(urth) Babbie

John Watkins john.watkins04 at gmail.com
Thu Mar 19 06:52:07 PDT 2009

On Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 7:45 AM, James Wynn <crushtv at gmail.com> wrote:

>   Witz: You're NOT including Pas in your Trinity right? just Horn/
>>>> Silk/Neighbor. Not Horn/Silk/Neighbor/Pas.
> The question of whether Wolfe views souls as physical/wave or metaphysical
> entities is still an issue of debate. He treats them as both. But think of
> Abel's discussion with Mani the cat about whether he is a cat or an
> elemental spirit. Abel says he is neither. For as long as they are together,
> he's a new entity made up of both.

That's basic Thomism, which of course Wolfe is familiar with.  It's possible
that Thomistic rules apply only in Wizard Knight, which is explicitly a
medieval-style world, but I doubt it.  I think that all Wolfe souls are
Thomistic souls--patterns or animating essences of spirits.  That's why
Severian is able to carry Thecla's soul by gaining her memories and how the
aquastors work--a person's "soul" is really just the pattern of their
personality, which can be perfectly reconstructed by perfect memory or
imperfectly reconstructed by incomplete or imperfect memories.

> There are only three people in the Raja...and only three souls.  When the
> Raja takes on Silk's body and his mind, he takes on both Silk and any daemon
> riding along when he died --which would not be Silk or Pas but the Silk-Pas.

Could be...I'm still not sure Pas went into Silk at the end of Long Sun.  If
he didn't, that's just Silk in Silk's body until the Horn-patterned Neighbor
shows up.

> This is further complicated by the fact that Pas is no longer the original
> Pas either. They had to add a little bit of Silk to complete him (so Pas has
> Silk's head now).

Definitely agree--this is the Silver Silk, a Pas/Silk gestalt with Silk's
personality "in front."

> Consequently, Pas himself is also Silk-Pas, so what's the difference?

Presumably their varying experiences in the time that passed since Long Sun
ended if you're right about the merger...if Pas didn't go into Silk at
Mainframe, then that scene in Return to the Whorl is a Pig/Silk/Pas gestalt,
with Silk in front, talking to a Silk/Horn-patterned Neighbor gestalt.
Pig/Silk/Pas seems to recognize both Horn and Silk in the gestalt.

> And Typhon, when Sev met him --and apparently when he was scanned-- also
> consisted of two souls, right? Hmmmm...The head that was changed in Pas was
> the tyrant's, not Pieton's, right?. How much of the old Urth's calde even
> exists in Pas anymore? )

I'm not sure Pieton's soul was scanned--why would it be?  The portrayals of
two-headed Pas has symbolic value that don't depend on Pieton's soul having
actually been uploaded.

I also want to note that this whole thing is a rationalization of the
Incarnation, not the Trinity.  The three Persons of the Trinity all share a
single essence (in orthodox Christianity, that is), whereas Jesus Christ
possessed two essences in a single Person.  I think that these "gestalts"
definitely have multiple essences, but over time pretty clearly merge into
one "person" (as Severian never really does become one with Thecla, at least
that we see.)

> So, only three souls and only three Horns. But the three are not
> necessarily the same three. If you are familiar with the way Wolfe weaves
> mythology into his stories and characters, then you know he's quite
> comfortable with this sort of double and triple -iteration.
> J
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