I want to present a rich human story set in a cosmology that is roughly identical to the enormous body of knowledge that might be called “The Scientific World-view”.
This desire comes about because I have been to occult hells when I experimented with Mysticism. I want to do what I believe Doug Adams did, which is to write myself sane.
It may be quite difficult to get into this because a large proportion of my time is currently spent singing little nonsense ditties to myself to try and banish weird occult thoughts. One that I am playing with at the moment goes like this
See the little Ozle dancing in the Skozle
See the little Eyebral of the Schizamie
which goes roughly to a tune of a Bach piano piece I’ve been playing.
In my delusional world a chap called Lawrence Shorter reprimanded me for embarrassing him by singing this during a workshop he was running. In reality I haven’t seen him for a decade but the thought wouldn’t go away. I think this delusion was trying to teach me to conform just a little bit more carefully lest people think I am mad, perverted or just extremely annoying to a level where it becomes embarrassing to be seen with me.
I must be careful not to overdo the writing today, in case I spoil my health again through the terrible exhaustion that comes to those with overactive minds. But I am in a flood, I have drunk too much coffee and am fired with a deadly enthusiasm.
For those of us who secretly long for a place in posterity, it becomes necessary to avoid the cliché of writing your life story as if you were a great genius of your time surrounded by fascinating associates, in some bohemian circle, casually doling out witticisms and penetrating commentary on the nature of the times. Loving and living with passion and panache. Hang on what have I just said? Isn’t that precisely the recipe for a good life? Hmmm.
But this has been done before, my dear… so many times. such as in The Anais Nin journals that you gave me. In Henry Miller who was a friend of hers. In note takers and diarists like Pepys or Evelyn. Everyone wants a slice of genius, but pale imitation is a sin if you cannot manifest the Real Thing. (Coke adds life?)
The cosmology behind my new book was called that precisely because I am viewing the work as an act of “world building” like the science fiction or fantasy writers perform. Again in that I feel I am an urbane sophisticate of my age because SF is here to stay as a crucial literature of ideas that we need to keep us sane in a world changing so fast its approaching warp speed. A super-fast trajectory that sunders each generation from the preceding, a caesura which cannot easily be sewn back up. My world is different to yours father. And it becomes more true as the delta V of technological change grows. Exponential. Derivatives of exponential functions, as you know Steve, are also exponential. Acceleration accelerates. Towards what? Singularity? or Catastrophe…
Regarding posterity it is almost as if I live in the future, and can see my life as a documentary narrated by a historian. He is saying: “Like many well informed minds of his period, Dunn spent much of his life observing and issuing his biting commentary on contemporary events. His observations on Politics, Society and Technology are edifying and informative for historians.” But that hasn’t actually happened yet if at all. And so I rely on you, Steve to conserve my letters and consign them to the local library should you outlive me. I will also bequeath my writing to my nephew and ask him to look after it.
Modern and ancient influences mingle in what I write, and some of the affected pomposity cannot be changed sadly. You can’t teach an old leopard to change its stripes. But as a Science Fiction Freak some of this is I feel post-modern too. And all the self-work stuff of Primal Therapy is new. And probably needs to be written too. Will humanity in the future learn to understand itself and its toxic heritage? Toxicities like War and Abuse. If so maybe I am a front runner, if not then there may not be a posterity to whom I can speak. The irony of this will only become apparent after I am dead, maybe.
So all fiction writing is world building. You can even say that conventional literature is a sub genre of SF, being more constrained in its world building by what is conventionally credible, or historically true. While SF is the superclass because it addresses all possible fictional worlds, without regard to present, past or future. So it is larger in the end… Hallelujah. I am vindicated in my struggle against my parents generation where Rock was untenable, SF silly and even Jazz was the devil’s music.
And into my SF I will inject the commentaries on my Age that people seem to think I must make. And I will write to restore sanity in myself and exorcise the demons of the past, both my personal one and that of wider humanity. Because I can’t really survive unless I do this. And because I believe that in terms of Mythology the science fictional cosmos is the largest and most forgiving, spacious container for all our dreams. That at a time where we need to escape the narrow myths of conventional religion that are so toxic. Yes, Ian, even you need to get real and read more!
In fact ironically, SF may even provide the remedy for generational change and the alienation it causes. This because it is the closest literature to providing the overview of “all possible societies”, a kind of calculus of human possibility that allows us to get on with our forebears. After all so many of its writers draw ideas from History. If History is a body of data, then SF is indeed the mathematical generalisation of that knowledge into a full theory. And with its treatment of “the alien” it is even a generalisation expanded across “all possible beings” too! Our world is just one possible world, the more we know the more we can imagine what things would be like if they were different to this imprisoning single reality we inhabit. SF means so much to me as you know… And a mathematician loves to generalise, to breed new things by mutating what we already have.
So to fix my resolution I am writing to you in order for you to hold me to task, you must insist that I write a complete work. You may even badger me, which is ok.
Love from Luke