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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.