[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Sime~Gen Inc. Presents

ReReadable Books

May 2011

"Reality Plate Tectonics: Part III"


Jacqueline Lichtenberg



 To send books for review in this column email Jacqueline Lichtenberg,jl@simegen.com  for snailing instructions or send an attached RTF file.  
Find these books.
Find TV fandoms online

 Share on Facebook

Pathfinder by Laura E. Reeve, A Major Ariane Kedros Novel RoC pb July 2010

Omnitopia Dawn #1 by Diane Duane, DAW hc Aug. 2010

WWW.WATCH by Robert J. Sawyer, ACE hc, April 2010

In the March, 2011 column we started talking about "Reality Plates." I wrote this:

"As we once thought of Earth’s surface as a solid crust that occasionally moved or cracked in earthquakes, we once thought that science had mapped out solid "reality."

But science discovered the Earth’s surface is composed of tectonic plates that move against each other. And now it appears (appears mind you) that science has discovered that "reality" is composed differently than was taught just 20 years ago."

In April, we looked at novels that illustrate how, as public perceptions are shifted by what is taught in schools and by discoveries, our consensus reality has changed. For the student of the occult, it’s not so important to note what "reality" has changed from or to. What is significant here is the rate of that change. The slow grinding move of the Earth’s plates don’t bother us. Sudden jerks destroy us.

Most people can become "enlightened" or undergo a religious conversion only once or twice in a lifetime. Those experiences are timed by transits of the outer, slower moving planets across sensitive points in the natal chart. "The truth" is revealed under such pounding transits as Pluto across the Natal Sun. That is a shift in the tectonic reality plate the individual is standing on. It shatters the structures of life.

The older you are when such a transit occurs, the more of your life you have constructed around you, and the more certain you are you’re right. Thus even a tiny shake of your reality can be horrendous. A large break in reality can be deranging. Younger folks adjust faster, but we all adjust, and then regard the new reality as fixed and reliable again.

"Oh, I was so na´ve! But now I understand."

We need to believe we understand our reality. But what is "real" is different for each of us, so when we explain our reality to our friends, it doesn’t exactly match.

Because modern civilization has been so massively influenced by Ancient Greece, and the sciences founded on Hellenistic philosophy have been so successful, we share a fundamental assumption about the nature of reality, the very definition of the word "real," that says that if I’m "right" and you don’t agree, then you’re "wrong."

That’s called the "zero-sum-game" from the mathematics of game theory, which sets down an absolute rule of reality – if I win, that necessarily means you lose.

There can be only one winner. To seat that model of reality into the deep subconscious of our Group Mind, we have concocted many sports, and turned the Roman Circus into Professional Sports. Can you name a professional sport in which both players, both teams, or all participants win?

There’s always a score, and highest or lowest score "wins" – one horse is fastest, one team makes the most goals. We go to great lengths to "break ties" with "overtime" or "extra innings." Can you imagine a political election where, if there’s a tie, both parties occupy the same office seat?

No, we live in a two-valued, either-or, zero-sum-game civilization because the non-Initiate can handle that model of reality very well.

The actual, "real" universe may be quite different, as most students of the occult know very well. The magical view of the universe is founded on the Law of Abundance. Just because I have two apples doesn’t mean that you therefore must have no apples.

I don’t get my apples by taking them away from you. As we need more apples, more apples will come into existence, summoned by the gentlest art of living softly on the world’s resources, living on the Law of Abundance.

If you get your apples by taking them away from me, you will find to your utter dismay that you won’t get to eat them. That’s how the Law of Abundance operates, and that fact is completely incompatible with Hellenistic concepts such as the zero-sum-game model of reality enshrined in our sports rules.

The Law of Abundance and the Zero-Sum-Game are fundamental philosophical concepts that are assumptions of our Group Mind. Thus the rising tide of spiritual renewal has left Group Minds in disarray and individuals confused.

So we see more and more fiction about people who lead multiple lives, spies, double agents, conflicting loyalties, and very complex and confusing lives. A very good example is the "Major Ariane Kedros Novels" series by Laura E. Reeve. I reviewed Peacekeeper in the July 2009 column, and I think you should now read Pathfinder and compare them.

These are SF novels set in space where there are non-humans, involving the possible discovery of a new non-human species and a secret kept from humans by the non-humans. Kedros has a "day job" with an exploration company, and is still a commissioned officer tangled in legal issues including having had her identity officially and secretly changed. Her life pivots around a hot, but difficult Relationship with her boss. Her world’s reality plates are shifted by discovery of new aliens and conspiracy by the existing alien species. But she has no idea what it all means.

We each live in a totally customized universe, and it responds to our actions in a customized way – like training your speech software on your computer.

So, is there actually no objective reality? At all?

Two SF novels surfaced in 2010 using game theory, computers, and Artificial Intelligence to ask that question. Students of the occult must grapple with it.

Diane Duane, famous for her Star Trek writing and her work with animation geared for younger people, has brought us Omnitopia Dawn, a novel about two online gaming company founders who had a falling out and are now in a corporate war for market share. One is a perennial "winner" who lives The Law of Abundance; the other is a repeat "loser" in the zero-sum-game of life.

The characters’ inner attitudes about reality, about "who" they are, lay out the kind of questions power users need to answer before acting in the real world.

Omnitopia Dawn is written with long, loving, detailed description of the online gamer’s image of the fabulous life of the CEO of a lucrative gaming company. Many of the scenes do nothing but bring the game and the art of programming alive for the reader who is not a gamer. It’s almost a Victorian Romance style writing in a book set in geekland. But it challenges the ethics and morals underlying the entire concept of combat-for-fun.

WWW: WATCH by Robert J. Sawyer is the sequel to WWW:WAKE which I reviewed in the November 2009 column. There will be a third in the trilogy you won’t want to miss. In WAKE, a young girl who has been blind from birth is given computerized sight implants that let her "see" the whole internet as a web. \

She discovers the beginnings of an AI gaining self consciousness and interacts with it, unwittingly fostering the awareness’s growth. In WATCH this discovery begins to become public knowledge. Meanwhile, another group is exploring the self-aware intelligence of some primates who learn to talk to each other in sign language. When the AI and the Apes meet, things get very interesting.

Parallel to this, the young adolescent girl begins to establish her own relationships with boys, an "awakening" very similar to the discovery of "self."

The WWW trilogy is not a "gamer" based book, or a computer game plotted novel. It’s a solid piece of dramatic writing exploring the nature of identity, and how identity colors the reality that is perceived, and how the objective reality shapes and colors identity.

The WWW trilogy is worth reading just because they’re good books, but worth pondering in the context of our civilization being in the midst of rewriting reality almost on a daily basis. Every once in a while a Reality Plate shifts or cracks beneath our feet destroying everything we thought we knew. A self-aware AI would be such a Plate shift!

Because of the zero-sum-game model of reality drummed into us by sports and by the model’s success in creating technology, we tend to pose our philosophical questions in either-or mode. So we might think, "Well, is reality all subjective and everyone’s opinion just as valid as everyone else’s?" Or. "Is reality actually a concrete, unchanging, objective thing that our opinions don’t affect?"

Which is it? Either we agree to disagree because you’re "entitled" to your opinion, or we argue until you agree with me because I’m right. The only way we can both be "right" is if "reality" really doesn’t exist – no?

Do we live in and on the Law of Abundance OR Do we live in a binary universe of the zero-sum-game?

Reading novels such as the Major Ariane Kedros series, or Sawyer’s WWW trilogy, or Duane’s new Omnitopia series can help clarify these questions, but not answer them!

To send books for review in this column email Jacqueline Lichtenberg,  jl@simegen.com for snailing instructions or send an attached RTF file.  



[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Find these titles by using copy/paste (in MSIE use right mouse button to get the copy/paste menue to work inside text boxes) to insert them in the search slot below -- then click Book Search and you will find the page where you can discover more about that book, or even order it if you want to.   To find books by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, such as the new Biblical Tarot series, search "Jacqueline Lichtenberg" below. 


In Association with Amazon.com




Find out why we so vigorously support amazon.com 

In Association with Amazon.com

Sign up for PayPal and do business online safely and securely. Use PayPal at amazon.com auctions

Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!

Visit our Keybooks Bookstore for a wider selection.  
Or find short stories by 
professional writers to read now.
Find longer works by professional writers.



SGcopyright.jpg (8983 bytes)

Top Page|1993 | 1994|1995|1996|1997|1998|1999 |2000|2001|2002|2003|2004|2005|2006|2007|2008|2009|2010|2011|2012|Star Trek Connection||Other Review Columns

Find an error here?  Email:Webmaster Re-Readable Books

This Page Was Last Updated   08/04/10 01:14 PM EST (USA)

amzn-bmm-blk-assoc.gif (1970 bytes)Little Girl Reading a BookThe Re-Readable Collection  

Reviewed by Jacqueline Lichtenberg

Submit Your Own Question

Register Today for the writing school Go To Writers Section and read stories. Explore Sime~Gen Fandom  

Read Sime~Gen Free 

Science Fiction Writers of America

[an error occurred while processing this directive]