Leibniz: Apokatastasis Panton

14 October 2019

But it is clear that this is the same if we descend to private history, the only difference being that the work will be conceived with a longer book and more years; for a book of a size sufficient to relate all the smallest details of what humans have done on all the earth within a year is certainly possible. Imagine that there are a thousand million humans on earth (a number from which humanity is most distantly removed), and that a book the size we granted to the public annual histories, thus of 100 million letters, is assigned to each human to relate a single year of his life down to the smallest details. For even if 10,000 hours are granted to a year, a sheet of 10,000 letters, that is, a page of 100 lines each with 100 letters, would still surpass what is needed to describe each hour of a human. Thus, for a work containing the annual history of the whole of humanity down to the smallest details, it would be sufficient to have a number of letters that would reach a hundred thousand million millionions, if ‘millionion’ were to mean a million millions. Now the number of possible works of this size differing among themselves in some measure is finite, and indeed can be obtained from the number of combinations. Let this number be called Q.

Hence it follows: if humanity endured long enough in its current state, a time would arrive when the same life of individuals would return, bit by bit, through the very same circumstances. I myself, for example, would be living in a city called Hannover located on the Leine river, occupied with the history of Brunswick, and writing letters to the same friends with the same meaning. For the same demonstration can be applied to the number Q that we established above applied to the number N, seeing that nothing would be different except for the size.

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