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Time, Being, Consciousness, Death and Eternity
(from a travel log)
Another uneventful day of travelling and driving. Indeed, also today, as on all previous days, nothing extraordinary has happened. But describing only the ordinary would surely require the same considerable number of pages as it did these last days. Yet, capturing all aspects of the ordinary (let alone of the extraordinary if it happened to happen) and turning them into words is - and was - entirely impossible. Whatever writing I embark on, the words and phrases eventually found seem all too rarely sufficiently true images of what I experience, think or feel. It is a shame. (Relating language to reality, transforming thoughts and emotions into words, phrases or - more generally - symbols: These will forever be among the hardest problems man is faced with. Is poetry a solution? Or mathematics?)
There is no success even in fixing the course of external events. Too anarchic is the process of perception to be willingly focussed onto a particular point. Too fast and too erratically it digresses into reflection biased by numerous prejudices, into immeasurable dimensions beyond breadth, height, depth and time. Too strong also is the effect of the unconscious filters behind the recording senses.
The course of events: that is Time. Time is when something happens, when a state changes. But is there "the Time", the course of events? So many things happen in parallel, frequently independently though, but even more frequently intertwined. Is there hence for each place a proper Time, given by the change that occurs there and only there? But each local change impinges on the space surrounding and is in turn driven by the latter. And we stand in the midst of this flux and, while observing and even attempting to control it, are inexorably carried away by it.
A universal Time, if it exists at all, can only be an impossible-to-disentangle mesh of infinitely many endless strands; a labyrinth for which no Ariadne will lend us her thread to master it; we ourselves are parts of its structure and must perish before having found a way out. This Time is like the jungle where everything exuberantly grows above and below everything else and everything is entangled with everything; it is the sea whose drops are moments; or perhaps it is the ingenious invention of an unreal almighty power only satifying its lust for playing with emerging and disappearing worlds.
The most awesome of all enigmas is Time, for ever - what a word! - refusing to the human mind its resolution: as it vanishes so vanishes the seeker of the answer and only with him the question vanishes.
Perhaps then, it is death that will take us close to divining the solution; that transition into absolute rest which must be equivalent to the non-existence of Time.
(Los laberintos que crea el tiempo se desvanecen,
solo queda el desierto, un ondulado desierto.)
Is there a miracle greater than Time, which is at once cause and effect of Being and Consciousness? And each of its smallest parts is as rich as eternity.
Only little (actually nil) has yesterday's note served the purpose of these records. That "each part of Time is as rich as eternity'' has been its claim. But that may well be if we accept (which we do not have to) that Time is a continuum. Since then there is - by means of a bijective mapping - indeed no difference between the cardinality of the set of points in an as-small-as-it-may-be part and the cardinality of the whole. (Can thus each segment of Time become eternity?)
Hans-Georg Stork, September 1980