It is agreed that both human nature and existence itself contain contradictions. From C.S. Lewis’s statement in Mere Christianity that things are not what we wish them to be or how they should be, to George Harrison’s own lyric “I am living proof all life is contradiction,” we have a consensus that we are contradictory animals in a world of paradoxical confusion. How do we resolve these contradictory impulses, these phantoms of humanity? These puzzling forms?
Plato suggests learning is recollection. Much of life is instinct, yet in evolution human beings shed instinct for consciousness. We argue the merits of free will while simultaneously acknowledging the illusion. Why are there necessary illusions? What are we recollecting, and from where?
Perhaps the Hindus have it correct that we are reincarnated until we reach perfection. We retain knowledge from previous lives to instruct us as we reach toward the Ultimate.
Or perhaps there is another explanation for our relentless memory of contradictions?
Lee Smolin says in a 2019 interview with Yvonne Bang at JSTOR Daily, “The biologists had this notion that they called the fitness landscape. A landscape of different possible sets of genes. On top of this set, you imagined a landscape in which the altitude was proportional to the fitness of a creature with those genes. That is, a mountain was taller at one set of genes if those genes resulted in a creature that had more reproductive success. And that was called the fitness. So I imagined a landscape of string theories, a landscape of fundamental theories, and some process of evolution going on on it. And then it was just a question of identifying a process that should work like natural selection.”
Friedrich Nietzsche writes in The Gay Science, “What if, during any day or night, a demon were to steal after you in your loneliest of loneliness and say ‘This life, as you are now living it and have lived it, you must once again and eternal times more live; and it will be nothing new, only the previous hurt and the previous wants and every thought and every sigh and every unspeakable greatness and smallness of your life must come by you again and all with the same arrangement and consequence, and even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this instant and myself. The eternal sand clock of yourself will again be inverted – and you with it, speck of specks!’”
I propose a poetic interpretation of cosmic evolution that combines these two impulses. What if a mountain existed on one side of the cosmic plane, and an eagle were to pass it to brush off a few pebbles upon each passing? As it circles eternally, gradually the mountain would shrink to a pile of dust.
This metaphor combines the eternal recurrence with cosmic Darwinism. Each level of existence is its own fitness plane. This is akin to the “many worlds” theory but also different in the sense that these worlds exist in tandem with one another.
There is no “fitness plane” unified by one pledged existential grant. There are many planes within one another. This is the holographic principle. These existences are replications of other existences from previous incarnations. The material of life recycles itself.
Relativity is the macro observer and quantum forces are the makeup. Life glances back at itself, observing its own evolution, remaking laws and establishing precedent.
These planes unite by Necessity though some of the material is wasted, i.e. through entropy. The acceleration of universal expansion is merely one conundrum posed by the nature of this paradox. If information contains mass, then mass can be consumed and its mass lost. Thus information is finite. The cosmic principle is replication by mutable laws that extend themselves as the universe accelerates in its expansion. The parameters of the universe thin out.
Like an elastic band, it can only expand to a point—the Omega point. Then it retracts on itself, splits, and repeats endlessly. However, the pile of dust (entropic release) still stands at the mountain’s foot, a herald to memory.
Humankind strives toward progress in society yet finds these hopes dashed by our limitations. Perhaps this essential contradiction is restorative of an original state—the Eden of the Mind—but competition on the fitness plane(s) make this progress mortal. By being mortal, mere reach of perfection is the Tower of Babel—progress itself, the ultimate unity of all principle, collapses on itself and deteriorates.
God describes Himself as “the Alpha and Omega” and by striving toward Godhood we make ourselves finite. Mortality is the curse for striving for perfection.
Why does God excoriate our desire for perfection? He is a jealous God and there shall be no other gods before Him. God’s mercy—that is, the extension of the universe holistically—is the only permission we are granted. Possibility thus exceeds Actuality by nature of being within nothingness.