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  #21  
Old 04-15-2011, 02:27 AM
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It's the best supported explanation for what was going on, along with taint madness. Your mention of 'pseudoscience' suggests that you are in the same camp as Gonzo, and you dismiss the idea because you believe that split personalities do not exist in the real world? If so, then that contradicts your objection to the idea that such concepts can be real in high fantasy. RJ obviously meant to make it real in some aspects, while incorporating fantastical aspects such as reincarnation and past life memories.
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  #22  
Old 04-15-2011, 04:28 AM
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Originally Posted by New Futurist Man View Post
The main point of order I have with the above is the idea the Dragon ... can be analysed and summed up using concepts and terminology borrowed from 20th century psychiatric pseudosciences like cognitive behavioral therapy etc.

The books are high fantasy. The main protagonist is about to face the font of all evil in the person of the Dark One, the idea for the past few books his moods can be satisfactorily explained in terms of repression and the splitting of the persona I don't buy at all.

...

Rand states to Min that he remembers being LTT just as he remembers his own childhood, the idea this is some pathological schism in the mind of Rand al'Thor, or ever has been, only holds water if analysed under the lens of modern psychological disciplines like CBT, an approach which, obviously, the books have never went anywhere near.
I don't have a problem with the memories of LTT being in Rand's head. It's the supposed personality of LTT that I'd pin on these psychological issues.

These "pseudosciences" are very real and useful for a lot of people. Just because Randland hasn't discovered them yet doesn't mean that they couldn't appear in the books as something we from our 20th Century perspective can understand - the books were written for us after all. As far as I know none of the characters discuss or understand how gravity works, or why the sun burns but, even though concepts like nuclear fusion don't exist at this moment in Randland, we can apply our knowledge to a fantasy setting.

Obviously I see there is a distinction between something "scientific" like physics and something you consider "pseudoscientific", but if CBT and various schools of psychology/psychiatry were proven true, we might reasonably assume that those principles could apply to a character even in a high fantasy setting.


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Originally Posted by New Futurist Man View Post
I think, on principle, your analysis is sound, but I think ignoring the fact that in truth the Soul of the Dragon must be comparable in some respects with the Dark One - evidently, if he's to defeat him -, or even the Creator, ergo must be godlike in essence and formed of a substance which can't be described or explained satisfactorily in terms of the normal physical or psychological parameters, does hobble it somewhat. Why not go the whole hog and declare that the Dark One's unbounded malice toward the human race is a consequence of transference originating from the fact that...well, who knows?

I understand where your coming from, but I just don't think concepts like 'repression' or 'split personality' really apply to the Dragon when you look at what he really is. Just seems grossly reductive and somewhat parochial.
Regardless of whom the Dragon is comparable to (Dark One/Ishamael/the Creator) you can't overlook his humanity. However much power he can control and have access to, he is humanity's champion and he is very much a human being, with a human mind and a human body, both of which are "sick" in one form or another.

Maybe it's comparable to Christian doctrines of Christ. Pretty much every church professes that Jesus was 100% God and 100% Man, and that neither nature infringes upon the other. I'm not suggesting that Rand is "God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one being with the [Creator]", but what I am saying is that what you're saying about the nature of the Soul of the Dragon doesn't mean that it still can't be a human soul, inhabiting a human body with a human mind and personality. Therefore he would still face issues, frailties and weaknesses that any of us could face. His human concerns were what nearly caused him to end it all when he nearly killed Tam, but they were also what let him find peace, when he realised that rebirth under the Wheel allowed him to experience love, etc, over and over again. Part of his frailties are the wounds in his side, so why could he not have a "wound" in his mind that he has since healed? A fallible body and a fallible mind are all part of being human.

And so why do I not apply my theory to the Dark One's motivations? Because he is not human like the Dragon.
  #23  
Old 04-15-2011, 04:43 AM
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According to RJ, the whole impetus for writing WoT was the question, 'What would really happen if a normal guy got tapped on the shoulder and told he had to save the world? And that he would probably die in the process?' The Lews Therin phenomenon is a part of showing exactly how human Rand is, and how susceptible to these pressures he is.
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  #24  
Old 04-15-2011, 05:15 AM
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Yeah. What Terez said. That's a much better way of putting it, rather than resorting to theology. I get a bit carried away sometimes...
  #25  
Old 04-15-2011, 05:17 AM
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Then again, getting the actual voice of LTT in his head could also be that "tap on the shoulder". All the other seeming taps could be dismissed as attempts to set him up as a false Dragon, after all.
  #26  
Old 04-15-2011, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terez View Post
Your mention of 'pseudoscience' suggests that you are in the same camp as Gonzo, and you dismiss the idea because you believe that split personalities do not exist in the real world? If so, then that contradicts your objection to the idea that such concepts can be real in high fantasy. RJ obviously meant to make it real in some aspects, while incorporating fantastical aspects such as reincarnation and past life memories.
I don't and haven't dismissed "the idea...[of] split personalities..in the real world", by declaring CBT a pseudoscience is merely allotting it its proper designation. Its not an exact science, and can't aspire to be like physics or chemistry. It works, or attempts to work, on the mind, which is a mercurial subject which doesn't easily give up results that can be objectively and formally verified. Theirs quite an imaginative leap from my designating CBT a "pseudoscience" to my saying schizoid personalities are merely a figment of their sufferers imagination (and the medical establishment's!), i.e. that they don't exist (though in a sense that would be correct). All I said was that Rand wasn't suffering from said condition, not that the condition would be impossible in that world.

By my reckoning as regards the Dragon there can be either:

1) a schizoid personality disorder;

or

2) reincarnation and past life memories;

Not both. A discipline like CBT is a materialist pseudoscience which does not believe in concepts like "reincarnation", "pastlife regression" etc etc, meaning its entirely inaccurate to label the Dragon as suffering from that condition when its common knowledge his 'symptoms' also include the mannerisms, knowledge etc. of a man who lived thousands of years before. Thats just not the definition of Split Personality Disorder. And while its obvious the Dragon can be reduced down into that kind of terminology, it goes nowhere near to describe what is actually going on with the man.

LTT's "presence" was living and breathing, it wasn't some figment feeding on dead memories. The only difference between Rand and LTT was that Rand had possession of the body whilst LTT had not.

I suppose a 'modern' reading of what happened atop Dragonmount would go somewhere along the lines of what ChubbyAiel is proposing: that the dead memories of LTT were being animated by Rand because of repressed trauma and that the existential revelation Rand experienced allowed him to overcome the repression. But I think that's hardly what actually happened on Dragonmount.

What really happened was two identities entirely individuated from eachother became one in an act of gnosis. Sure it can be reduced to concepts like 'split-personality', but the fact is people who suffer from that are merely delusion, they don't actually possess memories or powers of this 'other' individual - unlike the Dragon Reborn.

So how does the condition really apply, is it even relevant?
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  #27  
Old 04-15-2011, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Terez View Post
[the] Lews Therin phenomenon is a part of showing exactly how human Rand is, and how susceptible to these pressures he is.
But possessing the actual knowledge, mannerisms, neuroses of what's supposed to be a merely imagined schizoid 'other' isn't a normal human experience, so it doesn't really illustrate how "human" Rand is when he's experiencing something no man in the history of the universe ever has.

And I don't think LTT's 'appearance' was a cause of 'pressure', in my reading it was directly a consequence of the two men sharing the same Soul.
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  #28  
Old 04-15-2011, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New Futurist Man View Post
By my reckoning as regards the Dragon there can be either:

1) a schizoid personality disorder;

or

2) reincarnation and past life memories;

Not both.
The point you seem to miss is that, in a world where reincarnation is real, and it is possible to remember past lives, the two are not mutually exclusive by any means.

Quote:
Thats just not the definition of Split Personality Disorder.
You can name it whatever you like.

Quote:
LTT's "presence" was living and breathing
This is your opinion. Even Rand doesn't believe that any more - he knows he was Lews Therin all along.

Quote:
What really happened was two identities entirely individuated from eachother became one in an act of gnosis.
No, that's not what happened - Rand said they were not two men, and never had been.

Quote:
So how does the condition really apply, is it even relevant?
It's mostly relevant because 1) it shows how resistant Rand was to those memories (for obvious reasons), and 2) it shows that 'Lews Therin' was really just a manifestation of Rand's subconscious. So, when Lews Therin is raging about killing Taim, we have to keep in mind that this is what Rand wants to do, deep down. He suppresses that urge because he perceives it as being inconvenient, and by association (through suppression and through Rand's impression of the kind of man Lews Therin was), these urges are expressed through the 'voice'. That's sort of an oversimplification, but the gist should be clear enough.
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  #29  
Old 04-15-2011, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New Futurist Man View Post
I don't and haven't dismissed "the idea...[of] split personalities..in the real world", by declaring CBT a pseudoscience is merely allotting it its proper designation. Its not an exact science, and can't aspire to be like physics or chemistry. It works, or attempts to work, on the mind, which is a mercurial subject which doesn't easily give up results that can be objectively and formally verified. Theirs quite an imaginative leap from my designating CBT a "pseudoscience" to my saying schizoid personalities are merely a figment of their sufferers imagination (and the medical establishment's!), i.e. that they don't exist (though in a sense that would be correct). All I said was that Rand wasn't suffering from said condition, not that the condition would be impossible in that world.

By my reckoning as regards the Dragon there can be either:

1) a schizoid personality disorder;

or

2) reincarnation and past life memories;

Not both. A discipline like CBT is a materialist pseudoscience which does not believe in concepts like "reincarnation", "pastlife regression" etc etc, meaning its entirely inaccurate to label the Dragon as suffering from that condition when its common knowledge his 'symptoms' also include the mannerisms, knowledge etc. of a man who lived thousands of years before. Thats just not the definition of Split Personality Disorder. And while its obvious the Dragon can be reduced down into that kind of terminology, it goes nowhere near to describe what is actually going on with the man.

...

So how does the condition really apply, is it even relevant?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissoci...sorder#History

The condition is called Dissociative Identity Disorder. Previously it was called Multiple Personality Disorder. It is not "schizoid" personality disorder; schizophrenia is a different disease entirely, though it also causes people to hear voices. I'm not sure how cognitive behavioral therapy even enters into things. As far as I know CBT is not a common method of treating DID or schizophrenia.

Bringing real-world psychiatry into a discussion of a fantasy-world psychiatric ailment is, of course, a nonsensical proposition. We're better off relying on the fantasy-world psychiatrist's opinion. According to Semirhage, Graendal treated her past-life regression patients with the goal of achieving integration, and usually failed. That she aimed for reintegration tells us she considered the condition similar to DID, and that she often failed tells us she may have been incorrect to do so.

There's a decent amount of evidence for the "construct/compartmentalization" theory, especially the way LTT seems to be reacting to Rand's emotional repression. Rand forces himself to be hard, and LTT weeps and wails. Rand forces himself to hold on to icy self-control, and LTT screams and raves about killing everyone. After LOC, whenever Rand gets claustrophobic, it is Lews Therin who starts screaming about being back in the box (perhaps the most telling detail, since as far as we know the actual, historical Lews Therin was never trapped in a chest and never developed claustrophobia). However, there's enough ambiguity to keep the debate going ad naseum. The most we can say definitively is that the interactions between Rand and his past life personality resemble, but are probably not identical to, the interaction between dissociative identity patients and their alter egos.
 


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