There Were No Beginnings, There Will Be No Endings

“Science has found that nothing can disappear without a trace. Nature does not know extinction; all it knows is transformation…” Werner Von Braun (Nichols 1962).

“This entire globe, this star, not being subject to death, and dissolution and annihilation being impossible anywhere in Nature, from time to time renews itself by changing and altering all its parts.” Giordano Bruno.

“It never starts it never stops it just goes it never zeroes.”  Robert Lindsay, 1979, from an unpublished work of fiction.

As you can see, the notion of beginnings and endings, of births and deaths, is illusory. As something may not come out of nothing (story of my life), yet something may not turn into nothing either. Nothingness may not birth any something, and something may not turn into nothing. It seems that this is occurring all the time, but this is mere illusion.

Instead births or beginnings are simply one form of energy and matter transforming into other, usually more salient one. Endings, deaths, dissolutions, are nothing of the sort. Something has merely transformed into something else, as we saw with beginnings.

Bruno, burned at the stake for heresy by the Inquisition in 1600 as a martyr to science, in part for upholding Copernican astronomy, was ahead of his time. The universe was infinite, as he put it, “many worlds.” All matter was made of atoms. Our world was not the center of the universe or of anything but that it only seems that way.

No position, not up or down or this way or that, is set, as all is relative to the positions of other entities. Life was probably not unique here, and had probably sprung up in many other places in the universe. Comets were the remains of stars, not messages from the Gods. In a sense, everything is connected to everything, prefiguring particle physics. Space was infinite (Bruno is almost the father of infinity) and if Space was infinite, than so must be Time.

And logically, if all of this is true, then Christianity is “wholly false.”

Although he did believe in God, it was a diminished God. This from a Dominican friar who spent most of his time in monasteries!

For the logical cul de sac in italics above, he burned with fire. 13 years later, Galileo barely saved his own skin from similar holy heat.

If space is infinite, then so must be time.

Here we look to the early Jewish Kabbalists, studying in the 1300s-1400s. After centuries of study, they determined that God was “endless bright White Light, extending as far as one can see in every direction.” Or infinitival White Light. Furthermore, God is “that which cannot be known.” Going beyond that, God was “that thought of which man may not even properly entertain.” In other words, God is beyond our mental grasp. He is the Inconceivable.

It is now the hour for a brief discussion about Time. I haven’t read Kant yet, and maybe I can’t, but we will dabble anyway.

First of all, the future simply does not exist. You are all aware of this, right? Quit shaking your heads. The. Future. Does. Not. Exist. Say it until you are blue in the face. What is fascinating about the future is that we all know it doesn’t exist, yet we spend all of our lives pretending that it does exist.

Tomorrow I will…In the future I will…Pretty soon I’m going to…I have an appointment on the…I will be graduating on the…I’ll meet you at the restaurant at two…I’m looking forward to the future.

For something that doesn’t exist, we sure spend a lot of time thinking and talking about it! Worst of all, we prepare for it!

Now we have hopefully established the nonexistence of the future. At some point, sure, the future will exist. For instance, it will probably be 11 PM here in 31 minutes, assuming the world does not blow up. But at exactly that moment 31 minutes from now that the future supposedly exists, it won’t even be the future anymore! It will be another present moment. Follow? Of course you do.

What follows after the end of the last paragraph is that the present does indeed exist. You’d be hard to find a philosopher to disagree with that statement. A poststructuralist might, but they disagree with everything. Ah, so the present exists! But the future does not? Surely not. So we are left with only half of time. Every present moment, plus all of the past.

The next thing we need to ask is if the past exists. This is a very important question. I always figured it did, but a friend told me recently that the past does not exist. It used to exist, but it doesn’t anymore! But of course. He must be correct, no? At one time the past existed, but now it no longer does. How does it exist?

In memories, movies, books, etc. Which are merely objects in the present that made recordings of the past when the past was happening. Now we have eliminated the other half of time, and all we have left are second hands slamming on the clock, beginning and ending so quickly, nearly simultaneously, that we can scarcely put our finger on any moment and call it NOW.

Which now brings us to a rather carpe diem moment, eh? To live logically, we should all act like 80 IQ ghetto types, living for each second and nothing before or after existing. Thank God we don’t all think like philosophers.

There is another view, which is also very present-centric. This one holds once again that the present moment is salient, but that the past and future both exist, but they only exist as part of the present and of each other.

In other words, what has brought us to this present moment? Think about it. The entirety of the weight of the past, tumbling onto our hour like a rock slide, has brought us here, to this most auspicious of bright moments. The past made the present, so it is here with us as the vehicle that brought us here and also as the sculptor which made the present moment what it is.

As the future will in part be determined by the present, and hence also the past, the future also exists in the present, as a potentiality. The past also exists in the future, as the past and present vehicles drive towards the future and create it. Whether or not the present or future exist in the past is more problematic, but perhaps they do, as the earlier seeds that grew the trees of today and tomorrow.

One notion, popularized by Time Theorist Guy Murchie, is that all of the past that has already happened and all of the future that will occur, is, at this moment, all simultaneously present in this, our present moment. The Eternal Now. That’s a bit hard to swallow, but I like the mouth feel.

And that will be it for now, as we are out of Time.

References

Bruno, Giordano. 1584. On Cause, Principle, and Unity (De la causa, principio, et Uno).

Murchie, Guy. 1961. Music of the Spheres: The Material Universe from Atom to Quasar, Simply Explained. Cambridge: Riverside Press.

Nichols, William, ed. 1962. The Third Book of Words to Live By (pp.119-120). New York: Simon and Schuster.

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7 thoughts on “There Were No Beginnings, There Will Be No Endings”

  1. These are heavy thoughts, bro. I often ponder these things. Really. It’s true, and we don’t want to face up to it. The future hasn’t happened and the past is gone. There’s only now. So how can I think a thought? And how long is now? You know what I mean. Think of all the fuss about the discovery of earth-like planets ( they’re sort of round at least) in our ‘local’ bit of space – you know, only 2 or 3 light years away i.e. it would ‘only ‘ take us about 70 million years to get there at ‘current speeds’. They might us well not exist. It’s all just stories about lights in the sky. Like the stories about Kant and China and whatever…. It’s all just ‘something going on in our ‘consciousness” (note the nesting) in an instant. This consciousness business is a difficult gift. We’ve got our work cut out just to get on top of that. Is there anything we can do to speed up the process of ‘getting our minds right’? I don’t see any reason for hope, to be honest. Maybe a mutation will take the species up to the next level. In the meantime I suppose we’ve just got to make the most of it.

    1. About what is real. Well, as you say, the past is gone, the future hasn’t even happened yet. Yet, as a species, we are tremendous optimists because we act as if the future is definitely going to happen, real soon! Any day now. And the world could blow up in a minute and all of our future be gone.

      The future only exists as an idea or concept in our heads, so it has no actual reality. Anything can exist as a concept in your head, Martians, aliens, anything. So saying that something exists in our heads as an idea grants it no actual existence as an entity in reality.

      There is one way that the future could exist, and that is if it were foreordained. If the future was mapped out, planned out in advance, down to the last movement of every possible thing, then we could *maybe* say that it existed, but it just hadn’t happened yet. At least it existed as a blueprint. But there is no evidence for that, for the elect or preterite or any of that, though sometimes I think I was born to the elect and flunked down to the preterite.

      So let us say that the past does not exist anymore and the future does not yet exist. So what exists? Only moments. Seemingly endless moments, like flashbulbs going off over and over and over. This is all that our lives really are. It’s both depressing and exhilarating at the same time, for a focus on the Now, as I had in my younger days but do not now, does tend to prompt one to the immediacy of action.

      I used to tell girls and women, “Come on, the whole world could end tomorrow. All we have is now,” when I was trying to seduce them. It was just a line, but I really believed it, and it worked pretty good!

    2. Robert, what you would say to seduce girls and women reminds me of that Kris Kristofferson song where he says pretty much the same thing to some woman he’s trying to get into bed!

      “Yesterday is dead and gone, and tomorrow’s out of sight…”

  2. On the other hand, I can’t recommend this enough.

    http://www.thunderbolts.info/electricsky_preface.htm#qanda

    It’s the preface and intro to Donald Scott’s ‘the Electric Sky’, from the Thunderbolts site. It’s basically an intro to a challenge to the whole gamut of modern astrophysics, from the perspective of electrical engineering. There are some SERIOUS people behind this, and it sounds right to me. Check out the rest of the site too. There’ s some Velikovskian stuff on the rest of the site – I find that less convincing, but who knows? I highly recommend Donald Scott’s book, though – very readable and convincing. In a nutshell, it argues that electrical plasma science offers coherent, provable and quite simple answers to things that the astrophysicists and mathematicians need to invent stuff for which there’s no evidence (black holes, ‘dark’ matter and energy) to account for.

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