(urth) The poor Aelf

Stanislaus sbocian at poczta.fm
Tue Sep 25 16:37:11 PDT 2007

Hello Roy,

Tuesday, September 25, 2007, 11:33:59 PM, you wrote:

> 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
> oblivion?

> 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?

> -Roy

Yes, since they are even worse. 

In the Neoplatonic system the return is open only to the creatures with immortal soul, of which the lowest are men. 

The rest is pure matter. I don't know whether Plotinus ever engaged in apocalyptics, but most similar systems (Stoics, Kabala) had a cyclical universe, periodically expanding from God, and then being destroyed and absorbed by him.

So the Aelf can wait until the end of the world, when they will be destroyed in flame and absorbed by the One.

And why worship those above them? Because those above are stronger. In the Neoplatonic system good equals strong. Everything good flows from the above - beauty, law and strength. By following the example from above Aelf will become as strong and as happy as it is possible for them - not very much, since they are trash.

As I said, the Neoplatonic system doesn't incline towards any pity for those below.

Best regards,
 Stanislaus                           mailto:sbocian at poczta.fm

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