By Carlos Eire
What's eternity? Is it something except a basically summary notion, completely unrelated to our lives? a trifling desire? A frightfully doubtful horizon? Or is it a sure bet, shared by way of priest and scientist alike, and a vital point in all human family? In a really short background of Eternity, Carlos ireland, the historian and nationwide e-book Award-winning writer of looking forward to Snow in Havana, has written a super background of eternity in Western tradition. Tracing the assumption from precedent days to the current, ireland examines the increase and fall of 5 diverse conceptions of eternity, exploring how they constructed and the way they've got assisted in shaping person and collective self-understanding. A publication approximately lived ideals and their courting to social and political realities, a really short historical past of Eternity is usually approximately unbelief, and the tangled and sometimes rancorous relation among religion and cause. Its topic is the biggest topic of all, one who has taxed minds nice and small for hundreds of years, and should endlessly be of human curiosity, intellectually, spiritually, and viscerally.
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Extra info for A Very Brief History of Eternity
27 To imagine eternity is to venture beyond the world of sense experience, to ponder the unimaginable, to contemplate the ultimate. Eternity is beyond comprehension, but not beyond the mind’s grasp. It is no mere logical conundrum, some thing contradictory or fantastic, such as a square circle. 28 Eternity is a real logical possibil ity, with many dimensions; it is as much an epistemological and metaphysical question as a scientific or even ethical and political one. Eternity is a subject closely linked to religion, philosophy, psychiatry, and astrophysics, but not limited to them.
At its most extreme, this dichotomy is turned into an antagonistic either/or proposi tion, and when this happens it is usually the case that the material factors will be proposed as the “real” causal agent, while the ideas are curtly dismissed as a response, or a byproduct of the material factors. This reductionism is not only wrongheaded but dangerous, for it lessens the value of one of the things that make us human beings who we are, and in the process provides a template for dehumanization, especially of the sort exalted by totalitarian regimes.
Why did everything have to happen sequentially? Why were motion, flux, and impermanence the very structure of our physical world? Why was it that “you cannot step twice into the same river,” as Heraclitus put it in the fifth century bce? Could there be some existence not determined by flux? If this world is all about coming into existence, constantly changing, and ceasing to exist, how does the whole cycle be gin? What made it begin? Could there be some sort of exis tence without beginning and end?