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is the land a socialist utopia?
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And it was a good theory at that. In fact, most of the theories on which communism were founded were good ones. The only problem was that the people involved never quite lived up to those standards.

It was, in fact, people who let down the whole idea of communism.

--Avatar
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 1:06 pm    Post subject: here here Reply with quote

I totally agree you are a wise duchess!!!!!!!!!
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like to contend that the lords' selflessness is in fact a very large flaw in their personalities.
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, selflessness might be a flaw in a sense, but perhaps it's a noble kind of flaw? Maybe you could expand on what you mean?

I agree with Avatar's point of view. Good counter-argument! (And a lot deeper than anything I was going to come up with.)

The people of the Land don't seem false to me. Within the context of the story, they "ring true" in my mind. If I had felt that SRD was just feeding me BS, I doubt that I would have bothered reading through all of Lord Foul's Bane, never mind the entire 1st and 2nd Chronicles.
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Khan wrote:
I would like to contend that the lords' selflessness is in fact a very large flaw in their personalities.


KHAAAAAANNN!!!!

stop having little faith in humanity, eh?
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:

The idea that a man could possess the earth was equally foreign to them. And I direct you to Chief Seattle's address to Washington, in which he said:

Quote:
If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?




Rolling Eyes

It's amazing how much credit Chief Seattle gets these days. Laughing

http://www.snopes.com/quotes/seattle.htm

The Native Americans (the Northeastern ones anyway) understood what they were "selling" to European settlers.
There was just SO MUCH land in those early days it wasn't an issue.
Plus many indian tribes welcomed the Europeans as a buffer against other warring tribes (whose names escape me right now, but they weren't liked to say the least.)
There were many Pilgrim and Puritan court cases that favored the Indians when the Settlers violated the agreements.
I always laugh when I read how the Indians were "tricked" into selling thier land for mere trinkets. Though I'm sure it happened that way, most times these Indians were living in stoneage conditions.
A few iron pots and pans and tools might not sound like much but to them it was space age stuff.

Of course this was in the very beginning of American settlement by England.
Things changed alot after that. Crying or Very sad
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
And it was a good theory at that. In fact, most of the theories on which communism were founded were good ones. The only problem was that the people involved never quite lived up to those standards.

It was, in fact, people who let down the whole idea of communism.

--Avatar


Yes, because the idea of communism was invented by ivory-tower academics who had no idea how people actually behave.

It has often been said that communism is the perfect system of government, except that it doesn't work on human beings. Which sort of spoils it for practical purposes, don't you think?
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Warmark wrote:
Quote:
I see plenty of flaws in the Lords. What about Verement and the hurt pride that he cannot set aside that causes his marriage to wreck? What about Callindrill falling apart over the Vortex of Fear and never recovering emotionally? What about the power-hungry Elena?


or the despairing Kevin? that was a major flaw in him.


I was talking about the New Lords chiefly. But why is Kevin the ONLY one of the Old Lords with any kind of recorded flaw, in 2000 years of rule?

By the way, Verement's marriage was not wrecked. Callindrill was damaged by the Vortex, which had enough power to drive any human being mad, and was still able to go on functioning effectively as a Lord for almost seven years afterwards. (It was the burning of Revelwood that drove him to self-destruction.) Also, I cannot remember any instance in which anyone mocked Hyrim for being fat, except Hyrim himself. Shetra criticized him for being frivolous and making bad jokes, but that's another issue entirely.

And Elena was 'flawed from birth' because she was Covenant's daughter, conceived by rape. This makes no kind of objective sense, but on SRD's terms, she wasn't really one of the people of the Land at all. She was something alien which is why she had the potential to be more effective than any of the other Lords, and also why she failed.

I'm still not the slightest bit convinced.
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
Ownership of land is a "civilised" concept. And anybody who thinks that automatically makes it right and natural should consider some of the other "civilised" concepts that do, or have, existed. Like slavery, genocide, Jihad and the like.

Ownership was achieved, everywhere, by the strong taking what they wanted, and then using that strength to insist that they had a more legitimate claim.

--Avatar


Howard Zinn is very proud of you. Go up to the head of the class.

Now for some perspective.

Ownership of a permanently fixed territory (which, I agree, is one step beyond what either animals or nomadic tribes do) came in with agriculture. Now, no human being has ever been stupid enough to think that he owned 'the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water'. Nor do we attempt to keep out all other species of animals, any more than other territorial animals do. What we humans claim is the labour we do to produce crops from the land. That includes all the work of breaking turf, putting up houses and barns, building fences and hedges where necessary, irrigating or draining the soil, and finding the most suitable crops to plant on that ground, as well as the annual work of planting and harvesting.

Agriculture was developed long before 'civilization'. It's true that in the early days, land ownership was a prerogative of the tribe or village, not of individuals; but you had better believe that tribes and villages fought like demons to keep anyone else from taking the land over and stealing the improvements they had made. It was not a question of the strong taking what they wanted; it was the people who tilled the land learning to be strong so they could protect what they had built. Wars of conquest between agricultural nations arose later, when population growth in the settled areas exceeded the supply of arable land.

There's a lot of talk in this thread about the indigenous peoples of the Americas. People in the U.S. generally have a ridiculously romanticized view of the indigenes, who were not at all the noble, earth-loving peaceniks portrayed by modern propaganda. As High Lord Tolkien points out, the Indians of the eastern seaboard had a concept of land ownership and defended it vigorously. The Iroquois, the Creek, and other Indian nations had well-defined territories, and fought numerous wars both to defend and to enlarge them. (Yes, they sold land to the Europeans for what seem to us like risible prices, but land was plentiful and cheap at that time, and the trade goods the Europeans offered were totally unobtainable in any other way.) Down south, the Aztecs and Inca built empires by military force to keep permanent possession of their arable land.

In all of human history, no nation or tribe has ever practised agriculture without a firm notion of land ownership, whether by individuals, nuclear families, or extended kinship groups. Communist theory said that the state ought to own all land, and individuals would work it for the common good; this produced the largest famines in history. Russia was a massive exporter of food before the Bolshevik revolution, and was a massive importer within five years afterwards. It continued importing huge quantities of staple crops until the collapse of the Soviet Union, and is now a net exporter again. China, too, needed huge food imports to prevent mass starvation under Mao, but has become a significant exporter of foodstuffs since the peasants were permitted to farm private plots of land. (Still more striking is the fact that in the Soviet Union, the 1 percent of farmland that the state allowed individual peasants to hold as private garden plots produced 25 percent of the total food supply.)

So much for that. The people of the Land practised agriculture; that is positively established. Why do they not have the characteristic vices and personal faults of agricultural peoples?
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was afraid for a long time that THIS thread would appear. And so it has.
I'm no political major, and have opinions only. Here is one of them:

I think of the Ramen as being a group of tribes (with all the goods and bads implied) who have united behind a common religion, thus creating a kind of Theocracy of United Tribes.
The tribal ways remain. Men and women contribute constantly to the good of the tribe (read: they work their guts out until they drop over dead from it), while the elderly take care of the very young. There are specialties known to a limited few, such as the making of clothing, shelters, tools, and weapons.
The Ramen are unusual in that the bulk of the work of their able bodied people goes into the religious effort (protecting the Raynhim) instead of hunting and gathering. The Land is a fertile place, and food is plentiful: little effort is required to procure enough food for all the Ramen.
In their exile, the Ramen must spend more of their time procuring food and shelter, and less observing their religion (protecting the Raynhim) but they seem to have found a suitable compromise between the two.

Most certainly, the Ramen have never acknowledged the overlordship of Revelstone and the Council of Lords.
Indeed, mere entry into the Plains of Ra is strictly limited to a chosen few, and no outsiders - Lords included - are allowed to permanently settle there (that is made clear enough in Lord Foul's Bane.)

I don't know about elsewhere in the Land, but laziness and slough most certainly are not tolerated among the Ramen. I see 14 year old boys and girls ready to do battle with Kresh, and that implies long, hard, brutal years of training (with the help of Earthpower or not with the help of Earthpower.)
I am guessing a Ramen youth or maid who refuses to accept his or her duty to the tribe - to become a Cord - is going to have a hard time. A life of disgrace and ignomity seems likely. Exile seems possible. Outright execution is not out of the question. The Ramen have sworn no Vow of Peace.
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always got the impression that Stephen Donaldson based his conception of the Stonedowners and Woodhelven on the villages of rural India.
Now, I don't know the first thing about how the villages of rural India conduct themselves, so go figure. But nevertheless that is the impression I get.

In The Power that Preserves, we see that the village of Mithil Stonedown has a Council of Elders, and they arbitrate everything from who can marry to who is allowed to take long trips. That sounds rather authoritarian to me.
The villages seem to be under the jurisdiction of Revelstone. But considering the books, I would call this alliegiance nominal.
For example, Soaring Woodhelven saw no problem in taking the law into it's own hands, concerning Thomas Covenant and Atiaran, and in - for that matter - summarily executing someone (again, Thomas Covenant with that Test of Truth.) They didn't consult the Lords before doing this. They didn't even consider the Lords before doing this. The village Council of Elders was judge, jury, and executioner, and the Lords (and even the Oath of Peace) were not considered.

So I would say the question - about what kind of governmental situation exists in the Land in the First Chronicles - is relevant only to Revelstone, Revelwood, and the areas immediately around them.
The rest of the people of the Land - Giants, Haruchai, Ramen, Raynhim, Waynhim, the Wraiths of Andelain, the Unfettered Ones, the Cavewights, the Ur-Viles, and the others ... all followed their own laws.

Concerning Revelstone and the Council of Lords ... that's another matter. A complicated one. Gotta think on that one before posting.
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 12:01 am    Post subject: Aaah yes,,, Reply with quote

...I can see the City Council meeting of the leaders of Revelwood,: " Order, order!...ahem..first order of business today is renewing the towns Insurance Policy,,It appears that all the major insurers are no longer underwriting Fire Insurance policies..something about too high of a risk.."., or better yet, a Union Hall meeting of the Ur-Viles..:

" Bark! bark bark bark,,roouuff!,,Arf!"
"ARF!!!??,,,Bark bark RRRROOUUUFF!"
" BARK!! BARK BARK BARK,,ROOUUFF!,,ARF!!
" IIEE, iieee iieee wimper."

Or perhaps ,,that was a Town Hall Meeting Thomas had with wraiths of andelain,,Surely it was when he communed with his dead..yes, had to be okay'ed at the door upon special invite,,okay, maybe a grenade or two was lobbed but they were time delayed...

Can you imagine a City Council meeting at Seareach?, the Giants village?
Their first meeting would still be going on today!.." Well, Mr,:;`"'?(),,you pik the punctuation you like,,"Mr Chairman!,,Mr Chairman!,,if I may, I'd like to add to the minutes ,this little anecdote ,to what has already been said.."....OH NOooo!

..Or a Conclave of the Elohim..." Of course i understand what has to be done!,,but why me?,,Its not like there is any order,,alphabetical list,,oldest to youngest,,how about by birthday?,,maybe by sign?...No!..its just whoever is on the outs! Well excuuuuuse ME! Thats just baloney! I want to see a charter, a list of assigned duties and an agenda before I ever leave here!"

No,,it doesn't appear to me that the TC Chronicles would be any good source material for a political science major...MEL
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And the Ramen are genuine nomads.

Very good points, Edelaith! Actually the Ramen strike me as one of SRD's best creations. He's not afraid to give them the faults that go along with their virtues chiefly xenophobia and a quick temper.

This is what SRD always does at his best: nobody is a hero by birthright or temperament. The SRD hero has to learn on the job, overcoming his or her worst faults, always at great personal cost. He hadn't quite learned to do this with subsidiary characters in LFB, with the result that many of the descriptions of people and cultures in the Land read like propaganda brochures for a hippie commune.

From the Second Chronicles on, SRD was much defter at building societies and ruling classes. The people who most want power, who most strive to attain it, are the very ones who are least to be trusted with it. Dissensions among the Elohim; palace intrigues in Bhrathairealm; the complicated and tragic court politics of Orison; machination and betrayal in the UMCP.

Every ruling class contains someone like Eremis or Godsen Frik, whose mitts should not be allowed within a mile of the levers of power; but you can't get rid of them, for such people live only to get their mitts on levers. SRD knows this well, and is brilliant at writing about it in fiction. The New Lords are the only exception.
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Variol Farseer wrote:
Yes, some of the Lords have minor flaws. Why do none of them have major flaws? Injustice, selfishness, power-lust, pride, cockiness, unwillingness to change: these traits are commonly found among every elite in human history. No psychological testing or training could possibly weed them out, because every human being has latent weaknesses. These are the occupational diseases of power; why don't the powerful people in the Land show any sign of them? Why, for instance, are there no gaddhis or Kempers in the history of Revelstone?


Variol Farseer wrote:

And Elena was 'flawed from birth' because she was Covenant's daughter, conceived by rape. This makes no kind of objective sense, but on SRD's terms, she wasn't really one of the people of the Land at all. She was something alien which is why she had the potential to be more effective than any of the other Lords, and also why she failed.


Well, you freely admit that at least one of the new Lords -- Elena-- had major flaws. Smile Perhaps she "wasn't really one of the people of the Land at all" but nontheless, she was a Lord on the Council.

Variol Farseer wrote:

Also, I cannot remember any instance in which anyone mocked Hyrim for being fat, except Hyrim himself. Shetra criticized him for being frivolous and making bad jokes, but that's another issue entirely.



Lord Hyrim in Gilden-Fire
Quote:

do you hear the talk of the refectories in Revelstone? It is said there that my staff is warped - that when the staff was made for me by High Lord Osondrea, it felt the touch of my hand and bent itself in chagrin. By the Seven! I would be offended if only the talk were untrue.


Variol Farseer wrote:

By the way, Verement's marriage was not wrecked


Lord Shetra in Gilden-fire
Quote:

I have left behind a husband who believes I cannot love him. He believes he is inferior to me.


from the Illearth War
Quote:

Hyrim studied her for another moment. Then he came back to Covenant. In a whisper so low that Covenant could hardly hear it, the Lord said, "She desires to see Lord Verement her husband before we go. Theirs is a sad tale, ur-Lord. Their marriage is troubled. Both are proud - Together they made the journey to the Plains of Ra to offer themselves to the Ranyhyn. And the Ranyhyn - ah, the Ranyhyn chose her, but refused him.
Well, they choose in their own way, and even the Ramen cannot explain them. But it has made a difference between these two. Brother Verement is a worthy man - yet now he has reason to believe himself unworthy. And Sister Shetra can neither accept nor deny his self-judgement. And now this mission - Verement should rightly go in my place, but the mission requires the speed and endurance of the Ranyhyn..."

Moments later, he heard movement in he throat of the Keep behind him. Turning, he saw two Lords striding out toward the courtyard - High Lord Elena and a man he had not met.

Elena's arrival made him quail, at once, the air seemed to be full of wings, vulturine implications. But the man at her side also compelled his attention. He knew immediately that this was Lord Verement. The man resembled Shetra too much to be anyone else. He had the same short stiff hair, the same hawklike features, the same bitter taste in his mouth. He moved toward her as if he meant to throw himself at her.

But he stopped ten feet away. His eyes winced away from her sharp gaze; he could could not bring himself to look at her directly. In a low voice he said, "Will you go?"

"You know that I must."

They fell silent. Heedless of the fact that they were being observed, they stood apart from each other. Some test of will that needed no utterance hung between them. For a time, they remained still, as if refusing to make any gestures which might be interpeted as compromise or abdication.

"He did not wish to come," Hyrim whispered to Covenant, "but the High Lord brought him. He is ashamed."

Then Lord Verement moved. Abruptly, he tossed his staff upright toward Shetra. She caught it, and threw her own staff to him. He caught it in turn. "Stay well, wife," he said bleakly.

"Stay well, husband," she replied.

"Nothing will be well for me until you return."

"And for me also, my husband," she breathed intensely.

Without another word, he turned on his heel and hastened back into Revelstone.


two quotes from Gilden-fire
Quote:

and Shetra Verement-mate, whose pain at her husband's self-doubt made her as bitter as the hawk she resembled.


Quote:

He had no answer for Lord Shetra's dour dismay - though he had paid for centuries the cost of yearning between a man and a woman - and so he stood aloof from it.


two quotes from The Illearth War
Quote:

Do you not hear me? I have said that I will remain! Shetra my wife is lost! She whom I loved with all my strength, and yet did not love enough. Melenkurion!


Quote:

"Because you have killed Shetra my wife!" the Lord cried in rage. "Because I have been unworthy of her all my life!"


Variol Farseer wrote:

Callindrill was damaged by the Vortex, which had enough power to drive any human being mad, and was still able to go on functioning effectively as a Lord for almost seven years afterwards. (It was the burning of Revelwood that drove him to self-destruction.)



from The Illearth War
Quote:

Something in Lord Callindrill had been damaged by Fleshharrower's attack. The strain of combat against bitter ill had humiliated him in some way, taught him a deep distrust of himself. He had not been bale to resist the fear. Now his clear soft eyes were clouded, pained. When he melded his thoughts with Lord Mhoram, he shared knowledge and concern, but not strngth; he no longer beliebed in his strength.


from The Power that Preserves

Quote:

But even as he thought this, Mhoram knew that Callindrill was not acting out of bravado. The Lord simply could not endure the thought that Revelwood might perish. Mhoram privately hoped Satansfist would let the tree stand - use it rather than destroy it. But Callindrill had no such hope. Ever since he had faltered during the battle of Doriendor Corishev, he had seen himself as a man who had disgraced his Lord's duty, failed to meet the challenge of the Land's need. He had seen himself as a coward.
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In response to what Edalaith said..it's true that the Woodhelvens and Stowndowns governed themselves, but I think they still looked to Revelstone for guidence.
Triock was made an Elder, because (or somewhat because) he attended the Loresraat..and the Oath of Peace..concocted by the Lords, but practiced by Everyone.
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the compliments sent my way. I was just giving opinions. I don't know the mind of Stephen Donaldson!
I think you all make good points above. But may I point out something nobody has brought up yet, which might take this thread in a different direction?

Think about Health Sense. Think about what would happen if everyone in our real world suddenly attained Health Sense. Think about their reaction.
I can speak for myself. I would start gasping on the pollution in the air. I couldn't tolerate it, because instead of just smelling it and breathing it I would be seeing it, hearing it, feeling it with every nerve in my body.
I would look at trees and they would be screaming from the pollution. They would be screaming from their mutilation by the power companies. Their pain would be crying out at me constantly.
Sickness - sickness in people - would be overwhelming and omnipresent. Flu, cold, AIDs, STDs, age related diseases, and other illnesses would cry out at me. The personal pain that people were experiencing would cry out at me. And there is no hurtloam in the real world to mitigate disease or pain.
And nobody could lie to me. Anytime anyone tried, I'd sense it instantly. Even half-lies would be caught at once. Even lying by omission would be obvious.
Anyone who held a dislike for me, or an adversion reaction of any sort at all ... I would instantly know. And my counterreaction would be instantly known to them.

Our society is full of powerful machines. Automobiles, trains, aircraft, factories, electrical lines (they carry tremendous power!), and on and on. All of these things would shout out to my senses. It would be an overwhelming and continuous bombardment of power. It would be like standing next to jet aircraft taking off, continuously. The thunder and roar of machines, the emanations of power from them, would simply be colossal.
Even a dim nightlight, running at 5 watts, would shout out it's potential for havoc and chaos and instantaneous death to anyone foolish enough to test it (that is, stick their finger into the socket powering it.) And it's heat, white hot, would scream of furnaces and tortured filaments.

Just how long do you think I could even remain sane in such a world?
And if you think I overstate things, consider that Covenant reacted strongly to a single dying tree in Lord Foul's Bane. Now, consider the current kill off of Ash trees alone in North America. That's millions of trees dead now, and billions threatened.

But let's just say that people could somehow - somehow! - overcome their Health Sight reaction. Let's say they could somehow shield their minds enough to retain their sanity.
They could still sense lies.
Much of our societal structure and governmental structure is based on lies and prevarications. This is true of every society and government in the world.

How long could people tolerate the lies told them by those who are in power, when the lies are blatant and obvious?
How could workers in a factory endure the scorn and derision aimed at them by their snobbish boss, which he could not hide from Health Sight?
How could stockholders continue to hold their stocks, when they knew the people on the television were deliberately lying to them about the value of the stocks?
How could children stand the lies of their parents? How could those parents stand each other's lies?
And mind you, how people felt towards each other would be obvious to all. He doesn't like you? You and everyone else knows it, instantly. He likes you? They know that too. And even the Why of it would be gleamed quickly enough.

How long would it be before people came to blows, because they could not tolerate each other's feelings and could not hide them with lies? How long before business and industry collapsed into anarchy? How long before society collapsed into civil war?

Without an Oath of Peace, I do not see how society as we know it could even exist at all. However, we have no Oath of Peace, and we do not have the Bloodguard Vow in it's place, or the Ramen religion, or the fact the Giants lived apart. There are 6.5 billion of us, and we have no choice but to live with each other.
And we could not do that, with Health Sight. Human society would disintegrate in a cataclysm nearly akin to that in Dawn of the Dead. It wouldn't take more than a few days to happen. It wouldn't surprise me if the real world didn't end in nuclear obliteration, as crazed people fired off every weapon at their disposal ... because they could not live in the world as we know it and remain sane.

Frankly, I don't see how the Old Lords and the society predating them survived at all. Without an Oath of Peace or other binding covenant (Bloodguard Vow, Ramen religion, etc.), I just don't see how they managed to avoid exterminating each other.

So, we have the Land, and in the Land there is Health Sense.
The question that should be asked is not: how does the political structure at Revelstone mimick one of our governmental/social systems out of real life.
The question that should be asked is: what social and political system could survive, period, in a world/region/area where everyone is granted Health Sense?

Just my opinion. I would VERY much welcome input on this post.
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure what to say, Edelaith, except, WOW, what an amazing post! (Among many you've lately been putting up. Yes, Variol Farseer as well.)

Just my impression, but the implication from your argument seems to be that the whole foundation of the society of the Land is untenable.

I'm not sure if I should applaud your reasoning or just sit here and be appalled. Heh, I love that word: appalled...

And hey, duchess, great job of hunting down those quotes! Cool


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vector wrote:
I simply thought that his POV on ownership has a relation to communist and socialist ideology.
Or purely naturalistic ideology...

Sorry my four words weren't that suscinct, Edelaith's many were... Cool
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pardon me if I was too melodramatic in the last post: I'm feeling sick tonight.
I wanted to expound on what I have said.

Stephen Donaldson makes it clear that the people of the Land cannot shield their minds from their Health Sight, and they most definitely cannot shield themselves from being scanned by Health Sight.
Thus, Health Sight becomes a tyrannical force that runs their lives. It is a worse oppressor than any dictator that lived in our real world.

The people of the Land quite literally cannot step on a patch of grass without feeling pain. Literally. Stepping on grass is harmful to it, and the person would feel that harm through his or her foot. And some can feel the pain even worse than the average person: the students of the Lillanrill lore.
The people of the Land cannot so much as break a rock without being hurt by it. They can feel the pain of the rock. Some can feel it much more than others: the students of the Rhaemaeral lore.

The people of the Land - obviously - cannot harm any animal without experiencing a plethora of pain.

We see the Ramen slaughtering kresh. We see wood being burned, and rock being used. I am guessing that the people of the Land have developed some (minor) mental shielding against Health Sight, that they can tolerate the pain their actions inflict. Especially with the Ramen, I believe this is true.
But we do not see Atiaran, Mhoram, Elena, Bannor, or the others hunting animals, or felling trees, or engaging in combat for sport, or doing a lot of the things we commonly see in other novels of fantasy and science fiction.

The people of the Land have no privacy, from birth.
As children, they cannot lie to their parents. Or to their siblings. Or to anyone else. They are denied the secret world of children that we have in the real world. Their privacy is taken from them completely.
As teenagers, they cannot rebel. Rebellion is instantly sensed, so it is instantly crushed. The instinctive fight every teenager fights, for individuality, for independence, to become his or her own adult person, is hampered.
As adults, the people of the Land are denied the privilege of privacy. Consider that even in our real world people have little privacy in small towns. In the villages of the Land, and in Revelstone, the people live crammed together, and the Health Sight ensures that they can possess no secrets.
If they don't like this reality, even THAT becomes obvious to everyone around them. If they intend to rail against it, everyone is going to know this priorhand, because their agitation and anger is obvious.

This, I believe, is why we see what was described as an 'ideal' culture.
Everyone behaves 'ideally' because there is no alternative. Any attempt to lie, cheat, steal, be violent or angry, revolt, start trouble, or even try to create change (which is usually a violent affair) is going to lead to the person being thrown out of the community.
Thus, such behavior is stopped before it is started. Such behavior is rendered impossible, or at the least the offender is thrown out of the community to become a renegade. So we don't see such behavior in Mithil Stonedown, or Soaring Woodhelven, or Revelwood or Revelstone.

Everyone behaves 'ideally' because the tyranny of Health Sense gives them the choice of doing that or being thrown out of the society.

And yet ... people try to behave like ... people. In spite of the tyranny of Health Sense, in spite of the Oath of Peace they swore so they could live with each other, in spite of lofty words, they still try to be ordinary people.
Lena reacts with horror to being raped. She loses her mind afterwards.
Triock tries to kill Covenant for his crime. Atiaran goes more than a little insane, fighting to not punish Covenant herself. Trell attacks Covenant on sight at Revelstone, Oath or no Oath. (and the Bloodguard excuse this attack, in spite of it being a capital crime, because Covenant committed the rape.)
Elena is insane from the beginning. Atiaran and Trell abandon her, fail in their duties as grandparents. Lena is in no condition to be a mother. Triock does what he can as a foster father, without success.
In Soaring Woodhelven, they try to murder Covenant outright. A definite case of ridiculous behavior, and an outright violation of the Oath of Peace. Afterwards, Pietten is permanently damaged by the Ur-Viles, and Foamfollower uses the hurtloam to help a cavewight, not Pietten ... after he goes on a berserk rampage of slaughter and mayhem.
The Warward is not a gentle place. They train the men and women according to the dictates of Hile Troy, who learned from the American military how to do things! Boot camp, American style, for the men and women of the Land. Undoubtedly, many suffered injuries in their training. Certainly, they were treated badly enough by their officers during the Illearth War! (being made to march 30 miles a day for 30 days is mistreatment.)
The Loresraat is not gentle. Atiaran could not succeed there. I'm guessing many applicants failed. I am reminded of a modern university. Complete with sharp tongued professors (like that Hirebrand in Lord Foul's Bane.)

So, the people of the Land must live under the tyranny of Health Sight, both in that what they see afflicts them, and that they are perceived by others and have no privacy. They cannot shield their senses from what they see, and they cannot screen themselves from being seen by others.
Yet we see they try to be people - ordinary people - in spite of that.
Again, the question is: what kind of social and governmental system can exist in such an environment?

Pardon errors in my writing. I'm not doing well here. But I do hope you'll respond, and we can discuss this.
I think Stephen Donaldson created a very big thing with his Health Sight. A condition that has consequences (and Donaldson himself always liked to espound on consequences.) A condition that alters the fundamental reality of the people of the Land.
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Untenable?
I guess they created some protection for their Sight, or how else could they have done anything? They must have had some shielding, for any society or government to be possible.
Yet, they did not have complete, or even reasonably minimal, shielding against being beheld with Health Sight. At best, they could marginally protect themselves (as in, Atiaran shielding her intentions to summon Thomas Covenant: they knew she was up to something, but not exactly what.)

I do believe a society could exist within the parameters of Health Sight. But what kind depends heavily on how much people could shield themselves from Seeing and being Seen.
Even with minimal shielding, they could produce a society. But it would be limited by the tyranny of Health Sight, in that case.
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