An Event That Occurred Only Once
Copyright 2014, John Manimas Medeiros
Have you ever witnessed an event that occurred only once? I want to hear about it. It must have been fantastic, especially when you realized it had never occurred before and would never occur again. What a blast! Just like the Big Bang, if it occurred, will be known to us as an event that occurred only once, because if it occurs again, it won't be the beginning of the universe, because the universe has already begun. So, if a Big Bang occurred a second time, it would no longer be the Big Bang. It would be just another bang.
So, the idea of an event that occurred only once, or occurs only once, is essentially automatically a joke. And there is a good reason for that. The reason is that scientists who study the universe, or any part of it, do not discover any event that occurred only once. We consistently and persistently discover events that occur repeatedly, or rather "cyclically." That is how the universe works. There are patterns. The same things happen over and over again. Often, the events that occur naturally (without our active help or participation, such as: ocean tides, the generation of stars, the movements of the Sun and Moon, rain, animals building nests, floods, earthquakes, spring), occur at regular intervals. A long time ago we first observed these regular intervals, how each period of daylight was followed by a period of night sky. Back then, the night sky was sometimes rather bright, from the starlight and when the Moon was "full." Our ancestors noticed that animal movements occurred at regular intervals, and rivers flooded at regular intervals, and women bled at regular intervals, and men grew old and tired at regular intervals, and children became adolescents at regular intervals. So, we learned that we could count these regular intervals, and we started, at some point in the past, to call that "time." I have written much more about "time" in my list of essays that I call "Time Works" and there is a link to that if you are interested. In any case, we believe in time because we see it in the repetition of cyclical events. And that is actually a kind of wonder of human knowledge, and human foolishness, because that means we believe in time because virtually everything that occurs does so at cyclical intervals, and there is no such thing as an event that occurred only once.
What could an event that occurred only once possibly be? How would we even know that it occurred? Why would it occur? Does it cause something else to follow? If an event occurred only once, this week, it seems that if we asked ourselves what caused it, we would have to say that everything that has occurred in the universe, from the beginning of existence to the unique event, was the necessary and sufficient cause. And, everything that followed is the effect. Or – is that right? Could we say that this unique event that occurred only once had no prior causes? Could we say that it had no effects? What would that do to our science? Science is all about finding causes and effects. Does an event that occurred only once mean an event that had no causes and has no effects? Since the event occurred only once, how can we find its causes, detect its effects?
So it is easy to see how funny this is, this discussion of an event that occurred only once, but also serious, because it says something very, very important about the real, physical universe in which we live. I hope you got it. If you do understand what was written here, it is kind of like an event that occurred only once. Because once you understand that there is no such thing as an event that occurred only once, you don't need to learn it again. So, learning that there is no such thing as an event that occurred only once is kind of like an event that occurred only once, except that it occurs many times, each time someone gets it.
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