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From: "Alex David Groce" <adgroce@eos.ncsu.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Deluge, Hierodules, Materialism
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 13:59:29 

On Apr 22,  7:58pm, Ori Kowarsky wrote:
> Subject: (urth) Deluge, Hierodules, Materialism
> I'd like to thank everyone on the list for the warm welcome.  In particular,
> thanks to alga for cluing me in on that HTML problem.  I apologise for
> cluttering up the list with all that illegible nonsense;  my intention was
> to clutter it up with legible nonsense.
> Christoper R. Culver wrote:
> "I think that the "judge" version of Tzadkiel, analogous to the Archangel
> Michael, would be certainly be divine. Whether of not he receives
> communication directly from the Pancreator is one of the more interesting
> mysteries of _Urth_."
> I approach TBOTNS and UOTNS from a materialistic point of view.  If the
> elements of fantasy have an ultimately scientific rationale within the
> context of the book, then so too should the religious elements.  If, for
> example, Terminus Est is not a magical sword but rather a subtle and
> ingenious mechanism, then I believe it is appropriate to apply the same
> standards of proof to the larger machines -- even the deus ex machinae -- at
> play.
> I do not blieve that Tzad is remotely connected to the Archangel Michael, in
> either motive or substance.  If he comes off like an angel on the Day of
> Jugement this is a carefully orchestated effect, done for the benefit of Sev
> and his personal, shall we say, demons.

	It can certainly be approached that way; however, from the standpoint
of the author, at least, it would appear there IS an implied connection between
the material events and a spiritual reality.  That is, although Wolfe "plays
the science fiction game" nicely and does provide a purely materialistic
explanation most of the time (as in BOTLS for Silk's enlightenment, the Crane
hypothesis), Wolfe obviously isn't a materialist, and the fiction stretches the
belief in a purely materialistic explanation pretty thin--it works, but a more
plausible worldview for the reality portrayed would accept non-material
influences.  I like to think of it in the Douglas Adams refutation of Sherlock
Holmes' "When you have eliminated the impossible whatever remains however
improbable must be the truth"--sometimes it is better to reject a certain idea
of what is impossible than to accept the monstrously improbable.  In other
words, although Wolfe doesn't come out and FORCE acceptance of the non-material
elements, his fictions are pretty heavily weighted (as I'd argue the real world
is) in favor of a non-purely-materialistic explanation.

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." - John 8:32
Alex David Groce (adgroce@eos.ncsu.edu)
Senior (Computer Science/Multidisciplinary Studies in Technology & Fiction)
'98-99 NCSU AITP Student Chapter President
608 Charleston Road, Apt. 1E (919)-233-7366

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

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