Saturday, April 05, 2008

En route to oblivion

There are many people I've met and known in my life, who I expect I will never meet again. Placed in its full context, this is an odd thought.

Those people I once knew are now just specks in the rear-view mirror of my mind's eye, as they, and I, hurtle by different paths to personal oblivion. We met once, but we are now separate, and in a finite time, they, and I, will cease to exist, and perhaps an infinite time will then pass during which our meeting will never be repeated. Viewed in that context, those transient meetings and acquaintances seem remarkably poignant.

1 comment:

Selena Dreamy said...

That’s much too subtle, Gordon, for a creature of my calibre.

Admittedly, an event is something that happens at a particular point in space and at a particular time. And some of us are uncomfortable with issues like these, because they so vividly expose the limitations of human understanding in a universe with no edge in space, no beginning or end in time, and no afterlife for a person to look forward to. They wish to go on to reprogram life itself, create new life forms that are impervious to disease, clean up pollution and myriad other impediments to longevity.

And, indeed, both Aristotle and Newton believed in absolute time.

But the fact of the matter is nevertheless, that the theory of relativity put an end to the idea of absolute time and that today any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis. What’s more, there is always the question of the initial state of the universe and - modelled from life and by request - the riddle of causation. So I shall take the simpleminded view that your theory of time and infinity is just a model of the universe, or a hypothetical part thereof, and that you are guided by a set of rules that relate your own experience to your own conclusions and, hence, that nothing ultimate or binding has been said.