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Topic: A Fractured Eternity: Part II

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA
Date: 09/15/2008

Warning and Disclaimer: The following may contain spoilers for the New Greg Bear Novel.

A Fractured Eternity: Meditations on Greg Bears Novel: CITY AT THE END OF TIME
Part II



The Nature of Time: Time as a tactile dimension&the feel, smells, and taste of time, probable states and possible worlds. Severing world lines. The Temporal Horror of Terminus, when world lines are severed from both past and future. The ultimate reality breakdown at the human and street level&Is the present day truly the past of the far future or just a segment of a probable past being sampled and preserved for the future against the depredations of The Typhon. The profound insight that Dark Matter is just stuff waiting to happen: congealed probabilities of possible worlds, alternate realities, generating their own gravity with their phantom mass of unexpressed events.
Time as experienced by the fate shifters: they can only go laterally cross world lines, not physically up or down&but they can feel there way a few moments ahead into the future, pick the best or desired possible path, or with Ginny, the wrong paths&and was that her, or her sum-runner nudging that choice? None of the fate shifters seemed to be able to look back into the past of event, or probable pasts: is this due to the fact that their pasts are fabrications, and in a world without Mnemosyne to balance the books of fate people often forget them as well?
This one aspect of the fate shifters and their relation to time and possibility is the other major difference between their view of time and fate, and my own attempts at modal thinking. In my line of work I often have to reconstruct events that lead to the current situation, and in reconstructing them, I project several possible past path-ways to the current nexus; in looking back and eliminating improbable pasts I find a way to the optimal solution for the present problem and toward an optimal future outcome. Fate Shifters appear to be past-blind other than their own spurious personal memories.


Beyond the Stapledonian Cosmic Vista: The Trillennium and resurrection of the spent universe of the Bright Era as the 500 Living Galaxies. But what about the original dying universe, the smoldering suns, run down white dwarfs, black dwarfs, neutron stars, quark stars, black holes in various sizes, the expanding voids and the clumping clusters. The last free hydrogen in the universe. This far future history begins were Stapledons universe pretty much ends&a resurrection of artificial stars, living galaxies, new sources of energy, in a universe where the effects of proton decay have already started to take effect.
Just how long is the Trillennium? An era not quite as long as a Quadrillion Years? (1000 Trillion) this could even be pushed out to 900 Trillion years, even 999 Trillion and still stay in the fourteen zeroes range. Olaf Stapledon might have been intrigued with the possibilities of the universe being brought back into fruition, with an Era of History that surfaced anything that occurred during the Ages of Nebula, Stars and Galaxies and Planets. A hole future history of getting more bang for your buck out of an otherwise dead cosmos. A rebirth. A Resurrection, and again, a period significantly longer than the nature life of the Universe.
The entire episode of the Mass Wars even as the depredations of the Typhon are consuming the universe&showing that matter is unstable or rare and forced conversions to Nootic matter, with primordial matter being cherished, often in a ritual context. The ancient breeds being constructed out of a horde of traded primordial matter, as matter has multiple fate possibilities in contrast to nootic forms being optimized for the best possibilities.

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Sangmer and Ishanaxade: an inversion of the myth of Osiris and Isis. The Shen gathered her from across the remains of the living galaxies, and Polybiblios/The Librarian gave her form&and incarnation&but she was not quite complete. And Like Osiris she wanders out into the realm controlled by Apophis/Typhon and becomes trapped, with Sangmer having to travel thru back to the origin and then forward looking for the missing piece of Ishanaxade, like Isis searching to this day for the Phallus of Osiris. Ishanaxade, who was collected fragment by fragment by the Shen over trillions of years of time across the 500 living galaxies and then given shape by Polybiblios in his matter based immortal form. While she is composed of the fragments of Mnemosyne that had gotten bored and distracted in a universe where creation had stopped but observers still existed, her recreation is also somewhat artificial.
Her name sounds to me like a combination of Ishtar and Vanamonde: while Vanamonde was the second and successful attempt at creating a pure mentality in Clarkes Diaspar/Lys mythos, his secondary reason for being created was as a corrective to the Mad Mind, as expanded upon by Benford from Clarkes hint; the Ishtar aspect for me comes from the myth of her descent into the Underworld, giving up her powers bit by bit at each gate, finally finding herself naked and chained to a wall, at which all sexual activity (procreation-creation) on earth ceases, and Asu-shu-namir is created to go and rescue her and re-store her to her powers, he has no balls. Yet in corrupted Nataraja she is kept alive to remember and ask if any have seen Sangmer. As the avatar of Mnemosyne she is still incomplete, and part of her may be split off as the Chalk Princess/Our Livid Mistress/Kali:
A part of Ishanaxade/Mnemosyne that has been corrupted and perverted by the Typhon. In light of this the function of Vanamonde in Clarkes myth would be much like Mnemosyne, since Vanamonde remembers everything that has really happened&but in remembering, since he is pure mentality, is he also ensuring the time line against alteration? If Vanamondes memory were changed, would history also change? With Mnemosyne sick, senile, schizophrenic, or scattered she is not remembering the universe properly.

Books in real time: Books mutating slightly or grandly. Books coming into existence that shouldnt be, such as 12 volume sets of the works of fictional characters. Bookstores and Libraries. The dissolving of the ink in the books of the Library after Seattle slams into Terminus. The Life Books of the Witches of Eastlake provided by Bidewell, and told that they should never be opened, all with 1298 on the spines. Life Books that survive the scrambling of books with Seattle slams into Terminus and is bereft of both future and past, all becomes a horrible Now

Books in the Bions and on the March: A secret need to know and go in all the Ancient Breeds, the books found after searching the fake volumes along the shelves above the fiftieth floor of the Bions give them a sense that they finally have an idea of what they are and whats going on, but are used to actually program them to the true nature of the March out into the Chaos to Nataraja, the return of Sangmer to find lost Ishanaxade, the bringing of the two together to restart the Witnessing and Correcting aspect of creation: something that goes totally counter to the nature of The Typhon. For the read of CITY this gives us a bridge back into the History of the Trillennium and more specifically the history of Ishanaxade, her role as a recovered and reconstructed muse, and Sangmers various quests to find her: the first unconscious as an aspect of his quest to bring back Polybiblios to save earth, then following her out into the Chaos to find her in Nataraja, then going back to the beginning of things and hijacking at least one, if not two sum-runners and the Fate-Shifters that shepherded them.

More on the background Myths: 100 Billion Years of Brahmas creative activities:

The traditional Big Bang theory predicts a "lepton desert" at the end of time, whilst the Oscillating Universe predicts a far more exciting compression. Now imagine what will be left of our world (a cold dwarf of a sun with the dead planets around - unless the Solar System gets engulfed by then in a nearby galactic chasm, of course) compress into a semblance of a black hole!

And so goes modern Scientific Dogma regarding the end of days. Brahmas creative activities throw that off more than a little: A combination of the Big Bang with a short term (100 Billion years) steady state creation process as well. This will raise the specter of Intelligent Design with some more scientifically conservative readers, such as that one attendee at Greg Bears San Diego talk on August 20th, 2008 who asked him directly if he believed in intelligent design.
The problem of implied creative/intelligent design in regards to the Universe: While most proponents of this pseudo science have an emotional need that they themselves (humans) were directly created by someone/thing/god, etc, it has been my experience that they cannot reconcile that emotional and philosophical need with the Stapledonian Myth of The Creator and His Works, generating Universe after Universe out of his being until he makes the best one&a transfinite series of creations. And within that Myth, it is has proven impossible for people like that to wrap their minds around the possibility that the Star Maker, in setting up the laws and conditions of this universe, built in the whole process of evolution to result in a wide variety of self-aware beings like ourselves: that humans (and other forms) are a built in pattern of the universe itself. My favorite finger print of the Star Maker is the Carbon Atom, and how easily it links up with other atoms into long chain molecules. As if it were designed at the quark level to be the building block for self replicating and evolving patterns in an energy rich universe.

But only in moments when I think about the possibility reality of Stapledons Star Maker.

The 100 Billion Creative Years of Brahma and the Muses and their observational tasks is a more modern casting of Stapledons Star Maker, with the Muses being a built aspect of the Universe, a transintelligent reconciling aspect that needs to be before actual observers arise/evolve out of the conditions of the Universe. The Sleep of Brahma: Brahma stops creating, the Muses catch up on their work, then end up unemployed, as there are Quadrillions of naturally arisen observes in the universe, and like many of the unemployed, go to seed as it were.
Kali ruling from the frozen lake at the center of Nataraja, the lake being also Mnemosyne? Kali as the Chalk Princes/Our Livid Mistress: Kalis name meaning time. Kali as a broken aspect of Mnemosyne? This may be another aspect of Stapledons myth of the Star Maker: The Creator and His Works. While there may have been a Big Bang/Inflation event that started the universe, there was also a period of 100 Billion years while Brahma was creating things in toto: Fully developed Galaxies Popping into Existence with Stars at various stages of development, but lacking their pasts. The Muse, especially Mnemosyne, would then have to reconcile the universe so that such Instant Complete Galaxies with Developed Civilizations would be consistent with the rest of the universe, in essence weaving up a past for them. In the Kali aspect, items that just did not fit or be persistent would have their pasts removed and they would fade away.
This sometimes happened on the Human level, which first brought Bidewell into the entire game of Chancers, Fate-Shifters and the Chalk Princess. When Brahma ceased creating after 100 Billion Years&as detailed above.
According to Hindu Mythology The lifespan of Brahm is 100 Brahm years or 311 trillion,40 billion human years. At the end of his lifespan, there is a gap of 100 Brahm years after which another Brahm or creator begins anew and the process is repeated forever. In the Universe of City Brahma went to Sleep after 100 Billion years of creative activity. The Final Conquest of the Typhon over the universe, the final push, happens 100 Trillion (approximately) after the heat death of the universe, i.e the Stelliferous Era during the resurrection of spent universe into the Trillennium&so the events of city may be somewhere about 611,080,000,000,000 after the big bang&more half way to the Quadrillionth Birthday of the Universe, in what would otherwise be the overlap of the Black Hole and Degenerate Eras.
With the activation of the Three (or Four) sum-runners together does this awaken Brahma to creation, or create a whole new Brahma? And this time, right from the beginning, a reconstructed and reconstituted Mnemosyne/Ishanaxade is there to keep the new universe, creation consistent.

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