I’ve heard it speculated that all times exist at once, and that our consciousness merely shines a light on a sequence of nows. But it sure feels like the past frays; that it’s dissolving from the edges. Worm-eaten in a way that works its way to the heart. The center reads clear for now, but one day… poof, it’ll be lost.
You’ll awake to find whole tracks of life are lost — like slides that were water damaged in the flood.
What happened in 1997? I’d need some sort of prompt to even make a guess.
you’ve clocked me on atomic time
dragged me below the water line
but you don’t know from whence I’ve come
blank, teary-eyed, and feeling numb
weary from my endless travel
my throat parched, the sound of gravel
still you pull from me a charred word
but it feels distant and absurd
somehow he thinks that he will find
somewhere among the broken time
a time shard that tells the story
lost city, ditched and hoary
weary wanderer drowned down there
pulled from green waters by his hair
“but who was the evil culprit!”
i once heard screamed from a pulpit
the funeral for a future me
i heard the word i could not see
found by some old man of means
who could see behind the scenes
but to know the truth, he could not
secrets hide in bits time forgot
A sweep second-hand betrays your modernity
A glint unrecognizable throughout eternity
Not all slow time dances out the same
Gooey time stretches to a break in the rain
Tom-toms string out in slow motion
Lost before the vastness of an ocean
The massacred were buried shallow
Their murderers never saw the gallows
Legends said that ghosts rose up
Dead partaking of a proffered cup
To magically roll back the killing time
But clocks refuse to yield for crime
Running dumbly down the street
She bows to touch the guru’s feet
But the world is in chaos down
On the burned out side of town
Cashing checks for weekly wages
Stuck in time across the ages
I could really get used to life in Helsinki from May through August. I’m not sure how anyone lives there in December though. I took this to record that it was after 2230 (10:30pm) when we finished dinner one evening. It’s not healthy to eat that late, but when it’s just hinting that it might get dark, it’s easy to lose track of time. This clock tower is on the side of the train station.
One might think that a novel written by a physicist would make for dreadful reading–and most of the time one would probably be correct. However, Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams is a fascinating read. The arc of the book–what makes it a novel rather than a series of short scenes–is conveyed by a prologue, a few interludes, and an epilogue. These brief sections show an Albert Einstein as he went about life trying to work out his special theory of relativity.
In between the interludes are a series of written sketches that depict dreams that might have been had by Albert Einstein between April 14th and June 28th of 1905. Each of these dreams depicts an alternative universe in which time is not experienced as we experience it: that is, as an inexorably flowing river with a clearly defined arrow. In one dream, time is circular. In another, a lifetime is compressed into a day. In another, there is no flow of time; the world is a snapshot. In another, immortality is the norm. In the latter dreams of the book, we see a convergence on time as we know it–though in dream-like abstraction.
This short book is both creative and well-written. Lightman excels at creating scene through vivid description. His approach to structure is unique.
One thing that might have improved the book is if the author had been a little bolder. Lightman feels the need to explicitly state what is going on in each dream world. However, his description is strong enough that such discussion is generally anti-climactic–one already knows how time is working (or not working) in a given universe before the author states it explicitly. Thus, these explicit descriptions succeed only in taking one out of the dream.