Cosmos and Ethos

There are many creation myths.

The Pancreator, Great Architect, crafting the universe out of nothingness.  The worlds born in the passion of Elif and Lithrás at the beginning of time, or stolen from the jewel-box of Eternity, or forged from chaos by the Mad Gods of the Beginning, or captured in the war of the Six Elemental Dragons on Chaos and Night, or thought into being by our own Lady Creatrix, Aldéré, Divine Ignition.

Or, if you are of a more scientific turn of mind, emerging from the detonation of the primordial monad in its embedding non-spatial plenum.

And yet, none of these creators are emulated, or the focus of our beliefs, save only for the Divine Ignition – and even then, not for what is surely either the cause or consequence of her madness.

For the universe is broken from its beginnings, and we have no praise for a creator who would abandon – or worse, deliberately craft – such a flawed creation.

Listen closely, my cousins, and you will hear the long low moan of the universe dying, its life running out.  The endless decay of energy states until the final nullity.  The rot that takes our works and nature’s alike, if not tended.  Disease wracks us, disaster dogs us.  Trees rot, beasts die.  Mountains crumble.  Rivers turn to dust and ash.  Cities and civilizations fall.  And within, all the little entropies; destruction and chaotism, slaving and default, leeching and disharmony, every way in which we betray ourselves – things undone, things done poorly, brass for gold, ash-crystal for fireglass, the inner voice that tempts and excuses us when we permit ourselves to do less, to demand less, to be less…

Yes, we are immortal – we and a few others of the sophont species – but even we are doomed, if not by mere chance and imperfection then by the slow fall deathward in time, as the turning planets slow and stop, the stars cool and die, and all that is collapses into the cold void when all energy, all life, all meaning is at last depleted.

This we must know.

And yet…

And yet, my cousins, the universe is also wondrous.  In the despite of this fall into decay, it brings forth wonders in their hundreds and thousands.  From the elegant structures of atomic nuclei to the graceful curve of the galactic arm; from the symmetry of the tiniest snowflake to the mightiest mountain range; the manifold symmetries of crystals; even the twin worlds of Isshára-Léstára.

And from all of this, life; warm oxygen-breathing life and cold methane-breathing life, and life breathing ammonia and sulphide and halogens, and hydrogen-breathing flyers swimming through gas giants; forests of blue and green and purple and midnight black under cool red suns; coral growing in lovely fractal patterns beneath the sea and forming hovering islands in hydrogen skies; worlds of earth and sky and water; life blooming blue, red, and purple beneath the ice of cold, outer worlds; dolphins leaping in the sun-struck sea, wolves racing the forest twilight, and the cry of the hunting wyvern in the mountains.

And us.  Eldrae and galari and myneni; kaeth and esseli and selyéva and qucequql; and all the other sophont species. Emerged from the miracle of self-organizing matter, capable of looking back, and seeing all this, and turning to strive for more.  Thinking and learning and building new wonders; cities, libraries, and roads spanning the world; carved mountains and gardened forests; the gleaming caverns of Azikhan and the coral-and-crystal domes of undersea cities; artificial islands and districts in orbit; and reaching beyond, first to Seléne’s silver dust and the cold red acridity of Talentar, and then to a hundred new worlds under new suns.

Bringing life, order, and complexity to places where they had never been; making minds blossom in metal brought to life, and raising the bandal and other species to full sophonce, spawning artificial ecologies, mechanical across the hot inner worlds and digital across star-spanning networks, and stranger ecologies of information in libraries, memeweaves, and markets.

Making the pieces of this broken universe into something worthy.

This is the nature of existence, my cousins: the dichotomy between the universe as it is, broken, decaying, doomed; and as it should be, as it can be made.  The Darkness, and the Flame that burns against it.  This is the choice we are given when we come to be:

To accede to the nature of things as they are; to accept the deathward slide, take what we can in the course of the plunge, and slink away from the ruins;

Or to strive ever to hold back the Darkness and stoke the Flame; to build the universe and ourselves ever closer to their proper perfection.

Anything that is broken can be repaired.