The concepts of linear and circular time fascinate me. The most well known is, I suppose, is the Abrahamic eschatological concept of the â€˜end of timesâ€™: i.e. as in Armageddon, the Day of Judgement, etc. The belief that the world was created, had a beginning, and that it will one day come to an end.
This is linear â€“ i.e. in a line. Linear time makes sense to me, until someone produces a time machine. Even considering the relativity of time, Einstein only proved that time can be relatively slower in one â€˜frameâ€™ compared to another â€“ not that one can go back
Another widespread concept; particularly in Hinduism (and by implication Buddhism, but not necessarily), and apparently in Maya cosmology too, is the concept of cyclical time, or â€˜agesâ€™. Again, expressed in terms of cosmology, it means that there was no beginning point, and will be no end point of the world. It will simply carry on changing.
The Big Bang theory lends some credence to this, given that the universe is constantly expanding, and will therefore in theory eventually contract back to the initial compressed point.
For me, one problem with the circular, at least using a diagram in the way I have, is that it implies that things go back to the way they were initially. Which is why I like the idea of a spiral better: the way I see it, things tend towards equilibrium, and thus many things seem to repeat themselves, but on every â€˜passâ€™, they have changed from before.
The spiral is really just another line, with a beginning, and never repeating itself; but the advantage of the spiral is that it reminds us that the past can â€˜catch upâ€™ with us. Everything has a consequence; and weâ€™re not advancing straight into a virgin future, untrammelled by the past; nor can we just carry on because everything is going to be wiped clean and we start over againâ€¦
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