Reading A World without Time: the Forgotten Legacy of Godel and Einstein by Palle Yourgrau. The philosopher and scientist Kurt Godel was not only an intriguing personality but a revolutionary thinker who has been studied carefully by a few and ignored by most. Specifically ignored has been Godel’s theory that time does not exist in the universe considered from the viewpoint of Einstein’s theory of relativity. This theory has never been refuted, only ignored.

Though Godel has been described as the only person who could speak “on equal terms with Einstein,” Godel’s is a “forgotten legacy.” He was eccentric and depressive, especially towards the end of his life, as he saw colleagues pass away and his own health deteriorate.

Author Yourgrau has a stimulating and reflective set of passages towards the end of the book:

“We live in a world,” he [Godel] wrote, “in which ninety-nine per cent of all beautiful things are destroyed in the bud.” … “There are structural laws in the world which can’t be explained causally … Good things appear from time to time in single persons and events … but the general deveopment tends to be negative.”

Christianity, with which he was generally sympathetic, was no exception. It “was best at the beginning. Saints slow down the downward movement.” As Simone Weil puts it, although “since [Christ’s] day there have been no very noticeable changes in men’s behavior,” “drops of purity” appear from time to time. Philosophy, according to Godel, suffered a similar fate: “Philosophy tends to go down.” Indeed, “it is, at best, at the point where Babylonian mathematics was.”