Endymion – Dan Simmons
The past few years have been one improbability after another, each more marvelous and seemingly inevitable than the last.
How could anyone stay sane with entire lifetimes stored in one human mind?
“Meaning no disrespect, sir,” says the other man, “but there’s no way in the Good Lord’s ******* universe that anyone can bar accidents or the unexpected.”
Why am I seeking logic or sanity here? I’d asked myself at the moment. There hasn’t been any so far.
Sounds like and IPhone to me;
All were capable of being used as communicators, of storing massive amounts of data, of tapping into the local datasphere, and – especially with the older ones – of actually hooking into planetary fatline relays via remote so that the megasphere could be accessed.
“..What he wanted — what he wanted his shepherd to learn — was how exalted these things could be — poetry, nature, wisdom, the voices of friends, brave deeds, the glory of strange places, the charm of the opposite sex. But he stopped before he got to the real essence.”
“What real essence?” I asked. Our raft rose and fell on the sea’s breathing.
“The meanings of all motions, shapes and sounds,” whispered the girl. “…all forms and substances/ Straight homeward to their symbol-essences…“
The universe is indifferent to our fates. This was the crushing burden that the character took with him as he struggles through the surf toward survival or extinction. The universe just doesn’t give a sh*t.
On the debate on whether Artificial Intelligence has a soul;
“And what was our DNA designed to do for the first few hundred million years, my son?” Eat? Kill? Procreate? Were we any less ignoble in our beginnings that the pre-Hegira silicon and DNA-based AI? As Teilhard would have it, it is consciousness which God has created to accelerate the universe’s self-awareness as a means to understanding his will.”
How Artificial Intelligence fits into evolution;
Father Glaucus turned his blind eyes in her direction. “Precisely, my dear. But we are not the only avatars of humanity. Once our computing machines achieved self-consciousness, they became part of this design. They may resist it. They may try to undo it for their own complex purposes. But the universe continues to weave it’s own design.”
“I attribute no definitive and absolute value to the various constructs of man. I believe that they will disappear, recast in a new whole that we cannot yet conceive. At the same time I admit that they have an essential provisional role – that they are necessary, inevitable phases which we (we or the race) must pass through in the course of our metamorphosis. What I love in them is not their particular form, but their function, which is to build up, in some mysterious way, first something divinizable – and then through the grace of Christ alighting on our effort, something divine.”
“In the Cantos,” I said, “the scholar character seems to discover that the thing the AI Core had called the Void Which Binds is love. That love is a basic force of the universe, like gravity and electromagnetism, like strong and weak nuclear force. In the poem Sol sees that the Core Ultimate Intelligence will never be capable of understanding that empathy is inseparable from the source…from love. The old poet described love as ‘the subquantum impossibility that carried information from photon to photon…’”
“So you’re saying that there needs to be another Isaac Newton to explain the physics of love?” I said. “To give us its laws of thermodynamics, its rules of entropy? To show us the calculus of love?”
I was really disappointed when I finished this book. It was just like a chapter in a saga. I wanted to know WHAT HAPPENS NEXT! But when I reread the passages where I had turned down the page corners. I could see that it was a whole book on it’s own. And a good one at that. Writing like this makes me think that Dan Simmons is really cool.