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Date: Tue, 03 Dec 2002 13:57:23 -0600
From: James Jordan 
Subject: (urth) finally - a mechanism: baptism

At 08:22 AM 12/3/2002, marc wrote:
>Here is a mechanism that we may want to look at for time travel:
>Remember that when Fava and Inclito's mother tell their stories, the narrator
>has the ability to enter their story.  In other words, he can alter events
>that he hears about and use his "power" to enter the story.  He actually
>appears in Inclito's mother's story as a figure from her past, while he
>changes Fava's story.  I argue that his astral travel can be based off of
>something that he hears about - and that one of Typhon's big concerns when 
>he scanned himself into mainframe was the conciliator, so that when Silk's 
>spirit is reunited with his body from Pig at the very end of the flashback 
>scenes of return to the whorl, it brings with it Pas' preoccupation with 
>the figure of the Conciliator - and it also programs him with Typhon's 
>obsession to meet and possibly influence the conciliator, sending Silk's 
>spirit across time to find that man at his true birth - his baptism in the 
>river.  If you want to argue
>that Severian was not dead at the exact first time that Silk appears, you 
>to factor in the very significant drowning in Gyoll that must be taking place
>EXACTLY as Silk appears in that time - the true birth (or death) of the
>Severian we know - and therefore the logical focal point for his

Now this is a good thought, but what does it mean? I'm finding it hard to 
wrap around Typhon's supposed concern to find the Conciliator, this being 
passed on to Passilk, and then on to the Narrator, etc.
         I suggest we think more about the Outsider here, since Severian's 
baptism is clearly Outsider stuff. Like Silk's enlightenment, it is his 
point of initiation into his "messianic calling."
         Silk has been Enlightened when the Holy Spirit falls upon him. 
This is clearly like Jesus' baptism, and thus like all baptisms. Later, 
Silk himself undergoes death, burial, and resurrection. Now the Narrator 
arrives on Urth right at the time of Severian's baptism, death, and first 
resurrection. That seems a better link, IMO: that one specially baptized 
man is drawn to the moment of another special man's baptism.
         At the moment Severian is starting his new life, Silk Plus appears 
to him and spends a little time with him. Is there some passing on of Silk 
Plus's wisdom to Severian implied, if only a few key thoughts? Is the 
Narrator helping Severian become the Conciliator?
         This SEEMS the right moment in Severian's young life for Silk to 
arrive and pass on his wisdom to him.
         Now, either this is a coincidence in the overall historical "plan" 
of the Outsider, so that Silk's lifespan has come to the same point in time 
as Severian's baptism on Urth; or else as you have argued there is a draw 
across time to this event.
         One might argue, building on the above, that the draw across time 
is the baptism of Severian. The baptized, and then dead & resurrected, and 
now mature and aged Silk, himself clearly a "conciliator," is drawn across 
time to meet the Conciliator right at the beginning of his new life, 
precisely because of who Silk is and who Severian is. If this does not seem 
like "good SF," remember that Silk's enlightenment was a "purely spiritual 
event" not paralleled by anything "scientific." In this narrative the 
Outsider is a player, though only openly an occasional one.
         At the same time, if the only "mechanism" is the plan of the 
Outsider, a link of the Spirit so to speak, then a "draw across time" is no 
more credible than the "historical-predestinated coincidence" option 
discussed above.
         In defense of the Blushas thesis, I can point out that "looping in 
time" is a theme in the Severian books, and that introducing this event 
might hint at another loop: Silk, living much later in history, goes back 
in time to help initiate the Conciliator's work. This notion by itself 
seems quite Lupine. But I submit we need corroborative evidence for a "draw 
across time," for by itself this "coincidence" need be nothing more than 
the "plan of the Outsider" to bring both events together at the same time.
         At present, I'm satisfied with the notion that Silk precedes 
Severian in time, and that Severian is partly a disciple of Silk.



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