art by Greg Davis
In questioning old assumptions, we are led down the pathway which eventually gets us closer, presumably, to addressing the full list of what we've incorrectly surmised and which yet remains to be corrected. For instance, as an arbitrary starting point, not that long ago we assumed time and space were separate. Eventually we have been led to realize (thanks to Einstein and Minkowski) they are part of the same continuum. Of course, if we take this example to its furthest conclusion, we might then recognize that so too does everything else in creation (which we have labeled with names) in actuality exist as one holistic entirety.
Really its just a matter of our disciplining ourselves to understand that all the aspects of this singularity we refer to as our universe have merely been labeled by us for its seemingly disparate parts. Of course it's important for us to recognize the difference between all of these parts, for a host of reasons I don't really need to get into. Suffice it to say that this whole we ourselves appear to be parts of may continue operating (executing its program, if you will) for an extremely long and indefinite period of time, just as it has been doing so for an equally incommensurable period. One might even seize this moment to remark, "perhaps there's no 'it' to 'have been doing' anything," an indication that one would have at least trained themselves to sharpen their own questioning of former assumptions to an even finer razor's edge.
There are many among us who have inferred that eternity must be real and that we as living incarnations of beings perceiving this universe by split-mind objectification must necessarily deal with the extremely realistic illusion that makes it appear as if we are separate from everything surrounding us. That our mortality itself may be defined as a temporary escape from the preternatural or unknown condition pertaining to the "void of nonbeing" or whatsoever the other side of our present actuality may have once been.
One of the important take-away lessons from following this line of thinking is learning where to spot our presumptions about existence in order to redress and improve our comprehension of it. For example, there may not be an "other side" to our present condition. This leads to my next point, which is the continuation of the theme first touched upon when we determined that "time" and "space" aren't separate at all but better understood as a continuum wherein those aspects of it we've labeled "time" and "space" are just parts seamlessly combined into a greater whole.
The first mistake we tend to make becomes a signifier which we then repeatedly tend to make after we've moved on to further matters of perception. As alluded to before, if we take the idea of the entire universe as a singularity which every individual human and all of creation merely happen to be parts of, then we put ourselves in a position exceeding our capacity to remain comfortable with insofar as thinking about how it all interrelates in a manner best suited to prolong our capacity to survive within it. This brings us right back to the necessity of having fashioned language in order for us to measure and describe each of our circumstances' various parts so that we might better comprehend our place within the world.
There appears to remain a capacity to continue refining our process of discarding anachronistic premises and replacing them with upgraded ones. For instance, proximity and distance are prime factors here on Earth where we must calculate measurements which display how far away certain places are from one another, and how long it may take us to cross from one point to the other. We then take this conception of 'distance' and 'time' and project it to outer space, naturally assuming that the same process of traveling across the globe here on Earth would apply itself to our preconceived wish to travel the distances in between stars. Seldom do we seem to stop and consider that this may not actually be the case. Just take a look at humanity's common aspiration to colonize other planets, be they in our solar system or beyond. For all we know, those interstellar regions we'd like to explore remain off-limits for a variety of reasons we haven't fathomed yet.
It occurs to me that even if we successfully empty our minds of the outmoded postulations that time and space are separate (never mind for the moment the idea that trees, lava, insects, humans and the wind only appear separate by virtue of the illusion we're immersed in) we still have a tendency to continue applying the supposition of duration to time itself. What is duration if not distance across time? And just what is distance in proximity to the stars if not time itself? Our vast collection of misguided supposals seems to get bigger until it begins to resemble a giant museum, where antiquated relics of thought get to hang out and collect dust. Even our brand newly re-designed concepts of spacetime--which is to say, time itself--could stand for further revisions and fine tuning once we realize that its capacity to be rendered into shorter or longer increments--i.e, that 'distance' we've superimposed upon the nature of time--may be yet another dimensional aspect of our preliminary assumptions that requires further adjustment if we are to reach a better understanding of our true nature.