Lincoln in the Bardo Rothdas book review RSS
1.0 Stars

An unfortunate litany of heresies. This book is filled with mistakes, misconceptions, blindnesses, willful blindnesses, incorrect thoughts and perceptions, and just generalized wonky ontologies. It can't have anything but an evil effect on the uneducated reader, doing nothing but leading them away from the truth and right thinking.

While the author is skilled and I enjoyed some of the vignettes, the whole thing is crippled by being attached to a semi-standard and straight faced version of Christian mythology, with all its logical and psychological problems. Like, why are you punishing these things that you created? As a programmer I've never felt the urge to punish any of the programs I've made. I've never felt the urge to punish an errant Roomba. Once you understand the system, the obvious thing to do is to fix its faults rather than condemning it to Roomba hell or Roomba limbo. It reminds me of this whole Rosko's Basilisk thing; people of a lower order of intelligence and understanding leap to this idea that "oh yes those who wronged me must be punished", while once you reach a certain (minor) level of understanding that sort of thought becomes completely alien and you are more like "uh, just fix the F'ing mistake that's causing the problem?". And then from there we can move on to all the other head shaking issues with the mythology of the book. Reading the spiritual system he has set up is like reading and comprehending some horribly F'd up program architecture. It's like that scene at the end of Burn After Reading, where you are just grasping your fore-head trying to puzzle out how they could have made things so confused.

And of course you know why it is so confused, because at some point it was useful for someone for it to be confused. You can't get where you want to go through the real numbers, so you take a leap into the imaginary domain, jaunt through there for a bit, and then transition back to the rational numbers once you are at the location you want. It's similar to the _ScrewTape Letters_, though of course the list of things that get you damned/saved are different between the two books. Lol. And while in a generalized sense I can appreciate this sort of Cugel-like clever trickery played on people, this particular brand of bull shit has been pushed at me so often that I grew extremely tired of it, decades ago. And then also you feel bad for people like Mrs Lincoln, who were lied to about the world and then couldn't handle the truth when it came around. And I could go on and on in this vein; suffice to say that there are plenty of criticisms to be made about Christian mythology and how it is deployed in the world.

If you had removed the metaphysics I would have been fine with this book. If you had placed the book in a Grayhawk graveyard I would have been fine with this book. If you had emphasized the alienness of the metaphysics (e.g. Darkness Visible) I would have been fine with the book. If you had given the mythology an interesting twist (e.g. Protomen) I would have been delighted with the book. As is though it just reminds me of another aspect of my personality that has been shaped, pearl like, as push-back against an irritant foisted on me during childhood.