Discussion Board

Topic: Blood Music and the past

From: Joseph Stuckey
Location: Boston University
Date: 04/17/2014

Mr. Bear,
I am taking a Science Fiction class and we have read your book, Blood Music. I am investigating the concept of using the past to improve the future vs. living solely in the present. I realize that this isn't a large aspect of your novel, but I found the implications of genetic memory and noospheres interesting and am drawing parallels between Frank Herbert's Dune Chronicles and the Stargate franchise. Along that line of thinking, I was curious about whether the noocytes and their noospheres might being representing the concept of deconstructing the past in favor of living in the moment, or if they are encouraging the idea of living in the past by constantly using the noosphere to make the past what we would have liked it to be?
Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Joseph Stuckey

Re: Blood Music and the past

From: Greg Bear
Date: 04/17/2014

Every living thing relies on past experience to improve its chances of survival, of experiencing the future. But the concept of transcendence implies that there can be a future for which no preparation is possible. My question back to you is, after transcendence, is it likely that there is only rest and memory--celebration and eternal renewal--or are we to prepare for something more, something for which transcendence itself is just another step?

Re: Blood Music and the past

From: Roald Laurenson
Location: Pacific
Date: 04/18/2014

A life's-wide worthy question, isn't it, Greg?

Much liking what you are saying here too.

Re: Blood Music and the past

From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: 04/23/2014

Transcendence might be represented by a 90-degree shift in temporality. For those left behind, it would seem to be an abrupt end; for the transcended it would be a new KIND of continuation. The Jesuit philosopher Teilhard de Chardin (who is mentioned in Blood Music) saw history itself as converging into a sort of "cupola" where all humanity would be forced past this threshold.

When I'm out on a limb, I feel that the potential for transcendence must surely exist implicitly in every conscious experience. A higher, analog kind of time that provides context for our mundane, digital judgements. Goethe wrote of colors as "deeds and sufferings of light" which we can never know. His brand of science never caught on; perhaps the noocytes bring it back with a vengeance?

Life, of course, is a transcendent form of chemistry, a murmuration of molecules. If you want to see the molecular heaven, just look around.

Re: Blood Music and the past

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/09/2014

So many degrees of communication! And neurological activity consists of communication between responsive entities of varying degrees of separation...

Re: Blood Music and the past

From: Roald Laurenson
Location: Islandia Proxima
Date: 05/25/2014

Interesting thought, it is, Bill, but why should anyone be left behind? A first moral question...

Why not instead that there are many 90-degree turns, many dimensions of 'next'?

Think to be hearing echos of Hinduism here, or of a certain tale of libraries as,Universe, or even of new humanity beginning with Mariposa...

Cheers both

Re: Blood Music and the past

From: Pear_Lover
Date: 05/30/2014

Nearly everything can be forgotten, and be presided over by mere curiosity. Now, emotionally - and hence fundamentally, funxionally - there are two questions to keep in mind:

- how do I feel? (not what, but how)

- how do I want to feel?

Re: Blood Music and the past

From: Nicholas Coleman
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Date: 08/10/2014

Hello, Mr. Bear:
I read and greatly enjoyed Blood Music a few years ago, and Teilhard some decades before that. It seems to me that both your novel and his philosophy play with the idea that the whole universe might exist in one single first-personal consciousness, and that finite things are thoughts in that one infinite Mind. As the noocytes evolve towards comprehension of who and where their host body is, so humans evolve towards apprehension of the One whose Mind is the whole universe.

The way to transcendence, indeed (in my view), is by moving perpendicular to the physical world of things in space and time. We take that direction inward, by reflecting on our own thoughts. If we persist in watching to see where thoughts arise from and depart to, eventually we discover the infinite consciousness in the far back of our own finite mind.

That infinite consciousness is the Ground of Being for the universe as a whole. And there, if we're lucky or blessed, is where we find the One whose Mind eternally thinks the thoughts that all finite minds perceive as things in space and time.

In answer to your question to Joseph (above): I agree with you that achieving transcendence brings eternal rest in universal memory; the only thing we don't recall (in my view) is the incomplete awareness that we currently have.

Beyond transcendence (if I can speak with a Hindu accent that Roald may detect) is simply the One without another.

Thanks again for your work, which I find both helpful and comforting in my own writing.



Re: Blood Music and the past

From: Greg Bear
Date: 08/10/2014

Fine thoughts, Nicholas. I touch on this again in DARWIN'S CHILDREN, on a more personal level--with a deep dive into the kernel of personal consciousness in the final chapters.

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