Amniota's Narrow Tunnel To Dry Land

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Quotes of the Day

Insects, and then reptiles, began laying eggs on land
Air Breathing eggs
Allowing Birth far from water
Opening the heartland of continents to exploring animals!
-- SolSeed Diversitas Ritual
Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity combines space and time
into one dynamic unified entity, space-time.
We can think of the unified space-time
in terms of the block universe,
an atemporal entity that sort of just exists.
In a block universe of Einstein’s relativity,
there is no way to clearly define the present and so
no way to cleanly separate the future from the past
--Matt O’Dowd, Is the Future Predetermined by Quantum Mechanics?, PBS Space-Time, 2020-10-20

Contemplation for the Day

Let us imagine

You are squeezed into your berth with your elephant. You kind of regret bringing her given how little space you have and how big she is. For days you have been too exhausted to leave your berth because of the anxiety you have been feeling. The SpaceX Starship looked so big from the outside but in reality, it is quite small and very crowded.

One hundred people in 1100 cubic metes of space seemed like a good ratio, but every berth is 6 cubic meters in size. And there are 5 crew members. That would leave 470 cubic meters of common space. But the crew have 106 cubic meters of restricted space to themselves from which they run the ship, so that number drops to 364. And it seems like most everyone wants to spend most of their time out of their berths, socializing in the common space. Quite a few want to be able to stare at the stars through the huge windows. They keep the lights out in the 216 cubic-meter amphitheater for that reason. You find being surrounded by people you can’t see creepy, so you avoid the amphitheater. That cuts the common space available to you down to 148 cubic meters: the cafeteria and the lounge.

They are so crowded that it feels like you are crawling over and dodging around people wherever you go. It strains your claustrophobic nerves. You can hear the other passengers streaming by the entrance to your berth even as you huddle here trying to calm yourself. Another 4 months to get to Mars. Can you survive without going mad?

You look out the tiny portal in your berth’s wall at the black of space. You watch the stars slowly drifting by the portal. The artificial gravity generated by the Starship’s spin is too gentle to feel. But it does cause things to gently fall to the outer edge of the Starship which makes keeping things tidy a bit easier. The Sun comes into view and an oval of light appears on the wall of your berth. The window goes protectively black to protect your eyes from the harshness of the unfiltered Sun. You feel cut off even from the deadly vacuum of space which surrounds your tiny, crowded spacecraft.

“Oh Gaia, I long for the open air!” you mutter to yourself.

Gaia responds, “So did the first Amniotes.”

You are startled because you hadn’t noticed that Gaia was there in your berth with you, leaning against the bulkhead, “Gaia, where did you come from?”

Gaia laughs, “You are part of me, so I am wherever you are, Little One.”

“Oh.” you say thinking you missed something important, “Amniotes?”

Gaia repeats, “The first Amniotes; they longed for the open air.”

“Well yes, but they lived in the open air for their entire lives, for the most part, didn’t they?” you reply confused.

Gaia shakes her head, “No Amniote begins in open air, they all have to crawl through a narrow tunnel to get there.”

“But…?” you begin to exclaim. Gaia interrupts you.

“Let my daughter, the Goddess Amniota explain.” Gaia says, waves her hand and you are floating in a translucent white viscous liquid, two red eyes are glowing in the very dim light, staring back at you from directly in front of your face. You glance around and see that your elephant, or, at least, a fetal version of her, is floating next to you in the same liquid. You are both pressed against a membrane which separates a region of yellow liquid from the white liquid which surrounds you.

“I am in an egg?” you ask still confused.

The Goddess with those red glowing eyes replies directly into your mind telepathically, “Yes, Implanted One, you are passing through an egg.”

“Passing through?” your confusion isn’t clearing up, “I am inside it. Gaia mentioned a tunnel…”

Suddenly the egg is bathed in a hot blue light and you fear it will cook, “Just One, do you not remember your lesson; a sphere of limited duration is a four-dimensional tunnel in space-time.” You recognize the many-bodied unison-voice of Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom.

“Oh right, yes, I remember.” you say, not certain you ever really understood the Lesson of the Spherical Tunnel. But you don’t want to admit it just in case Sophia decides to give it to you again. Last time you were squashed twice as Sophia “helped” you experience existence as a two-dimensional being.

“Oh good.” Sophia says and then her hot blue glow is gone. Leaving you face to face with Amniota.

“You were saying, Amniota,” you stammer, “that I am passing through this egg.”

“Yes, Implanted One,” the Goddess replies telepathically, “It is a long tunnel, several weeks long in fact.”

You can barely move. You feel a rising panic, the elephant part of you struggles against the membrane which surrounds you.

“Implanted One!” Amniota remonstrates directly into your mind, “Do not struggle against your amniotic membrane; it is all that lies between you and drowning.”

This fact does not calm you. You feel the nearness of the liquid and your inability to move all the more. The panic continues to rise. Then you notice that you have not breathed the entire time you have been in the egg. You don’t feel any pressure in your lungs, nor any need nor urge to breath. “Why don’t I need breath?” you mutter (as best you can with no air to push through your larynx).

“Of course, you don’t, Implanted One.” Amniota replies, “Your amniotic sac does all of the breathing you need. It lets in oxygen, lets out carbon dioxide and keeps in water so that you always have what you need. Your amniotic sac cares for you.”

“How do embryos stand it?” you ask, “Being so tightly constricted in so small a space?”

“When they begin, they are free swimming in the womb, and they are unable to survive in air.” Amniota explains telepathically, “They have no instinctive fear of being enclosed in the egg as it grows around them; they are used to being immersed. And so, they enter the tunnel,”

“But later when they want to breath air…” You trail off uncertain.

Tunnel by Genevieve Townsend

“Later when they develop the need to breath air, the egg breaths for them and creates an air pocket.” Amniota’s voice finishes your thought, seemingly from inside your head, and your elephant reaches up and back with her trunk and finds an air pocket to breath from. “And then they are properly motivated to break out of the egg.” Amniota continues as you begin to feel a need to breath again. Your elephant thrashes about with her tusks and you feel the shell cracking, fluids draining out, and air coming in. “That is the moment when they reach the end of the tunnel.” Amniota finishes. You mount your elephant and ride her through the shell: broken, thin, calcified plates raining down around you.

Your elephant skids to a stop. She is in line to board the Starship. It is already too late to turn back. You are passing from the crew access arm, and through the hatch. You shiver at the thought of 4 months in those cramped confines. As you pass through the hatch a member of the crew closes it behind you. A steward beckons you to follow her and shows you to your berth. As you enter, you glance at her and see that she is Gaia. “Did Amniota’s lesson help, Little One?” she asks.

“I don’t see how it applies.” You say puzzled.

“Don’t you see, Little One?” Gaia laughs merrily, happy to be able to explain, “The embryo is never cut off from the fluid they swam in, in the womb. The amniotic fluid flows into the egg at the moment of its creation through the open past-end of the tunnel. That open end remains there in the embryo’s past. And later, the young amniote has access to the air they will breath for the rest of their lives; the air pocket inside the egg is directly connected to the atmosphere of the Earth through the open future-end of the tunnel, the moment when the shell breaks. The egg is a tunnel connecting the fluid in the womb with the atmosphere of the Earth.”

“Does the Starship do something similar?” you ask startled.

“Of course, Little One.” Gaia laughs.

“It directly connects the atmosphere of the Earth to the atmosphere of the habitat on Mars!” you realize.

“You are not trapped in a little shell in space, Little One.” Gaia explains, “The temporal part of the ship’s atmosphere you are breathing now is directly connected to its earlier parts and, through the open hatch, to the atmosphere of Earth.”

“And it is directly connected to its future parts and, through the open hatch at the future end of its journey, to the atmosphere of the vast habitat on Mars: The starship is an open tunnel connecting Earth’s atmosphere to that of the Martian habitat!” You conclude.

At first this thought helps a lot and you are able to take part in the social life of the ship. Often, enjoying the social life is enough to carry you through. At other times, the instinctive power of your claustrophobia takes over and you retreat to your berth and are exhausted by anxiety. But overall, the though keeps you going. When you breath in, you imagine that you are breathing in air through the open hatch at the past end of the Starship’s journey. You can see the open hatch, in your mind’s eye, from just before you stepped through. And, when you breath out, you imagine breathing out through the open hatch at the future end of the Starship’s journey, into the Martian habitat.

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