Whilst I like the idea that the Alpha Legion is a gestalt, thus rendering the phrase 'I am Alpharius' as a literal statement, it simply isn't true as a dozen books, short stories and so forth all clearly state.
That being said, I'd like to post something I just wrote over at the Alpha Legion's forums where we are discussing the Third Paradox:
I think the issue here relies on the word 'paradox' as stated in the fluff, rather than the word 'way', which implies a strong direction and predicability.
A paradox is seemingly absurd, contradictory statement or proposition that on further investigation holds to be true. It is reasonable to assume that the first two paradoxes are the ones presented by Gahet in LEGION:
The First Paradox:
If the Emperor is victorious, stagnation will take hold in the Imperium - over the course of thousands of years Chaos will gradually be allowed to fester in decay and the Primordial Annihilator achieves ascendancy and the galaxy ends.
The Second Paradox:
Should the Warmaster achieve victory, a ‘brief’ century or two of violence will end the human race and the Primordial Annihilator is denied. The races of the galaxy live on due to the destruction of the human race.
The Third Paradox:
This is what is implied in the fluff and on forums, that the Alpha Legion follows a course of action that engenders the first two paradoxes, and therefore fulfil both and neither simultaneously - The Alpha Legion creates its own agenda, demonstrated further by Omegon’s theft of the corrupted Raven Guard Raptor Gene-tech and rejecting the Cabal’s agenda outright. However, in doing so, a schism forms within the Legion as the twin primarchs’ begin to differ ideologically on which course of action to follow. Ranko is aware of Omegon’s personal conflict on following a course of action that is not unified with Alpharius’. This statement seems to hold true, with this statement in DELIVERANCE LOST:
“As they had done so many times before, Alpharius and his Legion had stepped upon a narrow path, playing a part to two opposing sides to achieve a third, more desirable outcome.” (DELIVERANCE LOST)
I however, believe there may be another explanation:
Consider: The First Paradox the Acuity’s vision, The Second Paradox that it is possible that Alpha Legion can create a more desirable outcome for themselves by serving both sides at the same time, but by doing so, the Third Paradox is that the Second Paradox can only be achieved by conscientiously splitting apart - with each Primarch pursuing the same goal through different means.
This one makes the most sense to me, as I've always viewed the Alpha Legion's outcome is to maintain humanity's flaws and yet elevate the human race above all other galactic species, notably, this does not mean the Imperium, which is a theocratic culture, rather than humanity, the species. Reading the Serpent Beneath, I think it is Omegon who has come to this conclusion and has simply accepted that an ideological division needs to happen in order to best achieve the long term goals of the legion; in that the best course of action is a paradox, but one that is in keeping with legion doctrine (many heads).
Originally Posted by HunterCD,Jun 29 2013, 10:56 AM
what you mean is they want to play two opposing sides at the same time, a "good" side and an evil side. so the good side would be anyplace where humans live without the theocracy of the Imperium or the taint of Chaos and at the same time play the Imperium and Chaos against one another. this way humanity will always survive, but will never fall into stagnation and self destruct. so the situation is sustainable with proper planning..
Yes, in a way I suppose. It was more that both Alpharius and Omegon accept that when faced with two paradoxes presented by the Cabal, they could actually create another way that the Cabal didn't consider by simply doing both. What I am suggesting, is for that the third way to happen, a paradox must occur where the Alpha Legion ideologically split between themselves
, in order to fulfil their own objectives - which is my interpretation of The Serpent Beneath. It appears Omegon is aware of this, whereas Alpharius is not, it's unclear.
In essence, I believe Alpha Legion's ultimate aim is the dominance of humanity in the galaxy, but one that subscribes to the Imperial Truth
, as dictated by the Emperor, of which the 41st Millenium's Imperium certainly is not. I believe that Alpha Legion's biggest enemy is not the Imperium, but in fact the Word Bearers, whose own Primarch Lorgar instigated a theocratic galaxy spanning empire based on superstitious ignorance.
Let us restate the aims of the Alpha Legion, in discussion with Commander Namatjira, in which the complexity of Alpha Legion's doctrine is revealed:
I appreciate that the Emperor upholds a teleological scheme for the future of man, and I will endeavour to uphold it... [The Emperor] wishes to unify and perfect humanity through the intense application of martial violence - Ingo Pech
The word 'teleological' is a philosophy that proposes that final causes exist in nature. A final cause is the aim or purpose being served by it. That for the sake of which a thing is what it is. For a seed, it might be an adult plant. For a sailboat, it might be sailing. In the case of the Emperor's design for humanity, it is for humanity to be the dominant species in the galaxy, but in order to exist benevolently, the Imperial Truth must be upheld in harmony between all branches of humanity in order to do so, therefore, the Emperor believes the final natural end for humanity is dominance of the galaxy. The Alpha Legion is the tool itself. It is the proverbial seed and the sailboat. They simply react as they are naturally programmed or designed to function, and as such they are the perfect tools for the Emperor's design.
Just as the Thousand Sons great aim was to enlighten humanity through the potential of the mind (and of the latent psychic potential of humanity), the Alpha Legion shares the Emperor's vision of a unified galaxy spanning human empire through they know best: martial violence and conflict as a means of weeding out those who are not strong enough or can adapt quickly enough to the horrors of the galaxy (xenos, chaos etc.). It is social Darwinism taken to its logical conclusion. Soneka notes that pragmatism is the Alpha Legion's defining quality and it is true, but I think there needs to be a separation between operational thinking (AL's combat doctrine) and motivation, or spirit. The Wolves of Fenris are the executioners, the Imperial Fists build, the Ultramarines govern.
Interestingly, Guilliman notes in Know No Fear that when the fighting is done, the Ultramarines should apply their accelerated intellect towards governing humanity benevolently as a utopian ideal. I believe one of the unsaid distinctions between the Ultramarines and the Alpha Legion is not of combat doctrine which is well noted, but rather the Alpha Legion would rather have humanity govern themselves, but only the best and brightest should do so. In a way, Alpha Legion's noblest intention is that of real meritocracy (in the same way they choose their operatives), however, they also understand this is utopian:
Utopian goals are ultimately counterintuitive to species survival - Ingo Pech
Utopia is a dangerous myth, and only a fool would chase it. - Mathias Herzog
It is better to manage and maintain the flaws of man on an ongoing basis
The Emperor, my love and my life, seeks to set mankind in place as the uppermost species of the galaxy. I will not dispute that ambition, neither will my captains. We simply recognise the pro-crustean methods with which he enforces that dream. A Utopian ideal is a fine thing to chase, and to measure one's achievements against. - 'Alpharius' (actually Omegon)
Where is all this leading to? The third paradox. The third paradox is that in order to achieve their own stated goals, the Alpha Legion must ideologically split between itself. They will do anything to achieve this, even if it means turning against each other and playing both sides. Alpha Legion only has limited resources, and so for the Alpha Legion to 'manage and maintain the flaws of mankind', they must continue to perpetuate the classic grimdark theme of 'man vs himself'. Where they have failed, is that the spread of the Imperial Creed which has replaced the Imperial Truth means that ultimately, mankind is doomed to failure no matter how much they try, because humanity is corrupted by the religious dogma of the Imperium.
Where I think a lot of Alpha Legion has a lot of discussion about 'they do what they do', and why, is their motivations. Alpha Legion cannot ever be viewed as 'good' or 'evil', but as different shades in-between, which is a fairly accurate reflection of humanity in general. If you are a good person but you are starving, can you justify stealing? The Alpha Legion make no moral distinctions as to the methods they employ, so long as the final goal is achieved (whether or not some Alpha Legion players know that or not!). It's really a matter of perspective.