The 'Curved Time' is a semi-mythical period which, despite the relative lack of modern evidence for its reality, is widely regarded as a pivotal aspect of history. Specifically, the Curved Time is a universally shared pieced of ancestral lore which represents the origin of sentient life within the Manifold Sky
Regardless of species or ethnicity, all extant cultures either acknowledge or historically acknowledged the following aspects of the Curved Time:
- The reality of some sort of conscious existence pre-dating the advent of sentient life in the Manifold roughly 10,000 years ago.
- The fact that, in the aforementioned existence, sentient creatues lived in places where the horizon curved away in all directions, leaving the sky unenclosed by the convex 'Curved Place'. While descriptions of the Curved Place vary between species and cultures, its curved quality is preserved across all versions of the Curved Time mythology.
- The fact that, for whatever reason, sentient creatures were removed from the aforementioned spherical globe by some external force (i.e. the migration into the Manifold was not voluntary). This purported 'earliest time' in the Manifold was used to establish Year 0 on the Manifold Standard Calendar; the Navigator's Guild approximated the date through the assistance of anthropologists studying the cross-cultural mythology of the Curved Time.
- The fact that, unlike the Manifold, certain natural laws (e.g. spatial relationships, geology, and gravity) functioned differently during the Curved Time. Scientists and explorers will sometimes express a phantasmal sense that something is 'off' with how the natural world works in the Manifold, but have a difficult time explaining why that might be.
While all extant cultures within the Manifold possess some ancestral recollection of the Curved Time, no two groups share the same interpretation of it.
Seal of the Unexpected by BCGR_Wurth
, being heavily invested in Unexpectorism
, believe that the Curved Time represents a sort of primeval utopia from which the men and women of the Manifold were cast for various transgressions which plague Humanity to the modern day: faithlessness, cruelty, decadence, and a lack of forethought. Belief in the House of the Unexpected
- and, therefore, a similar belief in the doctrine of 'Manifold as Divine Punishment' - is also common among Elovisians
. This shared sense of history is a result of a shared origin in Medial A
cube and persists in spite of the War of Reunification
Rostran Esotericism by BCGR_Wurth
to the animistic faith of Rostran Esotericism
, the Curved Time represents a time where the spiritual and physical worlds intersected. As an Epicyclist
faith, Rostran Esotericism treats the Curved Time as a spiritual plane to which all beings will return upon death and from which all beings have arisen at birth or creation. To them, the Curved Time is less a series of events than it is a place which existed, exists, and will exist in perpetuity. Nevertheless, more rational adherents to the faith observe that the curious universality of belief in the Curved Time - even among Linearist
faiths and more secular cultures - somewhat undermines this interpretation.
Knappism by BCGR_Wurth
view the event as a 'convenient fiction' implemented by a Creator
who understood that a history, however fabricated, was important for the mental stability of the sentient beings He had created. As supporters of 'Last Kekuni
-ism' and simulationist cosmology in general, Forgists generally hold that - as memory is unreliable at the best of times - it is concievably possible that memories could be so intricately fabricated that they would be indistinguishable from 'real' experience. Still, orthodox Forgism lacks any firm explaination as to why the Creator would chose to fabricate such an implausible history instead of just making everyone believe that the Manifold had simply existed forever. The Knappist
sect resolves this question by positing that the Knapper of Spirits chose to instill such mysterious memories into people explicitily to encourage striving for the truth as a form of spiritual development - even if the truth turns out to be disappointing in the end.
Biocosmism by BCGR_Wurth
, for their part, regard the Curved Time as merely the place in which the Biocosm
was born, postulating that anyone who managed to somehow escaped the Biocosm would find it rooted atop - or growing throughout - the world which came before. Instead of being cast out from the curved world, sentient beings share in the collective memory of the Biocosm as a whole, being themselves integral parts of that greater biological entity, and only came about as the Biocosm grew from a mere inhabitant of the world into a world in its own right. Like the rest of Biocosmism, this view does not yet have popular appeal; tthe Biocosmist myths surrounding the Curved Time often directly contradict those of other faiths.
Eyes of the Void Logo by BCGR_Wurth
, having the most clear-cut connection to the Curved Time through their extensive oral traditions
, only attest to the existence
of the Curved Time. They do not ascribe any reason in particular to their 'banishment' to the Manifold, merely stating that the 'sky-spirit' did it for reasons unknown. Also, alongside the notably astrologically-focussed Eyes of the Void
, the unnamed ovinex religion contains one of the only religious accounts of the celestial
objects known as "stars."
The mythology of the Curved Time is so pervasive and consistent among sentient species that it remains a serious area of ongoing anthropological study despite its apparently unfalsifiable (and therefore unscientific) nature. No obvious means of cultural transmission existed before the development of airships
capable of crossing the inflection layers
, and yet evidence repeatedly has shown that the mythology of the Curved Time predates this event in all populated regions of the Manifold. While many Lost Tribes
left no decipherable script behind, those few who did also showed evidence, sparse as it may be, of belief in the Curved Time.
No one has yet devised a way to exit the Manifold into the Celestial Realms
, a step which would be required to confirm or refute claims of some pre-existing 'home' for sentient beings. Furthermore, while many of the myths surrounding the Curved Time make refference to some external intelligence, no such intelligences have (knowingly) been encountered by living people. Unfortunately, with little in the way of empirical evidence for the Curved Time, its existence remains merely an article of faith for the residents of the Manifold.