Mon, 20 Oct 2008

Anathem and Hemn space

All points in Hemn space are possible, including the ice block inside the star. Stephenson wastes some time (as no doubt have metaphilosophers) considering how the ice block could have gotten there. It is of no importance to the idea, because "gotten there" introduces the idea of time. Hemn space is merely an enumeration of all possible states of all possible worlds.

More mention is made of "the laws of nature", but again, the laws of nature are at least in part a consideration of time. We live in time, and like fishes cannot conceive of water, have a hard time (hehe) thinking of a world without time. So, introduce time.

How does the ice block get into the star? We can ignore that, but consider that time is a path through Hemn space. Time is a connection between points. A Narrative is but one possible path of time through those points. So what, then, of the laws of nature? Simply, they dictate that some paths are not possible. For example, the 2nd law of thermodynamics disallows any path which results in a decrease in entropy.

So the path which skips you from point to point to point where the ice cube never melts, is not possible with a world with a 2nd law of thermodynamics.

Interesting stuff.

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