03 December 2006

Opposites Come Together

My curiosity was piqued when, in September 2006, I heard the BBC radio program called A Brief History of Infinity: Space and the Universe.

Although there may be no actual relationship between the material they covered and the questions I have from previous posts, (we at least both pointed to Groundhog Day and) I couldn't help but consider:From the program:
They say that at the level of infinity, opposites come together or contradictions cease to occur.

They gave the following example: If a straight line is the opposite of a curved line or a circle, then it is said that a circle with an infinite radius actually becomes a straight line.

The philosopher Nietzsche said there is a very interesting implication if we believe that time is infinite which is if time really is infinite and if all possible events, though very large, are probably finite, that it logically follows that everything repeats.

Every event in the universe returns again and again and again over infinite time.

The BBC also mentions that this was an idea that was captured in Hollywood's Groundhog Day.
I Googled this and Nietzsche explores 'eternal recurrence' in his work Thus Spake Zarathustra (download it free from gutenberg.org).

The Oxford Companion to Philosophy has the following entry under 'eternal recurrence':
An ancient cosmological idea, seized upon by Nietzsche, to the effect that everything that happens is part of an endlessly repeating cycle or sequence of events.

While Nietzsche entertained this idea as an actual cosmological hypothesis, he first introduced it and chiefly employed it hypothetically as a kind of test.

One who is able to affirm life even on this supposition will have what it takes to endure and flourish in the aftermath of all disillusionment.
Talk about 'perspective'...

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