As he approaches the galactic centre, his experience evokes the Greek myth of Actaeon who surprised the goddess Artemis at her bath, a vision of beauty so sublime,it seems to be a profanity to witness it. It also suggests a Yoruba image of Ille ,the Earth,an image that conjoins the sense of taboo with the fascination of the erotic.The space pilot perceives a configuration of moons, planets and stars which are the material form of a transcendentally conscious being whose brain cells consist of moons:
"Again I fenestered inward towards the centre of the Entity’s brain. I was more determined than ever to seek the nexus of her intelligence, if indeed such a nexus existed.The further I fell,the more moon-brains I discovered. Near one hot,blue giant star,there must have been ten thousand moons clumped together like the cells of an embryo.I had an intense feeling that I was witnessing something I was not meant to see,as if I had caught my mother naked in her morning bath.Were the moons reproducing themselves,I wondered? I could not see into the centre of the clump because the space there was as black as a black hole" [ a black hole is a point from which light does not escape on account of an immense gravitational pull created by a star imploding inward, currently understood as the final state of a star].
The quote from a visionary description of celestial bodies is particularly apt as a means of evoking the sense of stupefied wonder that always moved me whenever I gazed from outside as well as from within the mysterious power and peace of the interior of the forest in Benin-City, Nigeria,where the Ogba river first breaks ground.
The experience was like perceiving something belonging to an order of nature fundamentally different from that to which one belongs.The atmosphere of that forest represented an ontological category that was far from the human but was most appealing in an enigmatic sense, to the human mind.:
"…adjoining groves of trees…moving from one to the other, compelled by a numinous radiance emanating from the central grove, a flame seen with the inner eye, welling out of a community of trees rising from the point where the pure sparkling of the broad waters of a river emerge from the earth inside a forest, the atmosphere palpitating with a presence, invisible but majestic, compelling in its nonhuman beauty, repellent in its awesome otherness. The elemental space is bursting with something larger than life but which cannot be seen, Something which compels a sense of attendance at a meeting point of earth and the core of a distant nebula.
The solitary serenity of the desert, opening up a view in the unclouded sky of the diamond encrusted carpet created by our celestial partners, the stars, the transcendental heights of the lonely mountain tops, above which hang the immensity of the sky, the enigmatic depths of the ocean, a universe with its own citizens, mountains, forests and laws, the immense bowl of the sky within which the clouds travel, the dense darkness of space, patterned across unimaginable distances by the bodies that populate the universe, from stars to black holes, from planets to comets, all these converge in the meeting of mind to mind that is the encounter in the forest with the NonHuman but which is profoundly evocative of the capacity of the human to rise above the mundane".
As the pilot approaches the celestial entity, he models mathematical configurations to enable him map his path in space, configurations that are akin to the probabilistic configurations of Ifa Odu,the infinitely transformative spiral sequences of Opon Ifa and the geometric and topological patterns of Adinkra:
"...I was afire with the possibilities of new,godly life,so I made a point-to-point mapping into the centre of the gathered moons.
Immediately I knew that I had made a simple mistake.My ship did not fall out into the centre of the moons. Instead,I segued into a junglelike decision tree.A hundred different pathways opened before me,dividing and branching to ten thousand others.I was sick with fear because I had only instants to decide upon the correct branching,or I would be lost.
I reached out with my mind to my ship,and slowtime overcame me.My brain rushed with thoughts ,as snow flakes swirl in a cold wind.As my mentations accelerated,time seemed to slow down.I had a long,stretched out instant in which to prove a particularly difficult mapping theorem.I had to prove it quickly,as quickly as I could think.The computer modelled my thoughts and began infusing my visual cortex with ideoplasts that I summoned up from memory.These crystal-like symbols glittered before my inner eye;they formed and joined and assembled into the proof array of my theorem.Each individual ideoplast was lovely and unique.The represenstation of the fixed-point theorem,for instance,was like a coiled ruby necklace.
With the number storm carrying me along towards the moment of proof,I passed into dreamtime.There was an indescribable perception of orderedness;there was beauty and terror as the manifold opened before me.The number storm intensified,nearly blinding me with the white light of dreamtime.I wondered,as I had always wondered,at the nature of dreamtime and that wonderful mental space we call the manifold.Was the manifold true deep reality,the reality ordering the shape and texture of the outer universe?Some cantors believe this...and it is their faith that when mathematics is perfectly realized,the universe will be perfectly understood.
I was deep in dreamtime when I realized I did not understand the type of the decision tree branching all about me.I was close to my proof-I needed only to show that the Lavi set was embedded in a an invariant space.But I could not show this,and I did not know why.It should have been a simple thing to do.When the tree divided and split into a million and then a billion different branches,I began to sweat.Dreamtime intensified into that terrifying,nameless state I thought of as 'nightmare time'.Suddenly I proved that the Lavi set could not be embedded in an invariant space.My heart was beating like a panicked child’s.With my panic came despair,and my proof array began to crash,to shatter like ice crystals ground beneath a leather boot.There would be no proof,I knew.There would be no mapping to a point-exit in real space.I would not fall out around any star,near or distant.I was not merely lost in a hideous decision tree.I had stumbled-or been propelled-into an infinite tree.Even in the worst of decision trees,there is a probability that a pilot will find the correct branch among the billion billion branchings.But in an infinite tree,there is no correct branch,no branch leading to an exit into the warm sunlight of real space.The tree spreads outward,one branch growing into another,and into ten centillion others,on and on,dividing and redividing into infinity.From an infinite tree there is no escape.