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Thoror

Did I get it right? (Illumination)

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As I understand it, Illumination is about the Many becoming the One ("We Are All Us"). That's why:

1. Illumination is also about acceptance of Chaos (and about Chaos accepting Order), even when it would be counterproductive, as both Chaos and Order are parts of the One.

2. Hermaphroditism represents the triumph of Illumination, starting by its own deity Rashoran/a, by assimilating both halves of one of the most primal, significant and explicit dualities of the universe into a single being.

3. There were several Arkats/Argraths; a single being turning into many is pretty much the opposite of Illumination, thus one powerful way of symbolically fighting against it.

4. This, and not some territorial dispute about the Middle Air, is the real reason why Rebellus Terminus must be killed. He is contrarianism/individualism incarnate, thus impossible to truly assimilate into the One. That's the reason why the EWF's Orlanth the Dragon thing did not last, and both Lokamayadon and Shepelkirt knew that they had to replace him if they wanted to win.

 

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11 minutes ago, Thoror said:

the real reason why Rebellus Terminus must be killed

In before the riddlers. This is an interesting statement because we know both Lokamayadon and ultimately Shepelkirt fail to assimilate the great contrarian. Does this mean illumination in your view always reaches a limit?

Maybe that limit is Time.

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1 hour ago, Thoror said:

As I understand it, Illumination is about the Many becoming the One ("We Are All Us"). That's why:

1. Illumination is also about acceptance of Chaos (and about Chaos accepting Order), even when it would be counterproductive, as both Chaos and Order are parts of the One.

2. Hermaphroditism represents the triumph of Illumination, starting by its own deity Rashoran/a, by assimilating both halves of one of the most primal, significant and explicit dualities of the universe into a single being.

3. There were several Arkats/Argraths; a single being turning into many is pretty much the opposite of Illumination, thus one powerful way of symbolically fighting against it.

4. This, and not some territorial dispute about the Middle Air, is the real reason why Rebellus Terminus must be killed. He is contrarianism/individualism incarnate, thus impossible to truly assimilate into the One. That's the reason why the EWF's Orlanth the Dragon thing did not last, and both Lokamayadon and Shepelkirt knew that they had to replace him if they wanted to win.

 

You're mostly talking about Sevening, which is the most common type of Illumination in central Genertela.

On point (3) I think you may be extrapolating too much: there is evidence that it goes both directions among the Lunars: the seven souls can act both individually as as a single entity. Arkat and Argrath may well, in fact likely were, composite individuals. But Argrath killed Orlanth in the end... for point (4)

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1 hour ago, jeffjerwin said:

You're mostly talking about Sevening, which is the most common type of Illumination in central Genertela.

On point (3) I think you may be extrapolating too much: there is evidence that it goes both directions among the Lunars: the seven souls can act both individually as as a single entity. Arkat and Argrath may well, in fact likely were, composite individuals. But Argrath killed Orlanth in the end... for point (4) 

I will admit that I'm not well versed in Kralorelan Illumination, so yeah, we can call it Sevening to be more specific.

On point (3): I kinda knew that it goes both directions; I also know that Arkat was Illuminated (probably Argrath too). But Arkat also fought against Illumination, so I think that he could have done that in part by reversing the usual process (instead of the Many acting as One while still retaining some degree of individuality, the One acting as Many while still retaining some degree of unity; thus why Arkat Kingtroll felt like a betrayal to his human allies who had joined forces with another, quite different Arkat). But yeah, I'm aware of this point being the most speculative one.

Edited by Thoror

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46 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Is there any mutual contention on whether Arkat or Nysalor were Occluded rather than Enlightened?

In my opinion, Gbaji, whichever of them that was, is the personified embodiment of occlusion, methinks. The simple truth is that the Illuminated One is not perfect. They wobble between occlusion and enlightenment, and still have to find that way, every moment. They are both Gbaji.

Sheng (to use my own focus of interest) at every crucial moment, chose occlusion, in full knowledge of what he was doing, like an anti-god. Since he is also AgartuSay, this may mark him either as embodiment of Arkat's own capacity for willful self-deception, or even indicate that the only surviving part of Gbaji is the part that was not destroyed because it was already Arkat.

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About this new topic, I find kind of interesting that Nysalor never seems to do anything evil directly. His followers were the ones who created the plague in the West, or turned into vampires in Tanisor, or "misinterpreted" his philosophy in order to create the Make Me a Duke movement. Just like the Unholy Trio released the Devil into the world after being Illuminated/Occluded by Rashoran.

That is what makes Nysalor so ambiguous; I don't really know if he ever was Gbaji, or if Gbaji was more of a nasty side effect of his/Rashoran's teachings.

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14 hours ago, Thoror said:

As I understand it, Illumination is about the Many becoming the One ("We Are All Us"). 

As I understand it, the Many becoming the One is one step of it. Ultimately, all enlightenment is leading beyond the One, and there are quite a few ways to get there.

Illumination as you present it is the power of Rashoran(a), titled "the last born of the Young Gods" in the cosmology of Cults of Terror, of unknown parentage (Guide p.119). That paragraph  sort of suggests that Rashoran's message was not to fear the Unknowable that lies beyond, and by extension nothing that springs from that.

As much as there is Union with the One, there is also a strong element of separation in Enlightenment.

14 hours ago, Thoror said:

That's why:

1. Illumination is also about acceptance of Chaos (and about Chaos accepting Order), even when it would be counterproductive, as both Chaos and Order are parts of the One.

Illumination is the power to look beyond the disjunction that the unbridled potential of the Void (or whatever) beyond the Cosmos inside the Cosmos causes (annihilating Creation), possibly even beyond that Void once you advance far enough.

I strongly disagree with the use of "Order" in Gloranthan context. The proper term would be Cosmos or Creation. Disorder and Illusion are valid and necessary parts of Creation.

14 hours ago, Thoror said:

2. Hermaphroditism represents the triumph of Illumination, starting by its own deity Rashoran/a, by assimilating both halves of one of the most primal, significant and explicit dualities of the universe into a single being.

It does present a merger of (apparent) opposites, and may be interpreted as a lesson in Illumination.

Gender fluidity is way older than Rashoran(a). The ancestry of the Sea Tribe does depict one entity in each of the primal generations as taking both stances of sexuality, and since only productive unions are depicted, the option of taking neither isn't represented in that family tree.

14 hours ago, Thoror said:

3. There were several Arkats/Argraths; a single being turning into many is pretty much the opposite of Illumination, thus one powerful way of symbolically fighting against it.

I think that every major player in the myths and in the history of Glorantha included more than the entity normally described by that name. "Orlanth" includes a significant part of Ernalda much of the time, for instance.

Arkat, Nysalor and the barrier between them known as Gbaji are the result of the failed experiment to manifest the lost Unity inside the universe of Time. There is no Nysalor without Arkat, and vice versa, and there is the Deceiver separating the two. It took their final confrontation to reunite the separate parts, and to separate out parts that did not belong.

Both Arkat and Argrath work from a "platform" of mystical enlightenment. It isn't quite clear to me who Argrath's Other is, if he has one at all.

14 hours ago, Thoror said:

4. This, and not some territorial dispute about the Middle Air, is the real reason why Rebellus Terminus must be killed. He is contrarianism/individualism incarnate, thus impossible to truly assimilate into the One. That's the reason why the EWF's Orlanth the Dragon thing did not last, and both Lokamayadon and Shepelkirt knew that they had to replace him if they wanted to win.

I disagree. This is the fallacy of Nysalorism, the victory of Gbaji.

The male principle is the principle of contrarianism and individualism, the one which you claimed in point 2 to have been overcome. It hasn't. Sedenya is (part of) Rebellus Terminus. When both Umath and Verithurus(a) were cast into the Underworld, before both Umath and Shargash returned and Umath was dismembered, Umath and Verithurusa united, and a child was born (or unborn) from that union.

Declaring the ruler and savior of the Sky (not just the Middle) throughout the Darkness as not part of the One that is aimed at by Lunar illumination proves that - for all of its acceptance of Chaos - the Lunar conception of One is incomplete and flawed, and that it has to transcend that.

Though the other deities have to transcend, too, and it looks like the Hero Wars give a majority of them the opportunity to do so.

13 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

On point (3) I think you may be extrapolating too much: there is evidence that it goes both directions among the Lunars: the seven souls can act both individually as as a single entity. Arkat and Argrath may well, in fact likely were, composite individuals.

Arkat was an incomplete individual until he faced Nysalor and Gbaji.

While we do know a lot of what Argrath does, we don't know exactly what he is. His journey through the Hero Wars is one of self-discovery, too, even with very much of this already having been going on since his initiation. Identification with Sartar (and possibly further, Larnste) is one such event.

13 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

But Argrath killed Orlanth in the end... for point (4)

Just like with the idea of the 1042 end of the Dragon Experiment being a mass utuma, I think a lot of evidence points to Argrath liberating the old gods, elevating them to a new and way more remote level of existence, not exactly eliminating them. Tearing down the Red Moon is a necessary first step to this effect.

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11 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

In my opinion, Gbaji, whichever of them that was, is the personified embodiment of occlusion, methinks. The simple truth is that the Illuminated One is not perfect. They wobble between occlusion and enlightenment, and still have to find that way, every moment. They are both Gbaji.

Both of them are inseparable from Gbaji while they remain apart, and even after overcoming that distance and shedding superfluous parts in their duel in the City of Miracles, a significant and necessary part of Gbaji remains in the new whole that curses Dorastor (or rather its excess of Occlusion) and founds the Autarchy in Ralios..

11 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

Sheng (to use my own focus of interest) at every crucial moment, chose occlusion, in full knowledge of what he was doing, like an anti-god. Since he is also AgartuSay, this may mark him either as embodiment of Arkat's own capacity for willful self-deception, or even indicate that the only surviving part of Gbaji is the part that was not destroyed because it was already Arkat.

I like to think that Sheng had already overcome simple occlusion. Sheng chooses the Cosmos over the Transcendent. I am not even clear whether he sees himself as the equivalent of the Inhuman King, the one to re-unite the Solar Unity of the Golden Age Sunstop, before the Solar empire fell apart into a number of separate Solar realms like Dara Happa, Kralorela, core Vithela (Vormain), Hrelar Amali, and others (possibly also including Elmal's Kerofinela). Sheng works towards a greater goal, much like that EWF project of the Great Dragon. It is possible that he is part of the Mostali world repair plan, too.

 

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

It is possible that he is part of the Mostali world repair plan, too.

 

If that were so, why did he attack the Mostali in Vanch...?

 

(The Moon is also said to be part of the Mostali repair plan, of course...)

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Just now, jeffjerwin said:

If that were so, why did he attack the Mostali in Vanch...?

Why not? It may have been a necessary part to establish the solar superiority, and it is not like the Mostali of Vanch are an integral part to the efforts to repair the world machine, except possibly in this role. Sometimes you have to put up a significant resistance to insert the tool extensions you want into your primary tool, and those tools rarely function correctly at first.

The Vanch dwarves quite likely are heavily influenced by those Greatway heretics anyway. The Greatway (and Isidilian's) plans have provided much acceleration to the repair efforts, but they have done so in thoroughly unpredictable ways. The Decamony is worried, but believes that it has the situation under control. 

Just now, jeffjerwin said:

(The Moon is also said to be part of the Mostali repair plan, of course...)

Yes. It hasn't started moving yet. They have a tool for that, too, named Argrath. See how much they control that one...

 

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2 hours ago, Joerg said:

I disagree. This is the fallacy of Nysalorism, the victory of Gbaji.

The male principle is the principle of contrarianism and individualism, the one which you claimed in point 2 to have been overcome. It hasn't. Sedenya is (part of) Rebellus Terminus. When both Umath and Verithurus(a) were cast into the Underworld, before both Umath and Shargash returned and Umath was dismembered, Umath and Verithurusa united, and a child was born (or unborn) from that union.

Declaring the ruler and savior of the Sky (not just the Middle) throughout the Darkness as not part of the One that is aimed at by Lunar illumination proves that - for all of its acceptance of Chaos - the Lunar conception of One is incomplete and flawed, and that it has to transcend that.

Though the other deities have to transcend, too, and it looks like the Hero Wars give a majority of them the opportunity to do so.

 

Ooooh, so THAT's why the Lunars are the villains (to the extent that someone can be a villain in a world like Glorantha, of course). Very interesting.

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14 hours ago, Thoror said:

About this new topic, I find kind of interesting that Nysalor never seems to do anything evil directly. His followers were the ones who created the plague in the West, or turned into vampires in Tanisor, or "misinterpreted" his philosophy in order to create the Make Me a Duke movement. Just like the Unholy Trio released the Devil into the world after being Illuminated/Occluded by Rashoran.

That is what makes Nysalor so ambiguous; I don't really know if he ever was Gbaji, or if Gbaji was more of a nasty side effect of his/Rashoran's teachings.

He did try to curse the Dragonewts and successfully cursed the Trolls, just because they did not support him. That was definitely Nysalor and not Gbaji.

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3 minutes ago, soltakss said:

He did try to curse the Dragonewts and successfully cursed the Trolls, just because they did not support him. That was definitely Nysalor and not Gbaji.

Well, if the Trollkin Curse was created when he wounded Kyger Litor in the Battle of Night and Day the circumstances (one attack in the middle of an open war) make it somewhat less horrific that something so unprovoked as the plague in the West. But you're right, it's kind of a dick move.

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6 minutes ago, Thoror said:

Ooooh, so THAT's why the Lunars are the villains (to the extent that someone can be a villain in a world like Glorantha, of course). Very interesting.

If any Gloranthan had said or written what I did above, he or she would rightfully be burned with extreme prejudice. As a Gloranthan, you would need to be enlightened in a number of possibly contrary ways to arrive there.

If you need a villain for any given story, looking for one in the Storm Tribe will probably yield results.

4 minutes ago, soltakss said:

He did try to curse the Dragonewts and successfully cursed the Trolls, just because they did not support him. That was definitely Nysalor and not Gbaji.

I don't think that you can separate either Arkat or Nysalor from Gbaji, but yes, the Curse of Kin was entirely in line with the Bright, solar aspect of the new empire.

The occasion wasn't quite because they did not support him - trolls, dragonewts and Heortlings had joined forces to end his reign. And while Palangio was the first to break the Compromise at the Battle of Night and Day, the opposition was as prepared to do so, and did, resulting in the Black Eater turning up for Nysalor to confront.

And in the long run, trolls, Heortlings and a few other forces Nysalor had managed to anger beyond the pale did manage to end the Bright Empire.

Arkat and Talor weren't any better with their curses on the lands of Dorastor and the Telmori folk, either, and Harmast facilitated both.

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23 minutes ago, Joerg said:

If any Gloranthan had said or written what I did above, he or she would rightfully be burned with extreme prejudice. As a Gloranthan, you would need to be enlightened in a number of possibly contrary ways to arrive there.

If you need a villain for any given story, looking for one in the Storm Tribe will probably yield results.

Well, yes, the priests of Orlanth hate Shepelkirt as much as Sedenya hates Rebellus Terminus. If the Lunars have flawed Illumination, the Orlanthi are not even trying. But the Lunars are the ones invading the others, building a temple and attacking Whitewall in order to kill their god, sooo... I think they are (usually, at first) the worse ones.

Edited by Thoror

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The Conquering Daughter dealt with the folk that sent Jannisor against the Empire in the previous Wane, which means that her activities weren't entirely unprovoked. Their conquest of Tarsh was rather gentle, although there were a couple of bloody battles after they had taken over, including the Palashee interregnum. Both Saronil and Jarolar had clearly positioned themselves against the Lunars, too, and Tarkalor even bested Phargentes, their Provincial Overseer. It's not like there were no good reasons to set those anachronistic hill-billies of Sartar right.

Tatius' Mark II Temple of the Reaching Moon and its prequel was overdoing things, badly. In comparison, Fazzur's governorship and his plans for an expansion into Kethaela weren't that odious, although he had inherited the burden of Euglyptus' crushing hate policy.

The Empire never was monolithic, not even when Teelo Estara still walked the earth.

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21 hours ago, Thoror said:

Illumination is about the Many becoming the One

It is also about the recognition that the One is simply part of the Many and also part of the Void.  There is no You.  You are all and none.

21 hours ago, Thoror said:

Illumination is also about acceptance of Chaos

Beyond accepting Chaos.  You are Chaos, and contain Chaos.  You are also not-Chaos.  

21 hours ago, Thoror said:

Hermaphroditism represents the triumph of Illumination

No.  That is a recognition of Duality.  The triumph of Illumination is shattering both uniqueness and duality.  You can be/are Multitudes.  

21 hours ago, Thoror said:

a single being turning into many is pretty much the opposite of Illumination

Also disagree with this.  Illumination includes the recognition that You does not exist.  You are many, two, one, and none simultaneously.  You are God, mortal, chaos, spirit, and nothing.

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

all enlightenment is leading beyond the One

Agree.  To see yourself as the One, is I think the hubris of the gods.  There is no One.  This is part of what the Dragons see, that destruction of the shell helps to return oneself to the many, the infinite, and the none.

16 hours ago, Thoror said:

I find kind of interesting that Nysalor never seems to do anything evil directly

Nysalor, as Illuminated, is Beyond Good and Evil.  There is nothing 'evil' for him to do.  It is failure to move beyond stages of Illumination that leads to evil such as believing you can use Chaos to become more powerful.  

 

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55 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

Nysalor, as Illuminated, is Beyond Good and Evil.  There is nothing 'evil' for him to do.  It is failure to move beyond stages of Illumination that leads to evil such as believing you can use Chaos to become more powerful.  

 

This is one of those things that sound nice on paper, but it is a hard sell in practical terms. "Evil" isn't really an actual entity or quantity in either Glorantha or real life, so it's essentially a subjective value judgment.

Nysalor, on account of his enlightenment (or occlusion, I'm still not sold that he was entirely enlightened) was beyond cultic strictures and other limitations caused by the runic lattice-structure of Glorantha. He understood that there was, on a fundamental level, no real difference between him and everyone else, or any other spiritual or physical entitity within cosmos, and by extension, no real difference between cosmos and chaos. Basically, classical Buddhist Anatta for those who are interested. This is my understanding, anyway.

Now, this allowed him to do a number of actions that would probably otherwise be impossible, because he deemed them necessary or because he wanted to. Great, fair enough. However, that doesn't mean that he's beyond another observer's moral judgment. That's how morality works, it's a relational aspect.

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Nysalor was constructed using what some of the Council thought was a missing portion of Yelm. I think, more than anything else, is why we ended up with genocidal conflict against the trolls and an attack on Orlanth. This missing portion belonged not to the healed and resurrected Sun who made peace with his enemies, but to the same tyrant who had provoked his death by his imperious b*llsh*t.

This was moderated of course, but Osentalka was supposed to bring back the Golden Age... but he should have have represented the Green Age, which is what Illumination really is, but can't be understood by people from outside. In other words, the Council imagined a utopia that was a significant erosion of the joyous Green Age because they couldn't understand what the Green Age was. The Green Age is pre-patriarchal, pre-war, pre-death, pre-gods, pre-humans (there is no difference between spirits, humans, and animals then).

Instead we have Osentalka's parts determined by politics. He's the equivalent of the definition of Christ being voted on by the Councils of the late Roman Empire...

So the formula for Nysalor was mistaken. The Red Goddess/Rashorana is a bit better because she's made of up of gods with a stronger connection to the Green Age, but still trips up on the assumption that the Sun is her father, since the Sun is post-Green Age.

Beware of utopias... if the Orlanthi had made Osentalka we might have ended up with a worse world of tumult and theft. Ironically, no-one seems to figure out that the Green/Perfect Age is inaccessible because of Time, and because of irreparable consequences. The true illuminated impartial ruler of all is Arachna Solara/Glorantha herself... which is why she's the primary goddess of the Green Age Beasts of Beast Valley...

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I'm starting to think that what happened is that Nysalor was a thesis, Arkat was an antithesis, and that the whole thing failed because the antithesis ended up destroying the thesis (or viceversa), instead of creating a synthesis (which is to say true, pure non-Gbaji Illumination) together. 

Edited by Thoror
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I think you did just fine Thoror.  While your players may have interesting questions to ask about illumination, the simple answer is to always say something cryptic and intrinsically self-contradicting.  Remember, Illumination isn't Buddhism, it's only something like Zen Buddhism where you are asked to solve koans, but that is where the similarity ends.  Illumination is wonderful if you are a suicidal lizard from Dragons Eye, but most of the world are not reborn into a pre-laid egg with their memories intact.  Remember, that for all their spiritual attainment, even dragons became tainted with Chaos when they fought it near Snakepipe Hollow.  Are we so morally relativistic/nihilistic/morally bankrupt that we must tolerate the desire of those poor misunderstood rapey chaos monsters who want to destroy the world? Because, ultimately, those are the stakes.  Apparently Arachne Solara made her choice, and it was the wrong one. She even had sex with Kajaboor before the rebirthed him as Time (Of course Time is also effectively a more subjective form of Entropy, but every bit as much a herald of the death of the world).  Incidentally, the apologists who think they are "beyond good and evil" are deceiving themselves, and don't want to admit that they are so corrupted that they can no longer properly tell the difference between right and wrong, and can always find an excuse as to why they are doing bad things for bad reasons, because "__enter casuistry here__".  You see, even Buddhism has a strict moral code, but some people cannot learn it even when their Zen master beats them to their marrow.  The lesson we should take from this is that this "tolerance" and "moral relativism" are a form of apathetic suicide, not a deeper insight into a cosmic truth.  If anyone should be committing suicide, it is the so-called illuminated chaos monsters.  The first Web Ritual was as much a failure as Argrath's, and every time it is performed, Glorantha dies a bit more, and if you want to make peace with that rather than fighting it to the death like Stormbull, on your head be it, but don't pretend your response is "spiritual".  As to Arkat, his joke was to become the epitome of the evil that lay at the rotting core of Nysalor's teaching, to abuse and betray everything, and even accept chaos in the service of a false path.  At the end, that is why Arkat, Nysalor's shadow, was the truth of self knowledge that destroyed him. So I urge you,  should you meet a riddler on the path to illumination, kill them.   Ultimately, all illumination is of Gbaji.

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Hmm. I seem to have produced a duplicate, and there is no delete button.

Edited by Darius West

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I can't agree with that.

It starts with the premise that chaos is inherently evil. The ways that chaos entered Glorantha appear to be evil - at least after the Storm Age, but there is, in the end, no difference between Chaos and the emergence of life and variety in the Green Age.

The violence and horror of the chaos of the Great Darkness is something that was imposed upon it by the non-chaotic entities that loosed it. None of the Unholy Trio were chaotic at first. Their violence and horror, sadly, emerged quite naturally from the troubles of the Storm Age.

'Destroy the World' = make something new we can't comprehend. The self-preserving instinct that fights this is entirely a reasonable reaction, but it's only moral quality is in that people have a right to live and be autonomous.

Look at the Aldryami, who don't recognise the existence of Chaos per se at all: they have Grower, Maker, and Taker, and chaos can be any of these. If Arachne Solara hadn't consumed and rebirthed entropy, the universe would have ended, right then and there. AS offered a different solution: mitigation, repair, and acceptance, that in the end, is only thing that keeps the bubble of Glorantha unextinguished in the roiling sea of endless Chaos.

Edit: calling for the extirpation of all illumination means destroying the Universal Spirit, the spider, and that means the end of existence: and it's consumption by Chaos! I'm not sure how that end can be seen as anything but nihilistic.

Edited by jeffjerwin

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1 hour ago, Thoror said:

I'm starting to think that what happened is that Nysalor was a thesis, Arkat was an antithesis, and that the whole thing failed because the antithesis ended up destroying the thesis (or viceversa), instead of creating a synthesis (which is to say true, pure non-Gbaji Illumination) together.

It can certainly be viewed in that way.  And I'm sure the Cosmic Dragon had a good laugh about it!

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