Re: A vision

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Sun Jul 13 2003 - 22:58:04 MDT

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    At 02:23 PM 7/13/03 -0700, Hal wrote:

    >Our minds are the crowning achievement of natural biological evolution.
    >Our goals should ultimately be to fill the universe not with Life,
    >but with Mind. We should transform the entire universe into a cosmos
    >full of consciousness.

    I tried to catch something of this many years ago in the novel that
    eventually appeared more than a decade later in 1982 as THE JUDAS MANDALA.
    That was when we still thought the universe was heading for a Big Crunch,
    and hadn't yet guessed quite how soon a technological singularity might
    occur. Here's my epiphany, warts and all, from that novel.

    Damien Broderick


    The galaxies wheeled in the immensity of cosmic night, stars spending their
    substance in an orgy of radiance, sucking hydrogen from the frozen void and
    spewing back neutrinos, X rays, light, radio noise, the megaparsec pulses
    of gravitation, and finally the ores and dense evanescent metals forged in
    their bellies, hurled out in the cataclysm of stellar explosion; and in the
    midst of spendthrift fury, on the tiny motes of rock and soil and ocean
    that were the planets, life trod forth blinking from the slimy pools of its
    birth, ate hungrily of the prodigal outpourings of its suns, and changed
    under that same lash into forms strange and wild and beautiful, diverse
    beyond number, swarmed and preyed upon each another's flesh and cooperated
    in the intricate dance of shifting ecologies; and grew wise, at last, wise
    and murderous and choked with dreams, yearning for the unnamable, taming
    that very energy which mindlessly had brought them into being; and killed
    with it, and healed and built with it, went beyond it to now unimagined
    energies created in the convoluted structure of brains and ganglia complex
    beyond precedent; and came, finally, to command their own brutality and


    The wise beings strode from star to star, galaxy to galaxy, but not to rape
    and pillage. That eon of conquest was now no more than a regretted episode
    in their immense history. They went in joy and respect into the glory that
    extended, it seemed, beyond limit. Eyes of flesh were now eyes of fire, yet
    still flesh; bodies met in the passion of love, and in those meetings made
    new bodies to populate the multicosm and cherish all that lay and moved
    within it. They no longer died; death was a clumsy expedient of random
    evolution, and they had taken evolution into their own charge. Ennui, too,
    was vanished-that specter which once had seemed to spoil the promise of
    utopia-for how is boredom possible in a universe rich with other souls? So
    they went to the curving edges of the universe, learned its physical limits
    and measured and cherished them, learning the infinity within themselves...


    Already more than forty billion years had passed since the first one-celled
    creatures struggled for life in their soupy ponds. The wise ones had
    altered themselves so radically that none of their early planet-bound
    ancestors could have recognized them. They had merged in gestalt unities
    huge as stars, their senses extending across the entire radiation scale and
    into the domain of pure psychic energies. Even now their evolution was not
    complete; the metamorphoses continued. Only the essential qualities of
    humanity remained unaltered: love, joy, creation, reverence. The expansion
    of the spacetime manifold achieved its greatest dimension, faltered; the
    long contraction began. Stars dimmed and died, or faded to a steady ember
    glow. The entity that was Sentience welcomed into its totality the few
    remaining isolated members of the cosmic fellowship. Purpose and
    consciousness infused every energy structure in the multicosm. A hundred
    billion years after it had coalesced from incandescent gas, the universe
    had become a single sentient organism...


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