The Pulse: The Soul Star
The Crazy Diamond
From what cosmographers could gather, no one knew if the Soul Star existed or not. All they had were some ancient accounts, some speculations, and some astronomical data leading inconclusively to a possibility.
The wizard nerds of Scientium Maximus (from the universe of The Green Buzz) claim to have traced individual energy trajectories that occur after the death of any type of living being. According to their studies (which have been meticulously monitored by the Intergalactic Science Council, located on Buzzati Prime), after the body dies it emits an energy signal that is generally wave-like, yet also exhibits characteristics of magnetism, light, and dark matter. Sometimes this signal quickly becomes imperceptible, slipping away in nanoseconds like a dark grey shadow off their spectrometers. At other times it appears as a distorted frequency for several seconds before it slides away from any known spectra. So far, the cosmographers have been unable to track this signal for more than three seconds. They speculate that perhaps it slips into an alternate dimension, or perhaps it implodes into infinitely small fractals that are floating somewhere in space.
The cosmographers of Scientium Maximus claim that these trajectories often take the form of extremely faint lines of dark purple light. Most of the time this light bounces and zigzags without any discernible pattern. The mystic philosophers of Teravidium claim that these trajectories aren’t random, but correspond to otherworldly topographies through which the soul-beam is travelling en route to its spiritual home. The wizard cosmographers frown at this interpretation, since there’s no consistent pattern to these afterlife peregrinations. They note drily that if they’re in fact on some sort of afterlife pilgrimage, the pilgrims don’t seem to know where the shrine is. Other wizards consider this sarcastic note inappropriate, especially since in 7% of the cases afterlife energy signals clearly move in the direction of the Corona Borealis Void. This Void is about 150 million light years wide, and can be found toward the edge of The Violet Hoop.
All of this was rather apropos, in a French sort of way: the same old questions about meaning and death led to the same old abyss Pascal saw as our fundamental state. Pascal argued that the only thing that could fill the infinite abyss of our erratic and meaningless lives was the meaningful infinity of an immutable God:
ce gouffre infini ne peut être rempli que par un objet infini et immuable, c’est-à-dire que par Dieu même.
The mathematicians of Infinitar Prossima (a planet in the universe of The Crimson Stalk) approved of this logic to a point, but then threw in the proviso that for this scenario to work the soul of human beings had to be infinitely deep. Otherwise how could the container hold the contents? How could a limited soul know an Infinite God? They then submitted several billion yottabytes of evidence demonstrating that the vaunted profundities of the human soul were only vaunted on Earth. The mathematicians cross-referenced the human claims about their eternal souls with human actions, at which point the Allied Council of Intergalactic Deductivists (ACID) saw what base nonsense the humans were puffing up with bursts of hot air. The mathematicians of Infinitar Prossima came to a different conclusion, however, about the possibility of an Infinari mathematician sounding these depths.
According to the cosmographers of The Metaphorical Cone (a galaxy in the universe of Ataari Lok), one of the best metaphors for the Soul Star is a diamond — which in their universe shared the same properties as it does in ours, except that in the gravitational fields of The Central Cone the crystals continually shift according to the declinations of their suns and galaxies and according to the densities of their fractal moons.
Like a diamond, the Soul Star is compressed, orderly, and beautiful. It shines in an infinite variety of ways, depending on which way one sees it (and, on Metaphora Prime, according to the positions of its seven fractal moons). The ACID philosophers agreed informally among themselves that the reason to use a metaphor in the first place is to get a critical distance from what we presume to know. They also agreed, in the Great Conference of Buzz 420, that the Soul Star probably wasn’t a diamond. They couldn’t help themselves from adding that it possibly wasn’t a star either. They conceded, in Conference Proceedings in Contentious Issues of Intergalactic Ontology and Epistemology, written by a joint committee from Scientium Maximus, Metaphora Maximus, Buzz Prime, and Poppar Lark that we nevertheless need to think of the Soul Star as a metaphorical star, at least until we die and then see (or not see) for ourselves. The Metaphori philosophers insisted on adding a note in the Conference Proceedings that the heart, too, is just a metaphor.
Among the recent writers admired by the philosophers of The Swirling Vortex (a galaxy in Ataari Lok) was the Earthling poet Omar Khayyam:
Up from Earth's Centre through the Seventh Gate / I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate, / And many Knots unravel'd by the Road; / But not the Knot of Human Death and Fate.
There was a Door to which I found no Key: / There was a Veil past which I could not see: / Some little Talk awhile of ME and THEE / There seem'd - and then no more of THEE and ME.
The theologians of Ruumar and Ataarissimi (both solar systems in Ataari Lok) took the extreme view that the Soul Star is literally a compressed diamond, fractalled with all the things, spaces, and angles in the cosmos. Within it lies all the experiences that every species from every galaxy has ever had. At this point they fused their theological point with the metaphorical points raised in the Proceedings of the Buzz 420 Conference. From the outside the Soul Star seems an expensive, gorgeous, exciting, luxuriant diamond compressed with Infinity itself. But the Star was in fact not a star. It was a tiny point of tiny interstellar dust located in the near total darkness of the Corona Borealis Void. In its infinite depths the metaphoric ‘Star’ contained the spiritual beauties and the vibrant essences of every single world in every single universe throughout all time and space. And yet, still, it was the size and density of the smallest speck of interstellar dust. A mere particle. It was, for want of a better term, The God Particle.
It would have been more poetic if the Soul Star were in fact a star — like the bright spiritual star the Jains talk about. But in this case the adjective soul is more powerful than the noun star. It is a non-thing of soul, not a thing of matter, waves, light, or gravity. Infinitely dense, it is weightless and attracts no relative thing. A piece of cotton fluff three centimetres away from it would keep drifting in its innocent, meaningless drift. The piece of fluff wouldn’t get sucked in, wouldn’t fall with crushing speed toward the event horizon. That would be the work of a black star. Every soul that came to the Soul Star came of its own free will. Not because it was drawn, indoctrinated, or threatened.
According to The Book of Fractals, the Soul Star rotates slowly, like a diamond sphere lit from within. Yet it has no colour or mass. Compressed by an infinite number of souls infracted into its infinite heart, it has rotated for trillions of trillions of trillions of years. Silently. Slowly. In time and beyond time. Everywhere, in the blackest void of intergalactic night.
Next: Pinpoints of Light