They went on many walks together over the coming days and weeks, sometimes with Galen and sometimes with Remi. Lonesome would lead the way with his meandering path. Cadmus felt like the paths and sites around their cave, the hills, and valleys were becoming more and more familiar to him, but he was warned that the local topology could change without warning and his sense of space and time couldn’t deal with it.
He took their word for it and let them walk him around like a blind man being helped across a busy street. Remi had told him that all of his senses were limited, not just his vision. His perceptors, that was what she called his eyes, ears, tactiles, taste buds, and olefactors, were capable of perceiving in all dimensions but the higher order conceptors were only capable of creating a worldview of three spatial dimensions and a linear temporal dimension. Those were Remi’s words as he remembered them afterwards. He might have gotten some of the terminology mixed up but he thought he understood the idea.
“How do you and Galen see things?” Cadmus asked Remi one day in the kitchen over a cup of tea.
“Would you be able to explain what it’s like to see color to someone who has never seen color before?” she asked. “Or what it’s like to see at all for someone who has never seen? Or to imagine the second-order spaces of a hypercube perpendicular to its first-order space?”
“You lost me at the last example.”
“I’ll try to explain it to you with an analogy more familiar to you.”
“This ought to be good,” Galen walked into the kitchen, poured himself a cup of tea, and sat down at the table.
“When we focus our conceptors on a particular volume of space we conceive it like you do, but when we unfocus we conceive it differently.”
“How so?” Cadmus asked. When he unfocused, things just got blurry.
“Our unfocused conception allows us to see the inside of you like we and you see the outside of each other. We see where you’ve been and who you were all the way to the beginning of you and where you’ll be and who you’ll be all the way to your end. We hear everything you think and say, everything you’ve thought and said, and everything you’ll think and say.”
“But how do you know what I’m going to say or think before I know it?” he asked.
“Because that is how you think and speak, all at once. That is how you act, all at once. You think everything happens in linear time, one thing at a time. That’s your worldview.”
“So what is your worldview?”
“Everything that is possible is inevitable and everything that exists existed since the beginning and will exist until the end.”
Cadmus couldn’t really understand how a worldview like that was possible, but Remi’s words somehow gave him comfort that Kaly and Lonesome might be around in one form or another until the end of the universe. Maybe Cadmus too.
from Out of Time