Sunday, December 16, 2012

Perceptions of Time

     “If eternity includes all time, then we are living in eternity now. But we must widen our angle of view enough to see it. When we do, we feel in touch with life’s unchanging essence, the bedrock beneath the flowing stream. We enter the eternal life beneath the surface of this passing one.
     Shamans and nuclear physicists know that our limited everyday understanding of time is a result of our particular cognitive and perceptual faculties. Other forms of consciousness and thus other descriptions of reality are possible. But you don’t have to beat a drum or use a particle accelerator to see multiple periods of time at once. Simply look into the heavens on a clear night. Looking at a star one hundred light-years away, you see it as it was one hundred years ago. In the same moment you’re seeing the more distant star next to it as it was one thousand years ago. You’re not just looking into the past but into multiple pasts. Then look into the blackness between stars (you really need a radio telescope to do this) and you can look back 15 billion years to the beginning of the universe, detecting there the residue of the big bang, a uniform background hiss reaching us from the edge of all that is.”
       Simmons P. Learning to fall. The blessings of an imperfect life. Bantam Books, NY, 2000.

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