoning (eg Hatter's Disease)are infected by a parasite.

Garak
05-14-2013, 04:44 PM
The control issues were probably due to the link with Moridin. That said, it's entirely possible for delusion to reach those levels—there is documentation of this sort of thing in psychological literature—so no, something was not 'clearly' in control.

You are, of course, welcome to your interpretation, Terez. Me, I don't see the fact that Rand might have hallucinated the loss of control as a good reason to believe that's what actually happened. Taking the scene at face value - something I believe we should do whenever possible - it's clear that something else was controlling Rand's access to the Power.

I don't believe the Taint is a parasite any more than I believe those afflicted with heavy metal poisoning (eg Hatter's Disease)are infected by a parasite.

Your analogy is flawed in that the taint, being a fantastical concept, can behave in any way the author imagines. There is no reason why it must be compared to Hatter's Disease as opposed to influenza. Not that I'm saying either of those is the accurate. There is a heavy implication by the author that the taint leaves behind a living organism, though I admit this could just be a trick of Nynaeve's perception.

Terez
05-14-2013, 07:38 PM
You are, of course, welcome to your interpretation, Terez.
And you to yours, but when you use words like 'clearly' you're implying that your interpretation is the only possible one. I don't give half a shit about your opinion; I was just addressing the logical flaws in your post.

Zombie Sammael
05-14-2013, 07:49 PM
Your wording implies a conscious decision to reject the past life memories. Rand had no control over the process; conscious or otherwise.

I don't believe the Taint is a parasite any more than I believe those afflicted with heavy metal poisoning (eg Hatter's Disease)are infected by a parasite.

I have to say that while I clearly fall into the "construct" camp I disagree with the notion that Rand had no control over the process, or that there wasn't a conscious decision to reject the memories. In fact, that he can be seen actually doing this throughout TSR and perhaps even earlier is in my opinion the most convincing argument for the construct theory. LTT was Rand's creation through his own repression of his memories, his madness exacerbated by the Taint.

Weird Harold
05-14-2013, 08:09 PM
I disagree with the notion that Rand had no control over the process, or that there wasn't a conscious decision to reject the memories.

Rand had no control over the form his madness took. We do see Rand explicitly denying LTT, but the LTT identity was already established.

Control implies that Rand could choose to not repress the memories and not assign them to a constructed personality. Without any external therapy/assistance, Rand didn't know what was happening a had no means to counteract the subconscious creation of the LTT personality.

Tollingtoy
05-14-2013, 09:14 PM
Just as Nynaeve was accessing LTT's past life memories when she channeled balefire in TDR? And as Neald was accessing LTT's past life memories when he helped Perrin make his hammer? And as all those AS wannabees are accessing LTT's past life memories when they come up with rudimentary Compulsion?

Somehow the argument doesn't seem quite as strong as it should when taking those other examples into account.

The examples aren't really comparable because Nynaeve was somewhat of an experienced channeler, although she didn't realize what she was doing for a long period of time and Neald was as well. You certainly can't compare what they did to Rand channeling for (I believe) the third time in his life. Also, I would argue that what Rand accomplished at Tarwin's Gap far outshines both Nynaeve's and Neald's weaves

Zombie Sammael
05-14-2013, 10:22 PM
Rand had no control over the form his madness took. We do see Rand explicitly denying LTT, but the LTT identity was already established.

Control implies that Rand could choose to not repress the memories and not assign them to a constructed personality. Without any external therapy/assistance, Rand didn't know what was happening a had no means to counteract the subconscious creation of the LTT personality.

I don't think we agree on what is meant by "control". Rand was consciously responsible for the process of LTT's creation; that's clear from TSR with shadows as early as TEOTW in things like his rejection of the notion that Tam is not his genetic father, and his rejection of the One Power. He could have chosen to simply accept the memories as a side-effect of his status as the Dragon Reborn, or he could have gone to someone he trusted - and he was surrounded by people who ultimately he should have known were trustworthy in Moiraine and Egwene - for help. It was Rand's choice and Rand's choice alone to repress the memories, and Rand's insistence that they belonged to some other person that led to the creation of the "Lews Therin" personality. It was inevitable that he would go insane but he did have at least a measure of control over how that happened; it was his decision that caused the second personality to emerge. Had he been a little older and a little wiser when the events of the story began he might not have had to go through what he did, but of course there was a purpose to that suffering in a cosmological sense. But I do say he could have chosen not to repress, and could have chosen to accept that he was Lews Therin Telamon reborn.

suttree
05-14-2013, 11:05 PM
Meaning that even though she had a different face and a different name with each incarnation, she was always the same person.


Nope.

Interview: Oct 4th, 2005
Robert Jordan's Blog: ONE MORE TIME
Robert Jordan
Everybody fears death because the being that is reborn, while possessing the same soul, will not be the same person. The fear is simple. I will cease to exist. Someone else will exist, bearing my soul

There may be some common themes but the personality develops anew with each incarnation.

Garak
05-15-2013, 12:31 AM
"As the Wheel of Time turns," Moiraine said, half to herself with a distant look in her eyes, "places wear many names. Men wear many names, many faces. Different faces but always the same man."

That from the Eye of the World.

And Rand opened his eyes for the first time in a very long while. He knew - somehow - that he would never again hear Lews Therin's voice in his head. For they were not two men and never had been.

From the Gathering Storm.

I could dig up dozens of quotes from Birgitte but you should be familiar with them. The books make it clear that identity is preserved from life to life even if memories are not.

When something that an author says in an interview contradicts established facts from the novels themselves, priority is always given to what is written in print.

Your quote from RJ is invalid.

Terez
05-15-2013, 02:13 AM
Rand had no control over the form his madness took. We do see Rand explicitly denying LTT, but the LTT identity was already established.

Control implies that Rand could choose to not repress the memories and not assign them to a constructed personality. Without any external therapy/assistance, Rand didn't know what was happening a had no means to counteract the subconscious creation of the LTT personality.
I think it has to be a little of both. Callandor had a different way of arguing this than I did, but he used to always say that one great thing about the construct theory was that it presented a clear solution: if Rand accepted Lews Therin's memories as his own, then theoretically he could achieve this integration that Graendal had such difficulties with. And that is exactly what happened, in a pretty explicit way. I get what you're saying about the subconscious element, and I agree that it was almost entirely subconscious; I just think it's hard to argue that his own motives and efforts to suppress didn't play a role. I think it's very possible that he could have avoided what happened under different circumstances: if he didn't have motive to suppress the memories, and if he hadn't been influenced by the taint. (Barrier degradation seems the most logical theory for the flood of memories that began in TSR/TFOH, but as we saw with Graendal's patients, it can't be the only cause.) It's hard to draw a line between conscious and unconscious; Rand did have a choice, and while he didn't know what was happening, he could have easily figured it out. I mean, he knew he was the Dragon Reborn; that's better knowledge than Mat had, in a way.

GonzoTheGreat
05-15-2013, 03:42 AM
There is also a quotation from Eye of the World in which Moiraine explains the concept of rebirth and specifies that even though a man will have many names and bear many faces, he will always be the same man. I won't retype it here. Suffice it to say Rand is Lews Therin.
Moraine is speculating here based on nothing more than speculation from others.

In direct contradiction it is the following, from someone who is speculating based on actual personal first hand knowledge of the real phenomenon:
"At the end," Rand said. "And yes, he made mistakes. I made mistakes. I grew arrogant, desperate. But there's a difference this time. A great one."
"What difference?"
He smiled. "This time, I was raised better."
Basically, what we are doing here is have the great nature/nurture debate all over, now purely in the context of the WOT.

According to the construct camp, the personality is all nature, with absolutely no contribution from nurture at all.
According to me (and Rand, see quote), nurture also has a part in it, resulting in differing personalities from the same soul in different Ages and situations.

When something that an author says in an interview contradicts established facts from the novels themselves, priority is always given to what is written in print.
That assumes that all the characters in the books are omniscient and can not possibly be mistaken about anything. Which is not an assumption that I would want to have to defend.

Terez
05-15-2013, 03:51 AM
According to the construct camp, the personality is all nature, with absolutely no contribution from nurture at all.
That is so wrong I don't even know where to begin.

GonzoTheGreat
05-15-2013, 04:37 AM
That is so wrong I don't even know where to begin.
You could start out by explaining how, if nurture has any effect on the personality (which would make for different persons in different incarnations), you still consider all the various incarnations of the Dragon soul to be the same person, despite those incarnations having had varied outside influences (nurture) during their lifetimes.

Davian93
05-15-2013, 07:29 AM
Aes Sedai speak the truth...AS THEY BELIEVE IT.

Key point that Garak is ignoring (shocking, I know).

Weird Harold
05-15-2013, 10:38 AM
Rand did have a choice, and while he didn't know what was happening, he could have easily figured it out.

He could have chosen to simply accept the memories

In order to have a choice, it is necessary to know that other options exist.

In Rand's case, he knew:


He knew male channelers were doomed to go mad
That he was the reincarnation of the maddest and most infamous madman in all of myth, legend and history.
Crazy people hear voices and remember things that they didn't do.
HE was doomed to go crazy


Nowhere in that list or in Rand's experience was mention of anyone remembering past lives as being normal or expected.

If people accepted things they didn't understand as just "normal" things with mundane explanations, psychologists and psychiatrists would be out of a job. Instead, "mind-healers" make millions pointing out better coping methods and providing mundane explanations for the strange and weird.

suttree
05-15-2013, 11:43 AM
That from the Eye of the World.



From the Gathering Storm.

I could dig up dozens of quotes from Birgitte but you should be familiar with them. The books make it clear that identity is preserved from life to life even if memories are not.

When something that an author says in an interview contradicts established facts from the novels themselves, priority is always given to what is written in print.

Your quote from RJ is invalid.

Others have pointed out the many flaws in your thinking but here is another for you to mull over.

Interview: Jan 7th, 2003
COT Signing Report - David Funke (Verbatim)
Question
The question is, with Rand and Lews Therin, do they have one soul or two souls in the body?
Robert Jordan
They have one soul with two personalities. The reincarnation of souls does not mean reincarnation of personalities. The personality develops with each reincarnation of the soul. This is the cosmology that I have cobbled together.

In addition ot word of God, Gonz gave the Rand quote stating this to be true. Also funny you mention Birgitte quotes as they support about exactly what I said about common themes but different personalities. By all means though pull some and we can discuss.

Garak
05-15-2013, 12:20 PM
The novels in this series are primary sources. Questions from signings, blogs and other ancillary materials such as the Big White Book are secondary sources. Primary sources always take precedence over secondary sources.

Now, let me explain why.

While it is true that characters can be incorrect in their thoughts and beliefs, we should remember that many of the things these characters say – particularly in the opening chapters of the first book – are deliberately placed into the narrative as exposition. Novels are subject to revisions, editing and multiple rounds of fact-checking to ensure continuity in the story. Answers given in a blog are not subject to the same level of scrutiny.

Consider the numerous attempts that RJ has made to make it clear that identity is preserved from life to life.

Moiraine's speech in the opening chapters.
The fact that the Heroes refer to Rand as “Lews Therin.”
“I have won again, Lews Therin.”
Birgitte speaks of all her prior incarnations in the first-person.
Birgitte and Gaidal remain linked.
The Forsaken think of Rand as Lews Therin.
And finally...
“He would never again hear the voice of Lews Therin. For they were not two men and never had been.”

Was RJ deliberately trying to mislead us in all of these cases?

Or is it more likely that, when writing that blog entry, he was trying to express a complex concept regarding the fear of death and may not have articulated the point to his satisfaction? His novels seem to hinge on the fact that Rand is Lews Therin. I don't think he would deliberately undermine that fact by intentionally contradicting himself. So, it's more likely that he didn't consider the implications of what he was writing in that entry.

It seems to me that, in his blog entry, RJ was writing about the fear of death from the point of view of the people who fear it. Objectively speaking, they retain their identities from life to life but from their limited perspective, it may appear that they will cease to exist. Of course, I can't speak to what RJ was thinking when he wrote that blog entry but that is my interpretation.

Either way, the blog entry contradicts facts that have been established multiple times throughout the novels themselves. So, you can either throw out the blog entry or you can throw out large chunks of the series. Take your pick.

To Suttree, I am not saying that personality is preserved from life to life. I am saying that identity is preserved from life to life.

Terez
05-15-2013, 02:04 PM
You could start out by explaining how, if nurture has any effect on the personality (which would make for different persons in different incarnations), you still consider all the various incarnations of the Dragon soul to be the same person, despite those incarnations having had varied outside influences (nurture) during their lifetimes.
I have said a million times before that it's both nature and nurture. The nature is the part that is the same; the nurture is the part that is different. The nurture aspect does not make enough of a difference that Birgitte felt like she was several different people; she was the same woman, born over and over again. Just like Rand insisted to Min after he accepted his past life memories that he was still Rand al'Thor.

Garak
05-15-2013, 02:17 PM
I think the issue is that people are confusing personality with identity. Yes Lews Therin has a slightly different personality than Rand al'Thor and Maerion has a different personality than Birgitte Silverbow but that doesn't change the fact that they are the same people. Personality is not the basis for identity.

Our own personalities change gradually as we age. That doesn't mean our identities have changed. I would say that the basis for identity in the Wheel of Time is the soul. This is based on what we've seen with Birgitte.

suttree
05-15-2013, 03:49 PM
The novels in this series are primary sources. Questions from signings, blogs and other ancillary materials such as the Big White Book are secondary sources. Primary sources always take precedence over secondary sources.

You don't say. :rolleyes:


I think the issue is that people are confusing personality with identity. Yes Lews Therin has a slightly different personality than Rand al'Thor and Maerion has a different personality than Birgitte Silverbow but that doesn't change the fact that they are the same people. Personality is not the basis for identity.

Our own personalities change gradually as we age. That doesn't mean our identities have changed. I would say that the basis for identity in the Wheel of Time is the soul. This is based on what we've seen with Birgitte.

I did indeed not get where you were going with "identity". While the soul remains the same the body and personality change. They have different life experiences that shape them and there are certain turnings where Rand's soul can't channel for instance. You can not compare a personality changing as you grow up to what happens in the WoT. So how much of that original person remains when the body and personality are new? Recall as I said earlier you do have common themes that repeat, just not sure how far we can take that.

Additionally none of the examples given really support your point all that well. Forsaken calling him by the previous incarnation that they are familiar with? Birgitte and Gaidal often being spun out together? I mean I guess I can see how you can spin it to support your point but it cisn't cut and dry like you claim. They certainly do not explicitly dispute either of the RJ quotes.

I also don't know how much we can take from HotH and the Dragon Soul. They are fairly unique characters after all. Does every single person in the WoT have the same strong soul traits.

Garak
05-15-2013, 04:11 PM
Birgitte and Gaidal being spun out together would not make sense if their identities change. The very idea of a soulmate is rooted in permanance.

The fact that the Heroes and Forsaken and even the Dark One call Rand "Lews Therin" is meant to re-enforce the fact that Rand is Lews Therin. They are the same man. (Edit: or more precisely, he is one man. Rand and Lews Therin are two different names for the same person)

Finally your question about how much of the original person remains. I think the flaw in your logic is that you're applying real-world rules to a fictional universe. In the real-word, we live once - so far as we can prove at least - and our identities are shaped by our experiences. But WOT is a world where reincarnation is a confirmed reality. Reincarnation (rebirth) means that the same person lives multiple times. That is the definition of the term. So under those circumstances, the basis for identity (what makes a person a person?) would have to be the soul.

suttree
05-15-2013, 04:14 PM
So under those circumstances, the basis for identity (what makes a person a person?) would have to be the soul.

So to your mind nurture plays zero role?

Garak
05-15-2013, 04:28 PM
So to your mind nurture plays zero role?

I don't think we will ever have an objective answer to that question.

But if I had to guess, I'd say this. Nurture goes a long way toward shaping someone's personality but only within certain limits. There are certain traits that are hard-wired into the soul itself and cannot be overcome by environmental factors. Why does Birgitte always gravitate to bows or other ranged weapons?

However, this is a moot point. You're still working under the assumption that a person's identity is tied to his character traits. And that nay be true in the real world. But in WoT, identity is strictly a function of the soul. Even if two incarnations of the same soul have vastly different character traits, in this series they are still the same person.

suttree
05-15-2013, 04:40 PM
I don't think we will ever have an objective answer to that question. .

Rand's quote from earlier in thread about being raised different certainly would indicate it is the case.


Why does Birgitte always gravitate to bows or other ranged weapons?

She often does but not always.

Winter's Heart
Chapter 7, "The Streets of Caemlyn"

The memories of her past lives were fading—she said she could remember nothing at all clearly before the founding of the White Tower, now, though fragments still floated up—but one thing she claimed to recall absolutely. Every time she had tried to use a sword, she had nearly gotten herself killed, and had even done so more than once.


Even if two incarnations of the same soul have vastly different character traits, in this series they are still the same person


To my mind that is a big leap from having the same soul. Additionally once again we are talking about the DR and HotH. They are tools used by the pattern. Whose to say everyone has such strong soul traits?

Weird Harold
05-15-2013, 04:45 PM
I also don't know how much we can take from HotH and the Dragon Soul. They are fairly unique characters after all. Does every single person in the WoT have the same strong soul traits.

Yes.

In the WoT, old sayings are literal truth:


He has the soul of a blacksmth
He has the soul of an artist.
He has the soul of a farmer.
he has music in his soul
etc


As noted in an earlier post, every soul has the personalities of every past life, like pearls on a string. If that were NOT true then the ranks of HotH could never add new members as Hawkwing asserts to Hurin.

Weird Harold
05-15-2013, 04:54 PM
Why does Birgitte always gravitate to bows or other ranged weapons?
She often does but not always.

According to RJ, Birgitte is always an Archer she gravitates to a bow and arrow and ONLY a bow an arrow.

Birgitte may be better known for some other aspect in any given incarnation, but she always excels as an archer. (a la Gina Davis: superstar actress and world class Olympic archer.)

Garak
05-15-2013, 04:58 PM
Suttree, you're missing the point.

Traits are irrelevent in this discussion; so it doesn't matter if non-heroes have what you call "soul traits." In WoT, identity is strictly a function of the soul. That and nothing more. You have to ignore the impulse to think of a person as the sum of his thoughts, feelings, instincts, virtues, vices, etc. In this world, a person is his soul. Now whether that soul retains certain personality traits from life to life is not something we can answer given the information that we have. But a person is his soul. Just his soul.

Now, I'm not saying you have to think of this as a good, logically-consistent model - personally, I think many of RJ's ideas fall apart if you think too hard - but that is the model the author chose to employ.

Tollingtoy
05-15-2013, 05:11 PM
Your quote from RJ is invalid.


Right, the guy that wrote the book doesn't know what he's talking about......

Tollingtoy
05-15-2013, 05:15 PM
According to RJ, Birgitte is always an Archer she gravitates to a bow and arrow and ONLY a bow an arrow.

Birgitte may be better known for some other aspect in any given incarnation, but she always excels as an archer. (a la Gina Davis: superstar actress and world class Olympic archer.)


But, is this because she has the "soul" of an archer, or the Pattern steers her toward archery because it satisfies its need for this particular archetype?

suttree
05-15-2013, 05:24 PM
Right, the guy that wrote the book doesn't know what he's talking about......

Indeed. Nature and nurture both play a role. You can't remove "personality" from what makes up a person. That is the mistake being made here. Sharing the same soul does not equal being the same person as RJ states. There is nothing in the books that invalidates his quotes on the matter. Identity is not only a function of the soul. Rand is pretty clear on that.

Garak
05-15-2013, 06:00 PM
Right, the guy that wrote the book doesn't know what he's talking about......

The man is human and therefore capable of making mistakes and contradicting himself.

Garak
05-15-2013, 06:02 PM
Indeed. Nature and nurture both play a role. You can't remove "personality" from what makes up a person. That is the mistake being made here. Sharing the same soul does not equal being the same person as RJ states. There is nothing in the books that invalidates his quotes on the matter. Identity is not only a function of the soul. Rand is pretty clear on that.

Yes but the central point is refuting the idea that Lews Therin is taking over Rand. Lews Therin cannot take over Rand because they are one and the same. It's like saying "I took over myself." The statement makes no sense.

Zombie Sammael
05-15-2013, 08:18 PM
See guys, this is how you can spot a troll. Please don't feed him.

You know it's funny, I remember having almost the exact same conversation about primary and secondary sources with you when it came to Rand's apparent super-powers in TOM. AS I recall I left the argument feeling like I'd won but eventually came round to your way of thinking.

Weird Harold
05-15-2013, 08:36 PM
But, is this because she has the "soul" of an archer, or the Pattern steers her toward archery because it satisfies its need for this particular archetype?

Birgitte is an archer -- perhaps, The Archer -- and a HotH. The Pattern spins her soul out (along with Gaidal Cain) to meet a particular need. It is always a need that can be met by an archer and a swordsman working together.

Souls in the WoT are the template of a person's talents and non-talents. Birgitte, for example, is always a talented Archer, but a totally inept swordswoman. It isn't specified, but I rather imagine Gaidal Cain would have difficulty hitting the broad side of a square barn from inside with a bow and arrow.

In the WoT, each soul is spun out into an incarnation suited to its template; There's no case of mis-matched soul and life that I'm aware of in the WOT. Situations like "a blacksmith's soul in a jockey's body" just don't happen in the WoT.

Terez
05-15-2013, 11:15 PM
Personalies—the nurture (R) part of the equation of identity—are different, but backward- and forward-compatible. The nature (A) part of the equation is the foundation that holds it all together.

R(x)=A

GonzoTheGreat
05-16-2013, 04:28 AM
Personalies—the nurture (R) part of the equation of identity—are different, but backward- and forward-compatible. The nature (A) part of the equation is the foundation that holds it all together.

R(x)=A
And that's where I would use a fundamentally different approach. I would use:

I=f(A,R)

That means that identity (I) is a function (f) of both nature and nurture. Not, as your formula states, that nature (the kind of soul someone has) necessarily determines precisely how that person will be raised. If your formula had been the correct one, then LTT would have managed to do what Rand now did, and the entire series we've read would not have existed at all, as the Strike at Shayol Ghul would have happened very differently.

Zombie Sammael
05-16-2013, 07:57 PM
Personally, I don't think identity or personality can be reduced to a simple formula*, whether in real life or WOT. But I'm a namby-pamby lily-livered liberal-leaning artsy-fartsy type, so what do I know.

*This does not preclude the possibility that a brilliant mathematician or scientist could explain it with a highly complex formula.

GonzoTheGreat
05-17-2013, 03:50 AM
Personally, I don't think identity or personality can be reduced to a simple formula*, whether in real life or WOT. But I'm a namby-pamby lily-livered liberal-leaning artsy-fartsy type, so what do I know.

*This does not preclude the possibility that a brilliant mathematician or scientist could explain it with a highly complex formula.
Thank you for the compliment. That is exactly what I did, of course.

In the interests of brevity, I did not quite explicitly write out the function "f", but if I had done that, then you would have seen that it was far from simple, being instead highly complex precisely as you wish.

I learned this trick at university, where one of my professors wrote the formula describing the entire existence and development of the entire universe on a blackboard:
dT=0
The "d" here, of course, stands for differentiation and is entirely trivial, as is the "0" (zero). The only remaining problem is that no one has the foggiest idea what would all be needed to properly write out "T". An attempt, which, as you put it, is "simple" is of course Einstein's theory of relativity combined with quantum electrodynamics, but that doesn't take dark matter and dark energy into account, so it is obviously incomplete. And, to be honest, some people think that relativity and QED aren't all that simple either, but compared to what they try to describe, they probably are.

Daekyras
05-27-2013, 09:41 AM
Thank you for the compliment. That is exactly what I did, of course.

In the interests of brevity, I did not quite explicitly write out the function "f", but if I had done that, then you would have seen that it was far from simple, being instead highly complex precisely as you wish.

I learned this trick at university, where one of my professors wrote the formula describing the entire existence and development of the entire universe on a blackboard:
dT=0
The "d" here, of course, stands for differentiation and is entirely trivial, as is the "0" (zero). The only remaining problem is that no one has the foggiest idea what would all be needed to properly write out "T". An attempt, which, as you put it, is "simple" is of course Einstein's theory of relativity combined with quantum electrodynamics, but that doesn't take dark matter and dark energy into account, so it is obviously incomplete. And, to be honest, some people think that relativity and QED aren't all that simple either, but compared to what they try to describe, they probably are.

I didn't realise that you were a man of science Gonzo. I always assumed you were a religious-y kinda guy.

As for the equation dT=0 I like to take the more simple mathematical approach:

T = Terez
d = Differential.

When the differntial is =0, then your argument has reached a maximum or minimum i.e a turning point.

Ergo, arguing with T just makes you change your mind...

Zombie Sammael
05-27-2013, 09:53 AM
I didn't realise that you were a man of science Gonzo. I always assumed you were a religious-y kinda guy.

As for the equation dT=0 I like to take the more simple mathematical approach:

T = Terez
d = Differential.

When the differntial is =0, then your argument has reached a maximum or minimum i.e a turning point.

Ergo, arguing with T just makes you change your mind...

Arguing with Terez is like running the Internet. Whoever wins you're surreal but not as offensive as the saying you're a parody of.

GonzoTheGreat
05-27-2013, 10:43 AM
I didn't realise that you were a man of science Gonzo. I always assumed you were a religious-y kinda guy.
The big advantage of arguing religion is that it takes no evidence, no logic, no sense and no reason to do so. The disadvantage, of course, is the same. When it comes to arguing science, evidence and logic do come into play, though sense and reason may still be rather more optional than some people* would like. So scientific arguments tend to be short# and to the point. Which makes them less fit for a board such as this one, which is why I tend to argue more religion over here.

* Like Einstein, who basically objected to quantum mechanics on the grounds that it made no sense. He was right about that, but QM still works anyway.

# See, for instance, the debate on the age of the universe (10 billion years or 20 billion years). That took only a few decades, and then it was settled with actual evidence.

GonzoTheGreat
05-27-2013, 10:57 AM
Yes but the central point is refuting the idea that Lews Therin is taking over Rand. Lews Therin cannot take over Rand because they are one and the same. It's like saying "I took over myself." The statement makes no sense.
Rand and Lews Therin may be one, but they are not the same. That is the whole point of it, and the basis of this debate too.

If they had been the same, then Lews Therin could and would have done what Rand now did, yet we know that he didn't do that and we have fairly good reason (the word of Rand al'Thor) to assume that he couldn't have done it then.

I still think that the "identical twins" analogy is useful, and so far that hasn't been debunked, that I remember.
-Identical twins start out as one being (and fertilised egg), then they separate and diverge. LTT and Rand started out as one being (the Dragon Soul), and then they diverged (separation is less applicable, seeing as how they did not grow up at the same time).
-Identical twins are usually very similar to each other, but still distinct individuals. LTT and Rand were very similar, yet distinct.
-Identical twins don't end up in one single brain, LTT and Rand did. That is obviously where the analogy breaks down, and it is also there that it becomes really interesting.

We know (from Birgitte and the other Heroes) that there is some mechanism in the Wheel of Time to reintegrate such separate lives. We also know (from Semirhage and Cadsuane) that such reintegration rarely succeeds if it is needed during the life of someone, rather than (as with the HotH) when they are dead.
So the real question is: had such reintegration occurred with LTT and Rand before Rand was born, or not?

That is the issue, and, as far as I can see, RJ went out of his way to leave it unanswered. So neither option can really be fully supported based on the text, and since the construct idea is just a load of psychobabble, I have a strong preference for the alternative.

Zombie Sammael
05-27-2013, 11:15 PM
That is the issue, and, as far as I can see, RJ went out of his way to leave it unanswered. So neither option can really be fully supported based on the text, and since the construct idea is just a load of psychobabble, I have a strong preference for the alternative.

Then you aren't looking very far. Whether or not in the real world it's based on psychobabble is irrelevant. In the books it's clear what is happening and you can see what Rand is doing to himself. The issue is closed unless you ignore what's written in the series, which you seem content to do.

GonzoTheGreat
05-28-2013, 03:41 AM
Then you aren't looking very far. Whether or not in the real world it's based on psychobabble is irrelevant. In the books it's clear what is happening and you can see what Rand is doing to himself. The issue is closed unless you ignore what's written in the series, which you seem content to do.
Well, from what I remember, it is never actually said in the series that people construct fake personalities when they have to deal with issues they aren't willing to deal with.
On the other hand, there are a couple of cases mentioned in the series where "outside personalities" do (try to) take over the minds of characters in the series. There is the warning that Thom gave in TEOTW ("The dead can be reborn, or take a living body, and it is not something to speak of lightly."). There is Compulsion. There is the case of Isam/Luc. There is the case of Padan Fain. There is the Warder bond.

Why do you ignore all those things that are written in the series, and instead take as gospel truth something that is very explicitly not written in the series instead?

Daekyras
05-29-2013, 10:44 AM
Rand and Lews Therin may be one, but they are not the same.

They get to carry each other, carry each other....

Garak
05-29-2013, 12:36 PM
I guess it's a good thing I subscribed to this thread. Okay, Gonzo, I'll do my best to reply.

Rand and Lews Therin may be one, but they are not the same.

Could you elaborate on this thought, please? Taken at face value, the statement is contradictory. They're the same but they're not? Reincarnation means the same person lives multiple times. Now, they may not remember and their personality may change from life to life but the philosophy of reincarnation is predicated on the idea that there is a continuity from life to life, that what happens in one life affects the next.

If they had been the same, then Lews Therin could and would have done what Rand now did, yet we know that he didn't do that and we have fairly good reason (the word of Rand al'Thor) to assume that he couldn't have done it then.

I think you've got the cart before the horse here. Rand was able to make choices in the current Age that were different from the ones he made in the Age of Legends simply because he remembered his actions in that previous life. In essence, Rand learned from his mistakes. But that doesn't mean his identity changed.

For instance, if he had to do it over again, Rand would have handled the fight with Lanfear very differently in an attempt to prevent Moiraine from going through the red-stone doorway. That doesn't mean that he isn't still Rand.


I still think that the "identical twins" analogy is useful, and so far that hasn't been debunked, that I remember.
-Identical twins start out as one being (and fertilised egg), then they separate and diverge. LTT and Rand started out as one being (the Dragon Soul), and then they diverged (separation is less applicable, seeing as how they did not grow up at the same time).
-Identical twins are usually very similar to each other, but still distinct individuals. LTT and Rand were very similar, yet distinct.
-Identical twins don't end up in one single brain, LTT and Rand did. That is obviously where the analogy breaks down, and it is also there that it becomes really interesting

Well, yes, there will almost certainly be variations in personality from life to life. But personality is not the same as identity.

From the comments in this thread, it seems to me that people seem to think that there are two sets of character traits. There are "core" traits that are embedded in the soul itself and there are "surface" traits that vary from life to life. Even I accepted this idea. But as I thought about it, I realized that the nature/nurture debate is the wrong conceptual framework for a discussion on reincarnation.

Let me explain.

Things that happen to you when you're young shape who you become even if you don't remember them. For example, research has shown that babies who are frequently held grow up to become more trusting individuals than babies who are not held. (I can't find the article that explains this but it was published in a 2010 issue of Psychology Today. I was reading it while waiting for a Dentist appointment.)

Anyway, the point is that you don't have to remember an event for it to influence your psyche. So, when we talk about reincarnation, we have to bear in mind that there is a continuity from life to life; things that happen to you in one life affect your personality in the next life even if you don't remember them. This is what Hindus are talking about when they use the word "karma." Rand's personality is shaped not just by his experiences in this life but by his experiences in all previous lives as well.

So, the question of "which traits are endemic to the soul and which are generated by life experience" is irrelevant. ALL traits are generated by life experience; it just may not be an experience that happened in THIS life. So, hypothetically, a child who was abused in a previous life may still be guarded and untrusting in his current life even if his parents are wonderful people . Naturally experiences from the current life would have greater influence than those from past lives but if an event was profound enough, its effects on the psyche could stretch across several incarnations.

I think you're trying to say that Rand's experiences are relevant in shaping his personality - and yes they are - but what you need to remember when talking about this fictional universe is that Rand has been having experiences for eons. For Ages and Ages. He doesn't have to remember those experiences for them to leave a mark on his soul. Everything that happened to Rand when he was alive in the Age of Legends played an important part in shaping who he would become even as he grew up in the Two Rivers.

Rand was alive in the Age of Legends. Rand lived in that time. Rand led the Hall of Servants and wore the Ring of Tamyrlin. Rand fought in the War of Power and suffered the betrayal of his friends Tel Janin (Sammael) and Barid Bel (Demandred). Rand married Ilyena and had children with her. Rand led a desperate attack to reseal the bore and his actions - though well intentioned - resulted in the Breaking of the World. Rand killed his wife and his children under the influence of the taint. Rand made the choices that were available to him given the knowledge that he had at the time and if he could do it again, knowing what he knows now, he would have done things differently.

Rand was allowed to forget these events but they still left a mark on his soul. All the Two Rivers lads have some very strong views on the issue of doing violence to women but in Mat's case, he was able to use lethal force against a woman when necessity forced his hand. (Twice). Even Perrin the gentle giant has... (my stomach twists at these words)... disciplined his wife.

But for Rand, the prohibition against violence toward women borders on outright neurosis and this begins LONG before the other effects of the taint become evident. The trauma of killing Ilyena left a mark on his soul.

So, I don't think the twins analogy works because Rand was not at the same starting point when he began his life in the Age of Legends as he was when he began his life in the Two Rivers.

But the central issue is that Rand cannot take over himself. There does appear to be a separate consciousness at play but it is not Rand's. "Lews Therin" is just another name for Rand.

Garak
05-29-2013, 12:51 PM
They get to carry each other, carry each other....

LMAO

Please tell me someone else got that.

GonzoTheGreat
05-29-2013, 01:04 PM
Could you elaborate on this thought, please? Taken at face value, the statement is contradictory. They're the same but they're not? Reincarnation means the same person lives multiple times. Now, they may not remember and their personality may change from life to life but the philosophy of reincarnation is predicated on the idea that there is a continuity from life to life, that what happens in one life affects the next.
That is what Hinduism and Buddhism claim in our world, but I haven't seen any evidence that it is the case in the WOT too. There is no concept akin to karma there that I know of.

And Rand himself says fairly explicitly that it is something else which makes the difference:
"Lews Therin was mad."
"At the end," Rand said. "And yes, he made mistakes. I made mistakes. I grew arrogant, desperate. But there's a difference this time. A great one."
"What difference?"
He smiled. "This time, I was raised better."
He doesn't say that he now remembers what he did wrong the previous time, though that would be true. But he realises that isn't enough; at the end of the War of the Power, LTT also remembered a lot of things he'd done wrong, but that did not let him figure out how to solve the problem. And, come to think of it, not even remembering how LTT's attempt did not work was not enough to make Rand understand how to solve it either. It was the difference in personality, the difference between Rand and LTT, that helped him to succeed. And that difference was not only caused by having some more memories, it was the result of being raised as a different person.

Garak
05-29-2013, 01:31 PM
That is what Hinduism and Buddhism claim in our world, but I haven't seen any evidence that it is the case in the WOT too. There is no concept akin to karma there that I know of.

Reincarnation is meaningless without some notion of continuity from one life to the next.

And Rand himself says fairly explicitly that it is something else which makes the difference:

"Lews Therin was mad."
"At the end," Rand said. "And yes, he made mistakes. I made mistakes. I grew arrogant, desperate. But there's a difference this time. A great one."
"What difference?"
He smiled. "This time, I was raised better."

He doesn't say that he now remembers what he did wrong the previous time, though that would be true. But he realises that isn't enough; at the end of the War of the Power, LTT also remembered a lot of things he'd done wrong, but that did not let him figure out how to solve the problem. And, come to think of it, not even remembering how LTT's attempt did not work was not enough to make Rand understand how to solve it either. It was the difference in personality, the difference between Rand and LTT, that helped him to succeed. And that difference was not only caused by having some more memories, it was the result of being raised as a different person.

I believe you're misunderstanding this section of the text. When Rand says "this time, I was raised better," what he's trying to say is that his life experiences in this Age have brought about a different perspective. And yes, that different perspective was an asset to him. But Rand is most certainly NOT saying that he and "Lews Therin" are separate people.

Whenever Rand speaks about his life in the Age of Legends, he ALWAYS uses the first-person. In the very same quotation that you posted, Rand corrects himself after speaking of his former life in the third person. (And that only because Min said "Lews Therin was mad." as opposed to "You were mad.")

Rand even puts emphasis on the word "I" to reinforce the fact that he was alive at that time. Lews Therin is just another name for Rand. Rand is just another name for Lews Therin. Just as Rand led the Hall of Servants, Lews Therin was raised by Tam al'Thor in the Two Rivers.

The words "butterfly" and "mariposa" mean the same thing. And likewise, the words "Rand al'Thor" and "Lews Therin Telamon" mean the same thing. Yes, Rand has changed since the War of Power - there is no denying that - but he is and always was Rand. He is and always was Lews Therin. Two names, one man.

Ieyasu
05-29-2013, 08:28 PM
Reincarnation is meaningless without some notion of continuity from one life to the next.

In our world it is, in the WOT it is not. More RJ quotes for you to ignore and disregard inc:

Everybody fears death because the being that is reborn, while possessing the same soul, will not be the same person. The fear is simple. I will cease to exist. Someone else will exist, bearing my soul. But I will cease. I have met many believers in reincarnation, and most of them seem to fear death just as much as anyone else.

Garak
05-29-2013, 09:31 PM
In our world it is, in the WOT it is not. More RJ quotes for you to ignore and disregard inc:

Originally Posted by Robert Jordan's Blog, Oct 2005

Everybody fears death because the being that is reborn,
while possessing the same soul, will not be the same person. The fear is simple. I will cease to exist. Someone else will exist, bearing my soul. But I will cease. I have met many believers in reincarnation, and most of them seem to fear death just as much as anyone else

Yes, Suttree already brought this up. So, let me try to give you a more elaborate counterargument. After reading various threads for three or four months before making my account, I've come to the conclusion that many people rely too heavily on interview quotations. Often to the point of ignoring other textual evidence.

So, let's review again what we've seen in the books themselves.

In the opening chapters of the Eye of the World, Moiraine tells us that "Men wear many faces with the turning of the Wheel. Many faces and many names but always the same man."

The Heroes of the Horn repeatedly call Rand "Lews Therin."

The Dark One refers to Rand as Lews Therin.

Birgitte and Rand both speak of their past lives in the first person. (emphasizing a consistency of identity).


And finally, the crux of the Gathering Storm, the final resolution to the conflict of Rand's inner turmoil, is the realization that he is Lews Therin. Rand gets better because he is able to accept this fundamental truth.

So, now we need to ask "What is RJ trying to tell us here?" It seems that RJ has gone out of his way on numerous repeated occasions to emphasize the fact that the same person is reborn over and over again. He wrote this over and over and over again.

So, now you have this excerpt from his blog where RJ is clearly talking about the fear of death. He tells us that the fear is rooted in the idea that "the being reborn, while possessing the same soul, will not be the same person.The fear is simple. I will cease to exist. Someone else will exist, bearing my soul."

But in this excerpt, he's clearly talking about the fears of the characters IN the story, not necessarily the hard and fast realities of his fictional universe. Just because the characters in this story fear something doesn't mean that's what actually happens when they die.

So, we have to weigh this excerpt against the overwhelming amount textual evidence to the contrary, against the numerous times that RJ has made it clear that each Hero of the Horn is a single conscious entity that lives multiple lives in many different bodies. The entire series is predicated on the idea that Rand and Lews Therin are one and the same. The resolution to Rand's character arc is the realization that he is Lews Therin.

When I say that RJ is human and therefore capable of misspeaking or making mistakes, the point that I'm trying to articulate is simple. RJ had no idea that eight years after the posting of that blog entry, some guy named Ieyasu was going to take his words and use them as evidence for an argument that he might not even agree with. RJ seems to be pretty clear on the fact that Rand is Lews Therin. The books state it over and over again in no uncertain terms.

Can you be certain that you're not taking him out of context? Can you be certain that if he could be here today and see this thread, that he would agree with your position, that he wouldn't think to himself "I never should have posted that entry?"

If RJ truly believed that Rand and Lews Therin are two separate people, then why did he tell us over and over again that they are in fact the same man? Is he in the habit of lying to his readers? Or is it more likely that his blog entry doesn't mean what you think it means?

suttree
05-29-2013, 09:47 PM
1. One has to ignore the first sentence of the RJ quote to agree with you on this topic.

2. The evidence in the text is merely your interpretation and as many others have shown in thread, at the very least in part, it is a flawed interpretation at that.

Garak
05-29-2013, 09:53 PM
1. One has to ignore the first sentence of the RJ quote to agree with you on this topic.

One has to ignore large quantities of the novels themselves to take the first sentence of that excerpt literally. An alternative to ignoring it outright is to apply a contextual interpretation.

Everybody fears death because the being that is reborn, while possessing the same soul, will not be the same person.The fear is simple. I will cease to exist. Someone else will exist, bearing my soul. But I will cease.

He's speaking from the Point of View of the characters in the story. He's not making a universal statement about the "physics" of his universe.

suttree
05-29-2013, 09:55 PM
See point #2. We aren't ignoring the text, we are ignoring a flawed interpretation.

Garak
05-29-2013, 11:11 PM
See point #2. We aren't ignoring the text, we are ignoring a flawed interpretation.

So, when Rand says "I can't reseal the bore the way I did last time," (claiming Lews Therin's deeds as his own,) this to you is not evidence that he and Lews Therin are the same person?

When Birgitte says "I was called Jethari Moondancer in those days," this to you is not evidence that she and Jethari are the same person?

Sometimes I think there's a lot of double-think going on in these forums. SOME of you guys treat RJ's quotes the way Southern Baptists treat the bible. Everything he says must be absolutely literally true. It's kind of like a Wheel of Time fundamentalism.

Suttree, you of all people should know better.

Rand has spoken this exact sentence. "I can't seal the bore the way I did last time."

Last time refers to Lews Therin. The use of the first person means that Rand is identifying himself as Lews Therin.

Are we really going to redefine the grammatical structure of the English language just to make something RJ said in a blog true in the absolute, literal sense? Is it completely impossible that his words might have been intended to be looked at from a certain point of view? The point of view of the characters who fear death?

Intent matters.

Suppose we're having a party and there's a discussion about what snacks we should bring. If I say to you "Everyone wants pizza now," does it make sense for you to interpret that statement as saying that every human being on the face of this planet wants to eat pizza at this exact moment? Because that's the literal interpretation.

Or should you infer from the context that the message I'm trying to convey is "All of our guests want to order pizza?" Which interpretation makes the most sense?

And if you're going to say "Why are you taking Rand literally when he says he can't seal the bore in the same way that he did last time?" the answer is that there is no other interpretation without completely rewrtiting the rules of grammar.

Ieyasu
05-29-2013, 11:56 PM
So, let me try to give you a more elaborate counterargument. After reading various threads for three or four months before making my account, I've come to the conclusion that many people rely too heavily on interview quotations. Often to the point of ignoring other textual evidence.

You know, I can take a piece of shit, paint it gold, bejazzle it, put googly eyes on it... it is still just a piece of elaborate shit.

Your idea to ignore everything the author says, particularly when it is exactly opposite of your own opinions, is that piece of shit. Trying to be elaborate is painting your piece of shit gold, and bejazzling it. Trying to explain why your piece of bejazzled shit isn't a piece of shit does not stop it from stinking like the piece of shit it is.

Garak
05-30-2013, 12:01 AM
You know, I can take a piece of shit, paint it gold, bejazzle it, put googly eyes on it... it is still just a piece of elaborate shit.

Your idea to ignore everything the author says, particularly when it is exactly opposite of your own opinions, is that piece of shit. Trying to be elaborate is painting your piece of shit gold, and bejazzling it. Trying to explain why your piece of bejazzled shit isn't a piece of shit does not stop it from stinking like the piece of shit it is.

Are you capable of saying anything that isn't laced with venom?

I didn't ignore the author's words; I explained why you've interpreted them incorrectly.

This would be ignoring someone.

*Adds Ieyasu to the ignore list*

See the difference?

Ieyasu
05-30-2013, 12:07 AM
So, when Rand says "I can't reseal the bore the way I did last time," (claiming Lews Therin's deeds as his own,) this to you is not evidence that he and Lews Therin are the same person?

No, it is evidence that it is the same soul.


When Birgitte says "I was called Jethari Moondancer in those days," this to you is not evidence that she and Jethari are the same person?
Again, it is not evidence they are the same person, it is evidence that it is the same soul.

Are you capable of saying anything that isn't laced with venom?

I didn't ignore the author's words; I explained why you've interpreted them incorrectly.

This would be ignoring someone.

*Adds Ieyasu to the ignore list*

See the difference?

LOL :rolleyes:

Zombie Sammael
05-30-2013, 01:09 AM
It's important to bear in mind that within the series RJ generally uses a third person point-of-view approach rather than third person omniscient throughout. This means that the narration is often clouded by the characters' perspectives on what's going on. That's why we can pretty much ignore Semirhage when she says LTT is a real voice. Characters are wrong in the text all the time.

When answering an interview question, however, RJ cannot possibly be wrong unless he gives an answer that is inconsistent with one he's given before. On this particular subject there are one or two conflicting answers, so we have to find a way to resolve them, not only with each other but also with what we know from the books.

Even though what is written in the series is often clouded by POV and characters' own ignorance, we are able to make allowances for that. For example it's a reasonable assessment that Moiraine knows what she's talking about when she talks about the elementary aspects of channelling, or that Nynaeve knows what's what when it comes to the people of the Two Rivers. We can also look at the actual events that take place and separate them, as far as is possible, from the perspectives of the individuals involved. For example, we can probably regard Veins of Gold as a little more reliable a narration of what was going on than what Rand said to Perrin in AMOL; VOG is a narration of what actually happens whereas his conversation with Perrin is him trying to explain something from his own perspective.

With that in mind, is what happened in VOG resolvable with RJ's quote about reincarnation, and if so, how? That's what actually tells us what's actually going on.

GonzoTheGreat
05-30-2013, 04:44 AM
Reincarnation is meaningless without some notion of continuity from one life to the next.
That continuity is provided by the Heroes of the Horn, who during their deaths (not during their lives, though) have all their previous lives integrated and thus show the meaning of reincarnation to those they communicate with.

Whenever Rand speaks about his life in the Age of Legends, he ALWAYS uses the first-person. In the very same quotation that you posted, Rand corrects himself after speaking of his former life in the third person. (And that only because Min said "Lews Therin was mad." as opposed to "You were mad.")
That is the case after he managed that reintegration, at which point they were indeed one and the same person.
However, in the earlier books, where this real/construct discussion is still pertinent, Rand did not refer to LTT as "I". Doesn't prove they weren't one then too either, of course, but it does show that your attempt to settle the debate fails rather clearly.

When Birgitte says "I was called Jethari Moondancer in those days," this to you is not evidence that she and Jethari are the same person?
Birgitte had gone through the "Hero of the Horn personality integration procedure", so in her case there was one remaining person, who had been all the previous ones.

But even Birgitte shows clearly and unequivocally the difference: when she is actually alive again, she starts losing those memories, starts losing all she knew and was while in TAR, and she was eventually reduced to just one life. Yet after her death, the reintegration kicked in again, and she was fully restored.

Birgitte shows that there is a huge difference between ordinary people, who do not have access to multiple lives of their souls, and HotH who do have full access to all their lives (or to a lot of them, at least). Rand al'Thor and LTT both were like ordinary people in this respect, until after the Dragonmount episode. With, of course, the complication for them that they were ordinary people who had to share a head, with one of them not being entirely sane to boot.

Garak
05-30-2013, 11:51 AM
I'm not sure if this response was directed at me or not so I'll just give you my take, ZS.

It's important to bear in mind that within the series RJ generally uses a third person point-of-view approach rather than third person omniscient throughout. This means that the narration is often clouded by the characters' perspectives on what's going on. That's why we can pretty much ignore Semirhage when she says LTT is a real voice. Characters are wrong in the text all the time.

While it's true that any character could be wrong about his basic beliefs, it's also true that most of the things the say/think are intended to be used as exposition. The book wouldn't make sense otherwise. Even with a third-person limited POV, most of what the characters say will be correct because the author can't tell a story if he is constantly misleading his audience. Now, that doesn't mean that you have to accept everything they say without a second thought but we can draw some conclusions about the credibility of our sources.

So, at the end of the Great Hunt, Mat blows the Horn of Valere and the Heroes arrive. They have a brief conversation in which Birgitte and Hawkwing both call him "Lews Therin."

Rand insists several times that his name is Rand al'Thor.

At one point, after he tells them about Egwene, Birgitte smiles and says "You always choose women who get you into trouble, Lews Therin." and the narrator takes note of the fact that there is a sense of fondness and familiarity in that statement.

So, the Heroes clearly accept Rand and Lews Therin as the same person. If we want to accept the conclusion that Rand and Lews Therin are different people, then a corollary to that would be that Heroes are incorrect, that they've somehow misread the situation. But now we have to ask how that's possible. For instance, if some Novice at the White Tower claims that she is the reborn soul of Queen Ishara of Andor, you could always assume that she's delusional. But are the Heroes capable of having such delusions? Since they're not humans in a physical sense would they be susceptible to the kinds of maladies that would lead to mental illness? I have a hard time accepting that the Heroes could all be wrong about this one basic fact.

When answering an interview question, however, RJ cannot possibly be wrong unless he gives an answer that is inconsistent with one he's given before. On this particular subject there are one or two conflicting answers, so we have to find a way to resolve them, not only with each other but also with what we know from the books.

Now, we deal with the issue of authorial intent.

Robert Jordan made it a point to show us that the Heroes think of Rand as Lews Therin.

He made that point again when in every single one of the mirror world scenarios, Rand dies and a voice that presumably belongs to the Dark One speaks the words "I have won again, Lews Therin."

Finally, he made that point a third time when Rand finds resolution to his insanity up on Dragonmount and the narrator makes the following statement. "He knew - somehow - that he would never hear the voice of Lews Therin again. For they were not too men and never had been."

So, now we have this blog.

And the blog reads as follows.

Everybody fears death because the being that is reborn,while possessing the same soul, will not be the same person.

So, now we have to ask ourselves, is it RJ's intent to tell us something that is directly opposed to something that he told us multiple times in the novels or is it more likely that the blog doesn't mean what we think it means? RJ's authority over his own work is not in dispute; our interpretation of his meaning is.

I mentioned earlier that in writing this blog entry, RJ seems to be putting himself into the minds of his characters. Therefore a valid interpretation is that what he is saying is true from a certain point of view. But that's not the on;y issue here.

There's also the fact that there is some ambiguity in the word "person" and I suspect that is where most of the confusion in this thread comes from. What does it mean for two characters to have the same soul and yet not be the same person when the word "soul" is defined as:

"The incorporeal and, in many conceptions, immortal essence of a person?"

Most philosophical schools of thought would say that the soul is what makes you who you are, that the soul is what defines you in terms of the greater cosmic nature of the universe. In fact, a soul is kind of a meaningless concept if it doesn't denote personhood.

Rand and Lews Therin are not exactly the same in every possible respect and if you're definition of personhood requires that they be identical in every way, then no they're not the same person. But if your definition of personhood is so stringent, then you must also accept that you are not the same person that you were five minutes ago. Is that a practical definition? If we're going to say that we are many different people over the course of one lifetime, then we must also address the question of when and how often we change from one person to the next.

When he wrote that blog, maybe RJ was associating a person with his memories. So, from the Forsaken's perspective, they will be reborn as a different person simply because they won't remember their current existence. I'm not sure that's a good definition of personhood because it would essentially mean that anyone who suffers from amnesia has ceased to exist.

In my view, a person is his body. I'm an atheist and I don't believe that souls exist. However, in WOT, they do exist and a good working definition is that a person is his soul. We generally accept that Lanfear and Cyndane are the same person.

We accept that Moridin and Ishamael are the same person.

So, why not Rand and Lews Therin? The soul has been moved from one body to another but personhood remains intact. The only difference is that Rand doesn't remember being Lews Therin. In that case then, Rand was always Lews Therin; he just didn't know it. Not knowing it doesn't make it any less true.

So, there's an ambiguity.

When you read this little snippet of a blog, you don't have the nuance that you would get from a full novel. You can't ask RJ to elaborate on what he means "not the same person." So, what happens is that people read that and they apply their own definition of "person" Personhood is a very complex philosophical concept and there are multiple definitions involved. It may seem intuitive on the surface but the instant you try to articulate what it means to be a person, people will start to argue over the nitty gritty.

A soul is the basic essence of a person and yet having the same soul doesn't make you the same person. This is a very brow-furrowing piece of twisted logic. While it could work in certain conceptual frameworks, it requires us to completely abandon the common usage of words like "soul" and "person" and redefine them specifically for the purpose of this discussion. Not a good practice in my mind.

That's why I don't think these interview excerpts are all that useful. In the novels, RJ has gone to great lengths to repeatedly show the same concept and eliminate ambiguity to the greatest degree possible. True, the subjective interpretation of the reader will always be something that he cannot control but the fact that same concept is articulated over and over again with all the nuanced description involved, leaves us with much less wiggle room.

That's why it's better to use the books themselves as your basis for theorizing instead of relying mostly on secondary sources like interview excerpts.

Gonzo, I think I've replied to your point in this post.

Tollingtoy
05-30-2013, 05:18 PM
The HOTH recognize Rand as the Dragon archetype not as LTT. RJ has said that a HOTH appears as his most recent incarnation in TAR, so that is why they refer to him as Lews Therin, not because he IS Lews Therin inherently, much as Lanfear calls him Lews Therin because that's how she remembers him.

There is an interesting philosophical exercise by Bertram Russell, I think, about naming where he uses Plato as an example. There is the human being living in ancient Athens named Plato and the ideal of the philosopher Plato that we all recognize because of his accomplishments and huge influence across the disciplines. Obviously, and the two are very clearly intertwined.

His whole argument was based on the idea that if the human Plato had a boulder dropped on his head and was mentally incapacitated when he was 20 years old, he would still be the human being named Plato, but would cease to be the ideal of Plato that we are all so familiar with. So, he is still Plato, but not PLATO because he was unable to create any of the works that we identify with PLATO, and the subtlety is in the naming. This is the gist of the silly game you are playing here. Rand is LTT in the sense that they have the same soul, the soul of the Dragon--an archetype created by the Pattern and spun out when necessary to fight the DO. But they are not inherently the same thing because they were born in different times and raised in different ways, so they are not the same person any more than someone born with the soul of Plato today would not be the same person that the Greek Plato was. The voice Rand hears in his head is his own voice thinking thoughts he can't bear to face because he is in denial, it is as plain as that.


Also, RJ wrote the books, he knows more about it than you do, you are going to need to accept that in order to have civil discussions here. Dismissing direct quotes from him in favor of YOUR interpretation of the words in the story is just ignorant and I pray that this does not turn into another Literary Critique thread because while your Troll brain may have enjoyed it, I don't think anyone else did.

eht slat meit
05-30-2013, 07:06 PM
LTT and RaT were two different persons. The question is what the LTT in Rand's mind was.

I have to agree with Terez on this one, and I'd put it in context of tabla rasa amnesia, wherein one lives an entirely new life independent of and radically different than they lived before whatever incident caused the amnesia.

There's an old argument that everyone knows, about nature and nurture, but both clearly play a role in one's life. If one is somehow "born" again, that doesn't make them different people, it just makes them the same soul with two different lives.

In terms of WoT, the vessels is simply the soul rather than the body, carrying memories of more than one life. The natural order of things is that one will not remember more than one life, and it takes something special like Finns or Horns or ta'verens or Dragon Reborns to change that. Radical things, like the mechanisms of the Wheel.

Garak
05-30-2013, 07:46 PM
Also, RJ wrote the books, he knows more about it than you do, you are going to need to accept that in order to have civil discussions here. Dismissing direct quotes from him in favor of YOUR interpretation of the words in the story is just ignorant and I pray that this does not turn into another Literary Critique thread because while your Troll brain may have enjoyed it, I don't think anyone else did.

Aside form Ieyasu's comments, I think our discussion has been quite civil, don't you?

My point is that statements by RJ don't necessarily mean what you think they mean and you can't always take something he said on a very narrow topic and use it to draw grand conclusions about the physics of his universe. He was making a statement about human psychology. People fear death because they fear they won't be the same person after they are reborn; that doesn't necessarily tell us anything about the mechanics of reincarnation from a cosmological standpoint. It tells us what humans in the story THINK about reincarnation.

Okay, so let's take your Plato thought experiment. Suppose Plato got hit in the head and never went on to become the philosopher that we all know today. The term Platonic ideal would never exist.

Now, let's go one step further. Suppose a philosopher Luke lived roughly 100 years after Plato and went on to express the same ideas that Plato would have expressed if he was never hit in the head. So, what we know as the Platonic Ideal would, in this alternate timeline, be called the Lucian Ideal.

The Platonic Ideal and the Lucian express the same ideas. In essence, they are the same thing; the only difference is the name. And this leads us to that old adage, "a rose by any other name still smells sweet." What we call a thing doesn't change the thing itself.

Butterfly and Mariposa both refer to the same type of insect.

So, what do we know about the Dragon Soul? Well, he is a single, conscious entity that lives over and over again in many different bodies, under many different circumstances. A single, conscious entity. There is only one Dragon Soul. The consciousness, the sentient being, is the Dragon Soul himself. How do we know that? Because the Archer soul is conscious and active and sentient while living in Tel'Aran'Rhiod. The Archer Soul sees her existence and the many lives she has lived as a single, linear narrative.

When the Dragon Soul was spun out into the body of an infant boy and carried away to the Two Rivers, he learned to respond to the word "Rand." He learned that when other people spoke the word "Rand," it was because they wanted his attention. In time, the Dragon Soul began to think of himself as Rand.

In the previous Age the Dragon Soul was given the name "Lews Therin" and he knew that when people spoke those two words together, they wanted his attention. And so he learned to respond to those words and thought of himself as Lews Therin.

There is no Rand.

There is no Lews Therin.

There is only the Dragon Soul and what he happens to call himself this time around. The Dragon Soul lived in the Age of Legends and led the Hall of Servants and then he lived again in the Two Rivers and rode off with an Aes Sedai. The fact that he doesn't remember doing some of these things doesn't change the fact that he has done them.

From the very beginning, I have not been trying to say that the Dragon Soul as Rand is identical to the Dragon Soul as Lews Therin. I've been trying to say that the Dragon Soul is a single, distinct consciousness. His memories beliefs and ideals may change from one life to the next but he has one consciousness and only one consciousness.

That is why "Lews Therin" cannot take over "Rand." These are just two names for the same creature. It's like saying, "Who would win in a fight, Jupiter or Zeus?"

Which goddess is lovelier, Venus or Aphrodite?

Who's faster, Hermes or Mercury?

Who's stronger, Clark Kent or Superman?

Imagine a comic book where Clark Kent sincerely believed that Superman was trying to take over his mind. The only way you could justify that storyline would be for Clark to have gone insane for at least a brief amount of time.

If we wanted to be philosophical, we could ask ourselves whether Bat-Man is the same person as Bruce Wayne. And we could come up with justifiable reasons why the answer should be "no." For one thing, Bruce probably trained himself not to respond to the word "Bruce." In costume, he thinks of himself as Bat-man and therefore, he has a distinct identity from Bat-Man. We could claim that Bat-Man and Bruce are two people who happen to share a body.

But regardless of how you look at it, there is only ONE consciousness at play. It simply puts on a name the same way other men put on a pair of pants. The same applies to Rand and Lews Therin.

suttree
05-30-2013, 08:08 PM
Interview: Jan 7th, 2003
COT Signing Report - David Funke (Verbatim)
Question
The question is, with Rand and Lews Therin, do they have one soul or two souls in the body?
Robert Jordan
They have one soul with two personalities. The reincarnation of souls does not mean reincarnation of personalities. The personality develops with each reincarnation of the soul. This is the cosmology that I have cobbled together.

There is nothing out of context. Combine this with the other quote and it's pretty clear.(not that one even needs to) Despite claims to the contrary you can not take "personality" out of what makes up a "person". Again it is both nature and nurture.

fionwe1987
05-30-2013, 08:15 PM
Aside form Ieyasu's comments, I think our discussion has been quite civil, don't you?


That has required, I think, heroic patience from those debating the issue with you. I wouldn't be surprised if several people participating haven't burst a vein in the process.

Garak
05-30-2013, 08:53 PM
There is nothing out of context. Combine this with the other quote and it's pretty clear.(not that one even needs to) Despite claims to the contrary you can not take "personality" out of what makes up a "person". Again it is both nature and nurture.

Yes, I'll grant you that the Dragon Soul's personality in his Lews Therin incarnation was different from his personality in his Rand incarnation. Slightly different at least. There was bound to be some overlap.

My point is that there is only one consciousness. I was equating "person" with consciousness. As I said above, person is an ambiguous term. It can have many different meanings.

One soul, different personalities, one consciousness.

GonzoTheGreat
05-31-2013, 03:33 AM
My point is that there is only one consciousness.
And that is precisely the matter under debate.
Unless there are any people who want to claim that LTT and Rand had precisely the same personality traits, the same attitude towards "not hurting women" and so forth. I don't think anyone wants to deny that there were some real (though usually small) differences between the two in their own lives.

During LTT's life in the AOL there was only one consciousness. That too is, I hope, fairly uncontroversial.
At the end of Rand's life, after the Dragonmount episode, there is just one consciousness. I think that is not contested either.

That leaves three distinct periods for which the issue is unclear:

1. The time between LTT's death and Rand's birth.
Here, I think, we would do best to say "we don't know". An ordinary HotH would have spend that time in TAR, but we're not even sure that the Dragon qualifies, let alone that he was there in this very special time period. I don't think it matters much, but as far as I can see, we can't tell whether there was one consciousness in this period, or zero.

2. The time between Rand's birth and the first emergence of what came to be "LTT's voice".
Here the issue is a lot less clear already, but I am inclined to go with "one consciousness", something that I think the construct champions would not contest. If anyone can offer reason to disagree with this assessment, go right ahead.

3. The time that the LTT voice was active (or in hiding from Cadsuane).
Here the question is whether there was just one consciousness, or two. I think that there were two in this period. Because they shared the same brain, they also shared memories, emotions and sometimes even thoughts, which makes it more difficult to pinpoint the difference between them than between (for instance) two wolves, even though those too can share thoughts and memories.
You think there was just one consciousness, but I think that if you think about it, you will have to admit that you can't actually prove that. Just as I can't prove that there were two. At least part of the problem is that we just plain do not know what "consciousness" is, thus making its presence or absence somewhat elusive.

Garak
05-31-2013, 11:39 AM
We also have the relationship x = y.

Therefore, we really only have one variable. That's the way I see it. The only person we know who truly has two consciousnesses is Slayer and that person has two souls. Based on what we've seen from Birgitte, I think we can safely conclude each soul has one and only one consciousness. However, I'm not going to argue that point further.

I actually wanted to talk about my “parasite” theory. (Although, at this point, I'm staring to wonder if I should have used the word “tumor” instead). That's why I chose to participate in this thread. I thought I could offer a different perspective. I agree with you, Gonzo, that there does appear to be a second consciousness that takes at least partial control of Rand. I'm pretty sure the taint dug up Rand's memories of being LTT. Why? Because it would cause him even more grief.

But I don't think memories alone constitute a sentient being. More to the point, I don't think the human brain can run multiple consciousnesses at the same time. Most claims of Dissociative Identity Disorder have been debunked and those that haven't are “inconclusive” according to the scientific community. Even Slayer doesn't seem to have both consciousnesses active simultaneously. Rather, he switches from one to the other and while they are aware of each other, they don't bicker and argue as Rand did with the LTT voice.

I think that in order two have two consciousnesses active simultaneously, new hardware had to be added to the brain. It's interesting to note, that when the taint's effects were blocked by that strange white light, Rand went back to thinking of himself as a singular sentient being.

suttree
05-31-2013, 11:59 AM
1. The time between LTT's death and Rand's birth.
Here, I think, we would do best to say "we don't know". An ordinary HotH would have spend that time in TAR, but we're not even sure that the Dragon qualifies, let alone that he was there in this very special time period.

Just curious. Since Rand is one of the heroes where else would he be hanging out besides Tar?

Interview: Oct 22nd, 1998
TPOD Signing Report - Pam Basham (Paraphrased)
Pam Basham
Regarding the Dragon and the Dragon Reborn (and Graendal's thoughts about Ishamael's musings):

"Is this soul born in any other Age, or only at the advent and (theoretically, of course) the closing of the Third Age, as the Dragon/the Dragon Reborn?"

Robert Jordan
This soul is one of the Heroes, and bound to the Wheel, spun out as the Pattern wills. "It" is born in other Ages, but in a non-Dragon incarnation, to suit the pattern of that Age.

GonzoTheGreat
05-31-2013, 01:01 PM
We also have the relationship x = y.
But we know that does not match the Rand/LTT situation, as there are differences between the two.
The only person we know who truly has two consciousnesses is Slayer and that person has two souls.
There is also Padan Fain, though how many souls that one has is anyone's guess. Not one, but more or less is unclear.

And we know that people in the real world can also have two consciousnesses, when the two brain halves are not properly cooperating. That can then result in hearing voices, and in some few cases even in the "other consciousness" taking over control of (parts of) the body. So it is not an unknown phenomenon even without reincarnation.
In Rand's case the cause of the duality was different, of course. But having the "other" be a suicidal madman was not particularly special in this regard.

Just curious. Since Rand is one of the heroes where else would he be hanging out besides Tar?
Good question. It could be that he was stored elsewhere for this special part of the Turn, because of his special status as the Dragon Reborn. Or it could be that he was indeed with the rest of the Heroes until his rebirth at the end of the Aiel War. Seeing as how we have no indications one way or another, I do not think we can make a really trustworthy guess about this.

fionwe1987
05-31-2013, 03:06 PM
Good question. It could be that he was stored elsewhere for this special part of the Turn, because of his special status as the Dragon Reborn. Or it could be that he was indeed with the rest of the Heroes until his rebirth at the end of the Aiel War. Seeing as how we have no indications one way or another, I do not think we can make a really trustworthy guess about this.

That doesn't quite track. By this logic, you can create any number of special conditions that no one can refute, and therefor give all of them equal probability of occurrence. Absolutely nothing I've read suggests that the Dragon's Soul is some kind of Special Hero. He's a Hero who in some particular ages has a rather large role. In others, not so much. What evidence is there for his soul to have special properties?

Weird Harold
05-31-2013, 04:15 PM
What evidence is there for his soul to have special properties?

The minor detail that -- unlike Birgitte, Gaidal, Hawkwing, et al -- LTT Apparently hasn't been spun out in the 3000 years since creating Dragonmount?

suttree
05-31-2013, 04:26 PM
The minor detail that -- unlike Birgitte, Gaidal, Hawkwing, et al -- LTT Apparently hasn't been spun out in the 3000 years since creating Dragonmount?

But we know it is spun out in a "non-dragon" incarnation to fit the pattern of other ages. It's not as if he is held in reserve solely for that purpose.

Weird Harold
05-31-2013, 07:06 PM
But we know it is spun out in a "non-dragon" incarnation to fit the pattern of other ages. It's not as if he is held in reserve solely for that purpose.

True.

However, if HotH are indeed addressed as their last incarnation, LTT hasn't been spun out in the third age at all.

That says nothing about his being spun out in other ages or before the LTT incarnation in the AOL. It is -- from the limited information we have about specific incarnations -- unusual for a HotH to go 3000+ years between incarnations. I even theorized at one time that LTT's soul was trapped in Dragonmount and that is why Rand had to be born on the slopes of Dragonmount. (RJ killed that theory, BTW--sort of.)

fionwe1987
05-31-2013, 09:44 PM
The minor detail that -- unlike Birgitte, Gaidal, Hawkwing, et al -- LTT Apparently hasn't been spun out in the 3000 years since creating Dragonmount?
That's hardly unique. As far as we know, Artur Hawkwing wasn't around during the AOL, and nor was he born for the Last Battle. He is definitely shown to have been born less frequently than Birgette. Another obvious example of Heroes born as sporadically as LTT, or even more, are Shivan and Kalian. Are they also special now?

GonzoTheGreat
06-01-2013, 04:38 AM
That doesn't quite track. By this logic, you can create any number of special conditions that no one can refute, and therefor give all of them equal probability of occurrence. Absolutely nothing I've read suggests that the Dragon's Soul is some kind of Special Hero. He's a Hero who in some particular ages has a rather large role. In others, not so much. What evidence is there for his soul to have special properties?
How about a quote directly from the books?
"How do you know?" Graendal asked, smiling as if it were all a joke. "It may well be that, as many believe, all are born and reborn as the Wheel turns, but nothing like this has ever happened that I have read. A specific man reborn according to prophecy. Who knows what he is?"
That suggests fairly explicitly that he is indeed some sort of special case. In what ways exactly is not clear, of course, and Graendal may be just plain wrong. But seeing as how this is the best we have on the subject, it does not seem as if we can exclude the "the Dragon Reborn is an exception" idea out of hand.

Weird Harold
06-01-2013, 05:02 AM
That's hardly unique.
...
Another obvious example of Heroes born as sporadically as LTT, or even more, are Shivan and Kalian. Are they also special now?

I didn't say it was unique only that it was "special."

We don't know that Shivan and Kalian haven't been spun out in "non-harbinger" incarnations -- although they probably haven't been since the beginning of the Third Age. Their roles as "harbingers of a new Age" means they are in fact pretty "special" too. other roles.

Rand al'Fain
06-05-2013, 03:44 AM
I didn't say it was unique only that it was "special."

We don't know that Shivan and Kalian haven't been spun out in "non-harbinger" incarnations -- although they probably haven't been since the beginning of the Third Age. Their roles as "harbingers of a new Age" means they are in fact pretty "special" too. other roles.

So, a safe bet they may be Elayne's twins?

GonzoTheGreat
06-05-2013, 04:49 AM
So, a safe bet they may be Elayne's twins?
Maybe a safe bet, but not a unique one.
Others have had that bright idea before.

Weird Harold
06-05-2013, 06:19 AM
So, a safe bet they may be Elayne's twins?
It's a popular theory. <shrugs> Might even be true.

padfoot89
06-12-2013, 06:55 AM
Speaking of reincarnations and such, what sort of character do people think LTT was when waiting around in TAR? A Yoda-like guy with knowledge of the Wheel of Time, the Pattern and the different ways he beat the DO? Or was he moaning about Ilyena all the time?

Its interesting to imagine his final moments from the prologue.

"Light, forgive me ! Ilyena.." x 5
*OD's himself ...*
*... and wakes up in TAR*
"Shit"

yks 6nnetu hing
06-12-2013, 08:38 AM
Speaking of reincarnations and such, what sort of character do people think LTT was when waiting around in TAR? A Yoda-like guy with knowledge of the Wheel of Time, the Pattern and the different ways he beat the DO? Or was he moaning about Ilyena all the time?

Its interesting to imagine his final moments from the prologue.

"Light, forgive me ! Ilyena.." x 5
*OD's himself ...*
*... and wakes up in TAR*
"Shit"

That's actually quite an interesting question - judging by Birgitte's notes on the matter, the soul in TAR becomes the Archetype; which is not necessarily the same as the last incarnation - she mentions times when she, the Archer, had attempted to wield the sword and how that always ended in disaster. Also, in one specific incarnation, she died of thirst while wandering about in the Tower of Ghenjei having been driven mad with grief by the death of Gaidal Cain (because, really, why else would someone even enter the Tower of Ghenjei? Unless they're recklessly mad and desperate)

the Dragon archetype seems to be slightly less rigidly righteous than Galad; definitely quite scholarly and probably more rural than urban. We don't know (I think) if the Dragon Soul is "tied" to another soul in the same way as Birgitte and Gaidal are; but he probaly had quite some leadership struggle with Hawkwing. Come to think of it, if Hawkwing is Caesar or Napoleon then the Dragon would be Charlemagne

ShadowbaneX
06-12-2013, 09:23 AM
I'd imagine that the Heroes in TAR are a little more...laid back, sorta like we see the Heroes acting. When you're an entity that can remember millennia it'd be less "shit" and more "Well, that could have gone better. Did you guys see the bs the DO pulled this time? I can't believe I fell for it. Man, it's gonna be such a pain to fix." and then they proceed to do whatever it is that the Heroes do for fun in TAR while waiting for the next time they're spun out.

There'd be some remorse for how things were going to get but that would be tempered with eons of experience coming back to them.

SauceyBlueConfetti
06-12-2013, 11:57 AM
Interesting. I had never thought about the fact that ALL the heros were wandering Tel'a'dreamyland. ALL of them. And all of them were sticking to the precepts of not talking/interacting/interfering with the normal folk.

So, now, new Heros (as they eventually end up there) can wander and watch. When (or if?) Rand dies again, he could interact with dreamwalkers.

suttree
06-12-2013, 06:37 PM
We don't know (I think) if the Dragon Soul is "tied" to another soul in the same way as Birgitte and Gaidal are;

RJ has said Ishy was correct in that they had fought countless times. Adding to that Brandon has said the two souls are often spun out together much like Birgitte and Gaidal.

ShadowbaneX
06-13-2013, 12:32 AM
well, save for the ones that are spun out, yeah. And Rand could, but I'm guessing that he probably won't/isn't supposed to.

greatwolf
06-15-2013, 10:52 AM
The minor detail that -- unlike Birgitte, Gaidal, Hawkwing, et al -- LTT Apparently hasn't been spun out in the 3000 years since creating Dragonmount?


Do we know that for certain? It is entirely possible that the HotH address each other by their most famous aliases. Cos if that's the last, then its also the last for Hawkwing, Birgitte and co and it sounds so unlikely. They simply use the names that they are best known by in each age, i think.

Rand al'Fain
06-21-2013, 03:54 AM
Do we know that for certain? It is entirely possible that the HotH address each other by their most famous aliases. Cos if that's the last, then its also the last for Hawkwing, Birgitte and co and it sounds so unlikely. They simply use the names that they are best known by in each age, i think.

Well, there really isn't anything to suggest that Rand was spun out sometime in between being LTT and Rand (other than the occassional theory that has a lot of holes in it).