If I can propose a synthesis, I believe some degree of accord can be found between traditional time and contemporary scienctific cosmology. The traditional view involves both cyclicity and non-repeatability. Similar but never precisely identical patterns recur, reflecting an invariant (therefore fixed and atemporal, effectively eternal) structure existing in the mythical/archetypal realm, which expresses itself in the material world as cycles that never exactly repeat themselves. This is mediated through the action of the spirit or mind, which is constrained by the invariance of the underlying pattern but, within these constraints, is able to exercise free will to influence how the pattern will express itself.

Modern cosmology posits an expanding, evolving universe going through a series of developmental stages, which is almost certainly related to the arrow of time since expanding space-time is probably related at a deep level to the management of entropy, from which the irreversibility of time seems to emerge. Irreversibility is absolutely essential to both development and free will. On the other hand, the structure of the cosmos also involves a fractal distribution of cycles: the 'orbit' of an electron around an atom, the gyration of a proton about a magnetic field line, the oscillation of orthogonal electric and magnetic field vectors that produces light, the orbits of moons around planets, planets around stars, stars around galactic nuclei, galaxies around nearby galaxies. The oscillatory behavior of matter in interaction with itself is in turn an expression of invariant mathematical patterns, located everywhere and nowhere and having themselves no actual physical form - in other words, directly analogous to the mythical/archetypal realm that Tradition posits as ultimate reality. The actual, physical behavior of matter is cyclical rather than strictly periodic: the periodicity implied by the invariance of the underlying mathematics interacting with the irreversibility of the interactions to produce cycles that never quite repeat. Thus, while the Earth orbits the Sun, it never returns to exactly the same relative location after a precisely repeated interval of time: its orbit is always slightly perturbed by gravitational interactions with other planets; further, it does not return to the same absolute location, since the Sun is itself in motion about the Galactic centre, making the Earth's trajectory not circular, nor even elliptical, but rather helical.

What I'm groping at here is a way of expressing that even within a worldview informed as fully as possible by a contemporary scientific understanding, both the 'eternal return' in which 'time is a flat circle', and the monotonic progression from worse to better, are gross distortions of reality expressing dangerously limited half truths.

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The cycles within cycles you speak of are embedded throughout nature. If you sit on the shore of a lake long enough, you will see the many winds within the wind playing on the water, like a fractal. If it is a river the water would look like the wind, ebbing and flowing with the seasons. In civilization too, there is a birth, life, death and eventually renewal.

I imagine Western, "Faustian" civilization came to the shores of America to die, to be born again at some still distant point, as a new American civilization (it will not be woke, nor headed invariably in a straight line to the stars.)

It is good to find someone on Substack writing about cycles in nature. I am here by way of John Carter's last piece on the Alt-Right. Thanks, both.

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