Re: What Greg said about the mixed world

From: Julian Lord <>
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2001 23:12:14 +0100

Chris Lemens :

> Greg ... is
> somewhat Delphic, though, so my presentation here of his ideas are probably
> full of errors that need to be burned out through the crucible of the
> digest.

I certainly don't understand these ideas (yet), but misunderstanding something is actually the best possible reason to discuss it... ;-)

> So, I guess everything in the inner world is a mixture, except when its not.

My current interpretation of Greg's statements is that each different kind of Gloranthan 'stuff' is a partially depleted form of the old 'TrueStuff' that Glorantha was once made of.

If I'm right, totally depleted 'TrueStuff' has ceased to exist, and dead, non-magical, mundane matter ('sorcerous' ?) is just one step up from that.

Always remember the Void.

The implications of such a theory are a bit mind-boggling, really.

> I think he might have meant that the _entirety_ of a thing must be a
> mixture,

My understanding is that Inner World stuff must be like that.

> but _portions_ of things may be purely one or the other.


> Here, of
> course, the Forest (the entirety) is a mixture, but the tree (just a
> portion) may be purely spiritual.

Yes, but I think that these concepts also pertain to the Otherworlds. Or *can* pertain to them. My understanding of this section of the model is a fuzzy one.

> I have trouble applying that concept to,
> say, Orlanthi. Another possibility is that he meant Everything (note the
> capital E meaning the entire central world) is a mixture, but that portions
> of the central world may be pure, especially if you break them down to fine
> enough parts.

I don't think that it's just the small bits that can be pure ; AFAIK, mountains, rivers, planets, and other large bits can also be so.

> Put another way, as between gods,
> saints, and spirits, the mundane world would be common ground; the
> Underworld is no man's land. (Now that I've said this, it will probably be
> true IMG unless blatantly contradicted, because I like the double meaning of
> "no man" also meaning no human.)

'no man's land' is vague enough that it's probably OK. But it doesn't really help understand what the Underworld(s) is/are actually like... :-/

> I would also note that the "etc." in Greg's reply hints that there are
> sorcerous trees and maybe even mystic trees.

Don't think so ; looks to me that he meant : trees, etc. ie also bushes, flowers, rocks ...

> I can see a sorcerous tree
> understanding the Song of Aldrya as being awash in harmonically flowing
> energies.

Although there certainly can be individual trees with exceptional natures !

> I can't imagine what a mystic tree would be,

An "illuminated" one.

> It seems to me that any mystic elf would naturally
> refute the Song and become rootless/renegade.

Such 'rootless' trees _have_ to exist, really.

Simon Hibbs :

> I think the key to this puzzle is mystical in nature. Aldryami transcend
> the differences between animist and divine (and perhaps sorcerous) magic
> through mystical means.

I don't think that's correct ; I think that they see no difference between the 'animist' and the 'divine', and that their transcendances are rather different in nature to those of humans.

> Fire, earth, air, water and
> darkness are suspended in an equal balance between the animist, divine and
> sorcerous worlds, and are equaly susceptible to forces emmanating from them.

Not necessarily the case ; as an overall simplification I'd agree with that ; but the balance needn't be an equal one, certainly not from any local POV. Also, Greg's model would seem to imply that there can be several different kinds of fire, earth, etc.. as there are different kinds of trees.

> The base matter of which the world is composed is neutral to these forces,
> but an specific object or place may manifest one of these forces more than
> another.

Greg recently denied the existence of 'hybrid' entities in Glorantha, which seems to suggest along the same lines that there can't be any 'neutral' matter either. My understanding is that all Gloranthan matter must be in a specific relationship (or non-relationship) with each otherworld and its magics.

Also : In HW, matter is *not* neutral, having a base Resistance of 14.

> In our world, if you remove a single atom from an apple, that atom has no
> 'appleness' about it.

Not true according to the 18th century map of the world, to which the GL model bears a striking resemblance.

> It is no different from an atome of the same element
> taken from a chair, or a sword. This is not so in Glorantha, where
> archetypical form, function and purpose are part of the world and are
> not just figments of our imagination.


> Remember that everything in the underworld is dead.

Apparently, Aldrya is an 'Underworld' entity ...

No : we've been through this before, I think ; only some underworlds are Death places.

Chris again :

> If theistic plants can be inside it, why can't sorcerous
> ones?

IMO : because they *could* be ; but they *aren't*.

An important thing about the GL model (in its similarities to RW 18th century science) is that it's a taxonomy ; and the defining characteristics are *never* given the fluidity that those of modern science can sometimes have.

> Peter >There are mystics who engage with
> >the world rather than deny it.

Indeed : Refutation, Transcendance, and Illumination are practices that can be radically divergent in many ways.

> >That said a mystic tree is a solecism
> >as all worldviews have some measure of transcendent consciousness.


> Hey, no fair using your degree in philosophy. What does this mean in
> smaller words? All trees are mystics?

Sorry to barge in here, BTW. But Peter's being a bit cheeky...

All limited worldviews comprise a perception that extends beyond mere perception of the self. By definition.

> It would make a lot more sense if the equation were more like (Land of Dead)
> + (Aldryami otherworld) + (Uz otherworld) = Underworld.

+ (many others) IMO

> I agree that everything in the Underworld is incapable of self-directed
> change.

I believe that there are Chaos entities in the Underworld who are capable of such.

> Only things on the inner world can cause
> changes in any of the otherworld.

I think that there are rare exceptions to that general rule.

I understand that this is one of the things that the Hero Wars is about.

Also, there are gods of 'change'.

And there is Trickster.

And there is the Devil.

And there is Time.

Julian Lord

I swear to you, by the prickling brambly Thorn of St. Fiacre in Brie, that our unique Morosoph whom I formerly termed the Lunatick Triboulet, reffereth me, for attaining to the final Resolution of my Scruple, to the Response-giving Bottle.

End of The Glorantha Digest V8 #312

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