NB: La versione in italiano di questo articolo è stata pubblicata su questo sito il 26 febbraio 2017
The present and eternity
The idea that the memories recall the past is not real. The human memory does not let him revive what is buried forever, because the context has changed. What we remember is a new phenomenon, which, however, takes just a moment: the philosophers call it becoming, we could just call it life, running frantically toward its ultimate outcome. Virgil in the Georgics, expresses the concept of tempus fugit, which could be expressed with fugit life. And then? This is the essential question, to which science cannot give answers, which are reduced to the affirmation of a chemical-physical decay, in its crudeness: source afraid. Only faith, for those who have it, can give a metaphysical or theological response to a condition of survival, that Dante imagined in his Paradise. I think in the over-life there are no pleadings or becoming, but an eternal present, because they lack the time, as tells the Pope Emeritus Joseph Ratzinger in his “Last Conversations”, interviewer Peter Seewald. Seewald asks:
“The eternal question is: where is this the God we tell about, from which we hope to receive help? How and where can we place? We now know more and more the hugeness of the universe, with its billions of planets, the countless solar systems, but so far, no matter how far we can push our eyes, nowhere there is anything that we could imagine how the sky where God should enthroned. ”
“Is it because there is no place where He reigns. God himself is the place above all places. If you look at the world, you do not see the sky, but you see everywhere traces of God: in the structure of matter, in the rationality of reality. And even where you look at men, you will find traces of God. You will see the vice, but also virtue, love. These are the places where God is. We must break away from these ancient concepts of space, which are no longer applicable if only because the universe is not infinite in the strict sense of the term, even if it is large enough so that we human beings define it as such. God cannot be somewhere in or out of it, his presence is completely different. It is very important to renew our way of thinking, get rid of spatial categories and understand them from a new perspective. As there is a spiritual presence among men – two people can be close despite living on different continents because this neighborhood dimension is not identical with that space – so God is not “somewhere”, but it is reality. The reality base of all reality. And for this I actually do not need a ‘where’ it ‘where’ is already a boundary, it is already no longer the infinite, the creator, which is the universe, which includes all time and He is not time himself, but He creates it and is always present. I think many of our perceptions need to be revised. Even our whole idea of man has changed. We don’t have six thousand years of history [as it is estimated in the Bible, n.d.r], but many more. Let also open these numerical assumptions. In any case, on the basis of this knowledge, the structure of time, that of history, today is revealed mutated. Here the primary task of theology is to do work even more depth and offer people new ways to represent God. The translation of the theology and of faith in today’s language is still very deficient; you must create representation schemes, to help people to understand that today they do not have to look for God in “some place.” There is much to do. ”
If Ratzinger was limited to just being a Pope, it is doubtful that he could have given this answer, but he was and still is a great theologian, who has to deal only with the gods and not with science, often haughty, scientists. The astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, anything but snooty, writes in his book “The Theory of Everything”:
“A notable feature that emerges from the first of Friedmann models is: the universe is not infinite in space, and yet the space does not have any outer limits, no boundaries … We shall see later, combining general relativity with the uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics, it is possible to conceive of time as much as space as finished but without limits … “.
I draw, from my essay “Relativity, energy and the economy,” prior of Pope Ratzinger interview’s, the consideration that:
“The real man is also the creator voluntary or not of the non-time, at least in one case: the loss of consciousness. Only that while you can erase from his mind the time, the weather continues to act on our cells, which reciprocate the time: thus the time is at least a biological phenomenon. The concept of eternity as infinite extension is scary for the men… almost like they are afraid of death. What is the cause? It is the thinking of eternity with a human concept of time, which, according to Kant, would, in fact, a human invention. But eternity can only be timeless, so you cannot time it. The ancients imagined the Elysian Fields as a heavenly place for a repetitive eternity, like a continuous walk through gardens full of flowers. You know how boring after a while ‘, if we reason with the human mentality! No! Eternity is another, is unimaginable. You must abandon any concept and human reference to believe, not to guess, for this we overhang.
Only Dante succeeded in XXIX canto of Paradise (13-21):
Not to acquire some good unto himself,
Which is impossible, but that his splendour
In its resplendency may say, ‘Subsisto,’
In his eternity outside of time,
Outside all other limits, as it pleased him,
Into new Loves the Eternal Love unfolded.
Nor as if torpid did he lie before;
For neither after nor before proceeded
The going forth of God upon these waters.
Eternity is not time, is Amor Dei, humanly inconceivable and not conceptualized, but, at least, is not bound to time. Breaking the clock does not stop the time. The time cannot be stopped, but you can forget, even if it is useless to attempt. This contradicts Kant, who wanted the time as the fruit of our thought. Forgetting is not really a Kantian thought, although, ironically, was the bitterness of his last days of life, when he began to consciously lose sight, memory and lucidity. ”
I conclude by recognizing that everyone is free to believe in what he deems consistent with his nature and culture, but I think it simplistic to think that the man exhausts his own person with the celebration of the funeral. Good and evil are not destined to the waste basket. It would be too simple and superficial! But it would also be a denial of the mathematics of the plurality of dimensions beyond the third.