Until the End of Time - Mind, matter, and our search for meaning in an evolving universe
How much do I want to read more? 8/10
A promising book that talks about meaning, eternity, life and death, mathematics and equations.
One of Greene's latest book, if I'm not mistaken.
“I do mathematics because once you prove a theorem, it stands. Forever.”
Until then, I hadn’t thought about mathematics in this term. To me, math was a wondrous game of abstract precision.
That is the romance of mathematics.
Every right-angled triangle drawn from before Pythagoras and on to eternity satisfies the famous theorem that bears his name.
I wanted to be part of a journey toward insights so fundamental that they would never change. Let governments rise and fall, let World Series be won and lost, let legends of film, television, and stage come and go. I wanted to spend my life catching a glimpse of something transcendent.
But then came an observation that caught me thoroughly by surprise: “Man is the only being that knows death; all others become old, but with a consciousness wholly limited to the moment which must seem to them eternal,”
what drives us to seek the timeless, to search for qualities that may last forever? Perhaps it all comes from our singular awareness that we are anything but timeless, that our lives are anything but forever.
Across cultures and through the ages, we have placed significant value on permanence.
some build formidable monuments, others pursue immutable laws. Eternity, as these preoccupations demonstrate, has a powerful pull on the mind aware that its material duration is limited.
we will walk the timeline of the universe, exploring the physical principles that yield orderly structures from stars and galaxies to life and consciousness, within a universe destined for decay.
as human beings have limited life spans, so too do the very phenomena of life and mind in the universe.
1 - THE LURE OF ETERNITY - Beginnings, Endings, and Beyond
all that lives will die.
Most life lives in the moment, with fear born of immediate perception. It is only you and I and the rest of our lot that can reflect on the distant past, imagine the future.
Of course, most of us, in the service of sanity, don’t fixate on the end. We go about the world focused on worldly concerns. We accept the inevitable and direct our energies to other things. Yet the recognition that our time is finite is always with us, helping to shape the choices we make, the challenges we accept, the paths we follow.
“Man is literally split in two: he has an awareness of his own splendid uniqueness in that he sticks out of nature with a towering majesty, and yet he goes back into the ground a few feet in order blindly and dumbly to rot and disappear forever.”
Some soothe the existential yearning through commitment to family, a team, a movement, a religion, a nation—constructs that will outlast the individual’s allotted time on earth. Others leave behind creative expressions, artifacts that extend the duration of their presence symbolically. “We fly to Beauty,” said Emerson, “as an asylum from the terrors of finite nature.”