Tag Archives: space-time

The Hounds of Tindalos, Part 5: Final Thoughts on the Hounds

HofT_JbLee The Hounds of Tindalos by Jb Lee

Unlike H.P. Lovecraft’s “From Beyond” where a device is constructed that generates a particularity unique electromagnetic field that directly stimulates a part of our brain called the pineal gland, in Frank Belknap Long’s “The House of Tindalos” Halpin Chalmers consumes a drug that alters his brain chemistry and allows his consciousness to temporarily travel outside of the Space-Time of our Universe. In these travels Chalmers encounters beings that “have no bodies, and they move slowly through outrageous angles.” These are the Hounds of Tindalos.

Even in the absence of drugs or mental illness, the mind is constantly generating hallucinations and the anterior cingulate cortex is the key part of the brain that allows us to distinguish between external stimuli and those that are internally generated our mind (The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind by Michio Kaku, 2014). Unfortunately, in many forms of mental illness, including schizophrenia, the system that allows us to separate real (external) and imagined (internal) stimuli is damaged or is not correctly operating. Additionally, consciousness (at least for humans) can be defined as “the process of creating a model of our world in space and time (especially the future) by evaluating many feedback loops in various parameters” (Kaku, 2014). Thus, one of the outcomes of this is that mental illness is largely a disruption of the checks and balances between competing feedback loops (Kaku, 2014). This means that since we evolved in a Universe / reality of Space-Time – that is, three spatial dimensions and one of time – are minds and associated consciousness recognize linear time and uses this to make predictions for future actions. Mental illness and drugs can alter, modify or damage this perception.

The_Future_of_the_Mind_bookcover

The Liao drug ingested by Chalmers in “The Hounds of Tindalos” may have altered his perception of reality, particularly in reference to time, giving his mind “access” to components of our reality not normally perceived by us (as the Resonator does in “From Beyond”).  Specifically, in the case of “The Hounds of Tindalos” Chalmers’s mind was provided access to outside of our Space-Time.  This access beyond our or any other Space-Time may be similar to the circumstances that occurred in Clark Ashton Smith’s “Ubbo-Sathla.”

Stepping out of our (or any) Space-Time is very different than using a wormhole to enter another part of our Universe or using extra-dimensional travel to enter another Universe.  To be completely out of Space-Time would be an unnerving condition for the human mind and this certainly seems to be the case for Chalmers.  While in the beginning of the tale Chalmers appears to be a little eccentric and perhaps even bipolar (which may have actually made him more susceptible to the Liao drug), after he has taken the drug and is outside of Space-Time he appears to suffer from a mental breakdown. His mind, attempting to perceive the absence of time, or perhaps even meta-time, attempts to compensate by observing a wide array of historical events in human history. Additionally, Chalmers also documents the presence of other entities that either exist or visit outside the Space-Time, which includes a mysterious It that can move “through strange curves and outrageous angles,” the Doels (more on them in future articles) and of course the Hounds of Tindalos.

the_hounds_of_tindalos_by_nottsuo-d9sed54 The Hounds of Tindalos by Nottsuo (www.deivantart.com)

We know the Hounds exist outside of Space-Time but we don’t know if they originate from there. Were they visitors who got stuck outside and have remained there? Or maybe they are the refugees from a long dead Universe, living on the outskirts of our Space-Time. The one thing we do know is once an entity from our Space-Time is recognized by the Hounds, they can easily track that entity (in this case Chalmers) to their Space-Time, entering it through angles. However, to what end? Once the Hounds recognize an entity, what do they want with it?

When the Hounds eventually track down Chalmers investigators found him stretched out on his back in his apartment dead.  He was naked and his chest and arms were covered with a foul-smelling bluish pus, ichor or slime. His head was removed from his neck and was laying on his chest. While his head was “twisted and torn and horribly mangled,” there was no trace of blood. This may be a key point in reference to the Hounds. They exist outside of Space-Time but if they encounter an entity from a specific Universe, they lock on their “scent.” What this scent is we don’t know; it could be signature of DNA, the entity’s consciousness, brain activity or other life signature, or some other factor associated with being bound in Space-Time. Once the Hounds have the scent eventually they find their prey and apparently feed on their blood. However, it appears that they cannot survive too long in our bound Space-Time and immediately disappear back into the void outside of Space-Time.

49-hound of tindalos                                                                                  The Hound of Tindalos by Michael Bukowski (www.yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com)

In conclusion, anyone doing research on the structure and nature of reality, particularly if this research includes surveys or investigations outside of Space-Time, whether this includes the use of drugs, sensory deprivation or high particle physics, need to be wary of The Hounds of Tindalos.  I do want to mention that Mr. Jim Moon will be posting a reading of “The Hounds of Tindalos” very soon and you can find that on www.hypnogoria.com or on iTunes at the Hypnobobs Podcast. Please look out for that since Jim’s readings of weird tales is always extremely enjoyable.

Next time we will H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Statement of Randolph Carter.” Thank you – Fred.

the_hounds_of_tindalos_by_douzen-d8iem99 The Hounds of Tindalos by Douzen (www.deviantart.com)

The Entity Cthulhu

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Original sketch of the Cthulhu sculpture by H. P. Lovecraft

Cthulhu is probably the most well known entity described by H. P. Lovecraft.  I will not spend too much time describing the appearance of Cthulhu.  HPL described it in great detail and even make a sketch of the small sculpture found in the backwaters of Louisiana (see above).  Hundreds if not thousands of artist have drawn, painted or sculptured their interpretation of what Cthulhu looks like.  While a very small sampling of some of this artwork is included here, this article focuses solely on HPL’s text in its discussion of Cthulhu.

Essentially, Cthulhu was presented as a conglomeration of an octopus, human, bat and dragon.  More importantly, the description of the sailors’ experience in their encounter with Cthulhu is more telling than the sculpture, which is a feeble attempt to convey what the entity looks like.  When the aperture to Cthulhu’s tomb is opened, Johansen states “that tenebrousness was indeed a positive quality.”  There are three definitions for the word “tenebrous” and I believe all three apply to this situation.  First, the word can mean to “shut off from the light.”  Indeed, Johansen says that the inner walls of the tomb were in darkness and that when the thing emerged from the tomb it visibly darkened the sun.  Second, the word can mean “hard to understand.” Obviously applicable to the situation.  The size of Cthulhu, its shape and associated sounds and odors make it very difficult to understand.  Additionally, as will be described later, Cthulhu does not even adhere to our known physical laws on Earth, which adds to the difficulty in understanding it.  Third, the word can mean “causing gloom.”  Again, this is very applicable to the sailors’ attitude and perception of Cthulhu, as documented by Johansen.

cthulhu_picture_www.dybiz.com

Cthulhu (www.dybiz.com)

As has been previously discussed, the City of R’lyeh appeared to be of a confusing, shifting, non-Euclidean nature to human perception.  The same can be said of Cthulhu.  It was difficult to determine what exactly Cthulhu is made of – is it gaseous, solid, liquid or a combination of these states of matter?  Is it made of the same matter we are?  For example, phrases such as “burst forth like smoke from its aeon-long imprisonment”, “flapping membranous wings”, “lumbered slobberingly”, “gelatinous green immensity”, and “…slid greasily into the water…” give Cthulhu a fluid semi-corporeal appearance, shifting through the various states of matter, possibly being a form a plasma.

matter_www.fcwa.org

Three forms of matter found on Earth (www.fcwa.org)

So what is plasma?  In our everyday life, atoms are stable, each one composed of various combinations of protons and neutrons in the nucleus with a various number of electrons orbiting the nucleus in a quantum haze.  Using water as an example, at room temperature water is liquid but as the temperature declines the water will freeze at zero degrees Celsius.  On the other end of the spectrum, as the temperature increases the water will evaporate becoming water vapor; at or above the boiling point of hundred degree Celsius steam is produced.  These various states of matter arise due to the movement or “agitation” of the water molecules.  Ice forms a lattice structure but as the temperature increases it melts into fluid water and eventually becomes water vapor where the water molecules are highly mobile and moving around with a considerable amount of energy.

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The arrangement of atoms (or water molecules) in the three state of matter on Earth (www.trivedichemistry.org)

However, at non-Earth bound temperatures, say a few thousand degrees, the atoms become so agitated and full of energy that the electrons are no longer bound by the electromagnetic forces between them and the protons in the nucleus and thus break free.  At this point the gas is described as being ionized.  Such conditions occur in the sun; temperatures are so high that both electrons and protons are freely moving and no longer simply bound in the formal atomic state – this strange state of matter is called plasma (Frank Close; Particle Physics: A Very Short Introduction, 2004).  Ironically, while plasma is very rare on Earth, it is the most common state of matter in the universe (Michio Kaku; Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universe, Time Warps and the 10th Dimension, 1994).

Heating the plasma even further can give rise to stranger states of reality, which can include, among other things, the appearance of ten-dimensional superstring symmetry.  Essentially, there is so much energy that the very geometry of space-time will distort and the dimensionality of space-time could actually change (Kaku, 1994).  Again, more on this in an upcoming article.  Bringing it back to Cthulhu – is this entity a “plasma” or “super-plasma” being?  Having such a plasma-like state would explain the difficulty in trying to describe it as solid, liquid or gaseous.  Also, the energy needed to move such a being with such fluidity in both our atmosphere and in the ocean could easily be conducted by a plasma-being.  However, wouldn’t this mean that Cthulhu could only exist within a star where a plasma environment exists?

Cthulhu_Joel_Harlow_deviantart

Cthulhu by Joel Harlow (www.deviantart.org)

Possibly, but I believe this is where the dimensionality of Cthulhu comes into play.  As previously mentioned the true form of Cthulhu can not be perceived by humans since we do not have the proper senses to do so.  Additionally, if Cthulhu’s true home is in a plasma environment we would not be able to survive entering his true home.  However, maybe Cthulhu uses the vast amounts of energy at its disposal (as a plasma being) to project part of its essense into our reality, guided by the dreamers who function as some type of biological, space-time beacons.

HPL’s attempt to convey what Cthulhu looks like or, more importantly how it is actually experienced and perceived by a human, is the gist of his philosophy of Cosmic Horror.  The sculptures and artwork of Cthulhu are what is conveyed to dreamers as to the entity’s appearance but the true reality of experiencing Cthulhu is far more complicated and difficult to interpret and hence describe.  This complexity associated with direct contact with Cthulhu may be at least partially attributed to the distortion or warping of space-time and dimensionality around Cthulhu.

Next time we will go into a little more detail  on the dimensionality of Cthulhu and why many of HPL’s biological discoveries from outside our space-time appear weak or easily defeated in our reality.  Thank you – Fred.

awakeningofCthulhu_byObrotowy

Awakening of Cthulhu by Obrotowy (www.deviantart.org)

H.P. Lovecraft and Albert Einstein, Part 4 – HPL’s Application of Einstein’s Theories

This article continues and concludes a review of where in his fiction H. P. Lovecraft cites Einstein or his theories.  After the novella At the Mountains of Madness, the next time HPL mentions Einstein in his fiction is in the collaboration between HPL and Henry S. Whitehead – The Trap.

The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions by HPL (revised; Arkham House, 1989).  This revised collection included the story The Trap.

Essentially, the story is about a mirror that was created by a sorcerer / glass blower who was conducting investigations into the 4th dimension.  Through his work, he developed a means of creating a stable space (in hyperspace?)with the aid of the unique mirror he constructed.  Within this mirror space, one does not age and “consciousness would go on virtually forever, provided the mirror could be preserved indefinitely from breakage or deterioration.”

As mentioned above, this sorcerer (Holm) was conducting a serious study of the 4th dimension and was far from beginning with Einstein’s work in our own era.  Thus, Holm’s work on the 4th dimension was beyond anything that Einstein worked on; however, is it possible that this point of not aging within the mirror space is an outcome of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity?  Is the mirror space somehow traveling close to or even faster than the speed of light in another dimension, which results in the incredibly slow rate of aging?

After The Trap, the next story where HPL mentions Einstein is The Dreams in the Witch House.  A number of pervious articles were exclusively devoted to this story so here we only identify where Einstein was cited.

Dreams in the Witch House by Ronan McC

Einstein was cited twice in The Dreams in the Witch House.  In the first instance it is recognized that Keziah Mason, a 17th century witch has the mathematical insight that was beyond the “delvings of Planck, Heisenberg, Einstein, and deSitter.”  I will review each of these other physicists in future articles.

Later in the story while Gilman is in class at Miskatonic University, there is a discussion about the “freakish curvatures in space” and how there may be parts of reality – cosmic units as HPL called them – beyond the whole Einsteinian space-time continuum.  Once again, HPL cites Einstein’s theories as an acceptable interpretation of our universe and that anything that does not follow his theories is “outside” or beyond our reality.

The last time HPL specifically cites Einstein is in his novelette The Shadow Out of Time.  Future articles will focus on this story so again, here I will only discuss where Einstein is cited in the story.

A Yithian (by Zippo4k) from The Shadow Out of Time

Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee was a professor at Miskatonic University and suffered from an extended bout of amnesia from 1908 to 1913.  Again, future articles will discuss The Shadow Out of Time in more detail but when Peaslee regained his “self” he suffered from strange dreams and impressions.  When he conveyed some of these ideas to the professors of mathematics and physics at the university, they cited Einstein’s work on relativity and how he [Einstein] “was rapidly reducing time to the status of a mere dimension.”

A conceptual illustration of integrating time into the three dimension of space (from the article  Distance Learning in Einstein’s Fourth Dimension by Robin Thorne; in Nonpartisan Education Review, Essays: Volume 3; Number 1)

In this last reference to Einstein in HPL’s work, he just doesn’t talk about ideas or things outside of Einsteinian space-time but here he is referencing Einstein’s work on Special Relativity that makes time the fourth dimension.  By this time in HPL’s life he clearly recognized Einstein as making substantial contributions to physics, science and humanity as a whole.  If HPL lived longer who knows where this may have lead in this writings.  Would HPL have been as obsessed in a Unified Field Theory the way Einstein was?  And what about Einstein’s work that led the way to developing nuclear weapons?  I’m sure such ideas would have fueled HPL’s cautious fascination with science.

Next time, we will be talking about the science behind HPL’s story From Beyond.  Thank you – Fred