A Metaphorical Connection: Milton’s L’Allegro, Black Holes, and the Journey of Consciousness.

Christopher Neitzert
4 min readJun 10, 2023

Of late I have found myself quietly musing if Milton’s words from L’Allegro that are oft referenced in relation to dance and maybe they were also a simultaneously disguised metaphor for consciousness’ flow from start to finish.

Com, and trip it as ye go
On the light fantastick toe

Milton, L’Allegro, 1632

The following is by no means meant to be taken scientifically or even really seriously, I do not myself. Since this is conceptual, and not entirely sound and our science is not yet evolved enough to test some of this please see this as a metaphor, heaped with allegory and a touch of poetry about what it might mean to be conscious and experience the end of consciousness.

A black hole in deep space, debris orbit the event horizon, at the center bright orange-yellow-white light
Midjourney AI ArtBot’s vision of a Black Hole

On more than one occasion I have caught myself wondering if our final moments of consciousness are similar to the way The Theory of General Relativity describes time dilation and spaghettification near a black hole’s event horizon. Whereas the object approaches that event horizon the gravitational pull of the black hole warps time-space, slowing down subjective time from the perspective of the object, while the rest of the universe continues to chug along by one clock or another.

Additionally as an object gets closer to the event horizon of a black hole, a process called “spaghettification” or “tidal disruption” can happen where an object can undergo gravitational forces so strong that the pull from the blackhole stretches the object out in a very long shape, like spaghetti.

As the object continues to approach the black hole, those tidal forces become increasingly intense that eventually an object can be torn apart atom by atom, with individual atoms being stripped away one at a time until the object is no more, streaming away like grains of sand, in that slow-motion subjective time, into the black hole and whatever unknown lay beyond that.

A colorful and tasteful impressionistic depiction of a blackhole in deep space with a figure off in the distance experiencing spaghetification
Midjourney AI ArtBot’s interpretation of the spaghettification of consciousness at death

Perhaps this is a metaphorical version of the frequently told near death-experience story of “my life flashed before my eyes”. Yet as amazing as that may sound, I find myself asking; Could it be that as our own consciousness approaches its own event horizon, that we may experience our own internal time dilation and spaghettification of consciousness and memory. Where at the moment of our demise, individual thoughts and memories are fired off one last time as it circles the void, leaving the consciousness a passive spectator to relive each and every one of them as they cross the event horizon.

For some in this I imagine in this final rumination their final moments are similar to watching a wonderful film of the connection, love, joy and positivity they’ve brought into existence with their time here. For others, one can only hope that their experience is as relentless a replay of their actions with room enough in that time dilation for genuinely honest introspection of each of those actions, one by one as they experience neural dysfunction, leaving some remnant of the self a passive spectator to their own story until it is done.

A gender non descript figure at the center of an abstract explosion of white that fades into yellow and bits of orange ona blue and black background
Midjourney AI ArtBot’s vision of consciousness exploding

Until we truly understand the nature of consciousness and black holes, it may be an interesting self correcting way of thinking; to trip it as ye go
On the light fantastick toe
and assume that you’re not going have some bearded old Sky-Daddy judge you for the life you lived at your end, but instead that your final moments may be a rather introspective and personal grand rumination of everything you’ve ever thought, felt, done, and remembered in some eternal slow motion recap that only you get to experience in the privacy of your own head, stripped of all pretense in the objective light of death.

My hope in sharing this mental exercise is that this leads to a little more introspection and ultimately accountability in this one go at life we have, after all what sort of film about you do you want to watch in the end?

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Christopher Neitzert

Human, Hacker, Technologist, Ocasional Artist. This is where I sometimes document the ideats rattling around inside my head. more at http://www.neitzert.io