"In Wonders We Sail, Questing for the Answers in Veil"

Monday, February 24, 2014

Thoughts, Ideas, Quotes and Theories on Eternal Recurrence

'A splendid centre of infinity’s whirl 
Pushed to its zenith’s height, its last expanse, 
Felt the divinity of its own self-bliss 
Repeated in its numberless other selves.'

- Sri Aurobindo
  Savitri book III canto III

One of the most terrifying and above all perplexing idea of 'Eternal Recurrence' surfaced in the early Indian Vedantic times of Swami Vivekananda. Today the intellectual-world is familiar with this very idea through Friedrich Nietzsche's The Gay Science where he himself calls this idea horrifying and paralyzing.

Eternal return (also known as "eternal recurrence") is a concept that the universe has been recurring, and will continue to recur, in a self-similar form an infinite number of times across infinite time or space.
- Wikipedia


 Swami Vivekananda ,Sri Aurobindo and Friedrich Nietzsche on 'Eternal Recurrence' 

"In one sense bodies and forms even are eternal. How? Suppose we take a number of dice and throw them, and they fall in this ratio — 6 — 5 — 3 — 4 —1 —2. We take the dice up and throw them again and again; there must be a time when the same numbers will come again; the same combination must come. Now each particle, each atom, that is in this universe, I take for such a die, and these are being thrown out and combined again and again. All these forms before you are one combination. Here are the forms of a glass, a table, a pitcher of water, and so forth. This is one combination; in time, it will all break. But there must come a time when exactly the same combination comes again, when you will be here, and this form will be here, this subject will be talked, and this pitcher will be here. An infinite number of times this has been, and an infinite number of times this will be repeated. Thus far with the physical forms. What do we find? That even the combination of physical forms is eternally repeated."

- Swami Vivekananda
Volume 2/Jnana-Yoga/Immortality\

"For at a certain stage of spiritual culture we come to the perception of the world as a system of mere consciousness values in Parabrahman or to a middle term, the experience, which was probably the decisive factor in the minds of great spiritual seekers like Shankara, of the pure and bright impersonal Sachidananda beyond, unaffected by and apparently remote from all cosmic existence. Observing intellectually through the mind this great experience, the conclusion is natural and almost inevitable that this Pure and Bright One regards the universe as a mirage, an unreality, a dream. But these are only the terms, the word-values and conventional idea-values into which mind then translates this fact of unaffected transcendence; and it so translates it because these are the terms it is itself accustomed to apply to anything which is beyond it, remote from it, not practically affecting it in tangible relations. The mind engrossed in matter at first accepts only an objective reality; everything not objectivised or apparently capable of some objective expression it calls a lie, a mirage, a dream, an unreality or, if it is favourably disposed an ideal. When, after wards, it corrects its views, the first thing it does is to reverse its values; coming into a region and level where life in the material world seems remote, unspiritual or apparently not capable of spiritual realisation, it immediately applies here its old expressions dream, mirage, lie, unreality or mere false idea and transfers from object to spirit its exclusive and intolerant use of the world-symbol reality. Add to this mental translation into its own conventional word-values of the fact of unaffected transcendence the intellectual conclusions and temperamental repulsions of mental & moral vairagya, both together affecting and disfiguring the idea of the world as a system of consciousness values and we have Mayavada.

Who knows the beginning of things or what mind has ever embraced their end? When we have said a beginning, do we not behold spreading out beyond it all the eternity of Time when that which has begun was not? So also when we imagine an end our vision becomes wise of endless Space stretching out beyond the terminus we have fixed. Do even forms begin and end? Or does eternal Form only disappear from one of its canvases?

The experiment of human life on an earth is not now for the first time enacted. It has been conducted a million times before and the long drama will again a million times be repeated. In all that we do now, our dreams, our discoveries, our swift or difficult attainments we profit subconsciously by the experience of innumerable precursors and our labour will be fecund in planets unknown to us and in worlds yet uncreated. The plan, the peripeties, the denouement differ continually, yet are always governed by the conventions of an eternal Art. God, Man, Nature are the three perpetual symbols."

- Sri Aurobindo
  click here to read more on Sri Aurobindo's view

"What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: 'This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more' ... Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: 'You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine."

- Friedrich Nietzsche
The Gay Science


Scientific Perspective

Scientists can't be sure what the shape of space-time is, but most likely, it's flat (as opposed to spherical or even donut-shape) and stretches out infinitely. But if space-time goes on forever, then it must start repeating at some point, because there are a finite number of ways particles can be arranged in space and time.

So if you look far enough, you would encounter another version of you — in fact, infinite versions of you. Some of these twins will be doing exactly what you're doing right now, while others will have worn a different sweater this morning, and still others will have made vastly different career and life choices.

Because the observable universe extends only as far as light has had a chance to get in the 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang (that would be 13.7 billion light-years), the space-time beyond that distance can be considered to be its own separate universe. In this way, a multitude of universes exists next to each other in a giant patchwork quilt of universes.

- Space.com

Astrophysical data suggests space-time might be "flat," rather than curved, and thus that it goes on forever. If so, then the region we can see (which we call "the universe") is just one patch in an infinitely large "quilted multiverse." Meanwhile, the laws of quantum mechanics dictate that there are only a finite number of possible particle configurations within each cosmic patch (10^10^122 distinct possibilities, to be exact). So, with an infinite number of cosmic patches, the particle arrangements within them must repeat — infinitely many times over. This means there are infinitely many "parallel universes": cosmic patches exactly the same as ours (containing someone exactly like you), as well as patches that differ by just one particle's position, patches that differ by two particles' positions, and so on down to patches that are totally different from ours. Furthermore, proponents of inflationary cosmology believe our quilted multiverse is just one of infinitely many bubbles that have inflated inside a larger multiverse. Because the fundamental constants can vary from bubble to bubble, each bubble can be wildly different; however, the possible values of the constants are finite, so the bubbles must eventually repeat. Thus, there are parallel universes within parallel quilted multiverses.

Cram Session: Parallel Universes in 200 Words
from Livescience.com


Popular Culture

"This is a world where nothing is solved. Someone once told me, “Time is a flat circle.” Everything we’ve ever done or will do we’re gonna do over and over and over again……and that little boy and that little girl, they’re gonna be in that room again… and again… and again… forever.

You ever heard of something called the M-brane theory, detectives? It’s like in this universe, we process time linearly forward… but outside of our spacetime, from what would be a fourth-dimensional perspective,time wouldn't exist, and from that vantage, could we attain it.. we’d see… our spacetime would look flattened, like a single sculpture with matter in a superposition of every place it ever occupied, our sentience just cycling through our lives like carts on a track. See, everything outside our dimension… that’s eternity, eternity looking down on us. Now, to us, it’s a sphere, but to them… it’s a circle.

In eternity, where there is no time, nothing can grow. Nothing can become. Nothing changes. So death created time to grow the things that it would kill… and you are reborn out into the same life that you’ve always been born into. I mean, how many times have we had this conversation, detectives? Well, who knows? When you can’t remember your lives, you can’t change your lives, and that is the terrible and the secret fate of all life. You’re trapped… by that nightmare you keep waking up into."

- From the American Television Series 'True Detective'
Episode 5 : The Secret Fate of All Life
Rust Cohle to Detective Maynard Gilbough and Thomas Papania


Ancient and Modern Symbolism on Eternal Recurrence.

1. Kalachakra or The Wheel of Time (India)

Kalachakra or 'The Wheel of Time' depicts time as a cycle, a circle, which repeat itself in the longer course of time. In India it it is termed as 'Yugas' aka 'Era'.There are four yugas, each yugas consist a smaller cycle and all the four when it completes comprises a 'Maha-Yuga' or a Great-Cycle'. To know more about Yuga's click here.

All the manifestation under the divine spirit or Brahman are subjected to causality, time and space exist only under this manifestation, beyond time cease to exist.

2. Nataraja or 'The Dancing Shiva' (India)

Nataraja or 'The Dancing Shiva' is the most intricate and most accurate symbolism of time, space and matter till date that any ciivilization has come up with. Nataraja dances over a 'lotus pedestal' which symbolizes the death and rebirth of the cosmos, he holds fire in one of the four arms which symbolizes 'destruction' and a 'damaru' or a small drum in the other symbolizes the rythamic vibration of creation. The snake that coils around his neck symbolizes the 'past, present and future' already existing, but as a coiled form. And he dances inside a circle which represents the cycles of creation and destruction, and in it the Lord Shiva dances his cosmic dance.

3.Islamic Arts

Islamic arts often depicts the nature of eternity. By repeated patterns, such as geometrical florals or vegetal designs. Commonly known as 'arabasques' it symbolize the infinite nature and transcendence of nature and God.

4. Ouroboros

The Greek/Egyptian symbolism snake/dragon swallowing its tail is another symbolism from the ancient world that embody the meaning of cyclic nature of cosmos.

click here to read more.

5.Mandelbrot Set or Fractals

This is a partial view of the Mandelbrot set an infinitely complex two-dimensional structure that represents the solution to an equation. When you zoom in on the edge of the structure, it never ceases to appear complicated. This is the case because the Mandelbrot set doesn't have a finite edge, but rather an infinitely twisting and turning one. The edge of the structure is also "self-similar," meaning that the same shapes and patterns appear at every level of magnification. Zoomed-in image of the section of the Mandelbrot set that was boxed in the prior image. With its unending complexity, the Mandelbrot set is one mathematical visualization of infinity.

For more read:
Multiverse or The Realms of Existence : In Indian Esoteric Context

1 comment:

  1. A scientific theory may be given for eternal recurrence. The idea is presented briefly in the free book on soul theory at https://theoryofsouls.wordpress.com/

    Every object is periodic with birth maturity and death process. Every object also reincarnates after death. There is a dark time between a death and next rebirth. Since summation of multiple periodic events is also periodic, therefore there will be a longest period. This longest period is called Brahma day in Vedas. Similarly there will be a longest dark period which is called Brahma night. The length of the day and night must be same also. Each one is about 8.6 billion years.

    The article says “But if space-time goes on forever, then it must start repeating at some point, because there are a finite number of ways particles can be arranged in space and time.” Vivekananda also illustrates the same idea of repeated pattern by using a dice.

    Thus we can think of this universe as something like that toy instrument with cylindrical rotating drum, with pins attached to it, over which a comb like reeds roll and create music. The drum continuously rotates and plays the same music over and over. Except that half of the drum is blank with no pins, which represent the Brahma night.

    Thus you and I will live the exact same life infinitely many times in this universe. But then what will be the purpose of life? I think the concept of liberation as described in Samkhya will still be meaningful. Our soul will progress in learning about nature and its own inert and inactive characteristics. Eventually, although the soul will reincarnate eternally, but will become free from all suffering of physical and mental health. He will become an eternal yogi like Shiva or Krishna. But both will reincarnate as mentioned in Gita.

    Note that there is no randomness here. The millions of destiny examples show that every event is precisely predictable. When and where a person will die and also when and where the same soul will be born next time have also been predicted precisely. A high level yogi can see all such events using divine vision or third eye.


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