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Through the gates of the silver key features out hero Randolph Carter discovering

all persons in the galaxy can be though of as one entity viewed from different 'cosmic angles'

as a result of this he ends up in the body of Zkauba, who is in essence,

the same entity as he is

So why does he struggle to overwhelm that personality?

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    This is like asking "Why did the US go to war with the Germans to overcome them despite all of us being interconnected as one species," or, "Why would someone want to be the sole controller of the body they were in." – Nathan C. Tresch Apr 18 '12 at 12:31
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    @NathanC.Tresch it's not like that at all... – AncientSwordRage Apr 18 '12 at 19:45
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I'll re-read it and give more detail, if this answer is insufficient (I haven't read it since about 10 years ago)... But, as I recall, there are several errors in your assumption / recollection.

  • Not all people are the same entity.
    • There exist higher dimensional beings that intersect the lower dimensions, and, where they do, that part of them exists as what we would think of as a living being. Think of a two dimensional plane that is encountering a twisted ribbon; there will be irregular lengths of the ribbon that intersect the place, and would look like lines along it; calling the ribbon 'time', those lines become a life; movement from one end of the line to the other is traveling thru time (living) for that little aspect of the greater ribbon.
    • I believe you can confirm that they are not all the same, by the fact that Carter is surprised that HE is part of the entity that is teaching him, implying that not all people are. (I'll confirm this when I have a few minutes, but that's what I remember.)
  • Parts of the same higher entity don't necessarily know about each other.
    • Carter only comes to know of this aspect of reality, and his relationship to other intersections of the temporal plane (like Zkauba) via his adventure, and passing thru the gates of the silver key.
    • They may be part of the same greater entity, but that doesn't mean they see eye-to-eye; you can think of it as sharing certain qualities from their higher-order progenitor, but their direct experience and culture defines them quite a bit. Think Nature v.s. Nurture.

Now, without the knowledge that Carter has gained from his sojourns to the higher-order dimensions, all that Zkauba knows is that an alien being is trying to take over it's existence. No matter what information Carter might try to convey, it's going to be hard to convince Zkauba otherwise; how would you respond if an alien intelligence suddenly showed up in your brain and said it was an alternate version of you, and demanding that you travel light years to help it get home, despite what it will cost you to do so?

To give you a feeling for their perspectives, look at this passage:

Seven day-fractions later Zkauba squatted on his prism in awe and half-despair, for the truth had opened up a new and conflicting set of memories. Nevermore could he know the peace of being one entity. For all time and space he was two: Zkauba the Wizard of Yaddith, disgusted with the thought of the repellent earth-mammal Carter that he was to be and had been, and Randolph Carter, of Boston on the earth, shivering with fright at the clawed, snouted thing which he had once been, and had become again.

Carter's story, on the face of it, is not terribly believable to anyone who hasn't experienced what he has. Zkauba's resistance isn't really that surprising, looked at from his perspective.

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  • I was under the impression that carter would simply change who Zkauba was into himself, there would be no Zkauba to protest as he is in fact the same as carter. Have I misunderstood how the 'possession' works? – AncientSwordRage Apr 18 '12 at 18:41
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    It's been a while.. But they weren't really the same being; they were two consciousnesses inside of Zkauba's body. They didn't think of themselves as the same person, any more than you, and a reincarnated version of yourself would feel like the same person. (Imagine one is a caveman, one is an astronaut. and suddenly sharing a mind.) They were never supposed to meet, much less in a mind, and both have very strong wills and strong drive to live, and not be a Split-Personality to some alien. – K-H-W Apr 18 '12 at 18:47
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    Here: This quote should give you the feel of their interaction: Seven day-fractions later Zkauba squatted on his prism in awe and half-despair, for the truth had opened up a new and conflicting set of memories. Nevermore could he know the peace of being one entity. For all time and space he was two: Zkauba the Wizard of Yaddith, disgusted with the thought of the repellent earth-mammal Carter that he was to be and had been, and Randolph Carter, of Boston on the earth, shivering with fright at the clawed, snouted thing which he had once been, and had become again. – K-H-W Apr 18 '12 at 18:49
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    There's no continuity between their existences, so, apart from the abstract knowledge of being drawn from the same uber-entity, they have no connection. Arguable, there's no possession involved; it's a split personality issue, with one from the distant past, and one from the 'present'; they are just so wildly different that they cannot readily get along. – K-H-W May 27 '12 at 16:49
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    The key should have integrated him in with the Zkauba personality, or made him dominant.. and could have, if he had the spell from the parchment. From Chapter 6, "The Carter-facet had soon learned with horror that the silver key was unable to effect his return to human form. It was, as he deduced too late from things he remembered, things he dreamed, and things he inferred from the lore of Yaddith, a product of Hyperborea on Earth; with power over the personal consciousness-angles of human beings alone." ... "There had been an added spell"..."written on the undecipherable parchment" – K-H-W May 27 '12 at 16:53

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