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Linden's justification

 
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 1:13 am    Post subject: Linden's justification Reply with quote

(Note, I am technically using "justification" in a pretheistic sense that approximates the Christian theistic one as a sort of "legal" turn of phrase.)

Linden appears to believe, in the end, that she is responsible for/is the "official" cause of/w/e the deaths of many people. That is, the Worm is seen as an insentient being with her awakening it, therefore, the agential cause of the subsequent deaths. Now if this is true, it is not enough that "the world was saved anyway" for her to be justified in the end. Perhaps in new Arch-Earth her purpose in life will be to atone for recklessly killing tens of millions of people. But she does not seem entirely adrift in worry over the topic and Infelice dismisses the concern as a major possibility by referring to the mysteries of prophetic wisdom.

So, then, though, what of Infelice's argument? On the face of it, it is no more reasonable than saying that Covenant's guilt in the causing of the Sunbane is dispelled by the fact that the world could not have been saved in the way that it was (at the end of the 2nd Chronicles) had not the Sunbane existed.

Well, actually, this points to a subtle issue in technical deontic logic, namely that the following argument form seems wrong but is "technically" valid:

    1. If I hurt someone, I ought to hurt them lightly.
    2. I hurt someone.
    3. Therefore, I ought to hurt someone lightly.


But again on the face of it, it does not seem as if we just ought to hurt anyone slightly due to the fact that we have decided to hurt them at all. So, "If I cause tens of millions of deaths, I ought to cause them using a process that can be later manipulated into preventing the destruction of the world," even if true, does not lead to the conclusion that, by awakening the Worm, Linden was doing the right thing or doing something that could be viewed as "right" due to bringing about some outcome in the relevant manner.

However, a different thing can be said about all this. It was not that Linden was justified in waking the Worm to prevent some other apocalypse that could not have been circumvented. Presumably, however the apocalypse came to the Land, a way should have been found to avert it--that's the pure logic of pure hope at play so often in the story.

However, Linden had to be able to help rebuild the Arch. Had she not been the one who agentially-speaking had destroyed it, perhaps she would not have been able to rebuild it. Then everyone would have died, including those who were saved. Now this is true even given Infelice's argument and is, directly or not, part of or an analog of it. However, I would add that what justifies Linden is not that she actually helped cause the salvation of the world by her action. Let us say that she did not in fact do so at all, really. She is only justified later by the fact that she helped rebuild the Arch. This does counter her past guilt, not by saying that it served as a means to an end, but by placing it in the context of her final redemption.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your answer is in here.
In The Last Dark was wrote:
She hid her face as if she were cowering; as if he had poured acid on her heart. "Then I've done it. I've doomed-"

As gently as he could, he said, "It's tempting to think that way. It lets us off the hook. If we've already made the only mistakes that matter-or if somehow we just are the only mistakes that matter-we can't be expected to do anything else. But it's not that simple.

"For one thing, we aren't alone. We're all in this mess together. We're all making decisions and trying to justify the consequences. Whatever you've done, good or bad, you didn't do it in a vacuum. You've been reacting to people with their own agendas and situations you didn't cause. From the start, the Despiser has been pushing you where he wants you to go. And you've had help along the way.

"And for another-" Goaded by his own necessary passions, Covenant's voice rose. "Linden, I just don't believe it. I don't believe Lord Foul can't be stopped. I don't even believe the world can't be saved. Freeing Lord Foul wasn't the only thing Berek talked about. He also said there's another truth on the far side of despair and doom. All we have to do is find it."

"And for another-Oh, hell. I've written entire novels about this. 'Guilt is power. Only the damned can be saved.' Maybe that sounds cynical. Maybe it is. But who else needs to be saved? Who else can be? Not the innocent. They have their own problems." He was thinking of the Masters, who thought that rigid purity of service would relieve their ancient humiliation. "They don't need anything as gracious or just plain kind as forgiveness.

"So maybe blaming ourselves is a waste of time. Maybe we should just admit that everybody goes wrong. Everybody does damage. That's what being human enough to make mistakes means. And if that's what being human means, then there's really only one question we have to answer. Is making mistakes all it means?

"If it isn't, then everything counts. Resurrecting me and waking up the Worm. Making love together and killing Cavewights. Hell and blood, Linden! I let my own daughter be sacrificed against She Who Must Not Be Named. And I didn't stop there. I went right up to the most pitiful woman I've ever known and stuck a knife in her chest. If you think I don't feel bad about things like that, you haven't been paying attention. But if everything counts, then guilt is no reason to stop trying for something better."

Somewhere among the music of his lights, Caerwood ur-Mahrtiir sang, "It is my heart I give to you-"

"Here's the funny part," she murmured. "I tried to say practically the same thing to Jeremiah. I used different words, but the point was the same. Maybe I should listen to myself every once in a while. You shouldn't have to make a speech whenever I think that I've done something wrong."
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Mighara Sovmadhi
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess that's sort of the gist of where my thought would go, but it also emphasizes more the, uh, hmm, subjective? side of her justification/redemption. To become redeemed means accepting that one's guilt is at it is, but finding a way to transcend it too, or something. So, she has to be able to "forgive herself." However, I just don't think destroying the world itself is a wrong that can be atoned for just by having a general change of heart about one's guilt or whatever, that doesn't seem... fair to the people who died at the Worm's "hands," so to speak. IDK, maybe it wasn't very painful, like the lightning just shredded them to atoms in a flash, but who knows? (I actually made up a story once describing the devastation of Home by the Worm's passage, with a great ship made of and crowned with crystal smashed by a tsunami that drowned thousands or something.)

But anyway, traditionally in fantasy an average evildoer's goal is destroying the world. And usually or often or whatever, these evildoers are themselves destroyed (or at least sealed in some place where they might as well have been destroyed, or... whatever). Now not only is the Despiser sort of "redeemed" in the end, but the protagonist who is the actual destroyer of the world itself, is redeemed for this very action, which is as it were the theoretical assertion that it is possible to be guilty for the destruction of the world but also possible to redeem oneself of this, which is actually a rather interesting question, I think. Even if it's not really the question SRD is asking, here.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Donaldson is saying several things. They are important things, so it's worth pointing them out.

1. Linden isn't solely to blame. She's not the only participant.
2. It needn't be that she doomed the Earth. She shouldn't let let guilt prevent her from trying to fix things.
3. Don't judge yourself solely by the outcome of one act. That was Kevin's mistake.

I would emphasis item 1.

Don't you hold Lord Foul responsible for rousing the Worm? He manipulated events towards that end for millenia. He didn't pull the trigger, but he set it up so that someone could be tricked into doing it. And, if so, how much of the guilt do you apportion to Lord Foul rather than Linden?

How about Kastenessen? He helped Lord Foul achieve his aims. As did Roger. And Esmer. And the Harrow. You can't let them all off the hook for being duped and manipulated if you don't let Linden off the hook!

In his way, even Thomas Covenant was partially responsible for rousing the worm. He encouraged Linden to follow her instincts and trust herself. And he probably knew where that would lead. And then there's Caerroil Wildwood - he created the trigger that Linden pulled, and you can darn well suspect he knew what the consequences would be.

Frankly, I found it easy and comfortable to forgive Linden. I never had an issue with what she did. She's just a poor country doctor being asked to save the world, and she did far better than anyone had a right to expect.

Another staple of fantasy is the unblemished hero who saves the day. Donaldson blemishes his heroes. Linden as much as anyone. Unblemished heroes are boring -- what's to ponder about them?!?!
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Frankly, I found it easy and comfortable to forgive Linden. I never had an issue with what she did." I agree with this, actually... I guess the issue of Linden's "justification" would never have arisen for me except I was miffed by that section in the epilogue with Infelice. But despite its merits in some respect, the epilogue did seem rather weak in many others...
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Infelice shook her head. "Yet had you not roused the Worm," she replied, "he whom you name the Despiser would have wrought graver harm by some other means. Damning the Earth, you enabled its redemption. Therefore do not fault yourself, Wildwielder. Though it shames me to confess it, your folly has surpassed the wisdom of the Elohim. We erred in our opposition, erred cruelly. Now we accept the outcome without regret."

If Linden's "folly" had any "wisdom", it wasn't Linden's. Covenant's, maybe. But not Linden's. Infelice is just wrong, in that respect.

But I think her other words have merit. Linden shouldn't fault herself. At least, not unduly. As I mentioned above. This, I don't think, is reasoning that the end justified the means. This is, I think, reminding Linden that she tackled the consequences and saved the world in the end, and that counts, too. Maybe more.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2016 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Quote:
Infelice shook her head. "Yet had you not roused the Worm," she replied, "he whom you name the Despiser would have wrought graver harm by some other means. Damning the Earth, you enabled its redemption. Therefore do not fault yourself, Wildwielder. Though it shames me to confess it, your folly has surpassed the wisdom of the Elohim. We erred in our opposition, erred cruelly. Now we accept the outcome without regret."

If Linden's "folly" had any "wisdom", it wasn't Linden's. Covenant's, maybe. But not Linden's. Infelice is just wrong, in that respect.

But I think her other words have merit. Linden shouldn't fault herself. At least, not unduly. As I mentioned above. This, I don't think, is reasoning that the end justified the means. This is, I think, reminding Linden that she tackled the consequences and saved the world in the end, and that counts, too. Maybe more.


I think one of the messages is, even if you take the long view, you cannot discount and avoid the needs of here-and-now. It is the series of "here-and-now's" that ultimately form the future. The Elohim were do much about the long view, they couldn't see the stepping stones along the way.

Linden was so much about fulfilling the here-and-now, first recovering and then redeeming her son, that she couldn't focus on the long game, even though she knew there would be consequences.

This has been a theme ever since the first Chronicles, when Morham let Covenant remain in his world to save the little girl. In the end, The World will not be condemned by delaying its salvation with acts of individual compassion.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's true. If saving the world meant leaving Jeremiah in Foul's hands, then what kid of world would be saved?

My personal feeling, and I am sure I outlined this in another post somewhere, is that Linden was in some ways a helpless agent of fate. Not only was Foul manipulating her, but I think the Timewarden did his best to steer her as well. He steered her into Foul's trap in order that he may be beaten. That is, I think Dead Covenant did have the wisdom to see that rousing the Worm was the path to salvation.

New thought: is there a parallel between Covenant dying in order to win, and the Earth "dying" in order to win? You've got to let it all go ... Hmm.
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's suppose that, at the last moment, Linden had stepped back, not resurrected Covenant.

Presumably she would have still then looked to the Harrow for help with her son. I think she might have inferred where Jeremiah was, by reasoning from the Harrow's claim to uniquely be able to guide her there, plus the nature of the Harrow's special knowledge in general (re: the Viles/related). I suppose the Ardent would still have appeared, so everyone would be able to teleport to the Lost Deep.

But without Covenant and his use of the krill, they wouldn't have been able to rescue Jeremiah, maybe. Or else Linden would've had to use the krill first, then hand it to one of the Humbled or Stave or whoever. (She wouldn't have been so hung up about rousing the Worm, so maybe her "I need more power" sentiment would have led her to retain the dagger.)

The Humbled would have had to slightly recant their distrust of Linden. A self-prevented Desecration might be pretty impressive in their eyes, too, so maybe they would have had a positive attitude towards her.

Ditto for the Elohim, maybe they would have intervened in the Lost Deep.

Linden wouldn't have had the guilty of rousing the Worm or unforgiving Elena, to worsen her feelings in SWMNBN's presence. But also Elena wouldn't have been viable viands(!) for Her, either? (I was considering writing a story called "Shall Pass Utterly" to imagine the 3rd Last Chrons book if Linden hadn't woken the Worm, so when it came to this scene I figured it would be tragic to have a bunch of the female Giants sacrifice themselves, or maybe Liand would die earlier so Pahni would, or she would die on top of the Giants and the combined feeding would pacify Her for the time being.)

Now if Linden didn't wake the Worm, Foul would've had to come up with some other way to break the Arch. Only the skurj could have done this, I think, by themselves waking the Worm, but they would have had to multiply drastically enough to burrow en masse deep under the Earth where the Isle of the One Tree used to be.

However, if the skurj were sealed away before, why not again? If Infelice had been Appointed to contain them anew, would she have not been able to do so? Kastenessen had Roger's hand and got some obscure power from that, so maybe he was stronger than Infelice (seems suggested by the idea that all the Elohim would have died at the fane had he struck then).

But if the Elohim didn't recontain the skurj, Linden would have had to stop them using the Staff, but to use the Staff she would need to lift Kevin's Dirt, so she would have had to fight Kastenessen anyway. Essentially, a more direct build-up to the actual fight with him would have been much more likely in the event the Worm had not awoke. (Besides, no need for a fane to save the Elohim if the Worm wasn't looking to eat them...)

Also, on the other hand, no Covenant would mean no defeat of Joan, maybe. Or Linden would have had to stop her.

So let's suppose that having Her essence used by Kastenessen and Esmer would have eventually provoked Her into ascending to the surface of the Land. Or that events would have otherwise conspired to bring Her Landside, or whatever. Eventually She is drawn towards Joan, and either consumes Joan and gets the ring, or gets fucked up by caesures.

Those events could've roused the Worm, maybe.
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also the Harrow says he was gonna box in the Worm while it was asleep anyway, so supposing he had survived the Lost Deep and all, maybe he would have woken it up.

The other, better (from a narrative point of view) option I did come up with, though...

Doesn't Foul say "if I slay him I will do so in front of you" (also "serve in front of you") to Linden re: Jeremiah? Let's say he got irate enough to go ahead and do so. Linden held back from resurrecting Covenant (in this alter scenario), but would she hold back from resurrecting her son?
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