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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: (whorl) Yet another Secret theory: we have met the enemy and he is us
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 20:14:30 

Say what you will about Nicholas Gevers' proposal, he's got people thinking
about the Secret again.  After some thought, I have a new theory, which
seems to me to answer the difficulties around the Secret better than any
other I've seen.  In particular, it answers Kevin Maroney's question: what
does Jahlee's revelation add to what we'd already guessed?

When Jahlee says that the inhumi take their children's minds from the humans
whose blood they drink, she is not merely referring to their intelligence.
The children's spirits (perhaps their souls, if inhumi have souls) are taken
from humans.  Krait is Horn's son, not just by adoption, but because his
spirit is the same as Sinew's.  This is why, during astral travel, the
inhumi appear human.  This is what Jahlee means when she tells Horn: "_You_
are my race.  You know that, why won't you admit it?  Inside, I'm one of
you.  So was everybody who fought for you at Gaon." (IGJ, 376)  Horn "knows
that" because he knows the Secret.  It's what Horn means when he describes
the inhumi, talking to Vadsig, as mirrors, and when he tells her that "Many
[Neighbors] had left the whorls already, fleeing the inhumi but taking
inhumi with them....We cannot run away from ourselves" (RttW, 236).  The
Neighbors brought inhumi with them, because they were themselves inhumi: the
inhumi were their dark side.

So the way in which the Secret can be used as a weapon is indeed the Golden
Rule bit proposed here before.  If humans loved each other enough and were
unselfish enough, then the inhumi, drinking their blood, would produce
children who were too unselfish to drink human blood.  Then the inhumi would
lose their intelligence, and this would not be cruel to the inhumi because
they were meant to be just animals: they have no spirits of their own (this
is what I take to be Wolfe's view, not necessarily my own).  The inhumi as
they exist now are monstrosities, albeit pitiable monstrosities, like the
beast-men of "The Island of Doctor Death" (sorry, alga, but I think that
this fits Wolfe's portrayal of the inhumi better than visions of
human-inhumi brotherhood [*] do).

There is still the objection raised to the Golden Rule idea when it was
first brought up: how can the inhumi, having observed the colonists, believe
that they could achieve this level of unselfishness?  I don't have a real
good answer to this.  Maybe even the remote possibility of this occurring is
enough to alarm the inhumi.  Or maybe they think that Silkhorn's powers of
persuasion could convert the colonists.

In any case, apart from the numerous objections that have been raised to
Nicholas Gevers' specific proposal, I don't think that the key to the Secret
or to how to reduce the inhumi to animals is any sort of improved strategy
or technology.  Horn tells Hide that the Neighbors "tried in their
desperation to become stronger still, to know more and more and more, and
succeeded, and were doomed by that success." (IGJ, 353)


[*]  Apologies for the sexist terminology; but I can't think of a suitable
non-sexist substitute.  "Fellowship" sounds like a bunch of Rotarians;
"brother-and-sisterhood," aside from its awkwardness, implies that one
species is the "brother" and the other the "sister," which is not what I

While I'm apologizing, apologies if somebody else had anticipated this
theory on the list.  I tried to search the archives to see, but the relevant
volume is too large for my computer to download.

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