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2/9/09

Déjà Vu & Physicist Julian Barbour

Déjà Vu & Physicist Julian Barbour

An old woman sits in her wheel chair in a nursing home, a photo album recently on her lap. She has given it to another old lady to show pictures of herself with her first beau on the village green, of herself in bridal gown, of her child sitting on her knee. She looks up at the bare walls, and sees somewhere herself at sixteen, turning many heads, her father carefully screening suitors at the door. It all happened so fast, first that and now this. She opens the album to a new page to show her husband in the year before he died, proudly washing their new Ford in the driveway.

Consume my heart away, sick with desire and fastened to a dying animal. (W.B. Yeats)

In Julian Barbour's world, every first date, every kiss, every senior prom, every marriage, every departing is repeated precisely and endlessly. Every hot dog at a baseball game will be eaten again and again. A teenager's coolness lasts forever. Couples meet and fall in love for the first time and then they become again to fall in love again. They grow old together or become divorced, forever aging, divorcing. Or one watches the other become sick and waste into death. Gew gaws hanging from their crib, they awaken as infants to the bright world and it starts over. Sometimes during the night as middle aged men and women, they dimly recollect something, but life presses them forward and they forget.

It has all happened millions of times before, Earth, the cosmos, hot dogs, the World Series, Caesar's conquests, everything. Nothing changes. Time and motion are illusions, according to Julian Barbour. More



Barbour uses the term Platonia, in deference to Plato's idea of eternal forms. Here is Barbour's website with its URL by that name.

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