"The God of the Sistine Chapel is the pre-Reformation God : man's answer to
the problem of the universe. That of the Pieta is the incomprehensible God of
Luther and Loyola : no doubt concerned with man but in his own way which faith
alone, not reason, can apprehend. "
G. R. Elton, Reformation Europe, p.
This idea of humans finding meaning in virtual reality games
is actually not a new idea. It's a very old idea. We have been finding meaning
in virtual reality games for thousands of years. We've just called it religion
convention by which the great events in biblical or secular history could be
enacted only by magnificent physical specimens, handsome and well-groomed, went
on for a long time — till the middle of the nineteenth century. Only a very few
artists — perhaps only
in the first rank — were independent enough to stand against it. And I think
that this convention, which was an element in the so-called grand manner, became
a deadening influence on the European mind. It deadened our sense of truth, even
our sense of moral responsibility."
I grow old ... I grow old ...I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
Kenneth Clark, Civilisation, The Hero
"....a civilisation is simply a great metaphor which
describes the aspirations of the individual soul in collective form - as perhaps
a novel or a poem might do. The struggle is always for greater consciousness.
But alas! Civilisations die in the measure that
they become conscious of themselves. They realise,
they lose heart, the propulsion of the unconscious motive is no longer there.
Desperately they begin to copy themselves in the mirror. It is no use. But
surely the is a catch in all this? Yes, Time is the catch! Space is a concrete
idea, but Time is abstract. In the scar tissue of Proust's great poem you see
that so clearly; his work is the great academy of the time-consciousness. But
being unwilling to mobilise the meaning of time he
was driven to fall back on memory, the ancestor of hope!"
Lawrence Durrell, Clea, p. 143
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard
the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing to
T.S. Eliot, Prufrock
How dark, O Lord, are Thy decrees, All hid from mortal sight, All our joys to
sorrow turning, And our triumphs into mourning, As the night succeeds the day.
No certain bliss, No solid peace, We mortals know. On earth below, Yet on this
maxim still obey: "Whatever is, is right." ...
G. F. Handel, Jephtha
… at each stage of development, each man resumes the whole universe and makes it
suitable to his own inner nature: while each thinker, each thought fecundates
the whole universe anew.
Durrell, Lawrence, Justine
Following Leibnitz and Einstein, we have so far come to accept that there may be
no meaning to time besides change.
It is another thing altogether to wonder whether time and change themselves
might be constructs – whether there might be some fundamental way of perceiving
the world in which they play no role at all. … I don’t know if there are any
real limits to what the human mind can imagine, but thinking about this question
brings me closer than I like to the limits of what my own mind has the language
or means to conceive.
The problem of time in quantum cosmology is hard exactly because it seems to
lead us to confront the possibility that time and change themselves are
Lee Smolin, The Life of the Cosmos
Alice approaches a large table set under the tree outside the March Hare’s
house and comes across the Mad Hatter and the March Hare taking tea. They
rest their elbows on a sleeping Dormouse who sits between them. They tell
Alice that there is no room for her at the table, but Alice sits anyway. The
March Hare offers Alice wine, but there is none. Alice tells the March Hare
that his conduct is uncivil, to which he rejoins that it was uncivil of her
to sit down without being invited. The Mad Hatter enters the conversation,
opining that Alice’s hair “wants cutting.” Alice admonishes his rudeness,
but he ignores her scolding and responds with a riddle: “Why is a raven like
a writing desk?” Alice attempts to answer the riddle, which begins a big
argument about semantics. After their argument, the tea party sits in
silence until the Mad Hatter asks the March Hare the time. When he discovers
that the March Hare’s watch, which measures the day of the month, is broken,
the Mad Hatter becomes angry. He blames the March Hare for getting crumbs on
the watch when the March Hare was spreading butter on it. The March Hare
sullenly dips the watch in his tea, dejectedly remarking that “It was the
Alice gives up on the riddle and becomes angry with the Mad Hatter when she
discovers that he doesn’t know the answer either. She tells him he should
not waste time asking riddles that have no answers. The Mad Hatter calmly
explains that Time is a “him,” not an “it.” He goes on to recount how Time
has been upset ever since the Queen of Hearts said the Mad Hatter was
“murdering time” while he performed a song badly. Since then, Time has
stayed fixed at six o’clock, which means that they exist in perpetual
tea-time. Bored with this line of conversation, the March Hare states that
he would like to hear a story, so they wake up the Dormouse. The Dormouse
tells a story about three sisters who live in a treacle-well, eating and
drawing treacle. Confused by the story, Alice interjects with so many
questions that the Dormouse becomes insulted. Alice continues to ask
questions until the Mad Hatter insults her and she storms off in disgust. As
she walks, she looks back at the Mad
and the March Hare as they attempt to stuff the Dormouse into the teapot
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland