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Drowning in the Ocean of Time [Science and Mummy]

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  • Drowning in the Ocean of Time [Science and Mummy]

    I think it was around two years ago, when I had a scientific discussion with my university friends, that we talked about some scientific theory relevant to either one's research or lesson (depends if it was the teacher or the chemist, I can't remember), when after summing up the said theory, I've decided to add "and that's, of course, under the assumption of linear time".

    I've never heard about the term before- it was just to mess up with my friends (which kinda worked. They really hate it when I throw fancy physics words on them that sound like they have important meaning). I had no idea that the term is actually a thing, and that one day I'm going to discover that it would be the base for the newly funded Mummy 2e game. I did, however, knew a lot about time travel- since seeing Pandora Hearts, Donnie Darko and Stein's Gate, I've started to go deep into the subject, how much of it is actually grounded in science and how much is the fantasies of mankind. I've also been somewhat exposed to the concept of "time" in my work in the university, as it is quit a problematic concept in quantum mechanics, and I have read some exotic literature about the possibility of a multiverse, such as Everett's original thesis about the Many Worlds Interpretation for quantum mechanics (which I support, and no it is not because it has many universes in it. well, a bit), or String Theory (which I'm less of a fan, for reasons). Of course, I've really liked the way that fantasy sometimes takes things about Time Travel- which should be a part of the sci-fi genre- and offers an interesting adaptation of it. Like the Dragonlance Legends trilogy, or Pandora Hearts, or that Warcraft book about a "clockwork" version of time verses an "hourglass" version. The last was the origin for that apparently-not-made-up term that I used to tease my friends. That is, the assumption that events are correlated to each other- the past creates the future, and one event leads to the other.

    Like the Romans once said on the Etruscans- We believe that lightning comes from the collision of clouds. They believe that the clouds collide to produce a lightning. Sure, the theory is wrong- but the point was made.

    And as such, I was very careful when I examined the new way that Mummy presents its own concepts of non linear time. I do like the subject, and I understand that it ties well with Mummy being timeless and all, but I still feels that Mummy should carry the weight of ages, be bound by time and the pressure of history, while time travel is, essentially, freedom- moving freely across the ocean of eternity, unbound by consequences and choice. However, it is still the right of the writers and developers to know what is right for the gameline, and it seems that the concept of non linearity has many fans for it, so I don't go out screaming "Mummy is RUINED FOREVER" or anything like that. Instead, I'm going to do what I always do- try to explain the Chronicles of Darkness setting using scientific terms and theories, because I like doing so and why not?

    Also, for any other professional scientist out there- please be patient with this. I'm going more or less to just throw random thoughts and handwave everything, and may even try to connect theories which don't really connect. This is not an actual scientific paper, so I'm allowed to do this. Let me be- I have enough pressure from me trying to avoid writing my thesis defense.

    Anyway, where were we... Ah, yes, time.

    What is, actually, time?

    Heavy Science Warning, read on your own risk

    The thing about time is that we all know what it is, but we have hard time defining it into words. We know that the "arrow of time" is defined by entropy- but it only means that the things we think about as "time" are not, in fact, time- decay, rot and ruin are all entropy growing and information going lost, not the effect of time upon objects. Time, after all, is not an object- its a homogeneous, relative entity, which allows you to measure the connection between two objects we call "events". In short, time is the line which connects two points in space: without time, space would remain unmoving, unchanging, frozen solid. Oh, you could, in theory, cross the space- but once you do so, once movement starts to happen, time comes into business. Just like how length connects two points to each other to form a line, and area allows movements between endless lengths, and space defines the ability to cross through countless areas stacked upon one another, time is what allows turning one spatial state to another. In simple words, space to time is a point to line- and the chain of those many spatial states moving from one end to another is, basically, time.

    Time, however, also have some properties- we know that it is affected by gravity, for example. We also know that it is related to space through the speed of light. We also know that while, on the surface, without external potential movement in time should be as symmetric as movement is space, the fact is that we all are moving in one direction, and as such lacks symmetry (something which many consider to be an illusion, caused by the Second Law. Still, we don't know why exactly time is correlated to entropy in such way). We also know that time is an homogeneous variable- that is, the laws of physics do not depend on time. You could do the same experiment under the same condition today, one thousand years ago or a millennium from now, and you should still get the same results. That condition results with what we know as the Law of Energy Conservation- the reason that energy is conserved is because time must be homogeneous. And that's also true the other way around- if you were to demand that energy is conserved, the result would be that time must be homogeneous.

    That assumption only breaks when you enter the quantum realm- due to the effects of non locality of objects (that is, objects having wave like properties), you gain the Uncertainty Principle, which dictate how well you could gain information about two conjugated properties of an object: like, again, time and energy. It is not that in very short times objects necessarily have high energy (well, they do, but not necessarily. The Uncertainty Principle is based around errors, not sizes, so large errors cause large possibility for very high energies, or more exactly, producing a wide energy spectrum, and as such allowing high energy for the object.. never-mind. In short, yes, but not really). It is that if you were to desire to have an exact energy for the object- that is, energy is perfectly conserved- you must lack any knowledge about when the event has occurred- which could be interpenetrated as the homogeneity of time. If, however, the time in which a certain event happened is very important and well defined, we no longer have any demand for energy to be conserved, and as such not only that it could have any value- due to the non local nature of the object, it actually has every possible energy value.

    And just a note- non locality means that you can't define the place of the object: it exists everywhere and in every time it can exist in. That it, not in the places it simply can't exist. That's all because of particles being waves, and waves are non local entities. When you see a ripple in a pond, you can't define where the ripple is. It is everywhere. And so are quantum objects.

    Another interesting thing about time comes from random movement of objects- apparently, if an objects moves randomly in 1 or 2 dimensions, because space and time are homogeneous, it would eventually exist everywhere in the line or area which it occupies. In 3D, however, objects can't fill the whole space even after endless amount of time- however, that was us talking about space. Time, on the other hand, is a single dimension (go away String Theory, I'm not talking with you!), and as such, it may be possible that objects fill the whole time. That connects to the idea that the sense of progression in time an illusion, and that our existence is not of a single entity but a long "snake" which starts from our birth and ends with our death. We exist in every moment which was, is, and will be, and that is also well supported by classical mechanics (and probably Relativity, but I haven't learned General Relativity in depth and Special Relativity only superficially, so..). In every deterministic system, once the conditions for your beginning are given, you simply get them into the mechanism we call "the forces of nature" and gain that everything about the object is not already known, but has already happened. Time is merely the chain of events, defined by causality, the movement of one event to the other, and we are simply unaware of our finale, predetermined trajectory due to our own minds.

    Hard Science Warning Ends

    So, for those of you who skipped over the previous section (or somehow survived), let's sum it up like this- time is homogeneous, that is there is no meaning for when an event happens for the end result, there is a strong connection between time end energy, entropy dictates the direction of time, gravity influence the passage of time, the speed of light dictates the movement of object through time, and that both in quantum mechanics, random movements and deterministic systems, we come to the conclusion that objects, practically exist in all times all at once.

    And from the other hand, we have Mummy, a game where you are Timeless (that is, time has no meaning to you), your energy is strongly connected to your time, the principle of entropy and oblivion wants to destroy you and you exist in all times simultaneously.

    And all of that under the assumption of linear time.

    The Arisen burns with Sekhem when they wake up. Why? Because this is a very, very special event, engineered by the Shan'iatu in their futile attempt to claim A'aru and Duat as one. It is a well designed event, one which could be predicted perfectly- and as such, the Arisen wakes up with all of their glory, which slowly decays as the mummy is no longer confined by the event. That hints on a non local nature for the Arisen, which again, makes sense when you consider that a mummy cares nothing about when or where they awaken- they are everywhere and at every time. Ammut, the principle of consumption, moves time forward, but it is only an illusion, for the Arisen exist all across their timeline. Memory measures how well, in fact, the Arisen can recollect their experiences across the timeline. That's a classical view of the mummy existence. Nothing new. Nothing non linear.

    But the clouds still collide because the lightning is needed.

    While most of the existence of the Arisen can be explained without going to non linearity, the fact is that Descents do not necessarily happen one after the other. They also don't exactly happen all in the same time- the future creates the past, what might be dictates that which was. More than that, because of the non linear way (or, more exactly, the non casual way) that events connect to each other, time paradoxes should come to existence- but they don't influence the Arisen AT ALL. They just ignore them. Heck, they don't even care about it. That's because the Shan'iatu gave immortality not for scientists, but for engineers (I'm joking! Some of my best friends are engineers.. and I still tease them about it, because the Big Bang theory taught me that's what theoreticians should do). The Arisen don't ask questions- they just do, and try avoid having their Sekhem devoured by their makers. Thankfully, we the plain old mortals are here to save the day (well, us the the Awakened, but their science is bad and they should feel bad).

    Remember how back in the beginning of this post we defined time as the line which connects two points in space? Well, that's if there is only one temporal dimension. For example, we are already aware that in the CofD (and maybe in our own reality), there is more than one timeline. Splinters show and form, alternative realities could be accessed through the Abyss, or the God Machine, or countless other means. Now, if we have a number of timelines, and each could be accessed through another timeline, doesn't it mean there must be yet another dimension to connect between those different possibilities? Well, of course! Some people have already suggested "probability" as the "fifth dimension"- the way that different possible timelines interact with each other, even though that as we are locked in a linear reality, we could only see which of the possibilities turns out to become our own future, not actually cross from one world to another... except on a very, very interesting cases, such as a very very recent experiment about two different possibilities of a quantum entity existing in the same time. The cat is both dead and alive in the same reality.

    Anyway, back to the subject. If we have different timelines, we must have a dimension which treats each possibility as a point, and crosses a line which connects them to each other. That's nothing new- Demon and Mage have already done it- but it is not the states for Mummy. I mean, the potentiality for all other timelines does exist in Mummy, and it does well to explain how Mummy exists non linearly- they practically leave their "main timeline", cross through other timelines, and eventually return to a different point in the timeline. They still have a trajectory which dictates how the object goes through the two dimensional space, it is just crossing through other timelines doing so. Kind of reminds me a new interpretation for quantum mechanics one of the professors in my university works on, called Bohemian Mechanics with Complex Trajectories, where an object goes from the "real" space-time to the "imaginary" one in order to introduce the known quantum effects, giving a local, casual and deterministic presentation of quantum mechanics. Ah.

    That should have concluded that section- if not for one, tiny, thing. For the Arisen, time is not a River, where you cross from one stream to another. It is an ocean- it has width and depth. For mummies, time doesn't have two dimensions- it has three. They can move in time just as easily as we can move in space, free to go back and fourth, up and down. Timelines are also being described not as streams, but as currents- timelines by themselves are no longer confined to the same original parameters. Instead, countless different multiverses swim and collide into one another, creating a cross-net of of movement through the Ocean. Timeline is not linear. It is a field.

    It is just like gravitational field, or electric field. All different currents- a.k.a, timelines- move freely through a three dimensional space (that is, time). The field function dictates how they spread and move, or more exactly, the trajectory of each of the timelines by it own right. There are points were the field diverges- all different particles, all possible timelines, spreads towards eternity from a single point in time. Some go back, others go forward, or left, or right, or up, or down, or anything between those directions. In other points, the field converges- all existing timelines are forced into a certain point, certain event which must happen- like the Sothic Cycle. Considering that it is a field it may not just flow, but may also have charges- places from which the field originates, and places to which it is drawn. Sources and sinks, as they are sometimes called. Not every field has them, or both of them. Magnetic field, for example, has no charges- even thought magnetic field is by itself an homogeneous entity which does not really "exist", much like space and time. Some have only one of those- gravity only has sinks, even though the search for "gravitational sources" which push instead of pull are of interest for many theoreticians who try to understand gravity. And in the field of time, we have the Arisen.

    Think about it- the Arisen exist in all timelines in the same time. They are, in fact, points where the field converges- Sekhem is drawn into them, and Sekhem could very well be the potential energy of the "timeline field". They are sinks of Sekhem, and Sekhem is time. When they go non linearly in the timeline, they swim through the Ocean, forming a trajectory of their own- a timeline of their own- across the temporal field. Each Arisen is, practically, their own timeline. That's how they avoid time paradoxes so easily- from their point of view, they exist in all timelines, and as such even if they can not exist in one timeline anymore they practically exist in all the others, and as such are not affected by the paradox. For those who experience time linearly it may look weird- but maybe we are not even aware of it. The Arisen has been, practically, banished from their timeline, and they can not experience it in their own existence. The Mummy doesn't notice it, because what is one small timeline compared to the whole field? And maybe they still exist in those timelines, and banishing them from such a current would require a lot more work. The Arisen, after all, are sinks of time- they force the timelines into them, and unless there are some sources out there in the depth of the Ocean, there isn't much which could negate their capability to draw the field into them.

    So, time for conclusions, isn't it?

    Conclusions

    1) time in Mummy is a 3D entity, which the Arisen refer to as the "Ocean of Osiris" because that's what you get when a bunch of mystics try to explain their own reality without learning science

    2) the sum of all timelines act as a field in the 3D temporal space, with diverging points and converging points.

    3) the Arisen serve as "sinks" which twist the field towards them, allowing them to exist in all timelines simultaneously, and as such, to overcome paradoxes

    4) the non linear way that mummies show up in individual timelines is a result of the trajectory the Arisen go through in the 3D temporal space

    5) the high Sekhem that mummies start with may very well be a result of the Uncertainty Principle, with the Shan'iatu designing the Rite in a way which would produce high precision in the mummy's awakening, that reduce the error in time to zero and as such turns the energy spectrum into infinite. Perhaps BOMCA (Bohemian Mechanics Complex Trajectories something with A which I forgot) offers a more deterministic explanation without uncertainty through describing the movement of the Arisen from the "real" timeline through the "imaginary" ones.

    6) the Arisen exist across the whole timeline thanks to the linear nature of their personal timeline, which is a deterministic effect, and not really because of their non linear trajectory in the temporal field

    7) there may be "temporal sources" which cause time to diverge around them instead of converge around them (*ahem* *ahem* CONJURER *ahem* *ahem*)

    8) banishing a mummy from a certain timeline may be possible, but very hard to accomplish. Destroying a mummy completely would be even harder, as it would require destroying it in all timelines simultaneously. The use of a potential source may neutralize them (like electron and proton) or annihilate them (like electron and positron), where the second option could actually be very, very destructive (like, matter meets antimatter level of destructive).

    9) Things which affect, dictate or somehow influence time could very well strongly affect the Arisen existence, like how entropy is Ammut (which may very well be a BIG sink in the field of time). Perhaps agents of gravity and the speed of light also have some representation in the Iremite Mythology

    10) The Rite of Return was, in practice, a very well defined scientific process which utilized the nature of the temporal field for the Shan'iatu's benefit. It turned the Arisen into "sinks", turned Irem into an homogeneous event so it always existed and will always exist, as well as a divergence point from which countless timelines sprout. It also freed the minds of the Arisen from the illusion of time, as well as the arrow of time (hence why a sacrifice for Ammut, the entropy of the multiverse, was needed- you can't reduce entropy, only increase it). Finally, it allowed the Arisen to move freely through the field of time, and due to their converging nature they enforce their existence upon all timelines. As the Arisen don't reject each other from their timelines, but actually draw one another (they all awake when Sothis finish its cycle). As such, it may be very similar to a gravitational field, with the Arisen serving as the masses themselves. Sybaris may be the result of the Arisen's "mass" twisting the field of time, or something like that.

    Well- that's it. SCIENCE :P
    Last edited by LostLight; 12-06-2019, 10:05 AM. Reason: Fixed spelling issues because it is not an easy subject to read even when written perfectly :P


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  • #2
    Thank you for writing up your thoughts on this. They were very interesting to read. ^.^

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    • #3


      This is for you.


      Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
      The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
      Feminine pronouns, please.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by LostLight View Post
        I've started to go deep into the subject, how much of it is actually grounded in science
        Almost none of it.

        Originally posted by LostLight View Post
        and how much is the fantasies of mankind.
        Almost all of it. 😉

        Originally posted by LostLight View Post
        That should have concluded that section- if not for one, tiny, thing. For the Arisen, time is not a River, where you cross from one stream to another. It is an ocean- it has width and depth. For mummies, time doesn't have two dimensions- it has three. They can move in time just as easily as we can move in space, free to go back and fourth, up and down. Timelines are also being described not as streams, but as currents- timelines by themselves are no longer confined to the same original parameters. Instead, countless different multiverses swim and collide into one another, creating a cross-net of of movement through the Ocean. Timeline is not linear. It is a field.
        Yep.

        Originally posted by LostLight View Post
        Think about it- the Arisen exist in all timelines in the same time. They are, in fact, points where the field converges
        Indeed.

        Originally posted by LostLight View Post
        Each Arisen is, practically, their own timeline. That's how they avoid time paradoxes so easily- from their point of view, they exist in all timelines, and as such even if they can not exist in one timeline anymore they practically exist in all the others, and as such are not affected by the paradox. For those who experience time linearly it may look weird- but maybe we are not even aware of it. The Arisen has been, practically, banished from their timeline, and they can not experience it in their own existence. The Mummy doesn't notice it, because what is one small timeline compared to the whole field? And maybe they still exist in those timelines, and banishing them from such a current would require a lot more work. The Arisen, after all, are sinks of time- they force the timelines into them, and unless there are some sources out there in the depth of the Ocean, there isn't much which could negate their capability to draw the field into them.
        Still need me to talk through how mummies can be destroyed but rise again? Because you’ve pretty much worked it out yourself. I’d just be repeating the concepts back in different words.

        Originally posted by LostLight View Post
        8) banishing a mummy from a certain timeline may be possible, but very hard to accomplish. Destroying a mummy completely would be even harder, as it would require destroying it in all timelines simultaneously.
        And that privilege is reserved almost entirely for the Judges.

        Originally posted by LostLight View Post
        10) The Rite of Return was, in practice, a very well defined scientific process which utilized the nature of the temporal field for the Shan'iatu's benefit.
        Meh. It was a well-defined magical process that you could now look at scientifically. Sufficiently advanced science being indistinguishable from magic, and all that.

        Good analysis and post, over all. Good work.


        Writer. Developer. World of Darkness | Chronicles of Darkness | The Trinity Continuum

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Bunyip View Post

          Still need me to talk through how mummies can be destroyed but rise again? Because you’ve pretty much worked it out yourself. I’d just be repeating the concepts back in different words.
          Well, during that time I wan't sure that I got it right, or if I have perhaps missed something. And thanks! I always enjoy talking about time in general and science in CofD specifically, so it was a good chance to do both :P


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          • #6
            I'd like to point out that it appears that the Arisen have rather limited control over where in the vast ocean they end up. You can encourage your cult to call you in a particular timeline, but you are basically going where you are sent.

            Love the essay, by the way.


            Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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            • #7
              Originally posted by FallenEco View Post
              I'd like to point out that it appears that the Arisen have rather limited control over where in the vast ocean they end up. You can encourage your cult to call you in a particular timeline, but you are basically going where you are sent.
              Well, when I say things that "the mummy is free to move through the Ocean of Osiris/three dimensional time", I mean "as free as an apple is free to move in the three dimensional space while bound by gravity". Their ability to "shift the flows" of the field due to paradox seems to be reflexive ability, as the Arisen are barely aware (or care) for it. As for their actual movement through the Ocean, I assume their control over it is a little bit better than the one a negative charge has when it is drawn to a positive one. The movement of the Arisen through the 3D time is deterministic, and is bound by whatever potential which generates the timeline-field (as every field requires a potential- and as "sinks", even the Arisen are such potentials, even is smaller in scale, as they, as you said, do not control their movement in the Ocean). That potential may be Fate, the Law of Suffering or maybe even the Rite of Return itself, but whatever it is, it must object Ammut/Duat's constant pull while it does so.

              And also- glad you liked it!


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              • #8
                so when are you going to submit this piece to the Null Mysteriis

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post
                  so when are you going to submit this piece to the Null Mysteriis
                  I must admit that while writing this post, more than once I had in my mind the hypothetical conversation between an Arisen and a Null Mysteriis hunter along those line-

                  Null Mysteries: "so, let's talk about time travel.."

                  Mummy: "your futile, mortal mind simply can't comprehend the true nature of time. For you, who are bound to its stream, it looks like a vast river- yet all of your lives and existence are nothing but a small current in the vast Ocean of Osiris, where countless births and rebirths constantly blossom, and we as well reincarnate from our Descents through the Ocean's great expan-"

                  Null Mysteriis: "so you are saying that time is a three dimensional space and the integration over all timelines gives a vectoric field?"

                  Mummy: "...what?"

                  Null Mysteriis: "so I guess you've never had a Bachelor in Physics?"

                  Mummy: "let's say the boss don't pay me enough for my degree"

                  Null Mysteries: *sigh* ".. now, lets try again to explain to you the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and how it relates to that personalization of entropy you call the "Devourer".."

                  I'm not sure if the mummy would just kill the bastard in the end, or will try to take over the Compact as their cult. Or both.


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                  • #10
                    that's actually a pretty funny interaction! and I think he would kill him and think "huh, maybe he's on to something. maybe his colleagues will be more respectful"

                    EDIT: actually, thinking about it further, if a Hunter managed to learn about Mummies and their time travel, even if just straight up told BY a mummy that's what they do, he may be too valuable to just kill (or maybe not, no idea if its heretical for mere human to know such a secret)
                    Last edited by Primordial newcomer; 12-07-2019, 07:23 PM.

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                    • #11
                      LostLight I don’t have anything really deep to say, but I really liked your post and it helped me get how the concept of Timelessness applies to mummies. I also loved the quote about the Romans and the Etruscans (I really like Roman history).


                      The die is cast. - Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post
                        that's actually a pretty funny interaction! and I think he would kill him and think "huh, maybe he's on to something. maybe his colleagues will be more respectful"

                        EDIT: actually, thinking about it further, if a Hunter managed to learn about Mummies and their time travel, even if just straight up told BY a mummy that's what they do, he may be too valuable to just kill (or maybe not, no idea if its heretical for mere human to know such a secret)

                        This has to be how cults get started.

                        ​And to LostLight, a bow of respect to the sage!

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