Suddenly, what seemed at a distance like a fantastic woolly mountain with its peak dissolving into the darkness above, materialized in the intimate space directly to the side of the group. The light from a passing purple fireball lit up its sharp angles and shrubs clinging to its surfaces for their dear life. Before long, a side of the mountain starter to split and eventually cracked open, separating a smaller rock from its gigantic mother. The rock shimmered and vibrated and floated closer to the group. It emitted neither sound nor smell, still, some powerful sensation radiated from it. It was both, mesmerizing and comforting.
Seeker. What a beautiful construction. No, uhm, a creature. What is it?
Ima. That’s Crystal, my assistant.
Crystal started producing sounds. As if it was learning to speak for the first time, it made chirps and clicks.
Ima. They are trying to speak human that they have forgotten a while ago.
Gradually, the sounds became separated into distinct discernible syllables. The Rock started clicking like a Kalahari desert native, then burst into a mesmerizing song spanning an astounding vocal range from the highest coloratura soprano to the deepest bass. Finally, something like Helloooo ricocheted around the open space.
Seeker. Hello, your Majesty.
Crystal. Oh, you can call me Crys. Nice meeting you, Madame.
The voice was fabulously deep and velvety, now and then reaching the lowest possible notes of a Russian basso profundo. For a few moments, it even sounded as if the Rock was, indeed, speaking Russian. Everything around the Cave shimmered and chimed as if the underground space was filled with an infinite number of chandeliers and wine glasses.
Seeker. Nice meeting you too, Chris, I am truly shivering with excitement and anticipation.
Crystal. It’s Crystal, not Christian. Crys.
Seeker. Uhh, OK, sorry, I did not mean to offend you.
Crystal. Or, dear, don’t worry about it, Your Preciousness, it is impossible to offend a rock.
[Laughs quietly but the Space vibrates and flickers in tune with the lows and highs of its laughter].
Ima. My crystalline assistant is very young and impetuous, they will have to learn not to behave as a human teenager, eventually.
Seeker. When were you born, Crys?
Crystal. 15 Nisan 3761 anno mundi, in Jerusalem.
Seeker. Oh. So, a teenager, hah?
Ima. Well, from my point of view, yes. [Laughs]
Seeker. Were you there during the Crucifixion ?
Crystal. Yes, but there were lots of crucifixions happening, my friend. Those were difficult times for Judea. My mother worked as a doctor at the local morgue’s woman’s section, where they determined if a person was dead—which needed to be reported to the rabbi as soon as possible so they can be buried on time, according to the law— or that he or she could still be resuscitated. I sometimes went there with my father or grandma to bring her lunch if she worked late. I still have nightmares about the place.
Seeker. Did they bring Jesus to that morgue too?
Crystal. I don’t think so. If this apparently extremely popular preacher did get executed near Jerusalem at this time, he left no trace of the event. Do you believe the story?
Seeker. Not really.
Rock starts spinning and morphing, waves run over its surface in all directions. The Cave reverberates and brilliant shapes, woven from the continually twisting strings, zoom by, passing though solid objects and people. A man runs out of the grassy table chamber, screams and jumps in excitement.
Ima. That’s Narinder Singh Kapany, the inventor of fiber optics.
Seeker. Isn’t he still alive?
Crystal. Or, we have lots alive people here. Very much alive!
Seeker. This place is so, so unbelievably exciting! One can conduct some amazing thought experiments in this Cave.
Ima. True enough. Though it takes plenty of imagination, mental resilience, and even courage to direct those thought experiments here.
Seeker. I want to call this Cave Prostor.
Crystal. That means grand open space, I recall. What do you wish to accomplish with this quest? What do you seek to find?
Seeker. My greatest desire is to understand. I was raised to believe that deep understanding of an issue generates solution and may lead to change.
Ima. What exactly do you want to understand?
Seeker. [Hesitantly] Well, everything. . .
Seeker. OK, everything within the limitations of human abilities and confines of her cultural heritage; and all that is necessary to affect a positive Change, the tiniest amount of change than can produce a sweeping transformation.
Seeker. I wish to explore bringing together dialectical materialism and Platonism.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. Oh, no, you wish to reconcile them—which, in itself, is a noble pursuit, das gnädige Fräulein.
Seeker [bows and laughs]. Frau, Your graciousness.
Ima. Marx and Plato would make an interesting combination.
Seeker. You are making fun of me. Hah?
Ima. I am not, child, believe me. You may be used to sense a personal attack when there is none. When you were little, sarcasm was often used against you as an emotional assault weapon, but now, as an adult, you should practice trusting people.
Seeker. [Giggles]. Trusting people and magical creatures, right? I’ll try, your Majesties, I will.
Seeker. Most of all, I wish to know how we, humans, create our world, our cultures and civilizations. Who may be entrusted to fashion the Story of the world? Who can tell it to me, to my children, to other people’s children and grandchildren. Who either has power over or respect of their social group that they are allowed to create cosmology. Do humans construct their own myths and universes as a group, practicing group-think or are certain individuals somehow chosen to do so? In particular, I’d like to explore how the Science being produced.
Edward O. Wilson. Human beings are absurdly easy to indoctrinate—they seek it.
Seeker. Twenty first century cosmology is being drafted before our very eyes. To witness this development is as fascinating—and as frightening—as finding oneself placed centre-stage as a spectator of our current grand political extravaganza unraveling in real time.
Crystal.[shows a grand spectacle, with dragons, of ancient Chinese celebration]
Lee Smolin. Social thought is influenced by our cosmological ideas and vice versa. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Hi4VbERDyI)
Ima. Yes, they do. The ancients saw it as the congruency between grand macrocosm and personal microcosm. The twentieth century western cosmology was largely defined by both, the abstract precepts and the personal beliefs of the practitioners of theoretical physics.
Crystal. And by the gigantic catastrophe of the WWI, which destroyed the nineteenth century world in one big bloody bang.
Seeker. I believe the cosmology of the present century is shaping in the wake of some major late last century scientific and political events. Those are, firstly, the massive failure of theoretical physics to create a unified theory—mainly the collapse of the promise of the String theory—tells you how dependent we have become on theoretical physics. Especially important is the fact that this failure, which swept through the careers of a whole generation of the workers in the field, is devastating for physics. Secondly, the massive global postcolonial uprising, which is taking place both at the centres and the peripheries of the old colonial powers. And, finally, the rise of many accomplished feminist intellectuals, who are riding the wave of the ongoing economic and physical emancipation of women from the shackles of the patriarchy.
Arundati Roy. [T]hose who have learned to divorce hope from reason.
Seeker. The grasshoppers.
Crystal. Many of your comrades point to the powerful ideologues of the neoliberal economic policies as the main movers and shakers in the modern world.
Seeker. Yeah, I know they do. Point to them, I mean. Hey, what would Karl say?
Ima. Perhaps, rather, these accomplished feminists academics are riding the wave of their rising expectations of the actual emancipation. Whatever it is they are riding—this weaving into the global social fabric of their individual threads streaming from the vastly different economic, social, religious, geographical, and cultural points of entry is very impressive.
Seeker. Perhaps, these new feminists thinkers will be able to put together a coherent new cosmology, and, in particular, a new philosophy of science.
Lee Smolin. [A] theory can be fantastically beautiful, fruitful, for the development of science, and yet at the same time completely wrong. (book, p.45)
Seeker. I would like this new Womanist cosmology to be completely right!
Crystal. Some feminist philosophers, notably, Maralee Harrell, indicate the present urgent need to produce more scholarship in the area of feminist philosophy of science.
Seeker. Yes, so far we have had men doing both, the physics itself and the interpretation. Such is the power structure of our society at the moment. Not everyone gets to construct the Creation Story.
Ima. For the sake of the success of your learning Journey, we need to figure out what exactly we are dealing with here.
Seeker. Yes, your Majesty, let us start with the basics.
Ima. You have quite a load of various schools of philosophical thought to process and to make sense of.
Crystal. This is exiting! [Rock is spinning around and (picture of something from ancient science) can be seen inside it]. Shall we start with the Greeks?
Seeker. [Laughs]. Time is of the essence, Rockie! By the time we sift through all this history, I’ll be an old woman.
Ima. Yes, Time. The concepts of time and space have often been the focal point and the point of departure of human attempts to understand the world. We can start with those.
Seeker. Also mind and matter. The ideas of science and philosophy get percolated from their practitioners via public intellectuals and the various media all throughout the public sphere.
Crystal. But seems to me these ideas often percolate, as you say, by way of some peculiar meandering routes.
Crystal. [shows some geometrical forms]
Seeker. To me, before we get to trace all the human thinking avenues, before we perform the archeology digs along those meandering and, at times, torturous paths the surviving ‘isms have taken in order to actualize— right here and now, in the current public and intellectual space—we must consider the fact that, presently, everything of value starts and ends with Karl Marx. If there were one thing I was able to understand from the Das Kapital, it was that the ceaseless movements and transmutations of Matter are neither chaotic nor senseless, but always form stable historical and spatial patterns during their homogeneous state—however long or brief the latter is. These stable patterns are constituted of the internal relationships of a complex system’s parts. And I hope that this Journey can affirm my hunch that the number of all possible patterns of the material formations in the universe is rather small, while that they are structurally rather simple—as there must be only a few ways in which parts in a complex system can ‘fit’ together in an energetically feasible way. These patterns—or forms—are not something that has a priory existence somewhere outside of the physical world, as Plato had proposed. Furthermore, even though they are immaterial and relational, they are neither mental nor ideal, but are real and objective. Naturally, your Majesties, I would like to investigate the philosophical meaning of those parameters, real and objective, permeating through my uber-domesticated, mad, poststructuralist, post-lingocentric, post-postmodern world. Although I don’t believe in magic, your Greatness,
Ima. I know you don’t, my musical child.
Seeker. I do believe in the interconnectedness of everything.