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Download A Very Brief History of Eternity by Carlos Eire PDF

By Carlos Eire

ISBN-10: 0691133573

ISBN-13: 9780691133577

What's eternity? Is it whatever except a simply summary inspiration, completely unrelated to our lives? a trifling wish? A frightfully doubtful horizon? Or is it a walk in the park, shared through priest and scientist alike, and an important aspect in all human family members? In a truly short heritage of Eternity, Carlos ireland, the historian and nationwide e-book Award-winning writer of looking ahead to Snow in Havana, has written an excellent background of eternity in Western tradition. Tracing the assumption from precedent days to the current, ireland examines the increase and fall of 5 diversified conceptions of eternity, exploring how they built and the way they've got assisted in shaping person and collective self-understanding. A booklet approximately lived ideals and their courting to social and political realities, a truly short heritage of Eternity can be approximately unbelief, and the tangled and sometimes rancorous relation among religion and cause. Its topic is the biggest topic of all, person who has taxed minds nice and small for hundreds of years, and may without end be of human curiosity, intellectually, spiritually, and viscerally.

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Eternity is at once an abstract idea and a practical concept, a puzzle for logicians and cosmologists and a goal for individuals and societies; to grapple with it is to search for meaning and purpose, or ul­ timate justice, even if one is not conscious of the fact. Given the vast size of the subject and the stakes at hand—both per­ sonal and cosmic—none of this should be surprising. Measured against eternity, all time seems outrageously in­ sufficient. What is a billion years but a fraction of an infinite number, or of something much greater, beyond number?

In fact, it was commonplace, and expected: His will—a legally binding document—made eternity a cru­ cial part of the Spanish economy. So did every other will in Spain at that time, for it was required of all testators to in­ clude some minimum number of mass requests. Multiplied millions of times over, in will after will, such bequests made eternity a very real thing in his day and age. So, to move as quickly as possible from the abstract to the concrete, and back again: this book explores how that transcendent higher reality has been conceived in the West, and how such conceptions relate to social, political, and eco­ nomic structures, and even to specific lives, such as that of Father Juan de Talavera Salazar.

In some cases this eternity has been actually experienced. Or at least some claim to have glimpsed it, for real. Poets and mys­ tics, especially, make their rounds of eternity with embar­ rassing frequency. 15 At an opposite extreme, even a great skeptic such as Ber­ trand Russell, philosopher and mathematician, could find an odd sort of comfort in believing that our existential quandary could give meaning to life, and sustain all our thinking and striving. “Brief and powerless is Man’s life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark,” Russell was proud to admit.

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