The Subjectivity Debate

Date: Mon 19 May 1997 - 18:56:17 EEST

Wow! I seemed to have stirred up the pot quite a bit with my original
post. It's been two many GD's since my last posting, so I will post my
positions, clarified, for all to consider.

I do apologize if I was rude to anyone or came down as stand-offish by
my pronouncements. Although I myself am an objectivist, my point of
view has no more inherent weight in regards to "Truth with a capital T
than the next subjectivist's ;) This is what I prefer for my Glorantha
and what I believe it to be.
> My Australian 2 cents is placed firmly behind the subjectivists :).
> Of course you can argue that we can't all be right, but people do
> agree to disagree. Other times they make war and kill the heretics -
> we see enough of that in Glorantha. I had a mildly scary thought: What
> if you declare the 'standard' Orlanthi and surrounding myths CORRECT
> and then the Lunars kill them all (or vice versa of course). We are
> left with a world full of hopelessly deluded people. I don't think
> early RQ was more cohesive, just incomplete.
 Well, you see, that's the problem. In an objective Glorantha, Gods
aren't the mere philosophical constructs they are here in our world, or
the excuses for game mechanics in most AD&D worlds. In Glorantha, Gods
are *real* and *individual*. Now, Unlike Carl, I do agree that there
can be differing interpretations of the teachings of the First Council
due to distance, time and cultural drift. I also agree with some
subjectivists that Gods wear many differing masks so as to be in a
recognizable form when encountered on the Heroplane. Loren Miller gives
a really great description of this in his sketch of Orlanth Prime vs
Orlanth Prime vs Orlanth Humanis. Loren's description to me of Orlanth
Prime sees to be the 'true' form of Orlanth, which the Storm Pentans
know as West King Wind. Know, this being, for the purposes of this talk
we'll call True Storm, may have indeed accomplished all the tasks
attributed to Orlanth during the LBQ and the Darkness. However, True
Storm is so enourmous conceptually and spiritually that it must manifest
in a more human form to it's worshippers, as it couldn't well garner
worship as easily the way Loren describes Orlanth Prime.

As for the Lunars killing off Orlanth... That was the plan. In order to
be a great power, in the post-compromise world I assume that worshippers
are vital to a deity. Again, back to a point that I've made time and
again... The Red Goddess seeks to slay Orlanth by cutting of his
worship. Until the rebellion of Argrath and the awakening of the
Dragons at Dragon Pass, this was almost the case. Gods in Glorantha ae
by no means immortal, in or out of time.
> From: <>
> Date: Sun, 18 May 1997 22:58:01 -0400 (EDT)
> Subject: Newton wasn't wrong
> Einstein and Gauss and the others didn't prove Newton WRONG; they
> just made his mathematics a smaller part of a larger reality. One
> could suggest the same for RQ III/RQ II. In terms of modern cosmology much of the debate so far has been at a relatively unsophisticated level. My only problem with the extreme subjective view (although I am an historian myself) is not that of what "really happened," in some abstract sense, but the rather more important question, for a GM, of what WILL happen. By this I mean, when culture A meets Culture B, which has a different view of the world and its past/meaning, in most cases one view proves RIGHT, not in some abstract sense, but in the sense that, say, the Indian Ghost Dancers found
out that their dances did not stop the white man's bullets.
> I'm reminded of Isaac Asimov's Foundation, in which he points out that
the "religion of science" WORKS. I'm quite prepared to believe that it
doesn't work on Glorantha, but as a GM, or a player, I still want to
know what does. "Copenhagen theorists" might be right about quantum
mechanics,but even they don't act in our world as if their thoughts
determine reality.

Not unless you play White Wolf's MAGE:THE ASCENSION ;)

>I note that Martin Laurie's characters have yet to be defeated by someone interpreting reality differently at them (was it a John Brunner story in which the human children defeated monsters by disbelieving in them?).AD&D has some sort of solipsism spell, but RQ doesn't. Maybe it should be introduced into the new version.
> Jim Chapin

This brings up an interesting point - In many Glorantha stories that
I've read, many times we see how 'the valiant natives were defeated by
the foreigners and their strange gods and magics.' It's important to
note that like Carl brought up, we have yet to really see a clash of
cultures where one side belives the other's deities don't exist.
(Seshalen Knight on Ralios Barbarians and they're Gods - "Sure, those
Barbarians have some powerful magic, but those so-called 'Gods' that
they worship are just big spirits with an attitude problem. Our Wizards
will show them to be uppity! Unwashed savages ,") Most of the time,
either side (or perhaps both) simply has a somewhat skewed take on the
whole matter. Orlanthi, for example, sure as hell believe Yelm is the
sun god in the sky, and tbe Red Goddess exists... They just don't like
either of them, for various reasons.

On his webpage, Loren also brings up the point on how aspects of Gods
can be influenced by the God's interaction with their worshippers, while
the core identity of the God is still the same. For example, Orlanth
may appear on the GodPlane differently to a Heortling Thane, A Sartarite
Hillsmen and a Ralian Chieftain, most likely in forms that are familiar
to their culture. This is the basis of God Learner technique, and the
God Learner secret... A worshipper and his god jointly create myth, and
while the objective basis of the Myth and how it primarily plays out on
the Heroplane always remains the same, the worshipper adds to the drama
by adding aspects to the myth himself or herself. This seems to me to
be a caveat added to the compromise by Arachne Solara, so that Humans
and the other mortal races had some say in the doings of the Gods, and
their forms.

> From: (Carl Fink)
> Date: Sun, 18 May 1997 23:05:08 -0400
> Subject: I'm *trying* to stop, really
> If you get contradictory answers from "the same god" (say two Yelm
> priests ask), we have either the odd prospect of Yelm lying to his
> followers, or Yelm not existing. Neither appeals to me. If Yelm *is*
> a reliable source (at least from his own viewpoint) then all those
> "how can they argue about doctrine?" questions come right back.
> - --
> Carl Fink

This also brings up an interesting point. Do Gods Lie? I know that if
I, Yelm, were defeated by my greatest enemy and forces to rely upon him
for help in re-ascending to heaven, *I* sure as hell wouldn't admit it.
The Red Goddess claims to have met and have 'healed' the Invisible God.
While there is no way to prove this, it's great propaganda to convert
those westerners. I wouldn't even put it above Orlanth, although from
his Godly personality he seems pretty straight forward. But then, that
could be my personal preferences talking. It's also easy to delude
oneself into thinking that lying is correct in order to preserve
doctrine and social stability (Yelm to Dayzatar - "Yes, Orlanth did help
me to re-ascend, but if my Dara Happan children knew that, they'd lose
hope!"), which seems to me to be a fairly accurate reflection on the
authority based culture of Dara Happa and Peloria (Although this is a
subject that I know woefully little, so Yelmites out there, please
correct me where I may be wrong.)

My point - The Gods have personalities, free will, and active agendas
that they enact through their mortal worshippers. The Gods are also
politicians, and the conflicts from before Time have not yet stopped or
been settled.

> Remove AGIS from the backbone!

What's AGIS?
> From: (Martin Dick)
> Date: Mon, 19 May 1997 16:08:28 +1000
> Subject: Events - Subjective/Objectivity

So the overall question is I guess, are there any objective facts in the
consensual schema of Glorantha?

> Martin

From what I've seen on the list, some folks here don't seem to think
so. I doubt I'd want to play in that kind of Glorantha, where a
mythology that I like is a lie, or simply a set of symbols for my
culture. That's fine for the real world, but in Glorantha, Gods exist
and interact with their worshippers on a daily basis.

> From: Dave Bailey <>
> Date: Mon, 19 May 1997 08:59:15 +0100
> Subject: Subjectivity and Divination.
>Is it a heresy to question God on an article of faith. "God is the >West wind", "hey god, are you the west wind?". We need faith and Myth >not facts. All the major items of debate within a religion should have >been settled by the dawn age priests so new questions should be >answerable within a cults doctrine with Divination only confirming >that.

Er, Dave, don't you mean, 'A God'? Glorantha is inherently Polytheistic,
at least from the Theist point of view.

My Boy, Truth is never Heresy. Heresy only exists in worlds where Gods
are inaccessible and Doctrine up to debate. I'm sure that in Glorantha
questions of faith such as these are easily and simply cleared up, by an
inspiring vision that the God sends. Now, do Gods Lie? ;)

Glorantha already has enough magic and faith... What we need is truth ;)


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