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From: "Jim Henley" <jlhenley@erols.com>
Subject: RE: (urth) Re: Digest urth.v028.n024
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 1999 13:33:59 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: urth-errors@lists.best.com [mailto:urth-errors@lists.best.com]On
> Behalf Of Alice Turner
> Hi Jim, nice to see you.

Hey, thanks!

> Actually, the subject has come up, though quite a long time
> back. I haven't
> tried the new search engine, so can't speak to that. But I know
> the creation
> myth, and had discussed it with mantis before we two jumped on board
> (another story), and I do remember that it came up here in a fairly long
> thread on Dr. Talos's play.

I'll have to track that down. I couldn't imagine that Zoroastrianism was a
completely foreign topic on the list.

> But you do bring up interesting new matters. I had thought of the Ascians
> almost entirely as Wolfe's satire of Communism or any group demanding
> Correct Thought and I tend to think of Zoroastrianism as a
> fairly forgiving
> and nonintrusive religion (I lived in Bombay for a few years
> during my teens
> and had Parsi friends---believe me, compared to the horrors of the Hindu
> caste system, Parsis, who are all sort of honorary Brahmins,
> have it good).
> So I am a little uncomfortable with your analogy, "ironic" though it be.
> How, btw, do you fit the hierodules into this design? Or don't they fit,
> since they don't seem to have anything to do with the Ascians?

Ah, good questions.

First, I have nothing against the Parsis myself, except that the view of
some of the more traditional sectors that one may not even _convert_ to the
religion goes so far in the direction of "nonintrusive" that it comes out
the other side into elitism, IMHO. And to the extent there is anything at
all to my "Correct Thought/Good Thoughts" notion, I was a little mild in my
language in the first post. While I said "secular heresy" I might as easily
have said "_perversion_" of the Zoroastrian motto. And its very secularism
constitutes (in the eyes of the devout, including, I would presume, Wolfe
himself) the bulk of the perversion.

In that case, Correct Thought would stand in relation to the Z-flavored
religion of the Commonwealth (and the rest of Urth?) as Marxism/Leninism
stands in relation to the millenarian aspirations of Judaism/Christianity.
(If you care, I am neither devout nor Marxist.) I don't doubt that you are
right that the first impulse behind the portrayal of the Ascians was
probably Wolfe's own experiences with Communist prisoners in the Korean
War, though. And there remains the possibility that I'm all wet when it
comes to the rest of it.

But ignoring the possibility of my own error for a minute (for as long as
possible, really!), yeah, I'd say you can ignore the heirodules when
accounting for Ascian thought because Ascian thought itself seems to ignore
the heirodules. But in a different though related direction, if we came up
with seven named heirogrammates (or maybe just heirodules) it would be
tempting to try to link them with the seven Attributes of the Gathas. At
that point we'd probably see that I was pushing the analogy too far.

Still, Zoroastrians do worship before a sacred fire...

> As to the geography question, since I disagree with just about
> everyone, I
> won't confront that except to say that yes, they are in the southern
> hemisphere (everyone will agree on that), but plate techtonics
> have been at
> work, and no, they are not in South America (everyone will not agree on
> that).

I must reluctantly agree with you here, which is too bad, because I really
want it to be Argentina and Buenos Aires. If only the mountains and the sea
were reversed! I'll bet it's Typhon's fault...


"We can't be certain who the villains are
cause everyone's so pretty"
              -- Sheryl Crow

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

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