Question about The Gods (or lack thereof)?

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Postby kintire » Fri Apr 13, 2007 8:47 am

IMO, it's very strange to deny every REH evidence about the existence of gods in the Hyborian Age. It is not the real world, and should not be so sensitive. Perhaps this is done to somehow "balance" Sprague De Camp's bigottry and manicheism,
I think this is absolutely right. There is a reaction against DeC's portrayal of Conan gods as big glowing things (if good) or big dark things (if bad). While I'm right behind that movement it can go overboard and try to deny the gods as Howard did portray them in an overreaction.
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Postby The King » Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:38 am

To sum it up because it seems to me I am talking to some wall, I didn't deny the gods of hyboria but I contest the fact that they are living on the mortal world.
The mythic worlds/spheres I talked about are nothing as unreal as kintire wanted to define them for me so unpolitely as these are the very spheres (where senses, dimensions and time are different as it appears in Lovecraft's dreamlands or in other mythic places like Valhalla) kintire was refering to improperly as parallel dimensions (because parallelism begongs to the geometry as mortals know it).
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Postby kintire » Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:29 pm

Gods are only revealed in the subconscience of mortals and it is how they live eternally because thoughts in the memories of men last much longer than any living being.
I am more enclined to consider this story occurs in the mythic world.
What Conan saw may very well be an hallucination in the mortal world because there is no physical evidence of his killing the giants.
That's what you said. Gods manifest only in the mind, and if you think you really see them, its a hallucination. This is an incorrect rendition of Howard's gods who, when they appear, appear in a way that can be seen, or leaves evidence that can be seen, by anybody, and are not in the mind of any single observer. Occasionally they MAY appear this way, but not routinely. In fact, I can't think of any divine appearence in Howard's tales that didn't leave some sort of evidence of reality.
kintire was refering to improperly as parallel dimensions (because parallelism begongs to the geometry as mortals know it).
Oh good grief. No one who uses the term parallel dimensions thinks that the two dimensions exist literally "next to" each other like two parallel lines do. Its a metaphor.
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Postby The King » Fri Apr 13, 2007 3:10 pm

kintire wrote:Oh good grief. No one who uses the term parallel dimensions thinks that the two dimensions exist literally "next to" each other like two parallel lines do. Its a metaphor.
You're not the first one to use this expression but beyond the various argument on this thread it seems we also had a problem of definition.

In the world as we know it there are only 3 dimensions which are used commonly in many fields as well as in painting (Salvatore Dali defined it very well) + another dimension connecting to the first three which is the time (cf. Einstein). If you are learned enough to refer to Aquinus you should avoid such simple designation of parallel dimensions.
That's what you said. Gods manifest only in the mind, and if you think you really see them, its a hallucination. This is an incorrect rendition of Howard's gods who, when they appear, appear in a way that can be seen, or leaves evidence that can be seen, by anybody, and are not in the mind of any single observer. Occasionally they MAY appear this way, but not routinely. In fact, I can't think of any divine appearence in Howard's tales that didn't leave some sort of evidence of reality.
Concerning my view on myth and the power of dream and subconscience I consider that the mythic worlds/spheres can be reached through dreaming (be it in sleep or through hallucinogens) as it is the case with Lovecraft. I don't talk of common dream but of these special dreams, to which premonotion belongs.

To direct one's dream is very difficult ans this is the reason why many civilizations used hallucinogens to reach the mythic/spirit world because the "dreamers" are entranced but still can direct their mind (through a hard and complex teaching). Sometimes other beings reach the mortal world through this field; Cthulhu is the best known, but there are also those cases of spirit possessions (if you believe in this).

The conscious mind of the mortal being has no knowledge of what's happening but the events are very real with real effects and consequences.

Now why the subconcicence appears to us only as dreaming, it is very simple: our conscience is limited by an unmaterial frame and the other spheres are unfathomable because of this. The only way to reach these other spheres of existence and possibly remember it is through dreaming because: though dreaming still suggest an unmaterial frame wich act as a finite limit you can do many things in a dream which go far beyond our world (some examples: you can fly with your body or your consciousness, survive mighty blows, and practically operate as a superhuman being. Granted these are dreams but you do experience them). And this is why dreaming is the best way to fathom these other (mythic) spheres as it provides the connection between other (non-euclidian) dimensions and the dimensions as we know them.

Now before you tell me again that I am off topic, you should probably remember the dreams of Conan in the "Phoenix on the sword" and in the "Hour of the dragon" and this are exactly these special dreams I am talking about. And for me the events with Atali and the giants also occured in this sphere of existence. The silken garment of course if matter of reflexion but I'd say this is a interconnection between the spirit and our material world.

I also advise you to re-read "the mirrors of Tuzun Thune" where there is a very good depiction of Kull reaching a subscontious state of mind as well as the Kull story which feature Thulsa Doom (who tells of "other spheres of existence").

In the end, the dreamlands Vincent Darlage told about (quoting Howard) belongs to such other spheres of existence and they are thus also very real. Though Howard dosn't describe them, he stills named three of them. From the point of view of the concerned people would you then name something that you know deliberately that it doesn't exist?
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Postby kintire » Fri Apr 13, 2007 3:40 pm

In the world as we know it there are only 3 dimensions which are used commonly in many fields as well as in painting (Salvatore Dali defined it very well) + another dimension connecting to the first three which is the time (cf. Einstein). If you are learned enough to refer to Aquinus you should avoid such simple designation of parallel dimensions.
The term "dimension" meaning "universe" as widely used in both fantasy and sci fi, especially in the commonly used and widely understood term "parallel dimension" is not the same as the term "dimension" meaning height/width/depth/time. I saw, and see, no reason to be any more obscure than necessary.
Sometimes other beings reach the mortal world through this field; Cthulhu is the best known, but there are also those cases of spirit possessions (if you believe in this).
I am disturbed by the way you treat reality and Lovecraft as interchangeable... a matter of condensing your point perhaps (I hope). I'll point out again, however, that Cthulhu does not reach the mortal world through dreams he exists in it in a real, physical, sailor eating, ship colliding way. He communicates via telepathy, especially dreams, because he is sealed in his vault in R'lyeh, which is a physical place located on this Earth (at S. Latitude 47°9', W. Longitude 123°43' in fact).
Now before you tell me again that I am off topic, you should probably remember the dreams of Conan in the "Phoenix on the sword" and in the "Hour of the dragon" and this are exactly these special dreams I am talking about. And for me the events with Atali and the giants also occured in this sphere of existence. The silken garment of course if matter of reflexion but I'd say this is a interconnection between the spirit and our material world.
You are indeed off topic, although not quite as randomly as the first time. Whatever your penchant for gnostic philosophy, there is no trace of it in Howard. The dream in Hour of the Dragon was a side effect of the spells being directed against him, and the dream in phoenix on the sword was a trip to a real place which resulted in a real Phoenix symbol being drawn on a real sword. The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune were also a spell, and the degree to which the visions were real is open to doubt. However, as I clarified to Vincent earlier, I have never denied that characters do see visions that are not real or exist only in their mind. What I am denying is your idea that the gods exist only in the mental sphere and don't directly interact with the real world: they do.
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Postby Kyorou » Fri Apr 13, 2007 4:15 pm

My 3$50 : in a Conan story (the one with the iron statues - Shadows in the Moonlight), it is said that gods used to breed with mortal. There is also the girl's dream featuring an anthropomorphic god...
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Postby Axerules » Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:58 pm

Krushnak wrote: the norse and greek gods can die, doesnt make them any less godly. it actually makes them more accessable to humans and seem more real.
kintire wrote:Howard's view of gods seems to be derived more from the Illiad than the sort of obscure Gnostic mysticism you seem to be putting forward
IMHO, this is close to REH's cosmology. In Kings of the Night (a Bran Mak Morn story, where Kull is summoned by Gonar to fight the Romans), Cormac the Gael and his warriors had this thoughts about King Kull:
REH wrote:The black-haired king was Neid himself, the Celtic war-god; he was an antediluvian king brought out of the past by Gonar; he was a mythical fighting man out of Valhalla. He was no man at all but a ghost ! No, he was mortal, for he had bled. But the god themselves bled, though they did not die.
It's not a Conan story, but REH is IMO a better source than HPL to discuss about the Hyborian Age cosmology. I know they wrote letters to each other and to Clark Ashton Smith, and I'm not really knowledgeable in HPL writings (I know a little bit more about CAS), but I think the references they inserted in their stories were not carbon-copies of each ones work.
kintire wrote:and the dream in phoenix on the sword was a trip to a real place which resulted in a real Phoenix symbol being drawn on a real sword.
And Conan learned the deepest mistery of the Mitran faith, a secret only known by a few selected priests.
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Postby The King » Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:58 am

Krushnak wrote:the norse and greek gods can die, doesnt make them any less godly. it actually makes them more accessable to humans and seem more real.
I hadn't seen this one but the quote of Axerules is very helpful in that I can answer there: Norse gods only die in a specific moment and are only killed by other gods or godly beings; they are otherwise immortal.

I never read anywhere that Greek gods could die, though many heroes did.

As to kintire's quote:
Howard's view of gods seems to be derived more from the Illiad than the sort of obscure Gnostic mysticism you seem to be putting forward
Greek gods, when meddling with human affairs, usually take on another form which makes them unidentifiable. They curse at will and are immortal and are very present especially because of their love affairs (with mortals) or to compete between them through mortal beings (because it seems there is a non-written agreement that they never fight each other directly). They are the same family after all.

The aspects of both Norse and Greek gods are thus not very much like what appears in the Hyborian Age (as Conan never encountered Ymir or any other gods - and I still say that what he killed weren't any gods but powerful beings (i.e. demons).
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Postby The King » Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:59 am

Kyorou wrote:.. in a Conan story (the one with the iron statues - Shadows in the Moonlight), it is said that gods used to breed with mortal...
Again, it is not because common folk says that a powerful being is a god that it truly is.
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Postby Nyarlathotep » Mon Apr 16, 2007 1:09 pm

Axerules wrote:And Conan learned the deepest mistery of the Mitran faith, a secret only known by a few selected priests.
And that would be...? My memory fails me :wink:
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Postby kintire » Mon Apr 16, 2007 1:32 pm

Greek gods, when meddling with human affairs, usually take on another form which makes them unidentifiable.
But not always. And even when they do, they are sometimes identified (usually through another god blowing their cover, or because they lose their temper)
to compete between them through mortal beings (because it seems there is a non-written agreement that they never fight each other directly).
Oh really?
Now the son of Tydeus was in pursuit of the Cyprian goddess, spear in hand, for he knew her to be feeble and not one of those goddesses that can lord it among men in battle like Minerva or Enyo the waster of cities, and when at last after a long chase he caught her up, he flew at her and thrust his spear into the flesh of her delicate hand. The point tore through the ambrosial robe which the Graces had woven for her, and pierced the skin between her wrist and the palm of her hand, so that the immortal blood, or ichor, that flows in the veins of the blessed gods, came pouring from the wound; for the gods do not eat bread nor drink wine, hence they have no blood such as ours, and are immortal. Venus screamed aloud, and let her son fall, but Phoebus Apollo caught him in his arms, and hid him in a cloud of darkness, lest some Danaan should drive a spear into his breast and kill him; and Diomed shouted out as he left her, "Daughter of Jove, leave war and battle alone, can you not be contented with beguiling silly women? If you meddle with fighting you will get what will make you shudder at the very name of war."
Diomedes, a mortal hero, fights with Aphrodite (Venus) and defeats her, sending her fleeing back to Olympus.
But Hector marked them from across the ranks, and with a loud cry rushed towards them, followed by the strong battalions of the Trojans. Mars and dread Enyo led them on, she fraught with ruthless turmoil of battle, while Mars wielded a monstrous spear, and went about, now in front of Hector and now behind him.

Diomed shook with passion as he saw them. As a man crossing a wide plain is dismayed to find himself on the brink of some great river rolling swiftly to the sea- he sees its boiling waters and starts back in fear- even so did the son of Tydeus give ground. Then he said to his men, "My friends, how can we wonder that Hector wields the spear so well? Some god is ever by his side to protect him, and now Mars is with him in the likeness of mortal man. Keep your faces therefore towards the Trojans, but give ground backwards, for we dare not fight with gods."
But he's not so happy to fight her boyfriend.
Who, then, was first and who last to be slain by Mars and Hector? They were valiant Teuthras, and Orestes the renowned charioteer, Trechus the Aetolian warrior, Oenomaus, Helenus the son of Oenops, and Oresbius of the gleaming girdle, who was possessed of great wealth, and dwelt by the Cephisian lake with the other Boeotians who lived near him, owners of a fertile country.
Yea, mess not with the God of War, or he will kick your tail. In a very real, physical, insides in a pile at your feet kind've way.
Pallas Minerva took the whip and reins, and drove straight at Mars. He was in the act of stripping huge Periphas, son of Ochesius and bravest of the Aetolians. Bloody Mars was stripping him of his armour, and Minerva donned the helmet of Hades, that he might not see her; when, therefore, he saw Diomed, he made straight for him and let Periphas lie where he had fallen. As soon as they were at close quarters he let fly with his bronze spear over the reins and yoke, thinking to take Diomed's life, but Minerva caught the spear in her hand and made it fly harmlessly over the chariot. Diomed then threw, and Pallas Minerva drove the spear into the pit of Mars's stomach where his under-girdle went round him. There Diomed wounded him, tearing his fair flesh and then drawing his spear out again. Mars roared as loudly as nine or ten thousand men in the thick of a fight, and the Achaeans and Trojans were struck with panic, so terrible was the cry he raised.
Unless you are the Goddess of War, in which case you kick HIS tail.
They were not long about beginning, and Mars piercer of shields opened the battle. Sword in hand he sprang at once upon Minerva and reviled her. "Why, vixen," said he, "have you again set the gods by the ears in the pride and haughtiness of your heart? Have you forgotten how you set Diomed son of Tydeus on to wound me, and yourself took visible spear and drove it into me to the hurt of my fair body? You shall now suffer for what you then did to me."

As he spoke he struck her on the terrible tasselled aegis- so terrible that not even can Jove's lightning pierce it. Here did murderous Mars strike her with his great spear
He won't be very happy about it,
She drew back and with her strong hand seized a stone that was lying on the plain- great and rugged and black- which men of old had set for the boundary of a field. With this she struck Mars on the neck, and brought him down. Nine roods did he cover in his fall, and his hair was all soiled in the dust, while his armour rang rattling round him. But Minerva laughed and vaunted over him saying, "Idiot, have you not learned how far stronger I am than you, but you must still match yourself against me?


but hey, you can just kick his tail again.
When Queen Juno saw her, she said to Minerva, "Look, daughter of aegis-bearing Jove, unweariable, that vixen Venus is again taking Mars through the crowd out of the battle; go after her at once."

Thus she spoke. Minerva sped after Venus with a will, and made at her, striking her on the bosom with her strong hand so that she fell fainting to the ground, and there they both lay stretched at full length. Then Minerva vaunted over her saying, "May all who help the Trojans against the Argives prove just as redoubtable and stalwart as Venus did when she came across me while she was helping Mars. Had this been so, we should long since have ended the war by sacking the strong city of Ilius."
And his girlfriend.

But wait... Why is Athena/Minerva getting all the fun? Is she Queen of the Gods? No. And neither is Diana. Lets remind the huntress who is number one chariot around here, shall we?
Jove's august queen was angry and upbraided her bitterly. "Bold vixen," she cried, "how dare you cross me thus? For all your bow you will find it hard to hold your own against me. Jove made you as a lion among women, and lets you kill them whenever you choose. You will find it better to chase wild beasts and deer upon the mountains than to fight those who are stronger than you are. If you would try war, do so, and find out by pitting yourself against me, how far stronger I am than you are."

She caught both Diana's wrists with her left hand as she spoke, and with her right she took the bow from her shoulders, and laughed as she beat her with it about the ears while Diana wriggled and writhed under her blows. Her swift arrows were shed upon the ground, and she fled weeping from under Juno's hand as a dove that flies before a falcon to the cleft of some hollow rock, when it is her good fortune to escape. Even so did she fly weeping away, leaving her bow and arrows behind her.
Unwritten rule about not fighting each other? Worth the paper it's printed on I reckon.
Again, it is not because common folk says that a powerful being is a god that it truly is.
And again, no one said it was. It's because Howard said it was a god. His world, his rules.
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Postby Kyorou » Mon Apr 16, 2007 1:33 pm

The King wrote:Again, it is not because common folk says that a powerful being is a god that it truly is.
Well, the definition of a word evolves according to the way this word is used. If it is common practice to use the word "god" when refering to X, then X is the definition of the word "god".
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Postby The King » Mon Apr 16, 2007 4:32 pm

Kyorou wrote:
The King wrote:Again, it is not because common folk says that a powerful being is a god that it truly is.
Well, the definition of a word evolves according to the way this word is used. If it is common practice to use the word "god" when refering to X, then X is the definition of the word "god".
So you can can make an ape (or a parrot) speak and make him say you're a god, do you think you'll be one?
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Postby The King » Mon Apr 16, 2007 4:40 pm

Kintire, I don't know if you quote from the Illiad but this seems quite a novelized version which doesn't belong to the common myths.

Practically all the names there were used by the Romans. Mars's Greek name is Ares and Minerva's is Athena Nike (she borrowed the shoes from Atlanta :roll: ).

I could write my own version of the Illiad tomorrow if I wished but as usual let's have Zeus and Poseidon have the last word.
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Postby Kyorou » Mon Apr 16, 2007 5:33 pm

The King wrote:
Kyorou wrote:
The King wrote:Again, it is not because common folk says that a powerful being is a god that it truly is.
Well, the definition of a word evolves according to the way this word is used. If it is common practice to use the word "god" when refering to X, then X is the definition of the word "god".
So you can can make an ape (or a parrot) speak and make him say you're a god, do you think you'll be one?
You sure despise the common man, don't you ?

What I meant is : in the Hyborian age, the commonly accepted definition of a god is X. Thus the Hyborian definition of a god (a being of great power, precise nature unknown which can take physical form but therefore can be killed) is X.

If YOU don't agree with that definition, well, that's too bad for you.
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Postby kintire » Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:39 pm

Kintire, I don't know if you quote from the Illiad but this seems quite a novelized version which doesn't belong to the common myths.

Practically all the names there were used by the Romans. Mars's Greek name is Ares and Minerva's is Athena Nike (she borrowed the shoes from Atlanta ).
Ahh, yes, same as your Cthulhu blunder. "its not my fault, the sources are wrong!"

That is indeed Homer's Iliad, and a direct translation, not a "novelised version". If you won't take Homer as an authority for Greek myth there is no hope for you!

Yes, the translation, which is an old one, uses the latin names for the gods as these were more recognisable to its audience. BGut even in pointing that out you err: Minerva's greek name was not "Athena Nike" but "Athena". She had many epithets of which "Athena Nike" (of victory) is only one. Others include Athena Polias (of the city, ie patron of Athens), Athena Promacheos (warrior), Athena Parthenos (virgin: her aspect as a warleader).
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Postby The King » Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:53 pm

Kyorou wrote:You sure despise the common man, don't you ?
Why should I? Because it would suit you and you would then represent the banner of all the common men? Was Staline one of your gods because he came from another plane of existence and was woshipped by so many?
What I meant is : in the Hyborian age, the commonly accepted definition of a god is X. Thus the Hyborian definition of a god (a being of great power, precise nature unknown which can take physical form but therefore can be killed) is X.
I like the way you're doing mathematics, but I think that with such a theory and development where the logic has no existence, you could have projected to land on the moon in 1968 and wouldn't still be able to reach it in this year. Ask your league of common guys to help you (hint hint: look at the sky, push with much strength and look at your back, you'll have something to begin with).

Almost every creature is a god then: the winged thing because it is worshiped by men who he himself transformed into hyenas or even a communuty of gods feared by the common folk (servants of Bit-Yakin). But the definition of a god doesn't begin because some worship or fear him/her, even by Howard's standards.
If YOU don't agree with that definition, well, that's too bad for you

You would appreciate that I feel your "godly" argumentation persuasive, don't you? Don't you think your argumentation is a bit authoritarian (i.e. "it is that way because I decide Howard wanted to say that and if you don't agree, you are contumacious" as would surely appreciate Sgt Zim. I suggest in the meantime, take your plastic spade and bucket and keep your beach).

But I just think that many posters there takes the apparent simplistic view and approach of Howard's text for granted and it seems they just can't think beyond the lines. I wouldn't say these are common people but I hope they don't represent them.
Though they express what they want none of their argument convinced me.
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Postby Krushnak » Mon Apr 16, 2007 7:16 pm

But I just think that many posters there takes the apparent simplistic view and approach of Howard's text for granted and it seems they just can't think beyond the lines
king, if Howard says it's a god then it is a god for all intents and purposes in Hyboria whether you agree with Howard's use of the word god to describe those creatures or not. i think you are actually reading WAY too much into these stories.
I like the way you're doing mathematics, but I think that with such a theory and development where the logic has no existence, you could have projected to land on the moon in 1968 and wouldn't still be able to reach it in this year.
that makes no sense at all. seriously is english not a first language for you or are you just mad?
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Postby The King » Mon Apr 16, 2007 7:35 pm

Krushnak wrote:that makes no sense at all. seriously is english not a first language for you or are you just mad?
You see, you can't even read your own language; so why would you tell me you understand what Howard is writing. Troubleshooting help: try and read your book in the other sense.
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Postby The King » Mon Apr 16, 2007 7:56 pm

kintire wrote:That is indeed Homer's Iliad, and a direct translation, not a "novelised version". If you won't take Homer as an authority for Greek myth there is no hope for you!
A direct translation into English from a book written in latin? You probably know that the Greeks had their own language (or better their own languages) before they were conquered by the Romans? And if I translated the holy bible from English into Hebrew will it also be a direct translation?

As with Aquinus you just throw some "known" names but you should know that wikipedia isn't the only source of direct information.
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