TIME notes

“Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in an apparently irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future.[1][2][3] (Wikipedia)


SWADDLED in PARADOX and PLATITUDE   (as when–like the moon–our reach exceeds our grasp).  We assume phenomena have beginnings and endings.  Our bias for control engenders an often passionate desire to understand the processes–and thus the possible ways in which we may adjust them in our favor.  The beginning and ending of our own lives, of life itself, of the universe and all that appears to exist to us.  (At the same time, acknowledging that the vast preponderance of phenomena is–at least at present–utterly unknowable: dark time, dark matter, the “hard question” of consciousness…)   .


“The concept of time has no meaning before the beginning of the universe,” Stephen Hawking wrote in his groundbreaking 1988 book A Brief History of Time (public library) — a work of such far-reaching and lasting impact that it awakened the popular imagination to the fundamental physics of reality and, thirty years later, inspired one of the most beautiful and poignant poems of all time.

In the foreword to the final edition of the book published in his lifetime, Hawking quoted Richard Feynman’s exultation at how fortunate we are to live in an age when we are still discovering the fundamental laws of nature. Inevitably, this means we are still understanding the nature of time. As we come closer and closer to accepting that the universe might be not infinite but finite, and that Einstein’s relativity, as revolutionary as it was, has important limitations, the notion that time began at the Big Bang singularity has begun to dissolve into something more complex — and more thrilling: We might say that in the beginning of time, there was no time; but we might equally say that in the beginning of time, there was only time. (Borges touched the poetic truth behind and before the scientific fact in his exquisite refutation of time.)” (from Brain Pickings: When Did Time Really Belong)



Dennis Overby, reviewing Brian Greene’s book on time, relates how “In a virtuosic final section [he] describes [the passage of time] … by inviting us to climb an allegorical Empire State Building; on each floor the universe is 10 times older. If the first floor is Year 10, we now are just above the 10th (10 billion years). By the time we get to the 11th floor the sun will be gone and with it probably any life on Earth. As we climb higher we are exposed to expanses of time that make the current age of the universe look like less than the blink of an eye. 

Eventually the Milky Way galaxy will fall into a black hole. On about the 38th floor of the future, when the universe is 100 trillion trillion trillion years old, protons, the building blocks of atoms, will dissolve out from under us, leaving space populated by a thin haze of lightweight electrons and a spittle of radiation.

In the far, far, far, far future, even holding a thought will require more energy than will be available in the vastly dissipated universe. It will be an empty and cold place that doesn’t remember us. “Nabokov’s description of a human life as a ‘brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness’ may apply to the phenomenon of life itself,” Greene writes.”


(EXCERPT from UNTIL THE END OF TIME …. Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe  By Brian Greene) 


In a dark time, the eye begins to see,….

Read In a Dark Time by Theodore Roethke