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SauceyBlueConfetti
12-05-2013, 06:04 PM
Ok. So the illusion "fight" between Rand and the DO BUGGED me upon my initial read. It felt...like a letdown. But now....


I am thinking these illusions were not just puffs of nothing, empty pictures shown to each other to say "see look" mine is better, haHA! I WIN! Suddenly it dawns on me that this, as with everything else, this could be a beginning. These illusions are the creation of some of the parallel worlds.

Thoughts?

Hugh the Hand
12-05-2013, 06:14 PM
I am not sure I can agree the illusion fight was a let down. It was an interesting parralell to the actual physical fight in the Last Battle.

It seemed more like the fight from War Games, when the computer played against itself and learned. The DO wanted to teach Rand to give up, instead Rand learned that even Evil had its place in the world.

GonzoTheGreat
12-06-2013, 05:35 AM
The parallel worlds that Rand saw during his Portal Stone trip were closer to the real world than any of the ones that we saw created during the LB. Yet if those had been the beginning of new parallel worlds, then I would expect them to diverge further from reality, instead of getting closer to it. So it seems very unlikely there is a direct connection.

On the other hand, it does show that all the various threads, souls, and other stuff can be tied together in numerous ways at once, so it might be that the DO and Rand were doing deliberately (making and destroying various versions of reality) is also going on automatically in the background.

Seeker
12-06-2013, 02:01 PM
I think, SBC, that it was meant to demonstrate the consequences of victory and defeat. Things could be good or various kinds of hellish depending on Rand's choices. It was done to make the audience aware of the stakes.

SauceyBlueConfetti
12-06-2013, 02:52 PM
yes, yes, I get that. It just seemed a letdown. It was all a bunch of just standing there looking fierce? Bah.

SauceyBlueConfetti
12-06-2013, 03:10 PM
One description, the one WITHOUT evil, did say something like it 'exploded' outward after Rand realized how horrid it was. So I assume it didn't hang around anywhere. But. Rand was channeling threads that the DO had manipulated first. The DO created his vision, it sort shattered and shredded, and Rand took it over to change it to his vision. Then his exploded.


I don't know, it just seems like I am missing something with these visions.

He sees the threads and thinks they aren't normal:

There was no Fire, Air, Earth, Water or Spirit here...these were somehow more base, somehow more varied. Each one was individual, unique. Instead of Five Powers, there were thousands.

he is manipulating the pattern itself.

The pattern is something, not nothing. It isn't just loose threads. He is manipulating something that exists, ideas, thoughts, people. The threads don't explode, the vision does. But that doesn't mean the threads were not woven into a reality. Whether it exists still somewhere in the pattern (or a pattern?) is the question.

Seeker
12-06-2013, 05:37 PM
yes, yes, I get that. It just seemed a letdown. It was all a bunch of just standing there looking fierce? Bah.

I don't know; I think the Dark One's worlds are pretty scary. I agree that the whole "there is no way out of the cycle" thing is a let down.

I think it would be way more interesting if killing the Dark One had no effect on mankind.

GonzoTheGreat
12-07-2013, 04:32 AM
I wonder what effect killing the DO would have on the *finn.

Seeker
12-08-2013, 11:33 AM
It would be more interesting if it didn't have any effect. It doesn't make sense that you can take all the evil in the world and say "this thing is to blame for it."

For one, evil IS AN ABSTRACT (sorry. Dogma reference)

But it's true. Evil is a concept and not a substance and when you try to treat it as a substance, you quickly run into problems. The premise of Rand's Stepford world is that the people there are incapable of any evil action. Evil by whose definition? Is channeling allowed? Because Asunwa, Tuon and many others might have a problem with that.

The narrative mentions Aes Sedai creating food for people - which in itself should make Rand suspect the legitimacy of the vision; so far as we know, the Power can't spontaneously generate solid objects out of nothing - so I guess channeling is allowed. Where do people like Tuon fit in this world? The narrative makes it quite clear that she thinks she's morally justified in putting channelers in collars. If Tuon saw Rand's little paradise, she would think it a world of unspeakable evil.

The free will argument is also a bad one. Because the people in that world haven't really lost their free will. This is especially true if you hold a very literal view of repeated Ages, like Weird Harold (the Third Age in this cycle is almost indistinguishable from the Third Age of the last cycle) in that case, the people of Rand's no-evil world have about as much free will as the people of the regular WOT universe.

GonzoTheGreat
12-08-2013, 12:20 PM
Almost as if combining free will with predestination causes some philosophical problems, isn't it? Perhaps Elan Morin had been on to something after all.

I hadn't thought of what Tuon might think of such a world, but then, that part of her attitude was evil too, so I'm not sure that is really a serious problem. A more interesting case would be her husband: what was he like in Rand's World?

Seeker
12-08-2013, 01:38 PM
I hadn't thought of what Tuon might think of such a world, but then, that part of her attitude was evil too, so I'm not sure that is really a serious problem.

No but see that's your mistake. Tuon's attitudes AREN'T evil with a capital E. Or at the very least, you could make an argument for the necessity of keeping channelers in check.

Channelers have demonstrated the ability to singlehandedly wipe out entire armies, to manipulate the thoughts and desires of others, to level buildings with a thought. They can travel across the world to any point on the globe with alarming precision. If Rand wanted to, he could open a gateway to Tuon's bedroom - even if he doesn't know the precise location of that bedroom - set off a weave that will burn everything to ash and then disappear before anyone knew he was there.

Channelers ARE a serious threat.

That doesn't mean I agree with leashing them but I think you need to acknowledge that Tuon's point of view has some merit. That's one of the annoying aspects of this series. We're so close to the main characters that it's easy to see the Seanchan as "backward" or "misguided."

So, even in a world where humanity is incapable of violence - no explosions, no compulsion - how might Tuon feel? Consider the advantages that channelers possesses. Access to gateways would give them a complete monopoly on trade. After all, if someone disagreed with the Tower's policy on _____, all the Aes Sedai would have to do is deny them use of gateways.

And if you say that denying access to gateways for your own personal reasons is evil, then you are also saying that Aes Sedai MUST create gateways anytime someone else asks for any reason. Which would also be evil in my book.

And that's the problem.

A world like the one Rand envisioned. (No evil) cannot exist because there are many situations in which doing something and NOT doing something are both evil.

Weird Harold
12-08-2013, 03:01 PM
The narrative mentions Aes Sedai creating food for people - which in itself should make Rand suspect the legitimacy of the vision; so far as we know, the Power can't spontaneously generate solid objects out of nothing...

There are hints that AOL Healers could regenerate missing flesh and body parts without using the patient's energy reserves. I've always taken that as a hint that energy-to-matter conversion was possible in the AOL on at least a limited basis. Rand would have been aware of even the slightest possibility.

Rand's "Stepford World" removed most of what little free will the WOT allows. "Evil" as defined by Rand was literally unthinkable in that world -- at least insofar as Rand could imagine "Evil," "Evil" that Rand couldn't imagine was logically not prohibited. :D

Seeker
12-08-2013, 05:20 PM
There are hints that AOL Healers could regenerate missing flesh and body parts without using the patient's energy reserves. I've always taken that as a hint that energy-to-matter conversion was possible in the AOL on at least a limited basis. Rand would have been aware of even the slightest possibility.

Rand's "Stepford World" removed most of what little free will the WOT allows. "Evil" as defined by Rand was literally unthinkable in that world -- at least insofar as Rand could imagine "Evil," "Evil" that Rand couldn't imagine was logically not prohibited. :D

But that's just it? Why would killing the Dark One remove RAND'S definition of evil?

More to the point, the people in Stepford Randland have plenty of free will. The whole "evil is necessary for free will" is largely considered to be philosophically invalid. And for several reasons. Let me illustrate.

Can you choose to move objects with your mind?

Can you choose to live forever?

No.

And yet you still have free will. So, now we've established something: free will does not mean infinite choice. The fact that certain courses of action are not available to you doesn't mean you've lost your free will.

A perfectly healthy man in his late twenties has the unfortunate luck to be injured in a car crash. When he wakes up in the hospital, he learns that his spine has been damaged and that he will never walk again.

Yesterday he could walk but today he can't.

Has he lost his free will?

Some of you may be tempted to say "Well, yes, he has lost SOME of his free will," but that would be a fallacy. You see, free will is not a matter of degree; you either have it or you don't.

Free will means that an object acts on its own and not as a part of a mechanized system. My fridge will turn on at roughly forty-five minute intervals because the circuitry that governs it instructs it to do so. The Earth will orbit the sun once every 365.25 days because the force of gravity keeps it locked into that pattern.

I, on the other hand, may either go upstairs and make myself a sandwich or continue typing out this paragraph. (Or any of nearly infinitely many other possibilities). So far as we can tell, there is no external force that dictates which I will choose. Outside forces may influence me but the choice is ultimately mine.

Free will means just that: the ability to make your own decisions. You either have it or you don't.

The fact that the people of "Stepford Randland" cannot choose to do evil - whatever that means - does not imply that they don't have free will any more than the fact that I can't choose to breathe in a vacuum or live to be 1000 implies that I don't have free will.

Certain options have been removed from the list of potential choices but they still have the ability to choose for themselves. Elayne chooses to take part in the babysitting competitions. Why? No doubt she finds it fun and gets a little thrill from winning.

Which means she still has wants.

She still has desires.

She still makes decisions for herself.

Now, her personality has been irrevocably altered from the Elayne we know - and a good question would be whether Rand has the right to alter people's personalities to suit his wishes - but there is no denying the fact that she still has free will.

Weird Harold
12-08-2013, 08:24 PM
But that's just it? Why would killing the Dark One remove RAND'S definition of evil?

Because Rand's definition of Evil is centered around the DO as the embodiment of Evil?


The whole point of the "Stepford World" was to demonstrate the flaws in Rand's definition of "Evil."

Seeker
12-08-2013, 11:30 PM
Please elaborate.

Weird Harold
12-09-2013, 01:35 AM
Please elaborate.
You HAVE read the series. Yes?

Seeker
12-09-2013, 02:09 AM
Yes but I don't know what your point is. It doesn't seem to be a response to what I said.

Daekyras
12-09-2013, 08:08 AM
A more interesting case would be her husband: what was he like in Rand's World?

Oh he would be terrible. This one time he went and caught a badger...and rehomed it in a much more suitable environment.

And he also saw a pie on a goodwifes window and ran over and...spent the next half hour swishing away flies so that it wouldnt be ruined.

Such a terrible boy he was.

Tollingtoy
12-09-2013, 07:30 PM
The Dark One isn't the embodiment of evil, killing him couldn't erase evil. You could argue that people like Asunawa, Sevanna or Pedron Niall do more evil than some of the Darkfriends we see. You don't have to be "evil" to do "evil". Those people all thought they were doing what is right.

There is a very good discussion about this fact when the whole troop first enters Baerlon in TEOTW between Rand and Moiraine when they see Whitecloaks for the first time.

Seeker
12-09-2013, 09:10 PM
The Dark One isn't the embodiment of evil, killing him couldn't erase evil. You could argue that people like Asunawa, Sevanna or Pedron Niall do more evil than some of the Darkfriends we see. You don't have to be "evil" to do "evil". Those people all thought they were doing what is right.

There is a very good discussion about this fact when the whole troop first enters Baerlon in TEOTW between Rand and Moiraine when they see Whitecloaks for the first time.

Yes, which is why I found the ending to be a let down.

The book is pretty clear on the fact that killing the Dark One would create the world Rand imagined. So, it goes back on what it told us over and over again - that the Dark One is a form of evil and not the source of evil - and completely ignores earlier parts of the series.

GonzoTheGreat
12-10-2013, 05:46 AM
Perhaps what Rand would have done would not just be "kill the DO" but rather "remove all traces of selfishness from people", a side effect of which would be killing the DO? Or maybe the side effect business would work in the other direction.

After all, it's not as if Rand really knew what he was doing when he made changes; he was acting based on instinct and guesswork far more than from omniscience.

Seeker
12-11-2013, 12:06 PM
I'm too sick to go look it up but when Rand has the Dark One in his grip, he thinks all he has to do is squeeze and the Dark One will die...but if he does that, the result will be Stepford land. Killing the Dark One is the cause not the effect.

GonzoTheGreat
12-11-2013, 12:18 PM
That is what Rand thinks, yes. Is he right, though?

Seeker
12-11-2013, 12:39 PM
Lacking any suggestion to the contrary, I'd say yes. You can't just claim unreliable narrator Willy nilly