12
Oct
09

Time and Life

What is time? Does it exist beyond the beginning and end of our universe? From the point of view of the universe there was no time ‘before’ it expanded from a singularity and there will be no time ‘after’ it collapses back into a singularity (that is, if it collapses back). But what about from a hypothetical point of view ‘outside’ the universe? Is there ‘time beyond time’? Ah, things too heavy to ponder on a Monday evening. How about we set that aside for now and shift to something more within our purview. Let’s talk about life – and ‘time beyond life’.

About 14 billion years ago, time began along with the Big Bang. That means we never existed for 14 billion years as far as the universe is concerned. We were practically dead. But then we are born and we live. And at the end of our lives we will become exactly what we were for the past 14 billion years: non-existent. Or will we?

While the term universe is often confused with space, it actually means space and time or the totality of space and time from the Big Bang to whatever scenario the universe ends up to. The universe isn’t just the entire space at this very moment in time; it is the entire space for all the time it exists (note the present tense exists – the universe is present at every minute of its life). And so even after we die, as far as the universe is concerned we will always exist at a certain point in time and space. Points actually, one point for every infinitesimal fraction of every second of our lives.

But then the point is, as far as we are concerned we cease to exist after we die, unless there is indeed life after death. But if there is none, then those we leave behind – our surviving families, friends, and those whose lives we’ve touched – their memories of us will be the only witnesses to our existence. And after they too will all be gone, only the universe will have a record that we once lived.

And if the universe would one day cease to exist, I wonder if there is something beyond to observe all the events from the universe’s birth to its death, capturing the universe’s life and every life it supported – and how each of those lives struggled for survival, evolved, and lived; each joy and each suffering, each triumph and each defeat – immortalizing everything in a ‘time beyond time’. inner minds

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5 Responses to “Time and Life”


  1. 1 monk
    October 13, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Maybe you refer to the concept of the Akasha? in eastern philosophy, this is the group consciousness where all our experiences, thoughts and emotions are recorded. It’s supposed to exist “beyond time”, always has been and always will be.

  2. 2 Jong Atmosfera
    October 13, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Thanks for that bit of information, Monk. I just read about Akasha on Wikipedia and the concept seems strikingly similar to my idea of ‘time beyond time’. What I had in mind when I wrote the article, however, was simply an observer – not necessarily a deity or God – just something, anything that keeps a record that we once lived even if the universe itself ceases to exist.

  3. 3 monk
    October 14, 2009 at 11:13 am

    you’re thinking of an external observer, sorta like Uatu the Watcher in the comicbooks? a being sworn only to observe and not to interfere.

    in some Buddhist mystic traditions (inherited from its hindu roots), in lieu of an overseeing diety, the group-consciousness itself maintains the record in some sort of an akashic memory. upon death, the souls merge back to the Akasha prior to reincarnation to review its life experiences and share what it has learned. its this Akashic memory that serves as a central repository of every thought, experience, and ideas of all of Creation (not just people, mind you. since every living being is tied into the karmic cycle of reincarnation)

    In this perspective, the soul’s evolution is a group effort, not based on individual merit like in western religions. Every reincarnation cycle, each soul contributes some positive experience to the group-mind until the blend just keeps on improving throughout the ages. One tenent of Buddhism is the Buddha’s promise that “the master will not enter nirvana until everyone has achieved enlightenment”. Its an all-for-one and one-for-all kinda deal.

  4. November 26, 2009 at 12:34 am

    And if the universe would one day cease to exist, I wonder if there is something beyond to observe all the events from the universe’s birth to its death, capturing the universe’s life and every life it supported – and how each of those lives struggled for survival, evolved, and lived; each joy and each suffering, each triumph and each defeat – immortalizing everything in a ‘time beyond time’.

    If you’re not referring to some kind of Deity and I’m sure you don’t because it would be too easy, I was thinking that maybe some light from our universe will leak into another universe and that would give intelligent creatures over in that universe (assuming they exist at some point in their own universe time), that would hopefully give them some trace of what our universe looked like. I guess that’s the beauty of light having to travel far away to any observer: things can virtually exist even if they’re already dead. But if you’re talking about how each life was lived, it would be another story altogether. Again if you exclude God, I don’t think there’s really noone else out there left to observe. It would seem easy to ask, “so what’s the point then?” But I think that’s the beauty of it all.


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