OUSPENSKY’S REPETITION COMPULSION
FROM INTERCOURSE ON GROUNDHOG DAYS
BY DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS AND MELINA COSTELLO
September 11, 2004
Dear Madame Melina,
You have asked the classic question in refutation of the Doctrine of Eternal Recurrence: “Let’s say my father, who was born in 1925, dies in 1992. He is once again born in the Midwest to Italian immigrants in the same house, on the same street, with the same siblings, yadayada. At some point along the time line, he meets my mom and I am conceived, which would then posit another “me” in the world of form (?) whilst the “me” who is writing this message yet lives. Now there are two Melinas living in flesh and blood bodies in a three dimensional quantum of space. That could not be unless, of course, we’re talking about parallel realities. There’s no contingency in the argument for this apparent conundrum.”
Ouspensky has this to say about the subject in general in respect to another case:
“The point of death coincides with the point of birth….
“After this point there comes a question which is more difficult to answer, namely, how an identical relation between the births of different people is preserved when we know that the relation between their deaths is quite different, i.e. that it does not correspond with the relation of their births. To put it more shortly, what will happen to a man who had died before his grandmother? He must be born immediately, and his mother is as yet unborn.
“Two answers are possible: first, it is possible to say that at the moment when the soul touches infinity different relations of time become adjusted, because a moment of eternity can have a different time value. And, second, it is possible to say that our usual conception of ‘dimensions of time’ are wrong. For instance, for us time can have different duration – five years, ten years, a hundred years – but it always has the same speed. But where are proofs of this? Why not suppose that time in certain limits (for instance in relation to human life) always has the same duration but DIFFERENT SPEED? One is not more arbitrary than the other, but with the admission of this possibility the question disappears.”
So, my dear Madame, a final adjustment in an infinitesimal moment of eternity is a most convenient deus ex machina, a sort of transcendent clearing house!
The difficulty does vanish with Ouspensky’s conjecturing. Since duration is a series of events along a length of time measured by some objective universal standard, say, the number of ‘clicks’ of an atomic clock, he implies that objective time is not time; for instance, that five years is not five years, that 5 does not equal 5. Of course the subjective experience of time differs and may seem to transpire at difference speeds, but subjective phenomena does not dispose of objective reality if we are to understand one another via meaningful statements; one might say that, if Ouspensky really believes what he conjectures, he would be the subject of a delusion. But he does not believe it, since he poses it as a befuddling possibility. Aha, was it his business to befuddle? Sometimes I think so.
Returning to subjective time and assuming that each experience is unique: in contrast to objective time/space, we would at bottom be living in anarchy, in chaos. To please the libertarians, I shall not deny that possibility, since the sum would be absolute freedom, which provides the motive for each individual to endure forever against all impedances intuited for perception via the time/space category of existence as we know it.
I propose that Ouspensky’s Doctrine of Eternal Recurrence – he refers it to the Laws of Manu – is an instance of a universal psycho-biological phenomenon sometimes referred to as ‘repetition compulsion,’ an unconscious desire to return to preconception i.e. before conception and after deception, from dust to dust in terms of particulate matter undulating in waves of black light. But then again we have the blinding light, and the milk, the ocean of milk.
Oh, no, not again! It’s Groundhog Day!