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From: StoneOx17@aol.com
Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2002 09:19:37 EDT
Subject: RE: (urth) PEACE as Faust 

Nutria wrote

> Let me see if I've got you right:
> At 08:32 AM 10/4/2002, Stone Ox wrote:


> >Next, at the end of the Chinese philosopher's story, we find the passage:
> >"Fool!" the old man exclaimed.  "Do you not recognize me?  I have granted
> >your heart's desire, and for it I receive your ingratitude!"
> >Is this not also a plausible response to somebody who has turned down the
> >offer of eternal life?

>         So, tell me: Weer is Faust. He has been granted his heart's desire 
> for an eternal life, and he has it. He is doomed to walk through his life 
> over and over forever. He's not in purgatory, but hell. Is that it?

Essentially, that's it.  I left out the next line in the Chinese 
story, which is: "And with that he [the old man] picked up the teakettle 
and dashed the boiling contents into the face of the young man ...";
this could symbolize the casting of the young man into hell.

There are some things I am quite certain of:  I believe that Weer would have
had a genuine chance to ascend to heaven if he had understood the 
significance of the Irish story of the geese.  I also believe that at the end 
the book, he returns to relive his afterlife, as in the Chinese pillow story. 
am less certain of this, but I think the second and subsequent times, he is 
in hell rather than purgatory, although it may be that these times, he still 
has a chance to repent of his sins and reach heaven, but given that he didn't 
do this the previous times, he becomes less and less likely to in subsequent 
rounds.  As Robert Borski observed, Gold writes, in Morryster's Marvells
of Science, "Heaven ... (like Hell) repeats itself over and over again, always
different and yet always the same."  This is somewhat similar to Sartre's
"Huis Clos," where hell is a room with three people in it, the door to which
is open exactly when none of the three people want to leave.  

In a different posting, Roy C. quoted and wrote ...
> Blattid quoted and wrote:
> >Roy C. wrote ...
> >> I agree that Weer isn't El Diablo. But how is it that Olivia
> >> gets to go to heaven?
> >The usual method is called "repentance."
> And the textual evidence for this is . . . nonexistent.

Well, very thin.  First, I firmly believe that Weer had a genuine opportunity 
to reach heaven, and I don't think Olivia's sins are any worse than Weer's. 
Second,  there is the point that Aunt Olivia is looking for the ascenscion 
egg.  In Christian theology, looking is half the battle: "Seek, and ye shall 
find."   Finally, there's the parallel with Faust, and the question of where 
at the end, Olivia is speaking to him from (if her voice isn't yet another 
spectre conjured from Weer's imagination).  I do agree with Roy that it's 
very unlikely that Olivia died in a state of grace, so she would have had to 
spend some time as a ghost in Purgatory, as well, but I see no reason
she shouldn't have repented of her sins there.  

--Stone Ox


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