Monday, June 25, 2012


I don't believe in apocalypse, which says that everything must finally grind down to its final end.

I do believe in apokatastasis, which says that there is nothing that cannot be redeemed.

When's the last time you went and sat next to a bed of flowers. Not to touch them, brush your hand through them, though that is good to do. Not to look at them, at their beauty, though that is also good.

Just to be with them. Just to be a companion to what lives.

I resist entropy. I refuse to succumb to that downward slide into black hole abyss without putting up enough of a fight to at least slow down that last end. Every time we do something that brings more light, more love, into the universe, we slow down entropy, we slow down the eventual heat-death of the universe, if only by a little bit. Every time we act to serve life, to be in the service of life's health and joy, we slow down death. It adds up. Every little thing helps.

There is nothing that cannot be redeemed.

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Blogger Jim Murdoch said...

Of course it’s hard to read this and ignore what I was taught growing up that there will indeed be an apocalypse, Armageddon, and those who die during it will die without hope of a resurrection. Also those who have died in the past who, for example, have committed the unforgiveable sin will never be reconciled to God. Trying to put that to the side though—which is hard—I thought of plants which go through cycles and endings are only new beginnings. As for the inevitability of entropy—it’s only a matter of time before it wins out—that I’m not so sure about as long as motion exists, winds blowing, people and animals running around, planets revolving. I’m no scientist though so I have no idea. Redemption seems to be nature’s way—ignoring the religious connotations of the word—in that everything in nature is a trade-off: energy is never destroyed, only transformed. There is no profit or loss; everything goes somewhere. In theory entropy could level the playing field I suppose but that’s only a theory.

As far as being with a bed of flowers? I’ve been places where there have been flowers but I’ve never been with the flowers. I’ve been in rooms and never even noticed there were plants there. If a tree fell on me I might notice it.

3:42 AM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Entropy is a logical conclusion of the Second Law of Thermodynamics:

"The second law of thermodynamics is an expression of the tendency that over time, differences in temperature, pressure, and chemical potential equilibrate in an isolated physical system so as to result in the natural entropic dissolution of the system itself. From the state of thermodynamic equilibrium, the law deduced the principle of the increase of entropy and explains the phenomenon of irreversibility in nature. "

If the Universe is indeed self-contained, it will eventually run down into a dissolute non-organized system. Life is the opposite of entropy: organized systems that fight hard to preserve difference in temperature, pressure, and chemical potential, all of which are processes life depends on. Why does life, all life, not just conscious life, keep striving upwards against the gravitational pull of death and entropy? Resistance to that depressive pull, is one thing flowers can teach us, if we listen. And that there are cycles of death and rebirth.

That's why lilies are the flowers associated with Easter and funerals, after all: symbols of life's return. It's a bit of a pagan holdover, too, in that it reflects the annual Yearwheel cycle of death in autumn and rebirth in spring. But then, lots of good ideas in Christianity were stolen from the local pagans.

I can't think of a more entropic theology than that of Armageddon and apocalypse. It's very much in keeping with the anti-life attitudes found especially in post-Calvinist versions of Christianity, the whole denial of the flesh, rejection of matter, alienation of soul from self. The whole Calvinist attitude of separation, which is rooted in the Augustinian idea of original sin—neither of which, it should be pointed, are found in the Bible. Thus I resist it. The whole idea that nothing will be lost, everything will be redeemed is anti-entropic and anti-apocalyptic at its core. And that idea IS to be found in the Bible. Think about it.

8:01 AM  
Blogger awyn said...

The "being with" thing -- not as observer, not even participant ... it's possible to go one step further. I thought I knew snow, years of being in, around, and *with* it. One morning I was out walking the dog and it was so cold I resorted to jumping around, stamping my foot (to get the circulation going again), hugging my arms repeating, "Il fait froid, il fait froid, il fait froid" (as if repeating a Fact changes anything. Then it suddenly came to me to just "be" the snow. The snow is at home in the cold. I stopped and stood still, relaxed and dropped my arms. The most amazing thing, from then on, till I reached home, I did not "feel" the cold. I mean I felt it, but it no longer seemed of any great concern. Long story short, but I suddenly realized what "being one with" meant. And "going with the flow"... (or in this case, snow.)
Great posting, Art. Gave me a lot of think about. Thanks.
p.s. my verification word (to prove I'm not a robot) was "uroller", ha ha.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Good story, and good example. Thanks for bringing it to the table.

1:34 AM  

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