Causality's countercurrent

Aazealh

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The concept of causality (因果) is prevalent throughout Berserk. It is often confused with that of fate or destiny (運命), but they are different notions. Causality, or the principle of cause and effect, holds that current circumstances are the result of past actions. Both terms are mentioned in the manga, but only causality is presented as a law of the world; a force to be reckoned with.


The first time we hear of causality is in volume 3, when the Count's despair activates the beherit Guts is carrying. Void refers to the Count as one who has been ordained by the principle of causality. This is a fundamental notion in the story: the fact that these ceremonies and the people involved in them are predestinated. Causality is usually associated with the God Hand and their master, the Idea of Evil. We are repeatedly told and shown that these evil beings make use of that principle to subtly influence the world over long periods of time in such a way that it conforms to their desires.

For example, that's how beherits always happen to be right where they need to be when someone is in utmost despair and ready to sacrifice. It's also how as a human Griffith triumphed at every turn and seemed unstoppable, until he suddenly wasn't. And it's how every piece of the puzzle came neatly into place for the Incarnation ceremony during the Conviction arc, or how Midland was ready for him to play the savior and unleash Fantasia in the process.


Given all of this, one might be tempted to assume causality is simply a tool for the bad guys; the privileged domain of the god created by man. But it's more complicated than that. There is actually a countercurrent within causality that is faintly visible throughout the series. It has helped Guts get to where he is now. It involves elves a lot, and specifically Puck. Its other obvious agent is the Skull Knight, who is also perhaps our biggest source of information on causality. Let me list some of these events and see how they form an interesting pattern.

-SK's current state of existence is achieved with the help of elves, leading Puck to feel an elfin aura coming from him in volume 18.

-Chich saves Guts' life during his youth.
-Judo meets Puck early in life, before joining the Band of the Falcon.
-Judo carries a pouch of Puck's elf dust, which helps him survive many battles.
-After the hundred men battle, Judo gives the last of his elf dust to Casca so she can heal Guts.
-The Skull Knight warns Guts about the Eclipse.

-SK saves Rickert from the Count and Rochine.
-Rickert is found by travelers who Puck is staying with, and is given some of his dust.
-Rickert stumbles upon the Eclipse ceremony.
-Judo helps Casca survive the "feast".
-SK saves Guts and Casca from the Eclipse.
-Rickert heals Guts and Casca with Puck's elf dust.
-SK takes Rickert, Guts and Casca to Godot's mine, which was once inhabited by elves.
-Casca gives birth to the Demon Child.

-Guts meets Puck.
-The Demon Child haunts Guts, forcing him to reckon with his deeds.
-Puck veers Guts away from his self-destructive path and keeps him sane.
-Puck also saves Guts untold times during the Black Swordsman era.
-The Demon Child warns Guts about Casca being in danger.
-The Demon Child saves Casca's life numerous times.
-The Demon Child is absorbed by the Beherit Apostle and becomes Femto's vessel.

-Puck suggests they journey to Elfhelm and guides them there.
-The Child still exists within Griffith and is sometimes able to take over.
-Guts acquires a magical armor forged by a dwarf (a type of elf), which the Skull Knight once wore.
-As the Boy under the Moonlight, Guts and Casca's child repeatedly saves his parents.
-Puck guides Guts, Casca and everyone to Elfhelm.
-Casca's mind is healed by Danan.

The list isn't exhaustive because otherwise it would be a slog to get through, but these are some of the main and clearest threads weaved around Puck and the Skull Knight. What do they show us? That while the bad guys have been winning so far, their final victory isn't inevitable. The proof is that Guts and Casca are still alive. They could have each died a dozen times over by now, but they somehow made it. That's thanks to Guts' prowess and determination of course, but not only. They repeatedly benefited from this pattern of happenstances that brought them to where they are now.

So where do things go from here? I don't intend to speculate lengthily in this thread, but my conviction has always been, since I started reading Berserk, that Guts would prevail in the end. The God Hand may have once laughed at his insignificance, but they won't do so much longer. As most of you know, I've also been saying for over ten years now that I expect the Moonlight Boy to be Femto's undoing. The boy cares about his parents, and they care about him. I'm convinced that these unique circumstances will play a key role for the resolution of the story. Circumstances that arose against all odds, through little hiccups in the great machination of the Idea of Evil.

And I also don't think we've seen the last of the elves' impact. After all, Puck has been holding on to that beherit for years now. Maybe enough to sever it from the will of its creator?


Note that there are also other threads pertaining to minor characters that are bearing fruit. For example, remember how the Skull Knight saved Rickert? Well Rickert went on to slap Griffith in front of Charlotte, Sonia and Mule. An action that may have repercussions we have yet to see. In Falconia, Rickert was also assisted by Luka, whom the Skull Knight had saved during the events at Saint Albion. And he was saved from Rakshas by Silat, who trained hard to become stronger after his defeat against Guts. They further received the help of Daiba, who took a backseat during the Kushan empire's downfall after his defeat against Guts' group, and who Luka was lodging in Falconia.

I have no doubt that more is to come on those fronts in due time.
 

Walter

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Thanks for the deep dive, Aaz! Causality is one of those concepts in Berserk that's often taken for granted and not discussed much. And I think that tends to make readers, like the people of the Berserk world, regard it with an arbitrary "well that's just fate!" attitude. When what Miura is doing is far more nuanced and clever.

What do they show us? That while the bad guys have been winning so far, their final victory isn't inevitable. The proof is that Guts and Casca are still alive. They could have each died a dozen times over by now, but they somehow made it. That's thanks to Guts' prowess and determination of course, but not only. They repeatedly benefited from this pattern of happenstances that brought them to where they are now.

A potential argument is asking how we can know those seemingly anomalous movements of causality aren't really threads that link back to the IoE's grand design? One of the ways I'd answer that is that the domain of the IoE is humanity, not elves. It was born from humanity's collective unconsciousness and steers humanity's future. But it doesn't touch astral creatures. This lack of a controlling tether is, as we've discussed in the past, likely one of the reasons Femto is setting out to annihilate them from the world—effectively removing an obstacle and tying humanity closer around his finger in the same campaign.

We can know that these are separate from the IoE's intended design not only because the actions benefit these characters in ways that seem counter to the IoE's agenda, but also because these ripples don't originate with humanity, but with elves.

Note that there are also other threads pertaining to minor characters that are bearing fruit. For example, remember how the Skull Knight saved Rickert? Well Rickert went on to slap Griffith in front of Charlotte, Sonia and Mule. An action that may have repercussions we have yet to see. In Falconia, Rickert was also assisted by Luka, whom the Skull Knight had saved during the events at Saint Albion. And he was saved from Rakshas by Silat, who trained hard to become stronger after his defeat against Guts. They further received the help of Daiba, who took a backseat during the Kushan empire's downfall after his defeat against Guts' group, and who Luka was lodging in Falconia.
Yep, I often think about Luka's little team, because it feels like a glimpse into where Miura's headed. :isidro: I think the conclusion to Berserk is going to be all these anomalous undulations in causality converging in Falconia to take down the IoE's grand design.
 
Given all of this, one might be tempted to assume causality is simply a tool for the bad guys; the privileged domain of the god created by man. But it's more complicated than that. There is actually a countercurrent within causality that is faintly visible throughout the series. It has helped Guts get to where he is now. It involves elves a lot, and specifically Puck.

So...what you're saying is that Puck is more powerful than IOE? And that he's just been holding back his power? :ganishka::troll:
 
Void said it's only natural for man to bear his evil and confront destiny. Likewise, when causality is controlled by a nefarious presence like the IoE, I think it's only natural for strugglers to arise. First Skull Knight, then Guts. If these two aren't strong enough to remove the IoE's influence over causality, I'm sure more strugglers will come up later on. Who knows, maybe Guts himself will become immortal like Skull Knight so they can combine forces with future strugglers (I don't think this will happen, the story is definitely going to end with Guts). Maybe eventually there can be enough strugglers to take down the God Hand. However, as time goes on, population will rise and more and more people will die, meaning the Vortex of Souls will get bigger and bigger. Since the VoS is the source of the IoE/GH's power, this means they will probably get stronger as well...
What I'm trying to say is that it's in the design of causality that, if a presence like the IoE controls it, eventually a "counter-current" will produce strugglers, which will eventually become strong enough to take down whatever presence is controlling it. At the end of the day, nobody is free from the flow of causality, not even the IoE.
 

Aazealh

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Void said it's only natural for man to bear his evil and confront destiny.

An accurate translation of what Void says is "If it's a principle that fate transcends human intellect and makes playthings of humans... It's causality that humans confront fate with evil." What he's talking about is the use of evil power by humans to gain a higher form of agency over their lives instead of being victims of happenstance. It's exemplified by apostles sacrificing the people dearest to them to reverse their fortune. But I don't see how it's relevant to quote it here.

Likewise, when causality is controlled by a nefarious presence like the IoE, I think it's only natural for strugglers to arise. First Skull Knight, then Guts. If these two aren't strong enough to remove the IoE's influence over causality, I'm sure more strugglers will come up later on.

The term "struggler" specifically refers to Guts. That's how the Skull Knight describes him in volume 9 based on the harsh life he's lived. It's not meant to be some special category of people who oppose the Idea of Evil.

It's also not a "natural" phenomenon of the world, as far as we know, to have people arise who would "naturally" oppose the Idea of Evil's agenda. For one thing, the Skull Knight only barely survived what happened a thousand years ago, and has been opposing the God Hand since then, but unsuccessfully. As for Guts, he's survived and had his small victories, but he would have died had he not received help from the Skull Knight or Puck (among others). More importantly, he also played a big part in the creation of Femto, and in that regard he definitely wasn't simply born as a natural opponent of the IoE.

Lastly, we don't know the specifics of how it all works, nor even the motives of this mysterious God of the Abyss, but according to episode 83 (which was removed from the story), the Idea of Evil is a part of mankind and is connected to every single human being. So it's not like beings on the scale of the Skull Knight or Guts could simply "remove its influence" over mankind with their brawn. Something more fundamental would need to happen. Anyway, the first order of things will be to thwart the God Hand's plans.

Who knows, maybe Guts himself will become immortal like Skull Knight so they can combine forces with future strugglers (I don't think this will happen, the story is definitely going to end with Guts). Maybe eventually there can be enough strugglers to take down the God Hand.

I really don't think that will happen.

However, as time goes on, population will rise and more and more people will die, meaning the Vortex of Souls will get bigger and bigger. Since the VoS is the source of the IoE/GH's power, this means they will probably get stronger as well...

The Vortex of Souls is part of a greater ocean where souls are divided according to their karma (good or bad). The cycle of life and death, in and of itself, doesn't mean the Idea of Evil becomes automatically more powerful. Furthermore, it's hard to describe "power" for a being on that level of existence. On a side note, members of the God Hand receive evil power at the time of their rebirth, but their strength isn't tied to the real time state of the Vortex of Souls.

What I'm trying to say is that it's in the design of causality that, if a presence like the IoE controls it, eventually a "counter-current" will produce strugglers, which will eventually become strong enough to take down whatever presence is controlling it.

Actually that's not true at all, as far as we know. Causality is the principle of cause and effect. It's not "designed" around a balance of power, or the idea that it can't be manipulated by a particular entity. Honestly I'm not sure where you got that from. Your post doesn't make it clear how you arrived at that conclusion.

At the end of the day, nobody is free from the flow of causality, not even the IoE.

Again, I don't think this is supported by the story. The Idea of Evil subsists on another plane of existence and the principles that govern the corporeal world presumably don't apply to it.
 
An accurate translation of what Void says is "If it's a principle that fate transcends human intellect and makes playthings of humans... It's causality that humans confront fate with evil." What he's talking about is the use of evil power by humans to gain a higher form of agency over their lives instead of being victims of happenstance. It's exemplified by apostles sacrificing the people dearest to them to reverse their fortune. But I don't see how it's relevant to quote it here.
Yeah, I know it's supposed to represent people like Griffith who use evil to confront their reality. I was saying that, just as it's natural for man to bear his evil and confront destiny, it's natural for the opposite to take place (the creation of people who choose to face their destiny head-on, strugglers). I'm using the term "struggler" here to represent not only Guts but other people that form part of the counter-current, like Skull Knight.
It's also not a "natural" phenomenon of the world, as far as we know, to have people arise who would "naturally" oppose the Idea of Evil's agenda.
I disagree, I think it is natural.
For one thing, the Skull Knight only barely survived what happened a thousand years ago, and has been opposing the God Hand since then, but unsuccessfully. As for Guts, he's survived and had his small victories, but he would have died had he not received help from the Skull Knight or Puck (among others).
Exactly. Skull Knight should, logically, have died, but he didn't. Why? Because of happenstance. Similarly, in your initial post, you list a small portion of the multitude of chance-based events that led to Guts where he is now. These are examples of causality working in favor of strugglers. You're stating it's not natural since the reason they are alive today is basically just luck, but isn't that what causality is?
Lastly, we don't know the specifics of how it all works, nor even the motives of this mysterious God of the Abyss, but according to episode 83 (which was removed from the story), the Idea of Evil is a part of mankind and is connected to every single human being. So it's not like beings on the scale of the Skull Knight or Guts could simply "remove its influence" over mankind with their brawn. Something more fundamental would need to happen.
IoE was removed, but nothing thus far seems to contradict it, which is why I'm assuming that it's still the God of the Abyss at the moment.
Yes - the IoE is not a giant heart monster that can be sliced with the Dragonslayer, it's a metaphor for the collective conscious of humanity. It goes without saying that what everyone thinks about collectively ultimately dictates what is going to happen to mankind. That being said, "strugglers" are part of mankind, so it's not like what they think doesn't matter in the eyes of the IoE. After all, they're a part of it too, meaning they should be able to have some kind of impact on it.
The Vortex of Souls is part of a greater ocean where souls are divided according to their karma (good or bad). The cycle of life and death, in and of itself, doesn't mean the Idea of Evil becomes automatically more powerful. Furthermore, it's hard to describe "power" for a being on that level of existence. On a side note, members of the God Hand receive evil power at the time of their rebirth, but their strength isn't tied to the real time state of the Vortex of Souls.
This is where my understanding of the Berserk after-life kind of crumbles... apologies for that. I heard the Vortex of Souls is the source of power for the IoE and, subsequently, the God Hand, so I assumed that as it grows, so does their power. Also, I thought the VoE was just a segment of the afterlife, as opposed to the whole containing different parts corresponding to different karma. Simply put, I thought the VoE is where people go when they deal with demonkind, while there are other places in the Astral World where people go corresponding to their karma (maybe to even become daimons if they're special like Flora?). Also didn't know the God Hand's power was determined by the circumstances of their rebirth.
Actually that's not true at all, as far as we know. Causality is the principle of cause and effect. It's not "designed" around a balance of power, or the idea that it can't be manipulated by a particular entity. Honestly I'm not sure where you got that from. Your post doesn't make it clear how you arrived at that conclusion.
Well, we don't really know if it's true or not, it's conjecture. We don't know if it's designed around a balance of power. What I'm saying is that, based on my observations, it looks like causality is working against the IoE in some aspects, and may even lead to its downfall. I mean, look at all the things you listed that worked in favor of Guts that are the result of pure luck! Clearly, causality is working in favor of these strugglers, to some extent.

Edit: On a side note, how the hell do I change my avatar?
 

Aazealh

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I was saying that, just as it's natural for man to bear his evil and confront destiny, it's natural for the opposite to take place

Void doesn't actually say "it's natural" that this or that happens. That's not what the actual quote is. He says it's causality that humans confront their fate with evil. So from the get-go you're relying on a falsehood to support your idea.

I'm using the term "struggler" here to represent not only Guts but other people that form part of the counter-current, like Skull Knight.

Well, like I told you, the word "struggler" very specifically refers to Guts, not to some category of special people. I can't stop you from using the word however you want, but I'm not sure what the point is. These discussions are meant to further our understanding of the story, not to bend it to fit incorrect preconceptions. Also, for what it's worth the main agent of the countercurrent in my original post is Puck.

I disagree, I think it is natural.

Why? What's your basis for thinking so? Nothing in the story supports this idea.

Exactly. Skull Knight should, logically, have died, but he didn't. Why? Because of happenstance. Similarly, in your initial post, you list a small portion of the multitude of chance-based events that led to Guts where he is now. These are examples of causality working in favor of strugglers. You're stating it's not natural since the reason they are alive today is basically just luck, but isn't that what causality is?

No, I think you're mistaken about the intent behind my post, and maybe also about what causality is. The common point in the list I made is that elves, and Puck in particular, have had a significant impact on the events in the story, even though it's not always obvious. An impact that can be seen as a counterinfluence to the bad guys. That includes, among other things, the Skull Knight's current state. When Puck met him in volume 18, he felt that he had an elfin aura about him. And we now know that his armor was created by Hanarr, who is part of the wider family of elves. By the way, Gaiseric did die. The Skull Knight is an undead spirit inhabiting a magical suit of armor. And how he got to that point had nothing to do with happenstance. People made it happen. We don't have all the details yet, but it's quite possible other elves were involved, as well as magic users.

Moving on, nowhere did I talk about what's natural or not. Nor is causality about luck. Causality is the principle of cause and effect, and is associated in Japanese to Buddhist notions like karma. In Berserk, it is explained that certain events are preordained through that principle by the bad guys. The Idea of Evil uses it to manipulate the world at a fine level in order to achieve specific results. It's the opposite of happenstance, even though to the uninitiated it might look like it. It ensures things go as planned. My suggestion with this thread is that there is also a reinforcing pattern but that benefits the good guys in its own small way.

IoE was removed, but nothing thus far seems to contradict it, which is why I'm assuming that it's still the God of the Abyss at the moment.

Episode 83 was removed from the story. The God of the Abyss is still very much canon. The name "Idea of Evil" doesn't really matter in that regard, what's important is the nature, motivation and goal of this entity.

Yes - the IoE is not a giant heart monster that can be sliced with the Dragonslayer, it's a metaphor for the collective conscious of humanity.

No, the Idea of Evil isn't a metaphor. If we go by what's explained in episode 83, it is a sentient entity born from the dark side of mankind's collective consciousness that acts as god and aims to determine every human being's fate. But episode 83 was removed from the story, so we don't actually know for sure. What we do know is that it's beyond the reach of someone like Guts.

It goes without saying that what everyone thinks about collectively ultimately dictates what is going to happen to mankind. That being said, "strugglers" are part of mankind, so it's not like what they think doesn't matter in the eyes of the IoE. After all, they're a part of it too, meaning they should be able to have some kind of impact on it.

That's not how it's explained in episode 83. We're talking about deep emotions common to all humans here (sorrow, fear, pain, anger...), not conscious thoughts.

This is where my understanding of the Berserk after-life kind of crumbles... apologies for that. I heard the Vortex of Souls is the source of power for the IoE and, subsequently, the God Hand, so I assumed that as it grows, so does their power. Also, I thought the VoE was just a segment of the afterlife, as opposed to the whole containing different parts corresponding to different karma. Simply put, I thought the VoE is where people go when they deal with demonkind, while there are other places in the Astral World where people go corresponding to their karma (maybe to even become daimons if they're special like Flora?). Also didn't know the God Hand's power was determined by the circumstances of their rebirth.

There is a great ocean of souls deep down at the very bottom of the astral world. In that ocean, souls are divided according to their karma. The bad souls go to a part of that ocean that's essentially hell, and it's got a huge whirlpool in there. That's what we call the Vortex of Souls.

In episode 83, we see the Idea of Evil in the middle of a similar kind of whirlpool, which it refers to as hell. It tells Griffith: "What you are seeing is a part of me. My core. Look around you. An ocean of feelings all humans have deep in their souls. A common consciousness that transcends individuality. Its dark side is this swelling ocean. I was born from these swells. As the ego of this world. This world itself is I. The darkness that dwells in every human heart." At the end of their encounter, evil souls are used to create a new form for Griffith. That is how he is reborn as Femto.

I hope that makes things clearer for you. Do bear in mind though that episode 83 was removed from the story and that discrepancies are to be expected. Regarding Daimons, you can check this thread if you're interested.

Well, we don't really know if it's true or not, it's conjecture. We don't know if it's designed around a balance of power.

Well it's a fact that causality is the principle of cause and effect. And so far in the story there's been absolutely no indication that a balance of power is required or anything like that. All we know is that the bad guys use causality as a means to fulfill their objectives. The only conjecture here lies in your belief that causality is "designed to enforce a balance of power", and it doesn't have any basis in the story.

What I'm saying is that, based on my observations, it looks like causality is working against the IoE in some aspects, and may even lead to its downfall. I mean, look at all the things you listed that worked in favor of Guts that are the result of pure luck! Clearly, causality is working in favor of these strugglers, to some extent.

Causality isn't a sentient being. It's a law of the world of Berserk, like the laws of physics are in the real world. It doesn't have its own will, but can be used as a tool in order to achieve a desired outcome. There is only one being that we know is using it in such a manner, and that is the Idea of Evil. What I proposed in my original post is that the actions of elves and those associated with them might form a pattern through causality that is not subject to the Idea of Evil's will. It's not about luck.
 
Void doesn't actually say "it's natural" that this or that happens. That's not what the actual quote is. He says it's causality that humans confront their fate with evil. So from the get-go you're relying on a falsehood to support your idea.
That's a very good point, I think I may have read a wrong translation. That being said, Void's quote is not the basis of my theory, but rather what gave me the idea for it.
No, I think you're mistaken about the intent behind my post, and maybe also about what causality is. The common point in the list I made is that elves, and Puck in particular, have had a significant impact on the events in the story, even though it's not always obvious. An impact that can be seen as a counterinfluence to the bad guys. That includes, among other things, the Skull Knight's current state. When Puck met him in volume 18, he felt that he had an elfin aura about him. And we now know that his armor was created by Hanarr, who is part of the wider family of elves. By the way, Gaiseric did die. The Skull Knight is an undead spirit inhabiting a magical suit of armor. And how he got to that point had nothing to do with happenstance. People made it happen. We don't have all the details yet, but it's quite possible other elves were involved, as well as magic users.

Moving on, nowhere did I talk about what's natural or not. Nor is causality about luck. Causality is the principle of cause and effect, and is associated in Japanese to Buddhist notions like karma. In Berserk, it is explained that certain events are preordained through that principle by the bad guys. The Idea of Evil uses it to manipulate the world at a fine level in order to achieve specific results. It's the opposite of happenstance, even though to the uninitiated it might look like it. It ensures things go as planned. My suggestion with this thread is that there is also a reinforcing pattern but that benefits the good guys in its own small way.
I think you may be misunderstanding my point about causality. I don't think causality is just a measure of luck or some sort of sentient being. I understand it's a physical law. When I say things like, "causality is working in favor of Guts", it's like saying "the wind is blowing north". The wind isn't a living thing, but sometimes, for one reason or another, it shows discrete tendencies. Similarly, causality can be shown to work in favor of the bad guys when influenced by the God of the Abyss. I think we can all agree on that, so it shouldn't be such a far fetched idea for causality to also work against the IoE as an indirect result of its influence - think of throwing a Boomerang. The Boomerang doesn't consciously decide to fly back to you after you throw it away from you, it's just a principle of the universe's laws. Similarly, it could be that if one controls causality to some extent, a counter-current will naturally be born. When many lucky things happen to you that get you to the point where you are now, that's causality working in favor of you. That's not to say causality is purely a measure of luck; cause and effect can apply to events both within and outside of human control (for example, Griffith deciding to sacrifice the Band of the Hawk is causality). A combination of happenstance and man-made decisions helped Skull Knight be reincarnated, and that's causality too.
Additionally, I think I jumped the gun a bit in my previous reply. Something akin to a balance of power may be observed - this doesn't mean that the IoE is destined to lose its grip over causality due to the counter-current. Rather, my point is that the counter-current may be a physical result of the IoE using causality (think of the Boomerang).
No, the Idea of Evil isn't a metaphor. If we go by what's explained in episode 83, it is a sentient entity born from the dark side of mankind's collective consciousness that acts as god and aims to determine every human being's fate. But episode 83 was removed from the story, so we don't actually know for sure. What we do know is that it's beyond the reach of someone like Guts.
I don't know why I said that. My bad. I was thinking that the IoE is a metaphor from a literature standpoint, which isn't really relevant to the conversation.
That's not how it's explained in episode 83. We're talking about deep emotions common to all humans here (sorrow, fear, pain, anger...), not conscious thoughts.
That's true. I was in a bit of a rush and butchered the definition of the IoE. I understand it works at the subconscious level (I think it actually says that to Griffith in the removed chapter).

I'm sure my understanding of the Berserk universe is full of blemishes, misconceptions and wrong translations. The point that I want to communicate is that, if an entity like the IoE is to control causality, a counter-current is naturally produced. You know about the phenomenon of emergence? In the real world, we live in an entropic, naturally chaotic universe. However, order is born from this chaos; snowflakes, cells, living systems, etc. are examples of complex, orderly systems being borne from a universe that is outwardly chaotic. In this way, entropy, a physical law, brings about a counter-current of sorts contrary to its general tendency. Similarly, I believe causality naturally brings about a counter-current contrary to its general tendency. Whether or not this counter-current serves a balance of power or whatever is pure conjecture and completely unaddressed by the story, so I'll stop considering that at the moment.
 

Aazealh

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Staff member
I think you may be misunderstanding my point about causality. I don't think causality is just a measure of luck or some sort of sentient being. I understand it's a physical law. When I say things like, "causality is working in favor of Guts", it's like saying "the wind is blowing north". The wind isn't a living thing, but sometimes, for one reason or another, it shows discrete tendencies. Similarly, causality can be shown to work in favor of the bad guys when influenced by the God of the Abyss. I think we can all agree on that, so it shouldn't be such a far fetched idea for causality to also work against the IoE as an indirect result of its influence - think of throwing a Boomerang. The Boomerang doesn't consciously decide to fly back to you after you throw it away from you, it's just a principle of the universe's laws. Similarly, it could be that if one controls causality to some extent, a counter-current will naturally be born.

I get what you're trying to say. But it's just not the way causality is presented in the series. We're not told all that much about it, except that it's wielded by the bad guys to shape events at a very high level. Flora expresses that its flow is a spiral and not a circle. Maybe you're trying too hard to equate it to the laws of physics of our world, whereas it's more of an esoteric principle in a world where magic exists.

When many lucky things happen to you that get you to the point where you are now, that's causality working in favor of you.

That's not how it's described...

That's not to say causality is purely a measure of luck; cause and effect can apply to events both within and outside of human control

Causality is presented as something completely outside of human control in the series. In fact, humans are explained to be unable to affect the world in any meaningful way because of it. For example, in volume 18, the Skull Knight tells Guts that it's only because he's branded, and therefore exists at the frontier of the corporeal and astral worlds, that he has a (very slight) chance to impact the outcome of the ceremony.

A combination of happenstance and man-made decisions helped Skull Knight be reincarnated, and that's causality too.

The Skull Knight was not reincarnated (his soul was encased in a magical armor), and we don't know the precise circumstances of how it all happened, as I stated before. You're just making things up here.

I'm sure my understanding of the Berserk universe is full of blemishes, misconceptions and wrong translations. The point that I want to communicate is that, if an entity like the IoE is to control causality, a counter-current is naturally produced.

I understand your point and I'm trying to avoid nitpicking on too many things for the sake of not dragging this on. However I must reiterate that nothing in the series supports this idea. There just isn't a basis for it right now. That's the fundamental problem here.

And just to be clear, the idea that there is a countercurrent within Causality is just speculation on my part in the first place. It's based on my observation that the actions of elves and those associated with them form a pattern of sorts, but it's not something that has been confirmed in the story at this point.
 
I get what you're trying to say. But it's just not the way causality is presented in the series. We're not told all that much about it, except that it's wielded by the bad guys to shape events at a very high level. Flora expresses that its flow is a spiral and not a circle. Maybe you're trying too hard to equate it to the laws of physics of our world, whereas it's more of an esoteric principle in a world where magic exists.
I guess you're right. I'm looking at it through the lens of a real world phenomenon, since the real world exhibits similar properties.
Causality is presented as something completely outside of human control in the series. In fact, humans are explained to be unable to affect the world in any meaningful way because of it. For example, in volume 18, the Skull Knight tells Guts that it's only because he's branded, and therefore exists at the frontier of the corporeal and astral worlds, that he has a (very slight) chance to impact the outcome of the ceremony.
Ah, that's not what I meant. I don't think causality is within human control. What I meant to say is, decisions taken by humans are a part of causality too. If you decide to eat a turkey sandwich today instead of a ham sandwich, that decision is within the flow of causality too. Man has no control, even over his own will. Like you said, causality isn't just happenstance, it's literally just everything that happens and has an effect on the universe.
And just to be clear, the idea that there is a countercurrent within Causality is just speculation on my part in the first place. It's based on my observation that the actions of elves and those associated with them form a pattern of sorts, but it's not something that has been confirmed in the story at this point.
Here's what I wanna know, since at this point I'm not sure what we're arguing about here. We both agree that a counter-current can be observed. I believe this counter-current is a natural symptom of causality under the influence of the IoE, similar to how emergence is a natural symptom of entropy. I take it you disagree because it's just not something substantially supported by the story. So if that's not it, what do you think is the cause of the counter-current? Elves and other similar astral creatures? Are they outside of the control of the God of the Abyss and therefore not part of the flow of causality?

P.S. Avatar change has been achieved
 

Aazealh

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Ah, that's not what I meant. I don't think causality is within human control. What I meant to say is, decisions taken by humans are a part of causality too. If you decide to eat a turkey sandwich today instead of a ham sandwich, that decision is within the flow of causality too. Man has no control, even over his own will. Like you said, causality isn't just happenstance, it's literally just everything that happens and has an effect on the universe.

The line "man has no control even over his own will" is about the fact people's desires and decisions are themselves preordained. It's not that eating a sandwich will have an effect on the universe, but rather that doing so is part of a complex chain of events put in motion by an entity who defies your understanding.

Here's what I wanna know, since at this point I'm not sure what we're arguing about here. We both agree that a counter-current can be observed. I believe this counter-current is a natural symptom of causality under the influence of the IoE, similar to how emergence is a natural symptom of entropy. I take it you disagree because it's just not something substantially supported by the story. So if that's not it, what do you think is the cause of the counter-current? Elves and other similar astral creatures? Are they outside of the control of the God of the Abyss and therefore not part of the flow of causality?

Well yes, I believe I made it clear that I think elves are the main factor. You see, the apostles, the God Hand and their master who dwells deep down in the Abyss... They're all about mankind. Humans. The God of the Abyss is the "God born of Man", as Void states. So elves are outside of that purview. Their actions can't be foreordained in the same manner. This is close to being a proven fact in my opinion, and was the starting point for my theory of a countercurrent. Because they aren't under the influence of the Idea of Evil, they could be seen as agents of chaos from its perspective. And it could just be that and nothing more, and not be related to causality, however... Puck did go out into the world and meet all these people, and eventually brought them back to Elfhelm. If we squint, a pattern can be seen... That's what I think might represent a countercurrent.
 
Ah, so the IoE can only manipulate causality through humans or human-related astral creatures? That makes sense. Elves are wind elementals in the end. Which makes you wonder what other elemental creatures could have a similar effect on causality. Do you think characters like Serpico, who wield elemental weapons, could also be able to somewhat defy the flow, since these weapons are actually primeval wind elementals like sylphs, salamanders, undines, etc?
 

Aazealh

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Elves are wind elementals in the end.

Not necessarily. Piskies like Puck or Ivalera are a type of elf that's associated with the wind element, but there are other kinds, like Chich or Danan, or even Hanarr. If you look at the party that welcomed Guts' group in episode 346, elfkind seems very diverse.

Do you think characters like Serpico, who wield elemental weapons, could also be able to somewhat defy the flow

Hard to say. Perhaps actual magicians might under certain conditions, but someone simply using a magic weapon... Probably not.

primeval wind elementals like sylphs, salamanders, undines, etc?

Sylphs are associated with the element of Wind, Salamanders with Fire, Undines with Water and Gnomes with the Earth. And then there's Barytes, the element of Weight. We don't have the full picture for that one yet.
 

Matteo Metallo

"Hold on... I forgot to put in the crystals."
Do you think the pattern of the countercurrent that is emerging is something that was spoken of or prophesied about during the time of Gaiseric?

As was pointed out initially in this thread, outside of Void our best source of info concerning causality comes from the Skull Knight. If he is keen to its presence and aware of its force on the world, yet still wages war on its most powerful agents then I'm thinking there has to be some belief driving his actions.
 

Aazealh

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Do you think the pattern of the countercurrent that is emerging is something that was spoken of or prophesied about during the time of Gaiseric?

As was pointed out initially in this thread, outside of Void our best source of info concerning causality comes from the Skull Knight. If he is keen to its presence and aware of its force on the world, yet still wages war on its most powerful agents then I'm thinking there has to be some belief driving his actions.

Well, that's hard to say. I don't think it was necessarily prophesied. However it's clear the Skull Knight has an understanding of how it works, and I believe it comes from first-hand experience as well as from foreknowledge (i.e. the one prophecy we do know about). He's been alive for a very long time and has presumably seen many events unfold. Perhaps enough so that he can see the patterns now, the threads being pulled.

As for what drives him, I think it's closer to Guts' motivations than to cold calculations about what can realistically be achieved. What I mean is that I don't think he's got a surefire plan that follows precise steps that were laid out in advance. Rather, he stands steadfastly against the bad guys and tries to undermine them at every turn. Sometimes (rarely?) it works, sometimes (often?) it doesn't.

So did he knowingly seek to create an opposite pattern within causality? Again, hard to say. I'm not sure it really matters, honestly, because his actions bore fruit regardless. Anyway, if you look back at volume 18, his reaction to Puck is interesting. He didn't expect it, but it looks like it makes sense to him. His interactions with Flora tell us quite a bit too.
 
while this is certainly a interesting and thought out observation and i agree with most of the conclusions youve drawn from said observations i have to take issue with the description of this all as a countercurrent. it seems ironic to say causality which is at its basis just a way to say that all events are predestined and ensured by prior events has a entirely separate force when it is just by definition the most likely outcome of all events. ive always seen causality as more of a law that the godhand empowered by near omnipotent knowledge or possibily just near perfect reasoning make use of putting in there own slight affects that help bend the outcome to there will. in this way i see the examples youve listed as less a intelligently weaved counter current and more a series of exceptions impacted by characters actively trying to escape the law of causality.
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
i have to take issue with the description of this all as a countercurrent. it seems ironic to say causality which is at its basis just a way to say that all events are predestined and ensured by prior events has a entirely separate force when it is just by definition the most likely outcome of all events.

I'm not sure I understand your objection. Causality isn't just a gotcha to say all events are predestined. Miura went through the trouble of adding nuance to that notion for a reason. It has also got nothing to do with "the most likely outcome". Griffith finding his beherit in the lake just in time for the Eclipse to start wasn't very likely, quite the contrary in fact.

Anyway, my point isn't that there's a "separate force" (i.e. sentient being) besides the Idea of Evil that uses causality to achieve specific objectives. Just that certain events involving elves and the like form a pattern that seems to run contrary to the "main current".

ive always seen causality as more of a law that the godhand empowered by near omnipotent knowledge or possibily just near perfect reasoning make use of putting in there own slight affects that help bend the outcome to there will.

As far as we know, the God Hand doesn't manipulate causality. It is its master, the Idea of Evil, that does. Of course we don't know for sure because we have very few details on what each member of the God Hand can do, but that's what the story has implied thus far.

in this way i see the examples youve listed as less a intelligently weaved counter current and more a series of exceptions impacted by characters actively trying to escape the law of causality.

To reiterate, I didn't say there was a mastermind behind this countercurrent. Just that all those events seem to form a self-reinforcing pattern. Think of it as a kind of chain reaction. Now sure, they could all be isolated events, or at least not form a coherent countercurrent. But I do see a pattern in there. Also, please note that many of the things I listed weren't the result of "characters actively trying to escape the law of causality".
 
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