Janus, II

It occurred to me, after I posted the last post on Janus, that I needed to follow that up with a concrete example of what I’m talking about, in regards to transparency and opacity and the hair that separates them in respect of time and timelessness, and this in regards to some of the contemporary conundrums about time that physics wrestles with.

To do that, I have to refer back to a much older post in The Chrysalis where I commented on the dissolution of the Eternal Now into temporal, atom-sized fragments called “moments” — frozen moments of “Now” — that presently bedevils much physics.

Contemporary convention thinking on time is the subject of a CBC radio broadcast entitled “Living on Oxford Time” and the notion that “Now” doesn’t really exist. “All that is solid melts into air”, and even “Now”, after past and future, dissolves into fractions and fragments. There are only discrete “moments” — infinite in number  — with their own discrete “Now”, but no “Universal Present” or Eternal Now. This is, I submit, quantifying consciousness carried away with itself and dissolving itself into atoms, although you’ll have to listen to the broadcast to understand what I mean by that.

The conundrum is, that this dissolution of “Now” into infinite discrete, frozen moments of Now (nows in the plural) flies in the face of a contradiction represented by quantum non-locality or what is also called “transluminal effect” which suggests just the opposite — that every “point” in the universe, every “part” of the cosmos” is in immediate contact or communion with every other “point” or “part”, suggesting that, at some very fundamental level of reality, distance and duration are quite irrelevant, suggesting rather Rumi’s remark that “everything is in the middle of its happening” in a “Now”, and that there is, indeed, a Universal Presence contrary to the speculations. That Universal Presence or Eternal Now is also Indra’s Net.

Quite obviously, if “now” is a “property” of every moment considered as a point in spacetime, then “now” is a universal property of the whole. In effect, but unmentioned here, is that the three physicists interviewed at Oxford are describing what is otherwise called “the akashic record”. The universe forgets nothing. What is called “akashic field” is Eternal Now, and if it were not so, recent speculations about “time travel” being, indeed, a possibility would not be possible at all. It’s only because nothing is ever lost, but is always and everywhere embraced as a “Universal Presence” that “time travel” is even considered a possibility.

And this is exactly what Blake means by “Eternity is in love with the productions of time”. That’s what is described in his walk through Hell as he narrated it in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell — what is called “the akashic field” or “akashic library”, and is described, in hermetic code, in one of Blake’s “memorable fancies”

I was in a Printing house in Hell & saw the method in which knowledge is transmitted from generation to generation.
In the first chamber was a Dragon-Man, clearing away the rubbish from a cave’s mouth; within, a number of Dragons were hollowing the cave.
In the second chamber was a Viper folding round the rock & the cave, and others adorning it with gold silver and precious stones.
In the third chamber was an Eagle with wings and feathers of air: he caused the inside of the cave to be infinite, around were numbers of Eagle like men, who built palaces in the immense cliffs.
In the fourth chamber were Lions of flaming fire raging around & melting the metals into living fluids.
In the fifth chamber were Unnam’d forms, which cast the metals into the expanse.
There they were reciev’d by Men who occupied the sixth chamber, and took the forms of books & were arranged in libraries.

These are symbolic forms, for certain energies, that bring to mind…. what, but the image of Aeon as discussed in the previous post? These forms also appear in alchemy.



It’s all in the middle of its happening.

There’s a rough analogy from the realm of computer programming and operations that might be pertinent here. At any moment there are dozens of programmes running as “threads” in your computer, all sharing the same CPU. The main thread is whatever you are doing with your computer at the moment, but other threads are performing different functions often in and as their own “virtual machine” and quite isolated from other threads running in their own memory space. You can see the different threads running on your computer by popping up the Task Manager. None of those separate threads or virtual machines know that the others exist at all.

So, these “now moments” or “points” named by the Oxford professors are better thought of as “strings” — String Theory. And this is exactly how Castaneda and his don Juan describe their vision of “energy as it flows in the universe” — infinite threads or strings or “fibres” of energy that are, in effect, separate worlds, and perception can be aligned with those strings or threads in order to perceive another world through what is called “the assemblage point”. The possible worlds available to perception are infinite, they follow their own “time-lines”, as it were, but nonetheless all co-exist simultaneously.

This is, admittedly, speculative, but makes much more sense than “now points” or infinte “now moments” — an idea that seems suggested by the still or frozen single frames of a movie, which have no meaning in themselves except in relation to all the other frames of the film. Sure, each frame may represent a “moment” with its own “now” when viewed singularly or from the “point-of-view”, but it’s knowing that each frame belongs in a bigger picture — the overview, in effect — that that particular still or frame acquires its meaning. Or perhaps these good professors are thinking of “now moments” like pixels, each discrete, each comparable to a “moment”, but none of which have any meaning in their isolation except in the relation to the whole. A universe that is merely a sum total of infinite now moments or atoms, which is the work of the “Emissary”,  is not a whole at all. They seem to be comparing the things of time as if they were identical to the things of space — soluble into atoms or subatomic particles.

And yet, as Rumi says, the cure for the disease is in the disease. It’s this very quality of “now” that belies these fragments of time. Now is presence, and every “now” is only a kind of holographic echo of Presence or of Eternal Now, existing as, they say, sub specie aeternitatis. Never adequately understood, it means, in essence “Eternity is in love with the productions of time” or “holographic universe” or “the universe in a grain of sand” or “as above, so below”.

It’s worth listening to “Living on Oxford Time” just to marvel at how “Urizenic Man” or McGilchrist’s “Emissary” can get things right in such a very wrong way, mainly, it seems, because it can’t or won’t admit the paradoxical into its thinking or its models. Yet, if anything, the relationship between Master and Emissary is a paradoxical one, just as the relationship between the timeless and time, or Now and Moment, is a paradoxical one, an just as “Eternity in the hour” is a paradoxical one.



14 responses to “Janus, II”

  1. mikemackd says :

    Bloody Mumford. Here he goes again, this time from p. 6 of The Human Prospect (my gift from Waterstones):

    The clock, moreover, is a piece of power-machinery whose ‘product’ is seconds and minutes: by its essential nature it dissociated time from human events and helped create the belief in an independent world of mathematically measurable sequences: the special world of science. There is relatively little foundation for this belief in common human experience: throughout the year the days are of uneven duration, and not merely does the relation between day and night steadily change, but a slight journey from East to West alters astronomical time by a certain number of minutes. In terms of the human organism itself, mechanical time is even more foreign: while human life has regularities of its own, the beat of the pulse, the breathing of the lungs, these change from hour to hour with mood and action, and in the longer span of days, time is measured not by the calendar but by the events that occupy it. The shepherd measures from the time the ewes lambed; the farmers measures back to the day of sowing or forward to the harvest: if growth has its own duration and regularities, behind it are not simply matter and motion, but the facts of development: in short, history. And while mechanical time is strung out in a succession of mathematically isolated instants, organic time—what Bergson calls duration—is cumulative in its effects. Though mechanical time can, in a sense, be speeded up or run backward, like the hands of a clock or the images of a moving picture, organic time moves in only one direction—through the cycle of birth, growth, development, decay, and death—and the past that is already dead remains present in the future that has still to be born.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Yes, Rosenstock-Huessy also tackles that question of the difference between mechanical time and time as it is actually experienced. That’s addressed in his short book The Multiformity of Man although I think addressed at some length in his second volume of Soziologie (not translated into English as yet, to the best of my knowledge). Multiformity of Man though, is available online, and it’s only about 80 pages long or so, where he discusses his “ecodynamic laws” of society


      I have not yet tackled all the German editions of ERH’s works, although I have them. I haven’t yet read his two volume Soziologie. The first deals with the spaces and the second deals with the times.

    • Scott Preston says :

      I take it “bloddy Mumford” is intended to be understood here in an endearing sort of way?

        • mikemackd says :

          BTW, the best book I have read on time (at least, I thought so at the time) was J.T. Fraser’s “Time, Conflict and Human Values” (1999, University of Illinois Press). Another germane to your essay was Yourgrau’s 2005 “A World without Time” (Penguin), which was about conversations on the subject between Godel and Einstein. From the Amazon blurb:

          In 1942, the logician Kurt Godel and Albert Einstein became close friends; they walked to and from their offices every day, exchanging ideas about science, philosophy, politics, and the lost world of German science. By 1949, Godel had produced a remarkable proof: In any universe described by the Theory of Relativity, time cannot exist. Einstein endorsed this result reluctantly but he could find no way to refute it, since then, neither has anyone else. Yet cosmologists and philosophers alike have proceeded as if this discovery was never made. In A World Without Time, Palle Yourgrau sets out to restore Godel to his rightful place in history, telling the story of two magnificent minds put on the shelf by the scientific fashions of their day, and attempts to rescue the brilliant work they did together.

          • mikemackd says :

            Following your post on Major Tom and the Starman, I used the word “mythopoetic” when describing the linking of 108 to physical phenomena by Sadhguru. Wikipedia has an interesting article about mythpoetic thought, a term coined by a couple, the Frankforts.

            As does Wilber, they ranked “scientific” thought as higher than mythopoetic, which I provisionally take, in McGilchrist’s model, a ranking the Emissary higher than the Master. But then, there’s Godel above, seeing the god of tick-tock as a social imaginary which, if true, means time cannot exist …

            The status of Blake’s slumberer Newton in science now is as a “very useful approximation, very precise in its own range of applications, but devoid of any internal justification, a purely mathematical model. But in its heyday it was believed to be much more: the key to understanding the universe” Ekeland, I. 1988. Mathematics and the Unexpected. University of Chicago Press, p. 15.

            As abdulmonem just pointed out on the Major Tom string, the Emissary can only take us so far. On p. 87 of that same work, Mumford speaks of “… a gray world solemn with wheels, six per cent, and tick tock”. The god of tick tock is not God: it is only our tool.

          • Scott Preston says :

            I have Fraser’s book (a couple of them, in fact) as yet unread. But interesting anecdote about Godel and Einstein. Didn’t know of that.

  2. Scott Preston says :

    Dormehl: 2017 is the year we take back control from the algorithms.


    Not so sure of that. As far as I can tell, few or none outside academia are giving much thought to AI and its social consequences. And if they are, they aren’t sharing their thoughts or plans for that.

    It will not turn out as they think. Human beings will end up servants of their robots and not vice versa, just as presently they are all but servants of their algorithms. Presumably, the reason we don’t hear much about planning for the impacts of AI is because, once again, humans will abdicate responsibility and assign it to the “Invisible Hand” of the market to sort out — which gave us the Precariat in the first place — those dispossessed by automation who end up in part-time jobs and hamburger flipping with virtually no prospects and nothing much in the way of political power either. “The left behinds of the Great Society” as Zappa once put it in a song.

    (And speaking of Zappa, the other day I found this hilarious clip of a Steve Allen show from 1963, where a very young man named “Frank Zappa” — pre Mothers of Invention — was demonstrating his unusual improvisational music abilities:

  3. abdulmonem says :

    Yes Ibn Arabi also makes distinction between mechanical time and eventual time and highlights the importance of measuring time by events not by minutes . Chapter 97 of the quran highlights that distinction and remind the human that the importance of the event can not be valued by minutes hours or years. It seems we meet in the realm of the esoteric and differences start to appear in the realm of the exoteric which means that we need to move to the esoteric the field of reality to avoid being seized in the vertigo of falsehood and separation . We need also to remember we are both receivers and creator of thoughts without forgetting the precedence of the receptive faculty in the thoughts of the human,the revelatory knowledge and to thank the main teachers that have pointed us to god, the source of everything.

    • mikemackd says :

      True as usual, abdulmonem. But I would add that nature has it that we must breathe out as well as breathe in. Someone once said that enlightenment is freedom from the idea that one is doing.

      • mikemackd says :

        So I would further add that any conception of a god – because God becomes a god to be Proud Of once conceived – falls into the clutches of Satan. That is, idolatry. Hence the Tao that can be known is not the eternal Tao, the name that can be defined is not the unchanging name.

  4. abdulmonem says :

    Your Mumford said ,I resist to give him name.

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