INFINITY, ETERNITY and infinity, eternity
(Art, Science, Communication and the question of Transcendence)
The following reflections aim at expressing scepticism concerning the concepts of infinity and eternity as understood by science. There also exist INFINITY and ETERNITY understood absolutely, which raise the question of transcendence. In this sense the concepts cannot be explained scientifically or applied to our knowledge of the universe and the creation as a whole. Our universe is only a small part of the creation,is a small part of the real ETERNITY and INFINITY.
The credibility of this line of thinking can be assumed on the basis of the works of a number of giants in theoretical physics, from Steven Weinberg’s “anisotropic” universe, Andrei Linde’s theory of multiple universes and the superstring theorists on the one hand, to the »parallel universes« of Prof. Lise Randal, the first lecturer of theoretical physics at Harvard, whose views represent one of many recent theories in this direction. The great Stephen Hawkins seriously reflects on (and suspects) the existence of something “beyond the fiery boundary of the universe”. At a later point we will point out other precursors of the current knowledge of the universe, of other universes and of the border area where we sense existence of other phenomena of the creation.
When writing my book “The Four Faces of the Soul” in the nineties of the 20th century, I realized as an artist that without a basic understanding of the secrets of the universe – as explained by scientists on the one hand and humanists and great artists on the other – it is no longer possible to pursue any in-depth thinking or to be creative in the domain of humanism and art.
Reflecting on visions of the creation I was – as an artist – using such terms as the “primordial nothing”, the “trans-cosmic”, the mysteriously structured and symmetrical universe, dualism of the universe, and some other, which I will here replace with the terms employed today by theoretical physicists and astronomers. Science is one of the four paths leading to truth. As an artist I must experience the creation as a path from the infinity and eternity to INFINITY and ETERNITY. In this process science has lent me a great deal of support. Scientists have put an immense effort into education of laymen, endeavouring to present in a popular way, understandable to the wide public, their very strange and incomprehensible inventions and discoveries about the human being, the micro cosmos and the universe, which are results of hard work of many generations.
Thanks to them, even an artist is now able to reason independently about the creation and conceive it, because of different interpretations and theories of individual genii, in a form, manner and quality that greatly differ from those of a pupil with regard to the teacher.
On my journey to the secrets of the universe I was supported by great men of science and humanities and their work. First I was invited on this excursion by sir James Jeans and his book “The Universe Around Us”.
In the future it will be necessary not only to obtain scientific explanations and to understand the achievements of contemporary science, but also to become aware of the truth of the “state of the world” today so as to develop a critical and sceptical view of the ideas of several eminent scholars who are overly addicted to science, such as Richard Dawkins, denying God, or the Nobel Prize winner Stephen Weinberg, affirming very prosaically the “reductionist” philosophy, which claims that the feelings of happiness, sorrow, intuition, boredom or intelligence are merely reactions of molecules and atoms, or, at an even deeper level, the effects produced by vibrating strings. I must not omit to mention the ideas of the scientist Brian Green, who consoles the contemporary scientist with the following words: “There are more and more plays, musical pieces and works of art that are inspired by contemporary science. I am familiar with a dozen performances, string concertos, numerous movies and film scripts, operas, many paintings and sculptures that express and interpret the human drama of scientific research. I have always been most taken by the art that has touched my sense of the real and important, and have noticed the same in others. This was achieved by the far-reaching insights of physics of last century. It is not an exaggeration to say that that general relativity theory and quantum mechanics have rewritten the rules of reality.”
It is interesting to observe that the physicist’s way of thinking, although from an entirely different angle, is similar to that of Sigmund Freud, who distances himself from those works of art that cannot be explained and understood or that are not close to him, which is obvious from his analysis of Michelangelo’s Moses.
The philosopher was more thorough and less emotional: in his essay about the origin of art, Martin Heidegger analysed Vincent van Gogh’s painting Peasant Shoes. He analyzed it in detail from different aspects: the historical, sociological, social, aesthetic, etc. However, after having completed his analysis, he stated that this had not brought him any closer to the understanding of the origin of art in general or Van Gogh’s art in particular. Heidegger believed that the origin of art was in the origin of mankind. The same is true of the emotions of sorrow, happiness, of intuition, etc. It would be difficult to comprehend the Peasant’s Shoes if we narrowed our understanding down to the world of fields and particles and their interaction, and even more difficult if we tried to apply to it the LUCA (the Last Universal Common Ancestor) theory.
This short introduction is needed to understand the purpose of my essay, written on the topic of “art, science and communication” for a congress in Washington. I have added to this highly important issue its logical sequel, the question of transcendence.
Presently, the gaps between art, science and communication are rapidly diminishing; the three are becoming increasingly interdependent. They form the complex of human self-awareness and stand as a basis of the perception and synthesis (symmetry) of human creativity and of man’s questioning about the meaning of life and the “state of the world” on the individual and planetary levels, as well as of the universe itself, which can never be fully comprehended and defined by reason. Perhaps it may only be sensed intuitively and believed in. Thanks to the interdependence between science, art and communication we are today acquainted with all achievements made throughout the human history in the domain of science, technology, religion and, last but not least, art. We owe them our present holistic view of human creativity and thought, starting with the early beginnings of Homo sapiens (approximately 75.000 years ago according to the DNA theory), maybe even earlier, if we take into account the theory of cataclysm and believe in Charles Darwin’s theory, suggesting that an immanent process is taking place in the nature, in the course of which, at a certain point and under special circumstances, one among many experiments gets completed and is preserved as the most successful. The latest discoveries in the field of science and communication have shed new light on science, art, communication and transcendence enabling us to see them in an entirely new perspective.i
the 19th and 20th centuries scientists endeavoured with great zeal to unveil the secret hidden within the question “Who is man?”, which is inseparably linked to the question of the role of mankind and its goals in the future. Charles Darwin’s theory plays here an important role. The evolutionist theory has found support also in the ideas of the great Stephen Hawking.
Knowledge of all civilizations on this planet has become the foundation of the “new era”, of the “global civilisation”. The question of God has been shifted to the realm of transcendence and metaphysics; for contemporary science it has been resolved prosaically and connected with the progress of human understanding of matter and energy in the universe. God is supposed to be the result of such knowledge. This leads of course to a more and more inevitable conclusion that gods and God himself were created by man and not vice versa. The creation of God in human consciousness has been a very long and complicated process.
The emotional and intellectual parts of the human brain are linked by means of a synthesis –intelligence (symmetry), which is the most powerful source of man’s creativity, his emotions, religion, intuition, his very essence and his search for meaning. By impoverishing it or by failing to reach the highest possible level of sensory and intellectual perceptions, we are bound to impoverish the synthesis (symmetry) produced in our creative brains, which is – according to Peter Russell, the synthesis (symmetry) of the highest possible intellectual and sensory creativities of the human brain, increasing its capabilities fivefold. This is the reason why it will never be possible to perceive truth only through the activity of only one hemisphere. As strongly as Weinberg may rely on the cold and impersonal quality of science, on electric and electromagnetic impulses in the living being, truth will never be whole and universal without the insights and the synthesis (symmetry) produced in both hemispheres of the human brain. The ability of the brain to produce such a synthesis is a promise, it makes it possible to comprehend science, art and spirituality within the global context. Science, as well as art and spirituality, should be the foundations of the path leading to truth, to full symmetry, to a complete balance between the spiritual and intellectual. Nowadays it is commonly assumed that the “artistic truth” is verism or a matter of aestheticism, and spirituality – an aspect of metaphysics.
The truths discovered by science (physics and astronomy) are regarded as irrefutable and undeniable – at least from the scientific viewpoint. Yet, the scientific truths depend on the progress of scientific discoveries and theories and, therefore, on possibly new understandings and insights. Today string theory is supposed to be the ultimate explanation and the truth about all relations in the universe, encompassing everything from the functioning of the strings (and superstrings) in the micro-cosmos to the relationships in the universe. Astronomers with their Hubble space telescopes have come very close to the “fiery boundaries” and the chaos of the beginning, i.e. the creation of the universe after the Big Bang.
In science, the concepts eternity and infinity have been given a special meaning: as the universe is expanding, it is creating the fabric of space and time. The eternity and infinity of the universe are thus 15 billion years old or big (the latest estimated figure being approximately 13.7 billion years); nevertheless they are – in the scientific logic – the same as they used to be when the universe was smaller than an atom.
Within this scientific thought (defined quantitatively), God and most religions, including Christianity, appear and were created in the only universe we know, i.e. our universe. The most recent theories have confirmed my intuition (expressed in the book The Four Faces of the Soul) that the highest form of life is not a very common phenomenon and, above all, that it is not as old as the universe. The knowledge of stars brought Sir Fred Hoyle very close to the same understanding, but he could not quite reach it because of his belief in the “steady state” of the infinite universe. After 9 billion years the universe has finally developed its final variety of periodical elements. These elements were crucial for the appearance of stars or suns created within gaseous clouds, abounding with these elements. This means that our Sun and Earth were created under the initial conditions of the fully evolved universe, in which suns and star systems with planets were able to emerge, providing the conditions for birth of the most advanced forms of life. The appearance of stars cannot be explained without an understanding of radioactive elements and reactions inside stars, the essence of life and awareness of the magnificence of the universe. The evolution of the spiritual universe may have been subject to a different type of evolutionary logic or presence; nevertheless, only reason and spirit in unity are the common path of human perception.
in 1955, Sir Fred Hoyle wrote in his book the Frontiers of Astronomy: “The Universe is everything: living things as well as inanimate matter, atoms as well as galaxies; if the spiritual exists in the same way as the material, then it contains the spiritual in its entirety; and if the heaven and hell should exist somewhere, the Universe would encompass them too, since by its very nature, the Universe is all there is.” Sir Fred Hoyle’s picture of the universe corresponds his vision of “an infinite universe without a beginning or an end, in a steady state”.
Today we know that the universe has its origin in a “bang” and that it will have an end, though it cannot yet be foreseen. The universe may get dispersed after the death of energy and disappear, or simply collapse into itself. It may collide and merge with some other universe, some other creation, in an “archipelago” of universes. Accordingly, God and transcendence, spirituality, are subject to both expansion and decline, and ultimately to disappearance of everything that has happened, is happening and will be happening in the universe. The “Apocalypse ” and the “Last Judgement” are not unrelated to this kind of vision of the universe. This raises a number of questions, such as ,for instance, “Who is God in this scenario?”, and what is his role with regard to mankind, or in the Last judgement. Does he exist outside the Universe and is, therefore, trans-cosmic? There is no end to questions.
Duality of anthropomorphic thought has its origins in the ideas of Parmenides, the first original European thinker, expressing scepticism concerning the possibility of gaining absolute knowledge with regard to “the state of the world” in his time: “If in God we see what is most perfect, his dominion will have no dominion, his knowledge will know nothing of us or anything else that is ours because our powers also have no dominion over god and our knowledge also cannot know the divine. The gods, for the same reasons cannot be our masters and cannot know of our human events, even though they are gods“. Parmenides’ idea of human independence received absolute confirmation in the 19th and 20th centuries with the appearance of scientific and anthropomorphic explanation of both, the world and the universe.
Scientifically the structure of the universe was explained through Einstein’s genial equation E equals MC2, the theory of general relativity and the latest understanding of the universe expressed in strings theory. The anthropomorphic universe is dominated by dualism, presented in the field of psychology by G.C. Jung’s theory of “synchronicity”. He discovered the phenomenon of doubling, the duality of events outside theoretical physics. His dualism, I think, differs from the dualism of theoretical physics; it relates also to good and evil, order and chaos, death and revelation, being and not being? etc. In the material universe, in the micro-cosmos, dualism shows in the duality of the particles of atom, matter and anti-matter, electron and positron, quark and anti-quark. The phenotype and genotype, the replicator and catalyst, strings and superstrings can be seen in the same way.
In 1927 Werner Heisenberg defined on the basis of duality his famous uncertainty principle, which did not make Albert Einstein very happy. Only string- and superstring theorists have been able to fit the principle into a unified explanation of the universe. There are countless examples of duality. Even the genetic spiral cannot be defined but by means of duality. It is our aim to introduce cosmic dualism and undefinability (accidentality) as well as a considerate doubt about it into the “anthropomorphic principle” in the understanding of the universe.
Before attempting to respond to the common sense approach of the “anthropomorphic principle” of the universe, we have to emphasise that Western civilization and man himself have developed and have become perfected in the name of God, regardless of whose god it was, Egyptian, Greek, Jewish, or the Christian Creator and Saviour, the Good of Resurrection. On the other hand, it needs to be noted that, thanks to ancient Greeks, mankind and modern civilisation are also deeply rooted in scepticism and have always also held relativistic views of the world and universe. Similarly, we must not to overlook the finality of Aristotelian and Ptolomeian understanding and definition of all creation. They represent two instances of the mistaken belief in the finality and conclusiveness of human understanding of creation, arising self-confidently within the anthropomorphic attitude to the world and universe.
The role of religion and art in human history has long been in bringing awareness to man, creating a being with his own ideals, truth and path, his own purpose of existence. Contemporary science and technology have brought into human consciousness completely different values, a different understanding of the meaning of life — survival. Through this intervention man is liberating himself not only from the past but also from himself. History is vanishing and is less and less present in modern man. Scientific truth has become irrefutable, so now science and technology will shape mankind in such a way that the question: “Who is man?” will find a definite answer, similarly as science has resolved the question: “Where do we come from?” and is, with utmost zeal, looking for the clue to the last great enigma of mankind: “Where are we going?”
Therefore, the issue of real ETERNITY and INFINITY, as the highest truth, should be presented within a vision viewing creation from a different angle, in accordance with general relativity theory, although it applies only to our universe. In my book The Four Faces of the Soul, written before the turn of last century (published and translated into English in 2000), I dealt with this dilemma by making several assumptions: God is simultaneously cosmic and trans-cosmic; God’s spirit and fluid are timelessly present in the entire universe; creation is connected with the “primordial nothing”, and some other ideas with a different perspective.
“Nothingness” can be defined in many ways. In mathematics two equal numbers equal nought if preceded by plus and minus. It is much more difficult to define nothingness in annihilation of opposing particles. In the process of annihilation of matter and anti-matter magnificent radiation can be observed; in annihilation of an electron and a positron a photon emerges, after annihilation of a string and an anti-string a “straight string” is left over. Something similar occurs in the fabric of space: “the energy of the vacuum”, the void, raises doubt about the existence of nothing, since individual subatomic particles or rays can be found spread all over the fabric. Even in our daily lives nothing is a highly relative concept. As is death.
The “primordial nothing” is a concept that is not comparable to the philosophical idea of “nothingness” or “void”, the concept used lately by some theoretical physicists to investigate creation in the Galilean manner. In its essence the primordial nothing contains both the philosophical starting point and the foundations of the ideas of theoretical physicists and astronomers, opening up, furthermore, the infinite space of transcendence, the site of all creation. In my view, the void can satisfy neither the thought nor the creative intuition of theoretical physicists. Our universe itself sets boundaries to the void, preventing it, through its mere presence, from attaining infinite emptiness.
In the modern world, which began to develop rapidly in the 19st century, experiencing a renaissance of science and technology in the 20th century, metaphysics and transcendence are disappearing from nearly all human creative activities. To make a historic analogy, we could say that spirituality today shares the fate of science in the time of Emperor Dioclecianus.
Modern science, technology and thought have placed man to where he belongs – on the Earth.
Religion (God), which had formed man and mankind, has today an entirely different meaning from that it used to have in the past. Although today religion cannot be seen merely as a marginal phenomenon, satisfying the human need to find the meaning of life and to practise spirituality, it is becoming – in today’s world of science, technology and communication – an obstacle, preventing the disassembly and reassembly of mankind and its soul. Primitive totalitarianisms of the 20th and the current centuries – with their transformations and creation of “the new man” – have had terrible consequences for complete nations and individuals.
The spiritual and the material are the background of everything that is creative and that exists. This background should enable a synthesis (symmetry) of the infinity and eternity of science and the INFINITY and ETERNITY of the transcendental – the divine. Only an understanding of the two principles inspires hope for the future of mankind. We would not be much amiss to claim that the aim of science and technology is to achieve human (not divine) eternity and infinity.
Such understanding of the universe and of our destiny makes any development of art that models itself on science and, subsequently, technology – questionable, as it reflects only a cybernetic addiction of the artists, who do not really understand the actual facts in the background, exercising a decisive influence on a great part of contemporary creative activities.
When an artist rejects in advance the vast expanses of the spiritual universe, of love and beauty, of transcendence and, finally, of the Creator himself, his art falls in the domain of aestheticism and “beauty”, into the sphere of philology, where some scientists tend to push thinkers and philosophy – although they do not refrain from passing round their own philosophical lessons – for which they are, unfortunately, not adequately qualified.
Science and technology (as well as communication) are inter-related and stimulate each other. The development of these products of the human mind is varied and affects all major activities of mankind. Today everything is taken for granted: space travel, prolonged life expectancy, knowledge of the boundaries of the universe and its destiny, all these facts affect significantly an individual’s way of life and feelings at a subconscious, if not conscious, level.
Mankind and man’s imagination have no limits; therefore, the future, at least for science and technology, is very promising. The question is only how long the Earth will endure the irresponsible treatment and experimentation in her vast realms, on her land and waters, in the atmosphere around her. It might be appropriate at this place to appeal to science and technology for a more responsible treatment and more sympathy and love for this planet, our home.
A little imagination is all that is needed to get an idea about what we can except from the science in the future; for a great majority of people this is enough to make them believe in science and its truths, the evidence of which are tangible products of technology. A self-critical awareness and a responsible development of science, technology and communications are crucial for progress and preservation of both, mankind and the planet.
this impossible to enumerate all scientific and technological achievements in every branch of knowledge, from medicine to astrophysics and space travel. One can sense an unimpedable progress everywhere, leading towards longevity and star trips – towards “eternal life” and “infinity”. Both seem to be in the range of possible – irrespective of the state of our science and knowledge today.
When investigating ways of acquiring a partial control of the universe, Carl Sagan claimed that mankind will sooner or later be able to capture the Sun’s energy in a closed-loop planetary system. The promises of science and technology lead us beyond the apocalyptic vision of the world and universe. We are close to being able to prevent an asteroid or a comet from colliding disastrously with our Planet.
When speculating on mass media, science and art as a complex, it would be neglecting the basic evolution and essence of mankind, if we did not include faith in God, as man’s unmistakable spiritual and transcendental dimension, for which there is no substitute.
Spirituality is the only real partner and rectifier of scientific and technological progress. It has played a great part in man’s evolution into a being with full consciousness. The norms built upon the values implicit in many spheres of spirituality have helped, in spite of the overall dominance of the cybernetic thought, to prevent implementation of the “plan” to create the “new man” on the globalized planet. Art is, together with faith in God, that segment of spirituality that meets with metaphysics and transcendence. Both are unfortunately loosing the battle with the new barbarism, brought into the sphere of spirituality with the help of the media and the entertainment industry. The emptiness which is taking shape alongside the one-sided picture of the “state-of-the world” offered by science, is being filled by the entertainment industry, its glamour and money, and fully supported by the state (planned channelling of human fluid) on the one hand, and the superficiality and triviality appealing to the widest audiences on the other. Thus it creates a negative selection in the demographic explosion.
The entertainment industry is covering and concealing most of the human needs for art and religion, the spiritual, and is creating, with modern communication media, a completely new image of man and a new system of “values” – a spiritual emptiness, which forms, or rather deforms, on the political and humane levels, whole generations of the world population.
The entertainment industry has long exceeded its primary aim. Panicking about it would lead nowhere. History teaches that barbarians, who during their raids destroyed more advanced civilizations, may have prepared the conditions for blossoming of entirely new cultures by shaking up and transforming the old ones.
Today the only great power in practically all spheres of life, America, id preparing the foundations for the new culture and civilization of scientism and globalisation, as great nations used to do in the past. Europe, neglecting its Christians roots, seems to be standing aside from this process, losing itself more and more in its liberalism, leading inevitably into various nationalisms. That is why the responsibility of America and Great Britain for what shape the world will take following their lead is all the greater.
Art, part of man’s spiritual essence, goes back to the beginnings of man, to Homo sapiens. The miracle of nature, as painted and hidden by our distant ancestors in the underground caves some 25.000 years ago, represents even today, in the times of interplanetary visions and reality, a source of art. That “primitive” art is not less or more comprehensible than the works displayed in the mighty halls of the Louvre in Paris, for example. Although created such a long time ago, it still eludes a final rational explanation. Its spiritual dimension – its unity with nature, is undeniable.
Today it is generally believed – a utopian idea – that art can be dealt with “scientifically”, that religious feelings, art and love can be explained away by mathematical formulas or become a domain of the entertainment industry. Although art was always governed by anthropomorphic ideas of the society within which it was being created, it undeniably also always contained a transcendental inspiration and reflected the archetypes dwelling somewhere deep in the core of the human being. Although modern science has set limits to everything and has – through its achievements – placed all the values on the firm ground of the reality of Earth and Space, religion and art remain outside the realm of common sense.
Outside the realm of reason remains, for the most part, even the artistic production that relies on technical and scientific inventions (for instance, the invention of the printing raster and pointillism) and technical achievements, where general relativity theory and cubism come close together and where the theory of chaos and abstract painting have found a similar language, not to mention Klee’s “ripples” and their cybernetic counterparts modelled on the ripples appearing in nature. Nevertheless, no art movement or artistic idea can be really explained by means of the theory of chaos or general relativity, i.e. by means of scientific and technical discoveries.
A completely different picture emerged not long ago, at the end of the 20th century, when astronomers nearly succeeded in reaching the “fiery boundaries” of our universe with their Hubble telescopes, and the theoretical physicists proposed a theory of strings and hyperstrings, offering the ultimate explanation of the structure of universe. We have come to realize that everything in the nature is subject to change and death; that very little will be left over from either the most magnificent galaxy or a small golden star that will collapse in itself; that the universe will be dispersed into nothing – a farce Steven Weinberg used to think about – and, that everything we do, think or create will be sooner or later subjected to destruction.
In this picture of the “state of the world” science offers some hope. The end of the world, whatever it may be like, is still very far ahead. Earth alone may expect to be receiving the Sun’s blessing yet for several billion years – before it is absorbed by the Sun, joining all the Egyptian Pharaohs in its bosom.
Another problem troubles the artistic creativity of contemporary artists: the need to react to the space and time in which they live. They must leave an imprint on – and lend authenticity to – the time in which they produce their works. If their art reflects only contemporary scientific and technological achievements, it will remain one-dimensional and lag behind. This type of “progress” leads nowhere but into the realm of artificial intelligence and robotics, which may then become a substitute for such “art”. Spirituality is today concealed and suppressed below the epochal discoveries and insights of science and technology, paving the path for a new “development” of art.
Aggressively and abundantly supported by mass media (and also by authorities), the entertainment industry controls the majority of population. Its side-effects, such as drugs, sex industry, commercial movies, alcohol, commercial TV and others, are literally robbing children and teenagers of the miracle of growing-up, the transformation into a mature, never completely “grown-up” miraculous being that is man. It produces the alphas and betas of Huxley’s “new brave world”, deepening existential emptiness. The entertainment industry has managed to take over almost completely the role of art and spirituality in human civilization. The subconscious emptiness provides space for invasion of a multitude of commercial religious sects and beliefs, superstitions, exploiting the spiritual deprivation of contemporary man. Modern terrorism is probably just one of the consequences of the domination of mass media and globalization, seriously threatening and destroying the traditions, the moral values and beliefs created in our millennium-year-old civilizations.
What can the contemporary artist do in an environment where only a handful of the privileged are still able to experience and appreciate the power of art, the actual picture of the “state-of-the-world” in all its magnificence, including the Cromerian man, who once participated in creation of our wonderful, mysterious world – so small, yet so important in the mighty universe.
I wonder why man should be robbed of his dreams, his faith, his true love, be this a childish, juvenile first love or a mature love of the adult. Will new generations be able to restore the spiritual synthesis between the reason and the senses for man to be able to merge with the creation?
The effects of the communication media should be more equally distributed in all realms of human creative activities; however, since this is not the case (the financial and political interest have prevailed) , we can see how the media, and other factors, are foisting “new values” on the whole planet.
Unfortunately, only a few of the people engaged in artistic activities are real artists. Every artist needs first to discover himself, his place and his essence in these turbulent times, when science, consumerism and commercialism (politicization) are pushing spirituality and art into controllable frameworks and science has usurped the right to the ultimate truth about “all that is”.
Today some astronomers and physicists see themselves as thinkers, art theoreticians and philosophers. In the cybernetic media an electronics engineer can produce wonderful harmonies of colour and abstract shapes on the basis of the theory of chaos. No artist can compare his work – unless properly trained – to that of professionals.
This doubling and concealment of art can be avoided only by true philosophy, literature, poetry, perhaps by the art film. Serious, i.e. classical, music is undergoing a severe test. The writer and the poet do not allow themselves to be trapped in the belief in a single scientific truth about the creation, which means a one-dimensional view of “everything that exists”. Neither will it be possible to force on a philosopher a complete simplification of the spiritual and a reduction of truth to physical laws.
The modern world is not in favour of the search for truth. The notion of knowhow erases that of science. Sexuality erases love, management erases politics. According to Alain Badiou, the culture – knowhow- management – sexuality system, the great advantage of which is its market homogeneity, with each member representing a segment of commercial presentation, conceals today the system: art – politics – love, defining typologically the procedures of truth.
Beauty, the miracle of creation and nature, the symmetry of spirit and mind, love, man’s destiny, good and evil, etc. , are all constituent elements of great works of art. However, art cannot be treated fragmentarily or assembled from fragments, it is impossible to create its integral countenance from individual (definable) phenomena. Technology and science obey the logic of development and discoveries. Art has always been a synthesis of human perception.
The final expression of an artistic creation must contain everything that defines man as an advanced creature who has come to see and experience, spellbound, the wonder of creation. Moreover, it must comprise things and possibilities that cannot be proved by reason alone. It has to reflect the feelings of joy or the drama of life and the mystery of death. Only a few of the adventurers will, pursuing art in the modern time, succeed in going, spiritually and “astrally”, beyond the “fiery boundaries” of the 13.7 billion-year old “infinity” of the universe – as have done the greatest artists and thinkers throughout human history. They will also have to answer the question why man has evolved into an advanced being, able to see and understand this wonderful and mysterious universe.
A major criterion in the evaluation of the 20th century art was assessment of the so-called progressiveness of art, called avant-garde (the term was used also by some totalitarian regimes of last century). When reading the “Song of Songs”, written a couple of thousand years ago, and comparing it to the contemporary avant-garde poetical products, we see that it has not lost any of its poetic power, love, beauty, fatality – the symmetry of reason and spirituality. Nevertheless, it could not be created today and presented as an original contemporary artistic invention. In this context it is finally possible to understand today’s role and (in)effectiveness of modern artistic endeavours.
In the contemporary cybernetic art avoidance of copying and use of other artists’ ideas is no longer required for an “original work of art”. If a certain piece of work is displayed in public, it is available to all and can be used by anybody. A cybernetic piece, aspiring to be art, is morally not binding for anybody and raises doubt about its author’s creative individuality and independent artistic personality.
The scientific truth has reached most of today’s artists and has set new criteria for evaluation of art. It is quite intolerable to suggest and demand that an artist should produce some kind of cybernetic spots, when his eyes enable him to “see” the external world and his intuition the universe in all its physical and spiritual mightiness, to feel the mysteriousness of the transcendental, the yearning for truth, beauty, love as well as the pitilessness and indifference of matter and its formations, dispersed in the universe. The artist can simply not allow to be robbed of his vision or to give his sentiments over to a machine. The artist must not become the alpha and beta of the “new world”. The machine may sooner or later replace the work of hands required in artistic production, inspired by the artist’s own intuition, similarly as can the typewriter and computer help the thinker, poet or writer to put on the paper the products of their mind. The machine can perhaps replace one’s hands, but never the artist’s intuition and creativity.
It is impossible to imagine that the sketches Picasso used to make on napkins, envelopes and on coffeehouse bills could be produced by machine. From these unexpected, momentary flashes of insight and visions came later his great paintings, including Guernica. By cloning and improvement of genes through genetic changes man’s physical and perceptive abilities may be enhanced in the future. Artificial intelligence and robotics may replace most alphas and betas of globalization. However, the thrill felt when facing a great human achievement or creation, can never be evoked by the machine or a cybernetic invention, since the ability to feel a thrill, yearning, pity and religiosity are explicitly human prerogatives and cannot be duplicated by any substitutes, regardless of how perfect they might be. Anthropologists believe that Homo Erectus from more than a million and a half years ago already possessed empathy and pity.
Is it really possible to make from love, art or religious feelings “synthetic” goods for our daily needs and global consumption? This is what is undoubtedly happening in the entertainment industry. Probably not accidentally. Even though I am all in favour of freedom of thought and speech – within the limits of one’s conscience – I believe we should think twice before allowing an army of grasshoppers to destroy all our crops.
In the universe everything appears – almost as a rule – in the form of complementary or opposing pairs, which reveals the true nature of man and universe. Unfortunately, however, both poles in this pair, the material and the spiritual, are presented as the only possible truth. Even “the good and evil” are relative terms in the anthropomorphic conception of the world. Presently there is no will to achieve a compromise, a synthesis of the spiritual and the material, a balance between the two.
Truth with its intellectual and rational dimension on the one hand, and the spiritual and sensory on the other, is a matter that concerns the entire mankind. The latter includes religion, yearning, art (with its archetypes and primordial instincts) as well as love and transcendence. The entire complex (only a few characteristics of the intellectual and spiritual have been mentioned) deserves the same amount of attention if we wish to fully understand the meaning of “truth”- to grasp it fully in our search for truth – and to create the necessary conditions for achievement of a synthesis in human creativity. Rational deliberations about the question of God the Almighty, are a rather delicate matter, since it is not only an intellectual issue; it touches the core of man’s most individual and intimate knowledge – the revelation. It concerns his faith, his love, the purpose of his existence. Although each individual possesses complete freedom, he is nevertheless limited by his conscience, other people’s freedom and the mystery of death. Man’s liberation from faith and conscience is a process that does not inspire much optimism for creation of “the new man”. According to the scientific logic, however, this “new man” may guarantee survival of our species.
Faith in God and conscience are the most powerful agents in preservation of human dignity. Religion gives man hope, the meaning of life, therefore, it is seen as a disturbing factor in the process of globalization. The Catholic Church feels (besides Moslems) the effects of globalization most strongly due to its traditionally strong ties with the European man, who is feeling more and more lost, and is “wandering in the desert” – as Delusse would ironically put it – in his search for truth.
In my view, God is a cosmic and trans-cosmic Creator, who is present, in his specific way (everywhere at the same time, or rather, timelessly), in the Creation called the Universe. If other universes or other creations exist (of which I have no doubt), he is also there, containing the “primordial nothing” – the place of birth of the whole of creation.
The universe started from a singular point. S. Hawking’s and Penrose’s calculations prove it indisputably. I believe they are right. However, there might exist a different explanation; “string” theorists hold a different view.
The universe has its origin in the “primordial nothing”. Some theoretical physicists use the term “void”. The primordial nothing is, in my opinion, a more appropriate term than the “void”. The concepts of “being” and “nothingness” go back to the beginnings of philosophy, to Parmenides, and have been present throughout the history of human thought, also in Hegel or Heidegger. The “primordial nothing” has a transcendental dimension, in which the true ETERNITY and INFINITY can dwell. It is timeless. Time is a dimension linked to the fabric of space with numerous universes and other possible creations. In my understanding, the primordial nothing is a trans-cosmic constant, in which, upon some higher logic, different universes and other creations are coming to be. In this way only the real ETERNITY and INFINITY can be comprehended. The void is still a rather undeterminable concept; some time will have to pass to see how it will evolve in the future.
Our universe may be a substance, such as for example the gas emerging after the eruption of a supernova, which, carrying an abundance of elements in itself, will enrich the enormous gaseous clouds from which new stars are born, new formations, new universes – although we very well know that, after the explosion of the “cosmic egg”, everything that exists was being created at the same time, the fabric of space, the beginning of time, various forces, annihilation of matter and anti-matter, all of which has determined the size of our universe. Today astrophysicists are very confident and have given us a detailed account of the very start of the Big Bang, of the first moments after the birth of space and time. The Big Bang itself is mysterious and has prompted many hypotheses, explaining t either as God’s creation or as a completely natural process of cyclic changes in nature.
Today’s composition of the Universe was decisively affected by a slight predominance of matter over anti-matter. Quite a few astrophysicists are convinced that the quantity of matter and anti-matter was almost the same at the beginning – according to some, matter exceeded anti-matter by only a billionth part. This surplus and the radiation are supposed to determine the laws governing the evolution of the universe.
Regardless of the size of the “cosmic egg” and the question of matter and anti-matter, it is necessary to consider the possibility of dualism in each phase of the evolution of the original universe and in the “cosmic egg” itself. It would be naive to think that theoretical physicists and astronomers have not tried – secretly or by proposing different ideas and theories – to discover the entire “creation”, of which the Big Bang and our universe are only parts, in order to find the true ETERNITY and INFINITY .
The idea of a “multi-universe” is one of such conceptions. A number of scholars believe that other, different universes are being created next to ours, with different physical properties, substances, different qualities and appearances. The idea of trans-cosmic differs from that of the multi-universe in its very essence. Several paths lead to universal truth. The ultimate truth can never be learned only through scientific approach. The theory that the universe has to be seen as an archipelago does not answer the dilemma, it only enlaarges the fundamental issue of INFINITY and ETERNITY.
Gasperini and Veneciano have assumed that the universe did not begin as something exceptionally hot and tightly “rolled together” into a small space particle; according to them, it was cold and infinite (any similarity with one of the theories about the end of our universe is only accidental), then some instability occurred and diffused the points in the universe. Due to this, the universe tended to bend more and more and the temperatures and energy rose rapidly. After a certain time a three-dimensional area, measuring I cubic millimetre, appeared, which exploded in the Big Bang.
In astronomy and physics the string and hyperstring theory has announced the beginning of a new era, showing that the time of astonishing discoveries in astronomy is not yet over. This also means that art and spirituality (religion, transcendence and metaphysics) will not disappear either, at least not until the reason prevails over the emotional hemisphere of the brain, the seat of intuition, and over the symmetry and synthesis, over the balance of spirit and reason in man. Due to predominance of reason it is possible to feel the trend towards a world without God, without transcendence – that dimension that makes ”everything possible”. The entertainment industry, media and the technical mind (the ”common sense” mentality) play here an important role. They are essentially a new, modern expression of the popular socio-realistic fake culture (and similar inventions) with very specific aims and consequences, also political.
In the “primordial nothing”, the site of creation, temporal and spatial co-existence of many different universes and possibly other phenomena is possible. The “primordial nothing” is the appropriate term for the real INFINITY, the real site of creation, without any spatial or temporal dimensions known to us. In ETERNITY AND INFINITY, understood in this way, various phenomena – universes of different profiles or other miraculous formations, can co-exist in different existential cycles together in one and the same place. In our subconscious there is a feeling of greatness and proximity of the Creator. The individuals sensing and accepting this gift are endowed with great mercy. The awareness of creation resides in every man and cannot be represented one-sidedly, in a single way. At this level, where the creation and our experience of it become a mystery of transcendence, can the spiritual dimension be felt, existing alongside reason and logic, where there is less and less place for dreams, longing, faith or even love.
Nevertheless, the thinker, artist and poet must nowadays know and understand the expanse of our real home- the universe. It will no longer be possible to create or think in earnest without being familiar with or understanding the scientific effort and the insights of geniuses – in order to get at least a vague picture of the magnificent structure of our universe. This does not mean, however, that we, artists, will only pursue the practical consequences of scholarly work – the know-how and technology. That would be – and is – a great mistake, since the penetrating scientific mind is, and will always be, a prerequisite for any creativity, and, finally, since the truth cannot be sensed without our “wonderful ETERNITY and INFINITY. The ultimate understanding and insights of today’s astronomy can be but inspiration for artistic creativity. Stephen Hawking’s ideas have set important artistic criteria and starting points.
In our reflections we need to discuss the phenomenon of individual death and the phenomenon of the death of Earth. They cannot be equalled although there exist quite a few parallels between the two. It is possible to discuss them in a completely pragmatic manner, i.e. without including transcendence, the mystical, the divine – without the soul expected to leave its earthly body and reach Eternity. From this point of view, death is our final destiny and the end of the individual. A similar death awaits the planet Earth; when reflecting on it, we must be aware of some of the facts, discovered and explained by astronomers.
The ritual burial of a deceased member of a family or community goes back to the times before Homo sapiens. Today we know that Homo Sapiens appeared approximately 75,000 years ago. We also know that the remains of a ritual burial (e.g. from Persia) – the skeletons lying in the position of embryo, the bones coloured with a red ochre, strewn with flowers and turned eastwards – date from more than 150.000 years, long before the arrival of our true ancestor.
Death raises a number of questions. The first is the question of love and awareness of this love, which manifests itself when one of our beloved ones dies. The same question appears with regard to all other relationships and insights of modern man. If we want to set limits to scientific pragmatism, we have to turn to the universe and ask ourselves: “What are the stars telling us?” Approximately 13,7 billion light years have passed since the “Big Bang” and the beginning of time in the Universe. This expanse of time also indicates the size and age of the Universe, its limits. The Infinity of the universe is the journey back in time. In 3.7 billion light years we arrive at the point where everything began. Whichever direction we take, we will always come to the same starting point – an indescribably hot and glowing point. Typical of this journey is gradual emptying and expanding of the Universe. We are further and further away from the beginning.
Man has made of death something incomplete, transitory, something slowly vanishing from our conscience. Individuals may temporarily overcome death (annihilation) through their works or through their offspring. The most typical example of this attitude towards death in human history can be found in Ancient Egypt. There the human soul was believed to be alive as long as it was present in the memories and conversations of the living. Pharaoh’s soul reached eternity only after having passed through the mysterious corridors of the pyramid and leaving it. Religion denies death. Life after death is presented in many different forms. In Christianity Jesus Christ means Resurrection and Eternity.
In the modern world death is a challenge for science. In our material universe science aims at overcoming death. It promises immortality and ever-lasting life. Still, the problem of death preoccupies the modern society more than is manifest in everyday life. Death lies in the core of life, claim Nietzsche, Marcuse, and other thinkers and scholars.
For a hundred years science has already been setting the boundaries of the human understanding and perception of the universe. This needs to be stressed because of the extent to which science and its application have become incorporated in our daily lives. Besides countless other inventions science has provided us with magnificent means of communication, without which we would be paralysed today. The communication media possess immense power: V.I. Lenin stated already in the twenties of the previous century: “Whoever controls the film and the press, controls people and their minds.” This is why mass media carry such a great responsibility for art, one of the four paths leading to truth.
In our subconscious the magnificent progress of science is providing a completely new framework got thousands of years old promises of life after death offered by various religions, a firm belief in the capability of the human mind and in the possibility of becoming victorious in the crucial, so far unconceivable, ventures.
Man is perpetually under a test concerning his understanding of himself as a material and spiritual being. Although it is not yet very obvious, I am convinced that the materialistic and pragmatic vogue has already hit its lowest point and will, hopefully, begin to rise, to reach a synthesis, the symmetry of the human and humane. This is the path that will have to be shown by the great.
Sir Fred Hoyle is convinced that there is nothing coincidental in the universe. Everything happens interdependently. To draw a parallel, it can be maintained that there has been nothing coincidental in mankind’s evolution either.
Progressive powers and the path to truth have always won in the end. In the past hundred years America and Great Britain have saved the European civilization and the Continent from totalitarianisms which attempted to transform the world and people with violence. Today they are the only power able to build a new world. Therefore we can only hope that the changes awaiting the present and future generations from the cybernetic and communication revolution will not have worse effects than the totalitarian ideas of the past, which will eventually vanish (suppressed by the great powers), as was the case with Francoism and communism in Europe.
Several events in the history of Earth and universe indicate the possibility of occurrence of disasters (apocalypses). Some have exerted a crucial influence on the evolution of the Earth and some may do so in the future. By crushing into the Atlantic Ocean, a giant asteroid sealed the destiny of dinosaurs, opening widely the way to mammals. Eruptions of super volcanoes and world pandemic diseases also effected significantly the evolution of life on earth. Science knows that the Sun will not last forever and that after using up all its fuel, in five billion years – it will disperse magnificently and swallow the Earth, changing into a dwarfish planet of the size of Mars. Five billion years is not much with regard to ETERNITY, yet, in the history of the universe it amounts to about a third of its existence.
We can only hope that the media, science, art and religion will find a common way towards man’s happiness. I also trust that the Anglo-American creators and protectors of the world will be wise enough not to allow their daily politics and the loss of a holistic view of man and universe to replace in the spiritual domain the totalitarianisms and Huxley’s “brave new world”.
In Christianity Christ stands for transition from life to death and then resurrection. From a scientific view point this is metaphysics. For science, cloning, once perfected, – for instance if the clones could be bred under the same conditions as were their original counterparts – seems to be a more satisfactory answer.
Time is the factor that will, with the change and progress of science under the influence of spirituality, establish the symmetry and synthesis between the material and spiritual in the creation. Christianity is the religion that possesses the entire time of ETERNITY.
27. IV. 2005 author Maksim Sedej yr (ml)