Hello, good morning, and Happy Halloween to you all! I hope all of you who celebrate the holiday enjoy yourselves, either by dressing up* and having sweets and treats, or by giving out such sweets and treats to the young’uns who come around trick-or-treating (perhaps dressing up to do so). If you choose not to celebrate the holiday merely because of some religious misgivings that make you worry that to do so would somehow be pagan…well, all I can say is, those concerns are no more realistic than are all the ghosts, goblins, zombies and vampires, and they’re usually not as much fun. But that’s your business, and as long as you don’t interfere with anyone else, you can do what you want. Or not do what you don’t want.
Some of my readers will have already seen an article I posted on Iterations of Zero this week, stating my intention to use spare time during my work days to write and post there at least once a week. There’s much more breadth of subject matter available to be pursued on IoZ, because it’s very much in the spirit of “Seinfeld”, being a blog about nothing…at least nothing in particular. As I think I wrote when I introduced that blog’s title, it’s possible that the whole universe has a net energy of zero (balancing all the positive energy and matter with the negative energy of gravity), in which case we all—everything—are just iterations of zero. It’s sort of like the credit economy. When you only have iterations of zero, everything is far game.
Anyway, I plan for that to be an ongoing process. And though we all know with what substance the road to Hell is paved, I hope that by declaring my intentions here and in IoZ, I at least put the pressure of avoiding embarrassment upon myself to keep me going.**
On to other matters. Unanimity proceeds at a steady pace. I’d say I’m almost halfway through the editing/rewriting process, which may not seem like a lot to those who’ve been paying attention, but when you’re dealing with a novel whose first draft was over half a million words long, you need to be patient. In any case, it’s a Halloween-worthy effort, being a horror novel, though it’s only vaguely supernatural. I do throw into it a passing reference to another of my stories, one that I’m tempted to explicate here…but I think I’ll leave it at just saying that the story referenced is one that is truly worthy of Halloween.
Unanimity is definitely a horrifying story, of course—hopefully only in the narrative sense, not in quality—and I’ve again reached a point in the book where more and more terrible things are happening. I can only console the characters affected by saying that they can be born again anytime someone starts the book over. This is probably little consolation, since the same dark things will happen to them every time the story unfolds.
Such is the fate of characters in novels.
It may be that such is the fate of us all, come to think of it. As I’ve discussed elsewhere (in a blog about “playing with space-time blocks”), it’s possible, according to some interpretations of General Relativity, that all of time may pre-exist, so to speak. This is the origin of Einstein’s attributed statement that, to the convinced physicist, time is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. If that’s the case, we may end our lives only to restart them, as if we were but characters in a novel or a movie. Still, we do know that GR can’t be quite right as it is, because it doesn’t properly integrate the uncertainty principle and other aspects of quantum mechanics which appear to be inescapable. If we throw in the Everettian possibilities of many worlds, diverging at every occurrence of quantum decoherence (not at every place a human is faced with a choice, contrary to popular belief and popular fiction), there may be many possible fixed versions of ourselves. This can be both a comfort and a nightmare, because as Carl Sagan once pointed out, while we can certainly imagine other versions of our lives that could be much better than they are, we can also—and perhaps more readily—imagine versions in which things are much, much worse. Such is the nature of reality; there is no obvious bottom level to it.
Oh, well, c’est la vie. As Camus tells us (if memory serves), there can be meaning, honor, and satisfaction even in the endless, repetitive task of rolling a boulder to the top of a hill only to have it roll down again each time, if that’s the existence to which you are fated. I suspect that Marcus Aurelius would agree with him. At least, the version of the Emperor that lives in my mind would agree with the version of Camus who lives there as well. It’s an interesting forum up there in my cerebrum, though it does get tedious and pretentious at times.
Which is one reason why it’s good to indulge in silly frivolities like Halloween, in which we make light of things that might otherwise terrify us, and by embracing them divest them of their power. Most importantly, it can be a lot of fun. Life is short, and, as Weird Al Yankovic pointed out, “You’re dead for a real long time.” You might as well try to have at least a little fun here and there as long as you’re not.
Again, Happy Halloween!
*I’m dressed up at the office in an all-in-black version of the character in the picture above. I’m sort of an amalgam of The Gunslinger and The Man in Black. I don’t think that’s too presumptuous; after all, my father’s name was Roland.
**Though my regular readers may have their doubts about whether avoiding embarrassment is something that ever concerns me at all.