Eternal recurrence...... possible?

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Eternal recurrence...... possible?

Postby Solomon on June 5th, 2008, 4:25 pm 

When I first came upon the idea reading Nietzche it haunted me for days (actually, it still does from time to time). The idea is simple: in an everlasting, finite universe, all possibilities would eventually exhaust themselves and then be doomed to an infinite amount of repitions. Some modern cosmologists have actually given creedence to the idea that a universe may have a life cycle of whatever odd billions of years, ending in a big crunch, which then starts another big bang-big crunch, and so on and so forth.
The idea, whatever one thinks of its plausibility, haunts me........................................... What do you all think?
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Postby Sparky on June 5th, 2008, 5:45 pm 

Given recent findings, I would say the chance of that is about zero. The expansion of the universe is accelerating, therefore, it will never collapse. It will continue to expand to a point of maximum entropy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_death_of_the_universe
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Heat Death

Postby PeSla on June 5th, 2008, 7:38 pm 

Solomon, it is interesting you use the word haunting in thinking about these things. I didn't find the wiki link that interesting as an overview of things BTW.

In the thread: http://www.philosophychatforum.com/bull ... 2701#92701

Metis wrote:Biblical scholars have traditionally had problems with “everlasting” and “eternal.” Technically speaking, “eternal” can mean either that it’s always been, is now, and always will be or that it’s literally outside of space-time. Everlasting means that it has a beginning then lasts from then on. Of course, both have their problems where hell is concerned. If on were to be placed in hell eternally this would mean that one has been, is now, and will be in hell; in fact, that one never was/could be placed in hell as one was already there.


So, in this essential philosophic difference between eternal and everlasting, is there an everlasting return? The universe is ultimately finite with a limited life span and yet infinite as we know the middle and can dream or be perplexed as what we predict or if the end decays or builds up again. So it turns out to be just a model of our logic pictures and their paradoxes after all- if the physical universe didn't have such a model born of the paradoxes (note not contradictions) it could invent or create it.

Can there be a maximum general entropy without some final reckoning with the idea of energy as the maximum of the expanding (as if forever and maybe then if empty space is the end point of creation or some other as yet unclear idea of things). Can the entropy as maxim um be the limit or again can we go into a black hole surface deep beyond the maximum entropy?

If the description of all the possibilities listed in the wiki article really does make statements about the remote state of ends and the odds (the odds are zero or near it Sparky?- if it is zero then logically it may not have that idea of odds- just a disembodied possibility.) It may be good physics even to the quantum level or even beyond to some black hole or other era despite no deep understanding of the dark entities in the universe- but if it is to be science beyond philosophy we definitely need to find a hotter place. (as Gamow said defending his theory of element formation in stars)

Eternal return in cycles or in configurations of atoms over some idea of infinity, or as once and only all around thru time- even from some beginning to endless expansion time- is the same idea of infinity.
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Postby bimbo on June 5th, 2008, 9:22 pm 

it will always be impossible for the mortal to acheive understanding of anything either eternal or everlasting, right?...when human intellect acheives the "real"-est understanding of eternity, and can go no further...(as it never will), it exposes the somewhat embarrassing truth of his being: that he is a HYBRID, part ferret, part fish, part really cool sci-fi charachter that understands eternity and the everlasting....They say you should always remember where you came from, but the only way to embrace "reality" is if you transcend it. Can slaves of instinct, automatonic earth queefage really ever understand, we're MOOT...face it...is there a state of surrender to the unknowable that understands?....without jerking itself off and momentarily thinking that it might?
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Postby Phalcon on June 6th, 2008, 12:54 am 

It is today agreed by cosmologists that the universe is not cyclic in the big-crunch-big-bang sense. However there is a mathematical phenomenon known as Poincare recurrence that is supposed to bring any universe back to a state very similar to the present one. This will take a while though, an unimaginable number of years.

BTW Solomon, if this is haunting you then according to Nietzsche you are not leading your life correctly.
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Poincare recurrence

Postby PeSla on June 6th, 2008, 10:12 pm 

Phalcon,

Do you think the Poincare recurrence is strong enough?

I mean what if there are after all only very large numbers in completely separate universes as if say a God or more general law cast them as dice- I mean we prove nothing by the universe we are in if it happens to be one that looks that way (the usual pointless idea that anthropocentrism proves nothing on such a general scale).

Now, if we could see them in a God's-eye view (perhaps he does cast if not play dice) then we could hardly say that these universe would somehow connect to average out- so we cannot rule out that they in totality may never recur- that is the question even generalized is still a paradox and anything we can say about this one is not deep enough or strong enough to decide on this question.
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Postby Speakingmute on June 6th, 2008, 10:42 pm 

I think the reality of the Eternal Recurrence is irrelevent to Nietszche's main point - that we should make our decisions and embrace their consequences with such veracity that having made them and being doomed to make them an infinite number of times shouldn't phase us - the will to life.

In any case, Nietszche's own idea was based off much simpler considerations than modern cosmology - if you have an infinite number of trials and a finite number of combinations, you're going to have the same combinations repeating themselves an infinite number of times. Think of cycling through a deck of cards, reshuffling, then going through them again ad infinitum: you're going to eventually get an identical ordering of all 52 cards. Now, in keeping with 19th century mechanics, Nietszche believed that the Universe was temporally infinite with static laws - both of these are necessary for the reality of the Eternal Return, and both have been challenged within Physics.

On an interesting side note, you can also get a sort of Eternal Recurrence with infinite space. If space goes on forever, then the finite number of chemical combinations guarentees that there are infinite number of planets identical or highly similiar to the earth, complete with another instance of yourself reading another instance of this bulletin board. Creepy, huh?
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Postby Phalcon on June 7th, 2008, 4:03 am 

In any case I don't believe that a cosmological eternal recurrence has much to do with our actual life. My copy in the next cycle is not me. And just like there is a copy of me that leads an identical life and makes identical choices, there may be other copies that are only similar but slightly different, make different choices in different lives. So this sort of reasoning does not seem to justify amor fati on my part.
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Postby Aristippus on June 7th, 2008, 8:11 am 

Surely the possibility of Eternal Recurrence/Eternal Return is only 'haunting' if the 'you' of the future return has memories of itself as the 'you' of the current cycle. And if it does then then it will undoubtedly act to rectify and improve it's conditions that time around - also invalidating it's status as a true Recurrence anyway. And if the 'you' of the future IS a true carbon-copy of the 'you' of the past then it will have no experience of having lived the exact same life before. Will be in blissful ignorance, so to speak. To yourself in this life, the 'you's of all previous and future existences are nothing to you. Essentially one self living it's life once will be exactly the same to that self's perspective as living it an infinite amount of times.
But maybe I'm missing something...?

P.S. This is my first post on a Philosophy forum so go easy on me :P. Also, I find the science side of this fascinating even though it all seems a bit over my head.
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To Come Again

Postby PeSla on June 7th, 2008, 3:08 pm 

So we go up to the mountain where there may be things we cannot describe to the villagers in our down-going. But it is great news that in the absence of the sun, or of the Son, or some sire of the King incarnate we find the avatars reborn that there is a continuity to the world- the higher soul perhaps without memory of some formal state as the lower soul. Yes that no mans land that we cross into as maybe some sort of spirituality (excellent post on Schopenhauer today Giacomo). We rejoice with the one who left when he comes again. How to we recall what is while we are here- not our separate selves like isolated universes seen only by the gods, but the unity of our self as a Unifying Principle of time and memory and universe/

These are problems of logic and mathematics as well as of physics and philosophy- and as I have said very much a matter of art too.

But they can still be seen as theology- What is the unifying principle that would bring the next level of all independent universes together than their influence in in sync? For want of formal physics and mathematics we may as well call it God. But this is a much greater idea than our little household gods of this universe- even if one should come again and be the father reincarnate- or perhaps our wicked stepfather.

The cosmic recurrence, just as the flattening of values in the background over endless time till now that we desire some explanation physical or metaphysical, may have everything to do with our daily lives as with any unifying principle. We can be seen to emerge and uniquely so or not does not matter. but the emergence is not an illusion for on all scales of what is as entity in this universe it is the focus of unity on which all else can at times but independently so seem illusion- and one may as well call it soul.

Mute, good points but there can be more (paradoxically or maybe as fact) than flat potential infinity where things may or may not recur in the same configuration-in fact that we have internal symmetries may show they never recur but focus to some point in time. The arrangement of 52 cars is less than the subset of them and so on. But I mean more than this- I mean something I have called super-entropy in the posts- if anyone can begin to see things on the generalization I have and hopefully beyond. We are in a sense too Mute, beyond the last centuries physics too here as quantum and relativistic (ie modern). Good one two, not just the unity of live but the unity of live as process in the living! What guarantees its uniqueness and specialness as it so exists among the infinite possibilities of dissipation? Will to live but an understanding to the why and how of it, art of it also. The unifying substance if so grounded of any sort of entity that can also partake of its distinctions in its parts.

If you shuffle a deck of cards say 13 times the order comes back closer to when you started.

I have taken a card out of a deck over time first time, and I did it for 14 times (before I encountered a Pinochle deck which of course confuses things-try programming it as ordered sequences!) and even this is not extraordinary with the sort of world view I have in mind.

For there are small trees with great leaves, and great trees with small needle leaves; and all the trees that grow from the top down or from the bottom up; and there are small saplings with leaves as big as the great oak. What controls this battle of form in the struggle for sunlight but the laws of the gods? Is the lowly leaf or snowflake not a world like unto this? Or a soul that falls, returns to ground again perhaps to find the waters of the melting and identical winters snowflake?
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Postby Solomon on June 10th, 2008, 12:42 pm 

BTW Solomon, if this is haunting you then according to Nietzsche you are not leading your life correctly


Well, I do not think that it is a good idea to live one's life based on Nietzsche's ethical and moral compass. I guess I use the word haunting because having lived in the Occident, I am used to looking at things from a linear time perspective, unlike the Orient which tends to be cyclic; it's just a foreign idea to me. Could anything be more nihilistic?
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Postby henriette on June 17th, 2008, 4:58 am 

The concept of "Eternal Recurrence" presupposes that time itself is forever, which is not granted. This concept is not in contradiction with that of an origin.
The possibility of an "Eternal Recurrence" strengthens the value of the moment : let's have good moments because we will have to live all of them again and again.
All this appears weak suggesting that I did not really understand what Nietzsche meant in the The Gay Science.
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Re:

Postby awyeahh1 on April 24th, 2013, 5:43 pm 

Speakingmute wrote: Nietszche believed that the Universe was temporally infinite with static laws - both of these are necessary for the reality of the Eternal Return, and both have been challenged within Physics.


You don't know what are you talking about, do you.
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Re:

Postby Gregorygregg1 on April 25th, 2013, 2:26 am 

Sparky wrote:Given recent findings, I would say the chance of that is about zero. The expansion of the universe is accelerating, therefore, it will never collapse. It will continue to expand to a point of maximum entropy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_death_of_the_universe


Unless it pops.

Phalcon wrote:In any case I don't believe that a cosmological eternal recurrence has much to do with our actual life. My copy in the next cycle is not me. And just like there is a copy of me that leads an identical life and makes identical choices, there may be other copies that are only similar but slightly different, make different choices in different lives. So this sort of reasoning does not seem to justify amor fati on my part.


Humans make an enormous deal out of their identity. Imagine yourself watching a colony of insects. They work together to build the nest. Each has as much individual identity as a human, but you wouldn't be able to tell them apart in a bar room after work. What is this me you speak of? How is it different from any other me? Aren't we all me?
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Re: Eternal recurrence...... possible?

Postby penchansky on April 25th, 2013, 7:42 am 

A universe which existed for an infinite amount of time would not inevitably reach a point where it starts to repeat itself. This can be demonstrated with irrational numbers. An irrational number has an infinite number of numbers after the decimal point without any recurrence. If pi was written in binary you would have an infinite list of just 1s and 0s without any recurrence whilst still being deterministic. The universe is infinitely more complex than this so I am quite sure it could go on forever without repeating itself.
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Re: Eternal recurrence...... possible?

Postby Percarus on April 27th, 2013, 8:01 am 

T J Tipler, in his book 'The Physics of Immortality', talks on the side about the mathematical certainty that life, in various forms as it evolves, seeks and finds greater additional forms of energy to suffice its growth in intellect. Sure, he gives fancy graphs, fancy true physics equations, but you don't need to know all that. To me, after reading that book, I see the very elemental 'dark matter' as mayhap one day as a new source of virtually unilimited energy, and extinguishing even this supply would lead to the Omega point (God) and mayhap to the poincare recurrence theorem given time - mayhap even back to Alpha if it existed.

Tipler comes up with some pretty convincing arguments, I can't remember how his physics exactly work from the top of my head. So the very aspect of time travel is considered as plausible, if not then reconstructions of ourselves after the Omega point into our destined heaven. The book clearly illustrates that the universe is changing and may be prone to change by advanced life itself later on.

Personally I believe in this 'eternal recurrence' theorem, nothing is for ever and I believe that even if the universe was exploiting every different occurence alternative then there would still be a Big Brother sentient energy being who would just restart it all at the push of a button in replay. The thing that makes me wonder is as to whether that would occur before the Omega point or after.
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Re: Eternal recurrence...... possible?

Postby Nodiroce on October 1st, 2018, 2:05 pm 

If you are wondering what it means for you that the universe will go trough an infinite number cycles. It all depends on nature of consciousness. I mean is that copy of me a googolplex cycles from now really me, the me that is aware now. We may never know the answer to this
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