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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (urth) Adam and Atom
Date: Thu,  1 Apr 99 15:38:00 GMT


The focus on the play and its authorship seems to place it entirely
in the realm of fiction.

Maybe it is more like the Periodical Table of Elements.  A document
describing real and hypothetical things, however hampered by the
language and understanding of the time.

Who authored the elements?  Well, nobody mortal--they were uncovered
(in a way we can no longer say continents were "discovered") by
various people at various times.  Why does the earliest version
differ so much from the latest version?  Further refinement.  Now
that we have the Table and atomic theory, as we cast our eyes back to
the ancient Greeks it seems like some of them were very close to the
Truth as we now know it--did =they= discover it and then lose it?
No, they did not, but they were among the pioneers who began the
process by which the Table came into being.

My point being that the play is a Truth (Briah/Yesod, the whole deal)
rendered in terms that its illiterate audience can grasp in some way,
shape, or form, at one entertaining sitting.

As for the universe of the hard choice, or "why Urth must be
destroyed so that Ushas can be created."  That is the central point
of the entire Urth Cycle, after all.  While we might all wish for the
rivers of milk and honey of the New Jerusalem in =this= universe,
skypie for everyone in the here and now with no guilt and no regrets,
still the text resists such utopia.  But it isn't as if Severian
doesn't =try=: for example, in the lazaret at the front, Severian
suddenly tries to heal everybody at once.

The Claw shuts down.

What this means =exactly= depends upon several factors, including how
you interpret the Claw (dumb object or intelligent other) and/or the
nature of healing it provides (it seems to leach from Severian's life
force--thus, it might be physically impossible for him to heal a
whole tent full: it would kill him and make them feel only slightly
better.  The Claw as circuit breaker.).  But here is one case where
Severian tries and is thwarted.

Without getting religious about it, the text also makes it quite
plain that death is not a terminus; so, not in anyway to diminish the
grimness of the Flood, nor to shy away from the "Anti-christ" aspects
of Severian; but still--who weeps for the countless krill eaten by
the whale?

Again, we are talking about a fiction.  The best fiction involves
Conflict.  Tragedies involve Suffering and Sacrifice.  Utopias are
inherently Boring.  Easy Solutions are Not Satisfying.


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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