Morality of Gentling...

Discussion in 'Wheel of Time Discussion - Books 1-8' started by driedraspberry, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. Marivea al'Corriyi

    Marivea al'Corriyi Aes Sedai

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    The Aes Sedai and the White Tower seems to me like it was almost in stasis during the entire third age. They didn't learn anything new, they didn't discover anything cool, they didn't do research. All they did was pine after the good old days of the second age, and that blinded them to the immediate potentials and ideas.
     
  2. Fremendis Charin

    Fremendis Charin

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    right on the dot. Suddenly these powerful kids come in and change everything up. I did not think about the gene pool idea at all. That was a great idea. I wonder why the AS never thought about breeding with the one power... the browns for research and the green for fighting..
     
  3. Elorenya d'Rahien

    Elorenya d'Rahien Aes Sedai

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    Well, the Aes Sedai might not've, but...

    the Sharans certainly did -- if you read up on how the Ayyad work, they basically use the channeling-capable males as breeding stock and kill them off when they hit 20.

    (Very mild setting spoilers; spoilers for the World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time)
     
  4. jak o the shadows

    jak o the shadows

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    If u look at it even though it supposedly gives the men longer lives gentled men and stilled women lose the will to live and die within months of it happining
     
  5. Lok Sionn

    Lok Sionn Soldier

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    My main issue, like what Eluiel said, was the Aes Sedai's behavior towards gentled/stilled men/women. They pretty much treated them like they were plague victims. As far as I know, they only tried to keep one alive (Logain). They simply gentled Thom's nephew and left him to rot.

    This also bothered me when Suan got stilled. Even the rebel Aes Sedai treated her like an ant (they only listened to her because she had the eyes and ears) yet when she was healed, it was like all that never happened.

    Aes Sedai: She's been stilled! Unclean! Unclean! Wait, she's been healed? Sister! Welcome back!

    Is it wrong I want to see Aes Sedai go through the same crap they put men through?
     
  6. Elorenya d'Rahien

    Elorenya d'Rahien Aes Sedai

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    I remember reading that their custom was to keep all the false Dragons in the White Tower until they died. Anyone who wasn't a false Dragon, otoh... Well, the women that got burnt out, they generally tried to marry off asap and bundle them out of the Tower to go start new lives, will they nil they. The women they stilled -- which, remember, was reserved as a punishment for major crimes -- were generally kept around in the Tower as servants pour encourager les autres.
     
  7. Aran Cherubim

    Aran Cherubim Resident Citizen

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    Eh, honestly I think this is more of an issue of economy more than anything. The White Tower doesn't have the resources to prioritize the humanitarian concerns of Gentled men above stuff like international politics and so forth.

    Another aspect might very well be that the male madness and channeling itself might almost be viewed as a character flaw, kinda like how criminals were viewed as racially inferior in the early 1900s, or poor people were viewed as inherently immoral in Victorian times, or people with leprosy in ancient times. I bet that most male channelers would've been viewed at least in part as subhuman, and that it might've been considered a professional weakness to have too much sympathy with them. I can imagine senior Red Aes Sedai, who'd had to deal with male channelers in various stages of insanity, would've lost much of their empathy over the years as they faced male Wilders.

    The issue isn't really what we'd *like* to see happen - bu rather what *makes sense* internally in the WoT universe. And Gentling seems perfectly in line with the Aes Sedai mentality.
     
  8. Mattrim al'Korin

    Mattrim al'Korin

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    I have to agree with Nynaeve in this instance. The Yellow Ajah should have been working on this problem all along, but they give up too easily. I agree with those that say that the Aes Sedai are way too separated from those that can't channel. I mean if you honestly look at the Warders, they are really just glorified servants. Don't get me wrong, I wish I could be a Warder, I'm just saying that they should have been given some kind of representation in the Hall, like what has been done here. Perhaps the Top Warder would have command of Tar Valon's Army, where the Amyrlin Seat is only military authority above him.
     
  9. Tazren Talamar

    Tazren Talamar Gaidin

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    To the Aes Sedai, being severed from the True Source equates death. They don't really follow up burnt out Aes Sedai who leave the Tower, so in all likelihood, they don't really see surviving as a possibility. In all likelihood, they keep gentled men in the Tower to:

    1) Ensure that they don't get up to any mischief, such as vengeance.
    2) Ensure that the men have some manner of comfort in their final days (because who in their right mind would want to care for a man who has touched saidin, gentled or not)?
    3) Ensure that the men don't go mad and so something else, even without the One Power. Madness that has already taken root is probably not removed with gentling, after all, and madness can be a subtle thing.
    4) Where Logain and other False Dragons are concerned, if they were released, they could just keep spreading chaos in the world.

    Regarding Thom's nephew ... that was illegal. There was all kinds of fuss about it, after all. The Reds (or anyone who finds a male channeler) are to bring the person to the Tower, where the Hall must find him guilty, and all that. The Aes Sedai are pretty big on procedure, after all.

    I don't think they did anything wrong with male channelers, per se. They should have treated all channelers who had lost their ability better, tried to make sure they found some other purpose in life. The entire topic was much too morbid for them, though, and it's not difficult to understand that, either.

    The act of Gentling ... was a necessity. Too big a risk to try and keep men shielded permanently. Before long, there would be too many men to handle. And what if they broke loose ...? The Breaking was a direct result of men going mad, so it's quite understandable that the Aes Sedai had to be harsh and unforgiving of men who channeled.
     
  10. Rayonin Charin

    Rayonin Charin

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    What happened to Thom's nephew happened more regularly than the Tower admits. Elaida mentions this in the opening of CoS. The Red Ajah seems to have little regard for low profile male channelers like Thom's nephew.

    For folks saying that gentling was the only way, that's inaccurate, male channelers among the Aiel didn't go mad, they went into the Blight and fought until they died. Even though comparatively the Wetlanders may see it as a path to prominence, and that's the crux of the problem. Undoubtedly, the Tower has missed male channelers over the years without any issues because they either had bars or were never taught how to touch saidin, or simply refused to channel for fear of going mad.
     
  11. Tazren Talamar

    Tazren Talamar Gaidin

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    The Aiel channelers didn't go mad because they ran off on suicide missions when they learnt they could channel. While I could see some Borderlanders doing just that, I doubt most Wetlanders would, especially considering that people in places far removed from the Blight seem very disinclined to care about the Blight at all. But I suppose the Tower could've given them the choice, though I don't really see how that could be viewed as more humane. "Be gentled and wither away in a few months, or go on a suicide mission to the Blight".

    The vast majority of all Channelers need to be taught to Channel, meaning that most male Channelers would never touch the Source, since there weren't any men to teach them (until the Black Tower). Only those few with the spark (Like Egwene and Nynaeve) would ever channel. And 3/4 wilders die from the "channeling sickness" that Nynaeve managed to survive. The same probably goes for male channelers. So very few would ever start to channel to begin with, and many of those who do would do it so rarely or be so blocked that they couldn't do much anyway, and they might just go mad and die without causing chaos.

    But I don't see what that has to do with anything? Those who do manage to survive and teach themselves to control it, and have any kind of strength to speak of, would become a serious threat if not gentled, since eventually they would go mad. And there would be no one to teach them to control it better, as is evident from the women's attempt to teach Rand.

    What option would there be to gentling? Leaving them alive with the ability intact would be like having a ticking bomb just waiting to go off.
     
  12. Tobias Carawin

    Tobias Carawin Citizen

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    When you look at how the Atha'an Miere deal with male channelers, gentling seems a bit more... appealing.
     
  13. Elorenya d'Rahien

    Elorenya d'Rahien Aes Sedai

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    ...That's really just the ogre's choice, though -- Die fast, or die slow.
     
  14. Tazren Talamar

    Tazren Talamar Gaidin

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    No culture, as far as we've seen, has managed to find any decent way to deal with male channelers - because there isn't one. Eventually, they will go mad and die, possibly taking thousands of people along with them.
     
  15. Aran Cherubim

    Aran Cherubim Resident Citizen

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    Which is perhaps a sentence that can help new readers of the series to appreciate just how messed up Rand's situation is, and the exceptionality of the Black Tower.
     
  16. Almira ni'Caldazare

    Almira ni'Caldazare Citizen

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    The Black Towers' way of dealing with an Ashaman who has gone insane seems just as brutal even though Rand and Taim both say it is merciful. Some of the Ashamen even say that they would rather die peacefully in their sleep than have the slow death that gentling brings. A fast death does seem more merciful than a slow one but I cannot get over the fact that the Ashamen kill the insane men while the Aes Sedai at least give the men who can channel a chance. The men could find a purpose to drive them on -- maybe a family to take care of and take care of them too. At the Black Tower the men do not even have a chance if they show signs of insanity.
     
  17. Aran Cherubim

    Aran Cherubim Resident Citizen

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    The difference here is that the Black Tower is much more geared towards a frantic arms race to fight in the Last Battle. They, quite simply, have chosen what they see as the most... well, "expedient" method. As horribly cynical as that might sound.
     
  18. Sunerin

    Sunerin

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    Also, about that Far Madding suggestion a while back - the Guardian is fairly similar to a stedding and we know for a fact that channelers simply cannot live for long times in those - the Ogier tried it with the male AS during the Breaking and failed (or succeeded, depending on the interpretation), since the male AS always chose to leave eventually. Forcing them to stay within a stedding/Far Madding might be a lesser evil than severing(I like this term more) them, though.

    And yeah, for most of it's existence Rand cared more about having weapons for the Last Battle than about the well-being of the Ashaman - even if it made his insides curdle to think about the rate of losses, "training" or otherwise.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  19. Lok Sionn

    Lok Sionn Soldier

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    Sadly enough, compared to the other methods, the Ashaman's method of poisoning the mad really is the most merciful. I mean, let's take a look at the others.

    Aes Sedai: Gentling and then being tossed out to fend for yourself. Not only are you suicidally depressed, but chances are everyone's still going to treat you like trash because of what you were. The only one who staved this off was Logain, and mainly because in the beginning, the Aes Sedai wouldn't let him (guarding him all the time) and when he got out, Suan drove him on with thoughts of vengeance (and even then, because she needed him). I don't think anyone else got the same treatment. Most were just left to rot afterwards.

    Sea Folk: Be tossed into the ocean and drown, or left on an island to starve to death. Neither are very appealing.

    Wise Ones: Sent off into the Blight to die, most likely by getting eaten by something. Another gruesome end.

    Asha'man: Poison them so they gently fall asleep and never awaken. Honestly, it's not that bad. No pain or anything.
     
  20. Dorian Rei

    Dorian Rei

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    What I'm getting from this thread is that every option is really just utter crap, enforced and perpetuated by situational expedient necessity, fear, and ritual. All across the board, nobody really did it right because there was always a better option that just wasn't practical at the time that the decisions were made. This is something I like about the books: Things aren't pretty and people treat each other poorly sometimes. I think it might say something about humanity that given different situational constraints, mercy has different boundaries and definitions.