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  1. #1
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    So what kind of philosopher is Kelhus?

    So I thought I had Kelhus and his order pegged as Stoics or Stoic-Utilitarians. Kelhus seems a little like the young J. S. Mill. Which means he seems a little like Spock. So is The Prince of Nothing a wonderful critique of the Habermassian model of society? A sort of de Sadian twist on the neo-Kantianism of Habermas?

    But something in WP made me think there is something more Eastern to Kelhus. Is he closer to Plotinus, or does he go even further into some Eastern type philosophies? I only have an inkling on this and not a firm read, but it was nice trying to figure out what "philosophies" were being played out in the story.

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    Hmm, 32 views but no one responds. Well, I happened to be talking to some people at lunch today about Buddhism, and it occurred to me that it was the Eastern philosophy I associated with Kelhus. Is there some sort of Zen Buddhist outlook in Kelhus?

    Is this too philosophical a topic? For people who read Bakker?

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    Despite that I don't post on sffworld much, nor on the threeseas forum which is the only forum I've ever really posted, I think I'm likely the best person to respond to your question, obi.

    I'm a young student, aiming to first major in philosophy then pursue a life of writing. Bakker and his writing style are an inspiration to me, and while I understand many of the philosophical elements he's trying to exhibit in his work, I couldn't - yet - refer to the thoughts and ideas by their writer's and categorizations as, obviously, you can. Aside from the obvious that some posters may have no philosophical inclinations, my reasons for not participating could easily be the reasons of others. Sorry, obi.

    I believe, by the way, that you wrote that you are attempting to write Sci-Fi and Fantasy using your own philosophies. The best of luck to you. I believe Bakker is an exemplar and I aspire to follow in his footsteps as well. In my mind, he has begun what can be a new age of philosophy, a modern day philosopher.

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    Madness, thanks for the reply. I thought I'd seen other people mention philosophy in other threads on here, and I thought there might be others with philosophical interests who would find this interesting.

    Plus, Mr. Bakker himself might have replied. But no such luck so far.

    Yes, I'm a professionally trained philosophy. You said you had an interest in it. My best advice: run! Run far and fast in the other direction. Unless, of course, you have THAT ONE QUESTION that you can't seem to let go, or which won't let go of you. Then you have no choice.

    Sort of like writing, I think.

  5. #5
    Master Obfuscator Dawnstorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by obiwanky View Post
    Well, I happened to be talking to some people at lunch today about Buddhism, and it occurred to me that it was the Eastern philosophy I associated with Kelhus. Is there some sort of Zen Buddhist outlook in Kelhus?
    Nah, the DŻnyain are too obsessed with the Logos for that. I'd think, they've got a bit of Descartes mechanistic view on things, and a bit of Nietzschean skepticism and self-determination (but they'd reject the passion). Khellus, after finding out that sorcery is real, might be on his way to aquire a bit of Schopenhauer ("will" [I'm not sure how they translated this from the original German "Wille"] as a basic attribute of even matter). Who knows.

    I'm not knowledgeable enough in philosophy to really talk about this, so these are just associations. But I do think DŻnyain philosophy is firmly Western. (I've even thought of Scientology, to be honest.)

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    Dawnstorm,

    there certainly is the mechanistic worldview in there. But that's only half of Descartes. Descartes more concerned with the unmechanistic world -- that of the immortal soul, freedom, and God, none of which, to me, fit Khelhus. The sort of meditational aspects of the Dunyain fit with the stoics in that sense or perhaps with some earlier form of Greek philosophy. Maybe a form of Pythagorianism with the emphasis on Logos.

    There could be some Schopenhauer there, but Khelhus doesn't appear pessimistic or suicidal. I don't know anything about Scientology to say anything about that.

    Anyway, thanks for the reply.

  7. #7
    Master Obfuscator Dawnstorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by obiwanky View Post
    there certainly is the mechanistic worldview in there. But that's only half of Descartes. Descartes more concerned with the unmechanistic world -- that of the immortal soul, freedom, and God, none of which, to me, fit Khelhus.
    I agree. Which is why was specifically referring to the mechanistic parts. But I didn't phrase it well. It sounds like I'm thinking Descartes to be mechanistic. That may be a slip, though, as I didn't find him very convincing in the non-mechanistic bits.

    The sort of meditational aspects of the Dunyain fit with the stoics in that sense or perhaps with some earlier form of Greek philosophy. Maybe a form of Pythagorianism with the emphasis on Logos.
    I don't know my Greeks very well, but Pythagoras seems a good guess. Geometry as a metaphor for truth. Methodwise and temperamentally, the DŻnyain do seem akin to the Stoics. I don't know enough about them, though, to really compare. I sense in the DŻnyain a suppressed unrest that drives them; the meditations are a methodology really. Since they have a goal, "the self moving thought", I wonder how they assess their progress. They must know that their attachment to the Logos is in itself a form of darkness. If they don't, you have their weakness (sounds plausible --> CnaiŁr).

    To my mind the DŻnyain philosophy looks like this:

    Ontology: naturalistic, mechanistic

    Epistemology: Idealistic (truth via Logos and breeding)

    Ethics: Central Value = self-determination (how they organise and re-concile this within a society is still a mystery; I half expact a huge female DŻnyain underground who subdues her subjects with pheromones...).

    I do think classical Greek philosophy is where you'd find the prime influences. People keep bringing up Nietsche, but if there's Nietschean thought in the PoN-series, I'd argue that CnaiŁr is the prototype, not Khellus (or the DŻnyain). Nietsche is fiercely individualistic; the DŻnyain are neither.

    There could be some Schopenhauer there, but Khelhus doesn't appear pessimistic or suicidal.
    Not yet. He's just coming of age.

    I don't know anything about Scientology to say anything about that.
    Actually, I don't know much either, but I did once identify a text as sounding scientology-like and was, most likely, right. (They used words like "crisis point" etc.) In a nutshell, they'll help you solve a problem you didn't know you had before you met them. Like management seminars, really.

  8. #8
    I haven't read enough philosophy to feel worthy to particapate in this discussion but regarding Kelhus and the eastern philosophies I want to contribute my point of view as no one else has done that yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by obiwanky View Post
    Hmm, 32 views but no one responds. Well, I happened to be talking to some people at lunch today about Buddhism, and it occurred to me that it was the Eastern philosophy I associated with Kelhus. Is there some sort of Zen Buddhist outlook in Kelhus?
    To me Kelhus is kind of anti-Zen and anti-Daoist. His methodology with the meditation and detachment from passions are similar. But both Zen and Daoism are heavily dependent of the chinese concept of wu-wei, not-action or natural action. The ultimate goal of Zenbuddhism and Daoism is to become free from the illusion of self in order to act in absolute accordance with nature (perhaps better understood as "the nature of the world" than an all-inclusive biotope).

    The ultimate goal of the DŻnyain rather seems to be to free the self from attachment with the rest of the world in order to manipulate it more efficiently and in the end achieve complete self-determination in a world that is purely deterministic.

    To me those goals are opposite poles of the spectrum, and does are the similarities mostly cosmetic.

  9. #9
    Will Kelhus be able to rise to claim his role within the ascendancy, or will he be overtaken by his enemies--both within and without? To be honest, I am not all that interested in philosophy,ccna, so much of the metaphysical. I liked it fine, but it's not the kind of stuff I'm going to eagerly. Are you interested in ccna security and ccna voice. Get some time for them because certification are needed for best future.

  10. #10
    From the perspective of Western philosphy, Kellhus seems to fall into the following camps (initially): realist, determinist (although believing that with enough knowledge one can achieve self-movement), atheist. He's both empiricist (learning through the scientific method as part of his traning) and rationalist (using deductive reasoning to great effect).

    By the end of TTT he seems to have had to reject both atheism and realism after his contact with the No-God, and his mastery of sorcery, a discipline that literally converts ideas and meaning into tangible effects. He nonetheless continues to be a determinist (hyper-awareness of cause and effect in human physiology and psychology are the heart of his power), empiricist and rationalist.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post
    I do think classical Greek philosophy is where you'd find the prime influences. People keep bringing up Nietsche, but if there's Nietschean thought in the PoN-series, I'd argue that CnaiŁr is the prototype, not Khellus (or the DŻnyain). Nietsche is fiercely individualistic; the DŻnyain are neither.
    I think people keep bringing up Nietzsche because Kellhus seems to be a perfectly good mapping of his 'Overman' (ubermensch). Kellhus is beyond the normal appetites and values of those around him, he 'sees' into their wants, needs and desires and can manipulate them to his own purpose. Nietzche's overman is characteristically radically individualistic - and if that doesn't describe Kellhus, nothing does.

    Cnaiur isn't the overman because his relationship to Kellhus as a subordinate, both psychologically and emotionally.

    The books themselves represent a sort of counter biblical narrative. Rather than finding a 'saviour', the series concludes with the ascenion of Kellhus (the 'villain to supreme power, and Drusas (our hero) proclaiming his repudiation of everything; his love, his friend/student/emperor, and even his school - choosing to become an outcast. In the finale he lets go of everything - and is in his own way, with his bloody footprints and soot marked face, is triumphant in doing so. Pure Nietzsche.

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