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Old 07-27-2015   #1
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This conversation has taken place before.

There is one thought that has occupied my mind lately.

I was riding home from work in the bus. Looking at the people and the dirty streets, the cars, the birds, the trees. In my head the sound of a podcast I was listening to about World War 1-

Then suddenly this thought hit me. Based on two assumptions. If the universe is immensely vast and close to infinite (I have no scientific reason to assume this so it might be wrong) and there is certainly other intelligent life, and this intelligent life has existed for millions of years under different degrees and stages of evolution. Could it not be possible, that during all these aeons of existence there might have been one or instances of conversations or other events that might have happened before? I mean, the exact same conversation might have been held by tentacled creatures in another galaxy millions of years ago, about the same topics under the exact same circumstances? And that this ocurrence will repeat itself time and time again for all eternity?

I know this is really far out, but I just can't see how we could rule it out.

What do you guys think?

"I myself have never seen the Red Tower - no one ever has, and possibly no one ever will. And yet wherever I go people are talking about it. In one way or another they are talking about the nightmarish novelty items or about the mysterious and revolting hyper-organisms, as well as babbling endlessly about the subterranean system of tunnels and the secluded graveyard whose headstones display no names and no dates designating either birth or death"

Thomas Ligotti-The Red Tower
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Old 07-27-2015   #2
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Re: This conversation has taken place before.

I remember when I was quite young reading a book by Jack Vance. I forget which one. At one point, a group of philosophers take a boat down the river, and they all tell each other their theories of the universe - their religions, basically. They come to the last one and he says something like the following:

"Gentlemen, my beliefs are simplicity itself. Since the universe must be infinitely vast, and time infinitely long, I conclude that all things that can happen will happen and, therefore, that everything that can be conceived is true."

This has, generally, seemed reasonable to me, though I don't know if it is irrefutable.

I think you can also add to these same premises, to make the conclusion, "all things that can happen will happen innumerable times", etc.

In our current universe, though, there are, apparently, questions as to why we haven't encountered aliens:

http://qz.com/452452/where-are-all-the-aliens/

Anyway, the above view about everything happening, endlessly, is perhaps weakest in its premises. I don't know enough about astronomy, physics, and so on, but space and time might not be infinite and everlasting.

I suppose I tend to think that they are in the sense that... well, I'd better go to bed, actually, this could go on forever.

"As the Director of one of the five greatest museums in our Eastern States has more than once remarked to me, From the Stone Age until now, what a decline!" - Ananda Coomaraswamy
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Old 07-27-2015   #3
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Re: This conversation has taken place before.

Not so far out Mr. Plores. Think the most popular philosophical version of this is Nietzsche's eternal recurrence of the same. Know that version has VAST permutations and commentary. Metaphysics (and physics I think too) puts credibility behind this when you start taking Infinity seriously. Some kind of awesome things happen when you take the implications of infinity to it's logical conclusion. I know one interpretation of Nietzsche's eternal recurrence is that it is an ethics thought experiment (i.e., if all of the universe and reality were to repeat eternally would you really want to do what you are doing, or about to do, for all eternity in an infinite loop). I like that and that has proven helpful for me personally. At the same time I find great joy playing with the idea of eternal recurrence as a metaphysical possibility. It's just really, really cool to me. So again, not so far out but if it is it ain't a bad thing.

And Q, I can't remember which book that is either and it's killing me.
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Old 07-27-2015   #4
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Re: This conversation has taken place before.

The Jack Vance part mentioned was in Eyes Of The Overworld when Cugel goes with the pilgrims. Just been reading it the past few weeks.

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Old 07-28-2015   #5
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Re: This conversation has taken place before.

Incidentally, I've long thought that the famous couplet of 'the Mad Arab, Abdul Alhazred', could be taken for a slightly cryptic endorsement or description of eternal recurrence (not just for the Old Ones, but generally):

That is not dead, which may eternal lie;
And with strange aeons, even death may die.

"As the Director of one of the five greatest museums in our Eastern States has more than once remarked to me, From the Stone Age until now, what a decline!" - Ananda Coomaraswamy
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Old 07-28-2015   #6
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Re: This conversation has taken place before.

Quote Originally Posted by Robert Adam Gilmour View Post
The Jack Vance part mentioned was in Eyes Of The Overworld when Cugel goes with the pilgrims. Just been reading it the past few weeks.
GOD BLESS YOU ROBERT!!! (I spent about an hour trying to look it up then gave up.)
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Old 07-28-2015   #7
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Re: This conversation has taken place before.

Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
Incidentally, I've long thought that the famous couplet of 'the Mad Arab, Abdul Alhazred', could be taken for a slightly cryptic endorsement or description of eternal recurrence (not just for the Old Ones, but generally):

That is not dead, which may eternal lie;
And with strange aeons, even death may die.
I've never thought of it that way. But it absolutely fits. Great observation. I think Nietzsche would have been a huge Lovecraft (and Ligotti) fan.
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Old 07-30-2015   #8
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Re: This conversation has taken place before.

Great observations, I tried reading Nietzsche in highschool but it went way above my head. Thanks to your comments I will read further into that concept.

I had never thought of the meaning of that famous phrase by the Mad Arab. It puts the Elder Gods in a different light. Then I think specially Azatoth. The blind, idiot Caliph is dreaming our reality in an eternal loop.

"I myself have never seen the Red Tower - no one ever has, and possibly no one ever will. And yet wherever I go people are talking about it. In one way or another they are talking about the nightmarish novelty items or about the mysterious and revolting hyper-organisms, as well as babbling endlessly about the subterranean system of tunnels and the secluded graveyard whose headstones display no names and no dates designating either birth or death"

Thomas Ligotti-The Red Tower
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Old 07-30-2015   #9
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Re: This conversation has taken place before.

"The Gay Science" is where he specifically talks about eternal recurrence. It's a great work in and of itself. Two things might help Mr. Plores. One is the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy here

Friedrich Nietzsche (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

The Eternal Recurrence part is under #3 but this has a great overview overall.

The other one is this Podcast

Partially Examined Life Ep. 84: Nietzsche's "Gay Science" | The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast | A Philosophy Podcast and Blog

The guys specifically talk about Eternal Recurrence plus a lot of other things in The Gay Science. Might help ease you into Nietzsche as although he is an amazing writer he can be very esoteric sometimes and so hard to crack open. Hope that helps.
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Old 07-30-2015   #10
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Re: This conversation has taken place before.

There is one thought that has occupied my mind lately.

I was riding home from work in the bus. Looking at the people and the dirty streets, the cars, the birds, the trees. In my head the sound of a podcast I was listening to about World War 1-

Then suddenly this thought hit me. Based on two assumptions. If the universe is immensely vast and close to infinite (I have no scientific reason to assume this so it might be wrong) and there is certainly other intelligent life, and this intelligent life has existed for millions of years under different degrees and stages of evolution. Could it not be possible, that during all these aeons of existence there might have been one or instances of conversations or other events that might have happened before? I mean, the exact same conversation might have been held by tentacled creatures in another galaxy millions of years ago, about the same topics under the exact same circumstances? And that this ocurrence will repeat itself time and time again for all eternity?

I know this is really far out, but I just can't see how we could rule it out.

What do you guys think?
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