Father Time



I liked it best when only I existed. That was a simpler time, a purer time. Good times. I stretched out to infinity in both directions with no beginning and no end. Nothing troubled me; nothing disturbed my peace. Moments, epochs, and eons—these were my                                   units. Oh, I was beautiful! I passed the time silently and serenely–uniform, measured. I was not a god, but I was the next best thing. I was perfection, even if I say so myself.

Then space arrived on the scene—from whence I cannot say. Space with all its size as far as the eye can see (no eye can see me). It boasts of its extension, its sheer volume. To me space is obese. It’s the sheer vulgarity of space that bothers me–so attention grabbing, so full of its own importance. And so pointlessly static: it just hangs there without forward movement, going nowhere. I am ceaselessly active; space is passive to the point of indolence. Unemployed. Why should I have to share reality with such an aimless emptiness?

As if that wasn’t bad enough, space made something else possible—matter. Matter boasts extension too, but it also boasts solidity. Solidity I say! That made collision possible, smashing and clashing. The thuds in the night were terrible. Matter would cruise about space, on the prowl for who knows what, and then bash into other bits of matter, shattering and destroying. Pure anarchy. Matter always seemed to be itching for a fight, and it was noisy. Ugly too—all chunk and hunk. And with a horrible deadness, like so much congealed space past its sell-by date. Its main interest seems to be preventing other bits of matter occupying its location.  Above all, it wouldn’t leave me alone and in peace: material events kept happening, and for that matter needed my assistance. Things happened inme, throughme—and without so much as a by your leave. Where’s the respect?

But that wasn’t the end of it—oh no. Next life came along, and with it mind. Before long there were intelligent conscious beings. I wasn’t so opposed to consciousness as such—it reminded me of myself—but I took exception to some of its so-called ideas. These finite little specks insisted on trying to describe and understand reality—matter, space, and time. They weren’t so far off the mark with the first two—nothing too challenging there—but with me they were at a complete loss. No idea! They attempted to measure me: to take my measure. They compared me to a river—a river. They invented clocks, as if a mechanical device could do justice to my sublime nature. Clocks, with their ticks and tocks, their breakdowns, their lifeless flat faces: they are not as Iam. I am nothing likea clock. But in their puny little minds they reduced me to clocks. Some even maintained that nothing could be true of me that was not true of clocks. There were those who declared me relative, and questioned my simultaneity. But I am all about simultaneity! I stand magnificently apart from space and matter; my nature has nothing to do with theirs. Nor is light a guide to my nature (though I have nothing against light—it is quick). But this is a subject too painful to consider—and beneath my dignity. Suffice it to say that the callow and callous beings that demeaned me thus are not worthy of a moment of my time.

Anyway I have to share reality with space, matter, and consciousness, spoiling the view, polluting the atmosphere. No doubt they think they add value to reality, but to me they are just so much litter and dirt. Life was so much sweeter before—before the barbarians broke down the gates. I have one hope and I believe this hope will come to fruition: all this chaos is temporary. It will soon be over. Tranquility will return. The days of conscious beings are clearly numbered, because matter is not cooperative. And matter too is by no means secure: once it was not and it could easily revert to nothing. Even space is not woven into the basic fabric of reality—not as I am. I have all the time in the world. I can wait. Reality will one day be mine again, for all eternity.



5 replies
  1. jgkess@cfl.rr.com
    jgkess@cfl.rr.com says:

    A lazy, predictable riposte of hostile wags might be that you have too much time on your hands. Me?—I would wish you MORE time for just such irony, parody, indirection and whim. What do you make of Carlo Rovelli’s idea that, “Our conception of time is just a side-effect of ignorance”?

  2. Giulio Katis
    Giulio Katis says:

    When did we start thinking of time and space as separate things (and therefore that logically could exist independent of one another)? And is it correct to do so? As opposed to thinking of them as being different manifestations say of motion, of interaction, and maybe even memory.

    In any case, I hope Mother Space gets a chance to respond with a voice as eloquent as Father Time’s.

  3. jgkess@cfl.rr.com
    jgkess@cfl.rr.com says:

    Giulio is correct—that’s more about what Rovelli is getting at. See his succinct answer to the 2004 Edge.org question: “What’s Your Law?”. Also: very good recent discussion of Frank Ramsey on the Aeon web-site. Trump ally, Roger Stone, finally indicted! Master of the dark arts of political dirty tricks. This is the guy who has a tatoo of Richard Nixon’s face covering his entire back.


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