As the boxcar sways back and forth, racing across my mind, it is teaming with all manner of ideas that chafe at the bit to be unloaded. Ideology sports a spyglass and makes his rounds, glad-handling the other concepts. Dawn with her raygun eyes sits quietly on a box in the corner. She will bring any to their knees with the blink of an eye. Time twirls through the stock car, flexing like a whore. Fate, Destiny, and Luck speak to one another in the middle of the throng. They appear unfazed by the exploits of the others. Their cabal transfixed from the beginning.
Then there is Rhythm and Harmony. These two do their utmost to maintain an atmosphere of synergy within the car. Nothing's going to derail their program. They do what they do best, keeping the tempo lighthearted and positive.
Baglady Betty, The Queen of The Vagabonds, with a flash of her kaleidoscopic eyes, communicates everything important. Her court smiles and lists to the cadence of the trip. They picture themselves in a different space under marmalade skies eating marshmallow pies. Their enthusiasm forms the back beat of Rhythm and Harmony's band.
Imagination races through the crowd of rambling notions. As she doles out kindness with each flick of her golden locks, her luminescence doesn't intrude upon the sanctity of any, but a little of herself is imparted upon every passenger. She can't realize her affect upon her comrades because she isn't put together that way. Existentially isolated from her fellow travelers, the absurdity of her existence blinds her to the inspiration she naturally infuses into all moving in and out of her wake. A flair of artistry courses through every rider.
The Nowhere Man stands alone among the masses. Separated from his Nowhere Land, he dreams of his Nowhere Plans. As he shakes the hand of Ideology, he wonders, "Kind Sir, what manner of snake oil are you trying to sell me?"
Since the next station is self-absorbed with waiting for Gadot, the conductor informed the engineer to bypass it. Unloading will have to wait until the next depot down the line. The Thought Train keeps on rolling through the vagaries of my mind.
At root, phenomena are easy to wrap the mind around. They are simply observable facts or events. Cosmologists define phenomena as being outward signs of the workings of the laws of nature or The Cosmos. That simple definition is where simplicity ends and mysterious complexity creeps into this underestimated and nebulous concept.
For instance, a rainbow is a type of phenomenon. It is an event created by the collision of discrete facts. The event or happening is the observation of the rainbow in the sky. In order to perceive the rainbow, first it must rain during daytime hours. Then the sun must rear its head and shine before all condensation in the sky dissipates. A rainbow appears, caused by the refraction, reflection, and dispersion of light of the sun's rays in the water droplets of the rain. This results in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky directly opposite the sun we call a rainbow.
All of this is perceivable and measurable. The observer sees the rainbow at a forty-two degree angle from the direction opposite the sun. The spectrum of light formed is red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. The physics of rainbow phenomena are simple. Complexity enters the analysis when someone asks one basic question.
Why does a rainbow appear and not something else? Our mothers might retort with, "Because I told you so," but that is far from being any semblance of a scientific explanation. Sorry to all of the mothers out there.
One might assume something has to appear when these conditions collide. Why is that so? Lots of things happen and nothing appears to commemorate them. Flies constantly move through the air, and nothing is left in their wake to memorialize that happenstance. Rainbows are a special category, which is why cosmologists call them phenomena.
Many cosmic scientists believe rainbows confer luck on all who observe them. This good fortune is granted immediately, but may not affect the observer for a considerable length of time, perhaps decades or even centuries. Essential to an understanding of phenomena is the notion The Cosmos adds a measure of value to a series of facts that coalesce into something perceivable. Why one thing appears and not another is just another of the great mysteries of The Cosmos. Nebulaic relationships are part and parcel of this area of inquiry we call cosmology. In that regard, nebulously observable is an apt description of phenomena.
Paradox is an interesting term most people use or have utilized at some point, but do they truly understand what it means or its significance to reality? When thinking about paradox, the first thing that springs to mind is absurd contrariness or incongruity. That thought seems a bit trite. There has to be something more to this concept than meets the eye.
A working definition of paradox is, a statement that seems contrary to common sense and yet is perhaps true. It therefore appears truth and common sense play significant roles within the concept. Taking that into account, paradox must somehow be intertwined with truth, and truth is a definer of reality or at least a lens through which to view reality.
Truth and reality dance together in search of common ground. In order for these two concepts to have any meaning, they must find a way to reach agreement with facts essential to existence. So they whirl through The Cosmos, sifting through the facts necessary to establish their state of equilibrium. Paradox is an interloper that intrudes on this dance and threatens the coming together of these ideas critical to the definition of this intruder.
Contradiction, inconsistency, incongruity, anomaly, enigma, and absurdity are all aspects at play within an understanding of paradox. Nothing about this idea neatly fits together. In fact, the characteristics appear to all but repel one another.
There are a lot of moving parts that defy explanation. One might presume that would be the whole point of paradox, if in fact there is any purpose that can be attributed to it. Boiling this concept down in any fashion seems to be an exercise in futility like waiting for a Gadot who will never make an appearance no matter how much time is devoted to the endeavor. Maybe paradox is not a concept meant to be wrangled in any way, but it is fun to try.
At root, every story worth its ink is about the human condition. Readers engage with characters to explore what it is to be human. Without that connection, stories fall flat and seem lifeless. What is so special about the human condition?
Awareness and understanding wrapped in a messy package of emotions first comes to mind. Next, thought springs into the mix. Things don't think, but sentient beings imagine and contemplate about everything under the sun and beyond. Part and parcel of the human condition is the notion of pushing the boundaries of the mind to imagine a better, or at least, a different kind of existence.
Whether the sentient being is a human, monster, or of an artificial intellect such as a computer program or an intelligent sword, is no less engaging. The ability to relate to the character is the key. For that to occur, there needs to be something humanistic about the character. That's where emotion comes into the thick of it, and where the rubber meets the road.
Although humans strive for perfection, emotions constantly hurl wrenches into the works. Love, hate, joy, and depression all act to throw sentient beings off their game. Emotions constantly alter the beautiful lane we put so much effort into trying to walk down. The best laid plans descend into chaos with the most minute changes of our emotional state. In order to be dynamic and engaging, characters must possess some level of this irrationality. That's part of being sentient. When an author hits the mark on this point, readers feel it, react to it, and the story comes to life.
Good stories are about the trials and tribulations of characters. Their aspirations, victories, and defeats are what keep readers glued to the page. Although world-building has its place within a story, it is not what inflames the heart or imagination. The world surrounding the sentient beings adds value, but is not a panacea for well-constructed characters. The crazy little thing called sentience is the centerpiece around which the exploration into the human condition dances.
Many users of the majykal arts consider conjuration to be the most powerful tool in the wizard's bag of tricks. The beauty of conjuration is its simplicity. It can be used to summon, scry or look at things or places, gather and impart information, tag something or someone, and among other applications, maintain systems and processes. Conjuration is limited only by the imagination of the practitioner.
Three components are needed for a conjuration to work. These elements must be carefully tailored to the purpose of the conjuration. A focus of the object or target, a physical platform, and a ritual are the necessary pieces. These three components can be integrated together in any manner, but must be intermingled in some way for the conjuration to have the intended result.
First, the conjuror must gather a focus of the intended object or target of the conjuration. The more integral the focus is to the purpose of the conjuration, the better the result. This focus can be a picture, a hair, a drop of blood, a pinch of dirt, or anything that signifies or connects to the target of the conjuration. The closer to the target, the better.
Next, a physical platform is necessary. This a tool of the conjuror that can be reused in most instances for other conjurations. It can be a bowl, a cauldron, a pool, a koi pond, a fire pit, a garden, an apple grove, the top of a hill with standing stones equidistantly spaced, or anything the conjuror desires. The only requirement is that it be physical.
The third and last requirement is a ritual. This element must be carefully tailored to the purpose of the conjuration. It must tie and bind the three components until the conjuration runs its course. The greatest amount of thought is put into this element.
Once a conjuration is past the fifty percent mark of completion, it cannot be stopped or dispelled in any manner. One way or another, it will reach its intended conclusion. When a conjuror does her homework, she is rewarded with a conjuration that goes off without a hitch and gives her the intended result. That reason alone makes conjuration the go-to majyke of the seasoned practitioner.
What is this thing cosmologists(scientists who study reality not beauty consultants) refer to as The Cosmos. Some say it is what encompasses all of space and time within reality, while others simply state it is the universe we live within. Neither explanation is satisfying. Something is missing because both definitions really say, "it is what it is."
Nailing down a workable definition of The Cosmos is a tricky affair because The Cosmos has so many aspects. It becomes easy to focus on one or two characteristics and forget about the rest. Let's face it, The Cosmos includes some heavy stuff; space, time, physics, existence, states of being, and the list goes on and on. The Cosmos is everything, and we won't touch the subject about Nothing. The difficult part is wrapping your head around the entire concept of The Cosmos and determining from there what is fundamental about it.
Many philosophers such as Kant have suggested there can be no understanding of anything unless and until you get to the most fundamental level of that thing. With that in mind, the inquiry would then be, what is the most fundamental level of The Cosmos? Two able cosmologists, Ebeneezer The Geezer and Professor Ernst Vogelmier, have determined that to be The Passion and The Null.
When one thinks about passion, thoughts of emotions as distinguished from reason come to mind. The Passion is so much more than that, which is why it is one of two fundamental and intrinsic components of The Cosmos. The Passion is unbridled irrationality that encompasses every emotion on every level. It is intangible by nature and forms one of the building blocks of The Cosmos.
The Null is another tricky concept to pin down. It has nothing to do with anything to do with void or The Nothing. The Null is one of the building blocks or fundaments of The Cosmos. It is tangible material to which everything eventually returns. There is no truth to the myth that everyone returns to dust as in sand or soil.
The Passion and The Null are the intangible and tangible components of The Cosmos. They operate as a unity for the benefit of reality and existence. Without them, there would be no Cosmos. That is the reasoning behind why these two fundaments are that which are intrinsic to any Cosmic understanding. To truly comprehend The Cosmos and the meaning of life, first one must study the mysteries of The Passion and The Null. These twin fundaments eternally dance with one another to give The Cosmos meaning. They dance so we may exist.