Recurrent Creation

Our view of reality is shifting. The assumptions that we hold are changing. Mainstream science was constructed on a particular worldview that has now been challenged and is eroding. That worldview included considering the Universe as occupying a static, stable, unchanging empty space, and time as a linear, measurable unfolding of events. It also included the assumption that the Universe was created at one moment in time and proceeded in a linear fashion through an evolutionary process, culminating in our present time.

Einstein’s relativity theory overturned the old views of time and space. It turns out that both are relative, meaning changeable, rather than absolute, or unchanging. They present themselves for perception and measurement in different ways, depending on the circumstances surrounding them.

There is an alternative way of looking at the creation of the Universe. It was articulated in the 12th century by the Sufi mystic, Ibn Arabi. He called his idea “Recurrent Creation.” It states that the Universe is being re-formed every nano-second, in bursts of creativity. In this view, the entire Cosmos, in all of its infinite complexity and size, is wholly re-created by Being at every moment. These re-creations are so rapid and follow each other so closely that they are not separately perceptible to us. We perceive a continuous, stable world when the reality is really a series of bursts, a series of separate worlds, each following the previous, and appearing in sequence so rapidly that they blend together to produce the illusion of continuity. It is rather like the experience of sitting in a movie theatre. Although we know that the image projected on the screen is coming from a stream of separate, individual image frames on the film-strip, the illusion on the screen is one of continuity and normal life. The illusion takes over, and, while we are under its spell, we believe it completely. Our disbelief is suspended. The illusion is completely compelling.

Another useful metaphor is a strobe-light. The Cosmos is being created and projected out in flashes, like the flashes of a strobe. In our experience, we meld the individual flashes into a seamless continuity, a linear unfolding that appears to our perception. Another part of Ibn Arabi’s idea is that each successive re-creation is very slightly different from the preceding. Reality comes through a kind of template, which changes ever so slightly with each re-creation. The net result is that billions of re-creations, each through a slightly shifting template, gives us the impression of seamless continuity, that someone is, for example, walking across a room, that life is unbroken and linear.

A number of corollaries flow from Ibn Arabi’s idea. One is that the universe and all of creation are always fresh, just presently created, always new. In this system, life can never be stale. This fits with our experience. We appear to live in an Ocean of ever-fresh Livingness, fertile and forever renewing Itself. If the world is being created anew in every micro-second, such a fresh world would be the result.

Quantum physics is currently considering this possibility, as well as several other possibilities that are as radical as Recurrent Creation. One subject of examination is coming out of the discovery that the act of observation is an integral part of the outcome of an experiment. Researchers discovered that if they expected to find a particle in light, they found a discrete, material particle, existing in a particular location. If they expected to find a wave in that same light, they found a wave, immaterial and invisible, spread over space and not existing at any particular location. Light particles appear to fluctuate back and forth from particle to wave, according to the expectations of the observer. Quantum physicists now talk about the wave-form “collapsing” into a particle on observation. The wave-form is unmanifest, distributed over an indeterminate space. When it collapses into a particle, the particle becomes material form in a particular place.

This discovery has led to speculation that our world is a function of our consciousness, that it does not collapse into materiality until we turn our attention to it. Prior to that, it exists as wave-forms, pure potentiality and unmanifest, until it is touched by consciousness and attention. This is a really radical idea. It is far from proven, and is still the subject of contention. By comparison, Recurrent Creation seems rather mild.

We are in a time period when Reality is being re-defined. The certainties that we had about what is real, how Reality is structured, what is actually there and how it functions, are disappearing. It is impossible to predict where this new thought will lead. The only thing that is certain is that our previous conceptions of Reality were too small. We know less than we thought we knew. The Cosmos is infinitely more complex and more mysterious than we thought. Hang onto your hat. It is going to be an interesting ride.

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