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GonzoTheGreat
12-09-2013, 11:45 AM
A while ago, we were all debating Taimandred. By solid reasoning and some pointed questions, I settled that question. Then we floundered a bit, until we discovered the matter of "is Rand LTT or not, and what does that actually mean". Here, I intend to settle that matter too, so that we can move on to yet another conundrum. I don't have one lined up, yet, so suggestions may be welcome.
I'm going to be a father, he thought, not for the first time. Yes, Lews Therin had had children, and Rand could remember them and his love for them. It wasn't the same.
Rand led the way, Nynaeve at his left, Moiraine at his right. The cavern led downward, and climbing down it lost them all of the elevation they'd gained. The passage was familiar to him, from another's memory, from another Age.
These two quotes prove beyond reasonable doubt that Rand and LTT are not the same person. So the question "is Rand LTT" has to be answered with "no".

Rand remembered the first time he'd seen a Trolloc. Not when they had attacked his farm in the Two Rivers. The true first time he'd seen them. During the last Age.
This quote prove beyond reasonable doubt that Rand and LTT are the same person. So the question "is Rand LTT" has to be answered with "yes".

So now we know that Rand both is and isn't LTT. The meaning of this, of course, is not quite entirely as obvious. But we do know that RJ wanted to keep us guessing on a number of topics. I think this is one of them, and it was deliberately set up in such a way that it is impossible to answer definitively. Thus, we get the definitive answer "yes and no".

Rand al'Fain
12-12-2013, 03:07 AM
A while ago, we were all debating Taimandred. By solid reasoning and some pointed questions, I settled that question. Then we floundered a bit, until we discovered the matter of "is Rand LTT or not, and what does that actually mean". Here, I intend to settle that matter too, so that we can move on to yet another conundrum. I don't have one lined up, yet, so suggestions may be welcome.


These two quotes prove beyond reasonable doubt that Rand and LTT are not the same person. So the question "is Rand LTT" has to be answered with "no".


This quote prove beyond reasonable doubt that Rand and LTT are the same person. So the question "is Rand LTT" has to be answered with "yes".

So now we know that Rand both is and isn't LTT. The meaning of this, of course, is not quite entirely as obvious. But we do know that RJ wanted to keep us guessing on a number of topics. I think this is one of them, and it was deliberately set up in such a way that it is impossible to answer definitively. Thus, we get the definitive answer "yes and no".

Rand WAS LTT, and since the epiphany,(re)gained those memories. However, it seems that they're more like a documentary, rather than becoming a part of him. He learned from his memories as LTT, but instead of becoming LTT again, he just applied those lessons to his life as Rand al'Thor.

Like Rand said, he was raised better in this Age.

Seeker
12-21-2013, 04:05 PM
A while ago, we were all debating Taimandred. By solid reasoning and some pointed questions, I settled that question. Then we floundered a bit, until we discovered the matter of "is Rand LTT or not, and what does that actually mean". Here, I intend to settle that matter too, so that we can move on to yet another conundrum. I don't have one lined up, yet, so suggestions may be welcome.


These two quotes prove beyond reasonable doubt that Rand and LTT are not the same person. So the question "is Rand LTT" has to be answered with "no".

That's a good way of looking at it.
This quote prove beyond reasonable doubt that Rand and LTT are the same person. So the question "is Rand LTT" has to be answered with "yes".

So now we know that Rand both is and isn't LTT. The meaning of this, of course, is not quite entirely as obvious. But we do know that RJ wanted to keep us guessing on a number of topics. I think this is one of them, and it was deliberately set up in such a way that it is impossible to answer definitively. Thus, we get the definitive answer "yes and no".

That's a good way of looking at it.

Seeker
12-21-2013, 04:06 PM
Gonzo, if I may ask, what are your real life spiritual beliefs.

GonzoTheGreat
12-22-2013, 03:49 AM
Gonzo, if I may ask, what are your real life spiritual beliefs.
I'm not sure it counts for your purposes, but I think that spiders are scary.
Apart from that, I try not to have any spiritual beliefs, as having such is simply stupid. I'm fairly successful at this. I also try not to be afraid of spiders, but there I only have limited success. Some; I'm less scared of them than I used to be, but I have not managed to overcome this particular superstition entirely, yet.

My main objection to the Rand=LTT idea is that it is a load of psycho babble. If that were clearly what the author intended I would accept it for the sake of the story (though I might not particularly like it), but because it is a lot more ambiguous, I can oppose it without giving up the "willing suspension of disbelief" that is necessary for reading fiction.

Seeker
12-22-2013, 10:34 AM
No, I think you're right; it depends on how you look at it. In some ways Rand is Lews Therin and in some ways he isn't.

I ask because I was wondering if where people fell on the Rand/Lews Therin issue had a lot to do with how they experienced the concept of self. For instance, I believe very much in the concept of reincarnation; so my concept of "self" extends beyond my physical body. To someone who doesn't believe in any kind of life after death, the concept of "self" may terminate the moment we die. So, to them, Rand and Lews Therin are two different people and to me, they are the same person.

The answer depends on your concept of "self" and "personhood."

GonzoTheGreat
12-22-2013, 11:40 AM
I'm not sure that "the same person" actually applies to anyone from moment to moment. But leaving that aside, I would still say that Rand's case is more like that of Mat than that of Verin thinking of her younger self. Of course, Rand is in between those two, which is what makes it ambiguous. I'll try to make it clear:

Verin started out with a basis (being a baby) and then built her personality on that continuously. Thus, if you ignore the "are you the same you were a second ago" philosophical conundrum, you can say that she was the same person during her entire life.
Mat started out as a baby, built a personality on that, and then got a bunch of other people's memories (parts of their personalities) dumped on top and throughout that. He is still the same he was when he was born, and not the same as those other people whose memories he got.
Rand started out as a baby and grew up, same as the previous two. Then, just as Mat did, he got a bunch of memories and such added to his own. But in his case, those were mostly from one other man (not sure he retained anything from any other incarnation) and that man had started out with the same "baby foundation" that Rand also had when he was born.

So the real problem is that in order to decide whether Rand is LTT, we need to draw a line somewhere in this continuum, while there is no actual logical place for such a line to be drawn, and with the added problem that Rand swerves all over the place depending on his mood of the moment.

I do not think that reincarnation makes any sense. For starters: what are the limitations?
Could you be reborn as a bacterium? If that divides, which one is then you and which is a new person?
Could you be reborn as an extra-terrestrial? If so, does the reincarnation process exceeds the speed of light, or are there oodles of souls moving all across the galaxy, hoping there'll still be a world when they arrive at their next destination?
Bonus question: how can you know what actual limitations there are on reincarnation?

Seeker
12-22-2013, 01:33 PM
Are you asking me personally what reincarnation means? I could give you an answer but I doubt it sounds satisfy you.

Your soul finds a compatible vessel. Something of comparable intelligence. Possibly another human but if there were say... Klingons somewhere out in the cosmos, it could go there. Your soul would not fit with a bacterium. However, your soul was once the soul of a bacterium. Many millions of years ago. Souls grow with time.

Of course souls do not enter bodies per se

As for Rand, to me out makes perfect sense. He is a single being who has lived many times.

Weird Harold
12-22-2013, 03:46 PM
As for Rand, to me out makes perfect sense. He is a single being who has lived many times.

In the WOT, a Soul can be considered a "Serial Amnesiac."

Normally, any given incarnation would only experience flashes of memory -- aka Deja Vu -- from previous periods of lucidity. Rand just made a "complete recovery" from this incarnation's amnesia. :D

Seeker
12-22-2013, 04:24 PM
In the WOT, a Soul can be considered a "Serial Amnesiac."

Normally, any given incarnation would only experience flashes of memory -- aka Deja Vu -- from previous periods of lucidity. Rand just made a "complete recovery" from this incarnation's amnesia. :D

Pretty much.

Though every now and then some of them do remember past incarnations

Weird Harold
12-22-2013, 04:47 PM
Pretty much.

Though every now and then some of them do remember past incarnations
That's what I meant by a "complete recovery."

GonzoTheGreat
12-23-2013, 03:50 AM
A description of what such a "complete recovery" usually is like:
You know of people who hear voices in their heads? Sometimes, very rarely, the voices they hear are the voices of past lives. Lanfear claimed he knew things from our own Age, things only Lews Therin Telamon could know. Clearly, he is hearing Lews Therin’s voice. It makes no difference that his voice is real, however. In fact, that makes his situation worse. Even Graendal usually failed to achieve reintegration with someone who heard a real voice. I understand the descent into terminal madness can be… abrupt.

Weird Harold
12-23-2013, 04:19 AM
A description of what such a "complete recovery" usually is like:

Actually, no. Semirhage is describing a partial recovery of memories, not a "complete recovery" of memories.

That quote describes Rand's symptoms before his epiphany on Dragon mount when he gained conscious access to ALL of LTT's memories. (and possibly memories from earlier incarnations, although it isn't clear he remembered or retained any earlier memories.)

GonzoTheGreat
12-23-2013, 05:08 AM
I think you're partially wrong about that. I think that the "descent into terminal madness" is what happens when such a full recovery is made, but the subject does not manage to handle that. Then you end up with (at least) two different persons in one brain, constantly fighting for control, with one or more having been driven insane by the experience (and perhaps other things, like what happened to LTT, or what happened to Rand (the in-a-box thing was fairly traumatic) or whatever it was that caused the situation in the first place).
So I do not think that a full recovery of memory would have been a guarantee for a happy ending. Actually, you can see that on Dragonmount: his problems there continued, until he finally figured out how to deal with it (life goes on, even when it ends). If he had failed to come up with that solution, then he would have gone totally bonkers, and the Last Battle would have been a lot more exiting for all concerned.

Weird Harold
12-23-2013, 01:21 PM
I think you're partially wrong about that.

For the analogy of a "serial amnesiac" I'm not. An amnesiacseldom goes mad when memories ere recovered.

But like all analogies, the comparison is incomplete.

Seeker
12-23-2013, 02:32 PM
I would wager that madness is only happens to a small minority of people who regain past life memories

Weird Harold
12-23-2013, 03:43 PM
I would wager that madness is only happens to a small minority of people who regain past life memories
That would depend on a lot of variables; the content of the memories, the reason they were regained, whether the rememberer expected or knew about past-life memories.

It would also depend on how "madness" is defined and by whom; a good many people think Shirley McClain is "Mad" but she and other true believers don't.

Seeker
12-23-2013, 06:18 PM
That would depend on a lot of variables; the content of the memories, the reason they were regained, whether the rememberer expected or knew about past-life memories.

It would also depend on how "madness" is defined and by whom; a good many people think Shirley McClain is "Mad" but she and other true believers don't.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and conclude that most people who aren't Rand or one of the Other Heroes don't experience massive amounts of trauma. So, if memories surface, the reaction might be "Oh, cool!" or something along those lines.

RJ did say that reincarnation is a universally held belief system so, that being the case, people shouldn't be surprised when memories start surfacing.

However, there will be cases where the memories are traumatic or where they would be indistinguishable from hallucinations so certain people may react badly.

GonzoTheGreat
12-24-2013, 02:57 AM
I would wager that madness is only happens to a small minority of people who regain past life memories
You can wager that, but can you find any substantiation for that position in the books?

I gave you a Semirhage quote showing that she believes that most who regain such memories do go mad. She may have lied, but all indications are that she is too proud for such petty lies.

And there is also a Thom Merrilin quote from the beginning of the series, which voices the same general sentiment:
"Don't say that!" Thom drew a deep breath; everybody stared at him now. "That is dangerous talk, stupid talk. The dead can be reborn, or take a living body, and it is not something to speak of lightly." He took another breath to calm himself before going on. "The old blood, she said. The blood, not a dead man. I've heard that it can happen, sometimes. Heard, though I never really thought ... It was your roots, boy. A line running from you to your father to your grandfather, right on back to Manetheren, and maybe beyond. Well, now you know your family is old. You ought to let it go at that and be glad. Most people don't know much more than that they had a father."
Can you find anything even remotely as authoritative to support your view?

Please note that while Thom's worries might possibly stem from a combination of Taint plus retrieved memories, that is definitely not the case with Semirhage; she is talking about cases that occurred before the Taint became an issue.

Seeker
12-26-2013, 04:16 PM
You can wager that, but can you find any substantiation for that position in the books?

I gave you a Semirhage quote showing that she believes that most who regain such memories do go mad. She may have lied, but all indications are that she is too proud for such petty lies.

And there is also a Thom Merrilin quote from the beginning of the series, which voices the same general sentiment:

Can you find anything even remotely as authoritative to support your view?

Please note that while Thom's worries might possibly stem from a combination of Taint plus retrieved memories, that is definitely not the case with Semirhage; she is talking about cases that occurred before the Taint became an issue.

Simple common sense should make it clear.

But we can draw inferences based on what we know. We know that there is a universal belief in reincarnation throughout the Westlands and the Waste and probably Seanchan as well. That kind of certitude doesn't happen without strong documented evidence. Just look at our world. We have three major monotheistic religions, several polytheistic religions, and dozens of dead pantheons that are now considered to be myths. Opinions on what happens after death range from absolutely nothing to rebirth in various forms to incorporeal existence on some higher plane. Keep in mind that there have been major schisms in the Christian Faith over issues as small as whether the souls of the damned suffer eternal punishment or whether they are simply deleted.

Human beings are not capable of the kind of mono-faith that we see in WOT.

Unless it's no longer a matter of faith but rather a matter of proven fact. The only way we could have a universal belief is if there have been numerous verified cases of rebirth. Say a young novice remembers being a Sitter for the Tower in a previous life and one of the older sisters is able to corroborate her story.

The words Semirhage used "Sometimes the voices they hear are the voices of past lives" implies that this is a phenomenon that has been documented more than once.

You see, a single verified case of reincarnation is not enough to create a universal belief. We've seen that legends will fade to myth and that those myths will be treated as nothing more than children's stories. No, this has to be something that happens on a regular basis for reincarnation to be treated as a matter of common knowledge.


From that, we can deduce that memories of former lives must occur frequently. Perhaps in only 1% of the population but regularly enough that the belief in reincarnation never wavers.

At the 2010 JordanCon, I asked Brandon why everyone in Randland believed in reincarnation if none of them remembered their past lives. His answer was "I can only conclude that a small majority of them DO remember their past lives."

HOWEVER...

No one knew of the phenomenon that Semirhage described. In fact, most of the people who heard her words remained skeptical until Rand himself confirmed the truth.

This means that past-life induced madness does NOT happen on anything approximating a regular basis. It is an exceedingly rare phenomenon.

And from these two facts, we can deduce that most of the people who experience past life memories do not go mad as a result.

GonzoTheGreat
12-27-2013, 03:34 AM
Human beings are not capable of the kind of mono-faith that we see in WOT.
Human beings are not capable of the kind of mono-language that we see in WOT. At least, not without world wide near-instantaneous communications of the type that totally disappeared during the Breaking. So logically, the Seanchan should have spoken a totally different language than the Randlanders did, and the Aiel still another one. After all, the time difference was twice as long at least as that between German and English, and the number of contacts was far less too.

So either you are wrong, and such singular things are possible in the real world, or you are wrong and overlook the fact that this is fiction.

Furthermore, there is the rather important fact that religious believes can hang on for a very long time, even when the rest of the culture changes a lot. So the omnipresence of belief in reincarnation can also be adequately explained by noting that it was a common Second Age belief, and simply held on everywhere, as beliefs often do.

The words Semirhage used "Sometimes the voices they hear are the voices of past lives" implies that this is a phenomenon that has been documented more than once.Yes, indeed.
In the Second Age, when they had a far greater population to provide such cases, and when they were far better at keeping accurate records on top of that. Then the belief simply hung on, as such beliefs do.

You see, a single verified case of reincarnation is not enough to create a universal belief. We've seen that legends will fade to myth and that those myths will be treated as nothing more than children's stories. No, this has to be something that happens on a regular basis for reincarnation to be treated as a matter of common knowledge.You mean, like having men (who happen to be able to channel too) starting to mutter to a voice that only they can hear, and getting suggestions from that voice?
Such a phenomenon could indeed reinforce this belief in reincarnation. Maybe some of the voices were indeed those of past lives, while others are simply a product of madness. All things being equal, I can understand why most people wouldn't bother to try to distinguish between the two.

No one knew of the phenomenon that Semirhage described. In fact, most of the people who heard her words remained skeptical until Rand himself confirmed the truth.Could you please back up your claim?
Logain's face goes unreadable. That could be because he doesn't believe it, but more likely is that he does. And recognises it as similar to what happens occasionally to Ashaman, who then have to be killed to protect everyone from channeling madness.
Bashere looks as if he doesn't believe it, but this is rather far outside his area of expertise.
Nynaeve shows concern, which doesn't tell us anything at all.
Min is only worried about how Rand will react to this, apparently.
Cadsuane, who, together with Logain, is the local expert on "men hearing voices" gets a lot more interested in Semirhage, suggesting that she thinks the Forsaken has useful and accurate information.

This means that past-life induced madness does NOT happen on anything approximating a regular basis. It is an exceedingly rare phenomenon.Normally, perhaps. But combined with the Taint, the likelihood seems to be increased significantly.

And from these two facts, we can deduce that most of the people who experience past life memories do not go mad as a result.
I'll add yet another relevant quote to the mix:
The woman looked at the battered tea things as if she had all the time in the world. "Now you know," she said at last, calm as ever, "that I know your future, and your present. The Light’s mercy fades to nothing for a man who can channel. Some see that and believe the Light denies those men. I do not. Have you begun to hear voices, yet?"
"What do you mean?" he asked slowly. He could feel Lews Therin listening.
The tingle returned to his skin, and he very nearly channeled, but all that happened was that the teapot rose and floated to Cadsuane, turning slowly in the air for her to examine. "Some men who can channel begin to hear voices." She spoke almost absently, frowning at the flattened sphere of silver and gold. "It is a part of the madness. Voices conversing with them, telling them what to do." The teapot drifted gently to the floor by her feet. "Have you heard any?"This suggests that it is not quite as rare as all that, at least not when the Taint is involved. Now, once again, it is not clear how many of these voices are from past lives, but on the other hand: who is going to check?

Seeker
12-28-2013, 02:23 AM
Human beings are not capable of the kind of mono-language that we see in WOT. At least, not without world wide near-instantaneous communications of the type that totally disappeared during the Breaking. So logically, the Seanchan should have spoken a totally different language than the Randlanders did, and the Aiel still another one. After all, the time difference was twice as long at least as that between German and English, and the number of contacts was far less too.

That's not true. Haven't you ever heard the term lingua franca? It's used to denote a language that is used to facilitate communication between two peoples who do not share a mother tongue. History has demonstrated again and again that humans will find a way to overcome language barriers. English has become a lingua franca for the majority of the planet; it is the generally accepted language for commerce. Consider the fact that you and I are able to have this conversation.

So, now you have to consider the situation in WOT.

Prior to the Breaking, we already had a lingua franca in the form of what people now call the "Old Tongue." There were certainly other languages in existence but the Old Tongue was the default global language at that time. Then, the Breaking Segregated people.

Divergence in languages from a common root tongue only happen when people are separated by large geographic distances without regular contact. But, after the Breaking, the new nations quickly re-established regular trade. Now, different countries would almost certainly have their own dialects but as trade became more and more common, those dialects would fuse together. The result is the New Tongue or whatever they call it. Over the course of 3000 years, we've seen several Compacts of Nations/Empires that spanned the entire continent, keeping regular contact going.

Remember, these people all started from the same root language - unlike what we see on Earth between European and Asian countries - and they have not been separated long enough for the language to drift.

Humans will agree on a way to communicate.

They will not, however, agree on spiritual matters. Your argument is flawed because language is not analogous to religion in this regard.



Furthermore, there is the rather important fact that religious believes can hang on for a very long time, even when the rest of the culture changes a lot. So the omnipresence of belief in reincarnation can also be adequately explained by noting that it was a common Second Age belief, and simply held on everywhere, as beliefs often do.

It's not just common; it's universal. And we have to read between the lines and ask ourselves how it got that way.


Yes, indeed.
In the Second Age, when they had a far greater population to provide such cases, and when they were far better at keeping accurate records on top of that. Then the belief simply hung on, as such beliefs do.

In the 3000 years since the Breaking, various cultures came to believe that trollocs did not really exist, stories of the Forsaken portrayed them as all-knowing gods rather than powerful channelers and in some cases, confusion arose as to whether or not the Dragon and the Dark One were the same thing. So, now you expect me to believe that belief in reincarnation just "persisted" when EVERY OTHER BELIEF has changed?

Again, there has to be something to reinforce the belief. We don't question whether or not the sun will rise tomorrow because we see it rise everyday. For something to be common knowledge on this level, it has to be a regular event that can be witnessed.


You mean, like having men (who happen to be able to channel too) starting to mutter to a voice that only they can hear, and getting suggestions from that voice?

Rand is the only channeler that we've witnessed with that affliction. Every other Asha'man has displayed a different form of madness. This would suggest that the type of madness depends on the individual.


Such a phenomenon could indeed reinforce this belief in reincarnation. Maybe some of the voices were indeed those of past lives, while others are simply a product of madness. All things being equal, I can understand why most people wouldn't bother to try to distinguish between the two.

No, it really couldn't. In order to make reincarnation common knowledge, there have to be verifiable cases from credible sources. The ramblings of madmen wouldn't convince anyone.

More to the point, the emergence of a male channeler has been a rare event because until recently, only Sparkers were afflicted with the taint and three quarters of them died from an inability to control the Power before the madness could even set in.

Logain's face goes unreadable. That could be because he doesn't believe it, but more likely is that he does. And recognises it as similar to what happens occasionally to Ashaman, who then have to be killed to protect everyone from channeling madness.

Well, Cadsuane asks Semirhage why she would not try to hide her identity, which would seem to indicate that she's taking everything the woman says with a grain of salt.

In the next book, Min finally confronts Rand about his Lews Therin voice and she's not really certain of it until he confirms its existence. I assume you know the scenes I'm talking about well enough to know where they are.


Bashere looks as if he doesn't believe it, but this is rather far outside his area of expertise.

It's still skepticism. Grand claims like "This man remembers a previous life" are rarely just accepted on faith. Remember, that the thing he's skeptical of is Semirhage's explanation for how Rand recognized her. There's no doubt in his mind that the man he knows as Rand a'Thor was once Lews Therin Telamon but he's trying to determine whether this woman who claims to be Semirhage is a credible source.

If the a dissociative identity disorder between two incarnations of the same soul was a common phenomenon, the other people in that scene wouldn't even NEED to ask how Rand could recognize Semirhage.


Normally, perhaps. But combined with the Taint, the likelihood seems to be increased significantly.

Rand experienced a voice from his past life.

Androl saw shadows that lengthened whenever he held the Source.

Logain became irrationally terrified that he would lose the ability to channel.

Naeff saw Myrdraal lurking in the shadows.

Fedwin Mor's mind was reduced to that of a child.

An unnamed Asha'man began to hallucinate that spiders were crawling over his body.

The madness is very idiosyncratic. No two Asha'man seem to have the same symptoms. The assumption that the taint gives all men who are exposed to it access to past life memories is a fallacy.

The phenomenon is rare.


I'll add yet another relevant quote to the mix:
This suggests that it is not quite as rare as all that, at least not when the Taint is involved. Now, once again, it is not clear how many of these voices are from past lives, but on the other hand: who is going to check?

First of all, Cadsuane specifically says that SOME men who channel hear voices. Not all.

Second, she never qualifies what kind of voices they hear. So this doesn't really tell us anything. For instance, if Naeff's condition got worse and the myrdraal that he saw started speaking to him - taunting him - would this fit Cadsuane's definition?

Remember, from her perspective, Naeff would be talking to people who were not actually there. So, if she walked in to find Naeff talking to an imaginary myrdraal and Rand talking to an imaginary Lews Therin, would both of these fall into the category of "hearing voices?" Can Cadsuane distinguish between the different flavours of madness without access to Rand's POV?

You can't take her quote as evidence of men who channel hearing the voices of prior incarnations. So far as we've seen, Rand is the only male channeler to display those symptoms. No other Asha'man has demonstrated knowledge of past life memories. No other Asha'man has been seen arguing with one of his past incarnations. Not one.

From this, we can deduce that Rand's condition is rare. He seems to be the only one.

GonzoTheGreat
12-28-2013, 04:46 AM
That's not true. Haven't you ever heard the term lingua franca? It's used to denote a language that is used to facilitate communication between two peoples who do not share a mother tongue. History has demonstrated again and again that humans will find a way to overcome language barriers. English has become a lingua franca for the majority of the planet; it is the generally accepted language for commerce. Consider the fact that you and I are able to have this conversation.
Fine. Now answer me this: how many people from both sides of the Atlantic would have been capable of communicating in English, a mere five hundred years ago?
The answer, I suspect you know, is "very few, if any at all". And what's the difference? The fact that English is spread all across the world by modern communication methods.
Before that happened, there were other lingua francas. For a long time, there was Latin. Which, for most of that period, was only understood by a small minority from the upper class, just as is the case with the Old Tongue in the WOT. Before Latin, there was Greek, for which the same was true to a certain extend (it was also spoken by a lot of people in their daily lives, just as is the case with English today). For a very long time, in India the language Sanskrit served this role, even though no one spoke it as native language anymore and only the upper classes were able to really use it. In large parts of Caribean, Spanish used to be used as communication language even between people who did not use the language in their daily lives.

And what do all of these languages have in common? They had been the language of the dominant group for at least a while, and therefor they had been used for "official things" for a significant period of time.

In Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire, Latin remained the lingua franca for a long time, but local variations developed into lots of different languages (two or three in what is now France, at least two in Spain, Portuguese, Italian (which may be several languages too), Romansh, Romanian, and some others I'd forgotten that you can find on Wikipedia). Aside from that, there were (still are) oodles of languages from other sources too (English, Basque, Estonian, to name but a few), all in that same area. Now, I do admit that I'm reasonably well able to make myself known to someone who speaks English, but I also know from personal experience that communicating with someone who only speaks Hungarian is not a trivial matter, even though I'd had a couple of years of Latin at school (and knew English, the current lingua franca, to boot).

So, based on actual real world history, I do not buy the "everyone would be able to understand everyone else" argument as more than a literary device aimed at saving the time and expense of having to drag along an Interpreters Corps wherever one of our heroes went.

So, now you have to consider the situation in WOT.
Good idea.
The Old Tongue, not the one that Rand (and everyone else) speaks had been the dominant language, the language of culture, the language which scholars would want to preserve, at the time of the Breaking. The Old Tongue was the one that everyone knew, not those other languages.
After the Breaking, there were some continent sized groups, but nothing on an actual global scale. For instance, the Ten Nations always were limited to what the Aiel call the Wetlands, and never extended their influence into the Waste. Thus, the linguistic developments of those two regions would diverge over time. The Randlander language would have gone one way (more likely: dozens of ways), the Aiel language another, the Sharan language yet another, the Sea Folk would have developed another language of their own (while learning those of everyone they came into contact with), so would the Tinkers, and the Seanchan would have added hundreds more languages to the total.

Divergence in languages from a common root tongue only happen when people are separated by large geographic distances without regular contact. But, after the Breaking, the new nations quickly re-established regular trade. Now, different countries would almost certainly have their own dialects but as trade became more and more common, those dialects would fuse together. The result is the New Tongue or whatever they call it. Over the course of 3000 years, we've seen several Compacts of Nations/Empires that spanned the entire continent, keeping regular contact going.
Even if true (which I doubt), still irrelevant in regards to the Aiel, the Sea Folk, the Sharans and the Seanchan.

Remember, these people all started from the same root language - unlike what we see on Earth between European and Asian countries - and they have not been separated long enough for the language to drift.
Which is why you no doubt have no trouble at all reading Beowulf in the original. After all, that's a mere third of the time since it appeared, compared to the time between Rand's birth and the Breaking, and Beowulf is actually "old English", thus still closer to what you know than (say) Homerian Greek (which is about as long ago from us as the Breaking is to Rand, and was the standard language then).

They will not, however, agree on spiritual matters. Your argument is flawed because language is not analogous to religion in this regard.
So everyone understands Church Latin, but there are no Roman Catholics outside Vatican City? I'm not convinced you are correct, you know.

So, now you expect me to believe that belief in reincarnation just "persisted" when EVERY OTHER BELIEF has changed?
Yes. In that same time in the real world, a lot of things have changed in Europe, but we still decorate trees around midwinter. In that same period a lot of believes have changed all over the world, but astrology has kept going.

Again, there has to be something to reinforce the belief. We don't question whether or not the sun will rise tomorrow because we see it rise everyday. For something to be common knowledge on this level, it has to be a regular event that can be witnessed.Fine. Provide me (and the rest of the world) with your amazing evidence of how we can witness the actual validity of astrology in the real world. If you manage it, that'll give you a Nobel Prize. If you fail, then you will have to explain how it is possible that a belief can hang on for precisely the period that we are debating here without any actual evidence in its favor even though you claim that is not possible.

Rand is the only channeler that we've witnessed with that affliction. Every other Asha'man has displayed a different form of madness. This would suggest that the type of madness depends on the individual.
Well, duh! That isn't really a new revelation, is it?

No, it really couldn't. In order to make reincarnation common knowledge, there have to be verifiable cases from credible sources. The ramblings of madmen wouldn't convince anyone.Astrology.

Logain became irrationally terrified that he would lose the ability to channel.
Irrationally?
First of all, he got a bit more irrational about it after Taim's Turning Attempt, which hadn't happened yet at that time. Second, some of his irrational fear of it was based on the very real personal knowledge that it not only could happen to him, but that it had already happened to him once before. Combined with the fact that at the time, he was accompanied by two AS with explicit orders to do it to him again, and he knew they had had those orders.

Then combine that with the following:
Gentling is supposed to be the worst pain known to mankind. Semirhage delights in giving pain. Nynaeve had figured out how to undo gentling, taught it to others and Semirhage might be capable of doing this too. So if Semirhage captured Logain, then she might very well gentle and heal, gentle and heal him for days on end. Is it really "irrationally terrifying" to worry about something like that?

The madness is very idiosyncratic. No two Asha'man seem to have the same symptoms. The assumption that the taint gives all men who are exposed to it access to past life memories is a fallacy.

The phenomenon is rare.
I do not dispute that. On the other hand, those who do hear voices from past lives, and also live long enough to act on what they hear, would tend to be far more noticeable than those that die within a day of starting to channel. A "wilder" who can draw upon past life knowledge, maybe even knowledge from the Age of Legends, to improve his skills, would be in a position to make far more of a mark on society than any other. Thus, those would be the most influential ones by a long stretch.

You can't take her quote as evidence of men who channel hearing the voices of prior incarnations. So far as we've seen, Rand is the only male channeler to display those symptoms. No other Asha'man has demonstrated knowledge of past life memories. No other Asha'man has been seen arguing with one of his past incarnations. Not one.

From this, we can deduce that Rand's condition is rare. He seems to be the only one.
"Seems" being the operative word here. Most mad Ashaman get done away with (killed) when their affliction becomes really noticeable. So either they keep it well enough hidden for us not to notice it, or they die before they come to our notice. Which rather skews the statistics.

And, of course, there's still the fact that the Taint need not be the only way in which this phenomenon happens. Semirhage refers to cases that are definitely not Taint related, though I suspect that if they happened in the Third Age, they would be considered evidence of channeling madness anyway, just to be safe. But those cases would be very rare too, and difficult to check to boot.