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From: "Ori Kowarsky" <orik@sprint.ca>
Subject: Re: (urth) Messianic
Date: Sat, 20 Nov 1999 17:46:21 

Ordinarily, Alex, I'd be happy to give you the last word and happily walk
away from this debate, which has been recycled a few time before.  However,
something which you wrote makes me think that I've failed to make myself
clear about what I'm saying, in particular where you wrote:

"In other words, you doubt the premise that "if Severian and the Briah
crew don't bring the New Sun, destructive as it is, then comes Ragnarok."
you don't grant that, then their methods are certainly suspect--but I take
as a granted fact of the fiction, because there seems to be nothing in the
to suggest this assumption is doubtful--Severian's visit to Master Ash isn't
presented as a "trick" of his masters"

I wish to clarify that I certainly do not doubt that Ragnarok is the
inevitable outcome of the failure of the New Sun to appear.  Nor do I doubt
that human expansion into the universe prior to the darkening of the sun was
violent and imperialistic.  If Gene Wolfe's premise is that humanity is bad
news, irremediable, and must be destroyed for the good of everyone else,
then, yes, as you point out, I can disagree with that but all I would be
doing is railing against the author's point of view.  However, if it is
correct that Gene Wolfe's premise is that the human urge to conquer and
dominate is incorrigible, then why do the Hieros leave the humans on other
planets to work their will as they may?  If humans cannot be trusted with
the energy of this one particular star in a galaxy of billions and must be
exterminated as a species and replaced by the Green Man *but on that planet
alone*, what is the difference between Ragnaok and Ushas?  What evidence do
we have -- other than giving Yesod the "benefit of the doubt" -- that this
bloody bioengineering program is at all justifiable?  And at the end of the
day, how can you logically say that the wholesale replacement of humanity by
a different type of lifeform constitutes the *redemption* of humanity?

Alex, you can rely on your own interpretation and the interpretation of
others who agree with you;  you can rely on authorial decree;  you can make
appeals to the gallery.  None of that changes the fact that in the entire
text of TBOTNS you cannot find a single instance where the Diety is
explicity a determinative factor in anything that is going on;  everything
has a rationalist explanation.  If you say that you believe in Providence
that's great, but the simple, unproven assertion that everything that
happens happens for the best does not constitute the justification of the
ways of God to man, and if belief in Providence constitutes the whole of
TBOTNS as theodicy, then perhaps its time to look at Yesod and Ushas in a
new light.



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

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