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Writings based on Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand's most popular novels are Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, which present her philosophy, Objectivism, in vivid characterizations.

  Metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, esthetics, and  politics are the five main branches of philosophy that she identifies. Utilizing her methodology, one can be rational about all aspects of life. These essays present my understanding of Objectivism.

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Date: Wed, 9 Sep 1998
Time and Infinity
Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.

Does the universe add up to nothing?


A few years ago, I posted a series of essays to another forum
about a physicist who claimed that everything is really nothing,
because if you add up all the known energies, you get -- zero!
Now, he was wrong about everything being nothing, but it is true
that for any given change, something else has to change (you
can't get something from nothing, even for motion or change), so
the mathematical signs of the energies / motions cancel out --
leading to zero, if you add them all up. Of course, you have to
understand energy as a concept of motion (or change) to see
this, which is controversial.

If time is understood to be a measure of motion (change), as I
wrote about several months ago, then time *has* to be local,
because you can only measure the changes occurring immediately
around you. Even if one measures, say, photons from a distant
galaxy, the measurement occurs locally in actuality. One then
infers, from know physics, that the photon came from a distant
galaxy.

I think the idea of "circular time" comes about because the
universe as a whole is finite, since it has an identity -- it is
something specific, which we get from our first perception.
Integrate this with the idea that existence is a full plenum,
and any specific change must come about due to something else
changing (or something else changing because the "first change"
took place). Any "first change" (you can start wherever you
like) "evolves" into a series of changes, like a ripple
throughout the entire universe, which will eventually meet and
cancel itself out -- effectively "resetting" the process.

For example, let's say one takes two ball bearings with an
explosive device between them, and places them in deep space.
The explosive is detonated and the ball bearings fly away from
one another. Due to Newton's laws of motion, they will have
equal but opposite motions. They can't literally continue in a
straight line away from one another, because the universe is
finite, though unbounded, so they will eventually meet one
another, and stop -- provided, of course, neither gains nor
loses energy in their travels. If the ball bearings were being
used as a clock, once they stopped, you would no longer be able
to keep time with them -- effectively, one would have to start
the clock all over again.

Matt Sissel Fine Art

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Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.

tmiovas@appliedphilosophyonline.com

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Proud to be an Objectivist -- one who follows Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism: I've earned it.