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Tag: Time

On the Ineffable

yama_tibet

This 18th century depiction of Yamantaka, a violent expression of the Bodhisattva Manjushri, defeats Yama, god of death, and demolishes the cycle of samsara on the path to enlightenment. This painting, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was purchased in 1969 courtesy of a bequest by Florence Waterbury. Its Accession Number is 69.71. This is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional public domain work of art. This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years.

This is my review of Nick Stockton’s “Time Might Only Exist in Your Head. And Everyone Else’s.” From Wired, 26 September, 2016. Published at 0600 hrs. I later modified this piece on 17 October, 2016. It keeps bothering me like a splinter in my mind. In its current revision, it comprises 2,537 words.

“Some physicists blame gravity for time. Others blame observers. Time, the arrow of time, the linearity of time flowing from the infinite past through the present into the indefinite future, cannot exist unless an intelligence, something sentient, exists to observe it, they say.

The moment when particle physics and classical mechanics merge is called “decoherence,” and it also happens to be the moment when time’s direction becomes mathematically important.

Mr. Stockton’s article points out that superposition in quantum mechanics means that an electron can exist in either of two places, a property called probability, but it is impossible to say where an electron is until that electron is actually observed.

Some physicists also say that what matters is not whether time exists, but what direction that time flows. (Claus Kiefer, “Can the Arrow of Time Be Understood From Quantum Cosmology?” in L. Mersini-Houghton and R. Vaas, The Arrow of Time, Springer, Berlin, 2010.) Read the rest of this entry »

Plato on Time

“When the father creator saw the creature which he had made moving and living, the created image of the eternal gods, he rejoiced, and in his joy determined to make the copy still more like the original; and as this was eternal, he sought to make the universe eternal, so far as might be.

Now the nature of the ideal being was everlasting, but to bestow this attribute in its fulness upon a creature was impossible.

Wherefore he resolved to have a moving image of eternity, and when he set in order the heaven, he made this image eternal but moving according to number, while eternity itself rests in unity; and this image we call time.

For there were no days and nights and months and years before the heaven was created, but when he constructed the heaven he created them also.

They are all parts of time, and the past and future are created species of time, which we unconsciously but wrongly transfer to the eternal essence; for we say that he “was,” he “is,” he “will be,” but the truth is that “is” alone is properly attributed to him, and that “was” and “will be” only to be spoken of becoming in time, for they are motions, but that which is immovably the same cannot become older or younger by time, nor ever did or has become, or hereafter will be, older or younger, nor is subject at all to any of those states which affect moving and sensible things and of which generation is the cause.

These are the forms of time, which imitates eternity and revolves according to a law of number. Moreover, when we say that what has become is become and what becomes is becoming, and that what will become is about to become and that the non-existent is non-existent–all these are inaccurate modes of expression. But perhaps this whole subject will be more suitably discussed on some other occasion. 

Time, then, and the heaven came into being at the same instant in order that, having been created together, if ever there was to be a dissolution of them, they might be dissolved together.

It was framed after the pattern of the eternal nature, that it might resemble this as far as was possible; for the pattern exists from eternity, and the created heaven has been, and is, and will be, in all time. Such was the mind and thought of God in the creation of time.

The sun and moon and five other stars, which are called the planets, were created by him in order to distinguish and preserve the numbers of time; and when he had made their several bodies, he placed them in the orbits in which the circle of the other was revolving–in seven orbits seven stars.

First, there was the moon in the orbit nearest the earth, and next the sun, in the second orbit above the earth; then came the morning star and the star sacred to Hermes, moving in orbits which have an equal swiftness with the sun, but in an opposite direction; and this is the reason why the sun and Hermes and Lucifer overtake and are overtaken by each other.

To enumerate the places which he assigned to the other stars, and to give all the reasons why he assigned them, although a secondary matter, would give more trouble than the primary. These things at some future time, when we are at leisure, may have the consideration which they deserve, but not at present.”

Plato, Timaeus, 360 BCE. Translated by Benjamin Jowett.

Time is Relative

“…time is relative and subject to compression and expansion.” (…) “it can then be said that the Hebrew calendar of seven thousand years spans the entire life of this universe in matter, which is currently estimated to be twenty billion years.

The implication of this idea is that the sequence of events in Torah B’reshith, all of which are assumed to occur in one plane of existence, actually manifest as a nonlinear space-time sequence occurring in more than one plane. Time-space is exponentially expansive in each successive plane of existence.

Perhaps the reader has had the experience of an elaborate dream that seemed to span a long period of time, maybe years, only to wake up  and find out that it actually occurred in a matter of minutes. Consider the oft-told story of a person seeing their entire life “pass before their eyes” in a near-death episode.”

–Daniel Feldman, Qabalah: The Mystical Heritage of the Children of Abraham, 2001. Pg. 50-1.

Synchronicity as an Expression of a Deeper Order

“Synchronicity: the experience of two or more events as meaningfully related, whereas they are unlikely to be causally related.

Meaningfully Related versus Causally Related.

The concept is dependent upon a subject, an observer, who sees the experience as a meaningful coincidence, though the events need not be simultaneous  in time. The concept of synchronicity is attributed to Carl Gustav Jung, circa 1920’s. Jung’s first recorded mention of the idea of synchronicity occurred in 1928, during a seminar on the interpretation of dreams.

The concept does not strictly compete with or challenge or question the notion of causality. Rather, just as events may be connected by a causal line, they may also be connected by meaning. A grouping of events by meaning need not have a causal explanation. Arthur Koestler also addressed synchronicity in The Roots of Coincidence.

Synchronistic events hint at an underlying pattern, a larger framework that encompasses the synchronicity. Jung termed such incidents “temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events.” Jung again mentioned synchronicity in a 1930 speech memorializing Richard Wilhelm, a scholar of Chinese philosophy, and in 1935 he compared it to the Tao. Jung finally addressed the concept at an Eranos lecture in 1952, and published a paper (Synchronizität als ein Prinzip akausaler Zusammenhänge or Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle) in a volume with a related study by the physicist Wolfgang Pauli.

Jung claimed that the principle of synchronicity provided conclusive evidence for his concepts of archetypes and the collective unconscious, as it describes a governing dynamic that underlies the entirety of human experience and history in all realms, social, emotional, psychological, and spiritual.

Jung was convinced that life was not a series of random events, but rather an expression of a deeper order, in which each human is involved, whether consciously or not. Realizing that there is a broader, encompassing order is akin to a sort of spiritual awakening, it is an awareness of a larger pattern, that is dimly perceived and poorly understood. We can feel it, and we can realize that it exists, but we typically are unable to discern its parameters and dimensions. In religious terms, Jung sees this revelation as “an intervention of grace.” Jung also believed that synchronicity serves a role similar to that of dreams, nudging human egocentric consciousness to recognition of a greater wholeness.

A later researcher, Ray Grasse, in The Waking Dream: Unlocking the Symbolic Language of Our Lives, notes that synchronicity is ubiquitous, all-pervasive, and our occasional awareness of it is similar to seeing just a portion of the visible iceberg floating above a mystifying surface that shields far more complex and complicated interrelationships.

Indeed, all phenomena are interwoven and characterized by analogies or correspondences. While correspondences often are recognized by observers with a shock of recognition, this is more a reflection of our talent for ignoring or failing to see them, as they describe a vast mesh which vibrates with endless interactions and sometimes distant relationships. Time is often reduced to a minor factor. Events sometimes occur which suggest an eery echo of something else, continents away, separated by entire eras.

Jung cited the following exchange from Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass:

“The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday–but never jam to-day.

“It must come sometimes to “jam to-day,” Alice objected.

“No, it can’t,” said the Queen. “It’s jam every OTHER day: to-day isn’t any OTHER day, you know.”

“I don’t understand you,” said Alice. “It’s dreadfully confusing!”

“That’s the effect of living backwards,” the Queen said kindly: “It always makes one a little giddy at first–”

“Living backwards! Alice repeated in great astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”

“–but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s memory works both ways.”

“I’m sure MINE only works one way,” Alice remarked. “I can’t remember things before they happen.”

“It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,” the Queen remarked.”

Awesome.

The concept of synchronicity is related to the idea of serendipity. The first noted use of the term was in Horace Walpole’s letter to Horace Mann (28 January, 1754). He says that he derived it from the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip, whose protagonists were “always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things that they were not in quest of.” The word serendip was once an Arabic term for Sri Lanka, from Sarandib.

Walpole stated that protagonists need to be sagacious enough to link together apparently innocuous and unrelated facts in order to reach unexpected conclusions.

Also see deja vu.

Harvested from Wiki.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchronicity

With details gleaned from Charlene P.E. Burns, “Wolfgang Pauli, Carl Jung, and the Acausal Connecting Principle: A Case Study in Transdisciplinarity,” 2011, published on MetaNexus:

http://www.metanexus.net/essay/wolfgang-pauli-carl-jung-and-acausal-connecting-principle-case-study-transdisciplinarity

And here is a gift from the universe. Enjoy:

Joseph Cambray, Synchronicity, Nature and Psyche in an Interconnected Universe, 2009

http://www.jung.org/Synchronicity%20Cambray.pdf

Synchronicity

“Moving on from the process of continual adjustment, we add the spin of the Wheel of Fortune, that is to say, the action of Time and the circular or spiral force that can be seen in everything from the DNA helix, the conch shell, a whirlpool, a body in orbit, or an entire galaxy.

The hub of the wheel, the spokes and the rim also signify “synchronicity,” a term coined by Carl Jung to denote an “acausal connecting principle” in play within all things.”

–Frater FP, The Magician’s Kabbalah, pg. 74.

Alan Watts on Time

“We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.”

~ Alan Watts

The Legend of Ra and Isis

This version of the Legend of Ra and Isis is from the classic by E.A. Wallis Budge, Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Papyrus of Ani, 1895. pg. xc-xci.

I have edited the version with paragraph breaks to ease readability, and inserted sparing editorial notes. Care has been taken to preserve Budge’s precise translation, using capital G’s for the word “God” and lowercase g’s for the words “gods” and “goddesses.”

Source text can be found at the following URL:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/

“Now Isis was a woman who possessed words of power; her heart was wearied with the millions of men, and she chose the millions of the gods, but she esteemed more highly the millions of the khu’s. And she meditated in her heart, saying “Cannot I by means of the sacred name of God make myself mistress of the earth and become a goddess like unto “Ra in heaven and upon earth?”

The Legend continues,

“Now, behold, each day Ra entered at the head of his holy mariners and established himself upon the throne of the two horizons. The holy one had grown old, he dribbled at the mouth, his spittle fell upon the dirt, and his slobbering dropped upon the ground.”

“And Isis kneaded it with earth in her hand, and formed thereof a sacred serpent in the form of a spear; she set it not upright before her face, but let it lie upon the ground in the path whereby the great god went forth, according to his heart’s desire, into his double kingdom.

(So Isis set him up to be ambushed by her serpent, which included the spittle of Ra.)

“Now the holy god arose, and the gods who followed him as though he were Pharaoh went with him; and he came forth according to his daily wont; and the sacred serpent bit him.”

After Ra was bit:

“The flame of life departed from him, and he who dwelt among the cedars (Budge inserts a ? here) was overcome.

Budge continues:

“The holy god opened his mouth, and the cry of his majesty reached unto heaven. His company of gods said, “What hath happened?” and his gods exclaimed, “What is it?”

But Ra could not answer, for his jaws trembled and all his members quaked; the poison spread quickly through his flesh just as the Nile invadeth all his land.”

“When the great god had stablished his heart, he cried unto those who were in his train, saying, “Come unto me, O ye who have come into being from my body, ye gods who have come forth from me, make ye known unto Khepera that a dire calamity had fallen upon me.”

Ra continues,

“My heart perceiveth it, but my eyes see it not; my hand hath not caused it, nor do I know who had done this unto me. Never have I felt such pain, neither can sickness cause more woe than this.”

“I am a prince, the son of a prince, a sacred essence which hath proceeded from God. (Note: Budge has a capital G God, not god).

“I am a great one, the son of a great one, and my father planned my name; I have multitudes of names and multitudes of forms, and my existence is in every god.”

“I have been proclaimed by the heralds Tmu (Atum) and Horus, and my father and my mother uttered my name; but it hath been hidden within me by him that begat me, who would not that the words of power of any seer should have dominion over me.”

“I came forth to look upon that which I had made, I was passing through the world that I created, when lo! something stung me, but what I know not.”

“Is it fire? Is it water? My heart is on fire, my flesh quaketh, and trembling hath seized all my limbs.”

“Let there be brought unto me the children of the gods with healing words and with lips that know, and with power which reacheth unto heaven.”

“The children of every god came unto him in tears, Isis came with her healing words and with her mouth full of the breath of life, with her enchantments which destroy sickness, and with her words of power which make the dead to live.”

“And she spake, saying, “What hath come to pass, O holy father? What hath happened? A serpent hath bitten thee, and a thing which though hast created hath lifted up his head against thee.”

“Verily it shall be cast forth by my healing words of power, and I will drive it away from before the sight of thy sunbeams.”

Ra replied,

“The holy god opened his mouth and said, “I was passing along my path, and I was going through the two regions of my lands according to my heart’s desire, to see that which I had created, when lo! I was bitten by a serpent which I saw not. Is it fire? Is it water? I am colder than water, I am hotter than fire. All my flesh sweateth, I quake, my eye hath no strength, I cannot see the sky, and the sweat rusheth to my face even as in the time of summer.”

“Then said Isis unto Ra, “O tell me thy name, holy father, for whosoever shall be delivered by thy name shall live.”

[And Ra said], “I have made the heavens and the earth, I have ordered the mountains, I have created all that is above them, I have made the water, I have made to come into being the great and wide sea, I have made the “Bull of his mother,” from who spring the delights of love.”

Ra continues:

“I have made the heavens, I have stretched out the two horizons like a curtain, and I have placed the soul of the gods within them.”

“I am he who, if he openeth his eyes, doth make the light, and, if he closeth them, darkness cometh into being. At his command the Nile riseth, and the gods know not his name.”

“I have made the hours, I have created the days, I bring forward the festivals of the year, I create the Nile-flood. I make the fire of life, and I provide food in the houses. I am Khepera in the morning. I am Ra at noon, and I am Tmu (Atum) at evening.”

“Meanwhile the poison was not taken away from his body, but it pierced deeper, and the great god could no longer walk.

“Then said Isis unto Ra, “What thou has said is not thy name. O tell it unto me, and the poison shall depart; for he shall live whose name shall be revealed.”

Now the poison burned like fire, and it was fiercer than the flame and the furnace, and the majesty of god said, “I consent that Isis shall search into me, and that my name shall pass from me into her.”

“Then the god hid himself from the gods, and his place in the boat of millions of years was empty.

“And when the time arrived for the heart of Ra to come forth, Isis spake unto her son Horus, saying, “The god hath bound himself by an oath to deliver up his two eyes” (i.e., the sun and the moon).

“Thus was the name of the great god taken from him, and Isis, the lady of enchantments, said, “Depart, poison, go forth from Ra. O eye of Horus, go forth from the god, and shine outside his mouth. It is I who work, it is I who make to fall down upon the earth the vanquished poison; for the name of the great god hath been taken away from him.”

“May Ra live!”

“These are the words of Isis, the great goddess, the queen of the gods, who knew Ra by his own name.”

Budge concludes: “Thus we see that even to the great god Ra were attributed all the weakness and frailty of mortal man; and that “gods” and “goddesses” were classed with beasts and reptiles, which could die and perish.”

“As a result, it seems that the word “God” should be reserved to express the name of the Creator of the Universe, and that neteru, usually rendered “gods,” should be translated by some other word, but what that word should be is almost impossible to say.”

Legend of Ra and Isis from E.A. Wallis Budge, Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Papyrus of Ani, 1895. pg. xc-xci.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/

When Time Stands Still

“Pan’s hour was always Noon. At this moment he would appear in the blaze and shimmer of midday, startling man and animal into blind terror. This seems to have little to do with the nightmare.

Perhaps we need to regard high Noon, the zenith of the day, as the highest point of natural strength, which constellates both the life force and its opposite, the necessary fall from this height. It is the uncanny moment when I and my shadow are one.

Noon like midnight is a moment of transition and, like midnight, daybreak and sunset, a radix of primordial orientation for what might be called the symbolic clock. These are the moments when time stands still, when the orderly procession of moments disrupts.

So must certain things be accomplished before the cock’s crow at dawn, or the stroke of midnight, or before night falls. At these moments time is broken through by something extraordinary, something beyond the usual order.”

–W.H. Roscher, Pan and the Nightmare: Ephialtes–A Pathological-Mythological Treatise on the Nightmare in Classical Antiquity, & An Essay on Pan by James Hillman, 1972. Pp. lvi. (James Hillman, “An Essay on Pan.”)

Pan & Synchronicity vs. Causality, Space and Time

“Jung worked both systematically and hermeneutically upon chance events in connection with the problems of synchronicity. This term refers to meaningful coincidences of psychic and physical events for which no satisfactory account can be given through the usual categories of causality, space and time. Jung considered synchronicity to be a principle equal to the other three and, like them, a part of nature. He found that synchronistic events happen mainly when instinctual (emotional, archetypal, symbolic) levels of the psyche are engaged.

[…]

“If the principle of synchronicity is another way of speaking about Pan, then we may also begin to understand why anyone occupied with this field of spontaneity, called parapsychology, becomes a renegade from the civilized order of rational men. As synchronicity is the devilish fourth principle, so Pan is the devilish shadow of our dominant archetypal Trinity. The integration of parapsychology into respectable science and psychology would then require a revaluation of Pan and a view of instinct and nature from his perspective. Until then parapsychology will tend to be cast in his shadow, a field of sentimentalities and natural religion, something at once comic, untrustworthy, obscure and lunatic.”

–W.H. Roscher, Pan and the Nightmare: Ephialtes–A Pathological-Mythological Treatise on the Nightmare in Classical Antiquity, & An Essay on Pan by James Hillman, 1972. Pp. lviii-lix. (James Hillman, “An Essay on Pan.”)

Frank Herbert on Time.

“If he refused to move, he knew that he would remain caught in the timeless web, the eternal now where all events coexisted. This prospect enticed him. He saw Time as a convention shaped by the collective mind of all sentience. Time and space were categories imposed on the universe by his Mind. He had but to break free of the multiplicity where prescient visions lured him.”

–Frank Herbert, Children of Dune, pg. 182. 

Frank Herbert on Prescience, Predestination and Paradox.

“…As in an Escher lithograph, I involved myself with recurrent themes that turn into paradox. The central paradox concerns the human vision of time. What about Paul’s gift of prescience–the Presbyterian fixation? For the Delphic Oracle to perform, it must entangle itself in a web of predestination. Yet predestination negates surprises and, in fact, sets up a mathematically enclosed universe whose limits are always inconsistent, always encountering the unprovable. It’s like a koan, a Zen mind breaker. It’s like the Cretan Epimenides saying, “All Cretans are liars.”

 Each limiting descriptive step you take drives your vision outward into a larger universe which is contained in still a larger universe ad infinitum, and in the smaller universes ad infinitum. No matter how finely you subdivide time and space, each tiny division contains infinity. 

But this could imply that you can cut across linear time, open it like a ripe fruit, and see consequential connections. You could be prescient, predict accurately. Predestination and paradox once more. 

The flaw must lie in our methods of description, in languages, in social networks of meaning, in moral structures, and in philosophies and religions–all of which convey implicit limits where no limits exist. Paul Muad’Dib, after all, says this time after time throughout Dune.” 

Frank Herbert, Dune 0: A Dune Genesis, pp. 3-4.

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