Thursday, October 2, 2008

Like taking a drink from a fire hose

I am high as a fucking kite right now.

It's not from drugs -- the hardest substance currently in my body is 8 ounces of Mountain Dew. No, right now my high is entirely due to adrenaline and brain chemistry, because I have just put together the final thesis of Curse/Or. This is the Grand Unified Theory of Everything for my universe, and at this moment, I comprehend the entire cosmos.

I'm going to share it with you, because I'm tired of not having posted anything this week, and I was going to have to write it all down anyway. Once this high wears off I may not be able to grasp this particular universal totality, so it'll be a huge help if later on I can refer back to my notes and wonder what the hell I was thinking.

Besides, there's always the possibility that I missed something, and one of you may catch it. If so, please comment. I welcome such criticism, along with questions or requests for further explanation.

However, be warned: SPOILERS AHEAD. If you'd prefer to be surprised by what happens in Curse/Or, then by all means, skip this. But if you don't mind spoilers, or would rather know just what the hell is going on, or (like me) simply enjoy peeking under the hood of someone else's universe, then this is the post you've been waiting for.

Oh, one last thing: This fucker threatens to be dense, and may have all the readability of a lunatic's rantings. If you thought SCSI Logic and Illithics were off the rails, what comes next is really gonna bake your noodle, as I reference all kinds of crap from Hermann Hesse's Magister Ludi to Quantum Theory to Kabbalah and "modern" occult theory. I'll do my best to link things, but if stuff still doesn't make sense, then I encourage you to bug me until it does.

Thesis: Networks are n-dimensional constructs of psychic energy.

Where to begin, where to begin... okay, let's start with Hermann Hesse. In 1943, he wrote a book titled The Glass Bead Game but which most people call Magister Ludi (Latin for "Master of the Game") because, frankly, it just sounds cooler. In this book, Hesse created a 25th century nation called Castalia in which the residents -- nearly all of them Ivory Tower-style academics -- engage in what is known as Das Glasperlenspiel, or the Glass Bead Game:
"... the Game of games had developed into a kind of universal language through which the players could express values and set these in relation to one another. Throughout its history the Game was closely allied with music, and usually proceeded according to musical and mathematical rules. One theme, two themes, or three themes were stated, elaborated, varied, and underwent a development quite similar to that of the theme in a Bach fugue or a concerto movement. A Game, for example, might start from a given astronomical configuration, or from the actual theme of a Bach fugue, or from a sentence out of Leibniz or the Upanishads, and from this theme, depending on the intentions and talents of the player, it could either further explore and elaborate the initial motif or else enrich its expressiveness by allusions to kindred concepts. Beginners learned how to establish parallels, by means of the Game's symbols, between a piece of classical music and the formula for some law of nature. Experts and Masters of the Game freely wove the initial theme into unlimited combinations."
In other words, the Game is an exercise in comparative symbology that encompasses all of human existence and understanding. For an example of how this might work, go to Hipbone Games and read through some of their examples. If you're already confused, go lie down for a bit, because it's only going to get worse.

"Beginners learned how to establish parallels, by means of the Game's symbols, between a piece of classical music and the formula for some law of nature." If you're like me, you read this sentence and immediately thought of the Internet. Anyone who's followed a trail of hyperlinks while websurfing, or lost hours while browsing Wikis (TV tropes is the most powerful of these) understands this concept. This leads to that which leads to those.

And then I realized, this is exactly how the human brain works, too. We may not realize we are making causal or symbolic links when we think of things, but I guarantee you that we do. If we didn't, there'd be no such thing as an object of sentimental value.

And then I thought of the Kabbalah. Specifically, the Ten Sephirot of the Tree of Life, and how they are understood to be discrete levels of creation unfolding into the world as emanations of God, and how this concept has been developed into a model of reality.

All of these are networks. And they're all reflections of the human mind's desire to find connections and causality. They're all neural, if you're willing to accept a suitably broad interpretation of the word, or perhaps nodal. They're all constructs for thinking about thinking.
And none of them truly exist in a tangible state. Sure, the human brain exists, but whatever makes it a mind is still well and truly abstract. Each of these things has measurable qualities, but in their totality are immeasurable.

Thus: the Internet = Glass Bead Game = Kabbalistic Tree of Life = Human Brain = Internet.

But that doesn't quite explain everything in the thesis, does it? I'm afraid it doesn't, and in order to do that, I need to explain what magic is, and how it works, in my particular universe. Since this is already running a bit long and I don't want to fall victim to the dreaded "too long; didn't read" syndrome, I'm going to take a break here and save the crazed occultism for my next post.

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