(urth) Urth before Urth

b sharp bsharporflat at hotmail.com
Wed Jul 19 12:00:07 PDT 2006

Dan'l, thanks for the feedback.  It is always appreciated, especially when 
given with insight.  I think we are in agreement on these issues except at 
two points.

Dan'l suggests:

>the universal singularity at the moment between cycles is the only place 
>where you can actually >break out of Briah and into Yesod

While I think Inire's mirrors and the Jungle Hut are other options.   The 
mirrors are clearly a transport method as well as viewing instrument.  And 
the Jungle Hut might allow physical transportation, especially if Isangoma 
is Inire.

Dan'l makes it clear he agree that Earth is in Urth's future..but...not in 
Yesod, still in Briah.

I just found a James Jordan/Gene Wolfe interview quote which supports Earth 
being in Urth's future: 

>JJ: This universe that you sought in Briah are part of it. Is that our 
>universe? Or is that a universe >that resurrected saints have set up in the 
>world to come as part of the cities that they made?

>GW: No. I thought of it as a long past universe. Something that we are 
>repeating rather than >something that we are

Gene Wolfe also says, regarding his thinking on Urth cycles:
>Yes, I began with the idea of what is going to happen to us if we just keep 
>going the way we are >going and continue to live on the continent of Earth 
>without ever really going into the sea or >going into space and we just 
>wait for the money to run out. The do nothing future and thinking >about 
>what that would be. And then I got into the idea of universal cycles. And 
>decided that I >would show that this might be a past cycle. Some physicists 
>at least think that the Big Bang is >eventually going to be followed by a 
>Big Gnab in which the whole universe coalesces again which >will be 
>followed by another Big Bang which is sort of like a succession of universe 
>as piston impulses >in an internal combustion engine.

If Earth is just a part of a future Briah, separate from Yesod, then I think 
something is missing, which is progress.  I sense that spiritual progress is 
something Wolfe considers important (more interview quotes support this).  
What good is it for Briah or other universe residents to go through all 
their struggles and progress only to collapse and disappear, only to have 
the same universe reappear with the same deck of cards shuffled a bit?  The 
Hieros made it from Briah to Yesod, becoming higher beings, later returning 
to Briah to help out (purify? more on the contamination later) their cognate 
race and creators.

I like Mantis' idea of a hierarchy of 3 universes we are able to perceive in 
BotNS, a hellish Abaddon, Severian's Briah and a heavenly Yesod and see it 
supported in the text.  If Inire's mirrors access Yesod, then we can guess 
what universe Hethor's mirrors access...

On Thu, 22 Apr 1999 Moonmilk Archives, Nick Gevers criticized Mantis' 
universal scheme in this post:
http://www.urth.net/urth/archives/v0026/0003.shtml  by invoking strict 
Kabbalistic interpretations.

I appreciate Gevers' scholarship but...in the same interview as above, Gene 
Wolfe says this (with a couple snips):

>I don't want to try to answer questions on the cabala. I never knew a great 
>deal about it and I >have forgotten most of what I knew. I have the great 
>disadvantage of not believing in it and so I >can't get so caught up in it 
>as cabalist really do. To me it was someplace that I could steal ideas >and 
>names from.

I noticed this quote a while back and have, thererfore, avoided looking too 
deeply into Kabbalah concepts to explain BotNS and am a bit skeptical 
regarding those who do.  There is another, non-cosmological, Kabbalistic 
theme Wolfe borrows which I haven't seen mentioned by any critical review, 
that being the Lilith myth.  I think I hinted at that a month or two ago but 
I'm not sure. I'll try to discuss it if I can gel my ideas and if there is 
any interest.


More information about the Urth mailing list