Manifest Sandyisms.

From: Alex Ferguson (abf@interzone.ucc.ie)
Date: Sun 25 May 1997 - 05:20:24 EEST


Whee, two Petersenian Posts in a Season! While I, of course,
believed in him all along, my faith has been much reinvigorated.

Sandy gets non-two-valued on us:
["Are Elmal and Yelmalio the same diety?" Either they are, or they're not.]
> Why? I can think of a number of different possibilities rin which
> they're neither the same god nor different gods.

I have no idea what Sandy has in mind when he says this, but I can agree
with the bald statement, at least. Even if one insists on having an
Objectively Real Model of the gods, I don't think it follows that
they're necessarily some sort of pseudo-Platonic finite domain, either
of Ideals, or of Persons.

[Me:]
> >If I could prove that the Pamaltelans who believe the Greater Darkness
> precedes >the Lesser were Wrong, doesn't this devalue their worth as a
> believable culture?

> Why "believable"? How does holding a false belief render a culture
untenable.

Well, it would depend on the consequences of said "false" belief.
If their magic ceased to work, or what they encountered on their HQs
(or local equivalent) ceased to correspond to what they believed,
or they otherwise had it "proved" to them that they were Wrong, it'd
clearly make those beliefs, and a culture predicated on those beliefs
hard to sustain. That's the sort of proof I was thinking of, though
I may have been unclear. I'm not so bothered about RW "proof", though,
so long as it didn't have drastic Gloranthan consequences. Not that
I'm holding my breath in anticipation of one, though.

> SUBJECTIVE VS. OBJECTIVE DEITIES
> 1) The subjectivist argument is, in essence, that the gods are whatever
> their worshipers believe them to be.

Tisn't! Or rather, that might be _a_ subjectivist argument, but it
isn't the "subjectivist" case that's being argued about, on at least
two counts. Firstly, what's at issue is whether _any_ mythic
experience can be "subjective", not whether it necessarily all is.
And secondly, if it does vary subjectively, that doesn't say _why_
it does; it may not depend on belief at all, but on... well, anything,
at least in principle. Anecdotal evidence suggests belief plays a
part, though. But it could be, say, something in the Dara Happan
water, for all I know. (DHOD! Yay!)

Come to that, the real crux of the matter isn't whether Gloranthan
myth is _really_ a matter of subjective of objective reality, just
whether Gloranthans have _access_ to an "objective truth", or if
they have to make to with their own "subjective" version
(coincidentally the one they always liked, anyway). The first
distinction comes down to what I was whimsically calling "HVOs" vs
"subjectivists", whilst the second is altogether more fundamental.

> 2) No extant Gloranthan culture holds to this belief.
> 3) Does this not, therefore, indicate that the subjectivists are wrong?
> Even if (_especially_ if) they are right?

_None_ of the grand pan-Gloranthan meta-theories batted around are
believed by any actual Gloranthan cultures, come to that. Which
doesn't make them _wrong_ as such, but it does make them pretty
irrelevant to Glorantha as a creative endeavour, I think.

The "correct" Glorantha-level response to apparent mythic paradox
is of course, "We're right, the others are wrong. Ask me a hard one."
Or, as is becoming rather trendy in some areas of the lozenge, to
blithely believe, or at least admit the possibility of, several
contradictory things at once.

Transcendentally,
Alex.

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