Alternate Universes and Alternate Worlds

1.      Spatial Universes & The Other Earth

It was in 1650 BC when the last human being died.  One of the surviving ancient deities, Poseidon,  hovered over the waters and wept.  The madness was over, but he feared the Earth would be empty forever.  Fortunately, it was not our earth, but it was close.  The only difference between that other earth and our earth was the Traveler was never born over there.  The only difference between the two universes was the creative and variable energies were very strong there and very weak in our universe.

At first, Poseidon thought there might be a chance to save his earth.  He thought to merge the two worlds and thus restore life to his desolate planet.  He drew the other Earth as close as he could, but he found the task of merging the two universes beyond what even the gods could do.  What is more, he discovered that his earth was a mirror image of our own, with Europe pointing to the east rather than the west.  It was not going to work.

It was the goddess Amphitrite, wife of Poseidon on our earth that stumbled into this other earth when they were very close – around 1600 BC.  She offered two suggestions which took hold. 

The first was to allow some people the opportunity to cross over from our earth to the other earth and thus repopulate that world.  In particular, she encouraged those people who appeared to have the ability to use the creative and variable energies in that other universe.  Since the two worlds were at present close, those energies were leaking into our universe and interfering with the normal advance of civilization in our universe.

The second was to set the world into a pattern like the moon where they would slowly come toward conjunction and then fade to a distance.  In this way, there might always be new people able to cross over until the other earth became as populous as our own.  It was hoped that eventually there could be good commerce between the worlds.  Also, it would prevent that creative and variable energy from completely corrupting our world.  That turned out to be wise.

What is creative and variable energy?  It is what you or I might call magic.

The cycle takes 600 years.  For three hundred of those years, you might imagine a half-moon to a full moon and back to a half-moon.  During those years, magic becomes more possible on our earth and for the center 100 to 200 or so years, travel between the worlds is possible.  For the other three hundred years, as the pendulum cycles toward the new moon, magic is not possible on our earth.

You can trace the chart yourself, beginning in 1650 BC. 

You will notice the half-moon occurred in 1875 AD.  Magic in our world once again started to occur.  Travel between the worlds became possible by 1950, and the full moon will arrive in 2025.  In 2175 the two earths will move out of phase sufficiently to where magic will again be virtually impossible on our earth.  But, who knows what will happen by then?

Oh yes, the worlds have also established a pattern in their conjunction.  Backwards (mirror image and distorted) Europe on the other earth connected to China at first, then Europe, North America, Europe, China, Europe… It is presently over North America.  On a planet where the Sahara was driven into the sea and Europe got shoved to the south, the current “northeast” section of Spain (southeast France) sits along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Kiev sits in the mountains near Boulder, Colorado. You can draw the map.  Maybe someday I will draw it for you…

2.      Temporal Universes

Exciting Scenes from Last Week: 

On Monday I blogged on the Other Earth (I invite you to click on the tab above and read all about it).  That other earth might best be called a “spatial” world as conceived by Hawkings, which is to say, a completely natural phenomenon.  Since that universe is only one notch (so to speak) from our own, the laws of physics hold true there except for one thing.  There is a strong influx of creative and variable energy there which allows for the manipulation of matter and energy – or to be more pedestrian about it, there is magic on that Other Earth.

This, however, is not what most people think of when they imagine alternate universes. 

Instead, people tend to think and the literature of Science Fiction tends to portray what I call “temporal” universes.  These are earths where, in my view, something significant or several significant events occurred differently at some point in history and thus the whole world turned out different.  In fact, that is what the Gaian people – humans from a very technologically advanced earth call these time created universes: the Worlds.

Let me first say that unless the event is significant, chances are history won’t remember.  Family history might be changed for a time; even national history in some small ways, but eventually the changes will fade or blend into the background and this universe will go on without division.  History paints with a very broad brush.

In order to create a new universe (a new timeline) the change must be historic.  Think of Alexander (the Great) being assassinated with his father and so he never conquers the Persians and never becomes “great.”  Lincoln surviving his assassination attempt, on the other hand, might not be enough by itself to change things since Johnson, his vice-president thrust into the presidency, pretty much followed Lincoln’s outline for reconstruction.  In a couple of thousand years, what will it matter?  Then again, tanks suddenly appearing on the Appian Way and rumbling into Ancient Rome would certainly change things.

In the Gaian universe, by way of comparison, the steam engine was discovered by the Greeks centuries before it was “discovered” in Alexandria.  AND, there were people back then who became aware of the steam discovery and who had some notion of what it might be good for.  As a result, Alexander the Great laid rail lines all the way up the silk road to China…

The thing about these Worlds which is important from a story perspective is first, to acknowledge that our earth is not at the pinnacle of technological advancement.  There are all sorts of earths with a technology we cannot imagine who are already traveling the worlds or just learning to travel among the worlds.  The second point is to realize that not everyone traveling the worlds will have the best interests of others at heart.  In fact, some will be downright dangerous – and some might not even be entirely human…

So, you might ask which is the real (original) timeline?  The only possible answer is they all are.  There is no reason to distinguish any line on that level, to think one is more original than another..  Of course, some do.  The Sorvee, for example, regard themselves as real and everyone else more like intelligent animals needing to be controlled and trained.  The Shinarites imagine people from other worlds as hardly more than shadows of real life.  But thus the stories…

Now, there is another form of “alternate universes” but that will have to wait until the next post.

3.      Spiritual Universes

Somewhere in the course of my writing, it occurred to me that I was drawing on a lot of archetypes, a large number of Platonic Ideals: dragons, fairies, deities in all shapes and sizes, and whole kingdoms like El Dorado and Nirvana and fountains of youth, and more.    I imagined they ought to fit somewhere in creation but I could not quite place them. 

It was too much of a stretch to place them in some deep and mythical past like Robert E. Howard (Conan the Barbarian) or J. R. R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings) might have imagined because there was simply no evidence for that.  Besides, these “things” were too otherworldly for such a concept to hold up on close examination.

It did not make sense to place them in what I am calling “Spatial” universes such as conceived by current scientific theory.  These universes are not imagined to contain variable life forms, but rather to stretch, even negate the so-called laws of physics to the point of absurdity.  One would not have to travel far into the spatial dimensions to find a universe completely inhospitable to any form of life.  I have already stretched that concept to include the “Other Earth” as a place filled with the variable and creative energy (magic) missing in our dimension.  Going further out decreased rather than increased the odds of finding unicorns.

Then also, it did not make sense to place them in what I call the “Temporal” universes.  These are the universes imagined in most science fiction, where something of significance is altered in the past and the whole subsequent course of history plays out differently.  My principal characters in the novel Guardian Angel that explore this concept refer to these universes as the worlds, though they have also been called parallel earths or alternate realities.  Still, it is far too difficult to imagine a real history so altered as to produce goblins and a Benu Bird (Phoenix) able to be reborn from its own ashes.

So here I was stuck with all of these archetypes – things universally understood throughout the history of human consciousness, and nowhere to put them.  The thing that always seemed remarkable to me was how consistently so much of this was known across time and even across cultures.  Surely, there must be some reality behind these things…

So I have imagined a third set of alternate realities, not spatial nor temporal, but spiritual (mythological or folkloric if you prefer).  These are the universes of our dreams and the place of our imaginations.  These are the universes that gave rise to the very universal concepts we all know.  I find it comforting in a way to feel instead of the entire human race suffering from some form of mass psychosis, there is a reality we can touch in our dreams, our visions, our hearts, and certainly also in our fears though I would rather not go to the last.  But the Caller, my protagonist in the novel Killers in Eden might.

It was sometime after settling my mind on this idea that I wondered what the second heavens might be like…but that will have to wait for a future post.

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