FIND in
<--prev V210 next-->
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002 09:03:27 -0600
Subject: Re: (urth) Gnostic Wolfe
From: Adam Stephanides 

on 10/25/02 12:40 PM, tom at tom@bitterman.net wrote:

> Adam Stephanides wrote:
>> I don't see any particular connection between the Long Sun books
>> and Gnosticism, either positive and negative.
> Silk holds the "primary" Gnostic belief - that the god(s) of this
> world/Whorl are false,

But this is not specific to Gnosticism, but true for any monotheist in a
polytheistic world--like Silk.

> and that the true God exists outside in
> some sense.

And the Outsider isn't really "outside"; that's just the role assigned him
in Pas's mythology.  In reality he's just as much inside as outside; the
Whorl is no less a part of his creation than anything else is.

>> I don't see anything that Pas has in common with the Demiurge
>> that he doesn't have in common with pagan "high gods" such as
>> Zeus, who are the obvious models.
> Zeus, in the standard Greek model, was exactly who he claimed to
> be - father of the gods and head honcho.

But not in Wolfe's reported beliefs (or in the beliefs of the early
Christians), in which the pagan gods existed, but were not really gods.
Just like Pas.

> In the Long Sun Whorl, however, being Gnostic is the only
> correct way to be.  As opposed to the "real" world, the Whorl
> really is run by a mad god, and the only escape is through belief
> in a god "outside".

How does this square with the fact that Pas wants "his" people to leave the

on 10/25/02 11:12 AM, James Wynn at crushtv@HotPOP.com wrote (quoting the
Catholic encyclopedia):

> Although Gnosticism may at first sight appear a mere thoughtless
> syncretism of well nigh all religious systems in antiquity, it has in
> reality one deep root-principle, which assimilated in every soil what is
> needed for its life and growth; this principle is philosophical and
> religious pessimism.
> This utter
> pessimism, bemoaning the existence of the whole universe as a corruption and
> a calamity, with a feverish craving to be freed from the body of this death
> and a mad hope that, if we only knew, we could by some mystic words undo the
> cursed spell of this existence -- this is the foundation of all Gnostic
> thought.
> Well consider Silk's speech at on the airship after he attempted to kill
> himself. Doesn't it suggest a Gnostic attitude? Doesn't Silk reject this
> outlook in the end?

Pessimism isn't peculiar to Gnosticism; and in several of Wolfe's other
books, in which nobody has (yet) suggested Gnostic influence afaik, the
protagonists are at times in similar states of despair.  And Silk seems to
have been reacting to the evil that "lurks in the hearts of men" rather than
any cosmic evil: e. g. "instead of focusing on the evil in myself, as I
should have, I gave my attention to the evil in others." (345, EXODUS hc)

Incidentally, unless I'm overlooking something, Silk did not attempt to kill
himself on the airship; he was contemplating suicide when Horn appeared and
distracted him. 



<--prev V210 next-->