Thursday, 20 July 2017

Blackness?

SM Stirling, The High King Of Montival (New York, 2011), Chapter Nineteen.

This chapter contains an excellent description of a siege, Ritva Havel and her allies defending. Ritva is on the rampart. Something hits her hard. She staggers and falls.

"A light flashed in the corner of her eye.
"Blackness." (p. 422)

"Blackness" means that she loses consciousness. Thus, rather than seeing "blackness," she stops seeing. Do we ever see "blackness," except when we are conscious and in the dark? What do we see behind our heads or before we are born?

Once, when given a general anaesthetic, I tried to remain conscious by an act of will. Then an irresistable force seized my consciousness and pushed it down below the surface into the dark. I felt my consciousness end, then knew nothing.

7 comments:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Just a small correction, that should be Ritva HAVEL, not Mackenzie. Ritva was the daughter of Mike Havel, the first Lord Bear. But she was the half sister of Rudi Mackenzie, of course!

One thing about sieges should be kept in mind: long sieges are punctuated by intervals of relative quiet, when both sides are content to simply rest. But that was not the case with the siege Ritva was in, I know. The CUT attackers did not have the means for a long siege and I don't think the defenders could have held out for long if it had lasted more than a few days.

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Sean,
It was Ritva's half-sistership with Rudi Mackenzie that misled me about her surname. The families and alliances in Emberverse are extremely complicated.
Paul.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And these complications of family relationships and alliances in Stirling's Emberverse books are REALISTIC touches! Because we see exactly the same thing in real world politics and affairs.

And the last time I needed aome surgery I even tried to resist being knocked out by the anesthesia, but failed! (Smiles)

Sean

S.M. Stirling said...

I've always experienced unconsciousness as a feeling of falling and darkness.

Paul Shackley said...

Mr Stirling,
I am a Philosophy graduate which means that I can get pedantic. Could we say that you experience the losing of consciousness as falling and darkness (falling into darkness?) whereas, when you have become unconscious, then you have of course ceased to experience anything?
Paul.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul and Mr. Stirling!

For me, anesthesia simply felt like me falling asleep very quickly. No sensation as of falling. But I did experience "darkness," if that means I did not DREAM.

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Sean,
But a dreamless sleep is not experience of darkness. It is unconsciousness which is not experience of anything - like before we were born. Born in 1949, I had no experience of WWII.
Paul.