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The Song of Spears
13-08-2010, 19:29
Ok, ok. I know this has been asked a hundred times - but i am still not clear on this... help break it down for me :

Am i correct in the following =

a) Religion is outlawed in the Imperium

b) the Ecclisiarchy is there to support "Faith in Mankind, and their leader the Emperor" - as the new "religion"

c) the Ecclisiarchy are not supposed to deify the Emperor - but they do anyway.

d) even though religion is outlawed, most all planets have some form of religion molded to the Ecclisiarchy, kinda like Redepmtionists.

e) the machine god is the Emperor, but deified in his machine/throne form...

f) the Machine Spirit is really just an AI (we just don't say that to the mechanicus' face)

thanks guys!

Devastator
13-08-2010, 19:32
wrong place?

soon the snobs will arrive

Artinam
13-08-2010, 19:34
First, your in the wrong forum :)

but:
A. Religion isn't outlawed, although al religion should indirectly support the Emperor.
B. When a 'new' world is discovered, the religion of the local humans is adapted/changed to suit the faith in the Emperor. If they would discover earth all religion who believe in a single God can be adapted to follow the Emperor (who would be God, just named differently).

C. It happens that the Church becomes split, generally lead to civil war.

D. Exactly, see A and B.
E. More or less, another religion adapted to suit the Emperor.

F. More or less, its the most easiest explanation.

Lord Zarkov
13-08-2010, 22:13
Wrong Forum but anway,

Religion was originally outlawed during the great crusade, but Emperor Worship spread anyway (despite being banned).
After the Heresy it became evident that faith was a useful weapon against Chaos, and also good for morale.
By this point the Lectio Divinnicus was so widespread (along with other Emperor-as-god cults) that the High Lords decided to make it law.

Nowadays Religion is the state-sponsored Emperor worship, with the religions of local cultures being 'refocussed' on the emperor. (so a Sun God cult would be modified to Emperor-as-sun for example).
The only groups 'allowed' not to worship the God Emperor of Mankind as such are the Space Marines (with many chapters having traditions dating to when religion was banned) and the Adeptus Mechanicus who have him as the Ommnissiah (a sort of avatar of the Machine God). The Ecclesiarchy still complains about this bitterly though and thinks they should worship the emperor properly. (IIRC there was a passage in the 3rd Ed C: SM with some Ecclesiarchy fuctionary complaining that SM Chaplains don't deserve the Rosarius as they don't worship Him as a god.)

Lionsprey
14-08-2010, 10:01
e) the machine god is the Emperor, but deified in his machine/throne form...

f) the Machine Spirit is really just an AI (we just don't say that to the mechanicus' face)


Aint there some kind of rumors that the void dragon is one or more of these?

Shamana
14-08-2010, 10:24
I think Lord Zarkov has most of it. Still, I'd say both most Space Marines and the Adeptus Mechanicus do venerate the Emperor, just not as a god - for the Space Marines it's more of a revered ancestor/paragon, for the AdMech he's iirc the perfect human, the only one to be equal to the machine. I'd say "Omnissiah" sounds quite a bit like "Messiah", don't you think?

Apart from that, the worship of the Emperor takes the form of so many religions that the Ecclesiarchy itself has a hard time keeping track of them. In general, if they are vaguely in a form where the Emperor can be inserted in them (and our own history shows that religious mythology or practices can easily be co-opted even for a different religion) and are free of Chaos taint, the Ecclesiarchy is content with letting them be, probably dispatching a few missionaries to push them in the right direction.

So you probably have tons of religions - some monotheistic, some polytheistic (ideally with Imperial saints cast as the minor deities, but I doubt that's necessary), a few animistic or ancestor-based - with the Emperor, under whatever name or appelation, put in them, barely held in a common direction by the Ecclesiarchy. They don't always get along, and there have been some low key-ish religious wars in the Imperium, not to mention various excommunications and accusations of heresy in the clergy itself.

Mechanicus
14-08-2010, 11:52
Remember the Imperium is a million-plus worlds, with a probable population above a quadrillion, where the Imperial religion is often integrated with local deities and beliefs. No amount of effort at standardisation by the Ecclesiarchy will get very far.

On the Adeptus Mechanicus, things get difficult there. It's the same problem, of course - too many people to standardise the facts of belief. The common explanation is that the Omnissiah is the Emperor. As to whether the Omnissiah is the Machine God, what machine spirits are, etc is all up for the individual to decide. Different factions believe different things.

Some in the Mechanicus view the Emperor as the Omnissiah and the Omnissiah as the Machine God. Some view the Emperor as the Omnissiah and the Omnissiah as the earthly incarnation of the Machine God. Some view the Emperor as the leader of the human race and the Omnissiah as the independent Machine God. Some view the Emperor as an impostor to the Omnissiah and the real Omnissiah is buried beneath Mars. I could go on...

Machine spirits are something else again. I see it as just an explanation for a wide variety of things - a machine has a computer interface allowing for some independent action, that's a machine spirit; a titan has a mind-impulse-unit which has previous psychic imprints on it which the princeps can feel, that's a machine spirit; a machine must be kept maintained, tell the lower ranks that's a machine spirit too.

As to whether machines have a spirit? Considering 40k is a world where daemons exist, where psychic possession is possible and warp creatures can be bound to machines I don't see why not. What if upon creating a machine, the tech-priests' rituals were (intentionally or otherwise) a tame form of psychic binding to bind a spirit into a machine? It's not exactly impossible.

madprophet
15-08-2010, 02:56
a) Religion is outlawed in the Imperium
Not exactly, the Emperor originally wanted to do away with religion since it was a potential opening for warp entities but since the Emperor's ascension to the Golden Throne religion has flourished in the Imperium.


b) the Ecclisiarchy is there to support "Faith in Mankind, and their leader the Emperor" - as the new "religion"
Yes and no. The Ecclesiarchy isn't so much a religion as it is a religious clearing house that insures what religion exists is focused on the Emperor and not any of the other warp entities that might threaten mankind.


c) the Ecclisiarchy are not supposed to deify the Emperor - but they do anyway.
It wasn't the Emperor's plan to be deified - the Ecclesiarchy didn't really come together until almost a millennium after the Emperor's Ascension but since being declared the state religion of the Imperium in M32, they have had the blessings of the Imperial authorities and today the Ecclesiarch sits on the Senate Imperialis as one of the High Lords of Terra.


d) even though religion is outlawed, most all planets have some form of religion molded to the Ecclisiarchy, kinda like Redepmtionists.
Religion isn't illegal as long as it is focused on the Emperor - many planets have some form or forms of religious establishment that have been coopted into the Ecclesiarchy.


e) the machine god is the Emperor, but deified in his machine/throne form...
According to the Ecclesiarchy. The Cult Mechanicus believes the Emperor is the anthropomorphic representation of the Omnissiah.


f) the Machine Spirit is really just an AI (we just don't say that to the mechanicus' face)
Unenlightened barbarians from the Dark Age of Technology steeped in the heretical certainties of science might say so but in the 41st millennium men are wiser :D


thanks guys!
No worries. I have a section on Imperial Religion on my site at http://www.starbase10.com/gilead/imperial_religion.htm
Have a look and tell me what you think.:angel:

Mr Zoat
15-08-2010, 06:08
f) the Machine Spirit is really just an AI (we just don't say that to the mechanicus' face)


Yes, but machine spirits are organic and not electronic.

Clockwork-Knight
15-08-2010, 08:34
Everything mechanical and electronic has a machine spirit in the belief of the imperial humans in the 41st millennium. A lasgun or an automatic rifle has one, and if you anger it, it will malfunction. In truth, it doesn't have any. That's what you call a lie-to-children.
Then there's real cyber-organic A.I. used in sophisticated tanks or war machinery like titans and spaceships. This is also called a machine spirit, although a greater one.
That's how the primitive and shamanistic people explain why some things are just so difficult to maintain.

Perhaps the mechanicus-cultists do know that primitive machines like a toaster or a fridge doesn't have any kind of sentience unlike their holy titans, and don't worship them, but they'll tell the normal imperial humans that they must, else they face the wrath of the machine god and his spirit servants, causing the most untimely malfunction one can experience.

For the machine cult, life's never been that good. They have crazy and dumb lunatics as allies who do not want to understand the techno-sorcery of their ancestors, and by monopolizing this source of knowledge, they can dictate to the Imperium whatever they want, forcing the adeptus terra to give a seat amongst the senate to the fabricator-general, even although he's a heretic who at best pays lipservice to the immortal emperor.

Mechanicus
15-08-2010, 11:06
Everything mechanical and electronic has a machine spirit in the belief of the imperial humans in the 41st millennium. A lasgun or an automatic rifle has one, and if you anger it, it will malfunction. In truth, it doesn't have any. That's what you call a lie-to-children.
Then there's real cyber-organic A.I. used in sophisticated tanks or war machinery like titans and spaceships. This is also called a machine spirit, although a greater one.
That's how the primitive and shamanistic people explain why some things are just so difficult to maintain.

Perhaps the mechanicus-cultists do know that primitive machines like a toaster or a fridge doesn't have any kind of sentience unlike their holy titans, and don't worship them, but they'll tell the normal imperial humans that they must, else they face the wrath of the machine god and his spirit servants, causing the most untimely malfunction one can experience.

For the machine cult, life's never been that good. They have crazy and dumb lunatics as allies who do not want to understand the techno-sorcery of their ancestors, and by monopolizing this source of knowledge, they can dictate to the Imperium whatever they want, forcing the adeptus terra to give a seat amongst the senate to the fabricator-general, even although he's a heretic who at best pays lipservice to the immortal emperor.I certainly think that's part of it, but I don't see why some machines in 40k couldn't have spirits as such. In a universe of possession, daemons, sorcery, warp-binding and gods it's not particularly outlandish! ;)

madprophet
15-08-2010, 12:59
I certainly think that's part of it, but I don't see why some machines in 40k couldn't have spirits as such. In a universe of possession, daemons, sorcery, warp-binding and gods it's not particularly outlandish! ;)

QFT - besides in the 40k universe, they don't know the meaning of the word outlandish :rolleyes:

Iracundus
15-08-2010, 13:15
Everything mechanical and electronic has a machine spirit in the belief of the imperial humans in the 41st millennium. A lasgun or an automatic rifle has one, and if you anger it, it will malfunction. In truth, it doesn't have any. That's what you call a lie-to-children.
Then there's real cyber-organic A.I. used in sophisticated tanks or war machinery like titans and spaceships. This is also called a machine spirit, although a greater one.
That's how the primitive and shamanistic people explain why some things are just so difficult to maintain.


Agree with the explanation of the machine spirit paradigm from modern eyes: a belief for lesser machines, and a form of cyber/electronic/organic AI for greater machines.

The Adeptus Mechanicus just view it as machine spirits of differing levels of might and intelligence, and hence due differing levels of honor and ritual. This parallels animism in the modern world. The spirits of large or rare/special places become viewed as mightier and due greater reverence than the more humble spirits of little or shabby places.

It would from the Adeptus Mechanicus point of view explain also the differing levels of response to lack of proper maintenance. A lasgun failing to fire might be seen as the machine spirit of that lasgun rebelling against its treatment through its limited powers. Improper maintenance on a Land Raider's Machine Spirit causing perhaps improper IFF and misfiring on friendly troops might still be seen as the Machine Spirit rebelling against treatment but doing so with its greater powers.

Vikingkingq
15-08-2010, 19:31
Ok, ok. I know this has been asked a hundred times - but i am still not clear on this... help break it down for me :

Am i correct in the following =

a) Religion is outlawed in the Imperium

b) the Ecclisiarchy is there to support "Faith in Mankind, and their leader the Emperor" - as the new "religion"

c) the Ecclisiarchy are not supposed to deify the Emperor - but they do anyway.

d) even though religion is outlawed, most all planets have some form of religion molded to the Ecclisiarchy, kinda like Redepmtionists.

e) the machine god is the Emperor, but deified in his machine/throne form...

f) the Machine Spirit is really just an AI (we just don't say that to the mechanicus' face)

thanks guys!

A. Religion was banned in favor of Imperial Truth in the pre-Heresy era. After the Heresy, the Emperor was revered as a god, and many competing cults eventually merged/were forcibly merged into the Ecclesiarchy/Ministorium.

B. That's more the mission of the Iterators, who accompanied the Great Crusade - they preached the Unity of Man and the Greatness of the Emperor in strictly secular terms to make conquered worlds compliant.

C. The Ecclesiarchy worship the Emperor as a god, despite the wishes of the Emperor (which are no longer known to all but a few heretical Inquisitors, the Secularis) when he was alive. It's about the only thing they agree on.

D. The Ecclesiarchy accepts an extreme degree of Heterodoxy as long as certain fundamental precepts are accepted. You can worship the Emperor as a Sun God or a Thunder God or whatever, you can have your old gods (as long as they pass muster as acceptably non-Chaos) as saints or aspects of the Emperor, etc. as long as you hold to certain core principles: Venerate the Immortal Emperor, Seek His Guidance and Forgiveness, Repent for Sins Committed, and Strike Down His Foes, etc.

Within the Ecclesiarchy, there are a number of factions:
(http://deletionpedia.dbatley.com/w/index.php?title=Ecclesiarchy#Beliefs).
- Redemptionists - we know about these fellas. Venerate the color red, believe everyone's sinful and that to avert the Emperor's Wrath you have to join the Redemption Crusade and purge things with fire, wear masks when on official business, etc.
- Resurrectionists - Believe that the Emperor will be resurrected at a time of great crisis for the Imperium. The Thorians are obviously more pro-active about it, but we've read in the Cain novels (for example) that there's a wide folk belief at the turn of the millennium that the Emperor will rise from the throne on 001.001.42.
- Calendites - Believe that the Emperor was always a god.
- Phanacians - Believe that the Emperor became a god when he slew Horus.
- Lucids - Believe that houses of worship should be plain and without ornamentation; supposedly more tolerant of psykers.
- Armormants - Believe that houses of worship should be ornate works of art to honor the God-Emperor; supposedly more strict on psykers.
- Polarists - Believe in the absolute separation of humans and psykers; the two can be combined only in the Emperor. Even sanctioned psykers should for preference be turned into servitors or otherwise lobotomized.
- Imperialists - we know these folks from Dark Heresy; believe that the Imperium should bring the Emperor's Light to the furthest reaches of the galaxy and kill any xenos standing in our way.

E. The Cult Mechanicus is somewhat split on this issue. Some of them believe that the Emperor is the Machine God (which in their theology is closer to our world's Platonic idea of the Logos), or just the Omnissiah (the avatar of the Machine God), and in Titanicus, there's a faction that does not believe the Emperor is either of those things.

F. No. Machine spirits are not AIs. The Cult Mechanicus abominates the Silicus Anima as a foul tech-heresy, and the cause of the fall of the Age of Technology, whose effects the Cult is forever seeking to undo. Machine spirits exist or are thought to exist in machines that lack any form of computational circuitry whatsoever.

Keep in mind that in the world of 40k, the material world is shaped by a vast plane of psychoreactive energy - the Warp. The principle of psychoreaction means that if enough people believe something strongly enough, on a certain level it is real. Before people try to argue that Orks are just a special case, I'd point out that Imperial Saints are evidence in the other direction. The uncounted trillions of humanity have believed that machine spirits exist for over ten thousand years - that in itself would have created minor warp-spirits.

Clockwork-Knight
15-08-2010, 19:59
Only extreme beliefs and emotions can create warp beings, everything else is absorbed into the stronger pseudo-sentient warp storms. Most of the trillions of humans in the Imperium don't care nor have they perhaps even heard of machine spirits.

Also, not all forms of A.I. are forbidden in the machine cult. Intelligences without any kind of fleshy components are abhorrable. Everything else, from lowly servitors to the bio-cogitators of an imperial battleship is okay.
Of course, there are some amongst the machine cult who do believe otherwise.

Vikingkingq
15-08-2010, 21:36
Only extreme beliefs and emotions can create warp beings, everything else is absorbed into the stronger pseudo-sentient warp storms. Most of the trillions of humans in the Imperium don't care nor have they perhaps even heard of machine spirits.

Also, not all forms of A.I. are forbidden in the machine cult. Intelligences without any kind of fleshy components are abhorrable. Everything else, from lowly servitors to the bio-cogitators of an imperial battleship is okay.
Of course, there are some amongst the machine cult who do believe otherwise.

I don't agree with the first point, since Imperial Saints are clearly connected to/come from the Warp in important fashions without "extreme" nature of belief. Extreme emotions create Chaos; but all emotions shape the Warp. Second, machine spirit belief is a critical part of the Imperium and has been ever since the original compact between Terra and mars - you can see this belief echoed throughout the Imperium, from the Forge Worlds to the Hives to the IG's Uplifting Primer.

And the Ad Mechanicus defines A.I as "silicus anima" - inorganic sentience. It's right up there in their warnings:
"10. The soul is the conscience of sentience.
11. A soul can be bestowed only by the Omnissiah.
12. The Soulless sentience is the enemy of all."

Servitors aren't A.I because they're based on an organic sentience - a human brain. Moreover, cogitators aren't considered A.I because they lack sentience - they're calculating machines, not self-directing entities.

TheMav80
15-08-2010, 21:41
Titans definately have a "machine spirit". We might not really know what it is, but it is there.

I've always assumed it is a very advanced and powerful AI that is held in check by the Titan's operator. After a while, and if they are not careful, the AI can take over. Crushing the operators mind and sense of self.

Clockwork-Knight
15-08-2010, 23:11
I don't agree with the first point, since Imperial Saints are clearly connected to/come from the Warp in important fashions without "extreme" nature of belief. You don't consider trillions of humans worshipping a mummy on a golden life-support chair and embracing the tennets of intolerance, hatred, war and genocide as teachd by the ecclessiarchy to be extreme?

Extreme emotions create Chaos; but all emotions shape the Warp. Second, machine spirit belief is a critical part of the Imperium and has been ever since the original compact between Terra and mars - you can see this belief echoed throughout the Imperium, from the Forge Worlds to the Hives to the IG's Uplifting Primer.
It's less important for the non-machine-cultists. Technology is sorcery (albeit a more acceptable one than warp magick), and only the machine-priests know the exact prayers and rituals to appease the machine spirits that are said to inhabit all pieces of machinery. For the normal imperial humans, believing in the emperor first and foremost is the most important thing, and this belief gives them security. Praying to the emperor is a must, praying to the machine spirits is voluntarely, unless you are a servant of the machine priests. The only important thing is to not anger the machine spirits, because else, you might need to consult the enigmatic sorceror cult of the god of technology and knowledge.

And the Ad Mechanicus defines A.I as "silicus anima" - inorganic sentience. It's right up there in their warnings:
"10. The soul is the conscience of sentience.
11. A soul can be bestowed only by the Omnissiah.
12. The Soulless sentience is the enemy of all."We however know that A.I. means more than just pure inorganic circuits, and just because the faillible inhabitants of the fictional 41st millennium believe one thing doesn't make it the absolute truth (like Guiliman healing while in stasis).
This goes so far that it is believed that for example that the Tau enslave machine sprits, and all Tau machines must be destroyed, so that the bound ghost in the machine can be set free.

Servitors aren't A.I because they're based on an organic sentience - a human brain. Moreover, cogitators aren't considered A.I because they lack sentience - they're calculating machines, not self-directing entities.Everything has a machine spirits per the dogma of the machine-cultists, even xeno-tech. Cogitators do as well. The only difference between a cogitator and a lasgun is that the cogitator has some kind of flesh-component and gives out some output.

Hellebore
16-08-2010, 00:53
What I find more interesting is the artificial nature of imperial religion when compared to 40k warp gods.

The emperor as god only exists due to enforced worship. he certainly wouldn't exist if the church didn't force humanity. However the chaos gods are effectively eternal, being formed of the souls and emotions of sentient beings regardless of will because they are the fundamental components of sapient consciousness.

In the end all is chaos and only a concerted deliberate effort will change that and then only for as long as that effort is in effect.

Hellebore

madprophet
16-08-2010, 03:56
What I find more interesting is the artificial nature of imperial religion when compared to 40k warp gods.

The emperor as god only exists due to enforced worship. he certainly wouldn't exist if the church didn't force humanity. However the chaos gods are effectively eternal, being formed of the souls and emotions of sentient beings regardless of will because they are the fundamental components of sapient consciousness.

In the end all is chaos and only a concerted deliberate effort will change that and then only for as long as that effort is in effect.

Hellebore
Good point. But I think if mankind ever did encounter something like the Chaos gods, humanity would turn to its own G-d or gods. I mean, if human emotion can create Khorne then it can create the G-d of Judaism and/or Christianity or Allah or Buddha or whatever as well as the protector of mankind.

Personally, I think the Emperor is not the same as the emperor. The mortal emperor who was killed in the battle with Horus has enough psychic oomph to power the great grand-daddy of all lighthouses but that's it. The Emperor that people worship is a result of human reaction to the existence of the Chaos gods - the Divine Emperor may even be the current name assigned to the same godhead called by so many different names today.

It's human nature, if there is a personal god of violence, lust, decay, conspiracy then why not a single god representing all the human virtues, served by a fallible (and often corrupt) priesthood? While people do horrible things for all the negative emotions represented by the Ruinous Powers, they also do sublime good in the name of a loving G-d. If negative emotions are more common, well that's why there are 4 (or possibly 5, if you count Malal) Chaos gods and 1 Emperor.

Just a thought.

Hellebore
16-08-2010, 04:35
The inference is that humanity's emotions are distilled down to those basic concepts. They're the building blocks of sentient/sapient consciousness. The chaos gods are generally given as the reflection of human consciousness in general.

That is, humanity just isn't 'nice' at a fundamental level, even their 'virtues' are just aspects of that which makes up the chaos gods. The Flaw of Man if you will. No matter how nice, there is always the 'taint' of mortality within. All that poetic stuff. Imperfection of man made manifest etc.

Or at least, that's how the chaos gods come across to me.

EDIT: Basically, to be human is to contain that 'darkness'. Without it we wouldn't be human but it underlies every aspect of our being. It's almost biblical original sin in aspect.

Helleobre

massey
16-08-2010, 04:48
Lots of people have made good points here, so I'll try to keep it short and just distill it down.

The Emperor initially wanted a Star Trek-style generally atheist society where people believe in science and the good of man. It didn't work out so well. Instead, you have the Ecclessiarchy pulling a Catholic Church, and incorporating the various religious practices they came across.

Ever wonder why we celebrate Easter by having a rabbit who hides eggs? It's the old fertility rituals of the pagans. When the Catholic Church expanded into Europe, it was easier to convert people if they got to keep their old festivals. Same reason we have a tree at Christmas (and also why the celebration of Jesus' birth takes place near the winter solstice). The Ecclessiarchy does the same thing. So if they show up on a new planet, and the people there worship some sort of vaguely Judeo-Christian "Great Spirit" deity, representatives from the Imperium will say "Oh yeah, we worship the same guy. We call him 'The Emperor'." It makes the new society more accepting. When the space humans come, it helps to tell everyone that they love Jesus too.

What that really means is that you've got hundreds of thousands of religions, with incredibly varying practices, and all of them maybe vaguely connected to the Emperor. There was an old short story where a member of the Ecclessiarchy goes to investigate a new religion that has sprung up on a world, and he sends back a message that worship of "The Great Father" is a-okay, just another variety of Emperor-worship. Meanwhile the reader is snickering because it's clear to us that he has stumbled upon a Genestealer cult. So generally, most any form on non-Chaos religion is gonna be okay.

Machine spirits are left purposefully vague to the modern reader. It is probably some combination of 1) superstition, the way you beg your car to start on a cold morning, 2) some sort of voice-recognition software, 3) an actual AI (or close to it), and 4) some sort of actual spiritual possession of a machine. Use whichever you prefer.

Son of Sanguinius
16-08-2010, 05:19
Actually massey, as a practicing Catholic and historian, I can say we primarily see a bunny at easter because the Crucifix isn't very marketable. But yes, it has its roots in the old fertility rituals.

madprophet
19-08-2010, 01:59
The inference is that humanity's emotions are distilled down to those basic concepts. They're the building blocks of sentient/sapient consciousness. The chaos gods are generally given as the reflection of human consciousness in general.
I'm not so sure I agree. While lust and violence are certainly powerful human emotions - not too many people obsess about disease or conspiracy. Many people fear death and many people are manipulative but again, not all - there are human virtues as strong as any vice and people have willingly laid down their lives for them.


That is, humanity just isn't 'nice' at a fundamental level, even their 'virtues' are just aspects of that which makes up the chaos gods. The Flaw of Man if you will. No matter how nice, there is always the 'taint' of mortality within. All that poetic stuff. Imperfection of man made manifest etc.
I see your point and I can accept the idea of the Chaos gods being the personifications of the major human failings but if lust separates out from manipulation to form Slannesh and Tzeench respectively and bloodlust and fear of death separate out to form Khorne and Nergal respectively then why wouldn't the human virtues distill out into a more benevolent warp power - say the Emperor or even G-d?


at least, that's how the chaos gods come across to me.
That's part of the attraction of the 40k setting, it's what you make of it.


EDIT: Basically, to be human is to contain that 'darkness'. Without it we wouldn't be human but it underlies every aspect of our being. It's almost biblical original sin in aspect.

Helleobre
Without a doubt! The very religiosity of the 40k setting (and the obvious unresolved Catholic school issues some of the designers were apparently wrestling with :D ) is pretty clear to me. But if the different aspects of human darkness distill out into distinct Chaos gods, why wouldn't the lighter side of the human psyche also distill out into a warp god?:confused:


The Ecclessiarchy does the same thing. So if they show up on a new planet, and the people there worship some sort of vaguely Judeo-Christian "Great Spirit" deity, representatives from the Imperium will say "Oh yeah, we worship the same guy. We call him 'The Emperor'." It makes the new society more accepting. When the space humans come, it helps to tell everyone that they love Jesus too.
In some of the very early Rogue Trader era fluff it was strongly implied the Emperor WAS Jesus and possibly Mohammad and Buddha too! But, yeah, the Ecclesiarchy tries to adapt itself to whatever the local religion is and incorporates it into the framework of the Imperial cult as a recognized sect.


What that really means is that you've got hundreds of thousands of religions, with incredibly varying practices, and all of them maybe vaguely connected to the Emperor.

Basically, yeah - that's sort of my point. If you set up this concept of the Emperor as G-d then you in effect bring G-d into the physical universe via the Warp or maybe re-establish the old link that existed between G-d and man in the early days of human history (it can get very biblical here if you want)


There was an old short story where a member of the Ecclessiarchy goes to investigate a new religion that has sprung up on a world, and he sends back a message that worship of "The Great Father" is a-okay, just another variety of Emperor-worship. Meanwhile the reader is snickering because it's clear to us that he has stumbled upon a Genestealer cult. So generally, most any form on non-Chaos religion is gonna be okay.
Yes, it was part of the fluff for the 2nd edition Genestealer Cult army list.


Machine spirits are left purposefully vague to the modern reader. It is probably some combination of 1) superstition, the way you beg your car to start on a cold morning, 2) some sort of voice-recognition software, 3) an actual AI (or close to it), and 4) some sort of actual spiritual possession of a machine. Use whichever you prefer.
Some modern mystics have dubbed technology a form of magic - the term technomancy actually predates 40k by several decades. It was coined in the 1920's



Actually massey, as a practicing Catholic and historian, I can say we primarily see a bunny at easter because the Crucifix isn't very marketable. But yes, it has its roots in the old fertility rituals.

I'm not a Catholic (or even a Christian) but you have to admit, it would be a little freaky (if not downright sacrilegious) to bite off Jesus' head on a chocolate crucifix :angel:

Seriously though, the Bunny thing does come from the Demetric Mysteries as a fertility symbol. The eggs actually come from Judaism - the egg is one of the things on a Seder plate representing the rebirth of the Jewish people coming out of Egypt and was reinterpreted to represent the resurrection of Jesus by early Christians.:eyebrows:

Hellebore
19-08-2010, 03:19
I'm not so sure I agree. While lust and violence are certainly powerful human emotions - not too many people obsess about disease or conspiracy. Many people fear death and many people are manipulative but again, not all - there are human virtues as strong as any vice and people have willingly laid down their lives for them.

I see your point and I can accept the idea of the Chaos gods being the personifications of the major human failings but if lust separates out from manipulation to form Slannesh and Tzeench respectively and bloodlust and fear of death separate out to form Khorne and Nergal respectively then why wouldn't the human virtues distill out into a more benevolent warp power - say the Emperor or even G-d?

That's part of the attraction of the 40k setting, it's what you make of it.

Without a doubt! The very religiosity of the 40k setting (and the obvious unresolved Catholic school issues some of the designers were apparently wrestling with :D ) is pretty clear to me. But if the different aspects of human darkness distill out into distinct Chaos gods, why wouldn't the lighter side of the human psyche also distill out into a warp god?:confused:


Perhaps I wasn't as clear as I could have been. What I was getting at is that those 'chaos' vices of human thought aren't vices, they are the basis of all human thought. That at its heart, all human thought is just a modified form of those basic compunctions. 'Virtues' are just derived from those basic emotions and are not themselves actual 'emotions' in the context of 40k. The only 'truth' of human emotion (and probably all sentient life in 40k) is those four base emotions.

you could go deeper and see them as basic 'actions' of life in general.

Struggle - against the environment, other species or your own.
Control - the evolved need to control a territory, food, mates. The measure of Struggle as it opposes the struggle of others.
Dynamism - continually changing tactics within the environment to stay on top
Conservation - the measure of dynamism so you don't overstrain and put yourself at a disadvantage


This can easily be put down to the human brain's innate ability to see patterns where there aren't any and I wouldn't necessarily disagree.

So the above are the non sentient equivalents of rage, lust, hope and despair. Only when you put sapience on top of that do you get self deception and the construction of elaborate justifications for those actions, rather than the instinctive acceptance of them. That is when chaos forms.

But what I'm getting at is that, to me, the evidence suggests that these are the root of all human thought. Even altruism and other 'virtues' are still rooted within these primal needs. Humanity cannot get away from them because they're in the very foundations of all emotion. It would be like humans trying to avoid their bodies containing carbon.

So they can't separate 'virtues' out because they're actually 'vices' with a different face, self deceiving and rationalised in a subjective fashion.

This area is far more subjective than others in 40k so I'm not contending this is the truth. It is the conclusion I've reached from the evidence as given.

Hellebore

MvS
19-08-2010, 10:08
I thought some of these links might prove interesting. They are concerned with religion in the Imperium:

http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4804

http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=42615

http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=235100

:)

madprophet
19-08-2010, 12:32
Perhaps I wasn't as clear as I could have been. What I was getting at is that those 'chaos' vices of human thought aren't vices, they are the basis of all human thought. That at its heart, all human thought is just a modified form of those basic compunctions. 'Virtues' are just derived from those basic emotions and are not themselves actual 'emotions' in the context of 40k. The only 'truth' of human emotion (and probably all sentient life in 40k) is those four base emotions.
Yes, I do see your point - I'm not saying your are necessarily wrong, only that I see the virtues like love, fairness, constancy, etc. as distinct from these "basic emotions" as you've described them.

If only because we have other warp entities on point. There is Isha, the Eldar goddess of healing who opposes Nurgle (albeit she is his prisoner but she remains distinct from him). There is Gork and Mork who remain distinct from Khorne despite being war gods themselves and let's not forget the Big E. The Emperor is largely a war god but also the god of humanity. In the Rogue Trader fluff, the Emperor is also described as blessing crops, healing the sick, bringing success, protecting the innocent - just as mankind has expected his gods to do since forever. So we know that other emotions are sufficiently strong as to create warp gods besides the four Ruinous Powers therefore they cannot represent all human emotion. And since in at least two cases from the fluff (Isha and the Emperor) positive emotions (healing and concern for others in the case of Isha and to a lesser degree, the Emperor) are at least partly - or nearly entirely, in Isha's case - the driving force of said warp gods, I would think that these positive emotions must find a place to coalesce.

Interesting aside, the name Isha is just Hebrew for "woman" and Isha does seem to exemplify the classical feminine virtues. The Emperor seems to be, in many ways, a classical King god. Both, however, are essentially benevolent as opposed to the four Chaos gods who are essentially malevolent.:eyebrows:


you could go deeper and see them as basic 'actions' of life in general.

Struggle - against the environment, other species or your own.
Control - the evolved need to control a territory, food, mates. The measure of Struggle as it opposes the struggle of others.
Dynamism - continually changing tactics within the environment to stay on top
Conservation - the measure of dynamism so you don't overstrain and put yourself at a disadvantage

Interesting take - you might have a point there. But how do warp entities like Isha, Gork and Mork, or the Emperor fit into that system?:confused:


So the above are the non sentient equivalents of rage, lust, hope and despair. Only when you put sapience on top of that do you get self deception and the construction of elaborate justifications for those actions, rather than the instinctive acceptance of them. That is when chaos forms.
Maybe, but according to the Rogue Trader fluff (I apologize about going back to the late 1980's when large lizards roamed the earth - but GW spent more time on the philosophy of 40k in those days:evilgrin:) when the mortal emperor was young the warp was benevolent and humans (and I assume other intelligences like Eldar, Orks, and Tau) were active but the Chaos gods were either very weak or had yet to coalesce.


But what I'm getting at is that, to me, the evidence suggests that these are the root of all human thought. Even altruism and other 'virtues' are still rooted within these primal needs. Humanity cannot get away from them because they're in the very foundations of all emotion. It would be like humans trying to avoid their bodies containing carbon.

So they can't separate 'virtues' out because they're actually 'vices' with a different face, self deceiving and rationalised in a subjective fashion.

This area is far more subjective than others in 40k so I'm not contending this is the truth. It is the conclusion I've reached from the evidence as given.

Hellebore
There is quite a bit of truth in what you say, for example the soldier who shoots a terrorist to save the life of a child (think the Russians in Beslan) acts out of concern for the child, love of his country and righteous anger at the lowlifes who would target children but at the same time he is killing someone (makes Khorne happy), he had to plan his attack (makes Tzeench happy), he was in a high state of emotional angst trying to protect the child (makes Slannesh happy), and the attack certainly caused injury and property damage (makes Nurgle happy).:shifty:

However, from the fluff we also have these other warp gods so if all emotion ultimately goes to the Chaos gods, where do they get their power from? I would think that the positive emotional aspects of the soldier from the above example would power them. His desire to save the child powers Isha, his determination to defend his countrymen powers the Emperor, and so on.

Like you, I am just musing on the nature of the gods of 40k - I have no special insider knowledge either.:angel:

Vikingkingq
19-08-2010, 19:48
I have to side with madprophet here. Chaos is a subset of the Warp that responds to the most extreme and disordered emotional/ideational phenomena - the existence of non-Chaos Warp Spirits is good evidence for this.

Moreover, if all emotional energy went to Chaos, there's no explanation for how Chaos hasn't already won. Something has to be happening that prevents an endless flood of daemons from flooding the cosmos.

I look at it this way: the Warp is a psycho-reactive plane of spiritual energy; i.e, it responds to what people think and feel. Normally, this means that those drives that are the most powerful urges - fight (Khorne), flee (Nurgle), ***** (Slaanesh), and the desperate desire for change (Tzeentch) - are usually quite strong.*

As a Chaos invasion builds, these drives become more powerful. The constant warfare empowers Khorne, the desire to survive strengthens Nurgle, the desire to lose oneself in...distractions in the face of a world gone mad feeds Slaanesh, and the desperate desire for anything better than this increases Tzeentch's power.

However, just as in the psychological phenomenon of "flooding," the body and thus the mind can only take extreme emotional states for so long before desensitization kicks in. There naturally comes a tipping point where the desire for peace trumps the desire for war, when the body's fear responses burn themselves out and the senses become deadened to sensation, and when the desire for some stability overcomes the desire for change.

When this happens within the collective consciousness/unconsciousness of humanity, it yanks the spiritual/magical rug out from the forces of Chaos, giving an opening for the forces of Order to scratch out another victory. It's why Warhammer (40k) is ultimately more the story of slow attrition than sweeping victory.

------------------------------

* sidenote - however, they are not the only urges/emotions/thoughts. The idea that all human thought is just modified base urges is really not supported within the field of psychology any more: Freud aside, B.F Skinner-style behavioralism hasn't been accepted as an overall explanation for thought.

MvS
19-08-2010, 20:34
Interesting take - you might have a point there. But how do warp entities like Isha, Gork and Mork, or the Emperor fit into that system?
There is so much that is interesting and worth responding to in this discussion, but I'll just pick up on this one point.

If the Chaos Gods are amalgamations of the souls, soul fragments and basic drives of mortal creatures, you can imagine that the other gods, the 'smaller' but in often more 'rounded' gods, are amalgamations of more complex emotions and concepts (like respecting someone you hate or loving someone who upsets you for instance, or other complex intangibles like notions of nationality or justice).

Moreover, it's important to remember that gods in the 40K setting are primarily gestalts of many souls. The emperor is supposedly the gestalt of the entirety of all the souls of the most ancient psychic shaman of humanity. Not just fragments of their souls or specific emotions, but a combination of many, many powerful souls in their totality.

So whereas Khorne might know, promote and personify every sort of anger and violence, he wouldn't know, promote or personify anything else really. The Chaos Gods have all the feelings, memories and desires of the mortals whose souls and souls fragments they personify only insofar as they relate to their basic 'principle' - so anger and the desire to inflict violence, say. they don't have anything else. That's what makes them so vast and so powerful. It's also what makes them limited.

The Emperor doesn't have the raw power of impossibly vast (though entirely specific) influence and power of Khorne, but he does have a far more rounded personality/identity, understanding of intelligent mortals, ability to relate to and influence mortals and so on and so forth. Why? Because he has experienced and remembers all of the things we might experience, in every context, many thousands of times over and across tens of thousands of years. He has essentially lived thousands on separate lives before uniting into one complex and impossibly experienced being and then living for tens of thousands of more years.

Isha is similarly complex. Ignoring for a moment the fact that the more recent statements from various GW Studio types that the Eldar Gods are 'just' Old Ones, Isha represents Eldar fertility. Fertility isn't an emotion (like anger), it's a process. So Isha would be the personification of the sensations of fertility and the drives associated with fertility, and also the importance mortals put upon notions of fertility (for crops, childbirth and animal husbandry etc).

She may also have more primal connections, like the drive to procreate that is hardwired into pretty much all mortal life forms, but this drive tends to be variations on the drive to have sex - to mate - and this drive could be described as lust. Very Slaaneshi. That said, perhaps Isha is also the mothering instinct and also the protective fatherly instincts (which don't seem as widespread or as implicit across all species as the mothering equivalent), so she could have a claim to some primal power like the Big Four Chaos Gods.

This may be the reason that she has survived, albeit as a caged creature, in the more recent Chaos imagery, where other, more specific and limited Eldar Gods have vanished altogether.

So anyway, although the ‘basic’ or ‘primal’ emotions form the Chaos Gods, there are ‘lesser' deities made up of other more complex (and therefore slightly rare) emotions within the Warp. Also remember from the old Realms of Chaos days where it described some death cults behaving in a particular way (maybe all believing the same thing and do the same thing ad nauseam) before killing themselves at the same time and in close proximity, in the hopes that their souls will merge into one entity in the Warp.
This is pretty much what the Emperor is.

madprophet
19-08-2010, 21:40
There is so much that is interesting and worth responding to in this discussion, but I'll just pick up on this one point.

If the Chaos Gods are amalgamations of the souls, soul fragments and basic drives of mortal creatures, you can imagine that the other gods, the 'smaller' but in often more 'rounded' gods, are amalgamations of more complex emotions and concepts (like respecting someone you hate or loving someone who upsets you for instance, or other complex intangibles like notions of nationality or justice).
Hmmmm... interesting idea. That might work, but it also seems that the chaos powers get their oomph from the worship and acts of their followers, so does the emperor - so assuming that bloodlust fuels Khorne (just to stick with a simple example), wouldn't notions like patriotism, sacrifice for one's fellow man, etc. even from the same person fuel the emperor?



The Emperor doesn't have the raw power of impossibly vast (though entirely specific) influence and power of Khorne, but he does have a far more rounded personality/identity, understanding of intelligent mortals, ability to relate to and influence mortals and so on and so forth. Why? Because he has experienced and remembers all of the things we might experience, in every context, many thousands of times over and across tens of thousands of years. He has essentially lived thousands on separate lives before uniting into one complex and impossibly experienced being and then living for tens of thousands of more years.
But then again, the emperor has be be pretty butch because he's managed to spank all four of the chaos gods on more than one occasion and they need to gang up on him - he can't be all that limited. Still, I see your point. That lines up with the GW (now obsolete) fluff point that the emperor WAS Jesus (all things to all men).


Isha is similarly complex. Ignoring for a moment the fact that the more recent statements from various GW Studio types that the Eldar Gods are 'just' Old Ones, Isha represents Eldar fertility. Fertility isn't an emotion (like anger), it's a process. So Isha would be the personification of the sensations of fertility and the drives associated with fertility, and also the importance mortals put upon notions of fertility (for crops, childbirth and animal husbandry etc).

She may also have more primal connections, like the drive to procreate that is hardwired into pretty much all mortal life forms, but this drive tends to be variations on the drive to have sex - to mate - and this drive could be described as lust. Very Slaaneshi. That said, perhaps Isha is also the mothering instinct and also the protective fatherly instincts (which don't seem as widespread or as implicit across all species as the mothering equivalent), so she could have a claim to some primal power like the Big Four Chaos Gods.

This may be the reason that she has survived, albeit as a caged creature, in the more recent Chaos imagery, where other, more specific and limited Eldar Gods have vanished altogether.
The Eldar version of the Virgin Mary, I guess.


So anyway, although the ‘basic’ or ‘primal’ emotions form the Chaos Gods, there are ‘lesser; deities made up of other more complex (and therefore slightly rare) emotions within the Warp. Also remember from the old Realms of Chaos days where it described some death cults behaving in a particular way (maybe all believing the same thing and do the same thing ad nauseam) before killing themselves at the same time and in close proximity, in the hopes that their souls will merge into one entity in the Warp.
This is pretty much what the Emperor is.
Interesting take. Thanks for weighing in!:D

Son of Sanguinius
19-08-2010, 22:26
Hmmmm... interesting idea. That might work, but it also seems that the chaos powers get their oomph from the worship and acts of their followers, so does the emperor - so assuming that bloodlust fuels Khorne (just to stick with a simple example), wouldn't notions like patriotism, sacrifice for one's fellow man, etc. even from the same person fuel the emperor?

Probably. The coexisting deities seemed to be linked just as the parts of psyches that fuel and form them are.


But then again, the emperor has be be pretty butch because he's managed to spank all four of the chaos gods on more than one occasion and they need to gang up on him - he can't be all that limited.

There is only one occasion that even comes close to this (the death of Horus) and even that is very debatable.


The Eldar version of the Virgin Mary, I guess.

By MvS' description? Not in the least.

massey
19-08-2010, 23:00
The Chaos gods get the most extreme emotions, so they're the easiest to see and recognize. Faster, easier, more seductive. The warp god of contentment isn't really going to empower his followers to do anything really flashy. During this time in history, when every civilization is at war, when one of the most brutal regimes in human history is in control, the negative, warlike emotions are going to be the strongest. They're a futuristic version of the 4 Horsemen. So in an end-times setting like 40K, they're going to be strong. They're certainly going to be the ones with the most ability to empower their followers to go out and slaughter people. That's what they do. Good deities do nice things.

baphomael
20-08-2010, 00:17
Yes, I do see your point - I'm not saying your are necessarily wrong, only that I see the virtues like love, fairness, constancy, etc. as distinct from these "basic emotions" as you've described them.



Course, within many theories on the subject of Virtue Ethics, 'Virtue' is the middle ground between two extemes (bravery being the virtue that stands between the extremes of cowardice and rashness, for example). In this sense, Chaos (representing extremes) is more visceral, 'loud' and domineering than a neutral middle-ground.

madprophet
20-08-2010, 02:48
There is only one occasion that even comes close to this (the death of Horus) and even that is very debatable.

Actually, my point being that the Emperor has managed to hold them off all by his lonesome while the only time Chaos can really threaten the Imperium is when all four of the boys gang up for a Black Crusade. That seems pretty butch and the Emperor is also a more rounded personality to boot.

He is really a regular guy once you get a few beers into him, he's also a snappy dresser and quite a dancer - the ladies really dig him :D


Course, within many theories on the subject of Virtue Ethics, 'Virtue' is the middle ground between two extemes (bravery being the virtue that stands between the extremes of cowardice and rashness, for example). In this sense, Chaos (representing extremes) is more visceral, 'loud' and domineering than a neutral middle-ground.

True - but there are also those theories of ethics that see virtue as the opposite of vice. Bravery is the opposite of cowardice, martial pride the opposite of bloodlust, love the opposite of hate, respect the opposite of lust, etc.

Hellebore
20-08-2010, 03:00
If only because we have other warp entities on point. There is Isha, the Eldar goddess of healing who opposes Nurgle (albeit she is his prisoner but she remains distinct from him). There is Gork and Mork who remain distinct from Khorne despite being war gods themselves and let's not forget the Big E. The Emperor is largely a war god but also the god of humanity. In the Rogue Trader fluff, the Emperor is also described as blessing crops, healing the sick, bringing success, protecting the innocent - just as mankind has expected his gods to do since forever. So we know that other emotions are sufficiently strong as to create warp gods besides the four Ruinous Powers therefore they cannot represent all human emotion. And since in at least two cases from the fluff (Isha and the Emperor) positive emotions (healing and concern for others in the case of Isha and to a lesser degree, the Emperor) are at least partly - or nearly entirely, in Isha's case - the driving force of said warp gods, I would think that these positive emotions must find a place to coalesce.

Interesting aside, the name Isha is just Hebrew for "woman" and Isha does seem to exemplify the classical feminine virtues. The Emperor seems to be, in many ways, a classical King god. Both, however, are essentially benevolent as opposed to the four Chaos gods who are essentially malevolent.:eyebrows:

Interesting take - you might have a point there. But how do warp entities like Isha, Gork and Mork, or the Emperor fit into that system?:confused:


To paraphrase Gav Thorpe from these boards, they are made up of components of the 4 base gods. He described chaos as a ven diagram of 4 overlapping circles within one circle - undivided. Khorne has at his periphery overlapping lines with the other 3 gods. Here emotions constructed from the other emotions are found. ie 1 part rage, 2 parts lust. Perhaps the emotions that govern a crime of passion. In the above scheme therefore this comes more under Slannesh as it is his 'majority'.

Gork and Mork are cunningly brutal and brutally cunning. So that would be parts Khorne and parts Tzeentch (although I'm sure there are far more nuances to it, but for the sake of example...).

This idea also stems into the concept that whilst all sapient creatures' emotions stem from those 4 base drives, they aren't 'flavoured/coloured' the same way. Eldar have the base drive for rage, but it doesn't emote (within their brain) the same way as a human's rage.

You then get vortices within vortices where the chaos gods are a conglomerate of different races' emotions expressed slightly differently. As like attracts like they form subsets within the greater whole, attracted to themselve more than each other, but attracted to each other more than the 3 other base drives.

We only name them 'Khorne' etc because that's the dominant face given to them by the dominant emoters in the galaxy - humanity. You could argue that before humanity (in the 60 million years before humanity) 'Khorne' was known as 'Khaine' and 'bloodletters' looked like ribbed iron statues dripping in blood and wielding glowing beruned swords and were called 'lifetakers'.

So there are the 4 vortexes of base emotion and all the nuances are found in there, intermingling along the edges.



Maybe, but according to the Rogue Trader fluff (I apologize about going back to the late 1980's when large lizards roamed the earth - but GW spent more time on the philosophy of 40k in those days:evilgrin:) when the mortal emperor was young the warp was benevolent and humans (and I assume other intelligences like Eldar, Orks, and Tau) were active but the Chaos gods were either very weak or had yet to coalesce.

However, from the fluff we also have these other warp gods so if all emotion ultimately goes to the Chaos gods, where do they get their power from? I would think that the positive emotional aspects of the soldier from the above example would power them. His desire to save the child powers Isha, his determination to defend his countrymen powers the Emperor, and so on.


There are 3 other points that discuss this. In Realms of Chaos Slaves to Darkness it says that the forces of chaos have existed for millions of years.

In Realms of Darkness Lost and the Damned it says that Khorne, Tzeentch and Nurgle all awoke during humanity's Dark Ages (well Europe's Dark Ages).

In the Necron codex it describes the emotions of the young races 60 million years ago forming things within the previously calm warp, turning older warp predators into ravening monsters.

The conclusion drawn from this is that A) chaos is at least 60 million years old B) the current chaos gods are not. That would then require that the current chaos gods are not chaos in toto and are just a section of them. Given that any alien race can worship any chaos god (as far as we know - although the necrons and tyranids don't really emote so probably not them) we know that they are still a universal part of the sentient psyche.

So my conclusion is that chaos existed in a similar but different form (the different colours of Rage described earlier) preceeding humanity and when humanity's emotions affected the warp the current appearance of the chaos gods was born.

As for the emperor vs chaos gods, the original story in the Realms of Chaos books shows they withdrew their favour from Horus when the emperor damaged him. This is in line with how they treat all their champions, as pawns to be used until they can no longer function and then withdraw their favour as punishment.

It reminds me of playing an RTS. You have a unit you personally control while controlling others at the periphery, but if your direct control unit comes under fire and gets damaged, you may switch to a different one if it cannot be saved. Now imagine 4 different people are trying to control the one unit - at most they'd get 25% of their directions into it, less if they're fighting over what to do with it.

My main problem with the idea of the emperor being better than not one but all FOUR chaos gods is that he is only constructed from a few thousand shaman souls, whilst the chaos gods are made up of however many they've collected over the millions of years chaos has existed.

If we take Tzeentch he should have more psyker souls in his power than the emperor. If we take slannesh, well it only recently consumed virtually the entire eldar race - a super psychic race that lived for ages and had more potent souls than humans. The shamans reincarnated, eldar reincarnated. Where the shamans are psychic and a small subset of humanity, the entirety of eldar are psychic.

Thus for the emperor to be better than just one chaos god there needs to be another factor.


In my mind the shamans did something pretty amazing with their souls, they've managed to keep them 'alive'. It seems whilst a soul is attached to a living body they are in some way protected from chaos. A 'dead' soul adrift in the warp will disintegrate and get consumed by daemons/chaos gods (the same thing really). Somehow being 'alive' keeps them coherent and also stops a daemon simply eating them.

The shamans have fused their souls into a gestalt and kept themselves 'alive' effectively preventing their souls floating free within the warp where they will inevitably disintgrate or integrate with chaos (see what I did thar?).

That means that the emperor's 'soul' is separate from the warp vorticies just as all other living souls are. By being a 'living' god he subverted the natural order of chaos.

However that doesn't fix the problem of the god created in his image by the Imperium, which will, by the laws of the warp (ironically), be constructed within chaos undivided. Bits of each of the 4 storms forcibly created by organised religion.

but unless this is kept up the coherence they give to that god will disappear and it will simply be reabsorbed back into the greater storms.

IMO.

Hellebore

MvS
20-08-2010, 10:49
That might work, but it also seems that the chaos powers get their oomph from the worship and acts of their followers, so does the emperor - so assuming that bloodlust fuels Khorne (just to stick with a simple example), wouldn't notions like patriotism, sacrifice for one's fellow man, etc. even from the same person fuel the emperor?
Okay, a couple of points here:

We have to remember that souls are what whip up the warp and what comprise the vortices/entities within the warp. Sometimes these are souls in their entirety, but mostly they are just fragments. So if a mortal has lived absolutely by a particularly strong code of conduct or belief system, or if that mortal has experienced something entirely scarring or transcendentally life changing, then even as the majority of that mortal's soul dissipates upon mortal death, the 'echo' of these absolute/scarring/ defining elements of that mortal's identity remain in the Warp. THEY are the soul fragments.

So the Chaos Gods promote worship because by doing so they create circumstances where any and all of the above are more likely. Khorne will promote warrior cults populated by people who absolutely define themselves by martial prowess, bloodletting, contempt for the 'weak' and so on. The parts of the souls (or the reflections in the Warp, if you prefer) of these warriors that relate to these defining religious feelings will therefore last beyond mortal death and may be absorbed and used by Khorne.

But it goes deeper, because the harm and conflict caused by Khorne's devotees will also promote more violence amongst those who are their victims. If Khornates attack in a blood frenzy, your normal humans will have to fight back, matching savagery for savagery. It's likely that many facing Khorne's warriors will be emotionally and psychologically scarred by the horror they witness - even if this scarring just makes them into more brutal and dedicated soldiers who want to wipe out the Khornates.

Regardless, these deeply traumatising and/or defining elements linger on in the Warp long after the more gentle and less extreme elements fade. So Khorne absorbs them as well.

As other have said, the Chaos Gods are beyond morality. They aren't 'rounded' beings. They aren't like Greek Gods who were essentially very powerful and intelligent mortals, but who otherwise understood human hopes, dreams, failings and moralities (even if they chose to ignore all of these things). Khorne, just to stick with him, wants, understands and promotes anger, fury, violence, the desire to fight and so on.

Over the millennia Khorne has inevitably acquired other traits that are sometimes associated with these primary traits - like a desire for and pride in martial skill and so on - but this is because he has absorbed thousands or millions of souls that although dominated by rage or the desire for violence did not have all their other traits dissipate upon mortal death. So there would have been the serial killer who defined himself by his murders and search for bloodshed, but who also took pride in his skills with the scalpel and the feelings of power he got over his victims. Or that great warlord who loved to crush his enemies into the bloody earth, but who also defined himself by his great weapon-skill and tactical genius, and so on and on.

If for whatever reason these sols don't dissipate leaving only fragments behind, Khorne still manages to grab them. Perhaps because they are predominantly defined by anger and violence, or perhaps because Khorne managed to get the mortals who 'owned' these souls to dedicate themselves to him before they died. That way he could perhaps grab their souls in totality on the point of death before they dissipated into the Warp.

Anyway, the difference between the Chaos Gods and 'gods' like the Emperor (or some powerful independent daemons) are profound. The Chaos Gods are like oceans that gradually became conscious. These oceans are hsubject to tides and movements dictated by the 'gravity' of their defining emotions and drives - so Khorne rushes in like a tide towards violence and anger, and anything standing in the way of the oceanic tide will be drowned.

The Emperor was a conscious entity before becoming a 'god'. He didn't gradually rise to sentience within the Warp. He [b]was[/i] sentient as a mortal. In fact he was sentient as many thousands of mortals who had each lived many hundreds or thousands of lives. These ancient psykers killed themselves at the same time and largely in the same place, having discovered a way to merge together in to warp into one massive super-soul that could re-incarnate in a single human with a coherent and singular gestalt identity - so in many ways a lot like Leto II, the God Emperor of Dune (definitely worth a read).

The Emperor isn't made up of stray concepts, emotions and soul fragments that have drawn together in the Warp to form a Warp storm of sorts. The Emperor is like you or me, with all our memories, fears, beliefs and drives, but multiplied many, many times. He is more rounded than any previous human because he can draw upon all the memories and experiences of thousands of different people, men and women. Also, each of these men and women had already lived for thousands of years before joining together to form the Emperor, and then the Emperor himself lived for thousands of years as a singular being with all of this accumulated wisdom.

So although he is much more than human (even before we get onto his psychic might) he is not the same as the Chaos Gods. For a start, when people prayed to the Emperor while he still lived as a mortal, their souls wouldn't go to him. He wasn't free-ranging in the Warp like the Chaos Gods. His many-soul was attached to his mortal life, like the soul of any other mortal, and so was somehow protected from the Warp it resided in.

We know mortal souls are protected while mortals still live, because if they weren't, daemons would just eat mortals as soon as they are born. They can't. They can attack psykers and tempt mortals into losing their souls, but they don't have free reign to touch or effect souls as they please while the owning mortal still lives. There seem to be restrictions.

This would go two ways, i think. Just as Warp entities cannot just grab souls willy-nilly while the owning mortal still lives, so too does it seem unlikely that Warp entities (like other souls) can just merge with the soul of a living mortal. I'm sure there are exceptions to all of these general rules, but they seem to remain general rules if you see what I mean.

Since the Emperor is mostly dead now, the only thing stopping his soul gathering the souls of enough worshippers to allow him to grow and become fully conscious as a Warp God is the Golden Throne. While the Throne keeps even a few cells of his body alive, the link between soul and body is not completely severed and so it is hard for the Emperor-As-Warp-God (or 'Star Child' as he used to be called) to gain the power or influence of the Chaos Gods.

As it said in the Realms of Chaos book, once the Golden Throne stops and his last mortal cells die, the Emperor will be free wholly into the Warp. Then, when the prayers and desperate dedication of humanity empower him enough, he could 'come again' - presumably by either being reborn in a mortal body like an Avatar or just by fully awakening as a Warp God dedicated to the success and promotion of humans and humanity as a rounded whole, rather than just particular concepts and emotions that humans generate in the course of their lives - like the Chaos Gods


But then again, the emperor has be pretty butch because he's managed to spank all four of the chaos gods on more than one occasion and they need to gang up on him - he can't be all that limited.
Well... this isn't quite the case. The Emperor certainly didn't and doesn't have the power to defeat the Chaos Gods because, well, he didn’t and because the Chaos Gods have always seemed to had the upper hand.

The Emperor started trying to destroy all the devices that the Chaos Gods use to generate worshippers and attract souls (like religions), but the Emperor couldn't just drive back the Chaos Gods with some sort of psychic duel. Hence the attempted destruction of all religions and superstitions during the Great Crusade. Hence the desire to create a human Webway in order to avoid contact with the Warp.

I mean the Emperor was powerful by orders of magnitude beyond even the most powerful Alpha+ psykers in the 40K imagery, but his Primarchs could still be stolen from him, he still could not predict the Heresy, he couldn't collect souls or simply turn ordinary men into daemon princes with a nod of his head (unlike the Chaos Gods). The list goes on.

To go back to my ocean analogy for the Chaos Gods, the Emperor is like a super-massive ocean going warship. It isn't as big or powerful in raw terms as the ocean it sails upon, but unlike the ocean it can sail against the tide, alter course more quickly and can contain all sorts of scientists and other beings who can analyse the ocean, pollute the ocean and so on. So the Emperor is more versatile and rounded than the Chaos Gods. He does not, however, rival them in raw power. Not yet.


Still, I see your point. That lines up with the GW (now obsolete) fluff point that the emperor WAS Jesus (all things to all men).
Obsolete or just not mentioned for fear of offending? I prefer to think of it as still being the case. I wasn't at all worried or offended by the God Emperor of Dune having memories of famous messiahs and prophets because the setting is fictional. It's a fantasy. It's no more real or offensive than Doctor Who meeting Winston Churchill or the crew of the Enterpirse being responsible for any number of historical events. Likewise, i don't mind the Emperor having a similar back-story.

I actually liked the original idea that the Emperor has tried all manner of different ways of uniting humanity to a common and peaceful purpose, from religion to philosophy to scientific advancement and understanding, and only at the end of a very long process of partial or slow successes did he finally decide that he needed to take direct control - that he needed to save humanity whether they wanted to be saved in such a manner or not.

This adds more depth and colour to idea of the Emperor's unintentional though pretty fatal hubris and may also help explain the Emperor complete (and lethal) disenchantment with religions. He tried to enlighten and control humanity through religion, but humans being humans weaponised his efforts and used them as devices of exclusion instead on inclusion, scarring souls and promoting emotions and ideas that create Chaos. Perhaps the Emperor even feels guilty about his past efforts concerning religious belief - although judging by his approach to the Mechanicum he wasn't totally against the idea of a little religious manipulation when it served his notion of humanity's Greater Good.


The Eldar version of the Virgin Mary, I guess.
Hmm... more explicitly like Brigid, Isis, Gaia and the brilliantly named Frigg and Fecunditas. Although I take your point that Isha is also a mother goddess, not just a fertility goddess - there's sometimes a difference - and the Virgin Mary has also throughout Christian history been treated at various times and by various groups as an all-caring Mother Goddess in all but name.


Interesting take. Thanks for weighing in!
Entirely my pleasure. These are my favourite sorts of discussion on Warseer (if you couldn't already tell by the length of this post).

massey
20-08-2010, 15:43
The other thing to remember is that all this is just conjecture. Theologians discuss their own pet theories on the nature of God, despite the fact that an omnipotent being is, by definition, beyond human comprehension. They merely make analogies to try and understand. Likewise, we sit around and discuss beings that we are told in the background are unknowable and ever-changing. So don't think that any one definition is "right". It's like trying to explain quantum mechanics to a 4 year old. Even if you come up with a really good, simple explanation that mostly gets your point across, the kid will still have only the most vague understanding of the topic.

Chaos gods seem to follow the standard rule of fantasy religions that more worshipers = more power. I don't know of any real religions that believe that, but it's a staple of the genre. Of course, the Chaos gods are also heavily rooted in medieval Christianity, acting in opposition to and trying to subvert the God/Emperor figure. This is an entirely different role and carries with it different characteristics than the fantasy "evil gods" role. They also have a lot of parallels to the Cthulhu mythos, ancient terrors from another realm. And those creatures carry with them yet another set of rules. Remember that in Lovecraft, all other religions were wrong. Christianity was just something invented to make people feel good, and in Lovecraft's world, the only gods out there watching over us were insane, uncaring hungry things. So the Chaos gods are based on that too.

So there are at least three different aspects to the mythology of the Chaos gods, each one just as relevant, just as important, but totally contradictory to the other two. Khorne is as much an analog to Satan as he is some elder thing that causes madness in the dreams of men, and he's just as much the D&D Tiamat or Bane as he is the other two.

Thinking he knew exactly how Chaos operated is what caused Magnus to fall. He's going in there thinking that these are just oceans of energy that react to thoughts and emotions, and he's right, sometimes. But they're also standard evil gods. Any one definition is going to fail to encompass the way the Warp works in 40K.

The Eldar deities are more related to the classical gods, a defined pantheon with personalities and interactions with mortals. But then with the rise of Christianity and the demonization of other gods (as in, the new church in town says that the sun god you used to worship is now a bad guy), the Greek gods "died" and were no longer worshiped (though they seemed to have escaped demonization).

MvS
20-08-2010, 18:10
The other thing to remember is that all this is just conjecture.
Yes and no. The difference between us and real-world theologians is that we've had some 'objectives' of how the Warp works provided for us - so souls and Warp storms and all that jazz. These have been explained in detail.


Likewise, we sit around and discuss beings that we are told in the background are unknowable and ever-changing.
Well indeed, the ideas, plans and full scope of the gods in 40K are unknowable - only because we're told this of course - but this doesn't mean we don't have some in-setting 'facts' about their structure. Unlike divinities in the real-world.


It's like trying to explain quantum mechanics to a 4 year old. Even if you come up with a really good, simple explanation that mostly gets your point across, the kid will still have only the most vague understanding of the topic.
I know what you mean - although understanding the basic principles of a theory is often much easier than understanding all the minutiae and number crunching that goes on behind the theories.


Chaos gods seem to follow the standard rule of fantasy religions that more worshipers = more power.
Definitely. I remember reading about planets in the Eye of Terror dominated by endless 'Prayer Gangs', presumably because these empower the gods and/or their daemons.


the Chaos gods are also heavily rooted in medieval Christianity, acting in opposition to and trying to subvert the God/Emperor figure. This is an entirely different role and carries with it different characteristics than the fantasy "evil gods" role.
Yes, as you've said, this is them in their Great Adversary role, like Satan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satan) (or here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil_in_Christianity)) in some denominations of Christianity or Angra Mainyu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angra_Mainyu) in Zoroastrianism.

That said, the Chaos Gods are not created by the Emperor or vice-versa and they have interests that span the galaxy and other species besides humans. In fact they may span eternity and any number of parallel universes.


They also have a lot of parallels to the Cthulhu mythos, ancient terrors from another realm. And those creatures carry with them yet another set of rules....the only gods out there watching over us were insane, uncaring hungry things. So the Chaos gods are based on that too.
Indeed, and this is my favourite element of how they appear and interact with the mortals in the 40K universe. Having said that, knowing some stuff about how they came to be or what they are 'made' from doesn't take away from the Lovecraftian horror they represent.

Most civilisations in the 40K setting haven't the faintest knowledge of what the Chaos Gods are, apart from being evil, 'satanic' gods. We know a bit more than in-setting characters, but at the same time the imagery has plenty of room for more development that can add to the mystery, horror and insane power and magnitude of the Chaos Gods.


So there are at least three different aspects to the mythology of the Chaos gods, each one just as relevant, just as important, but totally contradictory to the other two.
I agree with the first part, but I don't see why these have to be contradictory.


Khorne is as much an analog to Satan as he is some elder thing that causes madness in the dreams of men, and he's just as much the D&D Tiamat or Bane as he is the other two.
Right. I'm not sure I'm understanding where you identify the contradiction.

Because these entities are definitively real and describable in relatively 'factual' terms, rather than simply through the praxis of faith (as is the case in the real world), we can say a lot about them without it being contradictory.

For instance, Hitler, because he was real and had a tangible effect on his environment and other people, can be described accurately in many different ways - some factual, some value judgements, all as 'correct' as each other.

For instance we can say he was:

1. A dark haired German who hated the state his nation was left in after the Treaty of Versailles.

2. A political philosopher.

3. A man regarded by millions of his followers of the time as a heroic figure who wanted only to make Germany take it's 'correct' place in the world

4. Elected German Chancellor.

5. An Idealist seeking to create his vision of a utopia

6. An absolute, and ultimately deluded, dictator.

7. A completely racist and genocidal monster.

8. A failed artist.

9. An animal loving vegetarian.

10. A pompous jackass with a stupid moustache.

All of the above are true and none take away from the others. there are many more accurate ways of describing Hitler, both in terms of what he was (human, Caucasian, etc) and what he did or how he behaved (bad tempered, unrealistic, militarily successful, ultimately a military failure) and so on.

Khorne and the other Chaos Gods can be massive disturbances in the Warp, like storms or continents of souls and emotions. They can also be the ultimately unknowable (in absolute terms), uncaring, effectively all-powerful creeping horrors of Lovecraftian lore.

Like Lovecraft's Nyarlathotep (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyarlathotep) (or here (http://www.google.co.uk/images?um=1&hl=en&biw=1280&bih=808&tbs=isch%3A1&sa=1&q=Nyarlathotep&btnG=Search&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=)) they can manifest identities and (many) names, so they can be the high fantasy and/or ancient Greek (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_pantheon)/Norse (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norse_pantheon#Gods)/Egyptian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_gods)(etc) gods


Thinking he knew exactly how Chaos operated is what caused Magnus to fall. He's going in there thinking that these are just oceans of energy that react to thoughts and emotions, and he's right, sometimes. But they're also standard evil gods. Any one definition is going to fail to encompass the way the Warp works in 40K.
Well... it is a made up imagery. The gods within it are as mysterious or understandable as the creators and various writers make them to be.

It's true that the characters within the 40K setting always underestimate or misunderstand the Chaos Gods, but that doesn't reflect on us. Magnus thought, quite correctly, that the Chaos Gods were storms of energy in the Warp. Quite incorrectly he decided to believe that this is all that they were.

He viewed them as scientist with only some of the facts looking at a fraction of an near infinite sized problem, only to make extrapolations based upon his limited knowledge and simply assume that his limited extrapolations are the factual totality of everything he is only partially observing.

He wasn't wrong (Hitler was a short German with a dopey haircut...) but he wasn't entirely right either (...who was also one of the most successful, dangerous and morally destitute absolute dictators in modern history).

Magnus was doing the equivalent of judging Hitler by his old discarded drawings and his dress sense, rather than by anything more relevant to the totality of what Hitler could and did represent and do.


The Eldar deities are more related to the classical gods, a defined pantheon with personalities and interactions with mortals.
This is, I think, what makes the Chaos Gods so special in the setting.

They are unlike the other gods of 40K. They are at once much, much more and much, much less. Like Lovecraft's Azathoth (http://www.google.co.uk/images?hl=en&q=azathoth&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&biw=1280&bih=808)(idiot, mindless, nuclear Chaos personified, but also the most powerful and dangerous 'king' of all other gods and demons).

madprophet
23-08-2010, 01:02
MvS, I am still digesting all of what you posted here - it offers a lot of food for thought. I see where you are going with this, and I have to admit you make a lot of good points.

I think you are spot on with your understanding of the connection between the Corpus Imperialis and the Starchild - not only does it square with the Rogue Trader fluff, the way you describe it makes sense (as much as anything in 40k makes sense)

Massey, you also have a point about more worshipers = more power being implicit in the 40k theological framework.

I am still trying to piece together a unified field theory for 40k's Warp and you all have been real helpful

Thanks for the input, I found the whole thread very useful.

MvS
23-08-2010, 09:39
The way I've always rationalised the difference between the importance of souls and emotions to Warp Gods and the importance worship (aside from the afore mentioned connection between religions promoting the revelations, attitudes, souls scarrings etc that empower different gods) is by saying that the Warp vortices exist regardless of whether mortals are aware of them. 'Gods', on the other hand, with identities, interests and even 'looks' don't necessarily.

So perhaps the Chaos Gods need to be perceived before they can do anything more than fiddle subconsciously with mortals in a particular galaxy/universe/reality. They need to be conceptualised, named and have expectations projected upon them. So the faceless and broiling force of Chaos exists, but it doesn't become 'Khorne' or 'Tzeentch' until mortals projects these names and identities onto the terrible forces and drives they feel seeping into their minds and souls from Beyond. From Heaven or Hell. From the Warp.

Maybe worship doesn't give more power to the Chaos Gods as faceless Warp Storms, but perhaps it gives them more focus, more 'doorways' or 'bridges' of mortal expectation into Realspace?

ryng_sting
23-08-2010, 19:58
I've never quite been convinced that the Orks actively empower Khorne and Tzeentch. If Orks are as numerous the background suggests...Khorne basically would have owned the galaxy long ago. Since he hasn't, and Gork and Mork exist, I'd conclude the 'green' input into the warp is exclusive to them.

I think the Emperor has the same advantage as Sigmar in WHFB - the experience of having once been human. A more limited field to draw on, perhaps - but precise as a laser. The beam cuts because its narrow.

madprophet
23-08-2010, 20:52
Well, MvS, I think you may be on to something with the idea that worship provides entry to the Materium for warp-gods. That would "explain" why the Emperor originally tried to do away with religion.

Hellebore
24-08-2010, 02:22
I've never quite been convinced that the Orks actively empower Khorne and Tzeentch. If Orks are as numerous the background suggests...Khorne basically would have owned the galaxy long ago. Since he hasn't, and Gork and Mork exist, I'd conclude the 'green' input into the warp is exclusive to them.

I think the Emperor has the same advantage as Sigmar in WHFB - the experience of having once been human. A more limited field to draw on, perhaps - but precise as a laser. The beam cuts because its narrow.

Khorne is the strongest of chaos gods, which reflects the effect of all that aggression from many races including orks. Gork and Mork being subsets within Khorne just show the strength of 'independent but the same' emotional vortices. You'd have to prove that the entire ork species pumping into khorne WOULD empower him to 'own' the galaxy, rather than saying 'it is, therefore'.

Considering that the most a chaos god can do is send daemons into realspace for short periods of time, there is no evidence that they themselves can get into realspace to smash stuff up.

Hellebore

Askil the Undecided
25-08-2010, 11:08
Khorne is the strongest of chaos gods, which reflects the effect of all that aggression from many races including orks. Gork and Mork being subsets within Khorne just show the strength of 'independent but the same' emotional vortices. You'd have to prove that the entire ork species pumping into khorne WOULD empower him to 'own' the galaxy, rather than saying 'it is, therefore'.

Considering that the most a chaos god can do is send daemons into realspace for short periods of time, there is no evidence that they themselves can get into realspace to smash stuff up.

Hellebore

There is no evidence that it is "the most a chaos god can do" to send Deamons into realspace. Chaos gifts and "spawning" failed champions shows that they have plenty of power over the materium when they wish to.

Hellebore
25-08-2010, 12:11
There is no evidence that it is "the most a chaos god can do" to send Deamons into realspace. Chaos gifts and "spawning" failed champions shows that they have plenty of power over the materium when they wish to.

The argument was that given sufficient power a chaos god would 'own' the material world. Giving galactically insignificant gifts and turning individual organisms into monsters is hardly 'owning' anything in the grand scheme of things.

The most devestating effect a chaos god ever had on realspace was when Slannesh tore the warp apart when it sucked up most of the eldar souls in the core of their empire during its birth. But that happened as Slannesh was 'born' and clearly cannot happen again or Slannesh wouldn't have so many problems trying to get eldar souls - he'd just suck them all up again.

My mentioning of daemons was because they are parts of the god that made them. That is as close as a chaos god gets to getting into realspace and 'owning' it. If Khorne could just step into realspace rather than sending a few tiny bits in, there isn't any reason he wouldn't already had done it and consumed everything in the galaxy. Thus the warp puts a limitation on what energy the chaos gods can actually transfer into realspace.


Hellebore

Son of Sanguinius
25-08-2010, 19:30
The argument was that given sufficient power a chaos god would 'own' the material world. Giving galactically insignificant gifts and turning individual organisms into monsters is hardly 'owning' anything in the grand scheme of things.

The most devestating effect a chaos god ever had on realspace was when Slannesh tore the warp apart when it sucked up most of the eldar souls in the core of their empire during its birth. But that happened as Slannesh was 'born' and clearly cannot happen again or Slannesh wouldn't have so many problems trying to get eldar souls - he'd just suck them all up again.

My mentioning of daemons was because they are parts of the god that made them. That is as close as a chaos god gets to getting into realspace and 'owning' it. If Khorne could just step into realspace rather than sending a few tiny bits in, there isn't any reason he wouldn't already had done it and consumed everything in the galaxy. Thus the warp puts a limitation on what energy the chaos gods can actually transfer into realspace.


Hellebore

Agreed. The demons can kind of be seen as the gods getting their proverbial toes wet in the ocean that is material space.

Askil the Undecided
26-08-2010, 04:46
You fail to consider that maybe the god's simply don't see a need, they have little or no concept of time and little undrstanding of when we call the present, so they aren't impatiently waiting or biding their time and when you look at it the galaxy is going to hell in a hand basket quite nicely already. They just give in a little nudge every so often.

Remember to a Chaos god time and space are nothing, they are colours they don't see to Slaanesh he's waiting to be born, being born, existing, fighting the Eldar Gods, making his first Deamon prince, watching every champion of Slaanesh ever and experiencing the heat death of the universe simultaneously. The only problem with trying to understand that is that our minds don't have the wiring to grasp omnipresence in more than three dimensions in a non linear fashion.

Hellebore
26-08-2010, 05:01
But that contradicts the idea of marks and spawning that you make earlier. The gods do have an interest in realspace and do take notice, otherwise their champions would be dying of old age before the god noticed they'd offended them to turn them into spawn.

The fact that their marked champions are marked in a regular and linear manner does not run conducive to the idea that they don't understand or care about realspace.

Hellebore

Son of Sanguinius
26-08-2010, 05:56
Exactly. The gods know where their bread is buttered, so to speak.

Carlos
26-08-2010, 09:21
The Imperium as a whole is like the most Xenophobic, right wing, conservative religion you could think of. Most citizens behave this way because they are indoctrined from a young age to do so. Tolerance of other cultures is forbidden and replaced with a deluded view they are superior to all other species to the point their super soldiers go and enact this view on other races. In other words the Imperium is a futuristic form of Nazism.

The Eldar do not really worship any deity but instead focus themselves and philosophise on teachings of other Eldar. This is close to Bushido but spread to other areas besides fighting.

The Tau is the ultimate ideal of secular humanism where all beliefs of other cultures are tolerated and they all work together for a common ideal. Fire Warriors also follow a version of Bushido to the point Commander Puretide wrote their Hagakure, although the Tau themselves have no faith.

Orks are more like Klingons in that their gods are warriors and this is the drive behind their society: be the biggest and strongest.

Chaos is the complete opposite of the Nazi imperium and promotes ultimate freedom of expression as well as a mandate to evangelise as you see fit, mostly with bloodshed.

Tyranids are the ultimate communism. All creatures are equal parts of the same machine, ultimately loyal to their cause and obey orders without question.

Necrons need no faith because their science has proven the existance of their gods to the point they accompany them to war.

Askil the Undecided
27-08-2010, 00:16
But that contradicts the idea of marks and spawning that you make earlier. The gods do have an interest in realspace and do take notice, otherwise their champions would be dying of old age before the god noticed they'd offended them to turn them into spawn.

The fact that their marked champions are marked in a regular and linear manner does not run conducive to the idea that they don't understand or care about realspace.

Hellebore

No it doesn't, the fact the gods have little or no understanding of the material world doesn't mean they are uninterested or limited in their interaction with it in any way. Just that they don't always grasp these events in any way a sane mind would understand.

Son of Sanguinius
27-08-2010, 00:20
Here you say they aren't interested.


You fail to consider that maybe the god's simply don't see a need, they have little or no concept of time and little undrstanding of when we call the present, so they aren't impatiently waiting or biding their time and when you look at it the galaxy is going to hell in a hand basket quite nicely already. They just give in a little nudge every so often.

Remember to a Chaos god time and space are nothing, they are colours they don't see to Slaanesh he's waiting to be born, being born, existing, fighting the Eldar Gods, making his first Deamon prince, watching every champion of Slaanesh ever and experiencing the heat death of the universe simultaneously. The only problem with trying to understand that is that our minds don't have the wiring to grasp omnipresence in more than three dimensions in a non linear fashion.

Here you imply they are interested.


No it doesn't, the fact the gods have little or no understanding of the material world doesn't mean they are uninterested or limited in their interaction with it in any way. Just that they don't always grasp these events in any way a sane mind would understand.

Sane or insane, it seems rather simple to me. They grant gifts, they send demons (extensions of themselves), and they manipulate events- therefore, they are interested.

madprophet
27-08-2010, 02:11
The Imperium as a whole is like the most Xenophobic, right wing, conservative religion you could think of.
Terms like right-wing and conservative are relative. There is, for example, a "right-wing" of Move-on.org and a "left-wing" of the John Birch Society. Conservative is also a relative term. A conservative favors keeping things as they are (or were) and a liberal wants to change things. The Imperial cult has conservative elements (the Amalthians spring to mind) and liberal elements (the Reconsecrators are a great example). Xenophobia means fear of the alien, and is carries a negative connotation but when one considers what aliens we are dealing with in the 40k setting - Xenophobia is an entirely rational position.


Most citizens behave this way because they are indoctrined from a young age to do so.
This is true of any culture - we tend to accept as axiom the ethos of the culture that we are raised in simply because it is invisible to us.


Tolerance of other cultures is forbidden
Not so! The Tanith in the Guant's Ghosts series don't exhibit any sort of intolerance against the guard regiments from other worlds. The Valhallans in the Cain books don't exhibit any intolerance against people from other worlds either. Indeed, the Imperium is more tolerant of human diversity than many modern "liberal" institutions in the real world.


and replaced with a deluded view they are superior to all other species to the point their super soldiers go and enact this view on other races.
No, the Imperium believes (with considerable justification) that it is engaged in a struggle for the survival of the human race. There is no way you are going to talk the Orks, Dark Eldar, Tyranids, or Chaos cults to join hands and sing Kumbaya.

Even the Eldar and the Tau are pretty convinced of their own superiority. The Eldar once ruled the galaxy and would like to see humanity annihilated so they can reclaim it. Under the Tau, the best humanity could hope for is to exist as a slave class on concentration camp worlds.

The Imperium does believe humans are superior - but mainly they believe humanity has a right to survive. It may seem "speciesist" but given the facts on the ground, the Imperial view is eminently pragmatic.

However, the Imperium does seem to have entirely eradicated racism as we currently understand the term. A Krieg guardsman would not particularly care if a guardsman from Luther Macintire had dark skin - he's human and that's good enough.


In other words the Imperium is a futuristic form of Nazism.
Not so at all! Nazism is national socialism - the belief that the Marxist utopia can be built in a single nation combined with a vicious pan-Germanism. The Imperium doesn't seem particularly socialist to me, the economy is decidedly mercantilist (an oligarchical, centrally planned, cartel-based system). There is nothing nationalist about the Imperium since loyalty to one's homeworld and one's own people is supposed to be secondary to a greater loyalty to the human race - represented by the Imperium, of course.

Given the wide range of cultural, religious and racial types represented within the Imperial structure, I don't believe you can seriously aver that the Imperium is pan-Germanist. Pan-humanist, perhaps, but that still places it well outside of National Socialism.

The Imperium definitely exhibits a feudal structure and (at least at the interstellar level) is rather authoritarian but it respects home-rule much better than say the U.S. Federal government does (basically because it has no choice). While all religious expression has to incorporate veneration of the Emperor - the Imperium is very willing to tolerate a very broad variety of religions within that single stricture. The Imperium isn't democratic, it isn't "nice", it isn't pleasant, but it clearly isn't Nazi.


The Eldar do not really worship any deity but instead focus themselves and philosophise on teachings of other Eldar. This is close to Bushido but spread to other areas besides fighting.
No, I would say the Tau better exemplify Bushido than the Eldar. The Eldar worship an array of gods - Khaine, Isha, and Ynead among others. The Eldar cannot afford the cavalier attitude towards the life of an individual that Bushido calls for - they need to preserve their numbers as much as they can since they are very much an endangered species.


The Tau is the ultimate ideal of secular humanism where all beliefs of other cultures are tolerated and they all work together for a common ideal. Fire Warriors also follow a version of Bushido to the point Commander Puretide wrote their Hagakure, although the Tau themselves have no faith.
Nope, not so at all. The concept of the Greater Good reminds me of the amalgam of Buddhism and Shinto that is popular in Japan. The Tau are not tolerant - they see other species as useful in advancing the greater good (of the Tau). Their "tolerance" of other species is similar to Japan's "tolerance" of the Manchus, Koreans, Philipinos, Taiwanese and Ainu in their "co-prosperity sphere" of the 1930's. There is nothing secular about the Tau faith in the Greater Good (of the Tau race) and their veneration of the Ethereals (who function as the state-Shinto priesthood did prior to 1945).


Orks are more like Klingons in that their gods are warriors and this is the drive behind their society: be the biggest and strongest.
Again, I must respectfully disagree - the Klingons prize honor and fight to win a prize or satisfy the demands of honor. Orks fight because they are Orks and dat's wot orkes does - dey fights!


Chaos is the complete opposite of the Nazi imperium and promotes ultimate freedom of expression as well as a mandate to evangelise as you see fit, mostly with bloodshed.
Well, being the Imperium is not Nazi your statement makes little sense. The Imperium demands, above all other things, order. Chaos seeks to tear down order. They are natural opposites. Where the Imperium sees the human race, represented by the Imperium, as the natural object of every human's loyalty Chaos sees oneself and only oneself as being worth loyal too. Chaos dismisses altruism, love, honor, sacrifice as fool's errands. To a true Chaotic, it really is all about ME!


Tyranids are the ultimate communism. All creatures are equal parts of the same machine, ultimately loyal to their cause and obey orders without question.
Here I can agree without reservation. The 'nids are heavily influenced by Heinlein's Arachnids from Starship Troopers which were written specifically as a metaphor for the logical perfection of Communism.


Necrons need no faith because their science has proven the existance of their gods to the point they accompany them to war.
Yes, but also the Necrons aren't alive in any real sense. They are machines - if anything they are simply tools and when one fights the Necrons, it is really the C'tan they are fighting against.

Nazgul12
27-08-2010, 02:45
Eloquently put madprophet. I think the argument could be made that the Imperium tends to be more conservative in general as an institution. But this has to be with the correct understanding of conservatism as referring to as desire for things to remain unchanged. As you pointed out, conservatism is relative to the past for a given culture. For instance in the United States where I'm from, conservatism refers in fact to classical liberalism, as this was the dominant political view of the country until the factions supporting larger government began to coalesce during the 20th century and form what is often called "modern" liberalism. On the other hand, a conservative in France during the French revolution would have essentially been a monarchist whose beliefs would run exactly counter to the beliefs of an American conservative today.

Anywho, the Imperium does seem to be willfully stuck in a rut when it comes to technology. It's culture also seems to change at a fairly glacial pace. So I think "conservative" would be an apt adjective. Getting back to the OP, I could be wrong but I've gotten the sense that your average Imperial Priest or even Cardinal would probably have no idea that the Emperor originally banned religion. Few enough even know of the Horus heresy. Ten thousand years later, that whole era when the Emperor was not attached to the Golden Throne is little more than myth and legend that has been intensified to a religious level. I think it's not that the ecclesiarchy know they aren't supposed to deify the emperor but do it anyway; I suspect all they know is that the Emperor is indeed a deity and is to be worshipped.

madprophet
27-08-2010, 03:09
Eloquently put madprophet. I think the argument could be made that the Imperium tends to be more conservative in general as an institution. But this has to be with the correct understanding of conservatism as referring to as desire for things to remain unchanged. As you pointed out, conservatism is relative to the past for a given culture. For instance in the United States where I'm from, conservatism refers in fact to classical liberalism, as this was the dominant political view of the country until the factions supporting larger government began to coalesce during the 20th century and form what is often called "modern" liberalism. On the other hand, a conservative in France during the French revolution would have essentially been a monarchist whose beliefs would run exactly counter to the beliefs of an American conservative today.
Yes, quite so. The old order that an American "conservative" wishes to preserve is very different from the old order Saudi "conservative" wishes to preserve yet both can be described as "conservative"


Anywho, the Imperium does seem to be willfully stuck in a rut when it comes to technology. It's culture also seems to change at a fairly glacial pace. So I think "conservative" would be an apt adjective.
Oh, yes, I agree with this but without understanding what order the Imperials are trying to preserve the term "conservative" by itself doesn't tell us much.


Getting back to the OP, I could be wrong but I've gotten the sense that your average Imperial Priest or even Cardinal would probably have no idea that the Emperor originally banned religion.
Without a doubt! Indeed, I suspect the number of people who know this in the 41st millennium can be counted on the fingers of one hand.


Few enough even know of the Horus heresy. Ten thousand years later, that whole era when the Emperor was not attached to the Golden Throne is little more than myth and legend that has been intensified to a religious level.
If anything the Fall of Horus is treated like the Fall of Lucifer in the Christian tradition. It is part of the Holy Writ. The days when the Emperor walked amongst men is like the days of Jesus' life in Christianity - intellectually conceded but not immediately relevant today since the crucifixion and resurrection are far more important. (Of course, in the Rogue Trader era the fluff was that the Emperor WAS Jesus - but that's beside the point)



I think it's not that the ecclesiarchy know they aren't supposed to deify the emperor but do it anyway; I suspect all they know is that the Emperor is indeed a deity and is to be worshipped.
Quite. I think that sums it up rather well.

Hellebore
27-08-2010, 03:58
Well we do see bias against groups/cultures in the Imperium - the houses of necromunda are so insulated they've genetically diverged (hulking goliaths, moronic male escher, bald light sensitive cawdor etc). Those houses dislike each other intensely and not just for commercial reasons.

There are also the statements about barbaric tribal guardsmen and how few like them and the explicit dislike or even outright reviling of the abhumans like ogryns and ratlings. They are still part of the Imperium but they are not liked due to imperial bias.

The Imperium is extremely tolerant assuming you acknowledge the god emperor in some form, but even then there are some rather quirky biases within the system.

Other than that, I agree with Madprophet.

Hellebore

ryng_sting
27-08-2010, 17:32
Considering that the most a chaos god can do is send daemons into realspace for short periods of time, there is no evidence that they themselves can get into realspace to smash stuff up.

Aside from that whole 'Fall of the Eldar' thing.

My point was that if Khorne really is hoovering up all the input from the Orks, who are supposed to be far more numerous than most races, including humanity, he would have triumphed over the other gods long ago, and started doing big things with that power.

Jonman
27-08-2010, 19:01
'Deify' is not a word.

Son of Sanguinius
27-08-2010, 19:29
Yes, it (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deify) is a word.

Askil the Undecided
27-08-2010, 19:45
'Deify' is not a word.

Wow that was educational.

Also Son of Sanguinius I never said that the Chaos gods aren't interested just that they are unknowable due to the fact their perceptions, reasoning and thought processes are beyond the scope of creatures that primarily percieve their world in three dimensions and experience time in a linear fashion.

As such they reward things we see as failure and withold rewards from those we would see as deserving, due to the fact that they can see the totality of time in the totality of the multiverse constantly.

Think of the Chaos gods as generals rewarding the people whose contributions actually mattered in the war with the benefit of hindsight.

This explains the rash of champions who have not been elevated to deamonhood the gods know that their greatest acheivements are yet to come. It must also be understood that the gods don't always understand the effects their gifts can have thus when Khorne "blesses" one of his followers with constantly bleeding eyes studded with vicious brass spikes he doesn't mean it as a punishment, he just dosn't grasp that it would be detrimental.

madprophet
27-08-2010, 21:01
Well we do see bias against groups/cultures in the Imperium - the houses of necromunda are so insulated they've genetically diverged (hulking goliaths, moronic male escher, bald light sensitive cawdor etc). Those houses dislike each other intensely and not just for commercial reasons.
Yes, you are quite correct - the Imperium is definitely politically incorrect - I could have been clearer. My point was that the statement "tolerance of other cultures is forbidden" is false. While the houses of Necromunda do indeed hate each other for irrational reasons, the Imperium doesn't require them to do so.


There are also the statements about barbaric tribal guardsmen and how few like them and the explicit dislike or even outright reviling of the abhumans like ogryns and ratlings. They are still part of the Imperium but they are not liked due to imperial bias.
Quite right! I had forgotten about those fluff bits. But even here, the tolerance of these cultures isn't forbidden - it's just that there is some intolerance that exists.


The Imperium is extremely tolerant assuming you acknowledge the god emperor in some form, but even then there are some rather quirky biases within the system.

Other than that, I agree with Madprophet.

Hellebore
I concede the points Hellebore made. He's right that the Imperium isn't PC in its attitude towards enforcing tolerance but it doesn't mandate or even particularly encourage intolerance between human cultures because you never know when a guard regiment from planet "A" will have to serve with one from planet "B" so it's not a good idea to foster strife between the cultures "A" and "B".:skull:

Hellebore
28-08-2010, 04:26
It wouldn't surprise me if the Ministorum or Administratum attempted to enforce equality through mandatory teaching etc.

It's not in the Imperium's best interests if its disparate people all hate each other. Coming together in common cause under the Emperor's light would be the ideal.

However, the Imperium has a large Class bias. They don't seem to care that the classes hate each other (on planets where such a thing exists). Probably because the upper classes have a larger impact on the Imperium's function than the lower classes.

Hellebore

madprophet
29-08-2010, 22:19
It wouldn't surprise me if the Ministorum or Administratum attempted to enforce equality through mandatory teaching etc.

It's not in the Imperium's best interests if its disparate people all hate each other. Coming together in common cause under the Emperor's light would be the ideal.
That makes sense. I would have to agree with you there.


However, the Imperium has a large Class bias. They don't seem to care that the classes hate each other (on planets where such a thing exists). Probably because the upper classes have a larger impact on the Imperium's function than the lower classes.

Hellebore
Yes, the Imperium definitely has a stratified society - there's little doubt of that. The Imperial establishment comes out of that class-system to them it is probably invisible. It is also worth noting that the idea that all men are created equal is relatively new - dating from the mid-1700's. For most of human history and in most of the world today, people are born unequal, live unequal and die unequal. Justice for most of human history has meant "have you been accorded the rights due to someone of your race, class and religion?" rather than "have you been accorded equal protection of the law and respect for all your human rights?"