LIVES AND DIES AT ONCE – a Poem in Free Form | Transegoism.Us

Some Author Comments about Lives and Dies at Once

Lives and Dies at Once is a poem in free form. It was inspired by the book, The Grand Design, by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mladinow.

What Inspired me to Write Lives and Dies at Once

A NASA public domain image of the "Eskimo" Nebula (NGC 2392). A companion photo for "Lives and Dies at Once," by PJ Cornell.
A NASA public domain image of the “Eskimo” Nebula (NGC 2392).

The description that Hawking and Mladinow provide in their book about the Standard Model of Physics and String Theory is deeply inspiring to me. It paints a picture of space and time that is radically different from what one might imagine. I find myself imagining existence, not as a bunch of particles and waves, but as a living, pulsating thing that expands and contracts like a beating heart; that, rather than being linear, folds in on itself and forms connections that transcend sequential experience. The universe is extremely complex and staggeringly beautiful.

Some Problems with The Grand Design

The book is far from perfect; Hawking and Mladinow, like many modern scientists, unfortunately, take a dim view of philosophy, and they don’t really give the field its due, and as a result, they unwittingly take the mantle of philosophy upon themselves, while botching that aspect of it pretty badly in their ignorance. As is frequently the case with really great modern thinkers, they use methods that show them to be Cartesians par excellance, while coming to conclusions that undermine the very validity of strictly Cartesian philosophy. This book paints a picture of the universe such that it is clear that there are no truly separable things in the universe about which one may derive clear and distinct facts. Rather, the universe is one massive, interdependent whole. The universe is the heartbeat of God.

Lives and Dies at Once

Lives and dies at once;
I Am are the spreading flame –
I Am scatter far,
Expand, contract at one time.
Unfold never, now,
Lives and dies at once.
That which no one knows:
Existence is a heartbeat.
I Am take the blood in, release;
The sequence is not.
Meta-sequence beats the drum
Of life and power;
That which no one knows.
Life is Deja Vu –
Babylon; Jerusalem:
Four and The Folded;
Space being stretched; language cracks.
Sequence never is.
Life is Deja Vu; that which no one knows, lives and dies at once.

– PJ Cornell