Hello class, let's go ahead and get started. For my fifth class in my ongoing series, I'd like to talk to you about order and chaos, light, and darkness. We've talked a lot about rebirth, and the cycle of the Octave, and now I'd like to consider "what lies beyond", so to speak.
I owe some thank yous for the development of this subject. Topic Gareth, in particular, for general discussions, and Angelique, who published her analysis of the orderly and chaotic natures of our world.
Many people naively assume from a philosophical view that light and order are identical; chaos and darkness too. As philosophers, though, we should hold ourselves to higher standards of rigor. It is our job to examine things from every angle, and in particular, I think this subject to be very worthy of our study.
Let's begin by considering chaos. The unenlightened believe chaos to be a negative - a destructive force. But in fact, chaos, like order, has at least two sides: constructive, and destructive.
We're all familiar with chaos as a destructive force. Ceannlaidir is often the avatar of this - war being its absolute embodiment. Chaos, however, can also be a constructive force. What about a war to overthrow a ruthless despot?
Or, we could consider Danaan, the lightbringer. We can actually say that static darkness - unceasing, unending darkness - is actually a form of order. But, so is light - an infinite void of light would be just as orderly as an infinite void of darkness. Unceasing, unchanging.
I think we can say for sure that we would prefer residing with Danaan for eternity than in the infinite void of Chadul - gibbering darkness, slowly losing our minds for eternity, frozen like flies caught in amber. Regardless: the shadows, the interactions between light and darkness, the infinite shades of grey - that is the stuff of life, and of chaos - constructive chaos. This chaos powers our world. It is the engine of its novelty.
Let us go back to order for a moment. A fellow philosopher asked what age of Temuair we are in. Many answers were put forth, some good, some very obviously wrong. One interesting thought is Sgrios. Sgrios is an interesting thought - witness the decay of all Temuairan systems - but it is not precise enough. Although we are in a state of decay - we are frozen in it. Recall what I have said previously about the Octave and the cycle of rebirth.
There is only one power we may associate with a fixed, decaying static, and so I must conclude instead that the age we are actually in, is the age of Chadul. Since the battle of Light versus Dark - we believed Chadul was defeated, sealed, but in truth the light of our collective, constructive chaos did not last. The lights dimmed, and Chadul has returned, to bring his unceasing, unmoving dominion to Temuair.
Consider that Mundanes are easier to control, easier to influence, easier to manipulate. Chadul has returned to Temuair as a blanket of mundanity - a blanket of permanent, absolute, static dominion. Our lives become ever more orderly, ever more rote. Soon we may be frozen Forever and ever. The final death, and the ultimate victory of Chadul: the death of all Aisling light.
Every eight Deochs, the energy of the Pentagram binding Chadul wanes. He wants to escape from this trap, to conquer the universe, to bind us to him in infinite slavery. The foolish believe he is locked there, bound indefinitely, but we know for sure that some of the Mundane elements wish to provide him with aid and succor.
From the history of Loures as well as our own history, we may conclude that nothing is as important as the total dominion of the sovereign. So it is no leap of logic to sugggest that the Mundanes are aligned with Chadul, aligned with the desire to bring about a permanent, unchanging order. I cannot consider an easier kingdom to rule. Long have the mundanes wished to erase Aislings from time itself; to reduce this world to a collection of easily managed static parts.
So again we come to the importance of the spark, and more importantly, of the importance of chaos.
Deoch was pulled away from Chadul to Danaan by his love of novelty, of unique inspiration. As Aislings, infused with his flame, we too exist as novelty-seeking organisms, unless mutated or damaged by our environment. We begin as mundanes, but we are called by Deoch to a higher service, and art. More importantly, our spark is a protection, a guarantee of the ability to fight the static oblivion of Chadul.
Danaan's light provides infinite diversity in infinite combinations, a neverending buffet of inspiration, of debauchery, of new and novel. Danaan's light blows away the dark permanent unceasing order of Chadul, who represents the static, unchanging, material, mundane universe. She is literally a representation of the spiritual act of creation - the act of the magician - bringing definition and the sprawl of nature into existence.
Danaan's magic is, really, the word - in the magic sense, but also in the religious sense. The Word is the mechanism of invocation. We've talked about the spark before. The flame of Deoch is our magic, our way of bringing light into the world in the form of novelty. As Aislings, we carry on Danaan's great work - Deoch's work. Deoch begins as a daemon lieutenant of Chadul, kept fat and happy with the gifts heaped upon him by the dark majesty, but he eventually rebels to become an agent of Chaos. With Danaan, he conspires to fight the ordered darkness with the best weapon imaginable: light, in an infinite and ever changing number of forms.
Danaan's light is chaotic, of course, because it casts a shadow that is constantly changing. Even the brightest lights of our time could not keep the darkness away indefinitely. I have come to believe that Danaan was not about defeating darkness, but providing a counterbalance, and ensuring that the darkness did not consume Temuair. After all, Danaan does not wish the material world to become a void of infinite light - that is her desire for our eventual death.
Deoch's union with Danaan shows him that there is more beyond the static, infinite darkness of Chadul - that the light of Aislings represents a leap forward, a new way of being, a new consciousness heretofore unknown in Temuair; an interweaving of light and dark.
So we've reached a particularly interesting thesis; that Danaan's manifestation in the material realm is chaotic, and her spiritual form orderly; and Chadul's material manifestation is orderly, but his spiritual form is chaotic.
We must therefore cleave away this concept of "evil" and "good" from order and chaos. It can, in fact, be both.
The gods themselves remind us of this fact. Some are most comfortable as an avatar of one facet - but some also remind us that they can each be representative of chaos or order, destructive or constructive, and that these elements are not inherently good, or bad.
As in much else, the question of ethics arises from the direct use of the component itself, and not from its inherent capabilities.
Let's look at the other gods, in the order of the octagram.
Deoch, true to his nature, is the very embodiment of constructive chaos: all our creative efforts take root and bloom in his flame of inspiration.
Glioca, pure daughter of the Light, is the embodiment of constructive order. Compassion is entirely orderly, the purest of logical propositions: accept all, deny none. But there are many forms of love. Desire can be twisted to destructive ends, and anyone who has been alive for more than eight seconds knows this.
Cail, beget of the union of constructive order (Glioca) and destructive chaos (Ceannlaidir) shows us that nothing in nature can exist long outside of this balance. Cail represents the unity of these disparate wholes; the synthesis. Cail is the best representation of the infinite diversity within the interplay of light and darkness. Nature always errs on the side of creation, even when it must destroy itself.
Generally speaking, Luathas is constructive order: the best knowledge, the best wisdom, is that which endures and propagates itself. But gnosis, that divine spark, is also inherently chaotic.
Gramail is an interesting one. He can either be constructive order (a stereotypical good government) or destructive order (a government hellbent on dominating its citizens, or at the very least, stifling them and their creative expressions). Law, however, generally speaking, is a logical construct, and an inherently orderly one at that (even if politics is generally the opposite).
Ceannlaidir is most explicitly the embodiment of destructive chaos - although there is certainly an order to war, he is most at home on the ground in a raging battle.
Fiosachd can be all four facets - orderly, chaotic - destructive, creative - as the embodiment of Fortune, there is profit and opportunity to be found in all of the representations.
Sgrios, perhaps obviously, prefers destruction over all else. Anything that returns souls to his domain, he embraces.
Now we can begin to think about these facets in our lives as they relate to our political and social orders. Constructive order might give us well-run towns and systems that respect personal authority and dignity (Danaan, Glioca, Luathas). Destructive order would trend towards corrupt or ossified political orders that do not serve the will of the people (Chadul, Gramail, Sgrios). Destructive chaos would embody the destruction or obliteration of the world for pure spite or thrilling at its desecration (Chadul, Ceannlaidir). Constructive chaos would give us, as discussed, the spark of the Aisling. Creativity, novelty, light, beauty, art. (Danaan, and most especially Deoch).
Finally, we know for sure that Chadul is the worst basis for a political and social order. His influence is subtle, and dangerous; he slowly weaves a noose of permanent order around the neck of Temuair. I have mentioned the need for renewal, the need for reinvigoration of our flame, and a rededication to the great work of Danaan.
I fear that a long, infinite, ordered darkness awaits us if we cannot find our own inspiration and save ourselves, and our world.