Thursday, 24 December 2015


Poul Anderson's Psychotechnic History is an "organizations" future history, far more so than its successor, the Technic History. The Polesotechnic League is not so much an organization as a den of thieves - and honest traders!

A Planetary Engineer compares his Order to an earlier organization:

"'The medieval Church was another supranational organization. Its attempts to interfere with separate states led only to trouble and ultimate failure, but in its character as the friend of all mankind it was honored and powerful. When that power began to be used for personal and local ends, the Church broke up. It's an example we might all bear in mind.'" (The Snows Of Ganymede, pp. 13-14)

The omniscient narrator compares the Psychotechnic Institute to the same earlier organization:

"Somewhat as the medieval Church nurtured Western civilization, the Institute was a kind of placenta for Technic society." (p. 47)

After the Humanist Revolution has overthrown the Institute:

"Analogies to post-Reformation Europe are tempting..." (p. 51)

This period is described as:

"...the adolescence of Technic civilization..." (ibid.)

- so that phrase is used in this earlier series.

Finally, another Engineer, discussing the outlawed Institute, says:

"'Look, oh, say at the Christian Church. It started with a noble ideal, maybe the noblest man has ever seen, a universal brotherhood of love. After a few centuries, it was burning people alive for disputing its authority.'" (p. 52)

The Church did not start with that ideal. It started with the proclamation of a resurrection, a divine intervention to reverse death. Since such a belief could not be proved, the Church had to resort to enforcing its authority.


David Birr said...

But the "divine intervention" was based upon and driven by the "universal brotherhood of love": "For God so loved the world..." So BOTH your statement and PA's are correct.

Paul Shackley said...

And this is an appropriate moment at which to say Happy Christmas.