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October 29, 2006


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Anthony Paul Smith

Great! Post-apocalyptic piety!

Seriously, this is a great thought experiment. Almost a modern eternal return, if Deleuze is right to call it an ethical thought; a better categorical imperative.


Thanks, Anthony. Where does piety come in (this is a serious question, I'm wondering if it has something to do with stuff that guy who wrote about capitalism and religion and piety said; I can't recall either his name or any of the details of his discussion of piety)?

A revision/version of eternal return is a neat thought--for one, it helps justify including the time stuff rather than just entropy. It also provides a justification/explanation for thinking about the dissolution/decay as a kind of reversal or going backwards, which provides the nice element of repetition, in a backtracking, dissolving sort of way, repetition not as reinscription or reinforcement but as echo, trace, fade to black...

It must be that there are good sci fi versions of the world going backward and sort of dissolving, the world as having already ended.

Maybe this is a secular version of the death of God--the death of the world: the world is already dead, it just doesn't know it yet, and the problem with knowing it is the hastening of the dissolution (which may explain why some want to keep people locked in myth, ignorance, games, and media, locked into a sense that everything proceeds apace, accordingly, as always, as before; it also explains why no one cares--why should they? they are ghosts, remnants in an already dead world).

Actually, there is a strange Stephen King story, I saw it as a pretty awful but still scary movie where a plane gets out of joint and returns to an airport where the the world has already ended.


I also now know why all the stores put up Christmas decorations before Halloween--they don't want us to forget it. Dimly aware that the world has ended, they work overtime to avoid dissolution, trying ever so eagerly to speed things up so that we won't notice, so that we won't drift away...

Anthony Paul Smith

The piety comment was a kind of inside joke, as I thought you had finished Philip's book. Piety is a subjective synthesis of time dependent on attention. The third form is apocalyptic. Your post suggests a fourth form. I'm not sure how serious I'd take me saying that.


Thanks, Anthony. I thought it was a reference to that book, but, I confess that I didn't finish it (I should have). Even if your comment isn't completely serious, it still is a nice push to me to return to the book.

Adam Kotsko

As I've said in comments here before, the form of this world is passing away.

You should watch the movie Last Night.

Amish Lovelock

I watched that movie last night! No seriously, I did!


I just happened to stumble into your post about time and entropy and it's been haunting my thoughts this afternoon.

Have you read any of the following:

Martin Amis 'Times Arrow'
Philip K. Dick 'Counter Clock World'

Robert Charles Wilson's novel 'Darwinia' features a world--something like our present world that is actually a virtual construct.

You might also look at the philosopher Nick Bostrom's work--where he postulates the universe just might be a simulation.

Former Student

this IS pretty Goth, i must say...:)

one question - why are you so concerned about "clarity"? isn't "clarity" just as illusory as the dissolving world you're describing?

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