Space and Time
In previous posts we discussed the nature of Duality and discussed how Diversity arises. We also noted that an evolutionary process (which goes far beyond Darwinian evolution) is at work that shapes this diversity. One of the important ingredients that facilitates this exploration of diversity is Space and Time.
Space, time and causality are inseparable, at least as far as human perception goes. Diversity, as we noted earlier, comes about through fragmentation of Unity. By providing the idea of location, the matrix of space offers the concept of separation, that is, the fragmentation of Unity. It allows Being and energy to be fragmented and focused at specific locations or co-ordinates in space.
Location in turn implies movement between locations. And implicit with location and movement, there arises the notion of time and causality as they are perceived by our minds.
What we are then saying is that space-time is a manifestation of the fragmentation of Being, where matter and energy may generate diversity. We have already looked at matter itself as a form of Being in earlier discussions.
What might time accomplish for Being? For want of better words, we say time stretches Being, so that Being may discover more of itself. Space and time allows Being to focus on a portion of itself (a fragment) and then stretch that portion through time, manifesting and discovering its latent attributes.
Let’s offer an analogy. Imagine a deflated balloon with a magnificent and complex pattern etched on its surface. Now we proceed to inflate this balloon, stretching its surface. We see that this process of inflation gives better definition to the pattern, as more and more of the intricacies of the pattern become magnified and visible. Analogously, time helps stretch (metaphorically) a fragment of being so that the fragment may discover more of itself and its patterns, at a higher definition. Not only that, it also offers the ability to act and to change those patterns at their finest levels.
We wonder why time often moves so ponderously slow. A lifetime can be seen as stretched into an eternity or an extremely long period, and filled with mundane events and quite boring moments. The point to be noted here is that in doing so - by being stretched in Time - we are discovering ourselves at a very fine level, wherein we also have the ability to change the very ‘fabric’ of our Being. Somewhat like the human body that improves muscle definition as it works out (even focusing on specific areas of the body), Being explores and develops itself in Time.
Outside of space and matter, time has little meaning. This is the domain of the “all time” where fragmentation ceases to be, and Being is ONE. While it is difficult to describe what this means to our consciousness that perceives time as a linear stream, an analogy is however possible.
Suppose we track a ball in motion as it is thrown, and then plot its height from the ground as a function of time. The result is a two-dimensional graph, with time on one axis, and height on the other. Let’s say the resulting figure looks like a parabola. Now imagine a 2-dimensional being (so-called flat-lander) living on the plane of this graph and trying to observe this picture. While the being can decipher that there is positional change, and may even calculate its trajectory in the plane, it cannot however “see” the parabola as an integral figure, for that requires observation from the third dimension. To the flat-lander, the figure appears as a series of positions in the plane which can be predicted, whereas a 3-d observer perceives the series as a whole, as a single picture of a parabola. That is to say, the flat-lander must experience each point of the graph one at a time in a series, whereas the 3-d observer perceives the whole series as a single entity. All points of the graph are present and viewed together.
In analogous fashion, events and happenstances that take place as a series in space and time, may be perceived as a whole (i.e. not separated in space and time) by a consciousness that exists outside space-time. This does not mean that causality is violated. It only means that events of yesterday or a week ago or a century ago are just as present, active and influential as the current ‘moment’ in influencing the future. These events are forever “stuck” to Being and always present as living history.
This “living history” forms a sort of composite of experiences of Being, and in turn influences its evolution - for actions always bring reactions. The active presence of this “living history” and its future effect on Being provides a framework for understanding religious notions like ‘sin’ and ‘karma’. However that requires a wholly separate discussion.
Those who are doubtful that such an experience of Time in consciousness is possible at all, should consider how events would seem to occur from the perspective of an observer moving at the speed of light (c), in popular scientific theories.
Now we mentioned that Time is an important ingredient to evolution. Diversity generated by Being needs to develop and fructify before selection can set in. For example if the laws of retribution were instantaneous, Being would only explore the sunny side of its nature and leave other aspects of itself forever in the dark and unknown. This would then be a violation of the Prime Directive. Mistakes (or what human beings consider to be mistakes), must be made, or at least allowed. Indeed, much more is learnt and experienced by Being through exploring the negative side of these laws of selection than by always staying on its pleasant side. This opportunity would not exist if it weren’t for perceiving time as a flow, and consequences appear to be delayed in time.
It might seem that these laws of selection are some arbitrary laws that we conjured up to justify a point of view. This is not so. In the purest sense, these laws are not at all about reward or punishment as usually thought, nor are they arbitrarily decreed. Rather they are a natural emergence and a requirement for Being to know itself. We’ll discuss this further in the next sections.