Merciless and pitiless Zurvan ‘creates’ the marvellous illusion of movement.

Ubaldo Gandolfi — Zeus with Cybelle, expelling Chronos 

Time is the impersonal driver that creates the illusion of movement. It provides a passage where the difference between one state and another can be viewed. Iterations are piled up, one on top of another. Only the immediately previous state needs to be saved; This provides the base for the next iteration.

The science of ‘chaos theory’ shows that simple rules, subjected to the force of time. ie recursive repeating, incrementaly building upon the immediately previous state, can lead to infinite variability; That is, if the set parameters hit upon a certain sweet spot.

The interesing aspect of this infinite variabilty is that it is finitely bound!

The strange attractor in phase space describes the finite limit, yet within its shape lies the infinite.

The koch curve or snowflake is a simple way to view infinity, bound within the finite.

An equilateral triangle (trinity) is taken as a starting point and a simple rule is repeated:

At each iteration, replace each straight line

with this shape:

After only 7 iterations we see the characteristic snowflake shape forming:

The Koch curve has an infinite length because the total length of the curve increases by a factor of four thirds with each iteration.

The area of the Koch snowflake, however, is finite and remains equal to 8/5 of the area of the original triangle.

Time’s recursive force brings about self-similarity; symmetry across scale. Pattern within pattern.

‘As above, so below’, To quote the well trodden wisdom from the ‘emerald tablet’.

It can be imagined that infinite variety can proceed from the interplay of three factors; The word/rule/law, the reiterative process of time and some medium of memory/accumulation.

I am reminded of the Greek thinker Pherecydes’ three divine principles; Zas (Zeus), Chronos (Time) and the Cthonic (Earth)

Gurdjieff, the Armenian philosopher, wrote about ‘time’. He called it the ‘Heropass’. His use of ‘pass’ instead of ‘pan’, indicates that he intended it to be taken as a ‘person’. He speaks about the merciless and pitilessHeropass in exactly the same way as old texts speak about the Persian god ‘Zurvan’.”

Zurvan was portrayed as a transcendental and neutral god, without passion, and one for whom there was no distinction between good or evil.

Time marches on, heedless of our pleas and beseeching; But we are not entirely under its sway. Our lives turn out to be, but a short series of conscious islands dotted through the sea of our automatic habits, thoughts and actions. Our time feels short when we look back, because only the islands stand out; Those moments when we realised we were present and alive.

bifurcation diagram — Periodic windows within areas of chaos

The conscious moment is free of time; Chronos is expelled. This is the wide open space where all that needs to happen will happen.

There seem to be certain contradictory forces at work: automation and creativity, periodicity and chaos, predictability and the unpredictable.

This ongoing process; The one in which we find ourselves enmeshed, appears to contain all of these as natural emergent properties.


One thought on “Merciless and pitiless Zurvan ‘creates’ the marvellous illusion of movement.

  1. “With light poise and counterpoise, Nature oscillates within her prescribed limits, yet thus arises all the varieties and conditions of the phenomena which are presented to us in space and time.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    Liked by 1 person

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