Tower of Souls
By Juliana Rew
[Eulogy for the Earth Given by Professor Lila Mangee, London Physical Observatory, 21 September 2118, at the Grand Evacuation]
Thank you, my brothers and sisters, for inviting me to address you on this most momentous of occasions. I speak, of course, about the profound consequences brought about by the discovery of the Tower of Souls.
You would think the weight of it would crush everything on the Earth. But it's weightless, actually—lighter than a feather. And it's spread out. Not evenly, of course. It's taller in some places than others. It's especially tall over Babylon, and growing.
We always thought the end of the world would come from some sort of extraterrestrial cosmic disaster. Who would have thought it would rise from the ground up? And who would have thought that the religious imaginings of philosophers such as Nikolai Federov that life everlasting would have proved true?
I once led a field detection experiment at the Great Babylon, which we know nowadays as London. The Tower of Souls houses billions upon billions, all invisible to us. Mind you, I'm not talking about the Tower of Babylon, or even the Tower of Babel. The many towers built by Man, whether real or imaginary, are all things of substance. If you go look at the Gherkin or the Empire State Building, you know you're looking at the "m" part of e=mc2.
What is the so-called Tower of Souls made of, then? Is it a computational storage construct? Matter that has somehow been turned into its Einsteinian doppelganger--electromagnetic energy, perhaps? Science suggests that neither of these is physically possible within the constraints of our physical universe.
The Tower is not only invisible, it is so far undetectable by all known scientific methods. Yet it is universally felt. Each human brain constructs an ineffable sense of individual self. For millennia, the religious have referred to it as the soul.
Once we might have used the metaphor of "Heaven" to describe the Tower. Everyone housed there is immortal, but at the same time not alive.
Though it is debatable, we now believe the Tower is a quantum repository of the living, built by slave labor. We humans were the first slaves, due to many factors, not the least of which is that we are sensitive to forms of energy such as motion, heat, light, and sound. We sense and fear death and loss. But aren't all living creatures that way, you ask? Isn't "sensitivity" one of the defining characteristics of life and therefore not unique to humans?
Of course. All we can surmise is that our fear is the strongest, though it is not the least factor of our slavery. All creatures in our dimension are shackled by the drive to reproduce. This drive is being thwarted, making us restless and depressed. We feel the oppressive weight of the Tower of Souls.
How do we know this? We cannot prove any of what I am saying. We simply feel it. The Tower is why no one wants to live on Earth any more. There's no longer room for the living. The inhabitants of the Tower, once refugees fleeing the parting of the sensory, have become a constant reminder that our physical time here is running out. We used to be able to coexist with the Tower, but now it is full up.
So, my fellow humans, let us move on. Some might argue that the Earth is our natural home, but it is time to leave the comfort of our warm and comfortable birthplace. We are part of an inevitable expansionist phase. Our living natures yearn for new land, new vistas, new freedoms. Space is so empty, it will provide room for eons to come.
Of course, the universe is senseless, and space is harsh and deadly to our kind. Everywhere we go, invisible new towers will rise, and all of us will die building them. We will never escape that bondage.
But take heart. Remember that each one of us is a world. The dark energy of the Tower of Souls will wax, filling the universe, until it too knows what it means to be alive.
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Juliana Rew is a software engineer and former science and technical writer for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. She has workshopped with Cat Rambo and is a member of SFWA. Her author website is julianarew.com
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Tower of Souls
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