Backstory to “New Visions of Space-Time”
I wrote this piece at the request of a colleague who was editing a new journal called, simply, magazine.
For some time I had been mulling the implications of Oswald Spengler’s proposal that Western culture had, at the center of its being, a belief in infinite space as the matrix of all reality — and for some thinkers, a synonym for God.
But the more I thought about developments in mathematics, science, and the humanities during the past 100 years (“New Visions” was written in 1984), the more certain it seemed to me that infinity had lost much of its dogmatic certainty. Non-Euclidean and n-dimensional geometry, Einstein’s (and others’) formulations for a space time continuum, and the displacement of perspective in art, seemed sure signs that alternate views of reality were beginning to take center stage. “New Visions” was my attempt to come to grips with this transition.