By Jane Bauer
“Einstein’s 1905 paper came out and suddenly changed people’s thinking about space-time. We’re again in the middle of something like that. When the dust settles, time – whatever it may be – could turn out to be even stranger and more illusory than even Einstein could imagine.”
This month our writers explore the concept of time and space. When I was in grade 5 the teacher gave us an exercise in which we mapped out our life on a timeline which looked like a straight line stretching horizontally across a page.
Storytelling was divided into befores and afters. During high school a teacher pointed out to me that in my fiction writing I struggled with tense, she seemed to suggest that perhaps I hadn’t been taught my verbs in English properly which was/is probably true since I went to school in French and only spoke English at home.
As I got older I often wrote two versions of the same story- one in the present and one in the traditional narrator’s past. What I came to realize is that I don’t struggle with verb tenses- what I actually do is lose myself in time. What I mean by this is that when you are telling a story about what happened in the past you are usually recalling it as you narrated it to yourself back then, in which case the present tense would make sense for a narrative voice, whereas if I am telling a story with the wisdom incurred since the event, then using the past tense feels logical. If you are not an avid reader or writer chances are you don’t spend a lot of time worrying about your verb tenses.
We are taught time is linear but now as we enter a world where what was once science-fiction is now just science, it is likely that time is constantly folding over itself and our experiences and inner world are floating between dimensions, like flotsam and jetsam.
Julia Mossbridge, a cognitive neurophysicist, has been doing studies on precognition that support the idea that you can increase your skill to see the future (Although it isn’t really necessarily the future but could be a slip of the past that may have already occurred). I think every one of us has had the feeling that something would happen and then it did.
Have you ever met someone and disliked them immediately for no reason? Some future transgression that you are aware of on a deeper level perhaps? Carlo Rovelli, physicist, and author, posits that Time is “part of a complicated geometry woven together with the geometry of space.”
Perhaps the next thing to divide us will be whether we are string theorists or quantum loop theorists? Maybe the thought of several versions of you living in different dimensions seems ridiculous. Maybe you have never experienced the knowing I referred to and you live your life tight-roping it across a clear line from ‘before’ towards ‘after’ with logic and rationality.
Or maybe you are like me and find yourself doing things without knowing the logic of why.
See you sometime,