Thursday, 11 December 2014

Contradiction Resolution

"However, one friend, who prefers to remain anonymous, to whom I sent this essay made an interesting suggestion which helps at rationalizing the contradiction I found from comparing TDOTR with "Honorable Enemies." It was suggested that the reason why Imperial Naval Intelligence failed to inform Flandry and Chang-Lei of Aycharaych's telepathic powers was due to a bureaucratic obsession with guarding valuable information. This concern for security, legitimate in itself, was carried too far when the information about Aycharaych was not revealed at least to a few key field agents who NEEDED to know it, especially Terra's agents at the court of the Sartaz of Betelgeuse, at a time when it was likely the Chereionite master spy was going to be there."

Earlier today, Sean M Brooks added the above paragraph to his article, "An Unexpected Contradiction" (see here). This is a perfect resolution of the apparent contradiction. We were not told that Flandry knew, then that he did not know. We were told that others, who should have told Flandry, knew. But people do not always do what they should.

It is entirely plausible that Intelligence Chiefs would think, "We must prevent the Merseians from finding out that we know. Therefore, we must prevent our own people from knowing that we know!" But knowledge that is not acted on is useless.

James Blish shows us security stifling science, then democracy. See here, here, here and especially here:

The adverse effect of “security” on science is central to Blish’s They Shall Have Stars:
“…scientific method…depends on freedom of information, and we deliberately killed that.” 16

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Paul!

    Many thanks, again, for this flattering quoting of one of my essays, incorporating a suggestion made by another friend. I would suggest, however, that the highest ranking leaders of the Terran Naval Intelligence Corps thought like this: "We must prevent the Merseians from finding out that we know. Therefore, we should minimize the number of persons in the Corps from knowing that we know!" My view is that the Intelligence Chiefs would agree, in principle, to the idea that some agents would need to know about Aycharaych's powers. It was simply that a legitimate concern for security was carried too far.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Sean