By William Markiewicz


Recently I met a gentleman who, after two successive cardiac arrests followed by a period of clinical death, became interested in the notion of time. Here are excerpts from Donald Prazmowski's essay, "Time, Life and I."

In many ways, this "now" moment is not very different from a computer cursor which focuses on only one point. It shows where you are at a universal moment in time; identifies the relationship between the past and the future. This prompts another question which is: Is this "now" moment a universal phenomenon and does it exist everywhere at precisely the same moment? And if indeed "now" is a universal cursor, then Time as we understand it does not exist.

I suggest that time as a dimension or a flowing continuous ribbon is a product of our fertile imagination and we conveniently accept it because it fits our perception of life and the universe. Therefore an assumption of "now" existing without continuity of time, could demolish all accepted concepts of time and space and even 'I am.' My consciousness would have a dramatic change of character.

I am still not sure why he considers that there is a relationship between "now" and different parts of space. Timelessness or eternity is time by the very fact that we can count any slice of it. I hope to have an opportunity to read and/or to talk to him again, but what triggered me to write just now is the extraordinary coincidence that a few weeks before meeting him I was, myself, pondering energy and matter, and I came to the conclusion that energy doesn't exist! Donald, an engineer, didn't even want to discuss the possibility that energy does not exist but I believe that I have some points to sustain the argument.

We know matter by itself. We don't know energy by itself. All manifestations of energy are done through matter to matter. What we call "energy" is the infinite capacity of matter to interact with the infinite variations of itself. Of course we can call it "energy" or anything we want, and this is a handy notion because it permits us to evaluate those interactions quantitatively and qualitatively. On the other hand, if we abandon the notion of energy for a moment, we can take a fresh look at matter itself.

Matter undergoes physical and chemical changes at all levels, from the atomic to the molecular and planetary ones with various secondary "energy" effects. Sometimes a catalyst is necessary which certainly doesn't bring any energy into operation.

The researchers' inability to find the great united field is due, perhaps, to the fact that they search for something that doesn't exist.

The "elementary particle" may also belong to a concept. If "what is above is below," as the exponents of quantum mechanics and esoterics claim, the universe without ceiling should be also a universe without bottom. Whatever is elementary for us will not be elementary in the literal sense of the word. The elementary notion as abstraction may be illustrated by the turning wheel. We know theoretically that a turning wheel, no matter what its speed, will have an immobile point at its centre and a speed progressing toward infinity while progressing toward its circumference. Both extremes are theoretical, forever inaccessible.

How often do we realize that "truth" and "usefulness" don't always go together? Let's take the beautiful and fertile chaos theory: "chaos" exists only in the eye of the beholder. For someone partially deaf, music will be chaos.

Why is it then that notions, perhaps illusory, may enrich us so much? Let's remember that you don't have to be a Christian to appreciate the beauty and the depth in the thoughts of St. Augustine or of St. Thomas of Aquinas; that you don't have to be an esotherician to appreciate the beauty of Gurdjieff's teaching. It's the inspiration that counts.

Perhaps matter is the fundamental -- ultimate reality through which the notions of "energy," "time," "space," "chaos," "order," etc. exist as points of reference. But it doesn't enlighten us on the question of "what is matter," this mysterious substance which undergoes infinite interactions when confronted with various forms of itself, with no beginning nor end, without ceiling nor bottom, undergoing dissolution when supercondensed (black hole) or explosion (Big Bang). There may be no ultimate representation of matter, yet you may compare it to some mythical sorcerer-comedian who wears many masks and no face is under mask. 

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