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View Full Version : Gunslingers - discussion of their roles, social positions and functions



Matt
05-11-2007, 07:28 AM
We know a little about what they did, but this is speculation on how their jobs were part of keeping the white on top in All World.

MonteGss
05-24-2007, 07:23 PM
I've wondered how to reply to this thread/speculation since the day I joined this site. Honestly, I still don't know how to start. The thread raised some questions:
-Hadn't the world already moved on by the time Gunslingers were "born"? At least according to Issue #3 of the comic. Arthur Eld established the newly christened knights/gunslingers after their battle with the snake and Mid-World had already been long-suffering and moved on.

I guess I think their entire purpose, along with protecting the Tower, was to do whatever necessary to try to keep the White ruling. Serving as world ambassadors, PIs, bounty hunters and "the law" all worked towards this goal.

Any more thoughts? Clarifications? Ideas?

Cam-a-cam-mal. :)

MonteGss
06-27-2007, 09:50 AM
Hmmm, any other ideas? Tell me friends, I beg.
:)

Chassit
06-27-2007, 10:28 AM
I recall their duties as being similar to that of knights, even to the point that they were given lands and titles (albeit meaningless titles by the time of Steven Deschain). It seems they were to protect not just the Tower and the White, but also civilization and light (I beleive that is almost a direct quote, but I read a lot and sometimes mix things up so if I am wrong please correct).

XIX

Letti
06-27-2007, 12:05 PM
I imagine that they always existed (or for a damn long time before the world had moved on, too long long time before that) and there were times when they weren't called "gunslingers" but they did the same work.

MonteGss
06-27-2007, 12:22 PM
I imagine that they always existed (or for a damn long time before the world had moved on, too long long time before that) and there were times when they weren't called "gunslingers" but they did the same work.

Any guess as to what they were called before? :)
Maybe, Jedi?

Matt
06-27-2007, 12:36 PM
I believe it was the way their society was set up. But I must admit, I started this thread before I realized we would have so much back story in the comics :lol:

Letti
06-27-2007, 01:00 PM
I imagine that they always existed (or for a damn long time before the world had moved on, too long long time before that) and there were times when they weren't called "gunslingers" but they did the same work.

Any guess as to what they were called before? :)
Maybe, Jedi?

Nooooooooo!
No way!!! :P

Mordred Deschain
07-02-2007, 04:35 PM
see I thought in all of Rolands stories and such, Arthur Eld came after whatever disaster caused the worlds to start to move on. I thought I read an explanation that there were NO guns, because everyone thought it would be the start of what the Old Ones did. However, to the question...

I think it's how Roland explained it. Gunslingers were the authoritay figures. Peace keepers, Diplomats, judge jury executioners, etc....
However, how many where there? Seems all of Rolands plans deal with being out numbered. Also, there was a Gilead "army", I believe, and it's members weren't gunslingers. If I got that right.

ManOfWesternesse
07-05-2007, 05:24 AM
see I thought in all of Rolands stories and such, Arthur Eld came after whatever disaster caused the worlds to start to move on. I thought I read an explanation that there were NO guns, because everyone thought it would be the start of what the Old Ones did. However, to the question...

I think it's how Roland explained it. Gunslingers were the authoritay figures. Peace keepers, Diplomats, judge jury executioners, etc....
However, how many where there? Seems all of Rolands plans deal with being out numbered. Also, there was a Gilead "army", I believe, and it's members weren't gunslingers. If I got that right.

I never got the idea that Arthur Eld came AFTER the world started to move on - had always assumed Gunslingers were there already.
?

Gunslingers were the 'nobility' of their time and place. Yes, there was indeed an 'Army' (we see good reference to this in the Jerico Hill battle). This Army was led by the Gunslingers. How many Gunslingers were there. We are never told, but my thoughts were always in the hundreds only ( 2-300 min , 5-600 max) - purely personal guesstimate (but I like to have a field of reference when I'm reading) :)

Matt
07-05-2007, 06:26 AM
I have always felt the same. Like they were a guild of some sort kind of like the templars. <---probably spelled wrong.

Mostly they rode into battle and people ran

VolsToTheWall
07-05-2007, 06:36 PM
How many Gunslingers were there. We are never told, but my thoughts were always in the hundreds only ( 2-300 min , 5-600 max) - purely personal guesstimate (but I like to have a field of reference when I'm reading) :)

I always had my own personal "guesstimate" (nice word ;)) somewhere in that range as well.

Mordred Deschain
07-07-2007, 08:15 PM
see I thought in all of Rolands stories and such, Arthur Eld came after whatever disaster caused the worlds to start to move on. I thought I read an explanation that there were NO guns, because everyone thought it would be the start of what the Old Ones did. However, to the question...

I think it's how Roland explained it. Gunslingers were the authoritay figures. Peace keepers, Diplomats, judge jury executioners, etc....
However, how many where there? Seems all of Rolands plans deal with being out numbered. Also, there was a Gilead "army", I believe, and it's members weren't gunslingers. If I got that right.

I never got the idea that Arthur Eld came AFTER the world started to move on - had always assumed Gunslingers were there already.
?


Gunslingers were the 'nobility' of their time and place. Yes, there was indeed an 'Army' (we see good reference to this in the Jerico Hill battle). This Army was led by the Gunslingers. How many Gunslingers were there. We are never told, but my thoughts were always in the hundreds only ( 2-300 min , 5-600 max) - purely personal guesstimate (but I like to have a field of reference when I'm reading) :)

the story I get is the one that was written towards the end of the comic issue #1 or #2 (or 3). Tells how Arthur Eld and his knights only had swords (and probably bow and ba) and any weapons that were found that were left by the Old Ones had high levels of radiation so it was a given that guns are a bad omen. Then Arthur Eld has guns and the story (or whispers on the grape vine) is that Arthur Eld discovered the secrets of the Old Ones. And many did not like this because of what the disaster that the Old Ones brought down. And yada yada....excalibur gets melted down and Arthur gives his knights guns made from the steal of excalibur, and so the gunslingers are born. Plus Roland mentions several times about the cattle and other life are producing less and less mutants. And that no one knows what the old ones did to create such a disaster. But I could be wrong, but I don't see King allowing such liberties with a story that took so much to finish.

Letti
08-15-2007, 08:02 AM
Gunslinger - a well-known word.
But what do YOU my pals mean by this beautiful and deep word?

Wuducynn
08-15-2007, 08:09 AM
Well for me there is the gunslingers in the Dark Tower series and then there are folk who sling guns. I've shot plenty of guns in my life so by that definition I would be a gunslinger. Now the gunslingers in the Dark Tower series are what Matt posted about Knights of the White and Guardians of the Dark Tower etc.

Letti
08-15-2007, 08:11 AM
And can someone without a gun be a gunslinger by your definition?

Wuducynn
08-15-2007, 08:14 AM
In the Dark Tower series I suppose its possible. I mean if one of the gunslingers didn't happen to have a gun on them they're still gunslingers. Now someone in real life? No. Unless you're speaking metaphorically, which it sounds like you might be.

Letti
08-15-2007, 08:17 AM
May I pop the question again?
What's a good gunslinger like for YOU, Matthew?

Wuducynn
08-15-2007, 08:20 AM
A dead one, Letti.

Letti
08-15-2007, 08:21 AM
A dead one, Letti.

:scared:

MonteGss
08-15-2007, 08:46 AM
A dead one, Letti.

:rofl:

I saw this coming a mile away! :)

Daghain
08-15-2007, 08:57 AM
Yep, me too. :lol:

Letti
08-15-2007, 09:03 AM
:P

Jean
08-15-2007, 09:30 AM
(this is an abridged version of my earlier speculations; my apologies to those who've read them before)

Gunslingers were an elite caste, which:

1. Didn’t have any laws above it but those it created itself
Most recently we’ve seen it in both the Communist and the Fascist rule; in both regimes, the party at power lived by its own laws, created ad hoc. (The fact that in Roland’s world there seem to be hardly any written laws at all only aggravates the situation.)

2. Didn’t face any real force to counterbalance it
It was somehow alleviated, in both Communist and Fascist case, by the existence of public opinion outside those countries and some rudiments of opposition (church, to name just one) inside them. But all ideology and moral in gunslinger’s world are created and kept by gunslingers themselves.

3. Was considered definitely superior to all other people
being a member of the Communist Party or NSDAP respectively immediately made a person superior to other citizens; I beg to notice that in neither case the caste in question went as far as to provide its members with special training from the cradle, thus making them really (as opposed to officially) superior. This, however, was the case in Roland’s world.

Nowhere in history can I find examples of an elite keeping to any noble principles for any historically long time. In the long run, the elite starts pursuing their own interests, which deviate from those of society further and further. Whenever there’s enough political force and will to check this process, the elite is destroyed (janissaries in the Ottoman Empire, samourai in Japan, military elite in 18th century Russia).
When there isn’t… I’m beginning to wonder if the rebellion led by Farson and used by evil forces didn’t have deep social roots.

Letti
08-15-2007, 09:38 AM
Is the title of this thread all right, what do you think?
Jean you can change it if you wish when I opened it and I couldn't find a better one or any other ones in my mind.

Daghain
08-15-2007, 09:40 AM
When there isn’t… I’m beginning to wonder if the rebellion led by Farson and used by evil forces didn’t have deep social roots

I believe that was eluded to, possibly in W&G. I recall something about it being more democratic or something along those lines.

Jean
08-15-2007, 09:43 AM
When there isn’t… I’m beginning to wonder if the rebellion led by Farson and used by evil forces didn’t have deep social roots

I believe that was eluded to, possibly in W&G. I recall something about it being more democratic or something along those lines.
I think this question needs discussing, too. Whatever gunslinger's ruling was, it was very far from a democracy; and, though it could be put down to the condition the world was in, no people can bear living under martial law indefinitely.

Nikolett: there's nothing wrong with the title, it's clear and to the point.

Letti
08-15-2007, 09:46 AM
Democracy doesn't really exist at all... I mean... nevermind. :D It's bigger than me.

Jean
08-15-2007, 09:48 AM
Democracy doesn't really exist at all... I mean... nevermind. :D It's bigger than me.
I tend to agree with this statement. There's, however, some asymptotic approach thereto; while gunslinger's rule was a dictatorship based on the ideology of a myth (sorry, but I can't help being reminded of Fascism. Again.)

Letti
08-15-2007, 09:52 AM
Democracy doesn't really exist at all... I mean... nevermind. :D It's bigger than me.
I tend to agree with this statement.
Are you kidding me? We... agree... is it true? :wub:

Jean
08-15-2007, 09:56 AM
yes love, wonders never cease! http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k291/mishemplushem/Facilitation/0134-bear.gifhttp://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k291/mishemplushem/Facilitation/0134-bear.gifhttp://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k291/mishemplushem/Facilitation/0134-bear.gif

Letti
08-15-2007, 09:59 AM
yes love, wonders never cease! http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k291/mishemplushem/Facilitation/0134-bear.gifhttp://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k291/mishemplushem/Facilitation/0134-bear.gifhttp://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k291/mishemplushem/Facilitation/0134-bear.gif

And if we agree... we agree about very important and big things. Have you noticed it?

( - sorry / back to the topic - )

Darkthoughts
08-16-2007, 05:39 AM
I'm going to have to dig up some quotes here, but I didn't get the impression that the Gunslingers were working under their own orders. They were part of a heirarchy, but certainly not on the throne.

Also, your point about there being nothing to counterbalance their force...? Emissaries of the Crimson King don't count?

I know we disagreed on this point in the other thread, but I do think you've let Roland colour your perception of gunslingers in general. Then again, you've lived in a very different regime in your real life, than I have...or even Sai King for that matter. Perhaps you do see implications of darker things because of personal experience.

ps: I think you enjoy debate as much as I do - but in the past (not here, other forums) people have taken comments I make in debate personally, which is never my intention. I'm enjoying this discussion with you (as I do all discussions with you) so even if I vehemently disagree (as is my wont ;) ) I hope you don't take offense or take me out of context :huglove:

Jean
08-16-2007, 06:15 AM
Darkthoughts: the temperature (about 90F for about two weeks now) and my dental you-know-what are jointly killing me, so I postpone a detailed answer and will address only to the last paragraph of your post:


ps: I think you enjoy debate as much as I do - but in the past (not here, other forums) people have taken comments I make in debate personally, which is never my intention. I'm enjoying this discussion with you (as I do all discussions with you) so even if I vehemently disagree (as is my wont ) I hope you don't take offense or take me out of context
My problem exactly, usually aggravated by the fact that I am not a native speaker, thus very often misinterpreted. I, too, tend to defend my point of view, and to not let go of my opinion unless faced with really strong arguments, which sometimes earns me a reputation of being pugnacious. I think everyone should very clearly understand that discussion is discussion, and, provided we all stay civil and logical, we all can argue as vehemently - or as placidly - as it suits our temperaments. I wish nobody would ever confuse criticising someone's opinion/position, however harshly if it seems necessary, with personal attack on this same someone; why else are we here (I mean the discussion threads) if not for disagreement and argument - in which, even if we don't get people round to our point of view, we at least can articulate our own position and make it clearer for ourselves; test it with the opposite side's arguments; temper it like steel (as opposed to amorphous "agreement to disagree" - which, of course, has every right to exist, too, if it suits someone's temperament).

Matt
08-16-2007, 06:20 AM
I have been doing this a long time Jean and I have never heard that said better.

Thank you.

Darkthoughts
08-16-2007, 06:34 AM
Hear! Hear! Extremely well put!

Wuducynn
08-16-2007, 06:36 AM
I disagree and I'm terribly offended.

Darkthoughts
08-16-2007, 06:37 AM
But we try to offend you :P

Matt
08-16-2007, 06:52 AM
Yep, Matthew doesn't count.

But I sure loved those comics last night, I haven't even had a chance to read them, just drool over the covers. :rock:

Letti
08-16-2007, 06:52 AM
Our Jean has power over words, everyone knows it. Hands down.


Anyway... are gunslingers heroes in your eyes?

The_Nameless
11-19-2007, 01:41 PM
I always assumed that Arthur Eld and his gunslingers came after our time, with Eld being the legendary King Arthur being reborn. The once and future king.

I have yet to read the comics, so I am basing this on the book series only.

Wuducynn
11-19-2007, 03:36 PM
I always assumed that Arthur Eld and his gunslingers came after our time, with Eld being the legendary King Arthur being reborn. The once and future king.

I have yet to read the comics, so I am basing this on the book series only.


Just curious, where in the books did it lead you to think that Arthur Eld and his gunslingers came AFTER our time?

Wuducynn
11-19-2007, 03:39 PM
I've wondered how to reply to this thread/speculation since the day I joined this site. Honestly, I still don't know how to start. The thread raised some questions:
-Hadn't the world already moved on by the time Gunslingers were "born"? At least according to Issue #3 of the comic. Arthur Eld established the newly christened knights/gunslingers after their battle with the snake and Mid-World had already been long-suffering and moved on.

I guess I think their entire purpose, along with protecting the Tower, was to do whatever necessary to try to keep the White ruling. Serving as world ambassadors, PIs, bounty hunters and "the law" all worked towards this goal.

Any more thoughts? Clarifications? Ideas?

Cam-a-cam-mal. :)


:angry: :angry: :angry:

Matt
11-19-2007, 05:00 PM
I always assumed that Arthur Eld and his gunslingers came after our time, with Eld being the legendary King Arthur being reborn. The once and future king.

I have yet to read the comics, so I am basing this on the book series only.


Just curious, where in the books did it lead you to think that Arthur Eld and his gunslingers came AFTER our time?

Says Eld was Arthur reborn. :lol:

Meaning, the the whole thing basically redone is what I got from it.

We were the great old ones...in the future for us, very advanced technology. We destroyed it, Eld and his crew rose out of the ashes.

Wuducynn
11-19-2007, 06:16 PM
Says Eld was Arthur reborn. :lol:

Meaning, the the whole thing basically redone is what I got from it.

We were the great old ones...in the future for us, very advanced technology. We destroyed it, Eld and his crew rose out of the ashes.


Where does it say Arthur Eld was Arthur reborn? As far as I could tell, and I've read the entire series many times over, it elludes to the fact that Arthur Eld is the same person as Arthur in our world. Or a twinner. Also, it points to throughout the series that our world is not the same as Tower Keystone but its twinner, so we're not The Great Old Ones but have a potential of being like them, going down the same path etc.

Daghain
11-19-2007, 07:08 PM
Hmmm. I need to check the comics. I just read something about that not too long ago, and of course I can't remember it exactly. :lol:

Wuducynn
11-19-2007, 07:38 PM
I just re-read the part about Arthur Eld fairly recently and I don't remember anything about saying he was "Arthur reborn". Now in The Gunslinger it does say something along the lines of Arthur in this world and Arthur Eld in this making think they're twinners. Keystone Rose and Tower Keystone.

Daghain
11-19-2007, 07:44 PM
Well, I am in the middle of painting my office, which means all the junk that was in there is now strewn all over my livingroom. :lol:

I may find it in a few days. I honestly don't remember either way.

LadyHitchhiker
11-28-2007, 09:31 AM
Perhaps they are on the quest for the holy grail...

Spencer
11-28-2007, 05:16 PM
I always assumed that Arthur Eld and his gunslingers came after our time, with Eld being the legendary King Arthur being reborn. The once and future king.


I've always thought that as well. Several things that The Man in Black says in DTI (Revised Version) point to that.

matt g
07-23-2008, 10:08 AM
Hi- my first post...
Regarding the impression as for us being the great old ones... DT1 gives off the impression, what with abandoned technology that was ancient to Roland & the rest of mid-world, that we were the past, the great old ones. It's not inconcieveable to make this assumption with what we are given at that point. I had thought that the stories must take place in our far future until later books revealed the holes in the multi-verse, etc. I was a bit dissapointed with multiple worlds instead of far future at first, but i got over it as read DT related books and began connecting the dots.

Mark
07-23-2008, 11:01 AM
Any guess as to what they were called before? :)
Maybe, Jedi?

I always pictured them as Jedi-like figures myself.

BillyxRansom
12-06-2008, 09:11 AM
Is his ability to think so critically a matter of him simply being a gunslinger? Or does his age have to do with it, being that he's possibly thousands of years old? (I've not finished the series yet; I've read spoilers--I'm so bad! :pirate:)

Let's say there were other people who could live that long, but are not gunslingers. Would they have the same ability to be such a quick and intelligent thinker? Is that solely a gunslinger's trait, or does his age factor in, being that he's been around WELL long enough to experience everything (more than once--literally!).

jayson
12-06-2008, 10:16 AM
Can't it be both?

Certainly his critical thinking is partially a result of his Gunslinger training and his actions as a Gunslinger, but that does not discount his experience as a factor as well. It's not as if the day he earned his guns that a switch was flipped in his mind enabling strictly logical and critical thought all the time. It was something which was honed as he experienced the many things he experienced.

sarah
12-06-2008, 10:29 AM
also, you might have a different point of view about it after you finish the series. Where are you at in your reading now?

Letti
12-07-2008, 06:27 AM
He is a gunslinger (and what a gunslinger) because he is who he is and he is who he is because he is a gunslinger. I know it sounds quite stupid and fake-wise (it is) but Roland's peronsality and history are way too complex to give a short answer to your question so I had write that thing above.
Anyway I don't think you need to be an old gunslinger to be a such a quick and intelligent thinker but of course age can help.

If I were in your shoes I would read very quickly and I would avoid this place until I finish the series.
We try to make this place as safe as possible for everyone but it's not easy. Spoilers are everywhere.

Harrald
12-07-2008, 06:51 AM
I avoided any and every DT website and anything to do with the series until I finished the last page of the last book.

Letti is correct, you should finish the books before visiting any DT sites. Then you'll have more questions and a strong desire to re-read the series.


Good luck

BillyxRansom
12-07-2008, 08:00 AM
also, you might have a different point of view about it after you finish the series. Where are you at in your reading now?

Half way through Wolves. *blush*

Darkthoughts
12-28-2008, 08:56 AM
I've merged Matt's thread with Letti's "Gunslingers - who are they for you?" thread, to create a place for discussing all aspects of being a gunslinger.

Mordred Deschain
12-30-2008, 02:13 PM
Loves it when Lisa "merges" things together. :evil:

The Cosmic Geek
12-31-2008, 06:05 PM
I'm still new to the books, just finished Drawing of the Three today actually and start Wastelands Monday when back at work, but, I've kind of thought that the Gunslingers were sort of like the Jedi's in Star Wars in a way.

Is that kind of close?

Letti
01-07-2009, 01:52 AM
I'm still new to the books, just finished Drawing of the Three today actually and start Wastelands Monday when back at work, but, I've kind of thought that the Gunslingers were sort of like the Jedi's in Star Wars in a way.

Is that kind of close?

I can understand why you feel this way but I see them quite different. The way they live... their rules... their weapons... their studies...
Let's see what the others think. :)

Matt of Gilead
01-13-2009, 07:05 AM
I'm still new to the books, just finished Drawing of the Three today actually and start Wastelands Monday when back at work, but, I've kind of thought that the Gunslingers were sort of like the Jedi's in Star Wars in a way.

Is that kind of close?

That is actually very close to the way Roland describes them (and you'll see more of that in DT3, if you haven't already).

To address Letti's points:

By "the way they live," are you referring to their training, or to their behavior?

Their rules are to uphold justice. This is where they are most similar to Jedi.

Their weapons may be different, but the way they use them is similar. With the exception, of course, that gunslingers can attack, while Jedi are never supposed to initiate combat.

Their studies are both very broad and anecdotal, at least from what we see of either.

The biggest difference, though, is that while many gunslingers may have been Jedi, precious few Jedi were gunslingers. (Alain had jedi powers, and while it was noteworthy, it wasn't incredible. On the other hand, people didn't know what to make of Mara Jade).

obscurejude
01-13-2009, 08:35 AM
The Jedi were probably more familiar with "the touch" because they were forced to be celibate. :wtf:

jayson
01-13-2009, 08:53 AM
Does that explain the saber versus gun thing as well?

Jean
01-13-2009, 09:05 AM
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k291/mishemplushem/Facilitation/bear_shocked.gif

Darkthoughts
02-06-2009, 02:44 AM
Their rules are to uphold justice. This is where they are most similar to Jedi.

Their weapons may be different, but the way they use them is similar. With the exception, of course, that gunslingers can attack, while Jedi are never supposed to initiate combat.

Good point and one that we shouldn't lose sight of. By their very nature and the nature of their schooling, gunslingers are trained to be ruthless.

In Tull for instance, we discuss at length how inhumane Roland appears to kill the entire town, but if you consider the way in which the gunslingers are trained, it's no surprise. In the comic backstories we learn that potential gunslingers are taken from their families aged 6, to live in the gunslinger barracks with only Cort, Vannay and the other apprentices for company. Having your comfort and security taken from you at such a young age would seriously affect your ability to empathise and interact emotionally with other people.

In the Gunslinger Born #3, in telling of the deeds of Arthur Eld, we learn that after the Old People's final war, Arthur Eld travelled Mid-World
advancing the cause of safety through unity. Though an eloquent speaker, the most convincing of his arguments were made by his broad sword, called Excalibur, and the two fearsome weapons strapped to his hips.
This recalled to me scenes of Roland in the Calla. Where, as Roland frequently pointed out, all the rigmarole and courtesey would eventually boil down to a few hard minutes of bloodshed.

pathoftheturtle
03-18-2009, 10:48 AM
What is your take on the culture, values and customs in Gilead? How does it compare with societies of our world, and/or other fantasy worlds like that of The Stand?

I'm starting this thread in Town Commons because I'd like to see more activity in the forum, and because I believe that the nature of "Mid-World" (i.e. the clear reality of supernatural forces & the known threat of monsters) was quite important to the development of the society that Roland grew up in. It's fine if moderators prefer to move or merge it, but I do hope we'll have some productive discussion on this.

It's a pivotal subject, IMHO, for understanding what TDT means; what the series is really all about. What do you folken think?

lead dealer
03-18-2009, 07:56 PM
My humbel take on the culture of the gunslingers. It is much like the late dark ages in our worlds history. Large central goverment (the king here) and his trusted govonors. With the noble knights (the gunslinger class) to enforce and protect the laws of the land. Sort of how the U.S. Marshalls are today, they serve the Gov't not the state, or in Rolands case the Barony's.
This would be the next logical step once everyone had emerged from their post-appocoplictic "dark ages" hiding places. The begining of picking up the peices....

pathoftheturtle
03-24-2009, 10:49 AM
Hm. Yeah... but, unfortunately, even that didn't last. :(
Unlike The Stand, the Gilead of Wizard and Glass was many generations removed from its cataclysm. A far more powerful one, true, but it took a very long time to reach that beginning of federalism... which also collapsed.

Apparently, though, the gunslingers had existed for quite some time. Again, the ongoing pressures of that world may justify their harsh culture. I'm asking how people feel about such a Spartan ethos; it's something which I am continually mixed on, myself. :unsure:

Another way that this topic connects to the mythological aspect of TDT is the whole issue of the Tower/lynchpin for all of the varying timelines. Early on, we readers wondered about the social elements of our Earth that turned up in the books... the idea that Mid-World was literally the same "universe" as The Stand, further into the future, seemed fairly plausible. Now, it appears more likely that it's the mystic connection that is the real, main explaination: things like those recur between timelines because all of them share a common origin and guiding center.

And yet, it seems, nonetheless, that mankind never can get things right. :orely:

Darkthoughts
03-27-2009, 02:10 AM
We actually have an existing thread on this topic in Gilead, it's called "Gunslingers and their role in society". I'd like to merge them, but don't mind if they merge in this forum or Gilead - up to you :)

pathoftheturtle
04-02-2009, 08:52 AM
We actually have an existing thread on this topic in Gilead, it's called "Gunslingers and their role in society". I'd like to merge them, but don't mind if they merge in this forum or Gilead - up to you :)Who? Me? :o

Oh, well then, having just reviewed the thread, (and I cry your pardon for having missed it before I started a new one; it is indeed just the topic I was looking for) I say yes. Many of the loose ends are really most suited to Town Commons.

The only thing that still gives me pause is your great, last post and its clearly more general approach.
If we're going to talk mostly about the ethics of the gunslingers from a realistic perspective, it might go better in the other forum.
On balance, however, I'm for just tacking this to the end of that thread, and moving it all down here. What do you say? :D

..gunslinger's rule was a dictatorship based on the ideology of a myth (sorry, but I can't help being reminded of Fascism. Again.)Right on: Absolutely key. But the question that remains is: Is that mythology, in the case of the gunslingers, false?
Like, in the old children's movie Amazing Grace and Chuck, the scene where the president explains to the little boy that free speech is not absolute; that the constitution can't be construed to permit shouting "Fire!" in a crowed theater... and the boy asks, "But, sir, what if there is a fire?"

Stu and Glen had a conversation with points much like yours, Jean, in The Stand, just before Mother Abigail met Nadine for the first, time. :|





Says Eld was Arthur reborn. :lol:

Meaning, the the whole thing basically redone is what I got from it.

We were the great old ones...in the future for us, very advanced technology. We destroyed it, Eld and his crew rose out of the ashes.

Where does it say Arthur Eld was Arthur reborn? As far as I could tell, and I've read the entire series many times over, it elludes to the fact that Arthur Eld is the same person as Arthur in our world. Or a twinner. ...Ah, but, it could be that BOTH twinners are reborn. (In other words, even if we accept the comics' version as canon, do we know for sure that that Arthur Eld never had a previous lifetime, earlier in Mid-World's history?)

...Also, it points to throughout the series that our world is not the same as Tower Keystone but its twinner, so we're not The Great Old Ones but have a potential of being like them, going down the same path etc.So, then, there is no direct relationship between Tet Corp stopping Sombra/NCP and the Tower being saved? Maybe Eddie was just confused... :hmm:

Jean
04-02-2009, 09:39 PM
..gunslinger's rule was a dictatorship based on the ideology of a myth (sorry, but I can't help being reminded of Fascism. Again.)Right on: Absolutely key. But the question that remains is: Is that mythology, in the case of the gunslingers, false?
Like, in the old children's movie Amazing Grace and Chuck, the scene where the president explains to the little boy that free speech is not absolute; that the constitution can't be construed to permit shouting "Fire!" in a crowed theater... and the boy asks, "But, sir, what if there is a fire?"

Stu and Glen had a conversation with points much like yours, Jean, in The Stand, just before Mother Abigail met Nadine for the first, time. :|


I see your point. The thing is, I don't think it matters whether or not the mythology is true or false. It's like justifying the marauding with it being wartime: the line has to be drawn somewhere; in the cycle of wrongs-retribution-revenge someone has to break the vicious circle, and in the harshest of worlds there must be a system of beliefs that rises above mere survival. My problem with the gunslgers is that their whole ideology doesn't leave any place for anything higher than, or different to, their values.

(One can constantly keep the theater smoldering, to justify the existence of those who shout "Fire" - and the elite of firefighters who can do with the rest of the audience as they please.)

You can do anything with a bayonet except sit on it. (ascribed to Talleyrand and many others)

jayson
04-03-2009, 04:13 AM
Like, in the old children's movie Amazing Grace and Chuck, the scene where the president explains to the little boy that free speech is not absolute; that the constitution can't be construed to permit shouting "Fire!" in a crowed theater... and the boy asks, "But, sir, what if there is a fire?"

For me, the point is that even should there be an actual fire, simply yelling "fire" might not be the best way to get people out of the theatre. There are other ways to alert people and attempt a safe egress from the burning building that might avoid panic and trampling.

Jean
04-03-2009, 09:11 AM
which perfectly sums up what I was trying to say in my previous post http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k291/mishemplushem/Facilitation/0134-bear.gifhttp://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k291/mishemplushem/Facilitation/0134-bear.gifhttp://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k291/mishemplushem/Facilitation/0134-bear.gif

pathoftheturtle
04-03-2009, 10:02 AM
...simply yelling "fire" might not be the best way to get people out of the theatre. ...Yes, it might not be. What I'd like to do now is to move past the metaphor and consider whether there really IS a better way to run a society in Mid-World than the one they managed.

:arg: I'm afraid that I may not be making my point very well; I'll have to give it some more thought. I've been thinking about Desperation and the moral order of the universe in King's works. Given his powers-that-be, is it really possible for humans to overcome the ultimate tragedies?


...My problem with the gunslgers is that their whole ideology doesn't leave any place for anything higher than, or different to, their values.

...Well, that is certainly nothing to take lightly. As I said earlier, I'm definitely of two minds about their attitude. Definitely not trying to brush off your concerns here, my friend.

Another loose end from before:

Their rules are to uphold justice. This is where they are most similar to Jedi.

Their weapons may be different, but the way they use them is similar. With the exception, of course, that gunslingers can attack, while Jedi are never supposed to initiate combat.

Good point and one that we shouldn't lose sight of. ...Agreed. And yet, ironically, the whole point of the Star Wars saga, between discoveries of Luke's and of Qui-Gon Jinn's, appears to be about the shortcomings of dispassion in the Jedi philosophy. Obviously, the evil of the Sith also failed, in the long run. Still, in the SW universe, a whole new approach had to be developed.

jayson
04-03-2009, 11:49 AM
What I'd like to do now is to move past the metaphor and consider whether there really IS a better way to run a society in Mid-World than the one they managed.

Whether or not it would work somewhere like Gilead is rife for speculation, but democracy seemed to work out all right for the Calla folken so it's not out of the realm of possibility.

Darkthoughts
04-06-2009, 02:57 AM
Merged as discussed :couple:

pathoftheturtle
04-08-2009, 10:19 AM
What I'd like to do now is to move past the metaphor and consider whether there really IS a better way to run a society in Mid-World than the one they managed.

Whether or not it would work somewhere like Gilead is rife for speculation, but democracy seemed to work out all right for the Calla folken so it's not out of the realm of possibility.Except for the Wolves, that is.
That's just my point: we've got numerous examples from King of what it takes to overcome a supernatural crisis, (Desperation, It, Cycle of the Werewolf, etc.) and that seems (to me, at least) to be what the gunslinger's "ruthlessness" is all about. As for the claim that they extended martial law too far beyond that, I'm unsure. We really do have little to go on.
Mostly, what we know is Roland.
...I do think you've let Roland colour your perception of gunslingers in general. ...Interesting. One way of looking at the story is that Roland's experiences (or just bad choices) made him into a morally worse person than his forbearers. On the other hand, it could be that they were actually terrible role-models and Roland's choices made him relatively good.

If Steven Deschain had heard about the American model of government, (not democracy, so much, but republicanism: elected representatives) I think that he would have given some reasons why it wouldn't work for them. What I wonder about, though, is whether or not he would have, anyway, shared Roland's wistful admiration for it.

jayson
04-08-2009, 11:41 AM
Whether or not it would work somewhere like Gilead is rife for speculation, but democracy seemed to work out all right for the Calla folken so it's not out of the realm of possibility.Except for the Wolves, that is.

It seems to me democracy worked just fine for them in that situation as well. Tian called a meeting wherein the majority decided they needed to resist the Wolves (their method of resistance being an appeal to Roland's tet for aid and succor). Perhaps the one element of the Calla Bryn Sturgis form of democracy to which I'd object is that it seems to be open only to males. Perhaps after seeing how prominent a role the women of the Calla played in the resistance this will change in their future dealings.

Or perhaps I've just misinterpreted your statement. If that's the case, please clarify because I am enjoying this line of discussion. :)

Brice
04-08-2009, 11:46 AM
I think the old town meeting style of democracy is far superior to what we call democracy today (excluding the whole excluding women thing).

jayson
04-08-2009, 12:05 PM
I largely agree with that Brice (which I suspect comes as not much of a surprise to you). It seems to me that the interest of the populace is more accurately represented in small communities than a republican representative system of significantly larger swaths of population.

mia/susannah
04-08-2009, 04:18 PM
I agree with Brice and ROG.

obscurejude
04-08-2009, 08:06 PM
I largely agree with that Brice (which I suspect comes as not much of a surprise to you). It seems to me that the interest of the populace is more accurately represented in small communities than a republican representative system of significantly larger swaths of population.

Many expiraments in this type of government worked well at the beginning, but it becomes increasingly difficult as the population grows. I think both the Old and New Testaments deal with this in large part, but that would be a post the size of an essay.

I don't know, I suppose its something I'll wrestle with for much of my adult life (until I'm old and sipping vodka in a wicker chair).

In regards to the Dark Tower series, I think it is, in large part, King re-interpreting Childe Roland. Browning was using chronological contrast to comment on his own time (a common method in Victorian poetry). Its an overly romanticized view of the Middle Ages, to indict the the ideological fragmentation that permeates modernity.

pathoftheturtle
04-09-2009, 10:23 AM
...please clarify because I am enjoying this line of discussion. :)Thanks. Me too. :couple:


...the majority decided they needed to resist the Wolves (their method of resistance being an appeal to Roland's tet for aid and succor). ... An appeal to gunslingers. “Aid and succor” was a part of the culture of Gilead, not of the Callas. Credit where credit’s due, ya ken?

If we're making comparisons, I have to ask what would have happened if the tet hadn't been there. However, maybe there were some Calla-like baronies under the old Affiliation. There seemed to be some room for local independence in Mejis.

The point is that the gunslingers existed to fight evil.


...Its an overly romanticized view of the Middle Ages, to indict the ideological fragmentation that permeates modernity.:thumbsup: Precisely!

jayson
04-09-2009, 10:54 AM
An appeal to gunslingers. “Aid and succor” was a part of the culture of Gilead, not of the Callas. Credit where credit’s due, ya ken?

Not initially. Remember that it was Tian Jaffords that called the meeting and requested that the Calla resist the Wolves. It wasn't until Callahan informed them that there were Gunslingers nearby that the means of resistance became specified.



I have to ask what would have happened if the tet hadn't been there.

Had they not been there (or had Callahan not known of and told the Calla folken about their presence) the vote would very likely have gone against Tian. Perhaps he and some others would have waged some form of token resistance like Tian's grandfather did in his day, but they'd not have accomplished much and would likely have all been killed.

Still, it would have been an execution of democracy as the majority would have won out. Sometimes the majority is cowardly. Personally, I'd have rather stood and died than let the Wolves take my children but I suppose that's a different discussion altogether.

Jean
04-09-2009, 09:53 PM
On the other hand, it could be that they were actually terrible role-models and Roland's choices made him relatively good.
That's what I am inclined to think - going by how deeply he is impressed by anything that doesn't fit the model he has in his mind, and that which he used to be himself.

I don't know about democracy - anyway, I wasn't thinking in those terms. What I firmly believe is that the monopolarity of their society was deeply wrong, as it is always the case when all virtues belong to one group, and it is the group at power. Strength is their only kind of holiness, virtue, and truth. There's nothing to counterblance it. There's no system of values built on anything else but gunslinging; there's nobody to control those who try control everything - I am talking about popular perception now more than social institutes. Where would Socrates, Francis of Assisi or Mahatma Gandhi be in Gilead? Unknown at best, but normally, I'm afraid, outlawed and eradicated*. The power and the truth cannot reside with the same group if we want a society to be viable; if there's the power of the strong, there must be the truth of the weak.

*Which always made me think that was how Farson evolved. An idea is outlawed, and in clandestinity it naturally degenerates and is usurped by the worst of the worst. That's what brought about the end of Gilead - the unwillingness to accept difference in values and give it legal room inside society. (say hi to Communist regimes)

obscurejude
04-09-2009, 09:57 PM
Socrates would be martyred for sure in Gilead. Ghandi ignored. And St. Francis sent west.

Apt insights Jean. I'm going to think about their implications some more. :)

Darkthoughts
04-11-2009, 02:29 PM
I love to hear your point of view whenever it concerns Roland, Jean - you've lived such a different life to most of us here on the board that your input really opens my eyes, to the DT fanatsy and life in general :thumbsup:

jayson
04-11-2009, 03:54 PM
Yes, the bear's views on Roland always intrigue me as well.

pathoftheturtle
04-15-2009, 07:14 AM
"Go ahead, put all of your eggs in one basket... and then watch that basket!
-- Mark Twain:P

:lol: Ahem. In all seriousness, I think that
what brought about the end of Gilead - the unwillingness to accept difference in values and give it legal room inside society.is a very reasonable theory, in the main. I kind of doubt that it was as absolutely bad in Gilead as all that you've said, but it is quite likely that they weren't as politically advanced as they should have been.

However, I can also understand the vulnerability that might have conversely come from being too liberal. A society with no solid values would certainly have been doomed, as well.
Anyway, it was not only the Red that I was thinking of when I said that it does matter if the myth of an ideology is true. There's also the intrinsic validity of the ideal. In this world, we might agree that your opinion is worth no more than mine, but it'd be a different case if you actually were telepathic.

...Nowhere in history can I find examples of an elite keeping to any noble principles for any historically long time. In the long run, the elite starts pursuing their own interests, which deviate from those of society further and further. ...:( Yeah, and it is hard to imagine that it could be otherwise. Wouldn't that be fantastic?

Matt asked us, originally, to speculate on how gunslinging was part of keeping the White on top in All World. Now, I would be the first to agree that establishing whether that was what they were really about is fundamental to the very question, but I would like to inject a suggestion at this point that, in theory at least, their chief defense against corruption was the magic of ka-tet. Having diverse perspectives within their caste, (and bringing them together) was ostensibly vital to them.

Without The Dark Tower, I might never have had any appreciation for such a concept as the dinh, and all that goes with it. Even if that is really no more, on one level, than the same primitive, dictatorial crap, I'm glad to have the insight.
I don't know if I'll be able to fully communicate my whole point of view here in the long run, but I do hope that, if nothing else, that I have not created the impression that I myself would encourage or accept any variety of self-serving bullshit.
I think it's great to analyze fiction and to relate various elements to our own philosophies. That helps us to grow. Nonetheless, the life of a work remains its own gestalt. I think there's still much more about these novels than any of us has yet said. :D

pathoftheturtle
06-11-2009, 07:47 AM
When a gunslinger has a problem for which he cannot find any acceptable solution, he can seek help from his dinh. He is expected to open himself completely, and to follow the dinh's advice absolutely. This is really just patriarchal authoritarianism, but it is one of the most beautiful expressions of it that I've ever read. The formalism involved would make the dinh acutely aware of the weight of his responsibilities.
The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that TDT and The Stand include a lot of escapist fantasy for the disillusioned conservative.:orely:

cozener
06-12-2009, 11:13 AM
When a gunslinger has a problem for which he cannot find any acceptable solution, he can seek help from his dinh. He is expected to open himself completely, and to follow the dinh's advice absolutely. This is really just patriarchal authoritarianism, but it is one of the most beautiful expressions of it that I've ever read. The formalism involved would make the dinh acutely aware of the weight of his responsibilities.
The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that TDT and The Stand include a lot of escapist fantasy for the disillusioned conservative.:orely: I don't feel that one has to venture into fantasy to see this kind of relationship. You can see this kind of relationship anywhere where there is a hierarchy. If you have respect for your superiors its really quite natural to open yourself up completely and follow their advice to the letter. I have found myself in this situation a couple of times myself; once in the marines and once in the corporate world. I went to my 'dinh' with an open mind and heart seeking his guidance, got it, followed it. I do see the difference. I was not expected to follow the advice I was given. (although in the case of the military it was made pretty clear that if I didn't do what he was suggesting he'd think I was a pussy and in the marines thats pretty much a no choice situation but thats another story)

Gunslingers...are hard to classify. When it comes to their training, both physical and mental, I liken them to the samurai. When it comes to their duties I feel that they more resemble a European knight in that they are all at once warriors, policemen, diplomats, and judges.

Although I don't feel that their training makes them ruthless as much as it strengthens them emotionally. Being emotionally hardened does not necessarily mean that you lose touch with your emotions. It seems to me (and I think I've said something like this before) that people look at Roland and think of him as the typical gunslinger. I don't think he is. I daresay he isn't like most other gunslingers. He is, in some respects, the best of them. But in other ways he might have been one of the worst. I think gunslingers personalities can be as varied as any other group of folks and how ruthless they are is more a matter of personality and even with such long lasting and intense training as they go through some personality traits are impossible to change. Some people are just more compassionate than others. Some people are more affable than others. Some are more empathic than others. And some folks are just straight up fucking meaner than others. Typical gunslingers were guys like Cuthbert, Stephen, Alain. Roland, in a very real way, is something of a monster...but a necessary monster. I mean...only Godzilla could take down Megalon...if y'all get what I'm saying.

Roland could handle diplomatic duties following the standard operational procedure laid out in Cort's How to Be a Gunslinger, chapter 39, subsection 18 but he wouldn't come at it with half the creativity and charm that Cuthbert would. He would never be as empathetic of a judge as Alain would be nor would he ever be the strategist his father was. But if you want someone tracked, if you want a bunch of bad guys dead...if you want a Tower protected...sure, the other three might get the job done but we all know that Roland is your best bet.

pathoftheturtle
06-15-2009, 05:23 AM
Oh, yes; to be certain, there are plenty of conservatives who aren't disillusioned with it at all. Maybe someone should tell Sai King that the sixties are over.:P

I just don't see much real anti-totalitarian subtext in these novels. I still have mixed feelings about the gunslingers, but, if anything, the message seems to be just that all human politics is inherently tragic. It's easy to point to one system or another and show that it is bad... but where is the good? "Do you think that people ever learn?"

The basic political theory of conservatism is that order is often more important than liberty, and isn't that the meaning of "White over Red" ...? :orely: I think that SK in RL is a little more uncomfortable with hierarchical relationships, Coz. Yet, on another level, I don't think that he's comfortable without them, either.

Things to keep in mind when considering the design of Gilead and TDT.

jwill
01-29-2010, 01:37 PM
Ok this is a little bit of a change from what u guys were talking about before, but does

anyone think that maybe eddie, susannah, and jake could all be from the actual line of eld.

I mean the Arthur from our world the legendary arthur. Or maybe they are the same guy and

he could travel between the worlds. just a thought

pathoftheturtle
10-10-2010, 11:27 AM
Its an overly romanticized view of the Middle Ages, to indict the the ideological fragmentation that permeates modernity.This still seems right on to me.
Isn't it obvious that the fall of Gilead is largely based on the fall of Camelot?
In my mind, John Farson appears to be SK's version of the original Mordred from Arthurian legend. We rarely sympathize with the rebellion of that figure; possibly because Camelot was our supposed past, and we don't expect perfection from a past society. The idea that it was a step forward is enough. TDT hinges on the premise that a civilization not unlike ours has already fallen. Thus, it's harder to accept that only tragedy after tragedy follows.
At best, Farson probably was just a simpleminded anarchist or proto-socialist. We'd like to think that he was backing revolutionary democratic ideas, but these just don't spring up overnight. If all record of our political progress were lost, what are the odds that a single commoner would reinvent it? I think we take too much for granted.

19eye-rosecrow-gun
10-19-2010, 03:48 PM
The Gunslingers fell because they could not see deception. They only saw their power.

RainInSpain
11-04-2010, 02:57 PM
I keep thinking and thinking about the fall of Gilead, with questions far outweighing the answers.

On the one hand, the gunslingers rule had served the baronies relatively well for, what, a few centuries? Which means that it wasn't all that bad, and it must not only have served the purposes of the ruling class, but also matched the then-current stage of the societal development. Sure, they must have had their share of internal 'opposition', for lack of a better word, but would their government have fallen when it did, had it not been for the outside intervention?

Or, on the other hand, we do not know much about their society as a whole, so perhaps, it was just that the time had come for the political system to change because it became obsolete for the needs of the society, and it would have changed even without the aid of an outside force? (With Farson and his master being just agents of change in this case - and this touches another huge question of whether there is a greater force in their world that's beyond the Crimson King and Gan.)

a fan
11-05-2010, 08:15 AM
the gunslinger were the ruling class the poice fore the millitary and the juecial sestum with that amont of control not every one is going to be happy and with flaggs inflwence, the crimsen kings far reaching power, and the decline of the beams the gunslingers had no chance ta servivle nomatter how well the lead or how powerfull thay were in the end it was hunderds of thowtands agenst a few hundered at best it wasnt a far fight and after the battle at jerico hill it was all over

a fan
11-05-2010, 08:17 AM
The Gunslingers fell because they could not see deception. They only saw their power.

they saw it but had noway to stop it

pathoftheturtle
11-17-2010, 04:05 PM
I keep thinking and thinking about the fall of Gilead, with questions far outweighing the answers.

On the one hand, the gunslingers rule had served the baronies relatively well for, what, a few centuries? Which means that it wasn't all that bad, and it must not only have served the purposes of the ruling class, but also matched the then-current stage of the societal development. Sure, they must have had their share of internal 'opposition', for lack of a better word, but would their government have fallen when it did, had it not been for the outside intervention?

Or, on the other hand, we do not know much about their society as a whole, so perhaps, it was just that the time had come for the political system to change because it became obsolete for the needs of the society, and it would have changed even without the aid of an outside force? (With Farson and his master being just agents of change in this case - and this touches another huge question of whether there is a greater force in their world that's beyond the Crimson King and Gan.)I guess so, if Gan is one with the White, Gilead's ideal of civilization. But then, that leads in turn to the question of whether that greater force is amicable to humanity.
In TDT, Arthur Eld apparently received commision at the Dark Tower to rebuild society, and presumably authorization to establish the gunslingers... so we're left to wonder whether imposing order is Gan's whole idea of goodness, or possibly a corruption of their mission that they might have brought to it.
If we feel that a revolution like Farson's should have led to social progress, rather than simply leading to complete destruction of that society, then we might say that King is not such a good writer, or just that he's not writing about such a good multiverse. Since the books may suggest that Gan is also a creature of the Prim, it could be that the Prim, and not Gan, is the actual God in the DT cosmology; but if this God (the Prim) is impartial regarding conflict between the humans and the demons then what hope is there really for human social progress?
Insomnia says that there may be no Random above a certain level of the Tower: we can imagine the Red being made to serve the Purpose of a God who favors mankind, yet wants us to be strengthened by adversity. On the other hand, if Gan is fallible and limited and the true power belongs to something mindless, then the painful rise and fall of various empires might just go on and on.

It comes to whether Gan is a type of being who is constantly trying to promote the White, or one who chooses a strategy meant to promote it in an ultimate sense.
Does war serve heaven, or does heaven serve war?

RainInSpain
11-22-2010, 07:58 AM
In TDT, Arthur Eld apparently received commision at the Dark Tower to rebuild society, and presumably authorization to establish the gunslingers... so we're left to wonder whether imposing order is Gan's whole idea of goodness, or possibly a corruption of their mission that they might have brought to it.

Exactly. We may argue till we are blue in the face if it's the idea that is flawed or the implementation, but I do not think there is a lot in the books supporting either opinion.


If we feel that a revolution like Farson's should have led to social progress, rather than simply leading to complete destruction of that society, then we might say that King is not such a good writer, or just that he's not writing about such a good multiverse.

That's what I tend to think, too. At least from the short-term perspective, Farson's actions were detrimental to the society, much like the war of the Great Old Ones that had brought the demise of their world. However, perhaps in a much longer term, looking back upon both events a later civilization will use them as examples of certain dangers to avoid. (Although I must say I do not have high hopes for that - neither for their part of the multiverse nor for ours.)


I guess so, if Gan is one with the White, Gilead's ideal of civilization. But then, that leads in turn to the question of whether that greater force is amicable to humanity.
<skip>
Since the books may suggest that Gan is also a creature of the Prim, it could be that the Prim, and not Gan, is the actual God in the DT cosmology; but if this God (the Prim) is impartial regarding conflict between the humans and the demons then what hope is there really for human social progress?

Does social progress always have to be a product of a higher power being interested in (and amicable to) the mankind?
That force can very well be indifferent - after all, there are representations of the White and the Red already in Gilead's universe, so it might be that the greater force is the balance between various opposing entities/forces/etc. It's the conflict that is the driving force behind progress.

As a side note: Perhaps we overestimate the amount of attention God pays us or the amount that we need for survival and development; perhaps God is just a scientist who grows civilizations in the multiverse as a bacteria culture in a Petri dish - seed it, give it enough food, leave it alone for a while and it might grow into something interesting. There may or may not be a greater purpose for this experiment, it might well be that the growth process itself is purpose enough.


Insomnia says that there may be no Random above a certain level of the Tower: we can imagine the Red being made to serve the Purpose of a God who favors mankind, yet wants us to be strengthened by adversity. On the other hand, if Gan is fallible and limited and the true power belongs to something mindless, then the painful rise and fall of various empires might just go on and on.

It comes to whether Gan is a type of being who is constantly trying to promote the White, or one who chooses a strategy meant to promote it in an ultimate sense.

Insomnia also says that two 'creatures' from higher up than the Random/Purpose level were interested in Ed D, and it was their interest and struggle that brought on the chain of events - isn't this an example of a conflict similar to 'the White vs. the Red' but at a different level? Maybe at that higher level it's not Random and Purpose that are the opposites, but something entirely different that we aren't aware of or don't have a name for, but still there are 2 forces.
So yes, I believe that the 'rise and fall' cycle is doomed to repeat, for what may well be the eternity.


Does war serve heaven, or does heaven serve war?

Stating an opinion on this would imply that I have a clear concept of what heaven is (as it applies to TDT universe, as well as in a general sense) - and I don't, although this is something that interests me greatly.

pathoftheturtle
11-23-2010, 12:00 PM
I guess so, if Gan is one with the White, Gilead's ideal of civilization. But then, that leads in turn to the question of whether that greater force is amicable to humanity.
<skip>
Since the books may suggest that Gan is also a creature of the Prim, it could be that the Prim, and not Gan, is the actual God in the DT cosmology; but if this God (the Prim) is impartial regarding conflict between the humans and the demons then what hope is there really for human social progress?

Does social progress always have to be a product of a higher power being interested in (and amicable to) the mankind? ...Well, I keep trying to point out that there's a big difference between a world where vampires exist and one where they do not. The ideas of natural rights developed here on this earth might very well not apply if nature and its contents were completely different than what we have observed throughout our history due to supernatural intervention.
...yes, I believe that the 'rise and fall' cycle is doomed to repeat, for what may well be the eternity.Maybe so. Yet that would render "progress" essentially meaningless, wouldn't it?


Does war serve heaven, or does heaven serve war?Stating an opinion on this would imply that I have a clear concept of what heaven is (as it applies to TDT universe, as well as in a general sense) - and I don't, although this is something that interests me greatly.I used the word poetically. I don't think a term necessarily implies precise understanding when written outside of a science report. I guess I could rephrase what I was asking, though: I wonder whether it is indisputable that, in the big picture, conflict is always a driving force for progress. Is it not possible for conflict to be simply meaningless conflict? Why do we assume that it inherently produces positive side effects?
As a side note: Perhaps we overestimate the amount of attention God pays us or the amount that we need for survival and development; perhaps God is just a scientist who grows civilizations in the multiverse as a bacteria culture in a Petri dish - seed it, give it enough food, leave it alone for a while and it might grow into something interesting. There may or may not be a greater purpose for this experiment, it might well be that the growth process itself is purpose enough.I'm afraid we're drifting off topic. Perhaps you'd like to summarize your general speculations for The (amicable) Religious Discussion Thread (http://www.thedarktower.org/palaver/showthread.php?914-The-(amicable)-Religious-Discussion-Thread)?

RainInSpain
11-23-2010, 01:48 PM
Well, I keep trying to point out that there's a big difference between a world where vampires exist and one where they do not. The ideas of natural rights developed here on this earth might very well not apply if nature and its contents were completely different than what we have observed throughout our history due to supernatural intervention.

I must be missing your point. Sure, there is a difference between such worlds. However, it appears that in Roland's world there were at least some of the natural rights that are similar to our concepts - inhabitants of the Callas weren't indifferent to the Wolves taking their children's personalities along with whatever it was they fed to the Breakers. There was freedom of faith - as Roland mentioned, there were worshippers of Man-Jesus in his world, and he never mentioned that they were persecuted. Although I can see that at least in Gilead there was something that resembles our idea of absolutism, with the rights given to the king (originally Arthur Eld) by the Tower, but since Farson did find enough followers (e.g. Hax) there must have been quite a few who did not like that - perhaps they felt that some of their rights had been usurped that way.



Maybe so. Yet that would render "progress" essentially meaningless, wouldn't it?

Perhaps. Although I do not think that a rise and fall of one empire means that the next one will repeat its history and disappear at exactly the same stage (history - although ours, not All-World's - looks like a spiral to me). However, this might be where All-World's universe is different from ours - Mid-World had not achieved anything greater than the Great Old Ones before it was wiped out by the revolution.


I used the word poetically. I don't think a term necessarily implies precise understanding when written outside of a science report. I guess I could rephrase what I was asking, though: I wonder whether it is indisputable that, in the big picture, conflict is always a driving force for progress. Is it not possible for conflict to be simply meaningless conflict? Why do we assume that it inherently produces positive side effects?

Yes, I understand that you used it that way, I just have a bad habit of answering poetic questions in mundane prose, and here I could not do even that.
It is not indisputable, of course - I only pointed out that there seem to be opposing forces at play everywhere. What are other possible drivers of progress, besides 'amicable greater force' and 'conflict'? I am genuinely interested.

My apologies for being off-topic (and it wasn't the first time, either) - these were, just as you said, only speculations. Soul searching sometimes shows through in unintended ways.

Babymordred121
12-28-2010, 04:46 AM
I REALLY don't mean to step on anyone's toes religiously, but the system of Gunslingers and their faith-based system of control reminds me somewhat of the pre-reformation Catholic Church. While it may have been founded with the intention of upholding the ways of the White, it was still run by fallible human beings, and as such, eventually grew into something unrecognizable. It doesn't really matter one way or the other whether they were inspired by a true religious power or not, because when power is gained due to something intangible, the intangible element eventually just becomes an excuse to amass more power.

This doesn't mean that they weren't people that had true faith in that they were doing the right thing, but if the option of exerting power over others exists, it will eventually be abused. Just because their reign was long-lived doesn't mean that it was necessarily just; it just means that they were able to balance out the threat of violence with the people's genuine faith in the Gunslingers' divine right to rule.

I guess my point is that it doesn't matter if ruthless, self-serving monsters like Roland were the norm or the aberrations among the Gunslingers; as long as no one within the Gunslinger system stood in the way of people like Roland from forcing their wills on others, the Gunslingers would continue to be seen as a potentially dangerous and unrestrained system.

Inevitably, some revolutionary came along and started pointing out all the problems with the old system and started preaching of a new one full of ideals of freedom. Even if this new system was completely flawed and self-contradictory, the people started overlooking all the horrific implications in favor of the romanticized ideal. In this way, Farson was a little like William Wallace: "Sure, he may stitch belts from the skins his enemies, but he's on the little-man's side, so he must be alright."

If he'd had a bit more of a firm grasp on his followers, he might have been able to start sowing the seeds of his own Gunslingers. As it was, after the common enemy was taken out, it seem as though all the revolutionaries must have turned on each other. The infighting continued until everything devolved back down to the feudal system of each town running themselves, like we see in Lud and the Callas.

pathoftheturtle
12-28-2010, 10:03 AM
:orely: Actually, I just wonder if the norm was MORE self-serving than Roland. I don't really see him that way. He does plow through people in his way to reach the Tower, but that's not all. He also sacrifices his own chances to settle down somewhere and amass wealth. I'm not so sure that he does so because he expects some greater reward: I think he feels that the quest is his duty. A burden he often resents.

Aside from that, you could be correct, but you do seem to be rather pessimistic about human nature in general. Not saying that's wrong, I just thought I'd point it out. What you've said is all pretty depressing

Babymordred121
12-29-2010, 01:51 AM
I am pretty pessimistic about human nature in general.

When I started the series it seemed pretty vague about Roland's motives for wanting to reach the Tower, but by the time it got to the last three, it struck me that Roland was pretty much completely out of his mind. He states several times that he has no interest in saving the universe from the clutches of the Crimson King; just that the Crimson King was an obstacle in his path to the Tower. That the Crimson King happened to be evil was pretty much incidental.

When I brought up Roland, I was using him as an example of a person who puts his own interests above the well being of others. Whether that desire is for power, wealth, immortality, or an all-consuming quest is kind of beside the point. If no group existed to restrain and counterbalance the Gunslingers, then they could have hypothetically done whatever the hell they pleased, answering only to the king.

pathoftheturtle
01-02-2011, 11:57 AM
Well, I keep trying to point out that there's a big difference between a world where vampires exist and one where they do not. The ideas of natural rights developed here on this earth might very well not apply if nature and its contents were completely different than what we have observed throughout our history due to supernatural intervention.

I must be missing your point. Sure, there is a difference between such worlds. However, it appears that in Roland's world there were at least some of the natural rights that are similar to our concepts - inhabitants of the Callas weren't indifferent to the Wolves taking their children's personalities along with whatever it was they fed to the Breakers. ...No, but then, I don't believe that cattle are indifferent when we humans harvest their children, either. Yet we believe that we have that right. If there were another intelligent species with an inborn drive to prey upon us, are we so entitled that we could deny them any right to do so, just because of how we might feel about it?

John Locke wrote about a liberal God who created all men equal. Even if the universe is an experiment which the Creator no longer deals in directly, the people within it still deal with His Nature constantly, as they are affected by the parameters placed upon them.