(urth) Hut in the Jungle

Craig Brewer cnbrewer at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 18 21:54:46 PDT 2009

Gwern, I see what you mean about those being two directions of the same issue. But there's something else going on there, as well.

I always thought that Talos was really talking about myth and stories: he's saying, "Hey, this is _Frankenstein_, but backwards!" And the point is that myth shapes us, but we also move away from the original intent of myths so that they are changed and distorted over time.

What happens in the hut seems less about myth and story than about reflecting on the consequences of one's actions, but also realizing that who we are may be the consequence of someone else's actions.

Both are about how, you're right, it's hard to pin down an "original" cause or action. But they're dealing with different mechanisms: choices on the one hand and myth/story on the other.

I'm not disagreeing with you. I'm just saying that there may be different ways that they're thinking about the relationship between past and future.

----- Original Message ----
From: Gwern Branwen <gwern0 at gmail.com>
To: The Urth Mailing List <urth at lists.urth.net>
Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 6:27:57 PM
Subject: Re: (urth) Hut in the Jungle

On Wed, Mar 18, 2009 at 4:08 PM, Son of Witz <sonofwitz at butcherbaker.org> wrote:
> and they feel the Tokoloshe, spirits from the future.
> "Don't you see they are only the results of what we do? They are the spiritis of the future, and we make them ourselves?"
> Is this just saying that the fallen state of Urth is contemporary Earth's doing, somehow?
> /confused
> ~witz

I've always taken this as being the opposite of what is said in _Sword
of the Lictor_:

'Dr. Talos whispered, "Look about you—don't you recognize this? It
is just as he says!"
"What do you mean?" I whispered in return.
"The castle? The monster? The man of learning? I only just thought
of it. Surely you know that just as the momentous events of the past
cast their shadows down the ages, so now, when the sun is drawing
toward the dark, our own shadows race into the past to trouble
mankind's dreams."
"You're mad," I said. "Or joking."
"Mad?" Baldanders rumbled. "You are mad. You with your fantasies
of theurgy. How they must be laughing at us. They think all of us
barbarians... I, who have labored three lifetimes."'

I've always loved that line: "our own shadows race into the past to trouble
mankind's dreams."

The spirits of the future trouble the dreams of the present, and the
present make the results that lie in the future. Which was the
original? Neither, perhaps.

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