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Subject: RE: (urth) Silk out of time / Blushas?  Grushas?
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2002 09:19:09 -0700
From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" 

Snipping wildly.

The ArchD'Ikon wrote:

> "- dead Patera Pike mumbling prayers as he slit the throat of=20
> a speckled rabbit he himself had bought."
> This seems to me to represent a vison or perception of a=20
> moment in Pa. Pike's past life, rather than the appearences
> of his shade elsewhere in the book.

Correct. A few pages later, when he explains to Blood that
he is the help sent in response to Pa. Pike's prayers, Silk
begins by saying that he saw Pike praying for help to save
the manteion. This would be the experience of seeing that,=20
of seeing what is clearly a moment in the "temporal" past,=20
relative to the "temporal" moment in which Silk's timeline=20
is interrupted by the "eternal" experience of enlightenment.

I don't think this is even open to reasonable debate; it's
about as clear as anything anywhere in Wolfe.

[more snippage]

> Throughout the chapter, it becomes obvious that the spot has=20
> aged greatly since the Duko lived there; the party guess
> anywhere from 1 900 to 2 500  years.
> If this amount of time has elapsed since Rigoglio's=20
> involuntary departure, how does it synchronise with the
> general consenus that the Whorl has been travelling for
> three hundred years? =20

Relativistically, of course.

The duration of the Whorl's voyage _to an observer aboard
the Whorl_ is 300 years. The duration to an observer at
rest relative to Urth's system is on the order of one or
two millenia ... from the time of the Tyrant to the time
of Severian.

> Blattid (tip o' the hat to archy!):

thank boss

> >"You may be right about this, and certainly I would not go
> >so far as to say that you were wrong, but still ...!" (Place _that_=20
> >quote for double credit.)
> Mundus vult decipi!

Clearly a man of taste, if not in fact a "monstrous clever

Regarding the question of whether Silk's enlightenment has any
subjective sequence or duration to him as it occurs ...

> ... it occurs in an instant in the middle of the prosaic
> activity of a ball game, which is not interrupted by it.

Right. We agree, I presume, that it takes no "objective" time.

> I suspect that Mr. Wolfe is relating something corresponding
> to the classic 'mystical' experience, which occurs _outside_
> time rather than as a consequence of time somehow 'stopping'.

Well, Mr Wolfe hsa gone so far as to state openly that it is a
purely supernatural experience (leaving Crane's "embolism"=20
theory kind of high and dry).

> Mr. Wolfe specifies that what Silk retains of the experience=20
> which he can consciously relate is far smaller and less=20
> profound that the totality of the experience as it was
> originally granted to him. Whether he relates it sequentially,
> or whether it occurs sequentially, it is impossible to explain
> it in a fashion conformant to its nature, which is, if you like,=20
> superhuman.  It certainly doesn't resemble the experience of=20
> an embolism!

Never having experienced an embolism myself, I can't say.

But what we also have to remember is that the account we possess
is _at least_ a third-order abstraction from the event: the
minimum set of abstractings involved include (1) Silk's remembering
the event, (2) Silk's attempt(s) to relate the event to others,
including Horn and/or Nettle, and (3) Horn's and Nettle's attempt=20
to work backwards from (2) to the event and narrate it in their=20
Book of Silk.=20

Given all this, I think that the most we can say of the "real"
event (somehow I feel no shame in describing a fictional event
this way ...) is that Silk had a mystical and life-changing=20
experience of some sort, which he referred to as "enlightenment,"=20
in which he learned a certain amount of information to which he=20
had not previously had access. (I am inclined to analogize it to
the experience of "gnosis," because of my perception that the
_Whorl_ is a physical instantiation or representation of (one)=20
classical gnostic view of the universe, embedded in the larger
Lupiverse in which orthodox Catholic Christianity is, more or=20
lesse, defined as "true"; but I won't insist on that.)

> 4WIW, I read a long I/V with Mr. Wolfe shortly before I=20
> joined this forum, in which he said something to the effect
> that _all_ the 'clues' were present in the books, but that
> they were only placed there _once_, as he didn't intend to
> insult the intelligence of his readers.=20

Yeah. Sometimes I think Mr Wolfe genuinely fails to understand
that most of us simply aren't as intelligent as he is ...=20

> I would tend to the view that [...] he is a skilled=20
> professional author, who inserted everything necessary
> to have his works understood TO THE EXTENT TO WHICH HE
> INTENDED in the works themselves.  Therefore, I support
> the call to closer textual study of works which are
> being theorised about...

Amen unto this, for those who have time.=20

> PS: While I'm here, my copy of RTW (Return to the Whorl), the=20
> TOR paperback, is absolutely crammed with the most annoying typos=20
> throughout.=20

This is true of the H/C also. It's incredibly badly porfread.



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