The Elder Scrolls

“Achieving” Zero-Sum

Content of the article: "“Achieving” Zero-Sum"

I’ve read a couple of posts on here in the past (long-time lurker, very rare participant) that pointed out that zero-summing shouldn’t be seen simply as a failure to achieve CHIM; rather, in the TES universe, it’s often seen as an achievement of sorts. Unfortunately, my memories regarding exactly where I saw those comments are faded, but I wanted to pitch an idea regarding why zero-summing may be seen as an achievement.

After reading the Upanishads (there are several parallels between the TES universe and the metaphysics of Hinduism), something that consistently stuck out to me was achieving unity with Brahman, the supreme deity. This, according to the Upanishads, is the only way to escape the cycle of samsara (birth, death, rebirth). In order to achieve this unity, the atman must be cast aside.

What is the atman? The atman can best be summed up as an individual’s ego. It’s that person’s perception of themself as a separate entity from everything else in the world, as well as their individual personality and character. However, Hinduism teaches that there is a dual aspect of the person: the atman and Brahman. Brahman is both immanent and transcendent, and so it’s (Brahman has no gender) inherently all people as well. Everything is Brahman, and Brahman is everything. To achieve unity with Brahman, one must cast aside the delusion of atman. Only when this is fully complete can one escape the samsaric cycle and rejoin Brahman in eternal bliss.

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You can probably see where I’m going with this. To achieve oneness with the Amaranth, one must realize and fully accept that their individuality, their ego, is a delusion. Zero-summing is therefore the achievement of enlightenment in the TES universe, similar to how it is in Hinduism.

I’m really not sure about the fine details in terms of what happens to the individual. There’s a great deal of speculation. I remember reading the text “Et’Ada, Eight Aedra, Eat the Dreamer,” in which it was implied that a Moth Priest “melted away” after reaching zero-sum. To quote: “” This could be nonsense, of course. The existence of the Nerevarine also implies that reincarnation exists in some form in the TES universe, but whether the Nerevarine and maybe a few others are unique in this regard is also, as far as I know, undetermined.

The point, though, is that zero-sum is a state in which one achieves unity with the Amaranth. It is a different state from CHIM and is no less significant. After all, the zero-summer has achieved the same realization as the CHIMster; the zero-summer just accepts the logical conclusion, whereas the CHIMster doesn’t.

Anyway, that was pretty much all that I had to say on the topic. I’d like to hear your thoughts and feedback as well.

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