The present is the instant in which the future crumbles into the past.
Everything made now is either a replica or a variant of something made a little time ago and so on back without break to the first morning of human time. This continuous connection of time must contain lesser divisions. The narrative historian always has the privilege of deciding that continuity cuts better into certain lengths than into others. He never is required to defend his cut, because history cuts anywhere with equal ease, and a good story can begin anywhere the teller chooses.
" "Take the familiar "tick-tock", of the clock. Well, the clock doesn’t go "tick-tock" at all; it goes "tick-tick", every tick producing the same sound. It’s just that our consciousness runs two successive ticks into single "tick-tock" experience - but only if the duration between ticks is less than about three seconds. A really big pendulum clock just goes "tock…tock…tock…", whereas a bedside clock chatters away: "ticktockticktock…" "
High up in the North in the land called Svithjod, there stands a rock. It is a hundred miles high and a hundred miles wide. Once every thousand years a little bird comes to this rock to sharpen its beak.
When the rock has thus been worn away, then a single day of eternity will have gone by.
It became obvious that the notion of time, as our ancestors had transmitted it down the millennia, was in fact absurd claptrap.
In this world, time has three dimensions, like space. Just as an object may move in three perpendicular directions, corresponding to horizontal, vertical, and longitudinal, so an object may participate in three perpendicular futures. Each future moves in a different direction of time. Each future is real. At every point of decision, the world splits into three worlds, each with the same people, but different fates for those people. In time, there are an infinity of worlds.
— Alan Lightman
, American physicist, writer, and social entrepreneur. He is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Einstein’s Dreams
, London, Vintage, 2004.
Consider a world in which cause and effect are erratic. Sometimes the first precedes the second, sometimes the second the first. (…)
Each act is an island in time, to be judged on its own. It is a world of impulse. It is a world of sincerity. It is a world in which every word spoken speaks just to that moment, every glance given has only one meaning, each touch has no past or future, each kiss becomes a kiss of immediacy.
— Alan Lightman
, American physicist, writer, and social entrepreneur. He is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Einstein’s dreams
, Pantheon Books, 1993, p. 38.
Eternity is very long, especially towards the end.
Memory is the space in which a thing happens for a second time.
— Paul Auster
, American author known for works blending absurdism, existentialism, crime fiction and the search for identity and personal meaning.