Rob sent me the following link this morning on a curiously stubborn geocentric view. The video uses Flat Earth science to make a general point about competing views that fit the same data points, so it’s timely for our exploration of the Precambrian Conspiracy (summarized here).
My friend Michael Davis, my former coworker at Wizards of the Coast, got into a protracted online debate with the Flat-Earther crowd, and decided ultimately that their public argument was performance art. When he asked them if this was the case, they were tellingly silent.
While Rob was discovering this video, it occurred to me that I should look at new ways the Conspiracy might be interpreted, just to be thorough. It’s possible that non-rational magic and not dependable scientific laws ultimately govern the universe and explain all the observed phenomena of life and the Conspiracy. While the Ancient Singularity hypothesis might explain Middle-earth or Melniboné, that explanation would be unsatisfying — at least to me. Magic and myth cosmologies have a different tone from science-based ones, so to do justice to fantasy, we might consider a different perspective.
Maybe Abraxas is something closer to the avatar of a demigod, or to a demon. In my gamer novel posted on this blog, Steve’s rpg world exists in a universe where the spacetime fabric is like the shifting weather of earth, and even when all seems quiet, there are subspace storms raging at a level we can’t see, insulating our region of the universe from the demons and angels who can normally step from world to world. In such a universe, the Disinformation would mark a periodic lull, allowing these entities to come through. During previous times, they spirited away primitive creatures like dinosaurs and prehumans, rescuing them from the extinction they faced on earth. And elsewhere in the universe they go on, following their own evolutionary paths. Non-rational magic could hold sway on those worlds, and it may come to visit us from time to time, and have persistent oases, as described in the books of J.K. Rowling, or persistent conduits like the doors to Narnia or to Lev Grossman’s Fillory.
I will keep this perspective in reserve.
In any case, note that there are four prime orientations of speculative cosmology, along two axes. The axes’ cardinal points are magic, science, human-relevant, and human-irrelevant.
1. Non-rational magic that nonetheless is humanistic, because humans carry within them the essential divine or magic spark of the universe. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis heavily mine this seam.
2. Non-rational magic that is not humanistic, where we are but pawns of the gods, if they aren’t indifferent to us altogether. Maybe this is where Elric lives.
3. Rational science that is not humanistic because we evolved in a very provincial context, and just don’t have the neural equipment to tackle a universe fraught with paradox and pierced by multiple dimensions. Lovecraftian horror presents this cosmology.
4. Rational science that is humanistic, because though we evolved in a provincial context, we are capable of universally valid deductions, though science is still very tough. This appears to be the orientation of the Precambrian Conspiracy.
These orientations are not pure, and all speculative worlds fall on different positions within the range of the four cardinal points.