Re: Illumination through power (Long & boring)

From: Frank Rafaelsen (
Date: Wed 20 May 1998 - 20:39:24 EEST

> From: Simon Hibbs <>

First of all I would like to point out that if you think that The Truth
can be discovered and measured in glorantha 'an sich'; if you say
knowledge is about Truth (with capital T and sound effects) we'll probably
never agree. It is of course your right to hold and assert that opinion
but I claim that it is not true in our world and nothing suggest it is
true in Glorantha. Just thought I should point that out right away :)

> Obviously Oddi has changed and so we can expect his personality to
> change. Illumination will change him, but I don't think the direction or
> character of those changes is inherently determined by illumination.
> Illuminates can have just as wide a range of personalities after
> illumination as before, if not more.

If the changes are not determined by the insight then what is
illumination? The only thing you are left with are the powers. How are the

insights it gives any different from any other insight into the workings
of Glorantha?

How is illumination different from the knowledge generated by the Yelmalio
hero who HQs to the Hill of Gold so many times that he ends up changing
the myth, and thus reality and truth? How is it different from the
knowledge generated by the Goddess Switch? You can say it is different
because it gives a 'profound mystical insight', where profound must mean
that the knowledge is of a different order entirely, but I see no evidence
of this.

I don't think illumination (The State of mind as presented in the source
materials) is what it is cranked up to be. It is powerfull, no doubt about
it. It explains a lot about the universe (as any power). But it is not
knowledge of a different order, higher order. And in this sense
illumination is no different from RQ sight, or even different from

initiation into a cult. Its a differens only of quantity (of power and
thus knowledge) but not of quality. If it did differ in quality the
illuminate would cese to be a man since he has trancended everything that
is human, he would be a god. Perhaps more than a god.

> If,as you say, the insights come from the powers too, then surely there
> would be people walking around who have the powers but none of the
> insights?

No, I'm saying that it is impossible since power _is_ knowledge. It's not
something you have to think about or consider. All you have to have is a
sense of yourself in a larger universe, an interpretation of your place in
the order of things; what is commonly called identity. Having powers will
change this profoundly. As seen in Oddi's depression. The point is that
the insight comes from how you interprete your powers; their effect on
your identity. Illumination is what you make of it.
> >The only thing I have to figure out now is whether this is a Godlearner
> >view or a illuminate view. :)
> Didn't you just say they are the same thing?

Sorry 'bout that, just a weak attempt at irony
> >How can a man make a lightening bolt hit his enemy only by shouting a
> >prayer? Same thing. The ability to throw lightning bolts give a lot of
> >'knowledge' about the order of things too....
> Why should it? If all it takes is a shout, then why bother worrying
> about why and how it works?

The fact that it does work tell you volumes about your place in the order
of things. If you toast your enemy you know the gods want you to live a
bit longer. A good example is the orlanthi view of justice through combat.
Or should I say truth/knowledge through combat. If you can call on
Orlanth's spear any time it has implications for your relationship with
your god. The fact that you can't call on the spear on sunny days will
tell an orlanthi much about the relationship between Yelm and Orlanth. The
examples go on and on.

> I'm afraid that such a model holds no particular interest for me. There
> are enough games and game worlds out there like that already. The
> causative role of myth and the religious experience which drives
> Gloranth is what attracts me to it.

Strange. I would say that Glorantha is the only world that open up for
this view to any degree. Where else can you change ancient history if you

are a powerfull HeroQuester? In Glorantha, where things never pretend to
be presented out of a cultural context, there are two things that stick
out like sore thumbs: Illumination and Chaos. Both are presented as
objective sizes in a world dominated by subjectivity. Chaos is, as I
pointed out in another post, in effect an AD&D alignment, while
illumination have monopolized objective truth. Only the illuminates have
access to the world 'an sich', truth that is independent from culture or

interpretation. Independent from humanity.

Humbly yours

- --
Frank Rafaelsen
Homo Ludens


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.7 : Fri 13 Jun 2003 - 23:17:34 EEST