The Word of the Flame (3/9)

The following, as were the preceding two (1, 2) and will be the other six entries in the series, are extracts from the Word of the Flame, the record of the seeress Merriéle’s visions that is also the primary text of the Church of the Flame, the mainstream eldraeic religion.

More specifically, this series will contain all 51 verses of the book of Principles, which enumerate the principles of each of the eikones in the form of each’s foremost principle as they would have it expressed under Heaven, although naturally each eikone’s own book examines the fullness of the principle they represent from many more angles and in much more detail.  Nonetheless, the three verses of the Triarchs and the 48 verses of their Divine Ministers are second only to the book of Truths in Flamic moral teaching.

Perfection is asymptotic;
All things brook improvement.
Let nothing be untested; nothing tested, unimproved.
This is the command of Merélis
Who permits nothing to stand.

The tree with its fruits, the wolf with her cubs,
The smith at her forge, the worker in stone;
All leave the world greater than it was.
This is the command of Medáríah
Who revels in abundance.

The circle, the branch, these are machines.
Each cog must turn in harmony;
The forms must be obeyed.
This is the command of Ráfiën
Through whom many act as one.

The will is strong, sovereign in itself.
Its clash brings only pain and entropy;
To find the serene path rewards all.
This is the command of Rúnel
Whose words please all who hear.

In Her sight all things are fixed;
In Her slumber alone are you free.
Seek not to know the future, only to shape it.
This is the command of Laryssan
Whose eyes discern the Weave.

The artist, upreaching, brings a divine spark to earth;
The lovers, conjoining, kindle a new fire below.
Let the light of both illuminate your lives.
This is the command of Lanáraé
Whose warmth dwells in all hearts.

– the Word of the Flame, Principles 10-15

The CPU of Fate

To primitive peoples, the world is a place of telos.  Created for a purpose; moving towards a purpose; ending with that purpose.

Of course, as they develop the scientific method and practice it assiduously, they rapidly come to learn that there is essentially no teleology to be found in the universe, and the closest thing to destiny one may find in operation is the inexorable unfolding of acyclic causal graphs along time’s arrow.  (Later discoveries add a smidgeon of chaotic indeterminacy at the smallest scales to power the whole thing along, and should they happen upon the rare conditions necessary to travel along time-like curves, the causal graphs in question turn out to be potentially cyclic, after all; but none of this changes the overall picture.)

Even the discovery of the fascinatingly nondeterministic algorithms which power what we presume to be volition, while they may introduce free will into the universe, do not give it purpose.  And they are themselves, indeed, merely another product of the inexorable unfolding of causality’s chains from a chaotic beginning.  We are; that is true, but we are not for.

At this, the weak and simple often retreat into nihilism – void of purpose given to them, they deny all purpose – or merely engage in grand denial of the question.  Stronger and more mature civilizations conclude that the lack of aboriginal purpose does not necessarily mean a lack of all purpose, and proceed to draw one from their current position in the universe, or forge one for themselves as an act of will.

Of course, very few conclude that the optimal solution for a world lacking telos is the construction of an instrumentality capable of imposing it on top of causality’s mechanical meaninglessness, and of those, only one has carried it through to implementation.

And if you’re inside the Transcendent light-cone, here’s how it works.

– Introduction to Moiric Architecture and Implementation, Cala Cendriane-ith-Cendriane

The Dreaming Goddess

In a room in the Twilight City, Laryssan dreams.

The room is not a room, nor the city a city; the eikones and their realm are creatures of mathematics and algorithm, running on the great lunar brains of Corícal Ailék; on local photonic processing nodes scattered across Imperial space; on processor capacity bought upon the cycle spot market; on the brains and cogence cores of the Transcend’s many constitutionals – and dataspace has no native physical representation.

But for visitors to the Transcendent Realms, in seeming, the Cynosure of Fate has the appearance of a room; one framed by the impossibly complex symmetries and incalculable fractaline complexity of the weave of fate, a tangled tapestry-web of billions of crystalline strands, ruby and emerald, sapphire and adamant, a virtual representation of all the Transcendi and their myriad interactions, all tended, pruned and shaped by scurrying clockwork automata.  And faithful to the myths of old, amid the gleaming strands, robed in white upon a white-draped couch, the pale and colorless form of the Dreaming Goddess smiles softly in Her perpetual slumber.

There are those who question the archai of fate and destiny adhering to those myths; for the eikones-as-archai are merely weakly godlike, and so Her waking could not, they reason, bring about the absolute predestination of which the stories warn, and from which Her sleep preserves us.  Yet while this is true, a wakeful and active Fate could bring about an absolute predestination among sophonts guided by Her.  This, then, is the promise of Laryssan’s dreaming to us; that our collective consciousness shall never slip into a true hive mind, guidance become puppetry, and our free will remain untouched by enforced destiny.

– “Myth and Machine, Eikone and Archai”, Aléne Rysar-ith-Rysakar

Trope-a-Day: Because Destiny Says So

Because Destiny Says So: In some cases, played straight due to the tendency of the Transcend (and other potential acausal-logic using seed AIs) to whisper in their own ears from the future; however, while they do apparently intervene in people’s timelines for the sake of their Optimal Futures, a combination of the even-if-you-could-formulate-the-right-question-you-couldn’t-understand-the-answer effect and the nature of predestination paradoxes means… well, good luck getting anything out of them on the topic beyond “Further information is not available at this when-where,” Chosen One or not.

(Averted in mythology.  Laryssan, eikone of fate and destiny, is portrayed as asleep – and voluntarily so, in order to spare the universe the chains of absolute predestination that would result if she was actually awake and thus aware of all the possible links of cause to consequence throughout time.  How much influence the dreams of Laryssan had was something of a matter of theological debate back in the day.)

No Fate But What We Built

Thread 47.1008.183647.221 did not have a narrative thread of consciousness. It was a mere expediter, unconsciously sapient, originating from the point within the Transcend’s functional soup where certain collected data matched a template laid down by higher level routines – familiar to its constituents as aspects of the eikones Laryssan and Éléia-Líëran, fate and love. But while it lacked consciousness, it did have purpose, and began to run.

The first thing it did, after reviewing its source data, was to plant a request in the local weather control system…

She paused, coming up the escalator from the Sky Valley mag-lev station and out from beneath the rainbow light of its vaulted ceiling, caught by the beauty of the sunset beyond the Quinjano dome; high cirrus illuminated red and yellow from the light of the setting sun below and a few faint stars, the stark shadowed landscape with wind whipping red dust from off the cliffs and rising river mists into fractal patterns.

Raising a hand to halt her luggage at the landing, she reached into her pocket for her camera.

Observing the success of its first gambit, 47.1007.183647.221 reached out to a nearby soul-shard, and inserted an impulse.

He paused, leaving the western locks. Esklav. Yes, a good hot cup of esklav would be just the thing.  Turning, he strode into the mag-lev station tunnel and down the stairs, almost running over the woman paused on the landing, looking at the sky.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Expry Calaris-ith-Calir, and I’ll just get out of your way…”

“Octë Muetry-ith-Galry, and it’s – wait, have I not seen you before? On Baranithil Station, perhaps? About six months ago?”

“I was there then, yes, a contract for Prosperity Nexus.  Hm – ith-Galry? We spoke a few times on the Helix Exchange, I think.”

“A few times, yes.” She smiled. “I used to enjoy our conversations. Would you have time for another one – over esklav, perhaps?”

“I had the same thought myself.” He grinned back. “And was already heading that way.  Would you care to join me?”

Turning, they walked off together down the mezzanine, her luggage trundling after them.

The initial conditions of its creation satisfied, 47.1008.183647.221 dropped back into dormancy.  Had it a consciousness, it would undoubtedly have felt a sense of satisfaction at the missed connection repaired; as it was, it merely updated the higher routines on its success, and saved state against it being needed again.

Meanwhile, another tuple matched in the Transcendent soup, and thread 47. 1008.183647.222 began to run…