Saturday, 7 May 2016

"They Make Us What We Are"

I say again that I will be away from a computer for a week but I will be reading and taking notes.

"'...we, Their worshippers, cannot sit passive. They make us what we are, our unique selves, Ys.'" (Gallicenae, p. 196)

I agree with this even though I do not believe that the Gods literally exist. I do not think that there could be rational beings whose libraries contained histories and science but no fiction or myths. To know what is is also to know what is not and therefore to think about that also. But, even if rational beings could exist without myth or fiction, they would certainly not be human beings.

And we would not be who we are if, instead of Homer, the Bible and Sherlock Holmes, we read entirely different literature, scriptures and novels. So, yes, the Ysan Gods make the Ysans who they are.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    It's true their religion and culture contributed enormously to making the Ysans what they are, as we see them in THE KING OF YS. But, the rise of new faiths like Christianity (and even Mithraism) presented new OPTIONS to the Ysans. I can easily see some of the more thoughtful or far sighted Ysans wondering if their gods were truly gods or were worthy of worship (due to the new options presented to them).

    Can rational beings truly be rational if they wholly lacked the capability for imagination? To be unable to think of alternatives to what existed or to what they knew? I think life for such a species would be GRIM, to say the least!


  2. Sean,
    Grim and, I would add, impossible. Every positive proposition implies many negatives. The sky is blue so it is not red, green etc. To think about what is not is already to imagine it. For safety, we have to be able to think, "If I take precautions, then I will NOT come to harm" etc.

    1. Kaor, Paul!

      And the closest we see to such a species in the works of Poul Anderson would be the Zolotoyans seen in "The High Ones." The search for the "perfect" society led to the Zolotoyans losing the ability to have imagination, to even be rational at all.