On Change

You make your way to the exhibit on Change. The lights are off and nobody appears to be present. You do, however, see a note. Upon reading it, you learn that the staff for this section of the temple is busy attending an extremely important LAN party. The note instructs you to flick a nearby switch and take a seat, and explains that a video will lead you through the temple's teachings.

You decide to make the most of it. After you flick the switch, a nearby screen lights up.

We know from experience that there is Change. This term refers to a unique dimension within Order, one that is characterised by dynamism or life. This aspect of reality gives us the ability to talk about how a particular thing may “become different”. Without Change, it would be impossible for this discussion to progress! We shall see, however, that the way people speak of Change is generally wrong and muddle-headed. For at every point Change is necessarily constrained by inescapable Being.

That Change is subsumed by Eleatic Being is shown by the fact that we are referencing some aspect of "what-is". Distinction is also necessary, for we must provide Change with a context that accomodates multiple things. The things may be rearranged, and their own internal properties or characteristics may shift over time. Change must therefore take its place as one aspect within the broader shape and context of Order.

Beware those who pretend that Change is the chief metaphysical axiom. In their ignorance, they try to present it as an absolute and unrestrained force. Such a model of Change would lead to chaos, with change altering literally everything about reality and itself, eliminating any sense of consistency until it consumes and changes itself into a changeless state. Although we needn't go down such a ridiculous road of reasoning, given the initial incoherence of trying to posit something that is beyond, or somehow exempt from the requirements of, Being.

As I was saying, Change always occurs within a context, and always involves at least two referents. Eleatic Being cannot be subordinated to Change, for there is no second referent beyond it that it could "become". The partisans of absolute Change, or any model of presentism, can be easily defeated the moment one realises that Change is held fast by broader Being.

Many different mechanical accounts of Change have been suggested. Regardless of which practical model we find most convincing, it is clear that all moments within the flow of time are ontologically present as a complete whole. It is only at the personal level, where parts are relative to one another, that Change becomes recognisable and the relative time-distance may be appreciated. Therefore, what “was”, “is”, and “will be” all necessarily exist in a permanent sense. Change is relative.

Temporal things should be thought of as being spread across the temporal plane or dimension. It is easy to picture an object with three spatial dimensions: the object is "smeared" across its length, width, and depth. Given that all moments in time exist, a temporal object must similarly be smeared across the flow of time.

It is improper to describe Change as merely a deck of divisible arrangements. Change provides us a context for all talk of "becoming", something that goes beyond particular arrangements and provides them with a coherent and whole set of relationships. There is a "time-distance" between every point we might perceive, and this relationship is characterised by something unique - we are aware of dynamism or life. A chronology must be taken whole if we are to capture its full meaning and appreciate its energy.

The meaning provided by Change is so extensive that it allows us to talk about branching "possibilities". Given the ramifications of Eleatic Being, it is not enough to posit a linear line of moments separated by time-distance. We must also posit all the potentials, spread across many different branches of possibility. The web of relationships is complex and extensive, and every point is necessary. As you may have learnt in the exhibits on Distinction, to understand a thing we must take it as a whole. Chronology is no different, and in fact imposes its special challenges when we stray from that approach, as revealed in depthy by great minds such as Zeno and Diodorus.

To explain this point further: if one envisions a road that forks left and right, and one assumes that it is possible for a person to travel down either path, then both stories exist. There is an episode where the person takes the left path. There is an episode where the person takes the right path. The person truly stretches down both roads and is present throughout. Any prominence of one episode over another is only significant insofar as we talk of relative parts and our expression of our existence. To explain and understand it all from our relative position is an important topic that will be discussed at length in our newest exhibit. A team is currently working with a visiting professor to present it all in a clear and satisfying manner.

For we should appreciate that this discussion of Change represents an important milestone. Our philosophical project is now exploring the framework of a dynamic world. Further, we are mindful of our earlier discoveries, and will not posit ontological creation and destruction. The inclusion of Change will breathe life into our model, it shall introduce us to morality, and it will help reveal the answers to many of our greatest concerns as humans. To achieve that and be accepted, it must plausibly accomodate our dynamic experiences of life and choice.

You hear an audible *clunk* as one VHS is swapped out for another.


  1. View the Next Screening...
  2. Leave in search of this new exhibit on our relative experience of change...
  3. Retire to the Guesthouse, intending to return when the exhibit is staffed...