author’s note: chapter 2.8
Posted by jeanne
i’m posting the author’s note to a section i haven’t written yet, because i am having that much trouble with it. from the beginning, when i opened my document this morning and looked at what i needed to write up for this next section, i was overwhelmed with how much stuff i have to distill.
i have to get down and seriously discuss the superpowers these people hope to develop, and from a science fiction point of view, using a bunch of references everybody is already familiar with. like the force. and like near death experiences. and quantum physics. i have to gather everything up under a quantum mysticism umbrella. i have to introduce the first objections that prefigure later opposition. i have to use a thousand voices.
luckily, every culture develops its own set of universal truths, and i can tap into many cultures every time i have to talk about them. so everybody will have something they can build on right there in their own heads.
why quantum? there are so many umbrellas you could wrap up all these themes in. you could make it entirely xian. or entirely newage. or entirely psychedelic. or entirely wiccan. because every culture grasps the truth (what they do with it is another matter). but the reason why quantum is that we actually live in a quantum world, but absolutely everyone carries on as tho it was a classical-physics world. as if the things we see and touch are actually there. as if we’re really bodies walking around on a ball of rock, instead of bundles of energy that flow in a fluttering wave of possibility.
and because of this disconnect between what we really are and what we think we are, quantum makes the perfect umbrella. of course, you can point up the same disconnect using any umbrella, but each of these other umbrellas has its own issues, some of them poisonous. quantum has been ignored. sure, actual devices now exist that operate on quantum mechanics, and some of them are pretty basic to the way we live today. but quantum mysticism has been laughed at every time it has raised its head, and physicists have been admonished to shut up and calculate, and leave the consciousness part to psychiatrists. so it’s not all that overused as a metaphor yet.
in a quantum world, there is no absolute. relativity, which predates quantum, says that there is no place from which you can make absolute measurements of anything. and this has been found to be true. everything is relative. i realized this with a shock when i was eight or nine years old. that everything is relative, and therefore all points of view have some validity, and therefore my parents (any authority) couldn’t reasonably insist that they were right and i was wrong. therefore screw them. you have an obligation to question authority is the attitude i came out of that phase with.
so if everything is relative, and there is no absolute truth, then how do we get to the horrible polarization of our politics? how do we get members of a family who hate each other because one watches fox news and the other reads truthout?
with a quantum world, you don’t have zero sum games. there is no one, single right answer. there are zillions of partially right answers. but this is a complete betrayal of everything true in the classical physics world. classical physics has single possible answers everywhere, and loves the rule of authoritarians, and demands a single, all powerful god that controls everything from the top down.
so, in effect, i have chosen quantum as an umbrella because it is a perfect metaphor for what’s gong on in our culture today, with everyone lined up on opposite sides trying to kill each other for being wrong. because the obvious answer is a third way, something completely different. and in fighting a fictional battle between the world of classical physics, and the world of quantum physics, i touch upon the problem with everything that’s wrong in our culture today. because what we’re actually experiencing with all this worldly turmoil, these political and religious breakdowns and coups, what we’re actually expressing with our culture is the transition from the classical physics paradigm, where everything can be known and there are one right answers, to the quantum paradigm, where there’s no final authority and nothing can be known.
but now i have to go back to my chapter and work all this out for the section i’m working on. and after that there’s an intense videogame development section of chapter two to go thru. and with only a week before dragoncon, i’m afraid i won’t have all of chapter two finished so i can post it before taking a week off to party. but i’ll get as far as i can.
404 816 9977