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View Full Version : The Imperial Truth and the Imperium having no 'real' point



spacemonkeymojo
10-11-2013, 23:55
When I first got introduced to Wh40k, I did not know all of the lore but as Dawn of War was my first real introduction, I thoroughly enjoyed. Perhaps it was basically like seeing a futuristic society based on medieval beliefs and a superstitious religious society. I viewed the Emperor as a messiah-like figure but then I read the Word Bearer's history and how even the Emperor admonished them the Word Bearers for preaching he was divine when he himself admitted he wasn't. So all these armies that I thought were cool, sort of the good guys vs all the bad out there are just zealots who don't know any better. SoB, Warrior Nuns that are being misled, Space Marines at their core now have little to fight for besides the "honor" of the chapter. The imperial cult somehow took off after the emperor was interred in the golden throne which was completely contradictory to his original belief for man.

Granted we never get it explained why he was so powerful over other humans (which I took for again a messiah type figure). I originally viewed him as basically being at least equal to the chaos gods in being able to fight and stop them but if he's just the greatest example of a human, then what hope is there?So from people who also enjoy the series, does anyone see any real point in the Imperium? Their entire goals are now focused and built upon a devout faith in a lie that the god-emperor is out there guiding their fate as a divine being which is entirely untrue. The only thing I can think of is, just how the eldar could spawn Slaanesh, perhaps the combined psychic energy of the human race can 'rebirth' the Emperor into a divine being?I am also finding the chaos chosen from my DV set way more appealing now :D

Perrin
11-11-2013, 01:02
I think that's kind of the point though really, and what makes it so grimdark. There is no point for the Imperium other than survival, although some would say the Imperium is a corpse in it's death-throes.
Obviously the greatest irony is that the Emperor started his crusade to wipe out religion, but as a consequence of his wounding and the Heresy he is now worshipped as a god by trillions of humans. I don't think that him being worshipped could ever turn him into a god like Slaanesh because Slaanesh is pure warp, the Emperor has a physical anchor in reality, although many daemon princes used to be human. Also the Eldar are a psychic race, so their worship and emotions had a lot more of an impact on the warp than that of human worship and emotions. Although, human psykers developed over time, probably as a result of evolution (you never know with 40k) so it is possible that in time the percentage of psykers would increase, eventually turning humanity into a psychic race and causing the creation of the God Emperor.

Also I disagree about the Space Marine chapters, although yes some are probably motivated solely by honour and duty and seem to look on ordinary humans with contempt, and possibly even the Imperium as a whole, there are some Chapters that fight to protect humanity, like the Salamanders, Space Wolves, Soul Drinkers etc.

Theocracity
11-11-2013, 01:07
Well, the 'point' of the Imperium is maintaining control over the population so that it can be managed in a way that promotes the continued survival and success of humanity. The Imperial Cult is just one of the tools that allows this - by instilling a culture of duty at birth, judgement in failure, and belief of infallibility in the works of the Adeptus it ensures a compliant and productive population that would otherwise fragment and collapse under its own weight. The fact that it also promises guidance and protection from harm are just side benefits, even in the cases where this is correct (such as the Astronomicon and certain holy relics).

There has been a lot of speculation that the Emperor's death would result in his resurrection or apotheosis as a true god. That's been discussed a lot before, but since it's never going to happen in the story it's just one of those intentional mysteries. I think there's a mention somewhere that the early Inquisition suspected as such, but they intentionally suppressed it - the risk that the Emperor's mind might be broken by his ordeal was considered too much of a risk (no one wants a crazy god on their hands - or worse, one who might fire you from your cushy job ;)).

Perrin
11-11-2013, 01:14
That is a good point I suppose, without the absolute control of the Administration, =][=, Imperial cult etc Humanity would have died out a long time ago. Sure the Imperium is just one huge meat-grinding machine but it works, and ensures the continued survival of the species. I honestly can't see the Imperium ever falling even if the timeline was allowed to advance. They outnumber chaos purely because chaos relies on traitors and converts, they outnumber the Tau, the Eldar and the Dark Eldar. The Nids might be a problem if the Hive Fleets keep on coming, and if the past ones have only been scouts. I'm unsure of exact Necron numbers but they aren't a united force. The Orks just want to fight, they aren't out for the destruction of the Imperium.
So basically, yes life in the Imperium sucks, and the only real point is the continued survival of the species, but that is what its good at, and it is succeeding.

Mellow
11-11-2013, 06:57
The only point of the imperium is control (of sorts)

The Emperor needs to die to resurrect such is the nature of a perpetual, however he can't as from the point of death to rebirth the webway gate would come crashing down with a flood of Daemons.

The Imperium is therefore totally stuck.

A.T.
11-11-2013, 10:45
So from people who also enjoy the series, does anyone see any real point in the Imperium?The point of the Imperium is survival - humans are currently highly vulnerable to predation from warp entities as they are early in their development as a psychic race but, in time, will grow powerful enough to protect themselves. The current goal of humanity is to just live that long.

ntw3001
11-11-2013, 11:07
The Lexicanum article on the Emperor (which for some reason I'm not able to link) has more details on him. He's not just a basic human, he's a very special chap. But not a god! But everyone would really rather just say he is a god. And he does have a large Warp presence, so one theory is that if he were to die and his link with the Materium be severed, he would become a Chaos-God-sized Warp entity.

El_Machinae
11-11-2013, 12:33
Keep in mind, I think that 40k presents the Imperium as functional for what it does (maintain humanity within an Empire). I don't think they ever present the Imperium as the best way of doing so. We'll all disagree regarding the quality of human line at the median.

Shamana
11-11-2013, 16:32
Well, I think even "functional" is a bit of a stretch - it is extremely inefficient and often ineffective and plagued by unrest, petty rebellions, etc. The Imperium is often presented as teetering on the edge of annihilation and - for all its power - essentially fighting for survival, beset on enemies on all sides. I think that is a big part of the grimdark idea, although I get the feeling it is a bit downplayed recently.

Mellow
11-11-2013, 16:50
There is no master plan for the Imperium. There is simply the greed and self preservation interests of individuals (such as the high lords). So long as they live they care not that worlds burn by the dozen.

Son of Morkai
12-11-2013, 01:58
The Imperium exists to enforce the Emperor's will. If it means that worlds burn, then so be it. Just as a surgeon excises a tumor, sometimes an Inquisitor must burn a world and all upon it. Just as healthy flesh must be slashed open for the surgeon to reach the cancer, sometimes the innocent must die for retribution to strike the guilty. Not because of greed or fear or any other fallible emotion, but from duty.

That is the purpose of the Imperium - duty to the Emperor, duty to humanity. Some fulfill their duty by protecting mankind, so that it may survive. Think of them as the Imperium's skin - a so very thin layer of fragile tissue that against all odds keeps the body of the Imperium safe from infection and parasites. Others crusade against the alien and the heretic, so that none can rise to threaten. They are the Imperium's fists, striking out at all who seek to harm the body. Others have longer-term goals, to empower the Emperor through the incarnation of the Divine Avatar or to give rise to the Star Child, or to simply strengthen the Imperium however they can. In their wisdom, they guide the body as our minds guide us. And some... some exist solely to allow the rest to function. Like a body's intestines, their function is neither beautiful for glorious, but it is a necessity. Ask not what they digest, for the Imperium feeds on things too dark to think upon.

What, exactly, is the Imperium's duty? The destruction of Chaos. The Emperor may not have been a god. It is possible he was only the greatest of men, but he is a match for the gods of Chaos. If a man - the greatest of men, but still just a lone man - is the equal of the four gods of Chaos, then what of the rest of mankind? The uncounted trillions united in their sole purpose? As Sebastion Thor said, "A single man with faith can triumph over a legion of the faithless. Untold billions of the faithful can never be opposed." Even if the Emperor is not a god, this is Warhammer. Faith remakes reality. There is hope. Certainly not for the individual. Like the individual cells of our body are shed and replaced regularly, the individual cannot survive in the Imperium. But as a whole? There is hope.

Perrin
12-11-2013, 02:39
The Imperium exists to enforce the Emperor's will. If it means that worlds burn, then so be it. Just as a surgeon excises a tumor, sometimes an Inquisitor must burn a world and all upon it. Just as healthy flesh must be slashed open for the surgeon to reach the cancer, sometimes the innocent must die for retribution to strike the guilty. Not because of greed or fear or any other fallible emotion, but from duty.

That is the purpose of the Imperium - duty to the Emperor, duty to humanity. Some fulfill their duty by protecting mankind, so that it may survive. Think of them as the Imperium's skin - a so very thin layer of fragile tissue that against all odds keeps the body of the Imperium safe from infection and parasites. Others crusade against the alien and the heretic, so that none can rise to threaten. They are the Imperium's fists, striking out at all who seek to harm the body. Others have longer-term goals, to empower the Emperor through the incarnation of the Divine Avatar or to give rise to the Star Child, or to simply strengthen the Imperium however they can. In their wisdom, they guide the body as our minds guide us. And some... some exist solely to allow the rest to function. Like a body's intestines, their function is neither beautiful for glorious, but it is a necessity. Ask not what they digest, for the Imperium feeds on things too dark to think upon.

What, exactly, is the Imperium's duty? The destruction of Chaos. The Emperor may not have been a god. It is possible he was only the greatest of men, but he is a match for the gods of Chaos. If a man - the greatest of men, but still just a lone man - is the equal of the four gods of Chaos, then what of the rest of mankind? The uncounted trillions united in their sole purpose? As Sebastion Thor said, "A single man with faith can triumph over a legion of the faithless. Untold billions of the faithful can never be opposed." Even if the Emperor is not a god, this is Warhammer. Faith remakes reality. There is hope. Certainly not for the individual. Like the individual cells of our body are shed and replaced regularly, the individual cannot survive in the Imperium. But as a whole? There is hope.

You wouldn't happen to be an Ecclesiarchy preacher would you?

Polaria
12-11-2013, 11:32
You wouldn't happen to be an Ecclesiarchy preacher would you?

For a member of Ecclesiarchy this man makes too much sense. He also questions the divinity of our Holy Emperor and has the arrogance to actually compare the God Emperor to a lowly man. I call him a heretic. However, my inner Radical Inquisitor approves ;)

Pa1adin111
12-11-2013, 12:06
Granted we never get it explained why he was so powerful over other humans

The history of how the Emperor was born and how he became the Emperor was told in the two original Realm Of Chaos books, The Lost And The Damned, and Slaves To Darkness.
http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Emperor_of_Mankind#.UoIm4Y2ooSQ

El_Machinae
12-11-2013, 13:45
Well, I think even "functional" is a bit of a stretch

I don't. I mean, you cannot really argue with 10,000 years of continuity. But, yeah, no one thinks the Imperium is the best way of maintaining a human empire in the 40k galaxy.

ryng_sting
12-11-2013, 16:31
We all know the irony behind the Emperor and his views on religion. Trillions of humans believing in him, all their faith, expectations and worship over 10,000 years is bound to have affected him in some way. Are the Emperor and the God-Emperor the Imperium worships two separate entities within the warp? Can one access the other's power, is anything lost in the process?

No one knows.

Son of Morkai
13-11-2013, 01:31
For a member of Ecclesiarchy this man makes too much sense. He also questions the divinity of our Holy Emperor and has the arrogance to actually compare the God Emperor to a lowly man. I call him a heretic. However, my inner Radical Inquisitor approves ;)

I thought it was more Puritanical than Radical. But of course what Radical does not consider himself pure?

Scribe of Khorne
13-11-2013, 01:38
The point of the Imperium is survival - humans are currently highly vulnerable to predation from warp entities as they are early in their development as a psychic race but, in time, will grow powerful enough to protect themselves. The current goal of humanity is to just live that long.

This exactly.

There has never been a wider point, in 40K. In 30K, there was something more, especially at the onset of the Great Crusade, we have a 'point'. To unite humanity, to claim the galaxy as our own.

The beauty of the Heresy and then 40K, is that it ALL went wrong. Tragically. There is no further point, than to survive, no peace, only war and...the laughter of thirsting gods. :D

Hendarion
13-11-2013, 05:13
When I first got introduced to Wh40k, I did not know all of the lore but as Dawn of War was my first real introduction, I thoroughly enjoyed. Perhaps it was basically like seeing a futuristic society based on medieval beliefs and a superstitious religious society. I viewed the Emperor as a messiah-like figure but then I read the Word Bearer's history and how even the Emperor admonished them the Word Bearers for preaching he was divine when he himself admitted he wasn't. So all these armies that I thought were cool, sort of the good guys vs all the bad out there are just zealots who don't know any better. SoB, Warrior Nuns that are being misled, Space Marines at their core now have little to fight for besides the "honor" of the chapter. The imperial cult somehow took off after the emperor was interred in the golden throne which was completely contradictory to his original belief for man.

Granted we never get it explained why he was so powerful over other humans (which I took for again a messiah type figure). I originally viewed him as basically being at least equal to the chaos gods in being able to fight and stop them but if he's just the greatest example of a human, then what hope is there?So from people who also enjoy the series, does anyone see any real point in the Imperium? Their entire goals are now focused and built upon a devout faith in a lie that the god-emperor is out there guiding their fate as a divine being which is entirely untrue. The only thing I can think of is, just how the eldar could spawn Slaanesh, perhaps the combined psychic energy of the human race can 'rebirth' the Emperor into a divine being?I am also finding the chaos chosen from my DV set way more appealing now :DSpoken like a true follower of Chaos or like Horus himself.