Zero

Ascent and Descent, Beyond the Zero

Gravitation is a force human kind encounters everywhere, one which remained unconquered for the vast part of human existence.
When physicists look at gravitational fields, they consider all objects within a given field to have negative energy to indicate their captivity in that gravitational field. If an object has exactly enough energy to escape that field, it has 0 energy. In essence when it goes beyond that 0, it becomes free from the gravitational system. This bit describing the rocket's ascent at the very end made me think of a possible explanation for what constitutes going "beyond the zero":

beyond the zero

This was originally a comment on rose's entry, but it got pretty lengthy, so I decided to go ahead and make it an entry of its own.

The idea of going "beyond the zero" (the title of the first part), seems to be a major theme, but I don't fully understand what this is supposed to mean. I realize that we've talked about this, but since I still don't feel like I really grasp the concept, I decided to list some of the most important zero references that we have come across so far, with the help of the website roses linked.

The book opens with Pirate's dream: "No, this is not a disentanglement from, but a progressive knotting into--they go under archways...developing through those empty days brilliant and deep, especially at dawn, with blue shadows to seal its passage, to try to bring events to Absolute Zero..."

back to the one-zero idea

I know the idea of ones and zeros has been talked about before in both class and in the blog, though the only instance I can think of off the top of my head is regarding Roger Mexico being the in-between to Poinstman's ones and zeros. On page 410 the idea comes up again, this time relating to personal peace. "We live lives that are waveforms constantly changing with time, now positive, now negative. Only at moments of great serenity is it possible to find the pure, the informationless state of signal zero." There are several very interesting things about this quote, one of which is the continuation of the one-zero theme. Also, I find it really strange that he would say that serenity=informationless, like ignorance is bliss. It's also funny because Pynchon goes on to say "Closest to zero among them all, perhaps, was the African Enzian"...I'm not entirely sure what the significance is of Enzian being "at peace" but I feel like there must be something.

Schwarzkommando and the Zero

During my reading, I've found that the Schwarzkommando seem to exist between the one and zero of existence; they seem to be in a netherworld between existence and non-existence. At PISCES, the Schwarzkommando's existence is accredited to a summoning through the creating of the Schwarzkommando movie: "it is widely believed that the Schwarzkommando have been summoned, in the way demons may be gathered in, called up to the light of day and earth by the now defunct Operation Black Wing." Enzian isn't even sure of their existence, on page 367: "Our chances of being right here right now are only a little better than even - the slightest shift in the probabilities and we're gone - schnapp! like that." In being "passed over," they were granted a new lease on life, but not a normal one.

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