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Old 30th November 2011, 04:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Time madness!! Please help!!

Hope this is the right section.

OK, so with my world I'm literally building it up from the beginning. I know the origins of most of the inhabitants and the world they inhabit. I know my creation story, but I'm stuck stuck stuck! on the opening paragraphs. I'm attempting to describe a lone being and events in a void before any kind of time existed. She (i assume and kind of like the idea) that in this timeless void she experiences all things at once, but I'm becomming very confused as to how to depict this.

If I could just get my sense of time or timelessness right, I could fly through it. I already know what happens. Here are the first few lines. It's about as rough a draft as rough drafts get (archaic words with modern and quite disjointed, basic) so it will likely bug the hell out of those of you who like to nit pick. I think you'll get what i mean when you read it; no need to worry about how to pronounce the names. I put them in because if I don't use my language it goes undeveloped. Italics are lines I'm debating whether or not to use.



In a time before time, ere the Gods we know shaped the earth and men trod her many paths, ere e’en those that birthed the Gods themselves were made, there was the great void Täteliún wherein Chaos dwelt alone; and there she abideth, -at the beginning and the end, in all moments- Telå Täteliún. There was then a disturbance, of something that wasn’t, something that hadn’t been but now was, something that had been but now wasn’t and it washed over Chaos as the ocean waves of Earth that were yet to be. And then, all at once and never, it ceased and Chaos was again alone…..



Hope you get what I mean. It gives me a headache. Someone with a good knowledge of physics may be a big help. But all advice is welcome and greatly needed.

And for those of you who are just curious.

Täteliún - The Great Void.
Telå Täteliún - Absent time in the Great Void.

EDIT: It is also nearly 5 in the morning for me.
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Old 30th November 2011, 05:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Time madness!! Please help!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ökuþórr View Post
In a time before time, ere the Gods we know shaped the earth and men trod her many paths, ere e’en those that birthed the Gods themselves were made, there was the great void Täteliún wherein Chaos dwelt alone; and there she abideth, -at the beginning and the end, in all moments- Telå Täteliún. There was then a disturbance, of something that wasn’t, something that hadn’t been but now was, something that had been but now wasn’t and it washed over Chaos as the ocean waves of Earth that were yet to be. And then, all at once and never, it ceased and Chaos was again alone…..
Personally I like it. It gives me the feeling that this is a story to make me think. Something that will have riddles in it, and meany hidden meanings. I always like those kinds of stories.
Quote:
-at the beginning and the end, in all moments-
without this
Quote:
There was then a disturbance, of something that wasn’t, something that hadn’t been but now was, something that had been but now wasn’t and it washed over Chaos as the ocean waves of Earth that were yet to be.
I don't think this would make sense.

the way i read it i get a poetic sense of change within eternity. a kind of hiccup in the fabric of the universe that sets everything else into motion.

i'm sorry i cant be of more help than to offer my opinion and tell you why i like it.
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Old 30th November 2011, 09:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Time madness!! Please help!!

I can't help with the physics at all, I'm afraid, but as for writing it, I'm not sure from whose POV you are writing from. If this is Chaos herself (as if Chaos would be female, indeed...) then how she experiences it may be beyond our ability to comprehend. If this is a creation myth in a Book of Creation used by their religion, or a tale told around a campfire, then the kind of thing you've written seems fine to me -- that kind of contradictory now and never idea is one which reads as complex and simple at the same time.

Incidentally, you might be interested in No One's creation myth which he put up in Critiques a while back Critiques: The Ontologia My comments to him about where and how the story is inserted into the novel stands good for you, too, I think -- my feeling is you have to be very careful how these bits are added to avoid overwhelming the reader in archaic and dense language.
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Old 30th November 2011, 09:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Time madness!! Please help!!

I think it works well as it is. Your comparison text is Genesis, which doesn't really go into huge detail of the physics of temporal flow.
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Old 30th November 2011, 10:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Time madness!! Please help!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ökuþórr View Post
In a time before time, ere the Gods we know shaped the earth and men trod her many paths, ere e’en those that birthed the Gods themselves were made, there was the great void Täteliún wherein Chaos dwelt alone; and there she abideth, -at the beginning and the end, in all moments- Telå Täteliún. There was then a disturbance, of something that wasn’t, something that hadn’t been but now was, something that had been but now wasn’t and it washed over Chaos as the ocean waves of Earth that were yet to be. And then, all at once and never, it ceased and Chaos was again alone…..


Hope you get what I mean. It gives me a headache. Someone with a good knowledge of physics may be a big help. But all advice is welcome and greatly needed.
First of all, a creation story, even if based in fact (which given your concerns, yours presumably is), is bound to be somewhat mythic and/or poetic. And that gives you poetic licence (and saves you writing a book-long introduction to your story ).

But if you are still worried about the physics, there is nothing innately wrong in what you have written. In terms of a given instant in time, there are those who believe that the universe can be described (in theory) by a single wave function. And as for all instants of time: some people believe that time is static, in the sense that each instant has a separate existence. (I've read a very irritating book on this which, as far as I could tell amongst the plethora of metaphors, didn't describe how we were able to perceive** time in the correct order.)

That seems to cover the one time and all time, one place and all places business.

If the above quote is all you're going to put at the beginning of the story, I assume it'll be on its own page, somewhat like a prologue. If you put it in italics and centre the text, this, when added to effect of the style of prose you've used, allow your readers to recognise it as myth/poetic prose, giving you the leeway you need.


Please note that you have made a grave error: there should be no more than four full stops at the end of a sentence. You have added a fifth.



** - The author seemed to believe that we invent time, by stepping through these static images of the universe one at a time (obviously ) in the right order. How this accounts for, say, cause and effect (which must already be captured in these time slices of the universe, I can't begin to say.
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Old 30th November 2011, 11:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Time madness!! Please help!!

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** - The author seemed to believe that we invent time, by stepping through these static images of the universe one at a time (obviously ) in the right order. How this accounts for, say, cause and effect (which must already be captured in these time slices of the universe, I can't begin to say.
Not to derail the thread but it's all due to perception. Cause & Effect is a process that we see because of our perception of time (in a 4D, space-time construct our perception of time is 'on rails', as it were). Beings in a higher-dimensional contruct may perceive time differently and be able to travel through it in the same way that we travel through space.

Cause & Effect breaks down on a quantum level (matter appears, intervening distances can be skipped) so it's not an unbreakable fact.
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Old 30th November 2011, 11:29 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Time madness!! Please help!!

Still on the derail....

You would have a point if each of us only ever saw one example of cause and effect at one time, and that each of us saw them only very infrequently. That might be simple coincidence (though even that's pushing it a bit). What we see, though, are many examples simultaneously, and we see them all the time.

Given that these examples' progress are set in the equivalent of stone in the relevant time slices, one would have to assume that it isn't just one of us following a particular path through the time slices, but also whatever it is that seems to make cause and effect work for each one of us. I would have thought that Occam's razor, if nothing else, would put paid to the theory.
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Old 30th November 2011, 11:46 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Time madness!! Please help!!

As a reader, I loved the opening, and even if you hadn't told me what the terms meant, (Täteliún etc) I accepted them without question, because the sense of the mysterious and unknown fitted neatly with unknown words. But then this came:

Quote:
of something that wasn’t, something that hadn’t been but now was, something that had been but now wasn’t


and I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I lost interest. Have you considered that you're trying too hard to get a creation picture across? And besides, the 'wasn't' doesn't fit with the previous language of 'abideth' and 'e'en those'. If that sentence becomes:

There was then a disturbance, and it washed over Chaos as the ocean waves of Earth that were yet to be. And then, all at once and never, it ceased and Chaos was again alone…

it seems to flow much better as writing in IMHO.

Of course you could always go with the quote attributed to the student who listened to a Steven hawking lecture and said "Let me get this right: first there was nothing. Then it exploded, right?"
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Old 30th November 2011, 12:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Time madness!! Please help!!

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Still on the derail....

You would have a point if each of us only ever saw one example of cause and effect at one time, and that each of us saw them only very infrequently. That might be simple coincidence (though even that's pushing it a bit). What we see, though, are many examples simultaneously, and we see them all the time.
If you and I are both living in a room made of blue crystal then everything we see outside of the room will appear to be shades of blue whether it is or not. This is because we are both within the same reference space. We both, we all, see Cause & Effect as necessary because we are in the reference space where Cause & Effect functions.

We experience, say, Height as contiguous and repeatable. We can move along it as we wish and we can observe other bodies moving along it. This is not unusual to us, even before we became capable of flight ourselves. For a lower, 'Flatland' dimension being the entire concept is inconceivable. Height would actually be an insurmountable barrier to them, a break in their perception of existence. It would, in effect, channel their movement through space-time in a certain way (if you see where I'm going with this). If Time is merely another dimension, just one that we experience in a manner different from the spatial dimensions, then free movement within it would be as inconceivable to us as Height is to the Flatlander.

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I would have thought that Occam's razor, if nothing else, would put paid to the theory.
Occam's Razor is a good tool to keep in the back of your mind but it is, by its very nature, overly simplistic.
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Old 30th November 2011, 12:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Time madness!! Please help!!

But an example of cause and effect is a process in action, not an observation that remains static because of the limitations of where we're looking from.

Take, as an example, someone setting off a bomb using a fuse. They strike a match; it ignites; they place the lit end next to the fuse; it ignites; the flame moves along the fuse at a set rate; the flame reaches the bomb; the flame ignites the explosive; BOOM!

Even at the macro level, a complex series of events has taken place. Without cause and effect, that sequence would not work. At the micro level, far more process actions are occurring (for example, maintaining each of those flames from instant to instant). How is any of that a matter of perception? And why do we perceive those events (macro and micro) in the order we do? We seem to be following the same arrow of time as that explosive processes, even though, if the instants themselves are static and independent**, each one of them has existed since the creation of the universe.

Now I'm not saying that static and apparently independent time slices cannot exist or be the basis of the universe as we see it, only that there is, as yet, no persuasive explanation of why we traverse them in the order we do (which creates the illusion of cause and effect. (Surely, if the actions are random, we would normally see an almost complete lack of cause and effect.) At the very least, if our perception makes time, what makes us perceive it in the order we do?



** - And if our perception is what is driving our experience of the passage of time, these instants must be static and independent, for without our perception there is no passage of time.
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Old 30th November 2011, 01:00 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Time madness!! Please help!!

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Take, as an example, someone setting off a bomb using a fuse. They strike a match; it ignites; they place the lit end next to the fuse; it ignites; the flame moves along the fuse at a set rate; the flame reaches the bomb; the flame ignites the explosive; BOOM!
And each of those temporal events has an analogue in the spatial, each can be marked off at the macro (strike match, light fuse, bomb explodes maps to one kilometer, two kilometers, three kilometers) and at the micro (the chemical/kinetic energy transfer to strike the match, the phase state changes maintaining the flame, the chemical changes in the bomb map to centimeters and millimeters). The problem we have is that we can't stop Time, mid-gesture, and so we experience it as unstoppable.

When we walk along a path do we say that the past miles have disappeared, never to be re-travelled? Do we say that the future miles don't exist yet? No, we don't. If we view Time from outside Time, from a higher dimensial perception, then it's not a series of discrete slices but a smearing of events as one mile smears into the other. They are all there, though.

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Now I'm not saying that static and apparently independent time slices cannot exist or be the basis of the universe as we see it, only that there is, as yet, no persuasive explanation of why we traverse them in the order we do (which creates the illusion of cause and effect. (Surely, if the actions are random, we would normally see an almost complete lack of cause and effect.) At the very least, if our perception makes time, what makes us perceive it in the order we do?
Biology, I'd imagine, constraint by our perceptions and out understanding. Maybe a constraint of being in Time, like being in the waters of a fast-flowing river, is that you must travel along the flow of Time. Beings outwith Time, on the banks of the river, can travel up and down it as they wish (although whether they can reverse the flow of the river strains the metaphor somewhat).

The problem is that, if I'm right, then it's impossible to prove by the very process of being right!
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Old 30th November 2011, 01:01 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Time madness!! Please help!!

Isn't it three dots at the end of a sentence?
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Old 30th November 2011, 01:20 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Time madness!! Please help!!

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There was then a disturbance, and it washed over Chaos as the ocean waves of Earth that were yet to be. And then, all at once and never, it ceased and Chaos was again alone…


Like I did it, you mean?? Absolutely...
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Old 30th November 2011, 01:30 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Time madness!! Please help!!

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Isn't it three dots at the end of a sentence?
The fourth dot is the full stop at the end of the sentence. (I thought that the dots at the end of a sentence suggested a tailing off. If the sentence manages to get to its own end, a dot is placed after the ellipsis; if the end is never attained, the ellipsis alone suffices. Probably.)


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And each of those temporal events has an analogue in the spatial....
It isn't anything about the spatial aspects at all. The problem I have is that I'm apparently following the same arrow of time as you and, more importantly, all processes. There seems to be only one route through the time slices, which rather takes my perception out of the equation. It also assumes predestination on a quantum scale. (* Wonders how this fits with Heisenberg. Or Entropy. *)

If I was taking a different route (and putting aside how I'm taking any particular route at all), at least some of the processes I'd be seeing would not be exhibiting cause and effect, always assuming the route I was taking allowed me to see anything understandable at a macro level. If we assume that the perceived** intervals between time slices are "shorter" in "duration" than Planck time (and ignoring any relativistic aspects), what we'd perceive (assuming we were capable of it) would be total chaos.




** - Not that we can perceive time intervals this small.
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Old 30th November 2011, 03:10 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Time madness!! Please help!!

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If we assume that the perceived** intervals between time slices are "shorter" in "duration" than Planck time (and ignoring any relativistic aspects), what we'd perceive (assuming we were capable of it) would be total chaos.
Which would be, perhaps, the other end of the wormhole technology in Event Horizon...?

I'm only speculating and it's speculation that doesn't really get us very far (until we punch a hole through into somewhere/when that doesn't have linear time and have to deal with it all) unless we're, I dunno, interested in writing speculative fiction...
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