Author Topic: [Spoilers] What is Shambhala?  (Read 15824 times)

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Offline SF-Junky

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[Spoilers] What is Shambhala?
As far as I can see there is no general speculation thread about the UEF's super secret top priority project Shambala. What canon information do we have about Shambhala? Not very much.

Quote from: Nothing is True Command Brief
Henriksson is a physicist and statesman of considerable repute. Her personal records indicate that she was motivated by a desire to end this war rapidly and decisively. She saw the $r Alliance as the inevitable victors.

She expresses regret for the loss of Elder Taudigani, but contends that something termed 'Shambhala' is 'a reprehensible gamble with the lives of billions and possible extinction'.

If she reaches Artemis Station, the sacrifices we have made to enact the Elders' plan will be rendered meaningless.
Quote from: Nothing is True - Dialogue between Svetlana Henriksson and Admiral Steele
H: The project is called Shambhala. It began twenty years ago, but the final breakthroughs were not made until the 14th Battlegroup defectors brought their expertise to bear.
S: Is it a weapon? A warship? A beam-armed battle group? I need specifics.
H: Hahaha! How typical, Admiral. What good would a weapon have done us? You must understand that Shambhala is an answer to a problem that predates this war by decades.
S: Unlike you, Elder, I cannot grasp an entire culture with a few months' study. Make yourself plain.
H: Shambhala is the Elders' plan to end the war without the exercise of mliitary power. It preserves the principles of Ubuntu while satisfying the messy practical need for victory.
Quote from: Universal Truth - Ken
And your Federation has its own designs. Do you think the Elders were blind to the Shivan threat? They knew the Destroyers could rebuild collapsed jump nodes. Their Project Shambhala was an answer to that threat...now it is something more.
Quote from: Universal Truth - Elder Martin Mandho
Byrne is sure Shambhala will work, whether in the first stage or the second. All the simulations agree. But I wonder...are we too late? Is the verdict passed? Perhaps the second Wanderer will know...

That's it. You might want to read the Wikipedia article about Shambhala: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shambhala

Ken seems to give a pretty clear hint at what Shambhala might be. What he says about it makes me think that Shambhala was something that can seal off subspace jump nodes. But not a super-weapon with which to just blow them up. More like a key to simply lock them up like a door. That would also fit with the wiki description if Shambhala describing it as a 'Pure Land' and a 'place of peace/tranquility/happiness' - that would be the Sol system where humanity can live in safety from the Shivans or any other threats.
However, it is said that it is more now. Henriksson calls it 'a reprehensible gamble with the lives of billions and possible extinction'. That doesn't sound like a mere tool to seal jump nodes.

What I'm pretty sure of is that Shambhala is not just a big gun, a big warship or a big bomb. I'd really be surprised if it had something to do with brute force.

What do you think?

 

Offline CommanderDJ

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Re: [Spoilers] What is Shambhala?
I'm not sure what I'm basing this on, but I think it's safe to assume the Vishnans have something to do with it.
[16:57] <CommanderDJ> What prompted the decision to split WiH into acts?
[16:58] <battuta> it was long, we wanted to release something
[16:58] <battuta> it felt good to have a target to hit
[17:00] <RangerKarl> not sure if talking about strike mission, or jerking off
[17:00] <CommanderDJ> WUT
[17:00] <CommanderDJ> hahahahaha
[17:00] <battuta> hahahaha
[17:00] <RangerKarl> same thing really, if you think about it

 

Offline An4ximandros

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Re: [Spoilers] What is Shambhala?
Quote from: Wikipedia
Hindu texts such as Vishnu Purana mention Shambhala as the birth place of Kalki, the final incarnation of Vishnu who will usher in a new Golden Age (Satya Yuga).
I think there is a chance the Vishnans will have something to do with it.
Quote from: Universal Truth
The walls are ours as are all those who cross them.
I think 'The Project' is a gateway to Shambhala... and given the massive energy farm at the sun mentioned in the forums, it might involve blowing it wide open into a Vishnan Capella-like transabyssal gate.

According to Wiki, Shambhala is related to Olmolungring (in its Tibetan Buddhist scriptures), which is described as:
Quote from: Wikipedia
... a non-dual spiritual realm (plane or dimension) of the Bon tradition which resides beyond dualism. It is understood to be a timeless perfected realm where peace and joy are the very fabric of being.

Shambhala could also describe the Nagari network, where all minds meld and we can see the 'core' of a person; which is not transmittable through code.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2013, 11:30:00 am by An4ximandros »

 

Offline crizza

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Re: [Spoilers] What is Shambhala?
Just came to my mind: Maybe it's some kind of mind control thing or, taken the 14th in mind, it allows to seal jump nodes or create connections to paralell universes, so they can get reinforcements from those points, combing several GTVAs/UEFs to destroy the shivans...
Makes me wonder...is there a universe where the Terrans and Vasudans were able to defeat the shivan menace?
Check out my blog:

http://geo.schulzbert.de/

 

Offline BritishShivans

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Re: [Spoilers] What is Shambhala?
Extremely doubtful on the "defeating Shivans" part. The Shivans are multi-universal like the Vishnans - if such a universe exists, it's more likely the Shivans are simply ignoring them for whatever reason.

But either way, I was gonna post a thing but it was similar to An4ximandro's post, so I didn't bother. Shambhala *definitely* has something to do with Nagari, one way or another.

 

Offline Damage

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Re: [Spoilers] What is Shambhala?
Just a wild speculation:  What if Shambhala is a method to trigger wide-spread nagari sensitivity in humans--i.e. nagari interaction across the board?  We know that Nagari sensitivity is can be triggered externally, we know that it can be "programmed" into human DNA (for lack of a better description), what if it's already at least partially coded into all humans?  (Or even all sentients--different subject and question.)  I have no idea what the possible benefits to this could be though.
I didn't feel like putting anything here.  Then I did it anyway just to be contrary.

 

Offline QuakeIV

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Re: [Spoilers] What is Shambhala?
Maybe they will try to get the vishnans to gobble up all of the ubuntu humans into the summed psyche.  That would fit the available information I think.

 
Re: [Spoilers] What is Shambhala?
Shambhala is a Vishnan endgame-by-proxy which, if carried through to its completion, will result in some arbitrary catastrophe due to their enforced naïveté towards certain greater cosmic hazards.
The good Christian should beware of mathematicians, and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell.

 

Offline swashmebuckle

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Re: [Spoilers] What is Shambhala?
It's the dance from the Weekend at Bernie's films.

 

Offline Fury

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Re: [Spoilers] What is Shambhala?
That's the best you guys could come up with? I'm disappointed, son. :nono:

There is only one question you need to ask yourselves when you think about the possibilities you have thought up. And that is "Is this cheesy, stupid or complete cop-out?". If answer to that question is yes, then you can be certain it's not what Shambhala is.

 

Offline Droid803

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Re: [Spoilers] What is Shambhala?
According to the capship command script, the Shambhala is a player-flyable UED Solaris.
Giving that much power to ALPHA ONE is surely 'a reprehensible gamble with the lives of billions and possible extinction', after all.
(´・ω・`)
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Offline BritishShivans

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Re: [Spoilers] What is Shambhala?
spoiler: shambhala is actually a mass-transmogrification device mounted on the UED Solaris that can turn people into ants. the great darkness is in fact a huge, incomprehensible, and ancient termite, and this is why it consumes everything

because it sees everything else as ants

and ants are natural enemies of termites

the elder council's plans are to turn everyone fighting them/against the vishnans into ants so that the great darkness will attack them

(obvious ****post)

 

Offline Kiloku

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Re: [Spoilers] What is Shambhala?
Extremely doubtful on the "defeating Shivans" part. The Shivans are multi-universal like the Vishnans - if such a universe exists, it's more likely the Shivans are simply ignoring them for whatever reason.

This made me think even more. Part of what brings such great power to the Vishnans and Shivans is their multi-universal nature. Maybe Shambhala would end up making humans multi-universal too, thus bringing them to the level of these great giants. Perhaps this is what the Shivans were trying to stop, while the Vishnans believed they should allow it.
If the Elders make all the UEF reach this level of transcendence, they would easily defeat the GTVA, possibly without much more casualty than the needed to force a retreat out of Sol.

The only thing that ends up left out of the equation are the Vasudans. I think their role has to be bigger than "that other species the humans met", but I have no idea how they'd fit into this line of thought.

 

Offline Mars

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Re: [Spoilers] What is Shambhala?
If the Elders make all the UEF reach this level of transcendence, they would easily defeat the GTVA, possibly without much more casualty than the needed to force a retreat out of Sol.

How would this help them? This hasn't been a major tactical advantage of the Shivans so far, for instance. Their advantage is that they are far more advanced in every way, not simply multi-universal.

 

Offline Luis Dias

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Re: [Spoilers] What is Shambhala?
The problem of writing about transcendence is that it is as hard to do so in a relatable and understandable way as would be for a monkey to explain to another monkey the complexities of human cultures and dynamics.

Not only you have to bend your own brain around the paradoxes and the solutions to them, but also the consequences that come from these transcendental technologies and new social, intelligent constructs and instantiations, then make the correct iterations for (again) the new problems and the new solutions and so on.... until you got a cohesive and minimally intelligent description of such a system. I fear that at that point though, it's absolutely unrelatable to us humans.

It kinda reminds me the problem of celular automata, that concept where you have to let time go through the iterations for us to really see what the outcome really is, that there is no general quick solutions for the usual problem "in the next trillion iteration, the result in this box will be white or black?", you really do have to run down the entire simulation to get the answer to the problem.

So this difficulty is present in all sci fi. Already the idea that in 2300-2360 there will be still human pilots and human crews in space is mind-boggingly naive and stupid if you think more than a second about it. At the very least, these will be highly modified human beings, at a more "realistic" level, they would be just AIs way faster and more efficient fighters (and actually disposable) than any human could ever hope to be. However, we just pretend that most kinds of developments in the future do not happen at all and just focus on some particulars so our heads do not explode at trying to comprehend a completely unrelatable new world. Freespace then has BEAMZ and FTL and space battles and so on (mind boggling on its own) but it places such battles in the most WW2 way possible, navy-fashion, no AIs whatsoever, all institutions function mostly the same way, etc.

I am not complaining about that. It's efficient and relatable. However, when we are given all this and then are asked to ponder transcendental stuff like Shambala the cracks start to get noticed (the idiotic thing to do at that point would be trying to rationalize away those "non-developed" ways I pointed out. Better to just ignore them).

Shamballa is the general symbolic placeholder for the transhumanist and "singularity" thematic that has been the most hyped about thing in sci fi for decades now. What can be novel about it? What are the new questions we can pose about it?

As far as I could list, here are several few questions I see already at least referenced in the BP series:

 - What is consciousness? What are the landscapes of conscious natures? Does it even include things like anti-consciousness?
 - What is free-will? Are we here to be ordered around by higher forces or do we actually control anything at all? What is even the right way to ask this very question?
 - What is nature? Is the universe just a calculation happening (the cellular automata), or is it something where calculations are bound to happen (the shivans)?
 - What is our place in the universe? And is this very question an oppressing or liberating one? Should we stick to "our place" or should we dare otherwise?


So the stakes are high and the ambitions are great. I hope it delivers, but I won't be sad if it won't. It's not like those are easy questions.

 

Offline An4ximandros

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Re: [Spoilers] What is Shambhala?
This made me think even more. Part of what brings such great power to the Vishnans and Shivans is their multi-universal nature. Maybe Shambhala would end up making humans multi-universal too, thus bringing them to the level of these great giants. Perhaps this is what the Shivans were trying to stop, while the Vishnans believed they should allow it.
If the Elders make all the UEF reach this level of transcendence, they would easily defeat the GTVA, possibly without much more casualty than the needed to force a retreat out of Sol.
Let's work this line of though a bit.

If the Sham (:P) project is a 'mass-deliverance engine', the Vishnans changed their minds about the whole ascended humanity idea, so says Samuel in UT2. Why? Maybe it's the GTVA. Maybe they'd get sucked in as well and screw up all the Vishnans were planning. They are, after all, warmongering humans; and the Vishnans want builders to restore the trinity. Aside: It would not even surprise me if the Vasudans were the Great Darkness by some evol plot-twist.

Or maybe Shambhala will simply turn out to be a Nagari broadcast of Adm. Robert Bryne playing a guitar in a space concert with Netreba, Calder and Bei (Senior).
« Last Edit: November 05, 2013, 06:35:35 am by An4ximandros »

 

Offline 666maslo666

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Re: [Spoilers] What is Shambhala?
Extremely doubtful on the "defeating Shivans" part. The Shivans are multi-universal like the Vishnans - if such a universe exists, it's more likely the Shivans are simply ignoring them for whatever reason.

This made me think even more. Part of what brings such great power to the Vishnans and Shivans is their multi-universal nature. Maybe Shambhala would end up making humans multi-universal too, thus bringing them to the level of these great giants. Perhaps this is what the Shivans were trying to stop, while the Vishnans believed they should allow it.

How about the other way around? Shambhala is a device to permanently seal off our universe from the rest of the multiverse. This would presumably wreak havoc on remaining Vishnans and Shivans, which would decide to attack GTVA space, thereby forcing them to withdraw from the Sol and sign a cease fire with the UEF. The "gamble" would be betting on the attacking Shivans being sufficiently disoriented and weakened by the sudden severance of the connection to the rest of the multiverse as to no longer pose an existential threat to humanity.
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Offline Luis Dias

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Re: [Spoilers] What is Shambhala?
Ah yes, this puny civ in the corner of the universe would be able to stop multidimensional travel by multidimensional deep-time deep-thought and deep-space alien species. That's great writing.

 

Offline An4ximandros

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Re: [Spoilers] What is Shambhala?
That idea is worthy enough of two or three J-Anime franchises though. :warp:

 

Offline cmap38

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Re: [Spoilers] What is Shambhala?
I don't know if I've found one theory that is completely satisfying, but the best one so far would seem to be the idea (mentioned above) that Shambhala is a way to connect all humans to the nagari network, perhaps forming some sort of unified psyche. Assuming that humans in the GTVA become connected as well, this could very well be a way to end the war without having to fight it out, as the Elders would seem to prefer.

This idea seems to be in line with a lot of the fiction. For example, as per AoA, the vishnans seem to believe that humans have the potential to reach a state of enlightenment, and by doing so can take the place of the brahmans in some sort of heavenly trinity between the shivans, vishnanas, and humans. It's indicated that the vishnans, through nagari contact with the Elders, are cultivating humanity towards this state of enlightenment. It is therefore plausible that this level of nagari-connectedness between humans is a major milestone on this path to enlightenment. This would somewhat explain why Shambhala wasn't making much progress until the highly nagari-sensitive Samuel Bei showed up with the 14th battlegroup (although it doesn't explain why nagari sensitivity amongst the first alpha one, the vasudan pilots, and the Elders wasn't adequate for this progress).

Obviously Ken has other designs. His deal with the shivans is based on having humanity do the "one thing the shivans can't". Considering the "War in Heaven" that is currently going on between the shivans and vishnans in this story, my best guess is that this task involves injury/desctruction to the vishnans by humans. How could humans, or Laporte in particular, damage/destroy the vishnans? I'm not sure. We know that the vishnans inhabit and control the boundaries between universes, and perhaps subspace as well. We also know that they can communicate through nagari contact.

Perhaps Laporte has been meticulously cultivated by Ken to use her off-the-chart nagari abilities to either "hack" the vishnans, or somehow mess with the boundary world that they inhabit. Perhaps she needs to assemble a large battlegroup (as Ken tells her in Universal Truth) to punch through GTVA space and reach some location where this can be accomplished? Perhaps this location involves that newly discovered ancient Knossos portal in Ross 128 that was mentioned in AoA?

One problem with this theory is that the vasudans play almost no role here. It is mentioned somewhere (a tech entry?) that one of the vasudan Lucifer pilots was invited to visit Emperor Khonsu II. Between this and all the tech info about vasudan mysticism and the Hammer of Light, it seems likely that vasudans will end up playing a huge role in this as well. As a matter of fact, vasudans seem to be more enlightened than humans. So maybe I've got this all backwards, and it's really the vasudans who are supposed to take the place of the brahmans.

One more quick thought: At the end of WiH R1, the two Beis mention that the capture of the Anemoi logistics ship was a big help for Project Shambhala. The Federation also seems to be holding back a huge chunk of the military to aid in its completion. This leads me to believe that, whether weapon or not, whatever they are building must be *very large* (analogous to the Crucible in Mass Effect 3). Why else would they need all those assets?