Magnus Itland (itlandm) wrote,
Magnus Itland
itlandm

Time and eternity - the abridged version

Lest the irony be lost...

Life is a cross between time and eternity, so to speak. They are both present "simultaneously".

When I was a kid, I thought that eternity was just an infinitely long time. (A bored kid will have a pretty good idea of the concept of infinitely long time...) This is in fact one correct defiition of eternity, but obviously not the one I mean. I mean the eternal Now, which time can not contain. This is something we experience, or not. I don't know if it makes sense to someone who has not experienced it, but over the course of our long lives many of us have such an experience, by design or accident.

The association of the sky with gods and spirit seems connected to this, likewise the veneration of the North Star as we know it from earlier ages. No matter where you go and how long you live, the sky is always above you. Down here, plains end and forests begin, land ends and sea begins, but the sky is still there. The stars all move with the passing of time, but the North Star stays static, the hub around which the wheel of heaven turns. (There is currently no true North Star. The job of polar star changes over the eons, due to the rotation of Earth slowly circling in space. Alas, the actual north star is itself unstable in time, although its archetype remains with us.)


The world of time and matter can be likened to a horizontal plane, the world of eternity and spirit to a vertical axis. For each of us, time ends with death. "After" that there is only eternity*.

(*Barring a literal resurrection, of course.)

For this reason, to reject the world of time and matter as some mystics do is to live in vain. There will be plenty of timelessness when there is no more time. If suicide is a sin, then just waiting for death must likewise be a sin, since you are not living in the world in any case.

Conversely to reject the world of eternity and spirit as materialists seem to do is to die in vain. Given that we are bound to die, this seems also a bad thing.

I am clearly still leaning quite a bit to the material side since I really really detest dying. I should probably keep my Sabbath better. The purpose of the Sabbath is to provide time for timelessness within time, so that one can get acquainted with it on more friendly terms than by a near-death experience.
Tags: philosophy, religion
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