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From: ansible@cix.co.uk (David Langford)
Subject: (whorl) Re: Digest whorl.v010.n066
Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2000 14:11 +0000 (GMT Standard Time)

Josh Levitan wrote ...


> I have a feeling that Wolfe's given us enough info to figure out what 
> the secret is currently.  It reminds me of that Borges story, "The 
> Mystery of The Phoenix(?)" (something like that) in Ficciones, where he 
> talks around the secret rite of the cult of the Phoenix and supposedly 
> gives enough info to figure out what the rite is (although I've always 
> been too dense to figure it out).

Where does it say that Borges gives enough information? My reading of "The 
Sect of the Phoenix" (also translated as "The Cult of the Phoenix") is 
that it's a joke, practically a shaggy dog story, deliberately blurred by 
anti-information. Drop the teasing physical details about "the cork and 
the slime", or push them sideways into metaphor, and ...

[Does Borges need spoiler space on this list? Oh well:]

... it does seem very much as though the Mystery Rite, which is despised, 
trivial, not talked about, abstained from by the very virtuous, yet 
somehow never dies out and may indeed have become instinctive, is 
ordinary human sexual intercourse.


David Langford
ansible@cix.co.uk | http://www.ansible.demon.co.uk/

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