(urth) The Aelf dilemma and "promotion"

Bob Miller bob_bageera at hotmail.com
Mon Dec 5 18:32:50 PST 2005

Did the bit with Able sacrificing his blood to/for Disiri and then being 
able to take her with him to serve Michael remind anyone else of the 
Velveteen Rabbit?  If you're really really good and do your duty no matter 
what, you'll become really real.  I cried when I first read that story to my 
wife and her face literally glowed.  We both lost our breaths and were 
gaping (gasping without the breath?) when I read her the ending of the 
Wizard Knight.  I find a great deal of Christianity in Gene Wolfe's work and 
am embarrassed at how much more, as my own limited education progresses, I 
find in rereading.  Probably co vered years ago, but I only this year found 
out that, traditionally, Thecla was the name of the female companion who 
travelled with Paul on his missionary journeys.  Ignorance prevents 

The other thing is that I am sorry that the misunderstandings about religion 
anger people.  I'm sorry now and will continue to mourn the losses to their 
richness of life of those who do not, by whatever path, have the peace that 
passeth all understanding, who are not travelling a well lighted path as 
opposed to the slog I have spent so much of my life doing.  Is it wrong to 
mention Holly Lisle's bit about the devil being allowed access to North 
Carolina, and losing an archdemon to God and the youngest recording angel 
saying to God that He must be ready for a great celebration after such a 
victory and God (Michael's boss?) saying, "No. No.  God can never celebrate 
until All my children have come home."  Hmmm, wonder if it's their rejecting 
and attacking of Kulilli that prevents/insures the Aelf do not become 
more/already have souls as part of the natural progression of 
life-awareness-apprehension/ambition-pilgrim'sprogress/odyssey-promotion and 
repeat as long as needed?

Roy replied:
 >Andrew wrote:
 > >- Promotion: Valfather etc => human heroes; I believe this is
 > >paralleled by Able => Dsiri
 > >
 > >The last surely indicates that Aelf are not eternally & necessarily
 > >soul-less. That would go against all of my understanding of Wolfe's
 > >metaphysics. With "divine" assistance, all creation can rise
 > >through the spheres and meet the One True God.
 >And Cliff wrote:
 > >Why does it follow that they have no hope of eternal reward? For the
 > >Aelf, the eternal reward would be to gain a soul, to become human.
 >It was not my deduction that the Aelf have no eternal existence; it's a
 >textual given. In the scene where Toug healed Baki, Able said the Aelf 
 >long-lived, and goes on to say: "Much longer-lived than we are. But
 >short-lived as we are, we're immortal. Our spirits don't die. It's not 
 >that for the Aelf. Dead, they're gone completely." (W, 46)

Something happened, though, when Able "promoted" Disiri. She attained a sort
of reality she did not have before. There is not direct statement along the
lines that she had gained a soul, but it isn't unreasonable to infer this,
especially since Michael does allow that Disiri can come with him on his
next assignment.

Another interesting thing that I am surprised nobody has pointed out: isn't
it kind of striking that Able can be so bold as to presume that she *would*
come with him? This is a major departure from their relationship early in
the series.

 >That's Skai for us, and us for Aelfrice." (49) The Aelf are in a situation
 >much like Mani, whose ninth death will mark the absolute end of his

This is a bit misleading. Perhaps the "absolute end" of his existence *as
Mani*, but recall that Mani is a composite entity. There is in fact an
eternal spirit in Mani that will go its own way; this is not really terribly
unlike some doctrines of the human soul.

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