Every myth bares a fragment of truth. That’s what my father used to say. You see, his interests did not lay solely in the field of science but in the realms of myth as well. He believed that if one penetrated deep into the core of myth, they discover wonders. He was a keen collector of myths – always looking for inspiration and new paths leading to knowledge, through our folklore inheritance. He passed on his passion for myths to me as well. I was fascinated by all these tales of magic and miracles, all this trying to uncover the knowledge that lay hidden underneath.
When I was little, he would either sing to me or narrate some fascinating story about knights, warlocks and swords of power and magical creatures that dwell deep in the forests. And in those stories there was always a longing for some secret knowledge or quest about a magical object and people willing to sacrifice their live to obtain it. Just like my father and Isaac were prepared to sacrifice everything in order to unravel the secret of the Cosmographer.
As I was growing up, I started spending more and more time in my father’s library as well as the University of Cambridge one, reading as many and try and interpret them and analyze them with a critical eye, just like my father taught me. During my time, the most popular tale of that sort was found in the Arthuriana, or the Legend of King Arthur cycle, with Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur (1441) being the most infamous text, depicting the events surrounding the Knights of the Round Table and their devoted search of the Holy Grail, a symbol of divine grace, eternal youth and spiritual purity. There were many versions regarding Arthur and the Holy Grail, with texts from Chrétien de Troyes, or Wace to name some of the most prevailing authors, becoming a point of research and interest for many generations to come.
For me, apart from the obvious appeal of the stories namely that of, the once and future King who will someday return and reign until the end of time, tragic love, knights in shining armor and everything, what I found the most fascinating, was the Grail itself and what it represented. Whether it was an object that bore the ‘royal blood’ of Jesus or whether it was an object of unimaginative power that enabled you to live eternally and be surrounded by divine grace and happiness, it remains until today I must say, a controversial point for many as to what it really stands for. Could it be the elixir of life? Is it just a superior ideal and something worth fighting for? Does it entail a secret truth or formula about the world we live in or scientific discoveries?
I can’t help but relate this story to my father and Newton’s personal quest about their discoveries and alchemy. Hidden knowledge and hidden power. Their discussions -all these countless hours in the lab- about the Philosopher’s stone and whether it did exist or not. My father strongly believed that the secret of the cosmographer could be unlocked. And he devoted his life trying to protect this secret from falling in the wrong hands. He also believed that the Philosopher’s stone was indeed a possibility. If that were true, who is to stop me from believing that the Holy Grail isn’t true? It makes me wonder. How many paths leading to secret truths remain hidden before our very eyes? My meeting with the Timesquatters proved to me that nothing is impossible and it fills me with anticipation and longing for all the great things this miraculous ability to time travel could lead us to discover.