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From: "Daniel Fusch" <dfusch@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: (urth) A walk on the wild side
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2000 21:51:49 GMT

>From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>
>Well =I= always took it to mean that the people had become rather like
>"Star Trek" <tm> Vulcans <tm>; favoring "logic" in their culture and
>erasing "non-logic" (including emotions, grim fairy tales, folk dancing,
>fiction) from their culture.

I agree with this to a certain extent; I always had the impression that 
Cyriaca was speaking of a modernist separation of "thought" and "feeling." 
Still, I wonder if perhaps the ancient race put away their "wild things" 
less from favoring logic than from simple forgetfulness; that is, perhaps 
they became too utilitarian, too reliant on technology, and then lost touch 
with art, imagination, and passion. They "reached the stars, and...bargained 
away all the wild half of themselves to do so, so that they no longer cared 
for the taste of the pale wind, nor for love or lust, nor to make new songs 
nor to sing old ones, nor any of the other animal things..." (BotNS, III, 
vi). They became too mechanistic and forgot the spiritual and artistic 
dimension of their lives.

>I think the story is about the need for a balance of things: a golden rule
>of nothing to excess (where the singleminded pursuit of logic is an

I think this is right on the mark; the ancient race is set in contrast, 
perhaps, to the zoanthropes, who bargain away their intellect to embrace the 
otium and forgetfulness of "animal things." At any rate, considering the 
role that storytelling and the finding of old stories (the Book of the 
Wonders of Urth and Sky, for instance) plays in Severian's narrative, I 
doubt the condition of the ancients who bargained away their passions is 

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