A Very Brief History of Eternity

By Carlos Eire | Go to book overview

I
Big Bang, Big Sleep, Big Problem

The death of any human being is an outrage; it is the out-
rage par excellence, and all attempts to diminish this out-
rage are contemptible, no more than opium for the masses….
Death is the unacceptable. The annihilation of one memory
cannot be compensated for by the existence of the universe
and the continuance of life. The death of Mozart, despite
the preservation of his work, is an utterly evil thing.1

Why dawdle? Let's stare the monster in the eye, close up, right away: this book amounts to nothing, and so do you and I, and the whole world. Less than zero.

So the experts tell us.

These pages and all the words in them will burn up and vanish into oblivion some day, along with every word ever written, every trace of our brief existence and that of every living creature that has ever squirmed on the face of the earth or in its waters.

So we might as well revel in brusqueness.

Never mind that you and I are both headed for certain death, or that our species might face extinction. That's not the worst of it. No. Ponder this: not a speck will be left of you and me; no trace at all. And no number of progeny we engender, and no amount of technological marvels they invent, will make any difference either. Nothing can thwart the ultimate ecological and cosmic crisis.

-1-

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A Very Brief History of Eternity
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • I - Big Bang, Big Sleep, Big Problem 1
  • II - Eternity Conceived 28
  • III - Eternity Overflowing 67
  • IV - Eternity Reformed 100
  • V - From Eternity to Five-Year Plans 157
  • VI - Not Here, Not Now, Not Ever 220
  • Appendix - Common Conceptions of Eternity 229
  • Notes 233
  • Eternity a Basic Bibliography 255
  • Index 259
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