Wednesday, 5 February 2014
The Ways of Light
In previous post I examined what the Light is, or more exactly, what it could be. There is an old joke among theologians, that states God loves them most, because every day he learns something new about himself. In that manner, we should approach the question of Light as well. Nothing we really know about it is certain or even conclusively true. Most of what we know about the Light is the result of a well-aimed guesswork, and some rational speculation.
Now, that all that is out of the way, we should probably focus on the question in what ways does the Light manifests on Azeroth and beyond? What is required for Light to grant us its assistance? How common is Light among the denizens of Warcraft? There are probably some other questions that should be answered, but I cannot recall any of it at the moment. Let us see where those questions take us.
First, how does the Light work? The first answer, the one we will give without even thinking is belief. If you believe in Light, it should grant you its powers. It seems simple enough. But considering how very real magic is in Warcraft it is a bit redundant to just believe in Light. I would say that belief alone is not enough. Belief is too easy. If you need proof to be a believer, you do not believe, you have doubts. What Light requires of an individual, is faith. We could call this faith conviction.
When it comes to Paladins, it really shows why they have conviction, while Priests have faith. Faith is based on trust, on one that is not necessarily mutual, and more often than not, it is blind. What we all need to understand before we move on, is that belief alone will not suffice. Because belief demands reason, logic, pure thought if you will. While faith demands blind trust, conviction that you are right, and has no need for any kind of empirical, or even rational proof of its claims.
Faith, some could say, is a circular argument unto itself. It is so, because it is so. And to some people this might seem counter-intuitive. This only comes to pass when we accept that the faith has it right, and that its claims are true. Which in case of the Light, are. It cannot be questioned, as it is obvious. So, Light, in comparison to God, has it easy because nobody can really dismiss it within the World of Warcraft. There, Light is as real as the water you are drinking, and air you are breathing.
Tell the same thing about God to certain group of gentlemen living in North Oxford, and they might have a laugh, more likely, they will point you to the great deal of books they wrote that claim otherwise, or you just gave them idea for their next book that will do just that. But I digress, we are talking about the Light here.
That said, Light does not really care who calls upon it. It does not judge individuals if they are worthy or not. That, is upon every person for itself to decide. And this is where conviction and faith come into play. You might believe in Light, but if you do not have the conviction as hard as steel to back it up, it could be called a waste.
We have seen this on more than one occasion in Warcraft. Arthas is prime example. Arthas and Blood Elves. When Arthas claims that Light abandoned him, this is not true. Light did not abandon him. Light was still there. It was Arthas who lost his conviction. He started doubting his actions. And the first doubt he had about the rightfulness of what he was doing, at the moment, culling the Stratholme, was when his callings upon the Light have started fading in power.
His faith in Light has been gradually lost. Thus, he was not able to draw from the Light. It did not help that he saw Uther bathed in Light, eyes glowing, using Avenger's Wrath. Arthas could not comprehend how Light could stay with Uther, when it abandoned him, the one who dismissed the order of the Silver Hand. He could not comprehend that being a Paladin is not just the name, but actual calling.
The same thing happened with the Blood Elves. With the destruction of the Sunwell, they have fallen to despair. Their faith did not hold. They thought they were invincible, that nothing could ever drive them to near annihilation. They were wrong. Sunwell, one thing, one place on which their faith was truly based was destroyed. They believed and worshipped the Light, but their faith was with the Sunwell.
But unlike Arthas who thought the Light abandoned him, and just gave up, Blood Elves were ever too arrogant to do something like that. Maybe even too desperate. Instead they turned spiteful. Claiming that if Light abandoned them the first time, they will chain it down the second time.
Introduction of the Blood Knight order reignited the faith among Blood Elves. This faith, was based upon their mastery. They thought they were strong enough to manipulate the Light however they wished. They found their new conviction. Their new belief, while delusional, served them in regaining the powers of the Light.
This is once more demonstrated with the Blood Elves. When Kael'thas returns, and attacks Silvermoon, taking the chained M'uru is taken. It is later said, that it was not the Blood Elves who drew power from it, but Naaru who granted them the powers of the Light. And once more, we can conclude, that they were able to draw power of the Light, because their conviction was strong. They had faith in their prince, and the new power they found in them.
Once, M'uru was gone, Blood Knights started feeling the loos of power. Gradually fading, and Light ever weaker coming to their call. I would say, that they felt this weakening once they learnt of Kael'Thas's betrayal, not before. This is why the Matriarch of the Blood Knight order walks to Shattrath asking for the assistance against the rogue prince. Lady Liadrin knew full well, she needed to chain the conviction of her Blood Knights fast, before they start really doubting themself and eat away that little of power they still possesed at the moment.
It seems to me that I am starting to repeat myself, faith, faith, faith, conviction, conviction, conviction. But now removed Librams, Paladins wore were not there just for decoration. Those were religious books. They served as anchor for the Paladin. To keep him on the way of the Light, to ensure that his faith and conviction never waver.
So then, how does one get close to the Light? How does one go, and become Priest, or Paladin. When I talk about priests it is to be noted, that I talk about the priests that draw from the Light. I might wirte some other time about the shadow priests, but just to make it clear, in my opinion they are a different thing comparing to Holy and Discipline. Probably treated as heretics as well among regular followers of the Light.
I would say, that Light is in us all. This assertion is once again based on the Judeo-Christian theology, but for all that we know, it might be so. If we assume that the soul we have is a gift from Light, as the Light we established is equivalent to the God, then we can assume that our soul, is our link to the Light. Our body, just a simple container, a vessel for the immortal soul.
In comparison to the mortals (this word includes every sentient creature, that can die, even Draenei), the Naaru are the actual Light embodied. They are not Light itself, but are made of Light. Simply put, they are like Angels. Much more powerful and knowing than mortals, but still leagues away form the true power of the Light.
So, when Naaru darkens, this does not mean just another circle of life. It means that it started to question its own purpose, it lost faith in being the emmissary among mortals. The truth is, we do not know much about Naaru besides that they at some point come to rescue the Draenei, and introduced them to the Light. Figuratively. They showed them the ways of the Light, and Draenei started worshipping it.
I think this is enough for now. I believe I answered most of the questions about the Light, and how it works. What remains though, is how different cultures approach the Light. I will probably write about that some time. Exploring how Humans, Forsaken, Blood Elves, Dwarves, Trolls and the rest approach to the actual religion, and not the faith in Light itself.