Monday, 12 May 2014

Comments On Holonts

Each of the two previous posts presents a different imaginary "Cosmic Environment." The problem (I think) is that Poul Anderson's descriptions of these environments are very condensed and my (attempted) summaries are of necessity even more so. Thus, it becomes possible to read the summaries very quickly without perhaps appreciating their full content and ingenuity.

In the first:

a black hole is surrounded by a volume of changeable space-time;
this volume is a vacuum but contains virtual particles;
among these particles, there are unstable quantum states;
(some of?) these states bear information, therefore are alive;
also, they communicate linguistically, therefore are intelligent;
they became living and intelligent because, having appeared, linked and multiplied, they then became an intricate set of codes, mutated by the uncertainty principle;
this is enough to make some of them thinking minds;
however, they are not separate, individual minds;
instead, they can divide and re-unite at will;
their lives and histories resemble memes in organic minds;
they act to change their own and others' states;
their actions are detectable as photonic, electronic and nuclear events;
they converse with a spaceship crew;
they may impose a permanent trace on the vacuum, thus surviving death;
their future selves, remembering communication with human beings, communicate with their present selves across time, thus instructing them in how to communicate with human beings.

Here, I have listed items previously compressed into three sentences in the two previous posts.

In the second imaginary (galactic) environment:

human beings will explore, colonize and trade throughout interstellar space;
they will hopefully build holontic temporal communicators;
after thousands or millions of years, there will be a holonitic-organic galactic civilization.

That differs from the further futures envisaged in Anderson's Harvest of Stars tetralogy and Genesis. We value both Anderson's creativity and his versatility.

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