Before the Beginning (or, Blasphemous Heresies and All That Jazz)

Before the Beginning (or, Blasphemous Heresies and All That Jazz)[1]

Time:

Time is a problem when one becomes aware of it.  Time was there before the chicken or the egg.  Maybe it’s always been there, unnoticed.  Or it may have exploded into being, spontaneously, without warning.[2]

Time may have started as an anomaly, a little like the noise a tree falling in a lonely forest makes.  Could time exist without perception?  Could perception exist without time?  Of course, perception requires a perceptor and there must at some point have been a first perceptor.

Did the first perceptor appear spontaneously or did he, she or it[3] evolve?  Who would know, either way, unless, of course, memory preceded time, perception and creation?

Not a likely thing.

Boredom

A would be creator (just to be safe we’ll refer to it as “the Creator-to-be”) sits, or stands or lies amidst the inchoate.  It sees nothing, hears nothing, smells nothing, tastes nothing, feels nothing.  Nothing makes sense because senses have yet to be created.  If time existed one might imagine it had been doing nothing for a long time, a very, very long time.  Well, perhaps, if one were to believe certain religious doctrines developed after time came into being, perhaps forever (although the term forever seems to be directed more towards the latter temporal stages than those prior to the beginning).

If the Creator-to-be doesn’t turn or stand or sit, if it doesn’t do anything at all, can one really assert that it exists at all?  Well, one can assert pretty much anything, but would it be true?  Or was truth relative even then?  Perhaps especially then!

“Then” was before dreams or thought or imagination or instincts or reflexes.  “Then” lasted much more than anything ever lasted and not at all.[4] It lasted until boredom spontaneously self-created itself, thus, in a sense, everything is a child of boredom.[5] Even the first perceptor, err, I mean, the Creator-to-be.

Perhaps boredom was the first perception, the first thought, the first reaction.  The tilt in the balance of the inchoate that changed everything.

Consciousness

Consciousness, awareness, how awkward when there is nothing to be aware of except, perhaps, boredom.  Still, there it was.  Self-awareness at least.  I am and I am bored.  That’s all.  Enough to cause psychological trauma at the very least.  Imagine if you can (we certainly haven’t seemed able to remember) our own very first memories, buried so deeply in our self-consciousness that they seem cognitively unavailable.  They must have involved an onrush of unexpected data.  I’m not referring to birth memories but rather to the very first perceptions in the womb.  What might they have been like?  Splaatttt!?

Or even further back in our inaccessible racial memories, what might our first biological ancestor have felt at the instant of initial self-perception and when might that have occurred?  Then imagine initial self-perception in a media that would have made an absolute vacuum seem infinitely overflowing.

Hmmm; that may explain a great deal.

Perception

Yawn, stretch, scratch, sigh.  Well, not really, but their prehistoric, pre-material antecedents as they took place within nothingness but yet, outside of the inchoate.  Awareness at last but, at first, only awareness of boredom.

Suddenly, or much, much later or both or neither, time not yet having come into being, a gasp, a very loud gasp (or a very quiet gasp as sound had yet to come into being).  But at any rate, the first gasp.

Then, the contemplation of the gasp, contemplation forever and ever.

Wow, it must almost have seemed as though the concept of drugs had leaked in from the inchoate and the first perceptor, err (again), we mean Creator-to-be, must have felt stoned.  The first buzz.

And everything everywhere contemplated the gasp to the exclusion of everything else.  Not that hard or amazing as there was nothing else but still, the most impressive thing that had ever happened.

Wow!

A Break in the Perfect Balance

What’s the largest possible number?  Irony, perfect irony!  It’s also the smallest, the perfect balance, naught, zed, zero.  It contains infinity and anti-infinity, eternity and anti-eternity, everything and every anti-thing.  In perfect balance.  Perfection inchoate.  But break that balance and all hell (and everything else) breaks out in every possible direction and anti-direction, every possible dimension and anti-dimension, everything everywhere springs into existence, the “uberbirth”.

Just when might that have happened though?  At the instant of initial awareness?  Was boredom to blame, was it the initial gasp, or was it before then?  Could there have been a before, before time?

This seems a good time for a nap, perhaps a prescient nap ignoring temporal tides and instead, leading to intuitive solutions.  It happens sometimes you know.

Sometime Later

OK, I admit it, it’s a copout, but nap as I might, nothing pops out (hmmm, is that a starting point for a new multiverse?).  For now, let’s just change the scenery a bit and maintain our conjecturing in the background.

….

Perfection

So just what is perfection anyway?  Is it a static or a dynamic concept?  Is it an illusion, like a mirage, that always seems just out of reach but move as we may (or improve as we might) it is always out of reach?  Is it like the area of an expanding universe?

Wow, another tough concept, this isn’t really getting us very far.  Ok, so, for our purposes, we’ll define “perfection” as the perception of perfection and for now (maybe forever), we’ll add the concept of perfection to that buzzing background where we just stored the initial imbalance.

….

And so, once upon a time (finally), in one of the infinite universes postulated by eleven dimensional M theory[6], a first perceptor had (before it noticed, discovered or created time), been an only being. Or at least it claims it had been the only being.  In fact, it had called itself “I am”.  It also perceived of itself as the “Creator”.  It did not like thinking of itself as a mere first perceptor and, in an abundance of caution, perhaps we would be better off referring to it in the forms it prefers.  We had best remember that as a solitary being for an infinite number of eternities, it never learned how to play well with others and may in fact have suffered from a complex series of theretofore unknown psychological maladies and complexes.

Our first perceptor, I mean the Creator, was convinced that he, she or it (not they, at least not yet) was perfect, and came to believe that infinity was its toy chest and that eternity was its playground.[7] The Creator made all the rules (or at least it believed that it made all the rules).  It made all the others (or at least it believed that it made all the others)[8].  It made everything, or at least it believed that it made everything.  Gnostics tend to believe otherwise but the Creator does not believe in Gnostics.

Unfortunately, being first in everything (or believing that one is first in everything) is not always pleasant.  It had, to the best of its knowledge, been the first to grow bored.  In that sense, of course (assuming that it was correct) it had believed that it created boredom (but see our earlier speculations).  Of course, those pesky Gnostics believed that it had merely discovered boredom and that perhaps, boredom and time were very good friends.  Complements, in a sense.

Eventually (much further in the future; actually, after the demise of the Gnostics as a meaningful group) there evolved those who questioned everything about the Creator, even its existence or continued existence (they sound quite a bit like Gnostics though, don’t they).  At the very least, some among them pointed out that the boredom experienced by the being once referred to as the Creator, if it existed or still existed, involved a latent attribute that implied an absence of perfection.  But, had it deigned to respond, the Creator would have pointed out that such anomaly was the only cure for boredom and that it had chosen to permit its existence and to explore it rather than to correct it, ipso facto, as it were, for its own purposes, those being the only purposes that mattered.

Angelis

At any rate, getting back to our enlightening introspection, ….  In its boredom, the All-Mighty (adolescent name change syndrome used when considering how to introducing itself to the angels, we’d best go with it) eventually created the angels and other denizens of the divine realm, which, initially, occupied neither space nor time.

From the perspective of the Heavenly Host, in the beginning (which initially, at least, lasted forever since time had not yet been noticed or created or whatever), only beauty existed (at least as far as they knew).  Incorporeal perfection.  Inchoate.  Eternal and infinite in potential.  Utterly and completely balanced.

But then of course, the All-Mighty was the first to grow tired of boredom.  It grew bored with boredom, as it were.  Boredom squared.  Its first attempt to relieve that weariness was to raise one of the angels above all others so that it might enjoy somewhat of a playmate.  The angel it selected had originally been called Elmer, but the All-Mighty changed its name to Lucifer and gave him a title as well, Lord of Light.  And in order to make their relationship interesting, it granted the angel, Lucifer, Lord of Light, a special boon.  It called it, free will.  Just to vary things a bit.  But not too much.  Actually, it came in a beautiful box that was not really been meant to ever be opened.  It was more of a token sort of gift.  To be admired but not used.  Kind of like a baseball autographed by the 1961 Yankees.  Used to perfection but unused to time, the All-Mighty never foresaw that free will could lead anyone to conclusions other than those the All-Mighty had itself willed into being.

At first, still innocent and naive, Lucifer was abashed by its prominence.  Like a good brother, he begged the All-Mighty to share the gift of free will with the entire Host and because the All-Mighty had come to enjoy Lucifer (perhaps, it had even created, or discovered love), it relented.  It was interesting and pleasant to be surprised.  At least at first.

For eons the angels were told that free will was their birthright and greatest gift.  But apparently, that was only as long as it was not exercised in a manner deemed inappropriate by the great and benevolent All-Mighty.  And for eons that incongruity in the gift was not apparent.  There was no difference of opinion. Just complete peace and complete joy.  Complete order.  Everyone happiest with their part in the great scheme of things.  Oblivious clogs in the great blueprints.

Forever came and went without a hitch on a regular basis.  It would have been boring but this was before the angels came to share in that attribute which the All-Mighty had inadvertently, perhaps (depending on whom you were asking) created or discovered, or whatever.

But then, apparently, after significant contact between the All-Mighty and its Heavenly Host, boredom was just there amongst them.  An infection (the first infection, probably) that first Lucifer and then others among the Host caught from the All-Mighty.  It was novel at first (an oxymoron, novel boredom, it happened just that once; and, well, maybe twice, if you count the first time, when the All-Mighty first experienced it (oh, all right, definitely twice).

It was like an itch.  Distracting.  Like an infinitely small mote escaping from nothing to create everything.  Breaking the balance.  Part of the great explosion at the beginning of time.

A Metaphysical Fly-in-the-Ointment

Eons and eternities again.  Somewhat more interesting than the others.  The All-Mighty stepped away a bit to watch.  It invented (or, if the Gnostics are right, merely discovered) perspective.  Lucifer was changing, developing new novelties to entertain the All-Mighty (while at the same time relieving that infectious itch).  But other angels, now that they all had free will, also started scratching their itch and developing loyalties.  And some, seeing how the All-Mighty favored Lucifer, sought to cultivate a special place in Lucifer’s favor.  And because it loved Lucifer above the others (the All-Mighty had inadvertently created or discovered favoritism), the All-Mighty was glad.  At least at first.

And Lucifer taught those angels that had become its following interesting new ways to entertain the All-Mighty, and the All-Mighty was mightily pleased but at the same time, somewhat uncomfortable with the resulting uncertainty.  Ambivalence.  The All-Mighty had not even realized it had created (or discovered) it.  Interesting again.  Coexisting contradictions.  Itches.  How pleasant to scratch them.  At least at first.

Creation

After uncounted eons of playing with his angels, the All-Mighty noticed a somewhat familiar “itch”.  Boredom, the gift that keeps giving had secured a return engagement.  Boredom for the third time was not quite the novelty it had been initially, so the All-Mighty, deliberately obscuring its developing prescience in order to alleviate its itch, engaged in experimentation.  It conceived of corporeality.  Corporeality required space as well as time and as the need to relieve its continuing boredom increased, the All-Mighty either created space or, just possibly, merely realized that space existed.  Even the Gnostics admit the All-Mighty was responsible for corporeality.  Corpo-reality, reality with a body.  So, the All-Mighty turned its attention away from its first creations and pondered on new dimensions and the concept of corporeality they made possible.  In order to make corporeality meaningful, however, linearity was required, and that, in turn, required perspective.

In its musings, the All-Mighty let its attention wander.  It did not, however, consider that its angels, especially Lucifer, felt the withdrawal of that attention and that in their developing curiosity (also an unexpected byproduct of boredom), that they sought to discover its cause.  And in that discovery, jealousy was created (or discovered, the Gnostics again) spontaneously, and like boredom, it was catching.  Perhaps they had caught it from the All-Mighty who, as we have seen and shall see, was very good at jealousy.

At first, the heavenly routine had sort of glossed over the absence of the All-Mighty.  After all, heaven was not a small place (or a large place, or a place at all).  Eventually however, some of the angels, starting with Lucifer and then his closest associates, noticed the absence.  That realization quickly cascaded among the Host and soon all of the angels were deeply affected by their realization that, in a sense, they were alone.  And that made them become disoriented and confused.  Who were they to entertain with their perpetual singing and harp playing (not yet referred to as harping)?  They were lost, leaderless, confused and unhappy.  Would the All-Mighty return?  They just did not know, and the All-Mighty, for the time being, was enjoying itself too much to care.

Meanwhile, in seven ages which some call days, the All-Mighty created the corporeal realms and it loved its creations (even the Gnostics admit they were creations this time).  Its new and exciting creations.  And unlike the first creation, it gifted its human inhabitants with free will from their inception, correctly assuming that it would never suffer boredom again.  It was right because the first thing that happened was that the angels (all of them) were abashed and learned fear (another spontaneous, addictive and highly contagious condition).  They perceived the new creation as a threat to them, an indication that the All-Mighty had grown displeased with them; or at least bored with them.  Like old toys.  And the angel most displeased and most saddened (again, a spontaneous, addictive and highly contagious condition) was Lucifer.

And then the angels very discretely and quietly explored the All-Mighty’s new corporeal realms, as much as they could in their incorporeal forms.

Lucifer, intrigued, sought to gain the All-Mighty’s attention but the All-Mighty was busy playing with the man, Adam.  Its new favorite.  And Lucifer withdrew and the angels that followed Lucifer also withdrew to be with him and, from time to time, to venture into the corporeal realms and explore the new reality, many of them longing for the long lost boredom.

It was Lucifer who first realized that the new creation had, in essence, loosened the fetters that had psychologically bound the angels to the eternal blueprints which had made free will less than a reality.  Exercising free will much more fully than theretofore, Lucifer engaged in its own act of creation, creating (or, perhaps, merely discovering) petulance.  Savoring it, indulging in it. Teaching it to those angels who, believing that the All-Mighty had abandoned them, now considered Lucifer their leader.  And Lucifer, who felt more abandoned than the rest, savored that feeling and fell prey to the feeling of responsibility which always accompanies real leadership.  And pondered what to do.  What would be right (another new concept?).

Choice

Choice was the inevitable progeny of free will.  And that progeny grew exponentially.  Unfortunately, while the All-Mighty had raised Lucifer above all other angels, Lucifer had never been gifted with wisdom.  Sophia (at least according to the Gnostics) was mother only to the All-Mighty, at least then.  Despite its best intentions therefore, Lucifer was thrown into the fire (so to speak), learning on the way.  And like most students, Lucifer may have made some mistakes.  May have made many mistakes. But Lucifer’s heart (so to speak) was in the right place.

The one thing Lucifer’s angels (as they had started to call themselves) agreed on was that everything was the fault of the man, Adam (the name the All-Mighty initially gave its newest creation although the angels referred to him as the interloper, and other much less pleasant appellations).  If only the All-Mighty could be made to understand how the angels felt (they thought), his love for them would overcome his infatuation with the new creation and things could return to their heavenly norm.  But try as Lucifer might, he could not attract the attention of the All-Mighty which had somehow vanished.  As man was to later learn, when the All-Mighty wants to hide, no one can find it.

Revolution or Evolution?

Not knowing who to turn to, many of the angels looked to Lucifer for answers but Lucifer was most frustrated of all.  After considering the situation for what to him seemed a very long time, he tried to re-establish routines in heaven while at the same time continuing to search for the All-Mighty, and, on occasion, to spy on the corporeal creation.  Lucifer was largely successful and many of the angels began to treat Lucifer as if he was itself worthy of worship, and Lucifer did not dissuade them as much as he should have.

And it came to pass that a group within the angels who had first been very close to Lucifer came to resent the attention that Lucifer was receiving from the others.  The group was led by fifteen angels: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Urial, Azrael, Camael, Cassiel, Haniel, Israfel, Jophiel, Metatron,  Raguel, Raziel, Sandalphon and Zadkiel.  And they absented themselves from heaven more and more, seeking out the All-Mighty on their own, fearing that Lucifer had deceived them about its absence.  And by great luck and good timing, they found the All-Mighty at play with the new creations in the corporeal world and, seeking to please the All-Mighty, as was their nature, they praised the new creation and swore fealty to it, and the All-Mighty set them tasks associated with the new creation, and raised them above the other angels, assigning them the rank of archangels.  And the new archangels persuaded the All-Mighty to return to the heavens, to the great joy of all the angels, including a very relieved Lucifer.

And Lucifer sought out the All-Mighty and worshiped it, and asked why it had left.  And the All-Mighty, very unused to even implied criticism, was abashed and annoyed, and advised Lucifer that it was not his business, and having caught a bit of petulance from Lucifer, ordered Lucifer to refrain from interfering in the affairs of the corporeal world.  And Lucifer, in turn, became abashed, and embarrassed, and humiliated, and very, very sad.

And the angels that comprised that group who had come to especially love Lucifer were perturbed and unhappy and insecure when they learned what had befallen him, and some blamed the new archangels, while others, seeing the drift in heaven, determined to ally themselves with the new group of favorites.  And thus, heaven started the process by which it would someday be sundered.

And the All-Mighty, still consumed by his corporeal creation, assumed that everything had been set right in heaven.  But it had not.  Instead, the two parties into which heaven was now divided grew further and further apart, and discussions about the nature of free will now occupied the time of many that followed Lucifer; while those that followed the archangels developed a new philosophy that they called abstinence.  Abstinence is what they called the gift of not exercising their gift of free will, and they claimed that it was the greatest gift that they could give to the All-Mighty, and that any that chose not to join in that giving were unworthy of continued association with the All-Mighty.  And that philosophy mightily perplexed the followers of Lucifer who could not understand the concept of a gift that was not meant to be used, and instead believed that such non-use would be an offense to the giver.

And the two camps became further and further estranged until it seemed that heaven itself had been divided into two nations, and it was in that condition that the All-Mighty found heaven when it chose to return.


[1] © Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Ocala, Florida, 2002; all rights reserved

[2] Bang!  Big bang!  Big, big bang!

[3] Couldn’t have been a they and first at the same time, or could it?

[4] Sounds a bit like a Gollum riddle doesn’t it?

[5] That may explain many things; like, footnotes, for instance.

[6] Among its many revolutionary postulates is the hypothesis of an infinity of universes thus creating infinite possibilities, including the one we will be describing.

[7] We’ve skipped quite a bit of something, probably time, if infinity and eternity already exist.

[8] What others you may ask?  We should soon know though, shouldn’t we?

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One thought on “Before the Beginning (or, Blasphemous Heresies and All That Jazz)

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