(Anything but) Theogony.

From: Alex Ferguson (abf@interzone.ucc.ie)
Date: Mon 19 May 1997 - 02:30:44 EEST


Carl Fink, on me wanting Pelorian Pelorian myths:

> 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.

In other words: "tough, I don't want 'em to exist, you can only have
'Theyalan Pelorian myths'".

Peter Metcalfe and Jeff Richard have performed a fairly thorough
pincer movement on the various portions of the above, to which I
can only agree. But on a related comment:

> 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.

> Well, that *used* to be true, before Greg started retroactively
> changing the myths, anyway.

The truth of the matter is that until GRAY, these myths simply hadn't
been written. Just about everything written about Yelm, et al, in
the Golden Age was an Orlanthi interpretation of a God Learner version
of a First Council agreed position on what the Pelorians might have
actually believed. That _those_ versions were relatively contradiction-
free ought to surprise no-one. How many people would really want to
discard the accumulated knowledge of a decade and a half, in order
to reduce the amount of contradiction by the simple expedient of

reducing the amount we know?

If people want to ignore published material, or if they want to "fix" it
to account for their own view as to what Glorantha "ought" to be, for
reason of "objective truth", or any other reason come to that, then I
say more power to 'em. Arguing for this to be hard-coded into Official
Glorantha would, however, be a pointless and destructive endeavour, and
would most assuredly start more fights than it finished.

> The history of Glorantha is actually a parable of Greg's *description*
> of Glorantha, you see. In the Golden Age, everything was singular and
> orderly (although some, like Alex, would see it as stagnant and
> boring).

Talking of viewpoints being misrepresented, this is a fairly
presumptuous thing to assert about mine. I'll note in passing though,

that the characteristic of Golden Age myths is that people _believe_
things used to be Much Better, and in line with their preconceived
notions of how things Ought to Be, and are currently Going to Hell on
a Bike, regardless of the "historical truth" of the matter.

> Eventually a new order will arise, perhaps with the publication of
> Glorantha: The Game. This order will be different from the original
> splendor of the Monomyth, but consistent enough to continue existing.
> After a time, it will be destroyed in a second War of the Gods, to be
> replaced by the Illiteracy Era in which nothing will ever be published
> about Glorantha again.

Despite it's gloom-laden tone, I'd largely agree with this. G:tG
won't remotely pretend to be Objective, but will, I believe, present
a doggedly _internally_ consistent characterisation of a particular
culture, and all the rest can go hang (until their supplement comes
up, that is). Of which I heartily approve, I might add. Don't
bank on this phase lasting ~1700 years, though.

I said the Objectivists propose to pick just one model, and declare all
the rest wrong:
> I call it "distortion of our viewpoint".

How so? Now, I accept that not all of your "side" are saying this, as
there's a charming plurality of views among the believers in One Truth.
But some seem to be saying precisely this. Other schools of Objective
Thought seem to be that either There Is Only One Model, and that no one
has ever or will ever believed different; or there's the "Hidden
variable objectivists", who think that experience can be subjective to a
greater or lesser extent, but there's a deeper underlying objective
reality, to which access is limited, unreliable, or partial.

For my money, HVOs and "subjectivists" are functionally equivalent,
except that the latter get to spare themselves the mental effort of
working out what the Hidden Reality is. Though it goes without saying

(oops, too late) that there's any number of versions of each, depending
on exactly what you think is (effectively) a subjective matter.

> If the myths contradict each other then SOME ARE WRONG. If you accept
> the primacy of logic you can't get around that. If you don't, we're
> wasting our time discussing this.

I hardly know where to start on this one.

1. What's the "primacy of logic", anyway?

2. This isn't really an accurate statement of the meaning of
    "contradiction" in an axiomatic system. Anecdotal observation
    of mathematical types when this happens is that they either say,
    "Oh dear, we have to work in an unsound system. Too bad."
    (occupational hazard of being a set theorist or logician, I
    gather), or they start retracting axioms on the basis of what
    looks the most expendable, and watch to see what falls over first.
    But what has this to do with anything?
    
3. What makes you thing logic is the most useful tool for describing
    roleplaying games, the world, much less myth?

4. What do you mean by a myth being "wrong"? Do you mean that:
        a) It's not correct "history";
        b) It can't be the basis for a valid personal experience;
        c) It won't "work" magically; or
        d) Other.

5. We probably are wasting our time discussing this. Or certainly,
    I can't imagine what you realistically expect to achieve with
    your postings on the subject. For my part, I'm just trying to
    point out the hazards, if not to Carl then to others, of the
    Scorched Myth policy he seems to advocate, and its lack of any
    compensating benefits.

> The Mostali and Malkioni don't even CHALLENGE the beliefs of the
> theists.

Not only is that not true, but I'll add that as early as 1981 Greg
was writing that the Mystics regarded deities as a "misconception"
of reality. (CoT p11)

To Pam Carlson's entirely reasonable characterisation:
> This is a rather extreme burlesque of how science works, but in any
> case, Newton's physics, although brilliant were WRONG, and Isaac
> himself would not deny it (I think) if resurrected. Sorry.

You're throwing the word "wrong" around rather a lot at the moment.
What's "wrong" depends on one's standard of truth, proof, and/or
standards of "evidence". In the above terms, almost every currently
accepted scientific theory _is_ "wrong". (Certainly including both of
two of the most remarkable of the century, Relativity and QED, which
tend to somewhat stab each other in the ankle.) Is this the standard of

truth you demand different mythologies in a fictional world comply with,
not just individually, but in a globally -- sorry, lozengely --
consistent fashion? If not, more useful terminology is to be
recommended.

> 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.

This statement is conflating two different propositions: that Glorantha
has internal laws which are immutable, whatever Greg has decided they
are; and that the nature of Glorantha can't be changed by an act of
"external creation", by him or anyone else. I'm not sure that either is
true, but they're certainly different.

Inordinately,
Alex.

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