(Letters Column for December 2005) Light, Hope, and Meteors

Hello!

This is me, posting the first installment of the letters column—some final comments and responses on An Unclean Legacy!

**
I will not thank you for your kind words today. For the beneficence of my thanks, you must wait for the rest of the letters column! Today, you must go thankless.

That said, hey, y’all’re cool.

**
In terms of the promised bonus story, I am moved by your efforts thus far but as of yet I am not awed. Redouble your devotion! Send forth the radiant light of your spirits in a thousand benevolent wishes and actions dedicated to my name! Then, surely, not even the hardest-hearted Yama King could deny you. Not even the lowest worm! The force of your will would bend down even that great stone god that stands over the city of the singing people on the farthest star and make him subservient to it; no less would I be enchained to yield this gift!

**

Why was Yseult so determined to be evil?

The more comprehensive and restrictive a society’s morality, the easier it gets to confuse “not fitting in” with “evil.”

Montechristien eventually outgrows this misunderstanding. Yseult never has sufficient occasion to.

What happened to Cedric Saraman?

He went on to involve himself in a tragic story of gummi bears, corruption, and war.

Later, there was some Little House on the Prairie action—after all, someone had to deal with Laura Ingalls Wilder after she saw through the lie of the world and set herself, to coin a phrase, between cow and qlippoth.* Why not Cedric Saraman?

* I hope nobody coined this phrase first. That’d be embarrassing!

How did Yseult meet and marry Gargamel?

I assume it was one of those things where you look back later and laugh, like he spilled wine on her dress or she lay siege to his castle or something.

Were Montechristien and Baltasar from any noteable line of descent, other than what appears to have been a standard noble family, or were their magical talents an individual accomplishment?

If the Da Vinci Code is to be believed, they’re secret descendants of Jesus Christ, but I don’t hold much truck with that kind of thing. I mean, honestly, just compare:

(Christian
The Lord Jesus Christ (visual reference)

and

(People
Gargamel and Baltasar (visual reference)

They don’t look a thing alike!

Oh yeah, there was one more question since my list of questions. In the room in the castle with the blood gutter (presumably under the threshing machine?), when Manfred is getting up:

(quote about the stone floor cracking and a faint white light rising.)

What was that faint light about?

Something to do with the power system for the threshing machine, I suspect.

I wonder what happened to Gargamel’s evil cat Azrael? Probably wouldn’t have been a good fit for the series since his name is so over-powered.
— rpuchalsky

I thought it would be cool to do something with that, but, yah, because of the name, it needed to be something important, and no good motivation + explanation ever came to mind. ^_^

Did Yseult abandon Rachel?
— Graeme

It would appear that she felt Montechristien would kill Rachel. Precisely to which extent this is true depends on history that has not properly been revealed.

Manfred is exceedingly well-mannered.
— Ford Dent

Power breeds propriety. Absolute power manners absolutely.

Manfred, here, is caught in the coruscating nimbus of politeness radiating backwards through time from that alternate future in which he enters the singularity of infinite propriety. It is a burning radiation that will leave him sore.

Is it wrong that, despite being interested in the resolution, I really do want to see How Elizabet Saved Mother’s Day?
— Eric

It is in some respects an alternate title for Finale. ^_^

what action shot would Violet get?
— Adamiani

Hm!

Her older self is probably just glamour shots, while her action scene is as a kid, with the red and black light and the howling and the kids cowering and Violet walking to the door and going out.

I’m not sure how to make it visually cool, but I’m not a cinematographer.

**

Either good and evil are defined by the whim of the Supreme Being, in which case God might say “Thou shalt eat babies on Fridays” and lo! eating babies on Fridays would be Good!, or else good and evil are independent of the Supreme Being, and God is not in fact omnipotent.
— Metal Fatigue

This discussion was part of why, later in the month, the spirit moved me to articulate half of an extended meditation on the meaning of the statement “God is good.”

I’ll have to cover the other half sometime.

**

So I take it you’re a proponent of an inheritence tax, then?
— GoldenH

Oh *man*, yes.

**

Not to comment on what lights may or may not have been in the sky over Siberia in 1905, but is it possible you’re mistaking the date of the June 30, 1908 “Tunguska Incident”?
–ADamiani

No. It is not possible. I CANNOT BE MISTAKEN—

(at this point, the author is eaten by a singularity, which is why the letters column must be finished on another day. However, in the meantime, the narrator would like to note that Pope John Paul II was later to add three years to the Gregorian calendar—

in a fashion that worked something like a botox injection, only with the power of the Pope—

to facilitate the arrangement of certain historical events. This is why it is 2006 only in the Paulite calendar, while more traditional measures of the year would have it as 2003 or even 12.19.12.)

17 thoughts on “(Letters Column for December 2005) Light, Hope, and Meteors

  1. Rebecca, watch out for the wogly! No! NOOOOOOO!!!

    *sob* If only she’d scanned it instead of dilly-dallying….

  2. Either good and evil are defined by the whim of the Supreme Being, in which case God might say “Thou shalt eat babies on Fridays” and lo! eating babies on Fridays would be Good!, or else good and evil are independent of the Supreme Being, and God is not in fact omnipotent.
    — Metal Fatigue

    This discussion was part of why, later in the month, the spirit moved me to articulate half of an extended meditation on the meaning of the statement “God is good.”

    I’ll have to cover the other half sometime.

    It strikes me that what God tells you to do, isn’t always Good. For example, that time he wanted human sacrifice. You should always do what God says for you to do, but that is because you are ignorant and cannot be Good anyway even if you tried. Not because what God tells you to do is good.

    So I take it you’re a proponent of an inheritence tax, then?
    — GoldenH

    Oh *man*, yes.

    honestly, I felt the question rather rhetorical. But thanks for confirming it.

    I wonder if I would feel differently about the ending if I felt the same way you do.

  3. It strikes me that what God tells you to do, isn’t always Good. For example, that time he wanted human sacrifice.

    What about the argument that Abraham failed the test?

  4. It strikes me that what God tells you to do, isn’t always Good. For example, that time he wanted human sacrifice.

    What about the argument that Abraham failed the test?

    Well then, the entire basis of christianity would be flawed then, wouldn’t it?

    I’ve only heard the argument used as a tautology. You can say that Abraham, or Job, or even Jesus failed the test – but to do so attempts to strip the event of all the good parts and doesn’t change the essential character of the piece. Did Moses pass then? Was death his reward for defying God?

    To me, it’s Pascal’s wager in reverse. We accept Decarte’s assertion of a trickster god, and find ourselves in a world where we cannot even be sure of our own existance.

    But HOW are you suggesting that Abraham failed? Because without knowing that, I might be rsponding to the wrong argument. Like protesting against abortions in front of a fertility clinic.

  5. It strikes me that what God tells you to do, isn’t always Good. For example, that time he wanted human sacrifice.

    What about the argument that Abraham failed the test?

    Well then, the entire basis of christianity would be flawed then, wouldn’t it?

    I’ve only heard the argument used as a tautology. You can say that Abraham, or Job, or even Jesus failed the test – but to do so attempts to strip the event of all the good parts and doesn’t change the essential character of the piece. Did Moses pass then? Was death his reward for defying God?

    I don’t believe that there’s any true meaning in the argument that Abraham or Job “passed the test”; it is simply a declaration that human moral impulses are to be ignored when they might indicate that God’s actions or demands might be immoral. Given the opposite example of Abraham’s pleading for Soddom and Gommorah, and of Moses’ constant efforts to spare the Jewish people, the statements made by assuming that Abraham was right to try to sacrifice his son, and that Job was right to accept that God’s superior power made him morally superior, are both contradictory and extremely unsettling.

  6. What you’re really asking then is “how can God change his mind?” which I don’t know either but it’s stated pretty clearly that he does in certain cases.

  7. What about the argument that Abraham failed the test?

    Or the Hyperion Cantos argument that Abraham was testing God? Sometimes the only way to determine whether something is good is to go along with it and see what happens…

  8. What you’re really asking then is “how can God change his mind?” which I don’t know either but it’s stated pretty clearly that he does in certain cases.

    If God can change his mind, then there really is no argument at all to be made for the non-arbitrariness of divinely commanded morality, and God played a huge prank on the human race by giving us a conscience that does not automatically download periodic updates.

  9. What you’re really asking then is “how can God change his mind?” which I don’t know either but it’s stated pretty clearly that he does in certain cases.

    If God can change his mind, then there really is no argument at all to be made for the non-arbitrariness of divinely commanded morality, and God played a huge prank on the human race by giving us a conscience that does not automatically download periodic updates.

    I don’t agree that there isn’t an argument. I think there’s an argument that we are as yet too primitive to understand. Certain preachers have come really close, so we have arguments that are superficially right although fundamentally wrong.

    Of course I like drawing parallels between philosophy and science ;)

    Though perhaps, God did give us a conscience that automatically downlads periodic updates. Take slavery for instance.

  10. Question: what definitions of God are we using?

    Question: what does it mean, in practice, to say that there’s an argument that we can’t comprehend? Specifically, what are the observable markers of such?

    Rebecca

  11. Question: what definitions of God are we using?

    I wonder, does the very nature of that question make presuppositions about the nature of God? In so asking, do we run the risk of treating him as an abstract philosophical concept to be delinated rather than as an actual entity?

  12. Nope!

    It is not necessary to assume that we can cognize and communicate the true nature of God (or life, or blue, or Alan Doyle)

    to assume that we can cognize what we can cognize

    and communicate what we can communicate.

    To speak loosely: I believe words have cognitive referents and that when we use them in honest communication, we’re at least trying to convey an approximate version of those referents. If I’m assuming something, it’s about thought and communication, not about God.

    Rebecca

  13. Question: what definitions of God are we using?

    The God of Abraham. i make no attempt to define him beyond that.

    Question: what does it mean, in practice, to say that there’s an argument that we can’t comprehend? Specifically, what are the observable markers of such?

    An argument we cannot comprehend is one which we do not have the language to express nor the ability to imagine it. We can see this when we have observable facts that we cannot explain (or one which feels unsatisfying to someone), unresolved paradoxes, etc.

    I believe that ultimately the language exists to understand every combination of observations, even those we cannot or do not observe; that they are all valid in their own way and that we can learn something from each of them.

  14. An argument we cannot comprehend is one which we do not have the language to express nor the ability to imagine it.

    In what sense is that an argument? How is it going to convince anyone of anything?

  15. An argument we cannot comprehend is one which we do not have the language to express nor the ability to imagine it.

    In what sense is that an argument? How is it going to convince anyone of anything?

    just because you don’t know the argument, doesn’t mean the argument doesn’t exist. If you go to a lecture where a mathematical proof of some obscure theorim is given and don’t understand it, it doesn’t invalidate the argument: merely underlines your own ignorance.

    Anyway, I feel you’re going off on a tangent, so please clarify what that tangent is.

  16. GoldenH: If this discussion goes any further, I fear it will breach the bounds of civility. PM me if you want to continue this conversation; I won’t do so in public.

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