Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year & Happy Bangday to the Cosmos!

The Cosmos is 13.7 billion years old today. I wonder why they measure it in years? A year is just one trip around the sun, but the cosmos was here way before there was an earth or a sun.

Wait a minute, what is time anyway? It's another case of having a word for something so that we lull ourselves into thinking that we know what it is, like "consciousness," "life," "eternity" and "energy."

I have this strong suspicion that many of these "limit case" words are related to each other in some way that we don't understand. In other words, life, energy, consciousness and time may all be aspects of one another and reflections of ultimate reality. We can't define them because they contain us. We can never contain them. For what is our existence but time, life, energy and consciousness?

People have had stranger notions about that old bald cheater, Time.

Here are some ideas about time from some notable personages:

In any attempt to bridge the domains of experience belonging to the spiritual and physical sides of our nature, time occupies the key position. --A. N. Whitehead

There is some sense--easier to feel than to state--in which time is an unimportant and superficial characteristic of reality. Past and future must be acknowledged to be as real as the present, and a certain emancipation from slavery to time is essential to philosophic thought. --Bertrand Russell

Time is the substance of which I am made. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which mangles me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire. The world, unfortunately, is real; I, unfortunately, am Borges. --Jorge Luis Borges

For us believing physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only an illusion, even if a stubborn one. --Alfred Einstein

Apart from time there is no meaning for purpose, hope, fear, energy. If there be no historic process, then everything is what it is, namely, a mere fact. Life and motion are lost. --A. N. Whitehead

What is intelligibly diverse must be unified and whole, and only what is whole and unified can be intelligibly diverse. At the same time, only what is diversified can be intelligibly one.... The reality of time, therefore, establishes concurrently the reality of a whole which is nontemporal.... Time without eternity is strictly inconceivable. --Errol Harris

It cannot be too often emphasized that physics is concerned with the measurement of time, rather than with the essentially metaphysical question as to its nature.... We must not believe that physical theories can ultimately solve the metaphysical problems that time raises. --Mary Cleugh

The mysterious now is the universal ordering principle which embodies the processual flow of eternity into serial structure. It is in this sense that human observers give rise to the cosmos that spawned them, and are the irreducible unit of there being a cosmos at all. --Petey

It is impossible to meditate on time and the mystery of the creative process of nature without an overwhelming emotion at the limitations of human intelligence. --A. N. Whitehead

Or say that the end precedes the beginning,
And the end and beginning were always there
Before the beginning and after the end.
And all is always now. Words strain,
Crack and sometimes break, under the burden. --T. S. Eliot

It lived, it knew, it saw itself sublime,
Deathless, outmeasuring Space, outlasting Time.

I have escaped and the small self is dead;
I am immortal, alone, ineffable;
I have gone out from the universe I made,
And have grown nameless and immeasurable.

I have become what before Time I was.
My heart is a centre of infinity
A momentless immensity pure and bare,
I stretch to an eternal everywhere. --Sri Aurobindo


The molten infinite pours forth a blazen torrent
of incandescent finitude,
As light plunges an undying fire into its own shadow,
And falls in love with the productions of time,
Hurtling higgledy-piggledy
into jivass godlings & samskara monsters,
All the way down


O Death, take us before & beyond this womentary maninfestation,
Reveal not the horizontal
but our inmost upmost vertical bigending.
Floating upstream alongside the ancient celestial trail,
Out from under the toilsome tablets of time,
Cast your I on the meager image below.
So long. So short. Whoosh!
There went your life.

Returning to the Oneself, borne again
To the mysterious mamamatrix of our birthdeath,
Our winding binding river of light
Empties to the sea.

--Gagdad Bob


Dr. Sanity said...

I like: "Time is an illusion--lunchtime doubly so." Douglas Adams

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Time is the essence
Time is the season
Time ain't no reason
Got no time to slow
Time everlasting
Time to play B-sides
Time ain't on my side
Time I'll never know...

Blue Oyster Cult

Beautiful post, Bob.
Looking forward to reading your book.
Happy new year all.


LiquidLifeHacker said...

Thanks for this post! You always make me smile! Happy New Year!

ShrinkWrapped said...

"Their is no time in the unconscious."
S. Freud (paraphrased)

Anonymous said...

Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass started playing in my mind when you quoted Alfred North Whitehead. How nice of you and Petey to include him. It seems to me we measure time by our attempts to stop the process of life and do some analysis.

Gagdad Bob said...

Ah, if for just one moment, the Islamists could appreciate the joys of the TJB, they could never, ever conceive of terror.

Gagdad Bob said...

Not to mention Brasil '66. You can't fight while listening to Brasil '66. (You know, their lead singer married Herb Alpert.)