A Meditation on Creation and Divinity

Okay look I’m just talkin’ here:

The entire Elder Scrolls lore revolves around the concept of Creation.

At the lowest levels, we reproduce. That act of creation is not a divine act in the poetic sense, but basic survival instinct. It is the least “powerful” form of creation. Even ants can do this.

At a higher level, we build things. Rocks become Cairns. Trees become Logs become Houses, Bridges, Walls, Weapons. Ore becomes Blades and Armor. But this is just the manipulation of one thing into another. It is not as much Creation as it is Conversion.

So we move to the next level. We create with Magicka. Fire between our hands, ice from our fingers. But again, this is Conversion, though the brush is loaded with the phlogistonic paint of Aetherius.

So where do we go from there? Perhaps Dagoth Ur found another form of Creation while he dreamed, dancing in the center. He dreamed and his dreams became reality. Is it possible that they were not formed from the coalescing of the Aether or by the pounding of the hammer or by the rutting of the animal? Perhaps they were thought becoming reality, though the forms were as diseased as their dreamer.

I think it cannot be denied: Dagoth Ur tasted a form of true power, and possibly even Divinity. For his time he felt the lure of True Divinity: the ability to create by will alone. His Creations were not Conversion. Else from where did The Blight originate?

And ALMSIVI? Their creations were only the exercise of Power on Existence. Not divine creation but more manipulation. Perhaps Talos created with his Love the new face of Cyrodiil, but I have a doubt. Where is Vivec’s creation? Did he will the existence of his city, as the 36 Lessons say it? Such literal interpretation is dangerously childish.

But the Godhead leaves little room for doubt. It is the metric by which we should measure true divinity. The Godhead’s will becomes reality, as does the Amaranth. They do not require the crutch of Power, as does CHIM, to form their imagination into flesh. The Six Walking Ways tells us that they lead to Divinity, but I think this is a false laurel. They lead us to power unimagined by the mortal, perhaps even eternal existence, but it is not true Divinity because it does not offer true Creation, and so neither Vivec, Sotha Sil, Almalexia nor Talos were true Gods. I suggest that by this metric the Thalmor are right, even if their actions lead them so closely to wrong that the difference is miniscule.

Mankar Camoran was driven by the notion that the creation of Mundus was steeped in deceit. He took issue with the nature of the creation but not the creation itself. For him, the ends did not justify the means.

And how can we continue the cycle of creation? By the destruction of the kalpa and the creation of a new one. This continuing cycle ensures that the divine nature of the Elder Scrolls universe is never extinguished or bled dry. So a Dragon comes along and flags everything for deletion.

These are the themes that drive every game since Morrowind. Divinity, by definition, is Creation, and the conflicts that drove every game’s main quest line were based on the exploration of that divinity.

To be fair, this is an obvious conclusion. We were already there with the Metaphysics of Morrowind. There is no greater act of divinity than creation from nothing by force of will, and that is what the Elder Scrolls games are. From nothingness comes our kalpas, our Aurbis, and every sub-gradient we can imagine. But only by attaining the knowledge that we are not real can we start again, and build through careful learning a new reality molded by our own imagination. Our Godhead’s new dreams may borrow from the old as we modify and manipulate in our Provisional Houses, but true Divinity can be reached by a new incalculable effort as we construct our realities without the old Godhead’s aid, and build our houses on our own foundations.

The final form of Divinity is not found in the Provisional House. It is found in a pad of notes.


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