You may recall a few weeks ago that I was inspired to write about the topic of Infinity after watching a "Horizon" programme about the subject on TV. Today, after watching another "Horizon" programme, entitled, "Is Everything We Know About The Universe Wrong?" I have once again been inspired to write, but this time on the subject of Creation, which I hope will be as much of interest to fellow bloggers/builders as myself. After all, as builders, do we not have our own stories of creation for our own worlds? Much of my own world's creation and governing aspects are loosely based upon some of these ideas I share with you now. I would truly like to know what inspires the background to your own worlds and I ask a few questions at the end of this post. If this sort of thing bores you however, then please forgive my ramblings this week too. It will probably be the last such blog for a while, as I don't think there are any more Horizon programmes left to see this season. (Normal blogs will continue.)
Truly It Does!
Once again, I made the title of this blog deliberately ambiguous. Hopefully, it will be clear now that I meant the title to read in the sense that the consideration of what we call "nothing" does actually matter, as opposed to the sense that we should have no concern about anything.
Interestingly, this week's programme also supported my own argument that I made in my last blog that there is no such thing as nothing and that in "nothing" there is actually "something": Dark Matter! The maths and science gets rather complicated and is way outside my own ability to discuss, but I was encouraged to discover that even scientists have come to the same conclusion I had, myself having just giving it some thought. By the way, I have heard the term Dark Matter before, but I did not know the scientists had considered it as something that existed as a substitute for "nothing" (something even inside a vacuum).
The same programme also discussed other related topics such as Dark Energy and Dark Flow: two other ideas put forward by scientists to help explain why the universe behaves the way it does now. The problem for scientists is that the standard model they have for creation and the universe at the moment does not fit as smoothly as they had hoped, and so they have had to introduce these concepts to help explain their theoretical model. The point I find interesting, however, (and without trying to sound arrogant) is that it seems obvious to me that humanity would not yet have discovered everything there is to know about our universe. Go back only a few hundred years and our world did not even know about the gases that are around us today, which we all take for granted as common knowledge nowadays.
The Spiritual Equation
A point I am trying to make, however, is that we have already been told that there is more to the visible eye in the universe from such texts as the Bible. I don't just mean in the form of "invisible matter" but also in the form of the spiritual, which the Bible teaches us is "invisible". It seems to me that science simply appears to be making discoveries about something that the Bible has already taught us!
We could even apply biblical knowledge in a way that might help explain some of the problems that science is struggling to resolve. For instance, if we take the stand that God created the universe out of love, we can also believe that the universe is more than just a system of matter that follows specific laws of physics. I hasten to add that I am not saying the universe is on the back of a tortoise or something like that, but that a form of life flows through the universe in ways that we do not yet understand. And where there is life, we can also recognise organic behaviour such as growth and change. If we can believe that the universe is like this in some way, (especially in the areas that the scientists currently call Dark Matter, Dark Energy or even Dark Flow but the Christian would call the spiritual world), then changes in the speed of galactic expansion and even unexpected events can simply be interpreted as a change in motion of an organic entity, potentially stretching in all kinds of directions like a growing plant. Furthermore, if we believe in the spiritual realms and principalities of which the Bible speaks, then the impact they might have on our universe should not come as a surprise.
I know how quickly one can start thinking about ghosts when talking about the spiritual, and so I wanted to quickly clarify my own belief on such matters. In this case, I believe in a spiritual world that can and does have an impact on our own physical world, but I do not believe in "ghosts" in the traditional sense. That said, I am not saying it is impossible for ghosts to exist, but I do not believe that any such manifestations are edifying of the true spiritual realm and, in fact, only serve to lead people away from the spiritual truth of the Bible. I won't say anything more on this subject as I do not want to possibly offend people. However, I am happy to continue a discussion of such in a blog comment if you wish.
The Canvas of Creation
For a long time now, science has held on to the Big Bang Theory as a working model of Creation, and even in the Horizon programme they touch on the point that prior to the Big Bang, the scientists believed there was/is nothing. It is only in the light of the recent "Dark" theories (if you pardon the pun) that they are beginning to revise the theory. I find it interesting to think that if the "Dark" concepts of science (or what I would refer to as spiritual) existed prior to the physical universe coming into existence, then, once again, the Bible has already told us this was the case: For, according to the Bible, God and the spiritual world existed before our world and the universe was created. Knowing this, I also have no problem in believing that something outside of the universe I know (God in my case) could have created it in the way I see it now without the dimension/involvement of time. In other words, I see it as quite possible that God could have fashioned the design of creation, like a painting on a blank canvas, with all the stars and galaxies the way we see them now and then set the whole thing in motion when He delivered His creation as the completed physical universe we know today. Furthermore, a design in thought can be completed and presented in an instant without the need to pass through a period of time in a sense of being created. For example, when I say think of a car, you do not draw the car into existence inside your mind as a slow process, but have created a full and complete car image in an instant. Not only that, you could also imagine many of them of different sizes and colours as quickly as just the one.
Continuing the analogy of a blank canvas, if we paint a picture of the night sky and asked a child to describe it to us, they may say the picture is one of stars only. Yet, we know we have used a dark colour to paint in the sky where there are no stars. Or, if we paint a picture of a snowy scene on a white background, is it not also possible that we may leave the canvas blank in those areas to give the effect of snow. These are obvious examples I mention where there is actually "something" in the "nothing" or where "emptiness" in the design is still actually part of the design! However, if we can consider this same concept in our own universe, but at a level far beyond our current understanding, then some of the references of the Bible start to make more sense, and even help to explain the scientific observations. Only belief separates acceptance of this knowledge or not.
From Beyond To Within
As I said at the start, these types of programmes, along with my own personal beliefs, do help me to think about life, the universe and everything! After all, aren't we all trying to work that out deep down? And when presented with a tool like D&D (or NWN), are we then not prone to think about these topics some more if we are to create a believable world of our own in which the adventures take place? I went through two campaign designs before I realised the importance of background and history for my third and final design of Althéa. Then, when I started to investigate the reasons for the way things are in our own world, I started to gain an appreciation for certain things.
For me, it was after I read The Silmarillion (source for The Lord of the Rings) that I realised the importance of having a good and solid historical background for my own world. Later, when I became a Christian, I also recognised the importance of differentiating between fantasy and reality and to ensure there was no confusion left to the player with respect to such and avoided real world references within my own fantasy world wherever and whenever possible. In situations that conflict, I have always tried to impress the difference between what I believe is truly fantasy and what may have historically occurred. (E.g. Resurrection.)
As module builders, I believe we have a responsibility to provide an entertaining game without offending people of any creed or race. Yet, as builders, we are also in the unique position to put forward ideas and suggestions in such a way that make people think a little more about those things that previously may have been taken for granted. I am not saying we should preach in any way, but I do believe we can share our ideas in such a way that is encouraging and possibly enlightening.
With that in mind, my questions this week are:
1) What inspired your world design or currently inspires you?
2) Do you have a specific world background? (Is this your own design or by a third party?)
3) Have you written your own World Creation for your world?
4) What is the main idea or concept you are trying to demonstrate or share?
5) Or, is this too involved for your game design?
POLL: What Turns You Off A Module?
If you haven't voted for last week's poll yet, then please do and feel free to comment.