(urth) started my second read of New Sun

Lee Berman severiansola at hotmail.com
Tue May 18 05:36:19 PDT 2010

In regard to Gene Wolfe as heretic, I'm not sure he'd reject that label.
Perhaps he'd embrace it.  From the Larry McCaffery interview:
>GW- "I am a practicing Catholic, although I don't think that
>designation would give people much of an idea about what my beliefs
>are. People tend to have a very limited, stereotyped view of what it
>means to be a Catholic....I certainly don't dismiss religious or other
>mystical forms of speculation out of hand. I read it and try to make my
>own judgments about it. And in The Book of the New Sun I tried to work
>out some of the implications of my beliefs.

Moving beyond established religious dogma seems to be an important part
of both Severian's and Silk's journeys.
I too liked Lane Haygood's post and perhaps Wolfe does view spiritual evolution
as an assymptotic spiral, approaching but never reaching ultimate divinity. I 
certainly didn't mean to suggest the Sun series implies Man would replace God.
Still, I'm willing to consider circularity as a possibility. I think the 
section which describes the attachment to the person of the monarch as both
the lowest and highest basis for governance is a partial inspiration. It reminds
me of God declaring he is Alpha and Omega. This always struck me as a circular
rather than linear alphabetic statement. The most elegant way to be both the
beginning and the end is to be a circle. So Man is God, just at an earlier point
in spiritual evolution.
Part of Tzadkiel's semi-divine nature is the ability to traverse a universe and
perceive multiple points in time simultaneously. I think the natural progression
from that would be the ability to traverse multiple universes and perceive all
points in time simultaneously. As Lane posits, a way to accomplish this
would be to exist outside all time and space.
But perhaps what David Stockhoff hints at is another path to ultimate divinity.
Instead of being outside the whole shebang, a being could gain multi-universal
presence and perception by becoming one with all the substance of all universes.
Thus God would not be outside creation and evolution but the very essence of it,
simultaneously the beginning and end and everything in between. To me, that
feels more like Wolfe's Increate than a remote, external entity does.
But I qualified as being out on a limb from the beginning on this and I freely
admit it could be a projection of my own spiritual leanings rather than
those of Gene Wolfe's.
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