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Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 00:01:35 -0700
From: maa32 
Subject: (urth) verbal suggestions

Roy, there was one more thing I wanted to comment on about the wording of the 
dust quote.  It says: "there could be little point in creating us in one place 
and creating us again in another.  Besides, the dust of that whorl can 
scacrely be identical to the dust of this one."  Now go down a little:
"I could not find Green there, or Blue, or the Whorl, or even the 
constellations" But he can see the light of the red sun from Blue, right?  
That's the big objection I keep hearing.  He can't see Blue in the heavens 
because he's standing on it.  I don't know why he can't see Green - Hoof sees 
Lune later on and calls it Green, "Green came up, bigger and brighter than we 
ever see it on Blue.  Or want to, either." (356).  This makes it seem the 
same, but then he says (2 chapters later) "Green was up above the mainmast, 
and it seemed like if we put up the main top it would touch it.  Our Green is 
not as big as theirs, but ours was plenty bright." (366) BUT we know that the 
moon was closer in Severian's time than it is in ours or Ushas, when the 
gravity upheavals of the solar system pulled it out a little.  This is the 
thing: if Green comes closer than the moon (which it supposedly does, at 
conjunction) then it wouldn't seem smaller if it was big at all.  It would 
have to be itty bitty, and therefore have less gravity than we have been 
talking about.  I propose that it is the same size as the moon, but it has 
moved back to the moons original orbit, but in an oddly unstable one which 
decays and is then corrected, kind of like a fish tail when you lose control 
of your car: it goes to the left and to the right until it is straight again, 
at that middle distance between the farthest point and conjunction (note that 
conjunction is still not as close as the moon appears to Hoof).  It will 
stabilize at the old moon's orbit eventually.

Read this passage again, as well:
Think of a whorl so old that even its seasons have worn out ... a whorl on 
which they had jungles like yours once, with wide-leafed plants and many 
flowers and huge trees.  It is too cold for that IN OUR TIME, and when the 
people of that whorls speak of the present they intend five hundred years. 
(384) RTTW 
Or this one in transit: "everything else was changing anyhow except the sky 
and the water" (346)  Only the color changes and the stars come out for that.  
He also talks about his father's voice: as if the words were being spoken a 
long time ago.
What does that mean: it is too cold for that in our time? why does he say when 
the people of that world speak of the present they intend five hundred years?  
Isn't that an odd way of saying that the present is anytime in the last five 
hundred years?  
Normally I would agree with a statement like  the first in a text negating the 
dust being the same, but it is set up so that if you believe that we are 
related to the Vanished People, then we must be in the same place BECAUSE 
there is little point in creating the same people in two different places.  
And there is the old suggestive trick of talking in negatives: no matter what 
adjectives are included that temper or reverse a statement, if you want to 
suggest something to someone you do it as follows:
When Jessica says "Don't Fight over me" in Dune, she means "Fight over me."  
The negative isn't there because of the way our mind processes statements.  If 
I wanted to suggest something to you without telling you, or I wanted to fool 
you, I would use a light denial like "scarcely" : the suggestion of that 
statement is "the dust of that whorl CAN be identical to the dust of this 
one." simply by the way it is worded.  I am aware this is opposite to its 
meaning - are there any linguists or behavioral psychologists who can help me 
support this claim - how linguistic suggestion works?

Silk isn't reliable - he tells Hoof that his ring is Seawracks, but earlier he 
makes a narrative point of saying that it can't be the same ring.  So which is 
it?  Can you believe blanket statements like that? (which aren't narrated 
events but opinions he holds - how would Silk know if it was the same dust or 
not?  That's the difference: you can trust his depiction of most events, but 
you can't trust his opinions.)

I'm tired of writing about this, to tell you the truth.  I can see your point. 
(All of your points)  But I can see mine, too; and two or three statements in 
the text can't overturn a hundred small clues that otherwise lead nowhere.  I 
would rather ignore three or four statements which can easily be chalked up to 
the limited point of view of the narrators rather than ignoring all the little 
clues that Wolfe obviously planted (he he) in their testimonies.
In other words, Hoof has no idea if he is right or wrong when he calls Lune 
Green - he does it unconsciously.  Silk doesn't know if the soil is the same - 
he just makes assumptions based on the knowledge he has - but we can know more 
than our fallible narrators, as a precursory glance at PEACE or Fifth Head of 
Cerberus should emphasize.

Marc Aramini


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