Tag Archives: mulitverse

Through the Gates of the Silver Key: Chapter IV, Yog-Sothoth and the Multiverse

In Chapter IV of “Through the Gates of the Silver Key,” written by H.P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffmann Price, Randolph Carter passes through the Ultimate Gate. After passing through the Ultimate Gate, Carter initially still feels he is a “fixed point in the dimensional seething,” but then he begins to lose his sense of space and time in our reality. This statement indicates that passing through this gate may be somehow going outside of our known Space-Time Universe. For example, Carter realized that he is not just one person but many people over the span of linear time. All at once he was that boy at his Uncle and Aunt’s farm in October 1883, as well as the adult who is on the other side of the Ultimate Gate, talking to the Ancient One Umr At-Tawil. Humans are entities grounded in linear time and if this sense of “cause and effect,” which is the essence of time, is removed the past, present and future would certainly become difficult to distinguish from each another.

234edc2913c24e7eb8a9cc8b09858e98                                                                  Yog-Sothoth by Daigoro115

Layered on this loss of linear time is Carter’s loss of “self.” Beyond the Ultimate Gate Randolph Carter acknowledged the existence of multiple “Carters.” Carter felt his self beyond the limitations of one individual. He perceived himself as a variety of entities and creatures – “…humans and non-human, vertebrate and invertebrate, conscious and mindless, animal and vegetable.” He also perceived Carters beyond Earth, on other planets, in other galaxies and perhaps even other Universes (called cosmic continua in the story).

This loss of both linear time and individual self and described by Carter was one of the supreme horrors he experienced. Indeed, in a number of instances in Lovecraft’s tales, few individuals come back from beyond our Space-Time reality sane. As “quasi-Carter” struggles to stay grounded in his self and prevent the loss of his individuality, he sensed the presence of an entity beyond our Space Time.

lovecraft___yog_sothoth___lurker_at_the_threshold_by_kingovrats-d66k92p Yog-Sothoth, Lurker at the Threshold by King Ov Rats (www.deivantart.com)

“It was an All-in-One and One-in-All of limitless being and self – not merely a thing of one Space-Time continuum, but allied to the ultimate animating essence of existence’s whole unbounded sweep – the last, utter sweep which has no confines and which outreaches fancy and mathematics alike. It was perhaps that which certain secrete cults of earth have whispered of as YOG-SOTHOTH, and which has been a deity under other names;”

This entity was actually attempting to communicate with Carter in a concentration of energy that was almost described as painful. This combination of both mental pain and loss of self are a few symptoms of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia has been described by some as a self-disorder or ipseity disturbance (ipse is Latin for “self” or “itself”) and is associated with complementary distortions of the act of awareness (Schizophrenia, Consciousness, and the Self by Louis A. Sass and Josef Parnas; Schizophrenia Bulletin, 29(3):427-444, 2003). Is it possible that some forms of schizophrenia are the result of individuals having some type of contact with Yog-Sothoth?

Yog_sothoth_rising_by_butttornado-d6ubvy6 Yog-Sothoth rising by Richard Luong (www.luongart.hostoi.com)

Yog-Sothoth has been mentioned numerous times in Lovecraft’s tales and tends to be more associated with magic and metaphysics than science. Obviously, how Yog-Sothoth is presented or described depends on the philosophical perspective and knowledge base of the person involved. Thus, is it not surprising that Joseph Curwen in “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” or Old Wizard Whateley in “The Dunwich Horror” describe Yog-Sothoth as some type of demon to be summoned. However Yog-Sothoth is being perceived, whether from a magical or scientific point of view, there are some common themes associated with this entity. Frequently, it is stated that the past, present and future are all one in Yog-Sothoth. Again, this is another reference to this entity not being confined to the limitations of linear time. Yog-Sothoth is also described as being the “key and the gate,” which refers to the fact that access to beyond our Space-Time reality is through Yog-Sothoth. This access can be opening the “door” to allow things from outside our Space-Time in or allow residents of our Universe, such as Randolph Carter, to go outside of our Space-Time.

While Yog-Sothoth is described as the key and the gate, it seems to be much more than that when Lovecraft’s tales are reviewed. In a number of instances Yog-Sothoth is said to be “where the spheres meet.” In “The Horror in the Museum,” co-written by Lovecraft and Hazel Heald, Yog-Sothoth is described as a “…a congeries of iridescent globes…” These descriptions may be veiled references to the Multiverse structure of reality.

yog_sothoth_by_verreaux-d38lggo                     Yog-Sothoth by Verreaux (www.deivantart.com)

The prevailing concept of the Multiverse is that quantum fluctuations during the inflation phase of the Universe sparks the creation of bubble Universe that then inflate on their own, making more bubble Universes into infinity. However, there is now a competing theory that the quantum fluctuations did not occur until the inflation phase was complete, creating an overlapping, finite Multiverse (see below). Whatever theory is more representative of the Multiverse concept, Yog-Sothoth seems to be “stitched” or “woven” into the very fabric of the Multiverse and in order travel through or go beyond the Multiverse one must make some sort of contact with Yog-Sothoth. Unfortunately, even briefly encountering this entity can result in insanity.

Multi_www.newscientist.com Multiverse Concepts (www.newscientist.com)

In Carter’s encounter with Yog-Sothoth it is revealed that the Ancient Ones, like Umr At-Tawil, are manifestations or extensions of this Old One into our Space-Time. Yog-Sothoth also communicates to Carter that it will grant his request and show him the “Ultimate Mystery.” Yog-Sothoth claims that it has granted this request only eleven times to beings from Earth, with five of these being men or resembling men. What were the other six? Elder Things or Deep Ones? The Great Race in the Cone Shaped Beings? Mi-Go or the Insects from Shaggai? Or some other, yet undiscovered species from Earth’s distant past or future?

Chapter IV concludes with Yog-Sothoth giving Carter one last choice – to return back to his own Space-Time or to peer beyond the Veil of reality. Next time we will journey with Carter beyond this Veil. Thank you – Fred.

 

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Through the Gates of the Silver Key: Chapter III, Umr at-Tawil and the Application of String Theory

lovecraft___yog_sothoth____umr_at_tawil_by_kingovrats-d66alsr Umr at-Tawil by Kingovrats (www.deivantart.com)

In “Through the Gates of the Silver Key,” written by H.P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffmann Price, Randolph Carter used the Silver Key to unlock the “First Gate” and subsequently traveled through our linear time and adjacent Universes. However, in the latter half of Chapter III, Carter meets a heavily cloaked humanoid entity. Carter states, “…it seemed to belong to an order of being far outside the merely physical in organization and faculties.” This being was the “frightful Guide and Guardian of the Gate,” known as the Ancient One, Umr at-Tawil or the Prolonged of Life.

Very little is known about Umr at-Tawil but its title as Ancient One and the Prolonged of Life indicates that it has existed for a very long time, perhaps since the creation of our Universe. The being appears to be the way or guide to the Ultimate Gate, which based on the tale so far must be “outside” or beyond the known Universes bound in Space-Time. Additionally, Umr at-Tawil was one of a number of such gatekeepers, which appeared to Carter as seated on a series of vaguely hexagonal pillars.

the_silver_key_by_claudio_bergamin-dev The Silver Key by Claudio Bergamin (www.deviantart.com)

Umr at-Tawil possess a large sphere composed of iridescent metal that generated “…a low, pervasive half-impression of sound…” and “…began to rise and fall in intervals which seemed to be rhythmic even though they followed no rhythm of earth.” Carter also described these as rhythmic chants or pulsating light.

Passing through the First Gate and now the upcoming Ultimate Gate may require higher dimensional hyperspace travel, similar to magic used by Keziah Mason and the mathematics used by Walter Gilman in Lovecraft’s “The Dreams in the Witch-House.” However, in this instance, the opening of the Ultimate Gate by Umr at-Tawil on behalf of Randolph Carter had more of a metaphysical feeling; not the magic of the witch or the science of the student. Of course, what we don’t understand we call magic, what we philosophize about we call metaphysics and what we hypothesize about we call science. These are merely different points of view of reality, based on the amount of information and experience we have in hand. Thus, as mentioned in the previous article, the metaphysics of higher dimensions and the multiverse have moved into the realm of science (more specifically theoretical physics) and what has aided this transformation has been the attempts of unifying Einstein’s relativity with quantum mechanics.

hidden-variables-ankitsahay-696x392 Hidden Variables (www.ankitsahay.com)

Einstein’s General Relativity states that the generation of gravitational fields are the inherent result of the curvature of Space-Time, while quantum field theory can be used to mathematically explain the other three, non-gravitational forces of nature – electromagnetic, strong nuclear force and weak nuclear force (The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universe and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brian Greene; 2011). The unification of all four forces into a single mathematical equation to date has not been possible. However, String Theory has been a serious attempt at unifying these basic forces of nature in our Universe.

In String Theory, reality is composed of vibrating strings, which are about 100 billion billion times smaller than a proton (Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universe, Time Warps and the 10th Dimension by Michio Kaku, 1994). To put this into context, the differences in size between a string and proton are similar to comparing the nucleus of an atom to Earth (Why String Theory? By Joseph Conlon; 2016). At such extremely small distances, called Planck length, the effects of gravity can no longer be ignored as is the case in particle physics. In turn, the quantum impacts of the electromagnetic and the strong / weak nuclear forces can be merged with a quantum theory of gravity (Conlon, 2016).

planck_scale

A demonstration of the scale of size of the Planck Length

In addition to merging the natural forces, as such small scales the specific vibration of a string or a particle are indistinguishable from each other. A specific string can vibrate, generating specific resonances, at an infinite number of difference frequencies (Kaku, 1994). Change the frequency and you change the string; change the string and you can modify the specific force or matter. Thus, by changing the frequency of a string you may convert an electron into a neutrino.

In addition, for String Theory to work out mathematically, additional dimensions, beyond the three spatial and one time that we are familiar with, are necessary. In this case, these extra dimensions may be folded up into Planck length scales. Thus, if we had the ability to directly modify / control the frequencies of the strings, we may be able to generate enough energy to actually have access to these higher dimensions and travel through hyperspace to various locations throughout our Universe or even to other Universes. Is a similar mechanism or process used by Randolph Carter in “Through the Gates of the Silver Key” to travel within and out of our Space-Time?

tawil_at_u_mr_by_noldofinve-d6s1mbn  Umr at-Tawil by Noldofinve

As previous mentioned, Umr at-Tawil uses some type of sphere to generate an alien rhythmic sound or light.  Carter has a hard time describing it as a sound or light but either way, it’s based on the generation of wavelengths at specific frequencies through a medium. Was Umr at-Tawil using alien, unknown knowledge on String Theory to harness the natural forces of reality? Is this how Carter could travel outside of Space-Time?

At the conclusion of Chapter III, Umr at-Tawil asks Carter if he wants to continue, to go beyond the Ultimate Gate. Carter says yes and the Ancient One opens the Gate for him to enter. As Umr at-Tawil does this he states, “The man of Truth had ridden to All-Is-One. The man of Truth has learnt that Illusion is the only reality, and that substance is an impostor.” This may be an alien interpretation of String Theory. With his Silver Key in hand, Carter leaves the three-dimensional reality and flows through the Ultimate Gate.

Next time we will discuss some of the experiences Carter has beyond the Ultimate Gate in Chapter IV. Thank you – Fred.

Through the Gates of the Silver Key: Chapter III, from Metaphysics to the Multiverse

Once Randolph Carter used the silver key to go back in time he disappeared from our Space-Time. In previous articles, I hypothesized what happened to him as his disappearance was documented in H.P. Lovecraft’s tale “The Silver Key.” While the Carter we know looped back in time to once again be the young boy, the “other” Carter that would have continued in our Space-Time may have “fractured” into another universe. However, in the subsequent tale, “Through the Gates of the Silver Key,” written by Lovecraft and E. Hoffmann Price we get an unprecedented view of his experiences after he used the silver key.

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Chapter III continues the tale with the mysterious individual Swami Chandraputra explaining to the others what happened to Randolph Carter. Once he used the silver key, Carter lost all sense of motion and time – “Imperceptibly, such things as age and location ceased to have any significance whatever.” Additionally, “Now there was no distinction between boy and man.” Based on these statements, Carter was in a realm where linear time did not exist – he felt as if he was an extension of consciousness tunneling through time and not just experiencing time from one moment to the next. One top of that he had no spatial reference, having “…only a flux of impressions not so much visual as cerebral amidst which the entity that was Randolph Carter experienced perceptions or registrations of all that his mind revolved on, yet without any clean consciousness of the way in which he received them.”

Later Swami Chandraputra states that Carter unlocked the gate “…one leading from earth and time to that extension of earth which is outside of time, and form which in turn, the Ultimate Gate lead fearsomely and perilously to the Last Void which is outside all earths, all universes, and all matter.” The last, bold part of this statement may provide evidence for Lovecraft predicting the theory of the multiverse. Essentially, the multiverse theory is the idea that there is a set of infinite or finite universes that make up the entirety of space, time, matter and energy.

multiverse-1-1024x1004 The concept of the multiverse as conceived by physicists.

The term “multiverse” was first coined in 1895 by American philosopher and psychologist William James. In his essay “Is Life Worth Living?” James wrote “Truly, all we know of good and duty proceeds from nature…[which] is all plasticity and indifference – a moral multiverse, as one might call it.” – from www.philosophynow.org/issue/89/The_Multiverse_Conundrum. While there is no reference to William James in any of Lovecraft’s stories, he makes a passing reference to this philosopher in a discussion of philosophy in the United States in Collected Essays, Volume 2: Literary Criticism, H.P. Lovecraft – edited by S.T. Joshi (2004).

james                                                                                                                              William James, the person who coined the term “multiverse.”

While Lovecraft never used the term multiverse, he has used the word “universes” throughout many of this stories including “Through the Gates of the Silver Key” (see above). Thus, while Lovecraft may not have been familiar with William James word multiverse, he used the term “universes” in the following tales:

The Transition of Juan Romero

The Call of Cthulhu

The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath

The Colour Out of Space

The Whisperer in Darkness

At the Mountains of Madness

The Shadow Out of Time

The Challenge from Beyond (a round-robin tale)

And his poem “The Poe-et’s Nightmare”

While in Lovecraft’s time the word multiverse was coined by James and used in a more philosophic or moral context, physicists have used to term in their scientific studies of cosmological forces, quantum mechanics and the Big Bang. Thus, the term multiverse is one that originally had a more metaphysical meaning until the latter half of the 20th century when theoretical mathematics, particle physics and deep-space astronomical observations merged in the subsequent development of hypotheses that included the concept of more than one universe. Thus, by pushing the boundaries of known science Lovecraft may have had a small part in moving the idea of the multiverse from metaphysics into the realm of science.

multiverse-1-100335844-orig                                Multiverse

Randolph Carter states that humanity would have a difficult time understanding the true nature of reality but he had a Guide to help him.  This Guide was an entity on Earth millions of years ago “…when man was undreamed of, and when forgotten shapes moved on a streaming planet building strange cities among whose last, crumbling ruins the earliest mammals were to play.” While this may have been a reference to the Serpent Men of Valusia, more than likely this was a reference to the Elder Thing cities built by the shoggoths. Later, Carter observed earth’s ancient past where “There were cities under the sea, and denizens thereof; and towers in deserts where globes and cylinders and nameless winged entities shot off into space or hurtled down out of space.” Again, this passage appears to be referencing the Elder Things and their cities under the sea as well as their travels to space.

05-elder_thing                                                                                               Elder Thing by Michael Bukowski (www.yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com)

Beyond the history of Earth, Carter makes a few references to the Dreamlands, which he visited as a boy in dreams. Some of these references include galleys sailing up the river Oukranos, the gilded spires of Thran and the jungles of Kled. Thus, at this point Carter’s consciousness was moving from the history of Earth to another universe – the Dreamlands. However, beyond linear time and this adjacent universe, Carter’s “Guide” was about to open another door beyond these realities. Next time we will discuss Carter’s “Guide,” the Ancient One named Umr At-Tawil. Thank you – Fred.

Time Travel and the Silver Key

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“The Sliver Key” is one of H.P. Lovecraft’s more personal tales.  In it Lovecraft shares his longing and nostalgia for the past; mostly for his own past but also for the past of a by gone day. For this article we will not conduct a psychological interpretation of “The Silver Key” relative to the events in his life, specifically his return to Providence from New York City. If you are interested in such discussions I strongly recommend S.T. Joshi’s   I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft (2013) and Kenneth Hite’s Tour de Lovecraft: The Tales (2011).  Additionally, I would also strongly recommend the Chris Lackey and Chad Fifer’s H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast (www.hppodcraft.com) episode on the “The Silver Key” where Kenneth Hite was a guest discussing this tale. However, here we are focusing on the science of time travel in “The Silver Key.”

hp-podcraft

In the tale Randolph Carter lost the “key of the gate of dreams” and could no longer enter the Dreamlands, which we have hypothesized is an alternative or parallel Universe with its own set of natural laws. In The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath it is mentioned that only three humans ever crossed and re-crossed the black impious gulfs to other dreamlands (a reference to other Universes?) and two of three came back insane. Weary of the world Carter withdraws into his own world surrounding himself with relics of his youth. One evening, in a dream, his grandfather reminds him of the silver key that has been handed down by his ancestors from generation to generation. Before he awakes, Carter’s grandfather tells him where to find the key, which was in a carved oak box. Carter finds the key in his attic, indeed in a strangely Gothic carved box. Somehow this was supposed to be a key to the lost gate of dreams.

With this key in his possession Carter’s dreams increase in vividness, possibly getting glimpses of Dreamlands. He then knows he needs to return to the place of his youth, haunted Arkham. As he passes over the Miskatonic River and approaches the woods of his youth, he pulls his car to the side and with the key in his coat pocket gets out and starts to walk. As he is walking in the woods and enters a clearing he sees “across leagues of twilight meadow and spied the old Congregational steeple on Central Hill in Kingsport.” However, this perplexed him since he knew the old white church was torn down years ago to make room for the Congregational Hospital. While he does not fully realize it at the time, Carter’s consciousness was transported into his younger self at this moment. The exact mechanism causing this travel into the past is not known as this time.  However, it appears that Carter had to both possess the key and be at this specific location in the Arkham woods, the same location he frequented when he was 10 years old.

The_Miskatonic_River_www.evil.wikia.com.jpg The Miskatonic River (www.evil.wikia.com)

As described in previous articles, Lovecraft avoids some time travel paradoxes by having the consciousness and not the physical body traveling into the past. At this point in time young Carter seems to be confused; however, the next day he takes the silver key back to the wooded hills and into a “strange cave in the forest slope, the dreaded, “snake-den” which country folk shunned…” In the farthermost corner, deep in the cave, Carter approaches a granite wall and pulls the silver key out of his pocket. After that event young Carter seemed different; Carter seems to have the ability to predict events of the future. He would talk about new inventions and events, which would subsequently come true. He even knew about situations that occurred during the Great War. And then one day, Carter just disappeared. His car was found along the side of the road half way up Elm Mountain. The silver key was gone but the strange wooden box was found in the car.

Initially, this may appear to be a paradoxically “time loop” where the individual is doomed to repeat the same actions over and over; traveling to the past, re-living a portion of his life only to reach that point in time when he travels back to the past and the cycle repeats.  However, “The Sliver Key” provides evidence for the quantum view of time – that is, the “river” model and not the “arrow in the air” model of time, where being part of Space-Time, the multiverse is composed of many Universes as well as many “Times.”

randolph_carter_www-vsbattles-wikia-com                     Randolph Carter (www.vsbattles.wikia.com)

The disenchanted Carter at the beginning of “The Silver Key” is very different than the one who can predict future events. Thus, each of these “Carters” may represent a different Time-Line Universe. One may indeed may be stuck in a time loop, reverting back into the 10-year-old once he acquires the silver key as an adult. Although the young Carter who possesses the silver key has a slightly different time-line, his “fate” appears to be the same – disappearing in the Arkham woods. However, I hypothesize that the first Carter loops back to give his younger self the silver key to alter his own timeline so that he can eventually go back to the Dreamlands. Thus, I further hypothesize that the second Carter does not loop back in time but instead goes back to the Dreamlands (support for this hypothesis will be provided in future discussions of “Through the Gates of the Silver Key”). Additionally, this strange convoluted means by getting to the Dreamlands may have been necessary to avoid going insane once re-crossing from our Universe to the Dreamlands, as referenced in the beginning of The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.

silkey_www.redhorsewebdesign.com.png                                                     The Silver Key (www.redhorsewebdesgin.com)

Did one time-line Carter sacrifice another to be stuck in a time-loop so another could re-enter the Dreamlands? Or did both consciousnesses re-merge back into one “self” once Carter re-entered the Dreamlands? We will probably never know. However, it does appear that the “key” to Carter re-entering the Dreamlands, after the events of The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, is the ancestral silver key. Again, we will continue these investigations when we analyze the tale of “Through the Gates of the Silver Key” written by H.P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffmann Price.

For the rest of October, we will be reviewing the Bloch – Lovecraft “Haunter Trilogy” of tales starting with Robert Bloch’s “The Shambler from the Stars.” Thank you – Fred.