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The Holy Writ - Something's Bugging Me

This fascinating series is a combination of historical seafaring, swashbuckling adventure, and high technological science-fiction. Join us in a discussion!
Re: The Holy Writ - Something's Bugging Me
Post by Randomiser   » Sat Dec 10, 2016 10:23 am

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daspletosaurus wrote:Having read all the books, I've noticed that a major plot point is how Merlin & Co. are having so much trouble with the fact everything in the Writ matches readily observable reality, giving them no avenues of attack. I'm having some trouble with that notion. In no particular order:

4) Etymology: If you're looking at a neartuna you just caught, you might wonder at some point "What's a tuna, anyway?" Not to mention the fact that English has morphemes from a whole bunch of languages. Basically any word for a concept more sophisticated than "turnip" probably has a Latin or Greek root.

DrakBibliophile wrote:On Point 4, names like "neartuna" were given by the Archangels and without knowledge of other languages there's no reason to question the names/words created by the Archangels.



Drak I have to disagree on this. Names like neartuna, nearoak etc, just beg to be questioned. It doesn't require any knowledge of other languages, just knowledge of the word 'near', to see that these are compound names. Words/phrases like 'near-miss', 'near-thing', assuming them still to be in the language, are only going to emphasise the fact. I haven't counted them , but there are a fair few of these names and I too have thought they were one of the places where the Archangels arrogance over-reached and which ought to have caused problems sometime.

As to the Ptolemaic point, don't the appendices state that one of the orders produces the vast majority of Safehold's few astronomers? So they are likely to be under church supervision and more willing to believe that they have got their ideas or observations wrong than to doubt the Writ. It might be thread to pull on, but for the vast majority of Safeholdians you would need to educate them in the implications of the Writ first, before you could show them any problem.
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Re: The Holy Writ - Something's Bugging Me
Post by PeterZ   » Sat Dec 10, 2016 1:16 pm

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Regarding issues of etymology.: I've always thought this was RFCs purloined letter. All the near-oaks and near-tunas emphasize what the writ alludes to; that the Archangels were not omnipotent nor omniscient. They were charged with creating God's vision for Safehold that contained oaks and tuna. They could not execute that plan God gave them in these small and invariably insignificant ways. That fundamental inability foreshadowed the archangels inability to execute the much more complex and signicant elements of God's plan. Whether the archangels failed to execute God's plan or failed to recreate something that existed elsewhere, that failure creates the same separation between God and the archangels as Clyntahn's actions separated the Church from the men who organize it.

If RFC uses that reasoning, he establishes that Langehorn might have been mistaken in his attack on Shan-wei. That possibility supported by the Writ and observations of reality opens up the theological possibility that The Truth of the Terren Federation, or at least of a time before Creation. That was alluded to in the SSK's attempts to explain Saint Khody's journal comments. If the SSK believed that possibility was consistent with the Writ, there is justification within the theology of the Writ.

At this point recordings of the archangels reinforce the above logic and theological reasoning.

I wonder if Shan-wei used those names when terraforming as a very subtle reminder that Safehold was created in the image of simething else? Wouldn't put it past her.
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Re: The Holy Writ - Something's Bugging Me
Post by evilauthor   » Sun Dec 11, 2016 8:55 am

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PeterZ wrote:I wonder if Shan-wei used those names when terraforming as a very subtle reminder that Safehold was created in the image of simething else? Wouldn't put it past her.


Shan-Wei didn't know about Langhorne's Plan when she was terraforming Safehold. She only found out about it afterwards.

Also, I get the impression that naming stuff "near-anything" was just Federation colonization cultural habits.
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Re: The Holy Writ - Something's Bugging Me
Post by PeterZ   » Sun Dec 11, 2016 1:15 pm

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evilauthor wrote:
PeterZ wrote:I wonder if Shan-wei used those names when terraforming as a very subtle reminder that Safehold was created in the image of simething else? Wouldn't put it past her.


Shan-Wei didn't know about Langhorne's Plan when she was terraforming Safehold. She only found out about it afterwards.

Also, I get the impression that naming stuff "near-anything" was just Federation colonization cultural habits.


Agreed. My point was that Shan-wei knew the original plan was to hide technology from the colonists for some specified period. She also knew Langehorn would attempt to hide technology permanently. Best way to do that would be to hide the past. Keeping the Terran nomenclature is a subtle reminder of another time and place.
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Re: The Holy Writ - Something's Bugging Me
Post by isaac_newton   » Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:44 am

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Randomiser wrote:.

SNIP
On Point 4, names like "neartuna" were given by the Archangels and without knowledge of other languages there's no reason to question the names/words created by the Archangels.

[/quote]

Drak I have to disagree on this. Names like neartuna, nearoak etc, just beg to be questioned. It doesn't require any knowledge of other languages, just knowledge of the word 'near', to see that these are compound names. Words/phrases like 'near-miss', 'near-thing', assuming them still to be in the language, are only going to emphasise the fact. I haven't counted them , but there are a fair few of these names and I too have thought they were one of the places where the Archangels arrogance over-reached and which ought to have caused problems sometime.

SNIP.[/quote]

Dont forget that the Safehold angels were highly tangible/physical, so people I think, would easily make the assumption that they came from a very physical heaven too, and therefore that the 'near' oaks/tuna of Safehold etc simply reminded them of the 'real, true' oaks/tuna etc in the archangels realm.

A sort of platonic idealism?
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Re: The Holy Writ - Something's Bugging Me
Post by PeterZ   » Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:12 am

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isaac_newton wrote:
Dont forget that the Safehold angels were highly tangible/physical, so people I think, would easily make the assumption that they came from a very physical heaven too, and therefore that the 'near' oaks/tuna of Safehold etc simply reminded them of the 'real, true' oaks/tuna etc in the archangels realm.

A sort of platonic idealism?


That view is even more dangerous to Langhorne's plan. Believing that Heaven is physical further separates God's direct creation and what He left to the archangels. The presence of near-tuna means that the archangels could not replicate God's perfection. In His omniscience, God did not want the imperfect archangels to re-create perfection. Had He wanted that, he would have lent them a measure of His omnipotence to create those heavenly creatures.

No. Instead God asked the archangels for their imperfect best. He must have known they would fail; that they would each fail. Was it not accepted that the Grand Vicar's infallibility was dependent on the Vicar's proclamation being consistent with the Writ and God's will? Does it not follow that imperfect archangels that could not replicate the minor creatures of Heaven must also act accordance to God's will? Their imperfection means that they may fail either through intent to not follow His will or through misunderstanding that Will. Furthermore, since God's plan had always required the archangels to leave mankind physically alone on Safehold, does that not also mean God wants mankind to do its collective and individual best knowing that there would be many failures?

There is evidence supporting this argument everywhere in the stories. The earliest bit of evidence is the existence of the first edition pre-fall-of-Shan-wei Writ, Saint Khody's journal is another, the animals and plants of Safehold having two distinct organizational structures are more, the names the archangels chose to call those animals and plants and I am sure there is more such evidence in the archives of the Temple.

This and other arguments like this are needed before the Return. Those arguments must permeate Safehold society because they undermine the archangels moral authority and emphasize the moral responsibility of human beings to live up to God's Plan for themselves. Such arguments are necessary to shift the motional fidelity away from the CoGA doctrine and towards personal responsibility to God's will. Absent that shift, no argument will ever sway any significant number of Safeholdians that faith in the CoGA is misplaced.
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Re: The Holy Writ - Something's Bugging Me
Post by NervousEnergy   » Mon Dec 12, 2016 1:56 pm

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One thing to remember: when it was all first set up, the Command Crew may have placed a great premium on inertia and culture to overcome any physical observations. Almost everything mentioned in this thread would require a very inquisitive fellow to even begin to investigate them, and a lot of tenacity and ability to think outside the box. Also likely an appreciation for a systematic, long term approach to researching these questions, akin to an early Scientific Method.

Everyone one of those things was, at best, frowned on and considered 'not nice' traits to have. At worse, they were pure heresy.

A highly practical Writ that offered lots of advice and direction that simply worked (see all of the medical, farming, husbandry, etc. 'rules' that just worked, and worked well), along with a big stick of not looking too closely at others would make such investigations as to prove the Writ wrong not only unlikely to start, but require a really subversive mindset in the first place. Anyone attempting them would *know* they were attempting to second-guess the Archangels. And when the world is full of self-reinforcing Angelic artifacts and knowledge, such a researcher would be very hard to come by without the events of the book (Khody, Jearneu[sp?]).
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Re: The Holy Writ - Something's Bugging Me
Post by thanatos   » Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:30 pm

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I think RFC has commented on how Langhorne & Co. attempted to stifle innovation in the Holy Writ. They ensured that no one had cause to raise any questions regarding any natural phenomenon by simply handing them the answers beforehand. Anything they wished people to stay clear of, like electricity, gets anathematized or hedged around with admonitions and warnings. And in any case of doubt, the Church must rule upon and it alone may overturn its own rulings. And RFC has already written that there are no obvious threads to pull so as to unravel the entire system. Everything received an explanation that is completely plausible and provable with the limited instrumentation available to any prospective Safeholdian researcher. Even here on earth, when Copernicus discovered that the earth was not the center of the known universe, it was through mathematical calculations that few at the time under fathom. The same would be true on Safehold, especially when the new mathematics and Arabic numerals are so relatively new. Nor would understanding the new math erase centuries of religious teaching that are far simpler to understand that complex mathematical calculations.
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Re: The Holy Writ - Something's Bugging Me
Post by PeterZ   » Mon Dec 12, 2016 4:34 pm

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That's why the fundamental attack has to be theological from within the CoGA doctrine. Use the Writ's internal logic against it. Use the G4s actions and evidence against doctrine as the core elements of any argument. Since Clyntahn saw "file footage" of the archangels, use similar file footage to forward arguments against the primacy of the archangels over humanity.

That groundwork has to be established as a precursor to the Return.

thanatos wrote:I think RFC has commented on how Langhorne & Co. attempted to stifle innovation in the Holy Writ. They ensured that no one had cause to raise any questions regarding any natural phenomenon by simply handing them the answers beforehand. Anything they wished people to stay clear of, like electricity, gets anathematized or hedged around with admonitions and warnings. And in any case of doubt, the Church must rule upon and it alone may overturn its own rulings. And RFC has already written that there are no obvious threads to pull so as to unravel the entire system. Everything received an explanation that is completely plausible and provable with the limited instrumentation available to any prospective Safeholdian researcher. Even here on earth, when Copernicus discovered that the earth was not the center of the known universe, it was through mathematical calculations that few at the time under fathom. The same would be true on Safehold, especially when the new mathematics and Arabic numerals are so relatively new. Nor would understanding the new math erase centuries of religious teaching that are far simpler to understand that complex mathematical calculations.
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Re: The Holy Writ - Something's Bugging Me
Post by thanatos   » Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:15 pm

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That was the original plan but that just went out the window with the Inner Circle's support of Duchairn's coup and seizure of power in the Church. As they say in that final debate before the coup, Duchairn would give them everything they wanted where reforming the Church is concerned yet their true goal was always the dismantlement of the Church and the elimination of the Proscriptions of Jwo-Jeng. Couching their dispute with the Church in terms of reforming its corruption was something most Safeholdians can agree to yet that would not be the case for revealing the full truth to Safeholdians at large.

And the reason Clyntahn was able to believe the file footage was because it resembled displays that were available in the Temple itself. He needed that mental toehold in order to accept what they showed him. Regular people on Safehold, who never get to see the marvels of the Temple, would not so readily accept it.

PeterZ wrote:That's why the fundamental attack has to be theological from within the CoGA doctrine. Use the Writ's internal logic against it. Use the G4s actions and evidence against doctrine as the core elements of any argument. Since Clyntahn saw "file footage" of the archangels, use similar file footage to forward arguments against the primacy of the archangels over humanity.

That groundwork has to be established as a precursor to the Return.

thanatos wrote:I think RFC has commented on how Langhorne & Co. attempted to stifle innovation in the Holy Writ. They ensured that no one had cause to raise any questions regarding any natural phenomenon by simply handing them the answers beforehand. Anything they wished people to stay clear of, like electricity, gets anathematized or hedged around with admonitions and warnings. And in any case of doubt, the Church must rule upon and it alone may overturn its own rulings. And RFC has already written that there are no obvious threads to pull so as to unravel the entire system. Everything received an explanation that is completely plausible and provable with the limited instrumentation available to any prospective Safeholdian researcher. Even here on earth, when Copernicus discovered that the earth was not the center of the known universe, it was through mathematical calculations that few at the time under fathom. The same would be true on Safehold, especially when the new mathematics and Arabic numerals are so relatively new. Nor would understanding the new math erase centuries of religious teaching that are far simpler to understand that complex mathematical calculations.
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