(urth) The poor Aelf

Michael Straight mfstraight at gmail.com
Fri Sep 28 11:07:42 PDT 2007

On 9/27/07, Roy C. Lackey <rclackey at stic.net> wrote:
> Because the soul is the immortal arbiter (in religious theory) of behavior,
> any being that does not have a soul lacks the fundamental criterion for
> distinguishing the difference between 'right' and 'wrong' conduct, as such
> conduct is defined by any given moral system. In TWK, right conduct is
> defined, in part, as the worship by beings at a given level of the class of
> beings in the next higher level. It is a textual given that the Aelf have no
> souls, therefore they cannot be held accountable (morally) for their
> conduct, whether such conduct be worship or anything else. As I said, they
> are amoral.

OK. But what I was saying is that advising the Aelf to worship the
higher beings need not have a moral component.  A dog might be better
off living in obedience to a kind farmer than running wild and feral.
We wouldn't think of the wild dog as evil, but we might think it
wretched, and if we felt compassion for it, we might try to tame it.

But to take a completely different tack, maybe we need to question
this idea that the Aelf have no souls.  How do we know that?  Who told
them that?  In the Sun books, Wolfe is constantly giving us robots,
animals, vampire leeches, etc. that people treat as soul-less, but
turn out to show evidence of a soul.  And in many of those cases, the
souls seem somehow derived from contact with human beings.  So maybe
the truth is that the Aelf have no souls if they are untethered to the
human beings above them through whom they would derive a soul?

> That might be true for humans, but where are such aspirations provided for
> in the text? Very few common people will even attain Skai, yet they are
> expected to worship the beings of Skai. If they can't reach the fifth level,
> what hope have they for achieving higher? I see no evidence of a campaign to
> circumvent the established rules of the game and appeal directly to the Top.

I thought that was the implication of Able being visited by Michael.
That Able is being called to aspire higher than Skai, and perhaps lead
others higher as well.


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