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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" 
Subject: (urth) Some Scattered Thoughts: some short, one very long.
Date: Mon, 15 Jul 2002 11:53:59 -0700

1. Silk's relationship with Hyacinth. This simply cannot be understood
outside of the context of the (very short) book of the prophet Hosea 
in the Bible. To summarize thematically: Hosea, at God's command, 
marries a whore and repeatedly forgives her straying; this is intended 
as a metaphor for God's relationship with Israel (and, in Christian 
understanding, also for Christ's relationship with the Church). 

2. Can someone explain to me why people have trouble believing that 
Silk might have gashed his arms in grief? Not only is this clearly 
established as a grieving practice in Viron (see, for example, 
Orpine's funeral); it is a well established historically as a practice 
in the "real" world. And, as Nutria so succintly put it, "I don't 
think this skilled auger tried to kill himself and failed." 

3. Regarding the identity of Silk and/or his parents ... I wonder if 
they might not be Typhon's parents; that is, whether Silk might in 
fact be a clone taken from Typhon's own cells? Consider Typhon's 
concern for the "face of command" which drives him to the whole-head 
transplant, with all its inconveniences, he chooses over a simple 
brain transplant. Is it possible, or even likely, that Typhon's own 
success is due to the "leader" geneplex which marks Silk out? Might 
not Typhon have wanted his own "face of command" back when he became 
incarnate again at the starcrosser's arrival? And would a "better" 
person grown from the same biogenetic substrate not be the ideal 
persona to blend with the dead-alive Pas, to bring him back to full 
life in Mainframe? This is just a hunch, but it seems worth exploring.

(Later: Just saw Mantis' suggestion that they might be the mortal
versions of Kypris and Pas. Interesting ... and it would also provide 
a way of conveying Pas's geneplex for leadership to his next body.)

4. (This is the very long one.)

No, Nutria, there is _not_ -- at this point, anyway -- a consensus 
that Horn is moved into Babbie at the end of OBW. There is some 
evidence that he is moved (or copied) to Babbie, possibly/probably at 
that point, but no certainty by any means, and strong evidence that 
the Horn persona is still present e.g. when Hide recognizes his father 
in the Narrator during his (Hide's) first astral trip to Green. 

I'm beginning to think I see a way out of this maze, but it's kind of 

What is moved from Horn's body to Silk's? Is it his "soul"? His 
"spirit" (which is spoken of several times through the course of the 
Books)? A "memory stream," as someone put it recently? A 
"personality"? Or ...?

                    * *

One of the great problems facing any serious soulist today is the 
increasingly clear evidence of how much of memory and behavior is
organic in behavior. 

Suppose George takes a blow to the head and loses all his memory; when 
he regains consciousness, he is in essence a new person, and the 
personality he exhibits is quite different. Now, is there a new soul 
inhabiting or animating this body? Or is the "soul" something quite 
different from (conscious) memory and (the external manifestations of) 
personality? This is important to any soulist -- such as Wolfe, or 
myself -- trying to understand just what this "immortal part" _is_.

Consider, similarly, someone who suffers a less extreme cranial 
trauma. He retains all memory, but is drastically changed -- there are 
cases of a "normal" person becoming antisocial, even vicious, after a 
head blow. This is extremely problematic for the soulist: if physical 
trauma can cause a person to become thus loveless and (at least 
outwardly) sinful, is the soul thereby damned, though there is no free 
choice? A radical Calvinist _might_ have no problem with this; most 
other Christians are made a bit more uncomfortable when the problem is 
stated thus baldly.

Taking this as a starting place, we can begin to see the Books (all 
three of them) as, in part at least, an exploration of what these 
various things -- soul, spirit, memory, personality -- are and how 
they relate. 

                    * *

In tBotNS, the most conspicuous explorations of these questions are 
the various memory-transfers using the analeptic alzabo; the alzabo 
itself; and Jonas. 

In the general use of the analeptic alzabo, memories and nothing more 
seem to be transferred to the eater from the eaten. 

In the special case of Severian and Thecla, it _appears_ that he (who 
has shown a propensity  for resurrecting the dead) actually brings her 
soul or spirit or whatever to codwell in his body; however, this may 
be no more than an appearance: it may simply be that he (who also has 
a particularly strong capacity for memory) is an unusually fit 
receptacle for memory. Yet, once or twice, he speaks in Thecla's 
persona, and once or twice, someone sees a woman "with" him who seems 
to be Thecla. So that's ambiguous, at least for now.

The alzabo itself seems to be better "adapted" than the general run of 
humans for absorbing devoured memories, which is sensible enough given 
its apparent evolutionary strategy. This adaptation is good enough 
that (like Severian with Thecla) it actually seems to incarnate the 
personality of its victims, to the point where, having devoured and 
"become" the father of little Severian, it willingly(?) sacrifices 
itself to save its "wife" and "child." To some extent, then, the 
personality of the victim is more in control than that of the alzabo 
itself which, presumably, would not care about them except as food. 
(Actually, the two personalities seem almost perfectly blended in the 
nocturnal standoff, when the alzabo's hunger and the man's desire to 
be reunited with his wife seek the same physical result, the 
assimilation of the wife.)

Finally there is Jonas: who is the first person(ality) we know of, in 
the Books, to leap from one body to another -- he seems to possess the
body of Miles in much the way that Horn will later possess that of
Silk, although with far less reason/excuse given for it. The 
personality of the resurrected Miles does not really seem all that
much like Jonas, but occasionally exhibits bits of Jonasosity, to the
point where Severian is, at last, able to recognize his presence. In
the event, the Jonas persona seems to flee upon being told that 
Jolenta is dead.

What I'm looking at here is a possible comparison to the relationship
between Horn and Silk in the person of the Narrator. In both cases, a
new personality is grafted into a severely damaged person (in the case
of the Narrator, it's Silk's "spirit" which is severely damaged rather 
than his body, which is moderately damaged). Over time, the primary
personality seems to heal and, at last, the grafted personality 

Obviously there are remarkable differences -- for example, that the
grafted personality is the "foreground" personality in the case of the
Narrator but the "background" personality in the case of Miles-Jonas.
But the similarities are interesting enough to bear in mind as we move

                    * *

I'm running out of time for this right now. Let me summarize:

In tBotSS, we need to examine (at least) the translation of Typhon and
his friends-and-relations to Mainframe; "divine" possession; Mucor;
Silk's vision of his parents; and the rather horrible "afterlife" 
Mainframe seems to give to the people of the _Whorl_.

In tBotLS, we have to add the nature and interrelationships between 
Silk, Horn, "the Narrator," Pig, Babbie, and Pas; Scylla-in-Oreb; the 
nature of inhumi intelligence and personality; astral travel by 
inhumu; and possibly some understanding of what and where the 
Neighbors are. 

                    * *

My tentative conclusions are as follows. Note that for all these, the 
implicit condition is "in the Lupiverse" (which we may regard as
related to the "real" universe by virtue of this being [my guesses at] 
Wolfe's speculations about how it "really" works).

1. "Soul" and/or "spirit" may or may not be the same thing, but they 
are clearly NOT the same as "brain data" about memory and personality -- the
latter being what is transferred to Mainframe or in the 
mechanism of the alzabo. (An extraordinarily important piece of 
evidence here is Pig's ability to "see" Mucor even though he can't 
synch with Mainframe.)

2. Memory/personality "brain data" affect, and are affected by, "soul/ 
spirit." There is clearly a relationship between these (at least) two 
things, but what that relationship is is, thus far, not clear.

3. I _think_ that what is transferred from Horn to the Narrator is of
the nature of soul/spirit, rather than "brain data" as such: which
implies that soul/spirit in fact carries memory with it, independent
of the physical "brain data" memory. (This is, for the soullist, a
somewhat comforting way of thinking about it.)

More? Probably. Later.



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