Sir Roger Penrose, born in 1931, is a British mathematician, mathematical physicist, philosopher of science and Nobel laureate in physics. I recently mocked the old German philosophers’ trick of obscuring prose to start philosophical cults, as in the case of Kant. As Leszek Kołakowski said at the beginning of his monumental demolition of Marxist theory, Hegel’s ideas had already been developed earlier but in simpler language: language whose aim was to make metaphysical ideas comprehensible. That’s the way to go, rather than the artifice of deliberately obscuring the language so that philosophical ‘science’ cannot escape the walls of university scholasticism.
One of the things I like about contemporary philosophers is that they write or speak in a way that makes us understand complex ideas, even the most abstract metaphysics. In the film A Brief History of Time Penrose said, ‘I think I would say that the universe has a purpose, it’s not somehow just there by chance… Some people, I think, take the view that the universe is just there and it runs along—it’s a bit like it just sort of computes, and we happen somehow by accident to find ourselves in this thing. But I don’t think that’s a very fruitful or helpful way of looking at the universe. I think that there is something much deeper about it’.
A year ago in my post ‘Between Ice and Fire’ I concluded: ‘The dialectic of the song of ice and fire in the universe is the dilemma of whether the universe is to cool down eternally due to unnecessary suffering, or whether it is worth returning to the primal fire that makes Being explode again in countless stars…’
But yesterday I got a surprise in this YouTube interview. Penrose mentions something that had never occurred to me.
Once in the very distant future, where there are no more corpses of stars, and not even black holes that evaporate with time (remember Stephen Hawking’s phrase: ‘black holes are not so black’), leaving only photons in an expanding universe, if time ceases to make sense—then space, in our Newtonian sense, will cease to make sense. The moment time ceases to exist, space ceases to exist as well! And that would mean a new beginning or big bang insofar as astronomically large space would be, without time, nothing: equivalent again to a mathematical point or a new singularity.
I hadn’t thought of that possibility. Will the dialectic of the song of ice and fire not end with the Night King’s dream, eternal oblivion because of our misconduct (other ‘darkest hours’ may well be happening in other galaxies due to similar, astronomic stupidities of sentient beings)? It reminds me of a line from Wagner when Gurnemanz takes Parsifal into the castle to see if he can be initiated, and tells him that in that journey time becomes space:
The king is returning from the bath;
the sun stands high;
now let me lead you to our hallowed feast;
for if you are pure, the Grail
will be meat and drink to you.
Who is the Grail?
That cannot be said;
but if you yourself are called to its service
that knowledge will not remain withheld.
I think I know you aright;
no earthly path leads to it,
and none could tread it
whom the Grail itself had not guided.
I scarcely tread,
yet seem already to have come far.
You see, my son,
time here becomes space.
See this exact moment in a performance of the Bayreuth Festival: here.
Penrose’s interview is fascinating, and in this other segment he says something I already knew intuitively: that those who fantasise about creating, say in a decade, artificial intelligence by mere computation will be in for a fiasco because consciousness is not algorithmic. As if that weren’t enough, in this other segment of the interview Penrose talks about beauty: an inherent structure in the universe and even in mathematics (remember, ‘mathematics is the alphabet with which God has written the universe’, said Galileo Galilei). This is why soulless computers, which cannot be indoctrinated by PC nuts, have chosen the white race as the most beautiful.
Since the old incarnation of The West’s Darkest Hour on blogspot I had chosen a painting, Daybreak by Maxfield Parrish, to sum up in a single image my philosophy. When a woke bitch says that beauty is subjective, she’s ignoring that mathematicians have detected how certain symmetrical relationships explain her beautiful facial features. The Roman sculpture we can admire on the sidebar is not the same as a humanoid ape from our remote past: the universe is evolving biologically according to the mathematical beauty inherent in our tastes for sexual selection.
Only the eternal feminine will lead us to the Absolute. It is no wonder why uncle Adolf wanted so much for his close friends to travel with him to the annual Wagner Festival in Bayreuth. But very few understood him…
Seymour Millais Stone
Parsifal and the Grail