Subjective gods? Mysterious Trotsky?

From: TTrotsky@aol.com
Date: Sat 17 May 1997 - 13:16:20 EEST


     First off, I have to say I incline towards the 'subjectivists' side of
this debate. But more important to me is the fact that it doesn't really
matter. It isn't possible for Gloranthans (and hence PCs) to determine the
answer to questions such as 'are Yelm and Kargzant the same being?' And if it

isn't possible to answer a question then it's irrelevant, except perhaps to
philosophers.
     How do I know its impossible to answer the question? Let us suppose that
such a method does exist. For example, it has been suggested by some people
that one could use a Divination spell to solve theological debates. Let's
take a simple example, such as whether or not time (in its current form)
existed before the Dawn. The Orlanthi say 'no' , the Dara Happans and Kralori
say 'yes'. I'm not sure about other cultures, but I dare say opinion is
equally split.
     _If_ this divination method works, there are (so far as I can see,
please correct me if you see another) only three possible explanations for
this split in opinion:
1) The Gods themselves don't know the answer. Or at least some of them don't.
This seems unlikely to me, since they were around when it all happened.
2) Nobody's thought to ask. Or one or other group hasn't done so. Somebody
(sorry, I forget who) proposed this as an explanation, on the grounds its
like taking a calculator into a maths exam. I think it's entirely likely for

exactly the same reason. If you're allowed to take a calculator in, you
would, wouldn't you? At any rate, somebody at some point would have tried to
do so. And if Yelm, say, answers this question 'No, your caldendars are
completely wrong, and the barbarians were right all along' surely this would
eventually become orthodoxy. Even if nobody believed the priest who intially
delivered the message, all they'd have to do to check is cast divination
themselves. And get the same answer.
3) One or other set of gods is lying to their worshippers. Leaving aside the
question of whether this is a very godly thing to do (unless you're Trickster
perhaps :-)) why would they bother?
     None of these explanations make sense - at least to me. So it follows
that you can't use divination to ask questions like this. The same applies to
any other method that might allow a Gloranthan to answer the
objective/subjective debate. Ergo, they can't. So what's important is what
they believe. They may be right, they may be wrong, but it doesn't really
matter to us as gamers or fiction writers because nobody on Glorantha can
ever find out.

     Benedict Adamson points out that, according to Strangers in Prax,
Glorantha doesn't have a horizon. Has this been Gregged _already_ he asks in
trepidation? 'Fraid so, I heard Greg say as much at Convulsion 3D. Unless its
been Gregged away again since. :-)

     On a more boring note, I have written a little biography of myself to
e-mail to anyone who still thinks I'm being mysterious/anonymous or whatever.
This isn't a biography panel, so I won't post it in the Digest unless you
really plead me to.

All hail the Reaching Moon!
    Trotsky

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