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"If I've come to exist once, I will come to exist again". It could be thought of as of an alternative to "reincarnation" but in a much more general sense, abstracted from any religions and beliefs, based solely on logic and observations.
Maybe compounded with physics and, particularly, cosmology.

It may be rephrased as "If from nothing is born something, and if everything comes to nothing, then something will be born again." It just seems logical.

Ever since I've come up with this thought quite a long time ago, I've been coming back to it occasionally, pondering on it and trying to disprove it. Lately I decided to try to dig a bit deeper into it and so I am asking for suggestions from this community, from the more experienced and educated people in the field of philosophy.


My initial thought (and hope?) when formulating this statement was, predictably, that my conscience will be reborn eventually. That, given infinite time, there always will be new observers and I will appear among them infinitely many times. Not precisely me, of course. I can't know what makes "me" myself. (And so here was another implicit assumption, coming from an observer, that being an observer from time to time is better than not existing at all forever.)

Anyways, leaving "I" out of the equation, we could be left with "If something has come to exist once, it will come to exist again". But I don't really understand neither my existence, nor existence of anything else. And I can not affirm, if everything exists, that this form of existence that I am observing right now and living in is the only one possible.

I can try to imagine some grand scheme of things that would rule the existence, say, creation of space, time and matter (that would allow Big Bangs and such to happen, that is if we address cosmology and accept the Big Bang Theory plus the possible reversal processes, with the possible quantum processes involved).

But would that "grand scheme of things" be itself part of the existence then? It feels recursive. Maybe we could say everything exists and does not exist at the same time to try to solve this. And everything is just an undefined state of universal mess existing and not existing at the same time.

And at least if the Big Bang or such will happen again and again, then it seems like the initial statement "If I've come to exist once, I will come to exist again" holds true. From the perspective of a mundane observer such as myself, though, it would probably be preferred to be "reborn" faster and to not be having to wait for another "Big Bang" to happen. Although there would be no experiences while I would be non-existent, like under a general anesthesia, so for me the reappearance should happen in an instant. Once again, not precisely "me", of course, I understand.

But the statement feels logical regardless.

I was once not, yet here I am now. I will disappear eventually. So I will once again not be here. But it seems it is possible to appear out of nothing. So why wouldn't I appear again?

Lastly, could you suggest what were the similar well-known questions in the history of philosophy and how did the great philosophers address these questions (and maybe this exact one in particular)?

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  • "If from nothing is born something, and if everything comes to nothing, then something will be born again" is invalid, but even assuming it your title inference does not follow. The new "something" does not have to be you. Compare to politician's syllogism that equivocates on "something" in the same way:"We must do something, this is something, therefore, we must do it." And the answer to "why not?" is "why yes?", why would you appear again? "Seeming" logical does not make it logical.
    – Conifold
    Mar 8 at 7:06

3 Answers 3

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"If from nothing is born something, and if everything comes to nothing, then something will be born again." It just seems logical.

No, it doesn't seem logical.

It is an assumption that is not supported by empirical evidence, and therefore cannot be considered a scientific fact. The idea that something can come from nothing also violates the law of conservation of energy, which states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed. Also some models suggest the universe arose from a quantum fluctuation within a pre-existing field. This field wouldn't be "nothing" in the strictest sense.

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You conclusion has at least two logical errors:

  • First: You do not consider time. If at a certain time something came into existence from nothing, then not necessrily always something comes into existence from nothing.

  • Secondly: The second error is more severe: You consider the grammatical negation “nothing” as an independent object.

  • As a consequence, if I translate your conclusion with correct negation then:

    “Something comes into existence from nothing” means

    Something came into existence without a further cause.

    "Everything comes to nothing” means

    Everything terminates to exist.

    From "Something came into existence without a further cause" and "Everything terminates to exist" you cannot any longer derive your conclusion.

The point is: The language sometimes seduces to draw a false conclusion.

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Yes. Given infinite time, particles will eventually randomly form something very close to "you" again. This is the Boltzmann Brain scenario. It's not exactly from "nothing" - it's from the random soup of particles left after the heat death of the universe, colliding randomly to (eventually, over truly vast time scales) accumulate to form brains, bodies, planets, even galaxies.

This accumulation would be against the arrow of entropy, like an egg spontaneously un-cracking itself. But as the inexorable increase of entropy is only a matter of probability, there's a tiny chance entropy will locally decrease sometimes, and given vast enough amounts of time, that chance becomes near certainty.

But it applies to space, too. Given infinite space, there are infinite "yous" already, concurrently at this very moment. One might be on some planet 10^(10^(10^10)) km away that by chance happened to be almost exactly like Earth. So there's no need to wait, and when you die there are still a lot of you left and infinitely more being born every second.

All of this presumes the universe is actually infinite in time or space, which we don't actually know. Time or space might be finite.

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