The Plurality of Worlds Messal turns out to be plenty influential in the Convox.

It's got six Edharians, who are the stars of the Convox, and one of whom is a Millenarian, its got the top Procian of the mathic world, it has

the most accomplished Incanter and Rhetor

of the Convox, and thus probably the entire mathic world, and of course, it has Fraa Zh'vaern, who is

unmasked as the alien Jules Verne Durand of Earth from an alternate universe.

(OK, that's enough spoiler-text for the question page snippet ... if you read on you agree you've already read Anathem).

That collection of top-notch avouts in a late-created Messal leads to a number of questions, but let's start with:

Why did Fraa Lodoghir tell Fraa Erasmas, before any meeting of the Messal (but after he was informed of it, and presumably, also of the attendees), that he considered it the "outer darkness - the arse-end of the mathic world"? Did he believe that, or was it a cover for his knowledge that incanting and rhetoring would be key to resolving the crisis facing Arbre, or something else?


Spoilers which won't make much sense to readers who haven't read the rest of the book anyway...

There is no clear indication in the book either way. However, Lodoghir's behavior in the messal does not suggest cooperation, and one comment he makes suggests that the cooperation between Rhetors and Incanters postdated the messal:

"....What lies ahead - and how does Fraa Jad's fate reshape it for us? Or do we go on as if it had never occurred?"

"The practical consequence for me is continuing and ever more effective cooperation between the tendencies known to the vulgar as Rhetors and Incanters," Lodighir said. "Procians and Halikaarnians have worked together in the recent past, as you know, with results that have been profoundly startling to those few who are aware of them." He was staring directly into my eyes as he said this. I knew he was talking about the rerouting of worldtracks that, among other things, had placed Fraa Jad at the Daban Urnud at the same time as his death was recorded above Abre.

"Such as our unveiling of the spy Zh'vaern," I said, just to throw any surveillors off the scent.

"Yes," he said, with a tiny, negative shake of the head. "And this serves as a sign that such cooperation must and should continue."

The fact that Lodoghir indicates that the unveiling of Zh'vaern was not the result of cooperation between Rhetors and Incanters suggests that their cooperation formed following that unveiling - although, perhaps, kindled by the exchange that preceded Zh'vaern's unveiling by a day:

"So if it is true that the PAQD share the Adrakhonic Theorem and other such theorical concepts with us," said Fraa Lodoghir, "those might be nothing more than attractors in the feedback system we have been describing."

"Or nothing less," said Fraa Jad.

We all let that one resonate for a minute. Lodoghir and Jad were staring at each other across the table; we all thought something was about to happen.

A Procian and a Halikaarnian were about to agree with each other.

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  • Interesting interpretation, thanks! I had assumed that shake of the head meant he was talking of the rerouting of worldtracks that among other things had placed Fraa Jad at the Daban Umud at the same time his death was recorded above Arbre - just as Fraa Erasmus says! But it could go your way, especially as I admit I have never understood what the hell Fraa Jaa meant by "Or nothing less." (In fact, now that I think of it, I may make a question just for that, hoping to attract Anathem readers like you to explain it to me.) – davidbak Apr 12 '16 at 22:18
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    I think that Fraa Lodoghir considers those attractors to be the small, avalanche-of-snowflakes things - the "nothing more" - that lace (larger, more interesting) narratives together. Fraa Jad, viewing the exact same multiverse, finds the individual narratives completely uninteresting until they're drawn into a web together via those attractors - the "nothing less". Two ways to view the same reality. Two different emphases. But, in the end, agreeing about the overall structure. – gowenfawr Apr 12 '16 at 22:22
  • Hmmm. Hmmm. Hmmm. Gotta reread that night's messal scene tonight ... – davidbak Apr 12 '16 at 22:25

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