YAM EQUALS YAM
From Groundhog Days – Intercourse on Time
By Melina Costello and David Arthur Walters
Saturday, August 4, 2004
Regarding your formula, YAM = YAM, I see we see I to I on the unlikelihood of the identical recurrence of any particular event, for that would require the cooperation of the universe in the identity. I think I mentioned heretofore that Ouspensky, who was among other things a mathematician, pointed out that Nietzsche’s concept of eternal recurrence posited a virtually impossible repetition if probability theory is our guide, because the greater the number of things to be combined, the less likely it is that they will combine in any particular way, and the complexity of the universe is such that the possibility of a single repetition of its history is exceedingly remote.
It could happen, I suppose, and an infinite number of times, I suppose, hence the repetition would be an infinite series within infinity, just as the number of even numbers is infinite within the series of all numbers, but I doubt it would happen, for I do not think the spacetime universe works that way, time being directional for the sake of motion – the repetition of everything endlessly would be no repetition, perhaps, just a static eternity. Of course every insurance company no matter how large is bound to fail, and the bigger they are the harder they fall.
The Stoics, like other traditional societies in their longing for a return to the Great Time, rebelled against the tyranny of historical, linear time. But the Stoics took the easy way out, I think, by presuming that the cosmos as a whole is periodically consumed by the ‘Fire’ and proceeds therefrom once again in the same order. I believe palengenesia is the term for their concept of precise, literal, cyclic repetition. Nothing within the cosmos would have to finish its particular cycle, for the whole kit and caboodle would perish at once, then IT would repeat itself, and so on. Plato imagined a cosmic regeneration, and the Stoics took the notion to the extreme.
As for those traditional societies who imagined a return to a golden age or original epoch, and resorted to repetitive rituals to recapture the Great Time for personal and social regeneration or revitalization; – their revolutionary movement to the radical roots appears to progressives to be rather regressive, don’t you think?
From the regressive perspective, I suppose the linear progression that we imagine for “civilization”, and, perhaps, for the divine life hereafter, appears to be a decline rather than an advance, a decadent degeneration instead of creative generation. The evolution from a simple soup of virtually immortal cells to complex mortal mammals, or from a simple life to a highly organized life, is supposed to be progressive; yet sometimes we might wonder whether or not the division of labor and the reliance on machines to remember and think for us, along with the emphasis on equality of individuals, is atomizing us into virtually identical living units who automatically repeat the same hackneyed program. And then, if only we can overcome the fear of death, we shall be metaphorically immortal in the social soup. Somewhere in the Old Testament a prophet says, “I am a cattle.”
What matter is it that a cattle or an amoeba dies? What matter is it that the one multiplies by sexual intercourse and the other by division? Sexual reproduction produces more opportunities for variation, but to what end? Toward the eventual simplification of every task until the highest form, man, becomes just another ant? Wherefore nothing is really lost if the species survives. Therefore, in a sense, individuals per se, as particles of the species, are ideally immortal; that is, “death,” at least in an atomized humankind, is imaginary, for all units are identical. The concept of Death, then, is irrelevant. Nonetheless, the units among us who still possess a vestige of personality fear that society in this atomization process is actually decaying, leaving everyone alienated and independent of the disintegrating machine, hence vulnerable to total annihilation.
It is in that context that I wish you would elaborate on your notion of “entropy,” for I do not quite catch your drift. Nor do I understand the metaphysical significance that the idea of entropy or the conservation of energy, or matter, for that matter, and such other ideas had on so many profound thinkers once the scientists raised the subjects. My father said that everyone will eventually be gray and make one-dollar an hour, and that that is entropy.
So YAM = YAM. Precisely! YAM = YAM just may be the answer. Well, almost precisely. I have never seen the law of identity applied to sweet potatoes. I think you are alluding to the original YAM.
Incidentally, I am creating some revolutionary material, the writing of which greatly relieved me from my recent obsession with certain objects.
I am looking forward to another illuminating letter from you. Mystics should commit more to writing.
Your Devoted Groundhog