In a series of meditations on the nature of infinity while in the process of developing a larger concept of a new kind of mathematical infinity -- a super-infinity which contains all possible infinities in an intuitively-coherent way -- I have been bumping into the relationship between time and infinity every now and then, always as a fragment of a larger thought experiment looking at infinity from some different angle, and not able to really explore the relationship in much depth.
Used to tangents, I have learned that after an idea reappears like this a number of times in my thoughts, it can be particularly fruitful to dive deeper into that idea on its own terms. Hence a couple days ago, a curious sequence of events led me to a realization on the nature of time which I'd never seen before, and indeed, an epiphany came together out of these various fragments as I dove deeper.
The epiphany arrived randomly, after much effort that morning to get to a specific location as soon as possible yet also not in a hurry. Therefore I was at a rare point of equilibrium between the two time modes of going too fast and going too slow. Finally I arrived just in time to meet my intended aim. Only a minute later and I would have failed, but being in too much of a rush would have been another kind of failure.
My mind was thus precisely aware of a rare equilibrium aspect of time, and, having just met my aim, my mind was emptied of concerns; I began to relax. Thus I was in a prime condition for an insight to arrive. Having been aware of a relationship between time and infinity for weeks, it was natural for my mind to move with full momentum into this pair, with a particular emphasis on equilibrium.
With that setting, I realized that Time comes into being as a feature of a larger dynamic tension between Good and Evil. In mind's eye, I could see into how it works.
Good and Evil are not opposites
Before we get into this, I must be clear about a major framing challenge: I do not see Good and Evil as opposites in the way most people do. Not at all. I've been researching non-binary structures as they arise across different cultures and throughout history for a couple decades, enough to know that Evil is most certainly not a mirror-twin opposite of Good. Rather, it is a state of being that exists as a temporal condition within a larger Good, which is eternal, or timeless.
Good has no opposite, being a singularity, a monad, that stands on its own, unopposed. I've written about this "encompassing" structure of Good and Evil in other places so I won't go into much detail here, but suffice it to say the relationship between the two is structurally similar to this illustration:
The illustration was created for Wikipedia as a mathematically accurate representation of the universe, centered on our sun. As you go further out, the scale grows logarithmically.
Please note, the reason I use this image is to convey the concept of Good encompassing Evil. Beyond the general structure, we're not really paying much attention to the internal pieces. A circle with a dot in the middle (⊙) will illustrate the abstract idea as well, although perhaps not as prettily.
As you contemplate this structure, imagine that the bright light at the center represents evil, and everything else in the image represents varying degrees of Good, with the outer edge representing the Purest Holy Absolute Good, that unspeakably holy holiness of the Throne of God, if you will.
Maybe a better name for that outer edge would be Ein Sof, the ancient Hebrew concept of God before He became Elohim, or later, Yahweh, Jehovah, Eyah Asher Eyah ("I am that I am"), and all of his other names. This is a state of being so pure it is beyond comprehension, beyond even good and evil. The Hebrew sages are very clear on this point: God's nature at this level is utterly beyond our comprehension, to the degree that even superlatives like "holy of holies" is not able to capture the holiness at that level. They make no attempt to put it into words.
(Coincidentally, the Poincare disc, which is structurally similar to this image, says that the outer boundary is not part of the projective plane, being an ideal point which is beyond infinity, all of which makes this metaphor more apt.)
Remember, this is just a structural idea, not a literal map. If I were accurately representing the idea as I understand it, I wouldn't put evil at the very center. Perhaps somewhere near, but off-center -- maybe where the earth appears in this image -- since the conceptual center of Good is quite clearly where the Throne is, not where its Footstool is, or wherever its Evil Accuser has been hurled to lately. If you think the light at the center should be dark to represent evil, let your imagination go up one more layer of abstraction so you're thinking of an even simpler structure.
The main idea here is that evil is wholly contained within good, and rather than being an equal, it is a significantly "smaller" element within good, and there are many other elements smaller and larger than it. If you understand these elements, you're ready to see evil more as it is, rather than as it projects itself to be.
Speaking of projection, one reason I like this particular image is the myopic view in which it is presented. Even though "evil" is in fact a tiny speck somewhere within the infinitely larger scope, myopia makes some things look larger and more central in comparison than they are in reality. We'll come back to that point later.
How does evil come to be?
God outright says he created evil in Isaiah 45:7: "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things." We can take this statement literally even though on the surface God is poetically talking about how he created evil as a measure of how powerful he is. In other words, he's poetically saying his power extends well beyond the Problem of Evil. From his eternal perspective, there is a place within good for evil to exist. We can take this to mean "creating evil" is not itself an evil thing, and a distinctly different kind of creating than happens when evil "creates."
After many meditations on the nature of evil, I finally came to the important realization that evil simply cannot exist without good. Good can exist without evil, but evil cannot exist alone. This is because it is, at essence, a destructive force. Think about it this way: the act of destroying logically entails the existence of something being destroyed. In other words, the essence of evil is conveyed well by the name "Ha-Satan" or "The Accuser," because you can see: without something to accuse, there can be no accuser.
Good can exist alone, but evil cannot; this is an important distinction that goes deep in defining the difference between the two.
Perhaps the most influential thought experiment upon the difference between Good and Evil came when I imagined what the universe would be like if God, the Creator, had started evilly. This idea is actually proposed by some, who have not thought deeply enough about matters to see the fundamental paradox embedded within their proposal. It took many meditations for me to see it with perfect clarity, but now it is indeed clear: evil could never last for long on its own -- no matter what it brought into being. If it operated at its purest form possible, at God-level, it would necessarily destroy everything including itself utterly, and likely within such a short amount of time that nothing much could be created without being destroyed (and quickly -- if anything could even be created at all3).
The mathematical measure of this dynamic was worked out by Sir Roger Penrose when he used the Second Law of Thermodynamics to calculate the likelihood of a random chance origin of the universe. The same absurdly large number (the Penrose number is larger than the quantity of atoms in the universe) he discovered can be used to rule out the possibility of an evil origin, although as far as I can tell, that was not Penrose's intention when building his case. I am convinced that same number can be used to establish the length of time such a hypothetical evil being's creation could exist if there were no good.1
As an extreme edge case example of this thought experiment, I tried to imagine an eternal process of some evil force destroying something that cannot be destroyed -- endless self-destruction -- but such a scene (logically impossible2) surely would look very different from this vast universe in which we find ourselves. It was not a wasted thought experiment, though, as it fed into the larger insight I'm describing here.
The math of the impossibility of self-destruction is stable even with examples of violence on the vast scale of supernovae or quasars, or other examples of intense, tearing, ripping, exploding, destructive, violence. These are exceptions which prove the rule, so to speak: Overall, there is simply too much profound stability over time on the large scale. For example, the fact that we can see light from a galaxy a billion light-years away from us implies that light has been travelling in a straight line for a billion years, uninterrupted. So, even though there are local expressions of violence, the overall global structure of the universe carries many orders of magnitude more stability than violence, and has been doing so for over 13 billion years.
It was when I considered many things like this that I finally realized evil must necessarily be a temporary region within a much greater good. Then I was able to begin working out other elements of the relationship between good and evil, as described earlier.
There is another meditation I went into, after I tried to imagine an evil beginning and could never make it go very far. This was a remarkable series of though experiments about how good could transition from a perfect, undivided, singularity into something divided and pluralistic, a place in which something like pure evil could arise without destroying good, so to speak.
A primordial singularity which communicates perfectly within itself has to be careful when dividing itself in order to create a space for the rest of creation, because it risks a rather unusual type of infinite implosion.
Time doesn't exist
A few years ago, when I first learned that -- within the laws of physics -- time does not exist, I was stunned, then excited and baffled. This news matched some previous thought experiments that seemed out of place until it became clear that time does not exist. Time, it turns out, is entirely a psychological construct, a way of storing information in our mind, that does not have any representation in the laws of physics. These laws all operate perfectly fine without reference to time, and in fact, even the arrow of time (the fact that it moves in one direction only) is debated by some as a perceptual thing rather than a physical thing. There is much discussion about how the laws of physics work the same whether time flows forward or backward.
Knowing that time does not physically exist beyond the moment "now", I had previously learned the psychologically difficult step of letting go of all personal attachment to time. Some readers will not have gone through this process and will have a hard time believing what I write here, but it's true: Time doesn't exist except as a way of organizing our memories.
Knowing this, there is no need for time to behave in linear ways that we normally expect it to behave. (For example, it is not possible to build a time machine as a physical "machine" that people could sit inside of and "travel through time." The correct way to build a time machine would be to build some technological advance that helps people travel through time with their minds, not their physical bodies. And in fact, there is some pretty amazing research and experimentation happening in this area, but that is out of scope for this essay.)
Time is impersonal
A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a curious observation about Time as understood in ancient India. "Time," went the statement, "is the impersonal aspect of God." It was a sentence which flew past my awareness as I was scrolling through some site, probably Quora. It occupied probably one second of my time, and, as I was seeking on another topic altogether, I kept scrolling.
However fleeting, I've since been thinking about this statement a lot. The insight opened up a door into understanding an aspect of God's nature, about which I hadn't thought much. Actually, let me rephrase that: I have thought about the impersonal nature of God many times, but not in relationship with time. The statement was a key that fit a lock I'd been pondering for a long time. Thus, I had good reason to think the impersonal aspect of God's nature goes much deeper than the insight about time.
Um... okay, well... er, ahem. So, after writing that paragraph, I did a search on the phrase "time is the impersonal aspect of God," and went on a deep dive into this topic. I immediately discovered this is a well known idea within Hindu philosophy and religion, but the further I explored, the more I found the inevitable contradictions and religious debate which increasingly left me unsettled. It turns out, talking about "the impersonal aspect of God" implies the tripartite nature of the Hindu God (the impersonal is one of three), which then implies a whole lot of religious debate.
So, I'm being clear about this now to disambiguate what I'm doing from any connection to Brahman, who seems like a reasonable fellow roughly equivalent to the Christian understanding of the Father, or Paramatman, who seems to be identical with the Holy Ghost, or Bhagavan, who would then be the Son, except maybe not, since bhaga apparently means vagina.... See what I mean? I'm certain there are great insights in Sanātana Dharma, "the Eternal way," of Indian religion but I'm not prepared to go into any of that about which I know so little.
Instead, I'm specifically talking about "the impersonal aspect of God" as an abstract attribute in a thought experiment and how this idea played a key role in developing a new insight about Time. I assume this insight about the nature of time is already well-known in India. If so, I will learn more about it in due course, and readily accept a more mature version than what I'm knitting together. But for now, the idea I mean was organically developed outside that scope, and is not referring to any of the Hindu pantheon.
The moment now occurring, and now-colored lenses
Time does not exist, and if I understand David Hoffman correctly, even Cause and Effect does not exist. (Hoffman talks about the "laws" of physics being more like "general tendencies" which are nowhere written in stone. His insight is rooted in some unique experiences that make his perspective worth considering when thinking about these kind of things.) But This Moment Now does exist, this being one of the few things of which we can be truly certain. Arguments about "the illusion" cannot overcome the pervasive reality of both our awareness and overwhelming evidence and logic supporting the existence of This Moment Now.
Indeed, it may be the only thing that can be properly "proved," or "assumed," transcending Descartes' famous "I think therefore I am" by moving to a perspective less self-oriented: "Now, therefore now exists."
D. G. Leahy cleverly refers to this present moment with his often-used phrase "the thinking now occurring" in order to express ideas with zero attachment to ego. In other words, he is specific about the now instead of specific about the self with "I think x" or "I believe y" or other such references. On that note, if we talk about "the thought occurring now," the moment "now" is referring to at least two separate but linked moments -- the one in which I am writing, and then later the one in which you are reading (or thinking). The word "now" encompasses both with equal force within the structure This Moment Now, in a manner similar to how mathematical infinity can absorb all that comes in or out of it and yet does not change size. (The thinking now occurring indicates this is because size change is a measurement over time, and mathematical infinity has no reference to time -- it exists, as does all mathematics, in a timeless condition. In other words, mathematical timespace obeyes different rules than normal timespace.)
It is our mind and memory which separates these moments into two, chronologically. This makes a good example for how we directly perceive the world around us through "now-colored lenses," while it is our mind that organizes the past and the future, time. I beg patience from any reader who is encountering a number of these mind-bending thoughts in succession. Some of these ambled around in my mind for years before I made proper sense of them, so I expect they may seem far out there at first glance. But some readers, for example, familiar with the thinking of Carl Rovelli, will be able to grasp these ideas right away.
Along these lines, we tend to think of vision as providing a full 360-degree range of information around us, a sphere of visual information arriving through our eyes in the high-fidelity that we experience by simply looking around us. On a pure physics level, it "feels" as if we're processing enormous amounts of visual data, but few people know that relatively little visual information that strikes the back of the eye actually gets to the brain itself. The eye and optic nerve pre-processes all of this data and sends an extremely lightweight set of data to the brain, which uses the incoming data to animate its inner model of what is happening visually. In other words, not only does our brain create a robust model of the past and future, but even its model of the now is remarkably robust. Even as I write these words, looking out the window, seeing a tree with thousands of leaves, the screen window separating this field of vision into thousands of tiny pixels, birds flying through the air, I'm aware that more than 90 percent of what I'm "seeing" is happening inside my head -- the visual data coming in is simply too sparse to convey the full detail that I'm seeing.
All this is to reinforce the observation that our brain is extremely good at creating a full representation internally of the external world, making room for the idea that it's also good at creating past and future -- which do not exist in the way we normally think they do, being more artifacts of the mind than of "reality."
Repentance is human, not a perfect-forward-motion like God
When God created evil, there was a risk of cancerous growth (similar to the risk in how dividing the singularity could potentially implode everything into megatrillions of tiny self-dividing pieces forever), of the parasitical nature of evil growing to the point where it destroys its own host. There can be no doubt that evil wants to destroy everything, and always has, and given the chance, it would -- even knowing that it would therefore destroy itself.
A few examples will help make this last statement clear: Consider how Judas, immediately after betraying Christ, went to the tree and hung himself. In other words, Satan, given the opportunity to fully possess a man to perform the highest level of betrayal possible, will then promptly kill himself. In another example, a possessed herd of pigs ran off the cliff rather than put up with the legion of evil spirits which had been sent out of the man by Christ. The possessed man did not have the wisdom that the pigs did -- they ran off the cliff to their death immediately, whereas the man had been troubled for years. There are other such examples where we can see that evil, given the chance, will destroy everything, including itself. We can also see by this second example the human condition is somehow more resilient to its effects than other animals, but cannot contain ultimate evil for long.
In order for good to be good, this condition is allowed, but must not be allowed to turn cancerous, of course. Therefore, either before God created evil, or simultaneous with creating evil, God created a way to contain evil from its core objective, which would, if it could, destroy him.
Few realize this core attribute of God which makes his task more difficult than it would be for one of us. It has to do with something Isaiah pointed out: "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11)
In other words, God never wavers. He never hesitates. Everything he has ever done, always, and ever will do, is perfect and there is no mistake, or do-over, or "repairing what has been broken" within him. At least, not in the way it is with us. This dual-minded dynamic clearly does happen in the mortal condition, which obviously has a different relationship with evil than what God has. For God to do something "temporary" as part of a larger process -- such as building a temporary scaffold from which to paint a two-storey house, which is later taken down -- is simply not an option. Even moreso with the concept of disposable everything that has arisen in the West over the last century -- everything God does involves a recycling path, no iota is ever wasted and sent to the landfill in the disposable way we do things. Everything he does is permanent from inception forward.
Thus, when God created the universe, because it involved division, he had to overcome the first great risk of imploding, and later (or simultaneously?), when he created evil, he encountered a similarly potent risk of cancerous growth. Both of these challenges were far more difficult for God than they would be for man, who has the ability to retract his word if he realizes that he accidentally allowed for cancerous growth, then changes his mind, and does away with evil, or "repents."
Everything God does goes forward contiguous with the Beginning; there are no gaps, there are no editorial re-writes, and this helps inform our understanding that he is the one who "was, is, and ever shall be" or that he is "changeless."
To confirm that we have the ability to "repent" and turn back in a way that God never does, consider the development of repentance as it is traced through several thousand years of Biblical history -- and world history -- unto this day. Here is what I mean: Go back to the Old Testament and you will find numerous striking examples of people who suffered extraordinarily rather than go back on their word. There was Jephthah who sacrificed his daughter rather than change his mind about a vow he'd made. There was king Darius who could not overrule his own command which put Daniel into the pit with the lions. Instead, he sat up all night, praying that the lions would not eat his friend, and rejoiced when in the morning they had not. He did that rather than revoke his own command, because such a reversal was unthinkable in his day. There are numerous other examples, but the point is that, in Old Testament times, there was a cultural assumption that one should never break one's word, which went much deeper than it does today.
This appears to be linked to the same perfect-forward-will attribute of God (even though God once lamented to Moses that he wished he hadn't created the nation of Israel, this time we'll take the poetic meaning more than the literal) through the concept of the "divine right" of kings. Think about how the concept of "divine right" would fly today if someone proposed it. Nobody has that kind of unlimited power these days, and those who try to assign it to themselves do not last long. Authority has corrupted, like the great statue of Nebuchadrezzar's dream -- head of gold, chest of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and feet of clay mixed with iron -- to the point that we are all much more roughly equal than we used to be when Pharaohs who were literal gods on earth lived and ruled.
Instead, today, we have a mature understanding of "repent," and we have complex legal structures which handle innocence-until-proven-guilty (actually a relatively new idea historically), and we have the U.S. Constitution and many similar documents which define leadership in time-limited roles chosen by votes from all the people -- not by divine appointment, etc., etc. We have many other ways of limiting and retracting our given word, while still retaining a semblance of the same power and dignity God carries with his more perfect pedigree. Even a brief history of this transition of authority and power from gold to clay over thousands of years would take a good sized book.
To make evil stronger, fight it
One thing I learned years ago as I developed while learning to prevail in spiritual warfare which has been my lot in life more than most: if you directly oppose evil but fail to eradicate it completely, it grows stronger. A reader without those particular experiences would be able to understand the idea by considering the path required to overcome addictions. A good example of this principle can be seen in the rise of "superbugs," which are resistant to antibiotics because, over the years, antibiotics were applied incompletely, leaving a genetic strain that is resistant to the given antibiotic. Evil grows in a similar fashion.
Thus it is wise to move decisively and firmly -- he who hesitates is lost -- in a battle against evil. It is sometimes better to lose tactically in order to gain strategic advantage. One effective tactic against spiritual adversity is to know when and how to appeal to the angels and God, letting their greater virtue do the greater work against the adversity than anything mere mortals can do.
Related to that recognition of my own limits, hard experience has taught me that if I prevail against evil of my own strength, I will become self-righteous and think that I am something impressive -- and thus a victory becomes the very attribute which makes me prey for the next attack.
To make good stronger, unite it with greater good
So we see, in the mortal condition, humility is our strength. Thank God, literally, for the tactic of holding firm to the greater good rather than leaning upon self; learning this has placed me upon a much surer foundation than what I experienced early in my spiritual journey, when I thought as the world teaches, that I had spiritual strengths.
Jesus was talking directly about this when he said, to one who called him Good Master: "Why callest thou me good? There is none good save the Father." The more I learn this, when the adversary attacks me the individual, he increasingly faces the Singularity, the monad, the undivided, the Holy One -- not me. He thus divides against himself, moving incrementally toward the inevitable conclusion described by Isaiah: that we will one day see him and wonder how such a little one caused so much trouble, because he has finally been reduced to his proper proportion.
Thus, strength comes from humility, acknowledging that all that is good comes from the Father, and always has, and always will, and this is the correct way to fight against evil -- to unite with greater good, to become part of the vine, to hold on to the rod of iron, to knit ourselves into the community, to grow in faith, leaving the kingdom, the power, and the glory to our Heavenly Father in order that we may receive our daily portion.
The charge neutrality of the universe
A curious thing about the design of our universe fits the description of what we've been building toward for a while here: On an individual level, each atom is known to be "charge neutral." There are exceptions which we will describe shortly, but overall, the megatrillions of uncountable ultrabillions of atoms in the universe all share the little-known property that they are charge-balanced.
Atoms are composed of protons, which have positive charge, neutrons, which are charge-neutral, and electrons, which have negative charge. But atoms are themselves, on an individual level, charge neutral. In other words, atoms have no charge when measured from the outside, even though surprisingly large forces are entangled in what is happening within.
Thus, there is an extraordinary amount of electromagnetic charge distributed evenly throughout the universe, enough to blow the whole thing up many times over, and yet remaining overall very stable across time and space, because each particle is charge neutral.
We learned from Einstein that if we disrupt the charge balance of a few billion unstable radioactive atoms, we can create a massive explosion larger than anything known before in the history of mankind -- an atomic explosion. Nuclear physicists debated uncontrollably-large explosions as a possibility when the first bombs were being created. There were some scientists who wondered whether a unending nuclear explosion might occur, which could destroy the entire earth, or much more than what the first tests revealed. (I remember there was similar debate about uncontrolled processes when the Large Hadron Collider came alive a few years ago -- some people feared it might create a black hole which could destroy the earth.)
Nature normally prefers the balance, but tolerates local imbalance up to a certain point before various processes come in to play to restore the balance. Normally, the balance gets restored by things like lightning bolts -- lightning is probably the best known way of restoring balance of charge between heaven and earth. But there are slower processes, from forest fires to sand storms, and other weather patterns, as well as very slow natural processes like erosion, which are involved in charge balance. This appears at all levels of Nature, and even extends into extremely large time-based movements, like evolution, involving complex sequences like punctuated equilibrium (where there is a rhythmic flourishing and then collapse in the number and diversity of species). There is a general overall balance which tolerates local imbalances which are allowed to grow but not too far before the global balance gets restored.
In other words, the physical structure of the universe on an atomic level, and the process of evolution over time, both seem to exhibit characteristics similar to what I've been describing would be required to contain the massive implosion/explosion potential of evil, and also the potential for cancerous growth of evil. Note that both examples allow for local freedom and diversity against a backdrop of global uniformity.
The equilibrium of time
Let's look a little deeper at how the point of equilibrium described earlier played into my thoughts and gave birth to the insight having to do with the relationship between time and infinity, good, and evil.
Summarizing the main points so far:
- good itself has no opposite; it is a perfect singularity that stands on its own; thus evil is wholly contained within good
- God created evil, and all he does is good, so from his perspective evil has a place within good
- evil could never last for long on its own because it is so destructive even unto itself
- even with continual change, there is overall great stability within the universe over time on the large scale
- time does not have any representation in the laws of physics, does not appear to physically exist except as a way of organizing our memories
- "time is the impersonal aspect of God" is an idea already well accepted on a global scale
- the moment now exists, and behaves like mathematical infinity in how it absorbs anything without changing in size
- a primordial singularity has to be careful when dividing itself, because it risks an implosion
- a primordial singularity has to be careful when creating evil, because it risks cancerous growth
- either before God created evil, or simultaneous with creating evil, God established a way to contain evil
- we have the time-bound ability to repent, which is different from God's eternal changelessness
- evil grows stronger with incomplete resistance. therefore the best defense against evil is to unite with a good greater than self, in a chain leading all the way back to God
- the charge balance and overall atomic-level neutrality of timespace gives a model for how to resolve these points into a single, coherent, universe
The new insight into Time is regarding this point from the list: "God established a way to contain evil." I now believe that Time is how God solved the Real Problem of Evil5, thereby preventing evil from growing like a cancer. God handled the first great risk (of imploding into megatrillions of pieces) by the structure of the universe on an atomic scale. How he is managing the second great risk, of evil growing like cancer, is a billions-of-years-long process involving us (human beings "made out of clay" who evolve to the point of having free will and becoming smart enough to understand all this and thereby make informed decisions about this grand adventure known as mortality) which is still underway.
There is a dynamic tension between allowing evil to grow too fast, and not allowing it at all. Simply preventing the existence of evil would place a limit on God's power, because it would imply the existence of something he could only control by preventing its existence. In other words, the existence of evil, even for all its badness, is better than preventing evil altogether. As God was saying in Isaiah, the existence of evil reveals the truly unlimited power of God. Truly unlimited power "contains" pure destructive ability by a mechanism we know as "time."
In the equilibrium point between these two forces (i.e. allowing evil to destroy, while limiting evil from destroying all), Time comes into being, flowing like a fountain out of the Eternal Now to contain darkness.
Time arrives from the Now in the tiniest increments possible; intuitively it appears to my mind's eye in a manner similar to the Planck length, where the laws of physics break down, the concept of size becomes meaningless, and below which exists the legal system of the singularity (which has paradoxical attributes like perfect communication from one end of the universe to the other instantaneously, no time, no space, all that exists is pure energy/spirit, universal spiritual awareness due to oneness with all, etc).
Time, in effect, is a form of judgment. It is also a form of mercy. If God allowed either extreme to prevail, he would would either be a bully or an enabler. He is neither. God is allowing evil to exist within an envelope where he suppresses his intimate personal relationship with each iota of Creation, and allows only the impersonal relationship to exist. He's been doing this for at least 13.7 billion years, according to the current estimates on the age of the universe, since Time began.
The grace of God is the transition out of time
Time is temporary; someday, it will not exist. We know from Isaiah that one day, evil will have been fully contained within its proper boundary, we will all have learned the lesson of what happens if it is allowed to grow cancerously and thus we will have the God-level wisdom not to allow such a thing to happen.
We hear in a few places that one of the most remarkable things about Jesus was his unusual gift of grace; he was a model for grace like never seen before. But what is grace?
In my experience as a person known to be awkward in many ways, whose life is a crucible in which great desire for grace has been forged, I have found Grace is linked to Time, in the following manner: I see grace as the perfect combination of judgment and mercy; it is that path which is not too strong either way. It is the equilibrium path that I was describing earlier -- if one goes a little faster, too much judgment happens; if one goes a little slower, too much mercy happens.
Thus the path of grace is that elegant motion through time and space where freedom and responsibility on an individual level stay in harmony with their cosmic condition, toward that ultimate end where time is no longer needed.
Upon realizing that space also does not exist
Wow. 9:48 a.m. May 25, 2021. While revising this essay, after writing about the charge balance of the universe and trying to figure out where to place that new section, I just now figured out how space doesn't exist. It happens in a similar manner to how time doesn't exist. Space truly is infinite! (But not like we normally think of infinite space.)
I have tried many times to figure out how space doesn't exist, because it seems obvious that if time doesn't exist and is simply a mental structure, then space should be also. But, same as with time, space is not an easy mental structure of which to let go; the pervasive sense that it exists, and is vast, has always prevailed over my imagination, until now.
In this moment, I see it clearly: THERE IS ONLY NOW AND HERE. Past and Future, There and Yonder and all other aspects of "timespace" are all relatively imaginary. They are artifacts of the way our minds organize information, not actually existing independently as we imagine they do. The latest discoveries in quantum physics keep saying this same thing over and over, so this realization is within scope for science.
This is wild: When we look into the billions-of-light-years panorama of outer space, we think we're looking at something that has been around for billions of years. And, in a way, it has been. But not contiguously, as we imagine. Not exactly. What we're actually seeing is the eternal now, in the state into which it has evolved for those billions of years. The laws of physics determine how we perceive in 3-D space, but I am certain I have seen very weighty minds confirming the fact that we have no access to that reality; will need to research and bring those insights in to this essay.
The perceptual loop and extending it into the nothing
Wow. 10:05 a.m. May 25, 2021. An inevitable consequence of what I'm realizing right now is a beautiful confirmation of a peculiar proposal that arises from the structure of language and has some historical precedent, but has long been abandoned: the idea that perception is a two-way loop, a sending-out of a signal and a receiving-in of a signal, not just the latter as we normally think, but both. [Update, June 1, just found an older essay where I talk about this same perceptual loop in some detail].
This larger insight about how space does not exist, but instead its existence is an artifact of the laws of physics (plus our ability to perceive infinitely... far... wow this is deep, because the intuition that our consciousness is comprised of infinite perceptive ability inside a finite perceptual apparatus is now very clear to me. I'm tergiversating that boundary as I write, can see both dimensions as I do so). We have infinite ability to perceive, to extend our perceptive ability to the uttermost bounds of our previous perception, all the way to the limits of finite perception... and then go further, endlessly, doing this again and again until we finally realize that we can do this forever and therefore that we are infinite and only our perceptive ability is finite... as long as we cling to it... clinging (and eventually relinquishing) as an act of free will; yes, free will is involved, also.
This is fascinating. The universe can be seen as an elaborate perceptual tool which allows us the ability to have an enormous finite imagination, but that enormity ultimately fades before the utterly endless enormity of true infinity. Honest, it is hard for me to hold the reality of infinity in my mind in this moment where I'm perceiving it on its own terms, because it feels... like I have nothing holding me in place. It reminds me of a moment when I was once out on a lake in a boat and suddenly realized I was hovering 50 feet above solid ground, held up only by liquid which would easily envelope me without mercy if I fell in. I was terrified from that moment forward, and begged the boat's navigator to take me back to dry land because I felt like I was in the middle of nothing, that only the smallest mishap separated me from death. The size differential between a lake and the universe is vast, but the sense of being held by nothing is similar...
Not sure how to grasp this with words.
Because of this new insight my imagination is travelling to the utmost limits of the size of the universe as I understand it (observable universe is a little over 90 billion lightyears across, but the mind can do this in an instant), and then reaching beyond that into what I understand to be infinity, or endlessness, beyond finite. The sensation of doing this with my mind... feels like there is nothing to hold onto. Nevertheless I simultaneously am aware that what I'm thus touching with my mind is more solid, and more real, than the perceptual envelope of finite time and space as I understand it according to science.
Letting go of a perception that I've somehow previously attached to the Ein Sof layer, where I mistakenly feel secure in the imaginary part, and feel like I'm connecting to "nothing" when in truth I'm connecting to the Everything. I don't know how to put this into words exactly, but it's kind of like I'm currently experiencing the scientific mind within me (i.e. the finite mind) relinquishing its outermost boundaries in exchange for a... well, what to call this new replacement, would it be called a post-finite mind? Is this the spiritual, no longer physical that I'm touching?
"The nothing is the everything" would be one way of putting this into words, with "is" referring to the transition which awareness makes upon realizing that the perception of nothing is simply a perceptual thing, while the reality of nothing is that it is everywhere, and "all that is" has come into being out of the nothing7. This is not a paradox, it's a realization that the nothing is far more alive than it seems. Like that fleeting glimpse of awareness we all feel from time to time that God is everywhere and everything... except here I'm writing about it while in the middle of it, and feeling it, and it's not so fleeting, and I'm finally experiencing what was previously only an intellectual thought experiment, but the experience is so delicate it is almost imperceptible.
I finally understand what is meant by a cryptic passage in an obscure modern-day scripture that I have puzzled over many times, which talks about the nothing in between everything being where true reality is to be found.
Although I cognitively understand this moment is, well, momentuous, it feels ordinary. What is happening is entirely within my imagination -- restructuring its outer boundary -- and I'm simply sitting here before a keyboard and computer screen, with my children beside me doing their schoolwork as I write. Let me see if I can capture the moment concisely: In the midst of an epiphany regarding the nature of space, and how it (like time) does not exist independent from my own imagination, I find myself clinging to the outermost boundaries of timespace and not easily able to center myself within its outer envelope -- the encompassing Ein Sof dimension, so to speak -- which holds timespace within it, because I am afraid that it is less substantial!
That's quite a perceptual paradox, but it makes perfect sense: from within the myopia of timespace, I currently perceive that what is truly real (the nothing) is unreal, and that what is temporal (the finity) is "safe" and "solid," even though I cognitively understand the truth is the opposite: that the nothing surrounding the everything is the actual solid foundation, and the everything I perceive with finite perception is the fading temporality. To see, too feel that the universe is a fading temporality suggests my imagination is connecting with the timeless nature of the Ein Sof dimension.
As I write, my inner experience is that I am re-wiring my perceptions to take hold of a "nothing" which exists outside timespace, in order to understand that my immediate perceptions are compelling, but less stable than this outer endlessness.
As this present moment fades, I'm aware I will return to it a few more times, in different perception dimensions (dreams, metaphors, curious coincidences, meditations, echo epiphanies, finishing the essay over time until its current rawness makes sense to others), until I have gained a solid sense of what is happening. So here I am, even smaller than the extremely small of before, but now attaching perceptually to the underlying and oversurrounding Grace Layer, the Ein Sof dimension which is both in the Here and the Now and in the Past and in the Future and EveryWhere and all the Yonders in between.
Okay, that being written, let me return to explaining how there is only Now and Here, and how the vast space of the universe does not actually exist, but is a very strong perceptual illusion arising out of the impersonal aspect of God, which we perceive as "nowhere" and "nothing," but which is structurally a way to allow the existence of evil without letting it either explode or grow cancerously. I feel like I may not be able to communicate what I'm seeing in mind's eye right now, but I will try:
What we call The Laws of Physics are an imaginary extension of our perceptual abilities; they are not actual laws, but like everything else, a model for greater, heavenly laws which we will someday understand. In order for us to feel comfortable with the long-term stability of our perceptions, we assign the name "laws" and believe they are eternal, but like Donald Hoffman said, they are more like "tendencies" and they eventually fade into the nothingness out of which they arose.
However, the nothingness between everything is not "nothing" or "empty space" as we perceive it, but is and carries pure energy in the singularity form in which it exists before it is superdivided and confined within the atomic structure of the universe in its current charge-balanced condition. The ultra-mega-trillions of division which I imagined God as a singularity would subdivide himself into if the idea of division came into being (within the context of perfect communication enabling a recursive implosion, as described elsewhere) is an accurate image of the atomic-level division of the universe. For example, astrophysicsts estimate there are somewhere around 1080 atoms in the observable universe -- what I was calling megatrillions earlier has an actual measureable quantity.
Ok this next part is a wild guess and may be wrong, but it's the first time I've been able to link a thought experiment about the physics of the universe with the spiritual War in Heaven storyline, so even if it's inaccurate it may open the door to a lot: The Big Bang, or maybe soon after it, would then be the historical "moment" when Lucifer, the Carrier of Light attempted to attack God, and timespace as we know it came into being. In fact, timespace did grow explosively during its early extremely-rapid "inflation" stage, and then it began to slow down6, still expanding in size, but with enough atomic structure to finally grow in the more stable, governed manner as we know it today.
So that's how this universe came into being? Yes, I understand that my description in the previous paragraph is following the "old" timespace model, and the new thing I'm saying here is that timespace doesn't exist. So how do we explain its obvious and rather compelling appearance of existence?
Instead of thinking that we're perceiving "out" into "space" when we look through a telescope, it's a better metaphor to think that we're perceive "out" into "the laws of physics," knowing the laws are only tendencies, because this verbage captures the conceptual leap we're making with our imagination.
We already know that when we look into deep space, we're seeing what happened long ago, not what's happening now. What's happening "now" in that same region of space may take a million years to be available to our perceptions.
It's easier for our imagination to understand this is happening when we look at something a million light-years away, but in fact, it's happening on a smaller and smaller scale the closer we get to our immediate space and time. When we look into timespace, we're seeing the past. We're seeing "what was happening then" as it is represented to us "in the now," not "what is happening now." We're always perceiving the past, and using that information to understand the now as we project our intentions forward into the future.
We conceptually think we're seeing all that is as it is, but if we think about it even lightly, we cognitively know we're seeing all that is as it was. We're in a perceptual bubble, not a real bubble. What exists outside this perceptual bubble, we imagine to be timespace As It Is -- not time-shifted -- but In The Now. But, in fact, what is there is "nothing," empty space, the primordial pre-charge-balanced, undivided, singularity, Ein Sof-dimension envelope which holds the perceptual bubble with all its megatrillions of charge-balanced atoms.
Okay, this needs to be unravelled more linearly, with examples so others can understand things, so hopefully I have written enough now to capture the main point.
Does uncreated space exist?
11:56 p.m. June 1, 2021. A week later. Writing and researching throughout the day in a very intimately-guided manner, finding several directly-related gems online and buried in my own writing from two and three years ago, which would have taken much longer to find under normal circumstances. It turns out, I've been thinking along these lines, surprisingly consistently, longer than I realized. Today's path led me to two deep insights, one appropriate for bringing into this present essay: I now have an intuitive glimpse of how to test this developing theory. If what I'm seeing is correct, there should be a way to prove that there is absolutely nothing in a large region of space where our perceptions tell us there should be something. I'll see if I can convey the idea simply: Imagine that we're looking into a galaxy 1,000 light-years away from us. We're seeing the condition of the galaxy as it was 1,000 years ago. The "now" state of that same region of space is supposed to be 1,000 years further along its journey, but as we're perceiving by light, which is the fastest-moving thing in the universe, we have no way to verify whether it really is 1,000 years further along. We assume it, but cannot verify it experimentally, because it would require travel at superluminal speed to verify whether that region of space even exists. While we presently cannot even imagine physically travelling faster than the speed of light, our minds surely have the ability to travel instantly from one end of the universe to the other; surely they can travel to a location a mere 1,000 lightyears away? So, once we gain the ability to do this with our minds (I know little about this, but my very amateurish understanding of remote viewing comes to mind as providing a way to possibly do this), we should be able to verify whether the region of space which is outside our lightspeed-based perceptual envelope even exists, whether it obeys the laws of physics or if it exists in some "unperceived" state that we currently know nothing about.
Intuition tells me I have enough here, as the word "unperceived" as I wrote it now brings closure to a cryptic thing I once heard from someone who mentioned overhearing angels talk about how "uncreated" space was at perilous risk of the same cancerous growth that I was describing earlier. I didn't understand what that meant at the time, but I see it now. I am also getting the sense that by writing about this as I am now, with a free will, operating within the limited human domain, I am helping to close a potential leak of evil into uncreated space. The intimate guidance today and earlier this month is bigger than me; it is not happening for my own curiousity's sake, but because there is a larger story being written, in which I play a small role, and because of the way these things work, so do you. (I'd still like to figure out what And-Or Grammars have to do with all this, though.)
1 The part in italics, regarding the length of time within which a hypothetical evil genius could create before his essential destructive nature destroyed what he created, occurred to me at 6:34 a.m. on May 5, 2021. It is my habit to note the time when such key realizations occur, if I can. I recognized within minutes how this insight provides the final ingredient needed to comprehend something I've been calling triachrony, which I can finally begin to write about. It is also the key which holds this present essay together, as should be obvious to those who will be reading the completed essay some day. I began writing this essay a day or two ago with only a faint intuitive sense of this point, and the process of writing developed my thoughts, here a little, and there a little, until finally I could see this clearly, during a revision.
2 6:50 a.m. For the first time in over two decades of studying ternary logic and all that it entails, I found what I can clearly see is a proper use of binary logic. This usage ironically helps prove the point that binary logic is, hm, how do I say this nicely... overused to a point where its use has nearly destroyed the world. I finally can see the value of this logical system, which delivers such a tableau of subtly deceptive incoherence when used improperly, as it commonly is.
3 7:21 a.m. Strange, it may seem, to have a footnote numbered 3 appear in the text before the footnote numbered 1, but this is the correct numbering, because I happen to be writing about triachrony -- an idea I am learning intuitively but have not yet worked out rationally (until this recursive moment here). The synchrony of discovering the point of footnote number 2 after having already written the very similar point identified here in footnote number 3 is just too plain to politely ignore. And to think, I nearly spent this morning getting ordinary work done, but thankfully, intuition led me to write instead, whereupon while editing this paragraph with three footnotes, I went through a fascinating process by which I discovered the first working example of what I shall now name triachrony.
4 There is a good analogy for how this works in the movie "Dr. Strange." In that movie, Dr. Strange takes on a vast creature so large that it eats planets, whereas Dr. Strange is the size of a human and only has as a weapon his intellect and the ability to control time (and lots of patience, as will be seen). The giant planet-eater is about to eat Earth, but Dr. Strange greets him and engages him in battle. The giant rapidly destroys him, but Dr. Strange immediately reappears and engages him again. He becomes an infinite loop within the time experience of the giant planet-eater, who fights him over and over and over, tens of thousands of times destroying his enemy in horrific battles that always end with him winning... except that moments later, there's his enemy again, challenging him. This eventually wearies him enough that he finally relinquishes his plan to eat the Earth, and move on to other meals. Imagine if instead of wanting to eat the Earth, the planet-eater wants to destroy everything (including itself), and will never choose otherwise. Thus Dr. Strange would catch himself in an infinite loop of suffering. If you think about it this way, you can see Dr. Strange was, at essence, more patient than the planet-eater.
5 The "problem of evil" which we learn in college philosophy courses, is not a deep question as it seems, but merely an artifact of binary thinking, easily resolved by considering its logically equivalent counterpoint: the Problem of Good, or, "Why is there so much good in the universe?" As these two problems resolve each other, a truly inquisitive mind will seek deeper into the question of "how" the problem of evil can be resolved, and hopefully discover Rene Girard's deep insights into the scapegoat mechanism which operates in all of us subconsciously, but ceases operating once we become consciously aware of it.
6 Did that begin when the universe became transparent to photons? If so, this is meaningful, because it is when the role of the lightbringer was taken over by... Archangel Michael? Who took over light-bringing once Lucifer sought to transform his gift into dark-bringing? Hmmm...
7 For a related discussion of the nothingness of Ein Sof, consider this paper: "Ein-Sof, Nothingness and the Problem of Creation Ex Nihilo." Here is an excerpt, (found during June 1's intimately guided journey) in a previous blog entry a couple years ago, a thought experiment quite like the ones I share here:
As I child I was for a time preoccupied with an idea that I can only now express with the following words: How utterly improbable, it seemed to me then, that anything whatsoever should exist at all, that there should even be a state of affairs called “nothing” let alone the fullness of nature, the totality of the human world, my own body, and my awareness of existence. All of this appeared to me to be an extremely unlikely miracle, as it somehow seemed “logical” that absolute nothingness rather than “somethingness” should prevail. As such, I found myself attempting to imaginatively conceive of a complete and utter void. In my imagination I removed all objects in space, all stars and planets, galaxies and light, all matter, however ethereal. I was able to do this quite easily, picturing in my mind an infinitely extending black void. I soon realized, however, that this conception was insufficient, for even an infinite, black void was a state of affairs, one that, however monotonous and bland, was on this side of the miracle of creation. So I endeavored in my mind to remove even this black emptiness, to somehow peel it off, as if it were a skin or wallpaper covering the nothingness of utter non-being. To my dismay, this imaginative process invariably revealed a brilliant white light behind it, one that could not, however I tried, itself be peeled away, condensed, or otherwise eliminated. I eventually realized that the perfect void could not be imagined.
If you liked that, please go read the whole paper, it really goes into the nothingness of the Ein Sof in a beautiful and deep way, more comprehensively than most discussions in this topic.