Genre-bending Quantum Insights (While Writing Fantasy)

Okay. I’ve been super busy with Very Important Things (like battling ROUSes), but a recent article by The Mind Unleashed has got my gears whirring. The article is Here (titled 10 Mind-Bending Implications of the Many Worlds Theory), which, in very simplified terms, explains some highly-considered quantum theories. I won’t go into a whole lot of detail concerning its contents due to the fact I found the article itself incredibly self-explanatory, but I will take a little step farther out from the article and apply it to my writing, my mindset, my insight (even if that insight is only for me).

There’s been this abundance of Science worship lately, especially since the end of the Cold War, where technology is growing in leaps and bounds, information is at our fingertips, and everyone seems to know (or at least have an opinion on) everything. My personal religious beliefs aside, I’ve always hunted down the kernel of truth in the “interpretive dance” of media. Be it the humorous “what do people call Alternative Medicine that works? Medicine,” or the “There is no way all your religions, and all your doctrines, lead to a single religious entity due to the ridiculous amount of differences that exist between you” argument, there’s a thread of recognition I’ve pulled from them.

If I were to open my mouth  and state a belief in, say, reincarnation, the Science Guys would scoff and/or laugh and/or say, respectfully, “You have your beliefs. They are not mine.” That idea falls under New Age, or possibly Wiccan, or possibly Pagan beliefs (which incorporates Hindu religious texts, and Buddhism, and even the aborigine stuff going on in Australia. By the way, guess what religion is ACTUALLY the largest in the world, if they all fall under “Paganism”?). It is a religious thing that nobody can prove to exist anyway, therefore it has no place in Science worship (given my sarcasm, I’m certain you know my affiliations by now).

I don’t think it’s a religious thing. I think it’s a spiritual thing–which is a personal belief/governance system–but not religious. I use my understanding of the world, of magic-as-is, to write my fantasy based on (what I see as) hard-won, understood principles. I also grew up in a very science-minded family, with an engineer for a father, a CPA for a mother, and bathroom reading that comprised of nothing but Science News magazines for twenty-four years. Speculation that crossed through science to religion to spirituality to quantum mechanics to psychotherapy were–and still are–the everyday conversation of my family.

This article, and many like it, connects quantum theory to spiritual/religious beliefs. The predominant argument is “Science is science. Religion is religion. Ne’er will the two ever meet.” The more educated people in our society say otherwise. I’m certain there will be a time when the soft sciences will harden and all this ghost-seeing, crystal-gazing stuff will be either debunked or upheld. But it feels really good to read an article that reinforces the complex nature of the universe to the (more possible) reality of time travel, creation, and so on.

Now I’m going to run through the ten implications, as stated in the article. I recommend you think about fantasy books while your read this.

So Begins The Discussion…

We aren’t talking about the Wave/Particle perspective, where a person stamps down the possibilities of reality via an observation of it (think Schroedinger’s Cat. The moment you look at it is the moment it’s alive or dead, instead of alive AND dead. Many World Interpretation (Or MWI) states the cat is both living AND dead, even after you observe it to be living OR dead. It’s just alive elsewhere. And dead.

1) Multiverse. As stated in the article, yes, Marvel comics incorporated this idea only four years after a scientist conceived of it. It’s the idea that there are infinite alternate universes stacked up on top of each other.

2) This one means Occam just tossed his razor out the window, because that blade’s so dull he couldn’t cut his way out of a paper bag. Although in another reality, he does. This allows for the possibility, nay, the certainty of the existence of magic (theoretically). In another world, aliens have landed and we’re being exterminated by Alien Smallpox while they feast on their version of Thanksgiving. On a smaller scale, the idea is reinforced by the idea that things happen that shouldn’t, even in this world. It’s only a matter of time until they do. Whatever killed the dinosaurs didn’t kill them in every Universe. Somewhere, Velociraptors with monoglasses and top hats are curling their moustachios. While riding Kevin Bacon. Awkward.

3) This one posits interesting implications in the shape of violence in the world. The interesting thing for this one is, again, you, YOU, the person you know the best, the most intimately, the most secretively, have somewhere, somehow, done everything imaginable. Including exploding in space. Including slaughtering thousands. So when you’re writing, how difficult WOULD it be for your tea-and-crumpets MC to maim all the rabbits in the kingdom?

4) You are like everyone else. You have learned a lot through your past lives, and you continue to gather information and knowledge. This whole project could possibly be a massive multiversal consciousness extending its understanding out, then sucking it all back in. (Also note, while these “implications” get more and more abstract and obscure as the numbers continue, it’s also important to see the religious implications–Hinduism and Buddhism specifically. Some of the oldest religions in existence.)

5) Not only is there a multiverse, but it’s quite possibly it’s a repeated multiverse that had occurred before the “Big Bang” event.  This reinforces the complicated nature of dejavu phenomena–where a person thinks he/she remembers an event happening exactly the same way, only a long time ago–and also brings additional credence to a whole slew of scientific and non-scientific phenomena like Dark Matter, ghosts, Universal Insight, etc.

6) I connect strongest to this point due to the fact I feel everything I write is written by someone else. It sounds crazy as heck, and I agree, but it’s how I see it. Almost everything I write about came from dream-stories, or dreams I have where I’m moving through, existing, or otherwise pursuing a goal in a place I am wholly uncertain of. Take two nights ago, for example. I hunted vampire children in a school. Given my chosen writing genre, I’m sure most people would shrug and say, “Yeah. You think about that stuff all the time. Obviously you dream about it.” And that might be true. But what’s also true is I really don’t think about vampires. I don’t read books with them in it. I don’t watch movies/tv with them, and I haven’t actually written about a vampire in a novel ever. Ever ever.

7) The Immortality of the Soul reinforces godhood via MWI, although anyone can extend that to fantasy novel writing by a few tweaks and twerks. Especially when it incorporates lesser deities that aren’t really omnipotent (as the Christian God), but deeply insightful anyway.

8) Zoroastrian beliefs, back in the Dark Ages and before the Reformation, embraced this implication and the next (number 9). The novel I currently have before me has the MC stating, repeatedly, “As within, so without.” It is both a defensive statement and a basic truth for him: he is what he feels he is. And, despite others not seeing him the same way, he is a warrior. Also, the Matrix spent some time discussing this.

9) The keyword for this implication is “collectively.” As a society, we construct the physical reality around us. This further reinforces the idea that God is what we make of Him, and (to touch on Gaiman’s American Gods) the less we worship them/Him, the less important they become. This makes perfect sense to me. We create our reality simply by existing–another writerly insight.

10) Life is but a dream. It’s the focus of nearly everything I write.

Now, these lineup of implications also hang their hats on the idea of Infinity, or as I consider it, the God number (I know it’s not a number). it assumes no end to universes, no end to thought or possibility. Given we can’t find the parameters, I find this alternative argument much easier to swallow than, “Since I can’t sense it, and math can’t equate it, it must not exist.”

Hope this post wasn’t too long. Your thoughts?

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My Brand of Fantasy Magic

…isn’t really fantasy at all. Magical realism, perhaps?

I recently re-watched Constantine (starring The Man of One Face: Keanu Reeves), where the protagonist spends his life fighting to keep the balance between heaven and hell via magical relics, know-how, and insight into traveling to hell and back. He’s dark, brooding, quippy, and so self-destructive he’s dying of lung cancer. It’s a delve into what I consider magical realism: people, many people, believe wholeheartedly that the ability exists (even if it’s only for one person) to… insert random miracle here. Be it travel through hell, talk to the dead, turn water to wine, transform into a totem-animal, talk to rocks, converse with ancestors long dead, see auras, dowse, possess another person/animal.

A lot of people don’t. And that’s cool. A lot of people pursue religion as a form of self-government, so instead of spending the time to understand themselves, they look to religion: “This is bad (according to the Book), so I won’t do it.” It also kills multiple birds by creating a community of similar-thinking people, which reinforces the feeling of “this is right.” Which is cool. That’s what certain governmental bodies do. And we’re governed by many circles, be it personal, family, friends, religion, spiritual (separate from religion), communal, work, local, federal, world. And that’s just what I pulled off the top. This is a digression and I’ll stop it now. I’m trying to show how this also holds its own forms of power: any single one of these bubbles could specify “this is bad” and a person follow it simply because, well, someone says to. Even the “personal” circle. Which in itself is a form of mind control.

I had a simple purpose when I began writing twelve years ago: have fun, connect with people, share my thoughts. It’s still the same purpose, albeit a little evolved. My thoughts developed into something a little stronger: magic is real. Some magic is real. Not all. Magic Missiles and two hundred foot orc giants with enchanted tree trunks for armor isn’t. Science keeps trying to say it has all the answers worth knowing (while people touting Science as the new religion also try to say, like a marijuana enthusiast, Science has ALL the answers), but it doesn’t. Neil deGrasse Tyson recently said, “That’s what’s so great about science. You don’t have to believe in it for it to be true. It exists without your permission.”

Mostly.

I know enough about Science to know the importance of “observable” and “human fallacy.” I’ve been reading about human beings having more than five senses. More like nine. Pressure, balance to name two. It really doesn’t matter how often Science revises what truths it accepts as fact. What matters is it’s always changing in its definition, always updating its databases.

Next, to define science into two subcategories: hard science (physics for one) and soft science (psychology for two). I know too many well-meaning Science worshippers who put it all together. Soft sciences, the stuff our thoughts are made of, the stuff of our dreaming, of our extra-sensories, of our deeper knowledge, of our abstract pattern recognitions, is very wide open and mostly unexplored, despite the 100 or so years we’ve had to study it. Why? Unobservable. Or, difficult to observe. Assumptions based on calculations and patterns of tests.

Magic is a soft science. In fact, eventually, all that “magic” will fall into some sub-sub category of either a sense or quirk of one or two chromosomes in some errant mutative family line (or, you know, something a person develops through meditation and a proven set of practices). Since our realities are subjected to the extent of our senses, there is nothing–absolutely nothing–to say I can’t dream another person’s dreams, for example. Or travel a place constructed wholly of peoples’ thoughts, over time, like a great big living world placed overtop our own. Or fight constructs of modern religion with sheer self-certainty alone.

We all give off energy. That’s a fact. We exist because of it. Byproducts of processes going in in our bodies. We can’t see it. We assume the effect of said energy release is negligible to our surroundings simply because, since we can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

I find a new awakening going on, in this culture. In this society. A long, long time ago, during the time of the birthing religions (200 BC to, say, 1000 AD), the understanding exploded of a second, third, and perhaps even fourth sublayer above the Real. This is the stuff of the new old religions. It is the backbone. Now that religion is failing so many people of this time of “Scientific Certainty,” they’re turning to Science and Atheism. Which is cool. They do their thing. As long as they aren’t killing in the name of Neil deGrasse Tyson, it’s all gravy.

The New Reformation, I guess, comes. Or a Second Enlightenment. I’m only sorry I don’t get to know it fully.

So the magic I use in my writing comes from a deep place, a sub-tonal to the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and the Gitas, and the Books of the Dead, and whatever else. It comes from a constructed place–a governing place similar to those I listed–where the reality is multi-faceted, science is currently too short-sighted to involve itself, and energy talks with the voice of long-dead preachers. The magic I use is energy, plain and pure, built up on the shoulder-plates of imaginative thinkers and socio-pariahs like Einstein and Twain and Jung who, in another century (or life), would be heralded as prophets or even gods.

My brand of fantasy magic comes from the coupling of intelligent thought and passionate realization, of fever dreams and deep stillness. My brand of magic is the extent of the human condition, of spirituality that exists for itself, of ripe power sieved through governing filters. And that’s just in the reality.

In my writing, it collects the results of What Ifs and runs tests until the pattern is undeniable in its repetition.

Sorry. Magic is a lot of things. For me, it must stem from reality. It must stem from science and its branches are religion. Its fruits are you and I, the readers and writers, and it’s more than simply an axe-like tool. It’s a whole undiscovered place, like a continent with slightly different rules. It’s a way of breathing. It’s a way of bleeding. It’s a way of interaction.

It’s so. Fucking. Sexy.

Real Life, Spun Fantasy.

My fiancee is an incredible person. She’s dynamic, dangerous, badass. She’s powerful. Sometimes scary.

I’ve never traveled the world. Never saw the towers of London or Pisa or India. Never drank the natives’ water. She has. Seven years of it, and before, a life of complex not-quite-reality. Hers is a story that would put Peter Pan to shame, that would decimate any horror movie you’ve ever watched, and threaten to tear the very seams of your understanding of the world.

Out of respect for her, I won’t divulge details. Out of respect for her, I put my work under Fantasy, because otherwise people would heckle, hate, and disbelieve.

I write fantasy because it isn’t. Turn on the TV, watch the presidential race, and look me in the eye and tell me people don’t believe in magic. Follow the brilliance of a disassociative personality that has constructed worlds with autistic-like dedication to detail. Follow any scientific discourse to its roots–any single one–and you’ll find the breath of the unknown. Study psychology to any degree: everyone has elaborate, constructed realities that are wholly different from each other.

We traverse worlds entirely our own, in this bubble of the senses, sharing with others only in limited quantities: sights, smells, sounds, tastes. But the things that come from behind the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands, inner ear are entirely our own.

From a psychological standpoint, her story is definable. Anyone dedicated to the debunk will find precedent elsewhere, play it up to her elaborate ability to follow non-verbal communication, spatially understand emotions in a way most haven’t honed, understand nuances in tone, pitch, word choice. From a psychological standpoint, my fiancee is a body-reader. From the standpoint of almost anyone meeting her, she’s a mind-reader.

She dreams of apartments before we visit them, drawing layouts and dimensions that match perfectly. She follows unseen things. She’s a walking Tarot deck. She’s the most spiritual person I’ve ever met. She is, sometimes, a conduit to God. Other cultures were absorbed by her: when she walked around in India, people would stop and thank her for helping them. She had followers without even speaking a word.

She puts fortune-tellers to shame. She sees ghosts but does not speak to them, becaues they aren’t welcome. She grounds and calms and heals from across thousands of miles. She knows when a friend is pregnant and waits for her call. She understands people on a subliminal level.

From a scientific standpoint, she’s just lucky. She feels storms as headaches, is incredibly sensitive to food, vibrations, electricity–she’s developed, created, endorsed, reinforced a complex, complicated reality through false positives that retroactively verify her notions.

She grew up in a family of salt-of-the-earth republicans: father middle management in UPS, mother a stay-at-home, both Catholic. She had two older brothers that saw the same things she did, but never spoke about it. She lived a story any person would label as urban fantasy. Anyone.

I’ve had experiences in my life. I know, without question, everyone has. Everyone. She is my inspiration. She is my verification.

She is a normal person, working a normal job, in the armpit of the United States. She does all the things other people do. She’s quiet about what she’s seen. Respectful, even, because nobody in this culture shares her religion, her spirituality.

If Jesus returned to this earth, walked into your hometown, would you celebrate him? Or would you do the same thing the Romans did two thousand years ago and martyr him a heretic, a blasphemer, a liar? The whole world knows this answer. We’d kill him, either the masses or the vigilante Christians. I’m not saying she’s Jesus, or even close. She’s prophetic, at times, and she spent a lot of time hating America–even though she’s born and bred–because of how they ostracized her. Why?

Fear, perhaps. Her life has been one long struggle; sometimes blissful, sometimes agonizing. She’s a violently passionate, incredible person. She’s met psychics and knows who truly understands and who’s playing. She touches a person, true to Stephen King’s Dead Zone, and sometimes sees their past, or their future.

She’s sometimes wrong. She’s human. She usually isn’t. I feel blessed to share her life. I feel blessed to have such a fountain of inspiration, of truth, and depth of character.

Forgive me if my books don’t fit, or if their themes are too controversial, for their cores don’t come out of another book. I’ll be returning to the unique reality, from time to time, my fiancee has. It’s too big, too fulfilling, too credible to ignore. I spent a lot of time considering whether I wanted to write this entry. I debated for a long time whether I should take ownership of the elements in my books, and I realized that if I am to respect myself, I must declare that, at least at the core, nothing I write is fantasy.

It is dreamed, it is lived, it is experienced; not in some belief system of a faraway God, but as a way of life, as a way of interacting, daily, with the world around her. In the world around me. In the world around you.

Hope I didn’t scare anyone off…

~x

 

Religious Misinformation Vitalizes My Books

I write fantasy. I write occult(ish). I write psychological and complex. I write florid. I write damning. I write heresay and blasphemy.

Demons aren’t inherently evil. Boom. Five thousand Good Christian Souls just exploded. Not only are they not inherently evil, but they’re driven the exact same way as people. In fact, if one ignores their apparent immortality and seemingly endless amount of power (and restriction by God, if we’re diving Christian), they’re people, too. (Awesome shirt idea: Demons are People Too)

The Catholic Church says demons are evil. I won’t disagree. The Catholic Church of two hundred years ago wouldn’t agree. Times change. Things change. This isn’t a blog about the complicated nuances of religious evolution. This is a blog about the awesomeness that is “occult” fantasy.

I have a dirty little secret. I absolutely love Dresden Files. At least the first five. Love. Obsessively. In fact, I even tried my hand at writing Dresden-esque fantasy. The TWO finished novels are waiting another dustoff. It’s delicious. It doesn’t fit with my writing style (see previous post on antagonists). If I were to put the top five influencial writers for my writing inspiration, I’d have to put Dresden among them. And Lovecraft. And the Bible–all of its works, even the apocryphal. And Faulkner. Maybe Jung, or Dante, or Koontz, but they’re something else entirely.

Gothic writing is making a comeback, albeit with a more sparkly exterior: vampire novels are all the rage. Everyone loves them. Harry Potter’s all the rage, with it’s quaint british stylized quirkiness. Gothic got a makeover, and it’s now mainstream. And not gothic, really, except for the premise. But it came from the gothic.

Which makes me wonder if I’m going against the grain with my incessant need to write psychologically dark books. Not horror. Not slasher. Not gratuitous drugs, violence, and sex like Mr. King. But dark. Dream-like and confusing. Complicated. I’m writing something that was all the rage in the ’60s (or never the rage at all?). I’m 50 years too late.

Or am I? Religion is alive and well. In fact, it’s becoming more alive and more well given the political turmoil and rotten economy. The extremists are coming out of the woodwork, saying they’re experts on the subject of God and what Jesus wanted and how there’s a war going on between Jesus-lovers and everyone else…

Epic, perhaps. Someone (or a lot of someones) wants an epic war. Thousands of books, written and lost, create an unfurnished box from which to draw endless inspiration, while the seeds are already planted in this community’s mind.

I want a resurgence of American Gothic. AmeriPsychiGoth. I don’t know if that even exists, but people are writing on the edge of it. Unfortunately–and this is something I’ve touched on before–I think people are afraid to write about Christianity, and moreso, people are afraid to publish people who write about it in fear of alienating too much of the populace.

But I digress. Studying Solomon’s Lesser Key or the Book of Judas or Jung’s Red Book doesn’t make me some kind of Satanist, although I’ve heard powerful arguments from Satanists that I am (in a good way. Wow. I can’t believe I just said that). I feel there’s an untapped resource here, in this environment, that would allow for a powerful writer to emerge. I’m not sure if I’m that writer–I spend too much time writing to the general population–but perhaps I should be pursuing that direction: dark and poetic, psychic and psychological,  aggressive and complicated.

I think I will.

~x

Religion Isn’t Personal.

Spirituality, on the other hand, is.

Two things I will never talk about to the average joe/acquaintance: religion and politics. Why? They’re institutions, not personal belief systems.

I know a lot (A LOT) of religious people who don’t understand spirituality. Who aren’t spiritual. Some of them are the most religious people I’ve ever met, but don’t have a lick of the “Holy Spirit” in them.

On the other hand, I know a lot of spiritual people who don’t understand religion. Who aren’t religious. Some of them are the most spiritual people I’ve ever met, but don’t have a lick of “God the Father” in them.

Now. I feel the best way to live life is a c-c-combo of both, but if one is to err, one should err on the side of spirituality. Why?

Spiritual people don’t kill people in the name of their beliefs very often. Religious people wage war in the name of their beliefs.

Spiritual people can be very religious. Religious can be very spiritual. Take my Great Aunt for one: incredible woman, nun for 25 years, high school principal for 20 years, incredibly well-read and educated, delightful to talk to. If you smoke she frowns in your general direction. If you have a negative attitude she tries to raise it up. She’s a renaissance woman: equal parts psychology, religion, academia, spiritualism, and respect. She and I share a special bond: she sends me Kalil Gibran books and I send her religious questions, from time to time.

I speak to some of my other religious friends, and they’re warmongering against the president, against “the left” or “the right” or “the Other,” basically, and judging everyone up and down as if they had the power of Christ within them.

Unfortunately the power of Christ is forgiveness, love, acceptance, and sometimes rage at the pharisees who deface the name of God through greedy, money-hungry enterprising.

I think this blog entry is excited (inflamed?) by the recent “political” debates from the GOP. Religion/Politics are interchangeable. Same with spirituality/philosophy. It’s not a matter of knowing best. It’s a matter of respecting others.

I will dive, at length, into the spirituality of a person. I will swim in the oceans of the self, and the selves of others. I will embrace the wholeness (or parts) of the individual so trusting to open up.

I will not abide a terrorist, whether sanctioned by your religion or any other form of government.

(Apologies for all the buzzwords in this post.)