I4 Commentary: The Divine Revelation

In my commentary to H4 I discussed the Beatific vision. The Beatific vision is usually meant to represent the ultimate divine revelation, but not quite so in Akayama DanJay. In Dante Alighieri’s dream, his unrequited, courtly love Beatrice Portinari eats his heart to purify him for God. In Akayama DanJay the Beatific vision is understood to be preparation for the ultimate divine revelation, not the thing in itself.

In I4: Inside the Mountain Dan walks along a wide white path. This is the reader’s first glimpse of the inside of the Mountain.

Close readers will remember that the white wing which becomes Dan’s path belongs to Beatrice; when she’s hit by a bus, she appears in the afterlife as a giant Zephyr. The Heart of the Mountain said no one should enter the Mountain unless they never hoped to emerge; somehow Beatrice’s wings allow Dan and Faith to enter the Mountain and return to the surface or the real world.

The inside of the Mountain represents some kind of ultimate reality, outside of life and death. Dan follows his path and quickly determines how to walk it in a way which satisfies his senses. Then he finds a goal, the sun. His path doesn’t lead to the sun but another path does. He changes paths.

The character ‘DanJay’ is associated with the number two. DanJay has two lives, once as Dan, once as Jay. Jay opens an egg with two yolks. Here Dan walks two different paths.

The second path nears the sun and Dan decides not to walk further any more. He’s so close to the sun he can satisfy himself by staying where he is. Along the journey of life, we might reach this point of satisfaction several times. But it can only be a temporary experience.

Dan is hit in the head with an egg. The egg orbits the sun, which the Heart of the Mountain calls the epistem, from which everything in reality emerges. If the egg merely orbits the epistem without moving further from it or closer to it, it must be stationary in its life’s progression. Also, the bird looks exactly like the bird Anihilato presents to Dan. (As the Heart of the Mountain says, even things outside the Mountain are in the Mountain.) Anihilato’s eggs are not things which are utterly obliterated, they are things which are held in stasis.

Eventually the Biggest Bird, the Heart of the Mountain, arrives and wraps its wings around Dan. Perhaps this movement is affectionate, but then the bird warns Dan that if he left that path, he never could return to reality. Maybe the hug is to hold Dan back from the sun, lest he lose himself to devotion of the epistem.

The Biggest Bird says the epistem is shaped like the high-dimensional torus, and describes that shape as a circle swept in a circle swept in a circle. A torus is like a donut.

In the Paradiso, Dante Alighieri describes heaven as a series of concentric circles. The highest circle is beyond the material plane and is the abode of God. Here he understands predestination and comprehends the full glory of the divine trinity.

Ezekiel describes wheels within wheels like gyroscopes which are the chariots of gods, encircled with eyes.

I subscribe to r/Psychonauts, a subreddit where people describe psychedelic experiences. In that link they describe understanding cognition and reality as a torus.

In my senior thesis I describe the De Bruijn Hypertorus, a combinatorial object in discrete mathematics which contains every possible combination of binary elements with length two in any number of dimensions.

There is a certain divinity in the torus, the donut. Even Stephan Hawking considered the possibility of a donut-universe.

So, the idea of a high-dimensional torus representing the ultimate conception of divinity presses a surprising number of buttons. It’s consistent with multiple conceptions of the religious ultimate including the hallucinogenic. It relates to concepts in topology and mathematics. And it might just be the shape of reality.

But anyway, who knows. Keep eating your worms.

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