(urth) Damn filthy Hiero-wasp-creatures

thalassocrat at nym.hush.com thalassocrat at nym.hush.com
Mon Jan 7 01:19:57 PST 2008

On Mon, 07 Jan 2008 07:39:52 +1100 Stanislaus <sbocian at poczta.fm> 
>Hello thalassocrat,
>The Neoplatonic philosophy is hard to understand. The hierarchical 

>part is simple, but the ultimate otherness of the Increate is 
>difficult to understand. Severian, however, undestood it, as far 
>as it is possible. Read again the parable of the cock - the angels 

>are still infinitely far from the Increate, and can only guess at 
>his wishes.

There's the cock story, and other bits and pieces also. in Dr 
Talos' play, Nod tells Gabriel that he's only guessing at what the 
Increate wants. G sees he was afraid of that; clearly, the same is 
true for him too. There's also the little story of the angel slain 
by an arrow. Gabriel says: "If I had known we could die, I would 
not at all times have been so brave" - or words to that effect. 

All of these little markers support my view. Thinking of "Gabriel" 
in these stories as a reflection of the real Hierogrammates, they 
tell us that such "angels" are neither spiritual beings (they can 
die) nor the direct agents of the Increate. It may even be true 
that T et al believe they are working the will of the Increate - 
such convenient self-deception isn't very uncommon.

>The religion of Urth is much older than Conciliator and in no way 
>depends on his miracles, or in fact on any miracles (although they 

>still happen). It was founded by Theoanthropos. As to the 
>technological explanation for Severian's resurrection - it is not 
>exactly apparent in the books. 

Perhaps parts of the religion, or the framing of the religion, are 
older than the Conciliator - there is no way of knowing - but 
everything suggests that the main focus of the religion is now the 
New Sun/Conciliator as holy hero, perhaps as an avatar of the 
Increate, although that is never made very clear. 

The Pelerines are devoted to Conciliator-worship. The carolyer on 
the scaffold in Saltus starts by addressing the Increate but in 
this fragment clearly addresses a New Sun mythologized from Sev's  
mission in Typhon's day: "You, the hero who will destroy the black 
worm that devours the sky; for whom the sky parts as a curtain; you 
whose breath shall wither vast Abaia etc etc etc". Ditto for the 
Conciliator/New Sun to whom Agia, Dorcas and others refer as an 
aspect of the divine. Ditto for every reference to Urthly religion 
I can recall.

Without Sev's mission, the Conciliator/New Sun figure would not 
exist in the religion of his youth. There would presumably be some 
other divine hero-type, but not this one & not one which would set 
a religious context for Sev thinking that the New Sun was an 
absolutely unquestionably good thing.

>The most important difference is that most religions and 
>philosophies have very different value structures from the modern 
>one. Killing nearly all people on earth certainly was not good, 
>but in the neoplatonic view it was very far from real, important 

That for me would be an enormous argument against ever signing up 
for a neoplatonic religion. Really, I think part of Wolfe's 
intention is a critique of those kinds of religious sensibility 
which can lead one to consider genocide as anything but an 
"important evil". He puffs up a cloud of this neoplatonic, gnostic, 
whatever mumbo-jumbo jargon and imagery, but underneath it you have 
a core reality of (maybe) parisitoid wasp creaqtures, demonstrably 
malevolent towards humanity & in no way divine. 

>Hierogrammates are certainly not angels and do not claim it at 
>all. On the other hand such beings as Tzadkiel are very much 
>different from them.

Not sure I understand this. T is of course a Hierogrammate. He sure 
doesn't go much out of his way to dispel the angel image. Think of 
the scene in his captain's cabin when Sev & Gunnie are returning to 
Urth, putting on a show of power and majesty to awe the humans. 
Another piece of trickery. Of course, we know that he isn't an 
angelic being; just another creature whom the Hiero/humans moulded 
in some fashion.

Perhaps you're thinking of the Hierarchs or Hierodules?

>I wonder whether you did read "Voyage to Arcturus" by David 
>Lindsay? I think it would have interested you.

I probably will read it, thanks.

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