by David Zindell, (ISBN 0 586 20536 5 and 0 586 21189 6 respectively)
Self-creation is the highest art.
from Man’s Journey by Nikolos Daru Ede
We are prisoners of our natural brains. As children we grow, and new programs are layered down, set into the jelly of our brains. When we are young we write many of these programs in order to adapt to a bizarre and often dangerous environment. And then we grow some more. We mature. We find our places in our cities, in our societies, in ourselves. We form hypotheses as to the nature of things. These hypotheses shape us in turn, and yet more programs are written until we attain a certain level of competence and mastery, even of comfort, with our universe. Because our programs have allowed us this mastery, however limited, we become comfortable in ourselves, as well. And then there is no need for new programs, no need to erase or edit the old. We even forget that we were once able to program ourselves. Our brains grow opaque to new thoughts, as rigid as glass, and our programs are frozen for life, hardwired, so to speak, within our hardened brains.
We should all know the code of our programs, otherwise we can never be free.
If I could find courage, I wondered, what would I see? Would I be ashamed ofthe arrangement of my programs – of my very self – beyond my control? Ah, but what if I could write newmetaprograms, controlling this arrangement of programs? Then I might one dayattain the uniqueness and value I found so lacking in myself and the rest of myrace; as an artist composes a tone poem, I could create myself and call into being wonderful new programs which had never existed within the rippling tides of the universe. Then I would be free at last, and the flame would burn like star fire; then I would be something new, as new to myself as the morning sun is to a newborn child.
Where does the flame go when the flame explodes?
We’re the creators of out heavens. We create ourselves.
Yes, I could create myself, but to create I must uncreate first. To die is to live; to live I die.
What is real pain you ask? The power to choose what we will. Having to choose. This terrible freedom. These infinite possibilities. The taste for the infinite spoiled by the possibility of evolutionary failure. Real pain is knowing that you’re going to die, all the while knowing that you don’t have to die.
‘What is a human being, then?’
‘An acorn that is unafraid to destroy itself in growing into a tree.’
To be what you wantto be: isn’t thisthe essence of being human?
And thus he almost understood the important thing about gods, which is that they must continually create, or die. They must create themselves.
This is what we should strive for, Danlo: the heightening of our sensibilities, the rarefying of our desire, the deepening of our purpose, the vastening of our selves. The power to overcome ourselves. To be more. Or rather, to become more. Who hasn’t dreamed of such becoming?All rules and boundaries must someday be broken. How else can we go beyond ourselves? A thallow chick must break out of his egg, but this does not mean that the shell is without value.
You must remember that an oak tree is not a crime against the acorn.
– …If you were to ask me who I thought Bardo really is, I suppose I should say he’s a man who wants to evolve as much as any other man.
– Then evolve.
When man took to his bed the Computer, there was great rejoicing, and great fear too, for their children were almost like gods. The mainbrains bestrode the galaxy at will, and changed its very face. The Silicon God, The Solid State Entity, Al Squared, Enth Generation – their names are many. And there were the Carked and Symbionts, whose daughters were the Neurosingers, Warrior-Poets, the Neurologicians and the Pilots of the Order of Mystic Mathematicians.
I was given to understand that She manipulated whole sciences and thought systems as I might string words into a sentence. But Her ‘sentences’ were as huge and profound as the utterances of the universe itself.
I learned much about the Entity’s sense of Herself. Each moon- brain, it seemed, was at once an island of consciousness and a part of the greater whole. And each moon could subdivide and compartmentalise at need into smaller and smaller units, trillions of units of intelligence gathering and shifting like clouds of sand.
Over the next few years, Ede’s eternal computer – Ede himself, as God – rapidly continued hisontogenesis toward the infinite. Many times, Ede copied and recopied his expanding consciousness intoa succession of larger and moresophisticated computers whichhe himself designed and assembled, and then intowhole arrays of robots and computers of various functions (Where Ede-as-man had been a master of computational origami, Ede the God perfected this art of interconnecting and ‘folding’ together many computer units so that they functioned as an integrated whole.) One day, it came time for Ede to leaveAlumit and go out in the universe. He ascended to heaven, into the deep space above the planet that could no longer be his home. Using his power as a god, with the help of tiny, self-replicating robots the size of a bacterium, he disassembled asteroids, comets and other heavenly debris into their elements; he used these elements tofabricate new circuitry andneurologics. He feasted on the elements of material reality, and he grew. According to the Doctrine of the Halting whichKostosOlorun hastily formulated to prevent other architects from following his path, Ede the Godwas destined to grow until he had absorbed the entire universe.Ede, of course, as a man, as his original self before he had dared to become a god, had deeply felt the logic of the real universe. Like any man, he had felt doubt. But he had scorned his fears and uncertainty as most ignoble emotions. He was after all Nikolos Daru Ede, the founder of what would become man’s greatest religion. He must always be a man of genius and a vision and, above all, faith. It was his genius, as an architect, to find a way to model his mind in the programs of what he called his eternal computer. It was his vision, as a philosopher, to justify the carking of human consciousness from living brain into the cold circuits of a machine. And it was his faith, as a prophet, to show other men that they could transcend the prison of their bodies and finally conquer death.
… the gods restrain each other from trying to be as God. And how the gods try to find ways of evade each other’s restraints.
The universe is a womb for the genesis of gods.
What’s beautiful is that a creator can be astonished by his own creations.
I am not interested in things getting better; what I want is more: more human beings, more dreams, more history, more consciousness, more suffering, more joy, more disease, more agony, more rapture, more evolution, more life.
from the meditations of Jin Zenimura
The true human being is the meaning of the universe. He is a dancing star. He is the exploding singularity with infinite possibilities.
For us humanity was a distant goal toward which all men were moving, whose image no one knew, whose laws were nowhere written down.
He spoke of human beings, of their freedom to grow into godhood, or to remain gloriously human, to become human for the first time.Always, man had felt the urge to discover the true image of humanity, the shape and substance of what man might someday become. This is the secret of life, of human life, the true secret that men and women have sought as far back as the howling moonlit savannas of Afarique on Old Earth.
Information could be coded into signals and sent anywhere, given enough energy. Sent everywhere, this interflow of information. We could speak with the nebular brains of the galaxy. We could extend the galaxy’s information ecology. We – every human being, Fravashi, oyster, sentient bacterium, virus, or seal – we could drive our collective consciousness across the two million lightyears of the intergalactic void to the information ecologies of the nearer galaxies, Andromeda and Maffei and the first Leo – all the galaxies of the local group were alive with intelligence and vibrated with thoughts of organisms as ourselves. Someday the time would come to interface with the ecologies of other groups of galaxies. Within ten million light-years off the local supergalactic plane of the local supercluster of galaxies were many groups of galaxies. Canes Venatici, the Pavo-Indus and the Ursa galaxies – these burning, brilliant clouds of intelligence and others enveloped our own small galaxy in a sphere of light four hundred million light-years in diameter. To speak with such distant galaxies would require the energy of a supernova, perhaps many tens of thousands of supernovas.
Each of us – gods, men or worms in the belly of a bird, in our every thought, feeling or action no matter how trivial or base – we create this strange universe in which we live. We create God. At the end of time, when the universe has awakened to itself, the past will be remembranced, and everything and everyone who has suffered the pain of life will be redeemed. This is my hope; this is my dream; this is my design.
And so at last he stood before the universe naked in his soul and saw it as it really was. He saw that if consciousness was just the flow of matter within his brain (or the vibrations of atoms within a rock), then the consciousness of the universe was just the flow of everything: rocks and photons andstarfire and blood. And everywhere – in the greatGrus Cluster of galaxies no less a cathedral on a small, ice-bound planet – this flow grew ever more complex.This infinite organism that was the universe, in all its infinite patience and curiosity, brought forth endless new planets and peoples and stars blazing with infinite possibilities.
The way for humankind is not back after all. There is no return to simplicity this way. No true halla. I used to think of halla as a kind of perfect harmony of flowers and sunlight and good clean life and death out on the sparkling snow. A perfect balance that life might somdeay achieve – without war, without disease, without madness, without asteroids and wild stars that can annihilate ten thousand species of animals almost overnight. But no. The universe is not made this way. True halla is the vastening of life. The deepening into new forms and possibilities that we call evolution.
If the brain were so simple we could understand it, we would be so simple we couldn’t.
The more complex the programs of an organism, he greater is the danger of insanity. It is very, very hard to be a god.
I am the frenzy, I am the lightening.
Saying of the Warrior-Poets
The cetics call this feeling the testosterone high, because when a man is successful in his endeavours, his body floods with this potent hormone. They warn against the effects of testosterone. Testosterone makes men too aggressive, they say, and aggressive men grasp for success and generate ever more testosterone the more successful they become. It is a nasty cycle. They say testosterone can poison a man’s brain and cloud his judgements.
The brain is not a computer, the brain is the brain.
Saying of the cetics
We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.
Saying of the cetics
The first and hardest teaching of our profession always must be to view the world as through the eyes of a child.
Marinar Adam, twelfth Lord Cetic
To face and cross the landscape of the computer’s information flow, one needs the mental disciplines which thecetics have developed and evolved into the cybernetic senses, Although shih, the sense that ‘tastes’, feels and organizes varying concentrations of information is the highest of these, there are others. There isplexure and iconic vision, simulation,syntaxis and tempo. Tapas is really more of a mental discipline than a sense; indeed, it is the ability to control – to restrain -the simulation of seeing, hearing and smelling.For that is the beauty of organization, for that when one reaches out to logically arranged data with the proper senses , the flowing information pools fall into form and become more like snowflakes, frozen waterfalls, crystal mountains.
Who programs the programmer?
Ishq Allah maboud ‘lillah: I am program, programmer and that which is programmed.
Truly, I cannot know what you are. Conscious or not, aware of your own awareness or only a program running a machine. But you are only you, yes? This is the marvel. You cannot be other than what you are. Isn’t this enough?
But the computer was made to simulate whole universes. You cannot even dream what blessed simulations are possible. Human beings will always need such computing power even as they need computers.
He tried to explain that the great changes rippling through his being had little to do with mysticism, in the sense of being magical or mystifying. “Truly, it is just pure technology, yes? This is what technology is: just consciousness reflected upon itself, gaining ever more control of itself and creating new forms.”
I didn’t make the universe. I just live in it.
Before, you are wise; after, you are wise. In between you are otherwise.
Fravashi saying (from the formularies of Osho the Fool)
The power of ahimsa is not just the readiness to die. It is the willingness to live. To live utterly without fear – this is a fearsome thing.
‘All living things are afraid to die.
‘No, you’re exactly wrong, the only truly alive beings are those unafraid to die.’- Well, it’s a cruel universe, isn’t it? Sometimes I think it all just falls worse and worse.
– No, it is just the opposite. It is the way creation must always be.
– But how is it possible? How could it be possible that everything is really all right?
– How could it not be possible?
Life moved everoutward into infinite possibilities and yet all things were perfect and finished in every single moment, their end attained.Always, life supplied life to itself and grew ever vaster and more complex. Living things created burrows beneath the snow and songs sailing out to the stars; they made lightships and honey, pearls and poems and computers that generated entire universes of their own kind of life. Life swirled and pulsed and blazed in terribly beautiful patterns across the stellar deeps. The sun and the moons spun ecstatically with life’s wild fire, and the photons danced along the rivers of light that streamed from star to star. Life, like and infinite flower, opened everywhere out into the universe, and into all possible universes, touching all matter, all space, all time with its perfect golden petals and sweet fragrance. And it all grew deeper and deeper, and brighter and brighter like a star swelling to an impossible brilliance that could have no limit or end.
On Old Earth there were beautiful tigers who burned with life in the forests of the night. And then there were crazed, old, toothless tigers who preyed upon human beings. It is possible to completely affirm the world that brought forth tigers into life and still say no to an individual tiger about to devour your child. May all our thoughts be beautiful.
May all our words be beautiful.
May all our actions be beautiful.
The Yasa of the Sani
There is no matter without form, and no form not dependent upon matter.
saying of the cetics
They played for the sake of play alone, and their only concern was the ultimate evolution of their game.