A few weeks ago I posted a tongue-in-cheek piece called Cosmic Inflation for Laymen which riffed on that week's revelation that the universe as we know it was largely populated within a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. Clearly such a time designation is so small as to be preposterous. What I think is happening is that since infinity and nothingness are impossible in our manifest reality, we are coming up with measurable figures of "somethingness" that get us as close as possible to those impossible states, while keeping us safely, if barely, within our space-time continuum. It's easier for us to conceive of an expansion happening in a trillionth of a second than it would be for us to say it was instantaneous. In some other dimension we might find that one thing doesn't have to follow another in an endless stream of cause and effect, and we might see that infinity is, well . . . I don't know.
I've been reading the thriller writer Thomas Perry, and encountered this nice instance of synchronicity soon after I posted the above thoughts on infinity. His heroine is a Seneca woman named Jane Whitefield who helps people who are in trouble to disappear and start new lives. In the course of various plot maneuvers, Jane meditates upon many aspects of the worldviews and cultures of indigenous "American" peoples. This jumped out at me:
"Jane closed her eyes again. The plane was flying over the Southwest now, toward the places where the desert people lived: Mohave, Yavapai, Zuni, Hopi, Apache, Navajo. Some of them believed that events didn't come into being one after another but existed all at once. They were simply revealed like the cards a dealer turned over in a blackjack game: they came off the deck one at a time, but they were all there together at the beginning of the game."How cool is that; how wonderfully illustrated. You know, these are some of the thoughts that also inform the Bhagavad Vita, and the dilemmas faced by its hero, Arjuna. More on that later.