A True and Faithful History of the Golem of Třebíč // Larry Harrison

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Most of you are familiar with Triple X’s story Nihon no quantum, with its reclusive character Shinji Takeshita.  Not many know that there was actually a real-life Shinji Takeshita, a theoretical physicist known as Haru Suzuki. He was a recluse who lived with his mother in a small house in one of the poorer districts of Kyoto.

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As a youth, Suzuki had been outgoing and athletic, and a notable martial artist. He was actually a Kendoka, having reached the eighth dan in ancient Japanese art of swordsmanship, kendo.  When he was 28, however, Haru Suzuki barricaded himself in his bedroom and began a sort of monastic retreat, in which he devoted himself to the problem of reconciling Einstein’s theories of relativity and quantum physics. Suzuki believed he could build on the standard method of modelling time in physics, to give time an ontology similar to space. This would mean that time was just another dimension, that future events already existed, and that there was no objective, uni-directional flow of time.

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In the West, many physicists were unhappy with Suzuki’s theory, because of its implications for free will; they believed he was proposing that future events were immutably fixed and pre-determined. I had the privilege of studying the personal papers that Suzuki left to the University of Kyoto, and it is clear that he took a radically different position. In one paper, he imagined, with Augustine of Hippo, that God, being eternal, was outside of time. When God looked down upon the created world, He saw space-time as a ‘block universe’, in which time exists as a fourth dimension, alongside the three of space.  (The block universe was equivalent to the Dharmadhatu, in Buddhist thought, the ‘total field of events and meanings’.) Continue reading

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