(urth) The poor Aelf

Roy C. Lackey rclackey at stic.net
Tue Sep 25 14:33:59 PDT 2007

I've probably said this before, but I'll say it again to drive home the
point that the Neoplatonism-based theory of upward mobility in a
hierarchical system doesn't apply to Wolfe's Seven Worlds cosmology in TWK.

Having no souls, the Aelf are by definition amoral. Because they lack moral
agency, they are constitutionally incapable of 'bettering' themselves by
thought, word or deed. Even the abstract concept has no meaning for them.
They can do nothing to raise themselves by their own moral bootstraps. They
not only don't have the boots; they don't even have feet to put in them.

They are nevertheless expected, by the religious principles stated in TWK,
to worship the beings of the next-higher level, humans. If they do not act
'rightly', when they die they will cease to exist and turn back into the
natural trash from whence they came. If they do 'right' and worship humans,
they get to kiss human ass, and when they die they cease to exist and turn
back into trash. Let's see; if I were an Aelf, which path should I take to
the same end, oblivion? What incentive would I have to choose one path over
the other, even assuming that I had the moral wherewithal to choose? Who
would have the balls to upbraid me for not electing to brown-nose my way to

The Aelf are screwed, it's not their fault, and there is nothing they can do
about it. And the dragons should worship this trash?


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