Thought Train
Phenomena, Nebulously Observable

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.  

The Crazy Little Thing Called Sentience

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.       

The Power Of Conjuration

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.   

The Passion And The Null

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.   

The Many Vagaries Of Doom

Doom in the hands of The Fates is a weapon all mortals fear, but what is it? The encyclopedic definition of Doom, at root, is simple enough. It is a condemnation or sentence ordered in the name of justice. If that is the case, then The Fates must be some kind of arbiters of justice, and therefore, Doom is their method of carrying out their judgments. Oh, if that were the case, things would be so simple. Nothing can be further from the truth. As with life, death has its complexities. 

The Fates, Death, and The Lords of The Nine Hells vie for the souls of those who die uncommitted to The Gods. Each of these parties have devised different methods for harvesting unspoken for souls. Most of the time, none of them dare to step over the line and onto the toes of The Gods. Since most souls are given to one God or another, the three parties fight against one another for these limited resources. 

Death is a patient sort. This harvester of souls is the most Cosmic and most ethical of the reapers of lost souls. It waits in the shadows on the periphery of life with its baying hounds for the end to come to a mortal's life. Generally, Death doesn't step on the toes of other harvesters. When The Fates or The Lords of The Nine Hells have set their eyes upon any given soul, Death usually backs off and lets destiny take its course.

However, Death is ethically minded and has a sense of fair play. Every once in a blue moon, The Fates or The Lords of The Nine Hells step way out of line, and Death intervenes on behalf of the trodden upon mortal. The most famous intervention occurred on behalf of Bloodla Gisdain who became Madame Death. She now sits beside Death in The Deadlands. Such overtures are far from the norm. Conflict is just not Death's way. It views its process as a natural one, rather than a combative one. 

The Lords of The Nine Hells are a consortium of daemons who have risen to the highest heights of authority within The Hallowed Halls of Power. Nobody knows how many daemons are in this consortium, just that it is a chaotic order that views death as a combative and violent process. These Lords harvest souls they perceive would be useful for the stability of The Nine Hells. It is not unheard of for these harvesters to make deals with The Fates to obtain coveted souls. 

The Fates are three cantankerous women who wield Doom as a curse to prey upon those souls unlucky enough to have caught their attention. They just love the hunt and the take down of the souls they crave. They use vice to weaken the mortal and mark the soul. Once a mortal's soul has been marked, the hunt begins. 

A destiny, usually a violent one, is tied to the souls of their unlucky marks. It is infused through vice; things like whiskey, sex, gambling, and anything to excess. Continued use of the vice, scars the soul to such a degree over time that the soul eventually has no defenses in which to fight. Any effort by the mortal to fix or alter his or her destiny is akin to picking a scab that will never heal, and only serves to draw Doom closer. In the end, cracks appear within the shadows around the mortal, and Doom eventually springs from the cracks to harvest the desired soul. The Fates are persistent, capricious, and nasty, old crones who almost always get their way. 

Doom is many things, but not any one thing in particular. It is at once a concept, an entity, a curse, a harbinger of destiny, and a weapon. Although Doom works most closely with The Fates, the questions of the day are, does Doom have its own agenda and if so, what might that be?