I like making stuff up; and from Mercadian Masques to Mirrodin I was a devoted reader and (until Onslaught or so) a player of Magic: the Gathering, the first and the best collectible card game. (This is a fiat, not a fact. Do not bother me with your fact-based disagreements.) The only reason I’m not heading to Wizards of the Coast’s site right now to read what has happened since, having now thought of the game after a long pause, is that I think there would be several years of unread Mark Rosewater columns and cruumph that’d be goodbye for the rest of the day.
I offer these two facts, making-up and Magic, to explain the fabulism below; sometimes a man just wants to write theology. Oh, theology, the insane troll logic of religion: atheism is no barrier to your call.
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Entropy is not disorder. Entropy is blandness; it is the province of Anodyn, the goddess of lukewarm and inoffensively mild mush. It is said the universe tends toward increased entropy. This much is true. But Anodyn herself is not the reason; she is always described as a passive actor.
Others say entropy is one pole of the world; the other is the twin serpent of the opposite thing, the intertwining forces of Order and Disorder. This is also incorrect. Representatives of both Order and Disorder have denied this; it is a silly idea. No, it is a much more pleasant idea, though still heretical and wrong, to say there are five great forces in the world: and each is allied to two and opposed to two. The five are, then, Disorder, Creation, Order, Entropy, and Destruction.
These are the five, then, again:
- Disorder (Ally of Creation and Destruction; Foe to Order and Entropy) — Sweet confusion, discord and endless forms most beautiful. Disorder’s the province of Eris.
- Destruction (Ally of Order and Disorder both; Foe to Creation and Entropy) Death, doom, forms struck apart by the untimely hammer, and the looming sudden cliff-face of the end. Destruction’s the province of Perses.
- Order (Ally of Destruction and Entropy; Foe to Disorder and Creation) Crystalline arrangements, rigid constructions and hoary immutable laws of Things That Should Not Be. Order’s the province of Harmonia.
- Entropy (Ally of Order and Creation; Foe to Disorder and Destruction) Decay, old age and erosion; also forgetting and unremembered times future and past. Entropy’s the province of Anodyn.
- Creation (Ally of Disorder and Entropy; Foe to Order and Destruction) The beginnings of all things, births and gestations, and minds crawling up from the muck seeking a place. Creation’s the province of Make-make.
These five then form the pentagram which is the wheel that turns the world. There is no up and no below; no Heaven or Hell; only the hypnotic turning of the Great Pentagram of Life.
What it turns on is, naturally, the Axis of Enlightened Self-Interest.
The most obvious objections to this ineffably effervescent effusion of affable affect’s effluvium are:
#1: So Entropy is opposed to Destruction? This is clearly nonsensical and ludicrous; Entropy is almost the same thing as Destruction!
Rebut: Nonsense yourself! Entropy is decay, and things falling apart; the center not holding and strings cut by the arrow of time. Decrepitude and old age are entropy’s doing. Destruction is a more active force. A violent, sudden death would be a death through destruction. Destruction is an outside force which undoes; it is the ending alteration from the outside, not from the inside as the worm of Entropy. Entropy is waiting, and Destruction impatience; they are naturally opposed.
#2: So Entropy’s allied to Creation? Now this is bullshit, then; how can the slow decay of things be allied to the birth of new ones?
Rebut: Entropy’s allied to Order and Creation. Order keeps things as they are; from which decay inevitably follows. Creation doesn’t only make new; it also makes the less new things older, much as a new model makes your formerly new cellphone an old thing. Creation puts life into new things; and as that life is stolen from things that already are, they fall under the obliging shadow of Entropy. On the other hand, Creation needs space, and would rather have it effected by the doddering obsolescence of Entropy than by the blazing uncontrolled nihilism of Destruction.
#3: What, “Make-make” the patron of Creation? You couldn’t make up anything better?
Rebut: Get thee to Wikipedia, then: Make-make. A genuine Easter Island creator god and the boss of the bird-man cult.
#4: Okay, Make-make was a fluke. But “Perses”? Surely you mean Perseus? And how come he’s a God of Destruction? That’s clearly nonsensical.
Rebut: Well, no, I did not mean Perseus. I meant the dread titan Perses, son of Kreios, whose name means the Destroyer, and who was the God of Destruction! He, the hound of hell, the doom from the ill winds of the dog-star Sirius, is who I mean! Not this trembly mortal gorgon-fucker Perseus. (Also father of the witch goddess Hecate, the red-mouthed lover of serpents; when you are the God of Destruction your children really need to go all out to rebel.)
#5: So wait. Eris, Perses, Harmonia, Anodyn, Make-make… one of these is not like the others.
Rebut: Eris thanks you for your compliment. Discord and witchcraft! Next!
#6: But… but… how can you just… I mean, what gives you the right? Where does this all come from?
Rebut: To quote rabbi Heschel, “any description of the act of revelation in empirical categories would have produced a caricature. That is why all the Bible does is to state that revelation happened; How it happened is something they could only convey in words that are evocative and suggestive.” Which should explain why I’m wagging my eyebrows at you and winking, suggestively. My revelation or yours, baby?
#7: Where… where are all the other familiar concepts of mine in this ungodly mess?
Rebut: First, there are two gods and three goddesses already and you call this ungodly? No pleasing some people indeed. Anyway, your concepts, I haz them. First these five, and then a few more:
- Stodge: Is the name for Disorder’s complement, that is, those four elements that are not Disorder: Stodge is made of varying parts of Order, Creation, Destruction and Entropy; but mostly of Order and Entropy, as the name suggests. “Solemnly them bishops march, lips dripping venom and stodge: throats ululating much hodge, and podge.” (Poe)
- Maintenance: Destruction’s complement. “Creation and Entropy keep the machines running. Their combination is called Maintenance, and it is the life-blood of every Sysop and Supportperson, stronger than coffee or sleep; without Maintenance, the Sysop would lose his soul and wither in body, become fey, wild and dangerous; and eventually go into the darkness, to the side of Spam.” (Knuth)
- Anarchy: Order’s complement. Anarchy is “the lack of Narchy”, and a Narchy is the rule of an Archon, which is the title Harmonia’s chosen use. “Anarchy’s not old! It’s thirty-seven!” (Dennis)
- Life: Entropy’s complement. Entropy, however, is only the process of Death, not the end-state. “Life sucks. Unfortunately, that suction is caused by the vacuum of Death.” (Anon)
- Existence: Creation’s complement. Creation, however, is not Non-Existence, but only the process of Un-Non-Existing. “To be or not to be… not to be. (Kaboom.)” (Schwarzenegger)
What of Good and Evil?
These concepts have no universal meaning in this system. To Disorder, both Order and Entropy are Evil; while Destruction and Creation are Good; and Goodest of the Good is Disorder itself.
As for which of the five one should choose for one’s moral compass, well, that depends on the person — just remember this burning pentagram wheels and turns atop Enlightened Self-Interest: forget this Enli First of Gods, and greedy zealotry or muddling idiocy follows, and your cause and desire will both suffer.
A naive pursuit of Disorder ends up merely scaring others; as a result their desire for Order grows stronger, and they cease their efforts to understand: and Entropy increases also.
But an adept of true and gnostic Disorder, well, she (all true adepts of Disorder are honorary females) turns Order against itself, and makes withering Entropy a mere curtain for the play she presents: and through the action of Creation and Destruction, there is much addition to Disorder.
What of Balance?
One might guess this pentagram is a wheeling thing of balance, all parts of it equally fed by some law of cosmic karma.
That is nonsense.
There is no karma; such a concept is a most pernicious illusion of Order. Each of the five points listed above strives for its own growth, and as they strive, the pentagram spins: it is not teetering balanced on a point, but fixed to the heart of the world by Enli’s nail. The faster it spins, the faster it spins; that is all. There will be no victory in the war of the five. If Order should gain, that gain would flow to its ally Destruction as well; and a portion of Destruction’s gain would come to its ally Disorder — and thus the rise of Order results in the rise of Disorder and, similarly, of Creation.
The stronger Order grows, the wider the seeds of its downfall are cast — this is called the Illusion of Dominant Order. There are four other Illusions; and together they are called the Illusion of Purpose: for in the pentagram there is no purpose, no law, no peace, but only the awful eternal war that makes these illusions appear. This insight is called the Gibberination of Mystics, because it can do weird things to your peace of mind.
This whole system is called the Pentagram of Five; that is a rather redundant name but it will do. For more, consult your Inner Eye or some other applicable body part.
(K) (This post is highly official
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