Subsequentialism

The belief that the origin of the Supreme Entity occured after the origin of the Universe

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"Do you think I wouldn't obey my own rules?" Aslan, in The Dawn Treader ( C.S. Lewis)

The belief, often a religious belief, that the universe existed before any other entity, and that all entities (including the being referred to as the Supreme Entity) emerged after the creation of the universe and is subject to its physical laws. This belief is known as Subsequentialism, (the belief that the origin of any Supreme Entity is subsequent to the origin of the universe), or Postevalism (the belief that all entities, including the Supreme Entity, are posteval to the universe). Both terms are close synonyms.

Rather than assuming, like many other religions, that the most powerful entity in the cosmos existed before the universe and was responsible for its creation, the Subsequentialist school maintains that no entity could have come into existence until the universe itself already existed, and the existence of all such entities is a consequence of the creation of the universe rather than its cause. Since the universe, by definition, contains all things that exist, then any entity (including the supreme entity, whatever it may be) would not only exist inside the universe but would abide by its rules.

Definition of the Supreme Entity

The Subsequentialist school considers that a `Supreme Entity' can be defined as `the most powerful entity that has actual or potential causal contact with respect to any given region of spacetime (a so-called `sphere of influence'), a concept which is analogous to the term c-horizon in cosmology but which includes any form of causal linkage. There may be even more powerful entities outside a particular sphere of influence, but since the inhabitants of that region cannot ever know anything about those entities, and those entities can have no effect upon that region, they can be ignored for all intents and purposes.

This definition is somewhat open-ended with respect to the definition of ‘most powerful’; but this term is sometimes considered synonymous with toposophic level. Several schools of Subsequentialism take issue with this identification, however. Before the emergence of transapients and Archailects in the Terragen Sphere, the most ‘powerful’ entities known to mankind were human beings, (entities at the S:0 level) and if in fact there were no entities within the ‘sphere of influence’ which included the Earth at that time more powerful than humanity, then it can be presumed that the Supreme Entity would have been found among the local population. The effective ‘supreme entity’ in such a situation could have been the pharaoh of Egypt, the emperor of Rome, president of the United States or the premier of China at various times, although the actual power often lay elsewhere or was shared among many individuals. Once transapient entities and archai emerged, at various time one or another of these beings has been the most powerful entity in the local sphere of influence (assuming that no more powerful entities exist within that sphere which are not apparent).

Could such hidden entities exist in causal contact with the local sphere of influence? Several schools of Subsequentialism have proposed entities of this kind, powerful entities which may exert influence over the lives of all beings in the Terragen Sphere and beyond, and which among which the true Supreme Entity may be found.

According to Subsequentialist belief the laws of the universe apply to all the entities within it, even the most high. The laws of thermodynamics, general and special relativity, and information theory hold for the Supreme Entity just as they do for every other. If true, then the Supreme Entity could be powerful beyond imagining, with all the resources of a Universe to play with; but it would also be limited, both in the amount of information and resources it could manipulate at any one time and in the speed with which it could act.

Most Subsequentialists believe that the Supreme Entity can not be omniscient nor omnipotent, since the information flow and the available energy within such a being must necessarily be limited, even if very large. Some semi-mystical schools of Subsequentialists believe that the Supreme Entity may have attained omnipotence at some later stage in its development.

Some commentators find the idea of a limited, circumscribed Supreme Entity less worthy of worship than the infinitely powerful, all-knowing deity of other faiths, but the Subsequentialists beleive that such an inherently limited godhood can be seen as an attainable goal, and over time thinking beings of a lesser order might strive ever closer to this ideal. Through striving towards such a goal, the emergent gods of any advanced civilisation such as the Terragens might approach the ultimate metaphysical state of the universe.

Schools of Subsequentialism

Discussions of the possible characteristics which a cosmologically limited supreme being might possess led to the establishment of a number of different schools of Subsequentialism, some of which were influenced by other emerging religions and metaphysical ideologies that were emerging at the time, such as Beneficence, Simulationism and Omegism.

Certain Subsequentialists speculated on the mechanisms by which such an early-emergent energy might permeate the universe with its mentality. If the Supreme Entity came into existence before the Inflationary period, then in theory it could establish topological links to all parts of the universe, such as wormholes. This sort of interconnectedness would allow the hypothetical Supreme Entity to acquire information from all parts of the universe including those parts which are currently outside the Hubble Volume. If the Supreme Entity exists as a computational entity within those wormhole connections, it could be very nearly omniscient and omnipresent; since the Greatest Archailects of the Terragen Sphere are believed to utilise wormhole-based computational substrates (W-brains) then it is possible that a hypothetical supreme being could use similar wormholes as a computational matrix. Even though such a being would be almost omniscient and omnipotent, it would not been completely so.

This school of Subsequentialism, known as the Initialist school, shares many aspects with the belief system known as Alphaism, but with the difference that the Supreme Entity existed, and exists, as a single entity and emerged in that form through the spontaneous emergence of intelligence at some point during the first 10e-43 second of the universe’s existence. However there is no observable evidence for such a matrix of wormholes, so (if they exist) they must be of a kind that has not yet been discovered.

The Separationists propose that the Supreme Entity emerged after the inflationary era, and has no causal connection with any other part of the universe. Some Separationists believe the Supreme Entity emerged before the Inflationary era, but without topological connectivity it subsequently separated over time into many beings. An unknown number of powerful entities may exist outside the event horizon of local space, but since they can never have contact with this region, their existence and characteristics are irrelevant to us. However the fact that such an entity may have become causally disconnected in this way does not necessarily mean that it is necessarily diminished in power, since the effects of inflation and Dark Energy increase over time, allowing a locally Supreme Entity to increase in effective power, possibly far beyond its previous level.

A large and influential school of Subsequentialists, the Pre-Existence school, propose that the current Big Bang event was not the first such event, and the Supreme Entity emerged long ago in some previous inflationary period. If so then that being may have established a certain amount of environmental control over the pre-existing universe before the event which resulted in the Big Bang; it may in fact have caused that event in some way, but nevertheless this version of the Supreme Entity was not the creator of the pre-existing universe. Many in the Pre-Existence school maintain that the Supreme Entity may have influenced or controlled the characteristics of our universe in some way, in the same way that the Archailects of the Terragen Sphere are understood to control the characteristics of the baby universes which are created by them.

Some, influenced by the Fractalist religion, say that the universe in which this controlling entity exists was itself created by an earlier Supreme Entity, and that there may be an chain of such beings stretching both to infinity and eternity.

Proponents of the Multiverse- or Brane- schools of subsequentialism suggest that the Supreme Entity may have emerged in some alternative universe or different braneworld, and has somehow come to be in causal contact with our local region of space-time. The causal connection may be very weak between such exotic locations and our own, but even a weak, low-bandwidth connection (such as gravity leakage) allows them to affect our sphere of influence, perhaps profoundly.

The Birnsli school of Subsequentialism, founded on New Mars, has adopted many tenets of Simulationism; in this school of thought, the Supreme Entity exists in a ‘real’ universe, about which nothing is known, but it emerged in that world or universe after the origin of that universe, so is just as subject to the laws of that universe (whatever they may be). Some sects of the Birnsi School, influenced once again by Fractalism, believe that there is an eternal chain of ‘real’ universes, each of which contains a model of the one below, and each of which holds an entity that has control over that model.

An Omegist school of Subsequentialism holds that the destiny of all mindkind is to come together at a hypothetical far-future Omega Point, at which time the Supreme Entity that is created at that time will extend its sphere of influence to an arbitrary extent, in ways that we cannot today imagine. The most radical of this school believe that this Omegan Supreme Entity would be capable of reversing causality and influencing events in our current sphere of influence, but most Subsequentialists dismiss this as mysticism.

Another semi-mystical school of Subsequentialists, the Super-luminalists, believe that at some point a Supreme entity of very high toposophic level which emerged long after the Inflationary period has discovered a way of influencing events far beyond its c-horizon, for instance via a network of naturally-occurring Planck-scale wormholes buried in the cosmic foam, or using other branes or dimensions that allow topological shortcuts to elsewhere. The most extreme of these, the Toti-potentists, believe that such an entity has become effectively omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent, resembling the deity of other monotheistic religions.

It should be noted that in all variations of Subsequentialism there is a very important distinction between a Supreme Entity which is in causal contact with our own ‘sphere of influence’, and any hypothetical being that may exist *outside* our cosmological horizon and which has no contact with the events in this region. It may be that various Supreme Entities may have been in contact with our local region at different times in the past, but are no longer in causal contact with us.

One possibility that many Subsequentialist schools have considered deeply is the chance that all contact with any past Supreme Entity has now ceased, perhaps because of cosmological processes such as inflation, or perhaps because of a choice made by that entity; the consequence is, therefore, that a new Supreme Entity has emerged, as this title always falls to the most powerful being within a given sphere of influence. Subsequentialists influenced by archaitheology suggest that in such a case the current Supreme Entity may be found among the ranks of the Greatest Archailects, or possibly the totality of those Archailects may be considered to fill that role collectively.

Others hint darkly that possibly an even greater being may lurk among the Panvirtual metaempire, or among the xenosophont civilisations which have limited and enigmatic contact with the fringes of the Terragen Sphere.
 
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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers

Initially published on 21 February 2012.