Strictly speaking, eternity is a timeless category. We, who live and work this side of the eternal, coordinated and located in a chronological temporality, must therefore wonder: how can one draw nearer to eternity on 24 April in Braunschweig? Braunschweig and eternity are neighbours. In the city’s Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) sit the state custodians of standard time, here stands the synchronising atomic clock. In Braunschweig time is produced: the marking of time, the official atomic-clock which we all trust. And at the same time, a nuclear time is of relevance because here the Konrad pit, a final deposit site for medium and low level radioactive waste, shall begin operations in 2022.
Eternity is not a stable constant. The centuries have amassed various ideas and competing models of eternity: it could lie behind or beyond time, it could be endless time, or a state without beginning and end, an eternal recurrence of the same and what has been, or the sublating of time per se into a total present. It is an ancient and beautiful mystery, and fortunately there is no hurry to come up with an answer, for who still needs the promise of eternity today?
The religions continue to offer it as an existential solution, but precisely for anyone who can get along without religious promises of eternity and has no need for experiences of transcendence, eternity remains an interesting phenomenon and puzzle: as the state one enters upon death. And as a thought model that provokes imagining a de-temporalized time, beyond all chronology. Eternity creates space for speculations and imaginings apart from the prescribed regime of time in which efficiency enhancement and fear of mortality interlock.
The conference presents the most exciting models of eternity and concepts of infinity from the history of philosophy, cultural theory and the natural sciences. Parallel, practical exercises from various disciplines will be offered – from art, professional coaching, performance art, transhumanism and literature. Elongating, serially repeating, bringing to a standstill and denying time – these are the devices to be used to enable momentary convergences with eternity. In addition, we present techniques to practice a fateless mortality. We guarantee: the look into the rotating drum of the washing machine will never be the same.