Scale In The World Of Objective Time
IN SEARCH OF THE MIRACULOUS, Ouspensky devotes a large portion of Chapter XVI to developing a “table of time in different cosmos”. This table follows from comments made to Ouspensky during a discussion of dimensions with Gurdjieff,
“There is a great deal of material in what you have just said, but the material must be elaborated. If you can find out to elaborate the material you now have, you will understand a great deal that has not occurred to you till now. For example, take note that time is different in different cosmoses. And it can be calculated exactly, that is, it is possible to establish exactly how time in one cosmos is related to the time of another cosmos. I will add only one thing more: time is breath–try to understand this. Sleep and waking of living beings and plants, that is twenty-four hours, or day and night, constitute the breath of organic life.”
As clearly outlined within IN SEARCH OF THE MIRACULOUS, Ouspensky begins his efforts to understand time by asking himself the question, ‘What is breath?’. He answers three seconds. Proceeding further, he eventually develops a table having four rows of hierarchical units of living time, i.e., time periods necessary to perceive mental impressions, to breathe, to complete a rotation of the earth (day and night) and to experience physical life, listing the several cosmoses as column headings. Ouspensky’s original work should be referred to.
Based upon his analysis, Ouspensky states that for each cosmos, one scale is related to the one above and the one below by a factor of 30,000. Unfortunately, Ouspensky does not speculate upon the source or nature of the observed factor. My purpose here is to complete Ouspensky’s work, again using the law of correspondence. Is there any known cosmological cycle approximately equal to 30,000?
It turns out that there is a common cosmological cycle whose duration is approximately 30,000. This cycle is that of the precession of the equinoxes (1), that is, the progression of equinoctial points whereby each point reaches a given meridian progressively sooner than a given star in successive passages. This motion results in completion of a cone figure by earth’s axis in about 26,000 years and in a westward movement of the vernal equinox along the zodiac (2). One key suggesting that this is natural unit to chose as a time basis is the fact that the spring and autumn equinoxes are defined as those days upon which the day and night are of equal length.
Making this assumption, let us again analyze Ouspensky’s table of time in the different cosmoses, taking day and night as our starting point rather than the length of a complete breath. Our first problem is trying to determine the identities of the immediately higher and lower levels.
First, we note that the rotational period of the earth about its axis causes two distinct experiences or periods for plants and animals, differentiated solely by the presence or absence of light (day and night). During the day plants imbibe carbon dioxide and absorb sunlight so to produce simple carbohydrates using the chlorophyll system. During the night they exhale oxygen and complete complex anabolic work. Men and animals are active during one period and sleep during the other.
Second, we note that the breath is composed of both an inhalation and an exhalation (actually there is also a slight pause which we include with the exhalation phase). Like typical day and night periods (except at the equinoxes), the durations of inhalation and exhalation are not constant. In fact, based upon measurements I have made, the ratio of the times of exhalation to inhalation for a resting adult is 3:2. Typical periods are: inhalation 1.3 seconds, exhalation 2.0 seconds. This results in a minute breathing rate of about 18.
The Vedas often speak of the duration of one day and night of Brahma as being composed of equal out breaths and in breaths of Brahma. Each one being composed of 1000 Mahayugas (4.32 billion years, approximate age of the earth). The out breath represents involution, the in breath evolution. The Vedas also speak of day as being the time of existence and night as the time of nonexistence.
Third, we note that the expected duration of a man’s life as taught by the ancient mystery schools to be 144 years. In the event of premature transition due to poor health habits, the remainder of a man’s time is spent as a discarnate entity. Time may be spent asleep, in heaven or hell or in school (3). Generally, current man spends about half his time incarnate.
Using the above information we can begin to establish the duration for the first levels important to man as the microcosm. Assuming that we are interested solely in the situation for a typical man (lives for 70+ years) physically incarnating, we can take the total number of seconds in a day (86,400) and divide it by the total time it takes to take a breath (3.285), we get the factor 26,298. Applying this factor gives 72 years as the lifetime of a man, and 125 microseconds as the duration of the next smaller interval. These values are close to Ouspensky’s.
Most curiously, the average time period for procession of the equinoxes over long time periods is quite close to 26, 298, providing credence to the number used by mystics of 25, 920. Notice that both reduce to 9 under theosophic reduction which shares the same position as zero in our decimal system.
Using the factor we can complete the table (figure 36) down to the smallest time period of the cosmos, the Planck moment, 10**-44 seconds (a factor of 2pi**0.5 less than value used earlier) which is nine levels smaller than the time for a brain event. Each level in the table, smaller than a brain event, represents a typical lifetime for an event happening upon a microscopic or subparticle scale. Each level is labeled with a related phenomena.
Allowing nine uppers levels (including the breath) gives a maximum value of 10**35 seconds. Higher levels are labeled up to the age of the universe. Beyond this, no name can be assigned nor its significance determined.
Time Durations For Creation
Space time foam 2.07 x 10**-44 sec (actual Planck’s time is 5.39 x 10**-44 sec)
GUT era 5.46 x 10-**40 sec
Inflation era 1.44 x 10**-35 sec
X particle decay 3.78 x 10**-31 sec
Quarks – Leptons 9.93 x 10-**27 sec
Nuclear events 2.61 x 10-**22 sec
X- rays 6.87 x 10-**18 sec
Infrared heat 1.81 x 10**-13 sec
Radio waves 4.75 x 10**-9 sec
Brain event 1.25 x 10-**4 sec
Breath 3.28 sec
Day and night 8.64 x 10**4 sec
Man’s life 72 yr
Man’s cosmic life 1.89 x 10**6 yr
.Hubble time 4.98 x 10**10 yr
1.30 x 10**15 yr
3.44 x 10**19 yr
9.05 x 10**23 yr
2.38 x 10**28 yr
Moreover, the overall range of values shown in the table spans eighty orders of magnitude, reminiscent of the large number coincidence.
For completeness, I am also going to add the time scale of the Vedas for the lifetime of a Brahma. These are shown in figure 37.
Referring to the two figures one notices that the man’s cosmic life is about equal to that of a world cycle. A day and night of Brahma is about equal to the age of the current universe. The projected lifetime of the current universe based upon the Vedic scriptures is 340 trillion years.
Vedic Time Periods
Mahayuga (world cycle) 4.32 x 10**6 years
Day and night of Brahma 8.64 x 10**9 years
Year of Brahma 3.12 x 10**12 years
Lifetime of Brahma 3.41 x 10**14 years
Notes: Where one year of Brahma has 365.25 days, lifetime of Brahma is 108 years.
1. In astronomy, either of two points of intersection of the ecliptic and the celestial equator. Night and day are of equal length over the entire earth on dates when the sun’s center crosses the celestial equator southward (vernal or spring equinox, about March 21) or northward (autumnal equinox, about September 23). Shown are reference points for the heavens as projected upon the inside surface of an infinite sphere with the earth at its center. Also shown is the projection of the earth’s axis as the precessional circle.
The celestial poles are the projections of the northern and southern poles of the earth, the celestial equator is the projection of the earth’s equator. The ecliptic is the apparent path of the sun through the heavens.
2. Several other cycles mentioned in religious literature appear related to a period of about 26,000 years. For example, in Zoroastrianism the time period of battle of Ahura Mazda and Ahriman is 12,000 years. In Vedic sources, the length of one Mahayuga is 12,000 heavenly years (432,000 human years). As an aside, the distance of our solar system from the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way, is about 30,000 light-years.
3. These concepts are discussed in many places, including hermetic and yogi sources. I recommend the book by Yogi Ramacharaka, THE LIFE BEYOND DEATH, Yogi Publication Society, Chicago, Illinois, 1909.
4. Barrow JD, Tipler FJ, THE ANTHROPIC COSMOLOGICAL PRINCIPLE, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1986.