(urth) the Epitome

Roy C. Lackey rclackey at stic.net
Fri Apr 8 13:12:15 PDT 2005

Adam quoted me and wrote:
>> Just as there was no real "trial", the fight with the sailors afterwards
>> a charade, and for the same reason. Tzadkiel had already looked into the
>> future and seen that Sev would bring the New Sun. He could not die in
>> fight if he was to bring the New Sun.
>I'm not sure this is quite accurate. I know Tzadkiel at the trial talks as
>if Sev's success is certain; but later Apheta says that Tzadkiel "had
>examined the future and _found the chance high_ that you would bring a
>sun to your Urth" (160; emphasis mine); and the mini-Tzadkiel by the brook
>tells Sev "you _have_ not failed. You could have on the ship and later; but
>you couldn't die before the test, nor can you now, until your task is
>accomplished." (284; emphasis Wolfe's) The implication is that he could
>indeed died during the test.

Yes, that is the implication, and Wolfe obviously intended it be read that
way. I was aware of Apheta's statement of probability. But Tzadkiel (who
outranks her [g] ), is unequivocal, saying "you have already passed our
testing, which was an examination of the future you will create." Not
"_might_ create _if_ you survive the next few minutes of battle." If Sev had
died in that fight, Tzadkiel could not have looked into the future and
determined that Sev would be the New Sun. The fortune-telling was over with
before Sev ever set foot in the Hall of Justice; that's why he was there. As
Apheta told him "Time runs as we ask here . . ." (142) They had all
eternity, apparently, as many manvantaras as it took, from their base in
Yesod, to get it right. They got it right, or at least got the result they
were looking for in the future of Sev's Briah. That or the Increate ought to
fire the whole damn bunch for unbelievable incompetence.

As for why Wolfe included the theoretical possibility of Sev's death in the
fight with the sailors, I can only speculate. But I'd rather not, as it will
only lead to more religious arguments.

But, just for the sake of argument, suppose Sev _had_ been killed in the
fight. What then? Would the H's just polish their halos and take up the
harp? Game over? No further pursuit of their ultimate goal (whether that
goal was their own or the Increate's)? In other words, would Sev's death in
a brawl really change anything, in the long view? No. The H's would just
wait for the next manvantara and try again. With the ability to scan time
from one end of a universe to the other, and to manipulate outcomes, they
held all the high cards -- except the Joker.

Tzadkiel, as Zak, even left his "demanding" duties to board the Ship before
it ever reached Yesod, so he could rub elbows with, and bask in the shadow
of, the holy Conciliator, aka the New Sun, Sev. (152) If Sev had not been
that Conciliator, Zak would have been wasting his time. If Sev had died in
the fight, he could not have become the Conciliator. It was all a game, the
outcome predetermined.

>Apheta says: "Your [Gunnie's] race and ours are, perhaps, no more than each
>other's reproductive mechanisms. You are a woman, and so you say you
>your ovum so that there will someday be another woman. But your ovum would
>say it produces that woman so that someday there will be another ovum. We
>have wanted the New Sun to succeed as badly as he [Sev] has wanted to
>himself. More urgently, in all truth. In saving your race he has saved
>as we have saved ours of the future by saving yours." (UotNS, 159-60) This
>is after the New Sun's coming has been determined, so there is no reason
>she would lie. The most straightforward interpretation of this is that the
>Ushas's strain of humanity will produce the "next generation" of


> Earlier, iirc, you argued that this can't be true, because
>the Hierogrammates, living in Yesod, are "outside time" and the
>birth-and-collapse cycle of Briah. But, while they can indeed (apparently)
>maneuver at will along the "corridors of time" in the current Briahtic
>universe, I don't recall any evidence that they are outside time in the
>sense that they are guaranteed to exist eternally, or that there can be no
>"next generation" of H's.

I did imply that there could be "next generation" H's as well as humans in a
post subsequent to the one you are quoting here, the one where I gave that
long quote.

>On the other hand, afaik nobody ever claims that the Increate has ordered
>the New Sun to be brought, or Urth to be destroyed: neither Sev or the H's.
>If the Increate had indeed given such an order, you would think that the
>fact would be important enough for somebody to mention it. It seems
>especially odd that the H's would claim that they were killing millions of
>people out of self-interest if this wasn't the case.

And in a second post Adam wrote:
>But the H's explicitly say that they have their own agenda. As I say in my
>other post, it's hard to see why they would claim to have their own agenda
>if they actually don't.
>> Without moral authority, the H's are just cosmic cowboys, hypocrites
>> of precisely the same sin for which mankind had been condemned. They can
>> neither "compassionate" nor "just", as Wolfe says of them.
>Wolfe doesn't say it of them; Sev does.
>> Finally, if Wolfe didn't intend the destruction of Urth and the birth of
>> Ushas to be, in a religious sense, a good thing, why did he write it that
>> way? Why write it at all?
>Wolfe does indeed surround the coming of the New Sun with a religious aura,
>which makes it hard for me to simply say that he intended us see it as
>immoral. But if by "in a religious sense, a good thing" you mean that it
>done at the Increate's order, I've been arguing that Wolfe didn't write it
>that way, and I haven't yet seen anything to convince me otherwise. The
>hidden premise here seems to be that the destruction of Urth cannot be a
>good thing unless it was ordered by the Increate. But there seem to be a
>of people on this list who don't agree, or who at least give reasons why
>it's a good thing without mentioning the Increate's orders. Wolfe may well
>have seen things their way instead of yours.

I gather that you want to keep the Increate out of the equation. Okay, then
_what_ was the goal of generations of refinement of both humans and H's,
from the H's perspective? Whence the moral high-horse they rode in on? Who
handed them the reins of Justice, allowing them to pass judgement on Urth
and, ultimately, all of mankind? Did they take that function upon
themselves? What hubris!

Earlier in this same post Adam wrote:
>If the Increate is omnipotent and omniscient, as the Christian God is, then
>everything that happens must be part of his "plan" in some sense. But it
>doesn't follow that it all takes place at his order, or with his blessing.
>An act can be part of God's plan, and yet still be a sin: the Crucifixion
>an obvious example (speaking from a Christian point of view).

If the H's were simply unwitting instruments in God's plan, more's the pity
(from a Christian viewpoint). Judas' kiss was such an act, which you have,
in essence, labeled a sin. If the H's acted without the blessing of the
Increate, then they were sinners such as man has never seen on Urth, and
beyond. Nothing that Adam and Eve or Typhon ever did could begin to compare.
The H's have god-like powers and only entropy, it seems, can even slow them
down. And even that can be got around by just waiting in Yesod for the next
Big Bang in Briah.

And it makes Sev-the-Conciliator the dupe of a race of beings neither he nor
anyone else have even a hope of thwarting. I just don't think that's the
story Wolfe wrote, or at least intended, to write.


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