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Descartes, Rene - The contracting universe

Identifier

014480

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

Although I have made a link to the expanding universe, Descartes is actually discussing the contracting universe.

In essence he is saying that if the Universe - conceived as an Egg with its curved surface - should have the spirit sucked out of it slowly, it would eventually shrink and shrink until it looked like a burst balloon.

A description of the experience

Rene Descartes – Key Philosophical Writings

 there is an absolutely necessary [connection] between the concave figure of the vessel and the extension considered generally which must be comprised in this cavity; so that there is not more contradiction in conceiving a mountain without a valley, than such a cavity without the extension which it contains, or this extension without the substance which is extended, because nothing, as has been frequently remarked, cannot have extension.  And therefore, if it is asked what would happen if God removed all the body contained in a vessel without permitting its place being occupied by another body, we shall answer that the sides of the vessel will thereby come into immediate contiguity with one another.  For two bodies must touch when there is nothing between them, because it is manifestly contradictory for these two bodies to be apart from one another, or that there should be a distance between them, and yet that this distance should be nothing; for distance is a mode of extension, and without extended substance it cannot therefore exist.

The source of the experience

Descartes, Rene

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Commonsteps

References