Starting the New Year by receiving new comments on your blog is always a wonderful thing. In 2021 it is Randall Galera, who stumbled upon my recent post about Cistercian Numbers and used the opportunity to throw in a few ideas of his own. Rather than discussing this in private, i suggested “coming out in the open” and present Randall’s thoughts for discussion in a larger forum. (Getting only answers from a single bloke like me probably wouldn’t do him justice.)
So, with Randall’s permission, here goes:
Facts: The book was found on this planet. Its pages have been dated and are consistent. (Someone grabbed a stack off the printer and set to work). The ink and paper coincide with materials available during the time period. So physically we can say the book is real and is aged correctly.
One must then make a couple of assumptions. It was written by a human or it was not.
On one hand, the precision and consistency are impressive for a mortal scribe. Since to this day, we can not attribute the letter-word-cypher model, we are either dealing with an extremely complex code that today’s quantum computers might have a crack at, divine inspiration, demonic whisperings, multidimensional influence, or extraterrestrial copy. The mortal writer/artist either contained this knowledge first hand, learned it, copied it, or it was dictated.
That being the case, let us look at the artwork.
For my taste, it is too close to what we call familiar while simultaneously being unnervingly alien. First what appears to be women are depicted throughout the manuscript. ONLY women. They appear to have hairstyles, fair features, breasts, and pubic hair. Some are naked and others clothed, one has a crossbow. Most, if not all, have enlarged abdomens. (customary for ‘plump’ women in middle age art.) Feet are rarely depicted. They all appear to have a natural feminine appearance (https://brbl-zoom.library.yale.edu/viewer/1006205) There appears to be a queen depicted at the top. Nothing described as ‘man’ could be found. If we are to ascribe to the “alien” theory, we are looking at a society that 1)Is devoid of the male sex. 2) depicts humans comprised of both sexes in one or one in which there need be only one sex for reproduction 3)that has males but views them insignificant or irrelevant to included in the manuscript. (girl scouts handbook)
In all cases, I asked but why the medieval dresses? It’s too similar, yet distinctly strange. I’m leaning towards a ‘multiverse/dimensional/back to the future’ theory.
Obviously, the example of flora are detailed and we assume descriptions are included. We see a similarity that is either the fault of the artist or of design. The root systems follow rules similar to that of the text itself. Some are snake-like, some bulbous, others square, most short, and almost all unlike anything we have growing out of the ground. If there is a soil system (barring hydroponics or another undiscovered agricultural system), it is not earth.
This means to me, the source material of the VM has not been discovered on this planet in current or fossilized form. It either originates from someone’s very vivid and detailed imagination, or from one of the aforementioned external influences.
As stated in your earlier entry, there are no recognizable numbers in the manuscript. If there are astrological charts, it defies our reality to assume one could chart stars, dates, and time without numerical reference. So if numbers are in the manuscript we have not identified them. Please correct me if I am wrong, but what if the entire manuscript ARE numbers? Is the number 12 always written in its long-form, twelve? Are there letters that are numbers, or words, or both?
It is said math is the universal language. We’ve sent out probes with equations written on them in hopes of contact with an alien race. Now, we can’t assume everyone in the universe understands roman numerals, but the core concept of math should be universal.
The issue of language is that it is fluid and ever-changing. Words die out, change meaning, and shift over time. But a language based on math would make sense in an alternate/advanced civilization. If the text in the manuscript depicts equations instead of words, perhaps that could answer many of the anomalies we encounter when trying to decipher the VM, and still adhere to a strict grammatical construct. It would eliminate dialects, and different languages altogether. No more French vs English vs Russian.
If 1+1=2, and two equals love, we run into other issues with the definition of love but as a written text, we can modify 1-1=0. (Death) Now of course this is an oversimplified view on the concept, but my point is has anyone looked at the universal language of math? I haven’t found any examples. What if the language is an actual mathematical equation that then translates into something we understand as language.
I’m just throwing out wild ideas here, and if you have already explored these concepts I’m quite happy to read about them.
To sum up: I think the VM although found on this planet, depicts things we understand in a way we haven’t seen. Raising several existential questions. Little green men from mars? Intelligent design? Simulation code? The magical world of fairies and elves? Thanks for taking the time, let me know your thoughts.
So far Randall’s ideas. A few comments of mine:
- Of course the suggestion of an extraterrestrial source for the VM material is a bit outlandish, raising many more questions than it answers. I’ll simply ignore this idea for the minute
- Overall, with the C14 dating of the vellum, the handwriting and the illustrations all pointing to a 15th century origin, I think the most workable idea is one or more scribes in Renaissance Italy with a few unconventional ideas about enciphering and scientific ideas.
- It has been suggested by a number of people (last but not least by myself: see The “Face Value”-Fallacy) that, rather than being “words” in the conventional sense, the ciphertext character “groups” in the VM might be “codes” of some kind. Ideas suggested have included, but are not limited to —
- an upgraded system of Roman numerals
- something akin to the Dewey Decimal system (where the plaintext “value” of the VM word might be the word of the title of a book found in a universal library)
- coordinates pointing… somewhere?
- a constructed a priori language, where words aren’t derived from an existing language, but the vocabulary is synthetically constructed, with eg a particular prefix for all things living and a different prefix for all things dead, a second syllable denoting the size etc., so that hopefully in the end the string of attributes will allow one to identify the object in question.
The last item is something which probably comes closest to Randall’s ideas of a “mathematical” language, though I might add a few observations of my own: First, while I think such an enciphering system is conceivable, I’d hardly rate it probable. Secondly, “a priori languages” are virtually unknown before the 18th century, so one would have to admit the dating of the VM is substantially flawed, or our authors were far ahead of their time. (To be fair, whatever their actual enciphering method was, it is still unknown today, so they were in any case ahead of their time.) Thirdly, and that’s more of a personal opinion, the whole concept of the VM with it’s wildly imaginative illuminations to me seems to point more to a “stream-of-consciousness” approach to it, than to a strictly scientific/logical concept. (In this context I still think that Churchill and Kennedy’s glossolalia hypothesis is worth a thought.)
But, dear readership, don’t let this discourage you: Fire away!
*) Last but not least by myself: