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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: (whorl) The Secret: how dangerous, really?
Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2001 09:16:29 

An apparently very strong objection to the Golden Rule as the means by which
the Secret can be used against the inhumi (either by protection or
conversion) is "how can the inhumi, knowing the humans as they do, believe
that humans could ever love one another as themselves?"  But nobody, afaik,
has suggested any other theory which the inhumi would think practical but is
actually impractical.

I can see two solutions to this dilemma, both relying upon Horn being

1.  Horn is mistaken in thinking that the inhumi fear that the Secret can be
used to destroy them.  He thinks that this is how he controlled the inhumi
in Gaon.  But Jahlee never says so, nor does any other inhumi, iirc.
Rereading Jahlee's first appearance, it's quite possible that Jahlee
promises to obey Horn because she is already in love with him.  And the
other inhumi might obey him because of his promise to free the other buried
inhumi.  In fact, he says as much: "Our inhumi do as I ask because I have
continued to free others...I have promised over and over to give them the
location of the reamining interments" (OBW, 344)

Moreover, if the inhumi are really so terrified of the Secret, why do the
ones who follow Horn and Evensong refrain from killing Horn, as they
apparently do (Horn's words to Hide to the contrary)?  They could kill him
at practically any time after he leaves Gaon, for that matter.

This idea had occurred to me before, but I rejected it on the grounds that
Horn could not have gotten the idea that the Secret could destroy the inhumi
without Krait having told him.  But I now think this is not an insuperable
objection.  Horn tells Evensong: "He [Krait] didn't intend to give me power
over them, you understand....For a long, long time I didn't realize what he
had done either.  If I'd understood the power of Krait's secret while Sinew
and I were on Green, things might have gone differently." (OBW, 374)  In
light of this statement, it could well be that Krait had merely told Horn
that it was a secret the inhumi didn't want known, without saying why; and
that Horn, pondering on why the inhumi wanted it kept secret, had later
concluded on his own that it was because the Secret could be used to destroy
the inhumi.

If this is true, then why do the inhumi want the Secret kept secret?  Here I
return to an idea proposed earlier by someone else, that the inhumi wanted
it kept Secret because of the shame it brought on them.  (Apologies for not
remembering who, but the latest volume of the archives is too big for me to
access.)  The original proposer argued that this was how to destroy the
inhumi, which was wrong; but it may well be the reason why the inhumi don't
want the Secret known.

2.  Horn is mistaken in thinking that the Secret cannot be used.  The key to
applying the Secret is protecting everybody, and 100% protection is not
necessary (see my previous post).  Moreover, it may well be the case that
the blood taken by an inhuma only preserves its spirit-conferring properties
for a few months or less, and that the inhuma would have to return to Green
to spawn within this time.  If this is true, then it's not necessary to
provide protection all the time, only during conjunction and for a few
months before.  In this case, a strong ruler could enforce protective
measures out of self-interest, without everybody having to love everybody
else.  Horn dismisses this possibility because of his pessimism over human
nature, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's correct.

Horn's belief that the Secret cannot be used may also in part be another
instance of avoiding looking at what is too painful.  If the Secret can be
used, then he has to either betray his "son" Krait by breaking his oath, or
betray humanity by hiding the Secret.  By convincing himself that the Secret
can't be used, he avoids this dilemma.


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