Hi there. Bit late to the party, and this may have been done already, but I haven’t the time to read through all 16 pages 😉
So, the Great Darkness, ‘GD’ is something so dangerous that the Shivans consider wiping out whole civilisations on the slight chance they might bring it about is wholly justified. But we do not know what it is (yet).
Here is my guess. A species that is expansionist and has discovered subspace could theoretically cover much of the galaxy, or even multiple galaxies, and possibly even multiple galaxies in multiple parallel universes. This could result in a population of trillions, which might be quite homogeneous with subspace travel – especially if aided by long range Knossos type technology.
This species, lets call them ‘Species X’ ‘SX’ may then discover that the subspace medium can be used for cognition, and that minds can be ‘uploaded’ to it by technological means. (This possibly being what Shambhala is about) thus granting the species a form of immortality and near limitless cognitive power.
If a significant percentage of this homogeneous civilisation were to be uploaded, it could create a very powerful and homogeneous Summed Psyche – which we will call SXSP. Such a Summed Psyche will eventually get to the point where it understands everything, even if it takes billions of years to do so.
At which point the only thing it does not fully understand is its self, so it starts contemplating this. It becomes a ‘think about me’.
However, similar to how some say ‘the one thing the human brain cannot fully comprehend is itself’, SXSP cannot fully understand itself. It is using its near limitless cognitive power to attempt to solve an equally limitlessly complex problem, so it can’t do it. In an attempt to do so, it absorbs more ‘stuff’ (be that matter, energy, minds, the substrate of spacetime / subspace itself etc.) to give it more cognitive power.
However, by absorbing all this ‘stuff’ it has made itself more complex, so it still cannot solve the problem. It then absorbs yet more ‘stuff’ to try to solve the problem, but becomes yet more complicated in the process.
It then gets caught in this loop, never being able to catch up with itself, all the while absorbing all around it, like a cognitive black hole. It has become the GD. Theoretically such an entity could swallow up the whole universe if given enough time. Therefore, extincting whole civilisations is a comparatively very small price to pay to prevent such a catastrophe.
The Vishnans were not sufficiently populace or homogeneous enough when they became a Summed Psyche, so there is little risk of them becoming a GD. The Shivans are too chaotic to ever become one. The ancients could well have become one – so they had to go. Humanity and Vasudans had the potential to become the GD, BUT humanity at least has the potential to become…whatever the Brahmans were. The Vishnans view this as desirable.
Perhaps finding a successor to the Brahmans, Brahman Successor (BS), is in some way essential for the universe in ways we are not yet aware of. Therefore, there is perhaps a balance between the risk of a civilisation becoming a GD and the need for a BS.
The Vishnans allowed humanity, and presumably the Vasudans too, in the parallel universe to be sacrificed, so that they could alter the minds of the sleepers in the Sanctuary. They then engineered events with the 14th Battlegroup so that the Sanctuary would end up in Sol in our reality, amongst a population that was already being influenced by the Vishnans.
Perhaps the humans of Sol were being groomed to become the BS. However, the war with the GTVA threw a spanner in the works. The GTVA, at least the Human part aka the ‘Tevs’, are far more war like, and thus far more likely to become a GD.
*When it appeared that the Tevs were going to win, the Vishnans cut their losses and ordered a cull of humanity as a whole to prevent the risk of a GD. They could perhaps try again at fostering a BS with a different species at a later date.
If the UEF wins, the Vishnans may call off the cull and continue to groom the UEF. This could be why the UEF losing the war would mean the extinction of humanity.
Quite how this all fits with the Vishnan’s supposed ability to see the future I’m not clear. Perhaps they can see multiple futures, but due to quantum uncertainty, they cannot know for sure which one it will be, so it acts more like highly developed predictions.
There appears to be a conflict of interests between the Shivans and the Vishnans. The Shivans are perhaps less concerned with a BS being created. Perhaps by their nature, their continued existence is not predicated on it. However, their continued existence IS predicated on preventing a GD. They are perhaps willing to go along with the Vishnans to foster a BS to an extent, but will go against them if their cost/benefit algorithms suggest the risk of a GD is too great.
This is possibly what happened between them in the alternate universe, the argument between Kalki and Vishnu in Universal Truth. The Vishnans were prepared to give humanity a chance of becoming the BS, but the Shivans felt the risk was too great, and that another species would be better suited.
By War in heaven the Vishnans appear to have changed their mind. (See above*)
It is possible a full-blown GD has existed before. The ‘Granit Hunter’ files suggest the multiple universes were once combined. However, an event named Tau-Break occurred some billions of years ago which split them. Perhaps this was a form of quarantine, trapping the GD in one universe so the others might survive. The question is, are we in that universe?
I love the big existential and philosophical questions this creates. It mirrors the ‘For the earth to survive, should humans cease to exist?’ question, but on a pan-galactic scale. Therefore, even if you are playing as the ‘good guy/girl/alien’ your heroic actions could be dooming the whole of existence. Something to think about when you are earning all those medals for all those Shivans you killed 😉