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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 4:32 pm 
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Lots of minor-to-serious spoilers for the whole Myst continuity down here, guys...


Awhile back, I got into this logical argument about the changing of a descriptive book after the link to the Age has been established. What we know about this, is that Anna, Gehn, Atrus, Catherine, and Yeesha--- All the authors we know--- were able to make changes to existing & established Ages, with varying consequences...

*Gehn made two major alterations to Age 37 -- one in which the Age became dangerous when a fertile ecosystem began to collapse., and one in which the link itself was severed and a new link was established to a 'doppleganger' Age 37b and the original Age became forever inaccessible.

*Atrus was forced to continually make changes to the Riven age to protect Catherine who was imprisoned there. BUT.. he did so as he does anything, with great care and caution. His notes in the Myst bookcase also indicate he added the 'broken ship' to the Stoneship age via the Art.

*Anna and Catherine both conspired to make changes to Riven to cause 'temporary instablility' that would gradually right itself--- so they could escape from Gehn and leave him trapped.

*Catherine added 'linking cages' to Spire and Haven, so she could visit her sons in their prison Ages without giving them access to an escape.

*Yeesha did something kinda freaky with the Kadish Age(s).

But.. there's a very significant fact of the history of the Art, and this is the fact that the D'ni, and the people of Garternay before them, forbade changes to be made to an Age once a link was established. Once someone actually visited the Age, there was no further editing allowed--- due the type of events we saw in Gehn's Age 37.. an Age could become unstable, or be lost when the link was 'severed and reset'.

My argument was this... if you have an Age that is already unstable, irredeemably useless---- what's the harm in TRYING to fix it anyway? What have you got to lose? With Age 37 as the model:

1. The Age becomes unstable or dangerous: There's no such thing as being a 'little bit useless'... either it's useless or not, and if it's already useless what's the harm in making it MORE useless?

2. The link will 'sever and reset' to a different Age- the original Age will be lost forever: Again, if the Age is already unstable & useless, who cares if it's lost forever? If nobody you KNOW is in the Age, there's no real harm-- the Age's own residents likely don't care that you can't ever come back... And the new, different, doppleganger Age might actually be useful. You might actually get what you intended, in the first place.

My logical thinking is, there's no harm in trying to 'fix' an unsuitable Age... evidence shows it CAN be done.

Soo......... WHY the prohibition? What was the problem the RONAY had with changing existing Ages? And, this is where I come to the meaning of the thread title, "The Purpose of Yahvo" I'm not talking about a purpose FOR Yahvo... a reason he's around!! I'm talking about the purpose Yahvo had in making these Ages to begin with.

Say, for a moment, you're trying to make a Garden Age to provide food. Your Age is safe, stable.. unfortunately the food, the water, the soil, all have a poison in them that D'ni people cannot eat. The Age is useless. BUT... you THINK that you can make a change that will correct the issue and remove the poison.

Here we go.. MAYBE you can fix it, MAYBE you'll end up replacing the Age. There are those two issues.. the current Age could either be lost, damaged irreversibly, or both. But..... that's the problem.

Yahvo created these Ages--- in the mind of a devout Ronay, Yahvo had a purpose for making each and every one of these infinite Ages. While it's true this 'Age of poison' may not suit YOUR purpose.... it does have some purpose, some reason why YAHVO gave it presence, and why the Great Tree provided it to you.

I think that's the reason why there was such a strict prohibition. Ages belong to Yahvo, before they belong to us. We have a duty to honor the Purpose of Yahvo. It is for this reason the Maintainers even kept the deadliest and most unstable Ages--- locked away, sure... but preserved--- because every Age has a purpose.. the Purpose of Yahvo.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:31 pm 
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I don't really have the time to get into this, but I like the idea of them having religious reasons for this.
However, I've found that most religious "rules" have a practical basis, even if that basis has been lost to the mysts of time. That reason could have something to do with the dangers associated with exploring "unstable" ages. We have several examples of this, one coming from the BoD itself. Or perhaps there's something about building an age on a flawed foundation.


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 10:16 am 
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I think it had more to do with the idea that you were replacing the previous Age. In "Book of Atrus," the big problem that Atrus has with his father "fixing" the one Age is that once he fixes it, everything changes and the people don't remember them at all.

There might also be the understanding that any useless Age was probably fundamentally flawed and any attempts to fix it would just make the problem worse.

But I imagine you're right, and that there was also a religious element to what was going on. Certainly, the idea that one could "fix" an Age would imply that they were creating/altering the Ages, which was dangerously close to playing god... a line the D'ni always were straddling. So I imagine it was a religious taboo.

Still, there must have been a practical element to it too, given how many irreligious D'ni there were over the years who still obeyed the rule.


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 10:45 am 
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All of that would work out great, if the D'ni never destroyed linking/descriptive books. But we know for a fact that they did, or were at least more than willing to. The whole Pento plague and Ahlsendar debacle proves that. They were going to destroy the books to the Pento age, and all the books that the Pento people had access to. It was only because Ahlsendar finally told the truth and advocated being locked in the tomb that the books weren't destroyed. Given that the D'ni were willing to destroy those books it stands to reason that the destroying unstable descriptive books was probably not common, but given their willingness to do so, not unheard of either.

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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 10:52 am 
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ChloeRhodes wrote:
All of that would work out great, if the D'ni never destroyed linking/descriptive books. But we know for a fact that they did, or were at least more than willing to. The whole Pento plague and Ahlsendar debacle proves that. They were going to destroy the books to the Pento age, and all the books that the Pento people had access to.


I'm not sure this one example proves that they would destroy books very often... this seems a case of a serious public threat to life and health-- I see it being a lone exception. not the rule.


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Given that the D'ni were willing to destroy those books it stands to reason that the destroying unstable descriptive books was probably not common, but given their willingness to do so, not unheard of either.


Even so, at the end they did NOT destroy those books. This is an example of where they-- with much worry and confliction, considered destroying the links to one of the most lethal Ages ever created.. and eventually decided NOT to. That seems to support my belief that they had a VERY strong moral & spiritual opposition to destroying books.

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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 3:15 pm 
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We do have proof that they were unwilling to destroy functional books in the BoT.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
They did not want to burn Veovis' prison book, but they knew they had no choice.

(Spoiler'd because spoilers)

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