13r | CR Note on eternity [1941]

into attitudes qualitatively, unrecognisably
different from the ones we had before.

What then about temporal limitations and diffe-
rences? Death, physically, takes place, but with-
out the emotional shock of the loss of the
loot of a lifetime. Temporal limitations are
still submitted to, but in the absence of emot-
ional reactions to them they are no longer
oppressive. Objects in the environment of such
a soul are still kept apart by 'time', but with-
out the sharp accentuations which greed, hate,
fear, hope, impatience, unease gave to those ex
diff-erences. To the evenminded it is
all one and nothing. Temporal distance is abol-
ished, all points in time are equally near (of
bk 12 ch 3,102). In the person himself, actions
still follow one another. But as the occasional con-
tact with a reality beyond change & multiplici-
ty acts like the organising centre of an egg,
shaping, regulating, co-ordinating the manifold
of activities. Life is no longer dissipated &
scattered into its activities. all doing is un-
ified, one, immutably & without interruption, in
its virtual intent on reality itself.

In all this, eternal life is ineffably differ-
ent from this time-cursed life, & neither the
words nor the syntax of ordinary language are
meant to describe the ontology which corresp-
onds to it. Without much experience to draw
upon, they mislead. With experience they become
superfluous, a kind of childish babbling.

While, however, we are still engaged in reasoning
things out, we must notice the presence of a
contradiction in 'eternal Life'. Any combination
of incompatibles in the possession of one per-
son is self-contradictory. Christian tradition
became aware of this in connection with the hy-
postatic union of Godhead & Manhood in Christ.
Christian descriptions of personal life after
death, when tested rationally, turn out to con-
sist of mutually exclusive factors. The Buddhist
must talk in self-contradictory terms of the
bodhisattva who stays in the world. To live in
eternity, & at the same time with this world &
this body around, is a painful conjunction of
contradictories. As long as the intention tow-
ards eternity is conjoined with this body, time
as a force, though repudiated, will tear at a
man. His eternisation can never be complete. Et-
ernity can never quite belong to this incongru-
ous compound. Nor can we say that he is in one
part eternal, temporal in another. Both intentions
are included in each other in actual living ex-
perience. Unaware of this contradiction in him,
a man's freedom tends to become false, a mere
ideal with eyes shut to know facts. Aware of it,
a man's humility may make his new state bear-
able both to himself, and to others.