From: "Roy C. Lackey"
Subject: Re: (urth) God in the Machine Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2002 15:03:01 -0500 Daniel Goss wrote a very thoughtful post; I look forward to more! I will bravely duck the issue of the logical paradox that gave rise to Gnosticism, to pursue the Genesis parallel you mention. >I found the possible Genesis parallel here particularly interesting. Roy's >description of "tools" originally lacking the requisite self-awareness for >moral agency sounded very much like a description of Adam and Eve before they >became aware of Good and Evil. > >Which implied, in my mind, that Wolfe's views of God and Typhon might >actually be similar in some respects. [snip] The parallels of the _Whorl_ with the Garden of Eden are so numerous, someone must have pointed them out before. But in the event no one has, here is my admittedly irreligious synopsis. It is not intended to give offence to anyone's religious sensibilities. God (for whatever reason) created the world, filled it up with mountains, rivers, flora, fauna, etc. Then He created Man. Not too many of them at first. He provided all the creature comforts Man needed to live happily ever after. All Man had to do was bow down to Him, don't make waves, and everything would be just swell. Oh, and keep his bugger-picking fingers off His Tree. But would Man do what he was told? Nah. His just had to pluck that apple. God was miffed that Man had "become like one of us", and a little worried that His uppity creation wouldn't stop there, but would also "put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever". Being a jealous God, He couldn't stand the thought of competition, so He kicked Man out of the Garden and said don't come back. Pas (for whatever reason) created the Whorl, filled it up with mountains, rivers, flora, fauna, etc. Then he put men on board. Not too many of them at first. He provided all the creature comforts Man needed to last the duration of the voyage. All Man had to do was bow down to him, don't make waves, and everything would be just swell. Oh, and keep his bugger-picking fingers off his Seal. Etc., etc. The details differ, but the result is the same. Pas kicked Man out of the Whorl and said don't come back. Now, the analogy isn't perfect, but the correspondence is too close not to be deliberate. >In the context of Wolfe's chems, another question rears up: _whose_ "tools" >had the chems originally been intended to be? > >At the end of Chapter 7 of LotLS, Silk asks the talus he confronts: "Don't >you fear the immoral gods, my son?" To which the talus retorts: "I serve >Scylla!" Interesting slip you made there. "Immoral" indeed! >Does the talus serve a goddess? Or a woman digitized into the mere semblance >of a goddess? The same questions that apply to chems (sentient beings created >by humans, in their own image) apply to all the gods in Mainframe as well, >don't they? A talus is made to serve its 'owner'. Presumably Scylla possessed the talus just as she had Chenille, and compelled its devotion. The gods of Mainframe are not gods in a classical sense, not like Aphrodite or even Laura; they are tied to Mainframe. Erase them from Mainframe and they cease to exist. The small parts they split off from themselves via possession are just partial file copies, and when the host dies that piece dies. But the death of one of those pieces does not harm the original, so long as the original master file remains intact in Mainframe. Pieces of a god that reintegrate with the original supplement the original with any new data, rather like a PDA docking with a desktop computer. The original gods of Mainframe were just copies of data obtained when Pas & Co. were scanned. This introduces another theological problem, the existence of the "soul" of the scanned human and the "spirit" of the copy. Which is the real deal? Which Scylla will answer to the Outsider? Both? If both, then, in theory (and I'm sure Dan'l will correct me if I'm wrong ), one could be "saved" and the other "damned". I refuse to think about it. -Roy --