Tuesday, 6 August 2013
Madness And Divinity
binary numbers ("DITditditditDAHdit...");
calculations ("...the vector sum: infinitesimals infinitely added from nul-to-INFINITY...");
threatening language ("...burning suns & moons, burning stars & brains...");
an Upanishad ("...DATTA...DAYADHVAM-DAMYATA...");
words printed without spaces between them ("...nonsphericalshapentropicoordinatetransformationtop&...");
Shakespeare ("...strike flat the thick rotundity o' the world...");
Apocalypse ("...the star called Wormwood...") (pp. 236-238).
The Upanishadic thunder sermon beginning "DA" is quoted in TS Eliot's The Wasteland and is the subject of an amusing exchange between Lucifer Morningstar and Michael Archangel in Mike Carey's series of graphic novels, Lucifer. (Michael mistakenly attributes the hearing of the sermon to the Buddha; Lucifer corrects Michael but also sarcastically applauds his ecumenicism in even mentioning a sermon from another tradition.) I did not expect to find the thunder sermon in Anderson's "Epilogue" and indeed missed it among the rest of the confusing text on first reading but fortunately I went back to reread some parts of the story.
After the madness, when the space boat lands, melting one of the robots, this is described as "...when God descended..." (p. 238) so maybe the robot called Zero "got religion" from that point? Whatever the reason, he "...pray[ed] that they be granted mercy, now and in the hour of their dissolution." (ibid.)