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Could everything have existed forever?

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
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Plaffelvohfen
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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Plaffelvohfen » March 11th, 2019, 9:08 pm

RJG wrote:
March 11th, 2019, 5:02 pm
Devans99 wrote:An object with no temporal start does not exist...
...logic says otherwise.
I'm tempted to say: An object with no temporal start only exist as a probability...?
RJG wrote:
March 11th, 2019, 5:02 pm
@Plaffelvohfen
Firstly, welcome Plaffelvohfen to our group.

Secondly, all of what you say above still brings us back to Devans root question, "where did everything come from"? Did it "always exist", or "was it created?"

Either we can claim God 1 created God 2 which created God 3 which in turn created God 4 which in turn created "everything" -- OR -- we can invoke Occam's Razor and just say -- The "everything" has "always existed".
Thanks, I'll properly introduce myself in the right section a bit later ;)

I would tend to agree that there's no escaping an infinite regress at some point, and I don't really have a problem with that... But I wonder what you mean by "everything"... Do you mean the very structure of the possible Multiverse (I guess we'd call this "everything" super strings) or just our own Universe, where this "everything" would be particles (even if those particles could be said to be "expressions" of entangled strings) ?? "Everything" can be vague a bit... If we accept that everything that exists is only a hierarchy of superstrings patterns, then if everything is "strings" (or dimensions) so, I would have to say yes, "strings" have always existed, they would be the very foundation of "Existence"... But I still see no need to invoke any god here, maybe a deist might but I wouldn't see the point of calling strings, god...

We could ask the same question from another angle, we'll reach about the same conclusion I think... There's a line of arguments about the impossibility of "non-existence", it goes somewhat like this.

"It is not possible for existence to derive from non existence. For existence to derive there must be something for it to derive from and such a something is precluded from existing without the existence of Existence. Therefore existence is not derivative.

Given that existence cannot derive from nonexistence, it follows that there could not be a condition of nonexistence. There is no such condition of nonexistence. Nonexistence does not exist, ergo, everything exists. Existence exists because it can. It follows that if anything can exist, it must exist."


But even accepting that, it doesn't change the fact that "things" can only exist in universes that allow for them to exist... Anything requiring the Time dimension to exist (like Logic I'd say...), will exist, but only in universes that allow the Time dimension to express itself, and there might be countless numbers of such universes... We could imagine other universes where the Time dimension is curled up on itself so tightly that it cannot express itself as it does in ours, and what could be said of "things" contained in this universe? Would it even be stable, might be another question... Well, that may be for another post but you get the picture, everything seems to actually exist from the super string point of view...

And I still feel no need to go mystical about it all...;)

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » March 12th, 2019, 7:07 am

Plaffelvohfen wrote:I would tend to agree that there's no escaping an infinite regress at some point, and I don't really have a problem with that... But I wonder what you mean by "everything"... Do you mean the very structure of the possible Multiverse (I guess we'd call this "everything" super strings) or just our own Universe…
When I say "everything", I mean 'all' space/time/matter/energy. The notion of multi-universes seems non-sensical; more kicking-the-can-down-the-road stuff (e.g. God/Universe 1 explains God/Universe 2 which explains God/Universe 3...), as the word "universe" already implies "everything" (at least to me).

RJG wrote:Either we can claim God 1 created God 2 which created God 3 which in turn created God 4 which in turn created "everything" -- OR -- we can invoke Occam's Razor and just say -- The "everything" has "always existed".
Plaffelvohfen wrote:But I still see no need to invoke any god here, maybe a deist might but I wouldn't see the point of calling strings, god…
My use of "God" here was not meant as religious reference, but merely as a shortcut word for the creator of everything (...or the creator of the creator of everything, ...or the creator of the creator of the creator of everything, ...or…)

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Plaffelvohfen » March 12th, 2019, 12:49 pm

RJG wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 7:07 am
The notion of multi-universes seems non-sensical
As much as a non-created universe IMO... But I do not have problems with either... ;)

And String Theories (particularly the AdS/CFT correspondence) are, so far, the best attempt at description we have, about the fabric of our reality... We're still far from any definitive answer mind you, if such is even possible, but so far it's the best we have... If the Maths holds, I see no valid reason to doubt this theory more than any others...

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » March 13th, 2019, 6:40 am

Plaffelvohfen wrote:And String Theories (particularly the AdS/CFT correspondence) are, so far, the best attempt at description we have, about the fabric of our reality... We're still far from any definitive answer mind you, if such is even possible, but so far it's the best we have... If the Maths holds, I see no valid reason to doubt this theory more than any others…
Maybe so. And certainly above my pay grade. -- Though I'm still struggling with how it is even logically possible to "create" anything in the first place, ...in the literal sense.

It seems logically, that we can only combine, convert, transform the existing (already created) stuff into only different shapes and forms, using the same old tired ingredients. There is never really anything "new", or any real "creating" going on whatsoever, anywhere! There is only just the mixing (re-configuring) of the stuff we've already got, that's all.

"Creating" seems to be one of those words that we use that we don't really mean.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Plaffelvohfen » March 13th, 2019, 11:53 am

RJG wrote:
March 13th, 2019, 6:40 am
Though I'm still struggling with how it is even logically possible to "create" anything in the first place, ...in the literal sense.
To me, it kind of makes sense that it would be illogical because Logic itself cannot exist in a "non-expressed time-state", which would be a necessary state of non-created existing things... In this "non-expressed Time-state", always and never are the same.

Wouldn't be the first, nor the last, paradox we're confronted with, no? ;)

We must remember that we're slaves to our own universe, we're like minds in a 2 dimension universe trying to explain a 3rd dimension, in this way it makes sense that we cannot make any sense of it... As an absurdist, I accept that there's a intrinsic limit to our ability to understand certain phenomenon/concepts that may or may not, exist outside our own universe...

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by h_k_s » March 13th, 2019, 6:42 pm

Scott wrote:
March 8th, 2019, 12:45 pm
Great topic! The arguments in the OP are very well organized!
The conservation of energy suggests a model of the universe where time is infinite and energy/matter was never created but instead has always existed.
Is energy conserved in quantum mechanics?
7. In fact the first of everything is always memorable so its a general problem for an infinite being. More to the point, it would never have taken a first breath. Nor a second breath either, nor third, no breathing at all in fact.
Do you remember your first breath? Do most people remember their first breath?

I suspect an argument can be made regarding the relationship of firsts to infinite history, but memory does not seem to fit into the picture.
1. There is no coming into existence event for the particle; how can the particle exist if it never started existing?
Particles come in and out existence all the time, and there is no relevant claims otherwise. Thus, the line of argument started with the quoted statement he appears to be a strawman argument.

Can Time Be Infinite?

If the arguments in the previous sections are accepted, then infinite existence of matter/energy is impossible. If time is to be infinite[...]
I suspect the problem is with the question itself. To ask if time is infinite is at best vague. Infinite by what measure? Is the question being asked in the context of accepting the relativity of spacetime as a premise?

To suggest time is infinite in such a simplistic way seems to absurdly imply time is being measured from some objective outside perspective, as if there could be some guy outside the universe was sitting there with measuring tape and stopwatches and could measure how wide the universe is spatially or how long it is temporally. That kind of thought experiment does create absurdities much like the ones shown in the OP, but the absurdities result from the nonsensical premises of the question: that there is some outside from which the length or age of the universe could be hypothetically measured. It's effectively contradictory because to really measure the sum of everything we would have to measure that 'outside' too; thus it would be as meaninglessly absurd to say the universe is finite in that sense as it would be to say it is infinite in that sense. Instead the universe has no qualities in that sense because that sense is nonsensical.

From relative perspectives, infinities emerge in spacetime all the time at least as simple products of math and basic calculus. For example, if we watch someone fall into a blackhole from Earth, it would take an infinite amount of time for the person to go over the event horizon. Likewise, if someone had just passed through an event horizon and we rewind time (from our perspective outside the event horizon) to see how long ago they passed through we would have to rewind time more than an infinite amount. Infinities in our Newtonian approximations of space or time are a necessary result of both space and time really being one in the same in a relative spacetime; or more simply put these kind of infinities are a necessary result of special relativity. Einstein discovered that neither space nor time are fundamental constants but rather only the speed of causality/"light" is. Space and time bend relatively (and often infinitely) to accommodate the constant, C. All massless particles/beings "move" at C in a timeless universe with collapsed dimensions. What we see from our perspective as 'time' (a pseudo-constant defining our relative perspective) and as the 'space' in which we can move during that time at a rate below C (the true constant) only relatively exist in that subjective emergent perspective. My perhaps wrong understanding is that, in analogy, if the fundamentals of the universe were cars on a congested highway, we are like an intangible traffic jam floating above it (and perhaps moving slowly in the opposite direction of the actual cars on the highway); we are just emergent inherently slower wave patterns in a sea of fundamentals and constants.

The answer to the question, "Can Time Be Infinite?", depends on the meaning of the question, particularly whether it refers to an objective non-relative infinity or a relative infinity. But generally I think the question is meaningless, and thus has no answer. In that particular case, we can only say something like, time is neither infinite nor finite rather but lacks the quality of being measurable. One could further argue that time is not fundamentally real at all, but rather time is just a facet of our approximations, namely Newtonian approximations, meaningful from our relative perspective; In other words, time is a useful illusion.
Great answer, @Scott .

While I cannot remember my first breath at birth, I can envision it.

I can envision being forced by contractions down a very tight tunnel from a very warm comfortable place, and emerging into a very cold frigid place by comparison and being abused and manhandled by the attending physicians and nursing staff.

I probably cried due to the discomfort.

Eventually I was wrapped in cloth, and then my next sensation was a nipple pressed to my face.

Once the hunger went away I probably went to sleep.

The point is that I did not create myself nor did anyone on this Earth create me, that I know of. Neither me nor my parents, nor their parents.

Ergo I can conceive of a First Cause.

Since I can conceive of It, then oncological philosophical arguments state than It Exists.

Just an aside, by the way. I talk about this in my book.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by h_k_s » March 13th, 2019, 6:46 pm

devans99 wrote:
March 8th, 2019, 8:02 am
The conservation of energy suggests a model of the universe where time is infinite and energy/matter was never created but instead has always existed. Is that actually possible? Most of those who believe in infinity and presentism (belief in the existence of only ‘now’) say yes. They hold the view that matter/energy has existed ‘forever’ and was never created.

A thought experiment is to examine the characteristics of an infinite being to see if it’s viable being or not. If an infinite being is not viable then maybe the infinite existence matter/energy and the universe is not viable either?

Infinite Being

So some characteristics of an infinite being:

1. No birth/coming into being event (obviously).

2. An infinite personal history.

3. At birth certain innate attributes are established permanently (like eye colour). For an infinite being, there is no time at which these attributes could have been established (cannot have been established infinity long ago as all events effecting the being must of taken place at finite period of time ago to class as an event).

4. The being would never be young: going back a billion years is just an infinitesimally small period of time compared to its infinite life span. No matter what finite period we go back in time, the being is not young.

5. The being has always experienced events. No matter how far we go back in time, the being experienced events. So it must have experienced some events greater than any number of years ago. Which is a contradiction (can’t be a number* and greater than any number at the same time).

6. Everything it remembers would have happened a finite time ago (if it remembers an event, it would remember when the event occurred, IE some finite time ago). But some things are infinitely memorable (first sex etc…). Remembering the first of something would contradict its status as an infinite being - it would remember that it first had sex X years ago - meaning it must of had a finite life span after all.

7. In fact the first of everything is always memorable so its a general problem for an infinite being. More to the point, it would never have taken a first breath. Nor a second breath either, nor third, no breathing at all in fact.

*(Infinity is a concept not a number, proof: Infinity, if a number, would be a number X which is greater than all other numbers. But X+1>X).

By these considerations, infinite existence seems untenable.

Infinite Particle

The arguments given above hold for a particle with a memory. For a regular particle with no memory, most of the arguments still hold:

1. There is no coming into existence event for the particle; how can the particle exist if it never started existing?

3. There must be some event (=time) at which the innate attributes (like mass of the particle) are established else it is not a particle. But no such time exists with infinite time. Without innate attributes, a particle is just null and void. So its not a valid particle.

4. It’s a general contradiction of infinity that applies to equally to infinite particles: they experience time yet they do not have the concept of young or old… contradictory.

5. This point demonstrates that an infinite regression in time is impossible... infinite regresses are needed for infinite time… events like particle collisions form infinite regresses... but again it's impossible.

7. The argument can be applied to events effecting the particle like collisions… no first collision, no 2nd, no collisions at all… no particle at all.


Can Time Be Infinite?

If the arguments in the previous sections are accepted, then infinite existence of matter/energy is impossible. If time is to be infinite, then this leaves only one possibility: creation Ex nihilo (creation of matter/energy from nothing). But if the natural creation of matter/energy is possible, with infinite time, matter/energy density would be infinite by now, which is clearly not the case.

Another way of considering the same problem is the creation event itself; if it was natural and time was infinite, we would expect infinite instances of creation, but of course there is only one instance of the Big Bang. The Big Bang is a singleton; natural events always come in a plurality.

So we have ruled out infinite time in combination with natural creation events, what about an ‘unnatural’ creation event? There would be a barren, empty stretch of infinite time before the creation event with nothing to cause it, which is impossible.

So that establishes there is a start of time.

Eternalism

Eternalism is the opposite view of presentism. It is the belief that past, present and future are all equally real. A proof via contradiction that Eternalism is true:

Assume only now exists (presentism)
So before the start of time there was nothing *
But creation ex nihilo / without time is impossible
So more than only now exists **

* If there is more than one time, this proof refers to the first or top level time (base reality).
** We know now exists and more than now exists. So at least one moment other than now must exist. But all moments are identical so they all must exist.
If the First Cause exists forever, and It probably does and must always have, then we have probably also existed forever, at least in the Mind/Soul state (Aristotle called it Psyche which we commonly translate as soul, although Modern Philosophy calls it mind).

There is probably no such thing as time. We all probably live together in the present moment with everyone ever born.

The state of the Mind/Soul is presently unknown to us however. But I suspect that there are 20 billion Mind/Soul's here somewhere. Maybe they all float around in the depths of the oceans?

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by h_k_s » March 13th, 2019, 6:50 pm

devans99 wrote:
March 8th, 2019, 8:02 am
The conservation of energy suggests a model of the universe where time is infinite and energy/matter was never created but instead has always existed. Is that actually possible? Most of those who believe in infinity and presentism (belief in the existence of only ‘now’) say yes. They hold the view that matter/energy has existed ‘forever’ and was never created.

A thought experiment is to examine the characteristics of an infinite being to see if it’s viable being or not. If an infinite being is not viable then maybe the infinite existence matter/energy and the universe is not viable either?

Infinite Being

So some characteristics of an infinite being:

1. No birth/coming into being event (obviously).

2. An infinite personal history.

3. At birth certain innate attributes are established permanently (like eye colour). For an infinite being, there is no time at which these attributes could have been established (cannot have been established infinity long ago as all events effecting the being must of taken place at finite period of time ago to class as an event).

4. The being would never be young: going back a billion years is just an infinitesimally small period of time compared to its infinite life span. No matter what finite period we go back in time, the being is not young.

5. The being has always experienced events. No matter how far we go back in time, the being experienced events. So it must have experienced some events greater than any number of years ago. Which is a contradiction (can’t be a number* and greater than any number at the same time).

6. Everything it remembers would have happened a finite time ago (if it remembers an event, it would remember when the event occurred, IE some finite time ago). But some things are infinitely memorable (first sex etc…). Remembering the first of something would contradict its status as an infinite being - it would remember that it first had sex X years ago - meaning it must of had a finite life span after all.

7. In fact the first of everything is always memorable so its a general problem for an infinite being. More to the point, it would never have taken a first breath. Nor a second breath either, nor third, no breathing at all in fact.

*(Infinity is a concept not a number, proof: Infinity, if a number, would be a number X which is greater than all other numbers. But X+1>X).

By these considerations, infinite existence seems untenable.

Infinite Particle

The arguments given above hold for a particle with a memory. For a regular particle with no memory, most of the arguments still hold:

1. There is no coming into existence event for the particle; how can the particle exist if it never started existing?

3. There must be some event (=time) at which the innate attributes (like mass of the particle) are established else it is not a particle. But no such time exists with infinite time. Without innate attributes, a particle is just null and void. So its not a valid particle.

4. It’s a general contradiction of infinity that applies to equally to infinite particles: they experience time yet they do not have the concept of young or old… contradictory.

5. This point demonstrates that an infinite regression in time is impossible... infinite regresses are needed for infinite time… events like particle collisions form infinite regresses... but again it's impossible.

7. The argument can be applied to events effecting the particle like collisions… no first collision, no 2nd, no collisions at all… no particle at all.


Can Time Be Infinite?

If the arguments in the previous sections are accepted, then infinite existence of matter/energy is impossible. If time is to be infinite, then this leaves only one possibility: creation Ex nihilo (creation of matter/energy from nothing). But if the natural creation of matter/energy is possible, with infinite time, matter/energy density would be infinite by now, which is clearly not the case.

Another way of considering the same problem is the creation event itself; if it was natural and time was infinite, we would expect infinite instances of creation, but of course there is only one instance of the Big Bang. The Big Bang is a singleton; natural events always come in a plurality.

So we have ruled out infinite time in combination with natural creation events, what about an ‘unnatural’ creation event? There would be a barren, empty stretch of infinite time before the creation event with nothing to cause it, which is impossible.

So that establishes there is a start of time.

Eternalism

Eternalism is the opposite view of presentism. It is the belief that past, present and future are all equally real. A proof via contradiction that Eternalism is true:

Assume only now exists (presentism)
So before the start of time there was nothing *
But creation ex nihilo / without time is impossible
So more than only now exists **

* If there is more than one time, this proof refers to the first or top level time (base reality).
** We know now exists and more than now exists. So at least one moment other than now must exist. But all moments are identical so they all must exist.
I would not get too hung up on Physics theories.

As @scott correctly points out, quantum physics and nuclear physics contradict thermodynamics all the time.

According to Bertrand Russell, whose writings I largely agree with, you should not mix Science with Religion or with Philosophy.

He makes them co-equal with each other and completely independent. I make Philosophy superior to the other two, and Science superior to Religion, but not Science superior to Philosophy.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by h_k_s » March 13th, 2019, 6:52 pm

RJG wrote:
March 8th, 2019, 1:38 pm
Devans99 wrote:A thought experiment is to examine the characteristics of an infinite being to see if it’s viable being or not. If an infinite being is not viable then maybe the infinite existence matter/energy and the universe is not viable either?
What does the viability of an "infinite being" have to do with the viability of an infinitely (always) existing universe (matter/space/time)? Where's the relevance? Or are you implying that an infinite being is necessary for there to be an always existing universe?

Devans99 wrote:Could everything have existed forever?
Yes. Logically, it can be no other way.

P1. Creation is an action; a happening.
P2. Actions (happenings) require Matter/Space/Time.
  • Without 'something' happening, 'no-thing' happens --> No Happening
    Without 'somewhere' to happen, there is 'no-where' to happen --> No Happening
    Without 'time' to happen, there is 'no-time' to happen --> No Happening
C1. If Matter/Space/Time exist, then it has ALWAYS EXISTED.
This all depends on what you mean by "the Universe."

In Astrophysics, they call "the Universe" everything within The Big Bang.

And they don't know what to call everything outside of The Big Bang.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by h_k_s » March 13th, 2019, 6:53 pm

RJG wrote:
March 8th, 2019, 1:53 pm
Intellectual_Savnot wrote:I might also propose that an infinite being could very well be created...
Not possible. "Infinite" implies "always existing" which contradicts the possibility of "created". In other words, if he were created, then he can't be infinite. And if he were infinite then then he can't be created.
Infinite is just a word.

We don't even know what it really means.

We have never really seen infinity.

We can only see to the edge of The Big Bang event horizon with our telescopes.

So absent seeing it we cannot definitively say that it even exists.

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Re: Wait I can change the subject? I hope this doesn't bug anything

Post by h_k_s » March 13th, 2019, 6:56 pm

Intellectual_Savnot wrote:
March 8th, 2019, 1:56 pm
But seriously, if it can't be made, it can't exist right? That is the argument against infinite existence and non infinite existence it doesn't disprove one in favor of the other it just disproves both. Which is in itself strange, because this logically sound argument is apparently false, because we do exist....
I think infinity is merely a mental concept in mathematics that does not really exist.

It is one of those things that the human mind has invented, like time, or math itself. They do not really exist outside of the human mind anywhere. But all your life starting in about 7th Grade in Middle School you are brainwash to believe that they do actually exist when they really don't.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by h_k_s » March 13th, 2019, 6:57 pm

Intellectual_Savnot wrote:
March 8th, 2019, 1:53 pm
Oh my bad right I was thinking "Infinitely powerful" I always do that
Nothing is "infinitely powerful."

That is invented pseudo-religious crap.

It gets repeated over and over to you at churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues. That's why you believe it.

Just pure brainwashing.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by h_k_s » March 13th, 2019, 6:59 pm

RJG wrote:
March 8th, 2019, 2:07 pm
Intellectual_Savnot wrote:But seriously, if it can't be made, it can't exist right?
Who says? Although we have been conditioned to believe that everything (that exists) MUST have a start, but in actuality there is no good rational reason why not to believe in "always existing".

Assuming that Matter/Space/Time exist, then it has ALWAYS EXISTED. ...and just because this contradicts our indoctrinations, does not mean that it MUST somehow be false.
Excellent !!

A true Modern Philosopher !!

I meet so few of these anywhere.

Adding you to my Friend List.

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by Felix » March 13th, 2019, 10:17 pm

RJG said: "It seems logically, that we can only combine, convert, transform the existing (already created) stuff into only different shapes and forms, using the same old tired ingredients. There is never really anything "new", or any real "creating" going on whatsoever, anywhere! There is only just the mixing (re-configuring) of the stuff we've already got, that's all."

Who is the "we" in that sentence, human beings? Obviously our creative capacity is limited, e.g., we cannot create a universe. And if you had a lifeless world, which "tired old ingredients" would you take from it and combine to produce a living organism?

Furthermore, I don't know why one would expect the universe to conform to the dictates of human logic.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Could everything have existed forever?

Post by RJG » March 14th, 2019, 7:37 am

RJG wrote:Though I'm still struggling with how it is even logically possible to "create" anything in the first place, ...in the literal sense.
Plaffelvohfen wrote:To me, it kind of makes sense that it would be illogical because Logic itself cannot exist in a "non-expressed time-state", which would be a necessary state of non-created existing things... In this "non-expressed Time-state", always and never are the same.
Sorry, I don't get what you're saying here.

Plaffelvohfen wrote:Wouldn't be the first, nor the last, paradox we're confronted with, no? :wink:
True. But don't forget, paradoxes are not 'truths', they are just 'riddles' waiting to be solved.

Plaffelvohfen wrote:As an absurdist, I accept that there's a intrinsic limit to our ability to understand certain phenomenon/concepts that may or may not, exist outside our own universe…
Agreed. Also, "absurdist" seems to be an interesting title to call oneself. I suspect there is more here than meets the eye with this "absurdist".

RJG wrote:It seems logically, that we can only combine, convert, transform the existing (already created) stuff into only different shapes and forms, using the same old tired ingredients. There is never really anything "new", or any real "creating" going on whatsoever, anywhere! There is only just the mixing (re-configuring) of the stuff we've already got, that's all.
Felix wrote:Who is the "we" in that sentence, human beings? Obviously our creative capacity is limited, e.g., we cannot create a universe. And if you had a lifeless world, which "tired old ingredients" would you take from it and combine to produce a living organism?
Are you somehow implying that "new" matter magically comes into existence (from non-existence?) with the birth of living organisms? If so, then do you also denounce the first law of thermodynamics?

Felix wrote:Furthermore, I don't know why one would expect the universe to conform to the dictates of human logic.
Agreed. The universe 'gives' logic to us humans (i.e. logic is not man-made). If we humans wish to "make sense", then 'logic' is the only tool we've got.

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