In ‘The Twenty-first Voyage of Ijon Tichy’ (1971) by Stanisław Lem, translated into English by Michael Kandel in The Star Diaries (1976), the space traveller Ijon Tichy lands on the planet of Dichotica in the “great cluster of the Hyades”. Here Tichy encounters the remnants of the Dichotician civilization and the monastic order of robotic Demolitian Friars.

In two interleaved historical narratives, Tichy learns that the Dichotician civilization has transformed itself beyond all recognition through runaway body-modification, and the Demolitian Friars espouse the faith of Duism, a quasi-atheistic form of religious passivity in which “you believe by doubting and you doubt by believing”.

What is the thematic link between these two narratives?


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