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QuietScholar

A Pandemonium Question: Nergal?

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There is no causality. It's magic, FFS!

How is magic distinct from causality? Magic just implies different rules of causality, not the evaporation of causality itself. If the past is changed due to current beliefs, what happens to the acts and lives of the millions of people and supernatural entities populating the past? Are their actions and beliefs retroactively nullified? How does the belief of today weigh, contrasted with that of the people living 100 years ago? If Lucifer's actions cause an event in the year 557, and current belief strips him of all power retroactively, so he always was powerless, what happens to the effects of his now-defunct actions? Do you really not see the paradox here?

 

All the creation myths are true. That's the point.

Yes. But that is a whole other issue than retroactively rewriting history. Beliefs may create alternate realities and entities, but cannot nullify already existing history.

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I'm not sure you can say that, Red.

It depends on whether you believe that all history co-exists, negating the idea of past and present (maybe future also).

If what we consider the past is occuring concurrently with what we consider the present, then our present couldn't affect the established past.

Now, if time is linear, you are correct.

But, if time is not linear, then it would be possible to negate causality.

Everything would change and no one would be the wiser.

Of course, this wouldn't be possible through belief shaping reality, it could only occur through the actions of an omnipotent deity, someone meddling with the actual time-line, or random Chaos.

So, what I'm saying here is if you don't believe in the above but believe in collective consciousness shaping reality, then it would be a slow process where the past and present would intermingle and slowly change creating whole new versions of history , without our knowledge.

Or, in retrospect, that may be wrong, and the events in the present may be what is needed to create the proper past that will shape our current present...in which case, we'd find that time was a constant and immutable.

It would take a large number of years to rewrite the entirety of history. Little change by little change.

I suppose though, that with your analogy, this would create a pocket universe where the old time-line would be preserved.

 

What you're bringing up is the old time-travel paradox of what if I go back in time and kill my parents, then how would I ever be born, and if I wasn't born does that mean I never went back in time, then if I never went back in time, would my parents not still be alive, so wouldn't I end up being born anyway, so then I could travel back in time to kill my parents after all.

 

I'd say QuietScholar does a good job of demolishing some of the theories within Hellblazer.

It's true that the angels, for example, do not behave in the manner that would be accepted by humanity's collective consciousness.

Kindly beings with fluffy wings who look out for us, they're not. Not that they're "evil" either, of course.

Although they do hold up to a whole level of recorded mythology where the angels are warriors and rather bastards (some types more than others) that you wouldn't want to mess with.

At the same time, the recorded texts themselves contradict themselves.

Ennis mixes elements of apocrypha as well as canonical New Testament writing for his version of Mary's impregnation.

That's certainly a problem.

 

Red is correct in the end that HB doesn't operate on the same grounds as Sandman or Lucifer, so the HB cosmology isn't as easy to map out.

Which puts us back at square one for the argument.

How you reconcile that two different versions of Merlin exist in the HB universe, and which one is the historical Merlin?

I think at this point, we'd need to find and ask John Constantine what he remembers about Merlin.

It might just be that an alternate reality was created and that either parts of the Delano run or parts of the Jenkins run are now Elseworlds events.

Which is why I try to avoid these types of conjectures with HB, as I'd rather not see the same type of continuity I look for in a Marvel or DC book creeping into my reading of Hellblazer.

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NEVER FORGET:

 

http://teatimebrutality.blogspot.com/2009/07/canon-and-sheep-shit-why-we-fight.html

 

"In a ideal world, every series' canon would have died of embarassment after the first panel of 'Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?'"

 

 

(Also: having read dozens of variations on this conversation, relating to various fictional universes, I'm hugely impressed that all involved here have made it clear that they're aware that this shit doesn't actually matter, that it's just an intellectual game with no real, 100% satisfying resolution, and that it's all firmly secondary to actually enjoying the stories. That's an acknowledgement which rarely gets made in this sort of discussion, and it's the most important thing to remember).

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Do you really not see the paradox here?

 

No, I see the paradox, I'm just saying it doesn't matter because the self-contradictory nature of a multireligious cosmology is written into the text. Everything is true and nothing is true. The sun is a giant ball of gas around which the Earth rotates and being pushed by a giant scarab and being drawn by a god's chariot etc etc. When Element Girl looks into the sun she's also looking into the face of Ra.

 

Likewise, the earth was made by the Christian God and the Norse gods and the Hindu gods and whoever else wants to claim credit. It was also formed from cooling gases after The Big Bang. There are multiple histories laid on top of and through one another, and whichever one is actually, definitely true depends on your point of view (and, to a certain extent, the power of your chosen religious cosmology, as determined by the number of believers knocking around on Earth).

 

Loki has a past that includes Odin and the Norse creation of the world. It objectively happened for him. And yet there he is, talking to Lucifer. That's an insurmountable paradox unless you accept that both stories are equally true (but Lucifer's is more equal than the others', since it's his story we're reading).

 

Look at Paul Jenkins's first Hellblazer arc: the nasty Aussie landowners die because the Dreamtime Snake crushes them; they also die because of a freak landslide unconnected to anything supernatural. Both of those mutually contradictory events are 100% true. At least one of them is also 100% false if you decide to side with a mortal, subjective view of reality.

 

Happily, we get to sit up here in a position higher than the gods: we get to view them as characters and choose whichever one of the contradictions suits us.

 

This is the system that Gaiman uses in his books. It's the same one that Pratchett uses too, though who influenced who I'm really not sure.

 

If Lucifer's actions cause an event in the year 557, and current belief strips him of all power retroactively, so he always was powerless, what happens to the effects of his now-defunct actions?

 

That history still exists, it's just that another - possibly contradictory - one also exists alongside it. Which one actually happened? Both of them. Which one matters? Whichever one the story calls for.

 

Yes. But that is a whole other issue than retroactively rewriting history. Beliefs may create alternate realities and entities, but cannot nullify already existing history.

 

Except for that one Sandman story. And that one Lucifer story ('Brothers in Arms'). Or possibly more than one Lucifer story. I really should re-read it.

 

It's all fictional. The only rules are the ones that people invent (or reinvent at the mood takes them).

 

(Oh - and didn't Elaine Belloc admit that although she tried to take away Hell, people's souls just created a new one because that's what they expected/wanted?)

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(I do like the new life QuietScholar has brought to the forum. He doesn't seem that quiet though. :smile:)

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I like my stories with internal logic. This makes your interpretation of the cosmology untenable. I'll give you some examples from Lucifer which will illustrate this, but first to deal with one of your examples:

that one Lucifer story ('Brothers in Arms')

[ Spoiler : What the titan brothers do in that story doesn't actually change the past in any way, it only affects the current events, and future events. Also, their actions are contingent upon the universe no longer being controlled. They couldn't have done it if Elaine, Lucifer or Michael had stepped into YHWHs shoes. (I'm still talking within the internal logic of the Lucifer series here) ]

 

Now, example no. 1:

[ Spoiler : Several important mythological figures bite the dust comprehensively during the Lucifer series. Those characters are gone and dead, and can no longer function even inside their own mythos. This is a natural effect of the mythological figures attaining separate and individual life once created. Susano is definitively dead and gone. So is Tsuki-yomi. ]

 

Example 2:

[ Spoiler : YHWH is the prime example. In the ending of Lucifer he is debating ending the entire universe, just like that. This clearly means that "his" power is in no way contingent on the lives or beliefs of anyone living inside it. This is also what sets Lucifer, Michael and Elaine apart from the "common ruck" of gods and spirits - their power is not dependent on human (or other) belief. Lucifer and Michael could conceivably destroy the earth, with no ill effect to themselves, even though that would actually destroy all the believers in all earth-born mythologies. This is also why the Lucifer Universe is a universe of predestination. Only by leaving the universe altogether, can anything not explicitly planned by YHWH even happen. ]

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Aye, fair enough there. I shouldn't have brought up Lucifer. I really need to read through Sandman and the like again to see whether I've just gone completely doolally. Although I think the real answer to all of this is that there basically isn't one coherent explanation for how this all works - it depends who's writing what at any given time.

 

(Although I'm going to say that YHWH destroying the universe would leave everything intact minus the entire Christian timeline, just to piss you off.)

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Although I think the real answer to all of this is that there basically isn't one coherent explanation for how this all works - it depends who's writing what at any given time.

Indeed. The important thing (to me at least) is whether things make narrative sense within the story the writer (and artist) is telling or not. Like I said, Lucifer has a quite different cosmology than Sandman. They both work very well, in their own way. And they're vaguely related, but that's about it.

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