Subjectivism in RQII?

From: Peter Metcalfe (
Date: Sun 18 May 1997 - 12:11:01 EEST

Carl Fink:

AF>>Let's be clear about this: the "subjectivists" have very particular
>>reasons for their position. They want to be able to have a Peloria
>>which believes in Pelorian myth, a Barbarian Belt that believes in
>>Theyalan myth. Seem fair?

>Sure, as long as the myths *aren't directly contradictory*. Which
>they originally (RQ2) were not. Please don't cite newer publications
>to prove me wrong, since what I'm complaining about is precisely that
>newer publications *do* diverge from this earlier, better, state.

Fair enough, then I cite some really really really old publications.

Wyrm's Footprints

        "Yelm is the son of Aether, commonly interpreted
        to be a way of saying that the Sun is another
        manifestation of the wondrous life-giving properties
        of the Divine Light. It is of note that this is the
        same light which Dayzatar priests claim a monopoly,
        and some Yelm priests culd be pushed into admitting
        that Dayzatar's light could be less tarnished than

Suprising really. One would have thought a simple divination
would have cleared matters up?

        "The Devil was crushed and smeared across the plains*

        *Some doubt does exist documented primarily by the
        Minderkind Sages of the Arrolian City of Riverjoin
        and hermit Triidges of the Quivin Mountains that it
        was not the devil, Wakboth, but actually the Great
        Fear, Kajabor, who was imprisoned beneath the block."

Why don't they ask the Storm Bull people at the block? Or don't
they believe what they say?

From Dragon Pass:

        'The Earthshaker cult claims that Androgeus was born in
        the sky during the Great Night, when the world was turned
        upside down. Androgeus, they say, was a star captain who
        came to Glorantha to drive out the wild night demons. The
        sky worshippers say she was made by braggart dwarves and
        cast upon earth when they threw their rubbish at a passing
        angel. The moon worshippers say that she was the wife and
        son of the Belling Hell, and that she cut his way up through
        the earth to reach our world.'

Not 'not directly contradictory' perhaps?

From Cults of Terror:

        'A body of deities, the Celestial Court are said to have
        made the world. Mystics say that since the deities were
        the first misconceptions concerning reality, they set the
        pattern for misunderstanding existance. The humanists
        (correction for 'naturalists' in the text) claim the powers
        presented as entities on the court where actually the inert
        runes which established the formats for further interactions
        between the emerging patterns of creation. The naturalists
        and theists agree that godly beings made up the court'.

        'These Form Runes cause the lively debate between the
        humanists and the theists. The theists claim there were
        entities or beings which embodied these Forms. Grandfather
        Mortal also commonly called Old Man, is the best known of
        these. The Humanists call those explainations fairy tales
        and suggest the so-called Forms resulted from natural forces
        which developed impersonally.'

        'Some say Arkat's father was Humakt, the god of war, but the
        Brithini claim the hero's father was a barbarian warrior.'

Pretty blatant contradictions there...

From Pavis: Threshold to Danger

        'Troll Legend says the statue was there when they arrived
        aeons ago. Pavis is known not to have believed this, but
        never revealed why.'

        '[Opilli Wallmaker] either died in his bed, or as told in
        the barbarian chants, at the hands of various tribal heroes.'

        'Contradictory nomad songs name him as one of the first of
        the Rubble leaders slain by Toras Joran'

Now if these legends, chants and songs are myths, then they must
be contradictory...

I would have also included some choice quotes from Gods of
Glorantha, but that as we all know is belongs to the Big Bad
RQIII period of directly contradictory myths.

To return to your original claim, you still want to maintain
that the RQ2 myths are not directly contradictory?

>I call it "distortion of our viewpoint". If the myths contradict each
>other then SOME ARE WRONG.

Yes and? What difference does it make if the myths are wrong?
A Sunspear cast by someone who believes that the Sun is Kargzant
is not very different from someone who believes that the Sun is

One *can* demonstrate to believers that their myths are not
true and this has happened several times in the past. What
has happened is that they have junked the untrue myth and
carried on with the myths that are not demonstrated to be
untrue. After all the fact that they can still gain magic
from their god implies that they are at least doing something

Even the Objectivist position of mythic truth implies this.
If the God Learner myths are True (tm) then the myths before
the coming of the God Learners are false. Ergo one does not
need truth in myth.

Me>>By saying that the mythology of the Theists
>>is completely and utterly true, you are saying that the mythology
>>of the Malkioni, Kralori, Mostali and even the Lunars among others
>>are completely and utterly false. And that to me robs Glorantha of
>>what makes it special.

>Er, no.

You speaking for me?

>The Mostali and Malkioni don't even CHALLENGE the beliefs of the
>theists. Neither denies that Orlanth or Yelm or Chalana Arroy exists,
>you know. They make a judgement that Ernalda SHOULD NOT BE

Rubbish. Look at Gods of Glorantha, 'what the wizard says' and
'what the foreman tells me'. The Wizard labels Orlanth and Yelm
as *personifications* of the Wind and Sun respectively. He
certainly does not believe in that the Sun is an intelligent
entity. The foreman does likewise with comments about the
energy fields of Ty Kora Tek and all that.

>The Orlanthi don't deny the existence of Malkioni Saints, either. Just
>that Invisible God worship is the right religion for them.

Except that the Saints are sorcery-using atheists and every Orlanthi
knows that atheists have no souls and thus vanish after death. So
the Orlanthi mythology is self-contradictory.

>don't seem to have missionaries since the demise of the First and
>Second Councils. That is, they don't recruit. I suspect they have no
>problem with the Westerners worshipping whoever they please.)

Except when the Westerners are a) their leaders and b) dictate
to them what religion to follow.

>As the Jrusteli among others pointed out, Yelmic and Orlanthi myths
>don't contradict. It's the same set of events, viewed from a
>different viewpoint.

And the Jrusteli are wrong. If all myths are True and do not
directly contradict each other, then why did they have problems
with the Pamaltelean legends, the Draconic myths, Elf/Dwarf
Grower/Maker worlds and most peoples' legends of origin? Oh
damn, I forgot. That comes from the evil, wicked, bad, corrupt
RQIII period of directly contradictory myths...

>There are about two possibilities [about the validity of myth].
>No, three.
> 1)They're all wrong. (My position, FWIW)
> 2)One is right, the rest are wrong.
> 3)Some or all are *partly* right, some or all are wrong.

>Which one is your Glorantha?

I suspect three is the correct answer. Why do you have a problem
with this?

>And none of the above is relevant, because Glorantha doesn't HAVE
>immutable laws. It's whatever Greg says it is. If Greg reverts to
>Monomythology, that's Glorantha, period.

Wrong. As far back as Tales #5, Greg was rejecting this
school of thought. And even if it were the World of Greg, why
then is your apparently anal-retentive Gregophilia causing you
to reject Glorantha as Greg says it is now?

>Martin Laurie states what I'd call the "Pure Berkeleyism" position
>eloquently. It's a consistent system, and if it works for your game,
>great . . . but I find it REPELLENT and therefore it don't work for

Ah yes, I wondered if you were going to start bashing Bishop Berkeley
this time around. Don't you know of any other philosophers besides
the bishop? Popper? Kuhn? Wittgenstien? William of Occam? Could
you at least enliven your arguments by calling people deconstructionists
or perhaps collective solipists?

Laurie's position is *not* Pure Berkeleyism because Pure Berkeleyism
refers to *everything* (including the material world) being relative
and subjective, not just myth and magic.

- --Peter Metcalfe


End of Glorantha Digest V4 #407

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