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Einstein's Dreams pdf Einstein's Dreams, ebook Einstein's Dreams, epub Einstein's Dreams, doc Einstein's Dreams, e-pub Einstein's Dreams, Einstein's Dreams 119c9d0e568 A Modern Classic, Einstein S Dreams Is A Fictional Collage Of Stories Dreamed By Albert Einstein In , When He Worked In A Patent Office In Switzerland As The Defiant But Sensitive Young Genius Is Creating His Theory Of Relativity, A New Conception Of Time, He Imagines Many Possible Worlds In One, Time Is Circular, So That People Are Fated To Repeat Triumphs And Failures Over And Over In Another, There Is A Place Where Time Stands Still, Visited By Lovers And Parents Clinging To Their Children In Another, Time Is A Nightingale, Sometimes Trapped By A Bell JarNow Translated Into Thirty Languages, Einstein S Dreams Has Inspired Playwrights, Dancers, Musicians, And Painters All Over The World In Poetic Vignettes, It Explores The Connections Between Science And Art, The Process Of Creativity, And Ultimately The Fragility Of Human Existence


10 thoughts on “Einstein's Dreams

  1. says:

    Some of the best fun I have had in recent years of reading came in the two hours it took me to read this including frantic back tracks and hop skips fantastic book Time is the hero of this collection and comes veiled in every twisted garb we can conceive, or rather, that Einstein can dream up Einstein in his mad canter towards discovering the most revolutionary idea in science tumbles right down an imaginary wonderland in this book.What comes out of the recesses of Einstein s brooding on the nature of time and its relation to our lives is a montage of dreams that stretch our imagination to its limits Time goes backwards, becomes personal, loops in on itself, slows down and speeds up according to your speeds and even stops altogether in his various dreams But in the process we also see our own natures reflected in these bizarre behaviors that Einstein or rather Lightman subjects our protagonist to.While each of the worlds are immensely entertaining and thought provoking, the real crux of the book comes out in the interludes, which are the only times we meet the dreamer Einstein The book is an exploration of the twists and turns of the creative process, of the blind alleys and the arcane notions, the tomfoolery and the circus contortions that the creative imagination has to be twisted to before a coherent idea emerges.Of the dreams, numbering around thirty, some are particularly imaginative while others are variations on earlier themes At first I was disappointed to encounter these variations and slight modifications, until I realized that Einstein, the dreamer thinker, has to revisit ideas and try these mutations before he can proceed with them or discard them Some of the ideas had to be short, some elaborate, some gripping, some boring and some outlandishly silly But through it all, the constant feeling, almost magical, of being part of this evolution of thought and of peering into the wildest musings even if imagined that led to the conception of time as we know today makes the book a treasure to be revisited and indulged in at every opportunity.Did I mention that I read the book three times today


  2. says:

    How do you check the time If you spend a lot of time on your computer, you may simply swivel your eyes to the top right hand corner of the screen Or perhaps you wear a wrist watch so all you have to do is move your head slightly to check the time Maybe you rely on your phone and then you have to make of an effort, you have to put your hand in your pocket, pull out the phone and switch it on No You carry your phone in your hand at all times Then checking the time has never been easier In the spring of 1905, the people of Berne had to make a bigger effort to check the time Those were the days when mobile phones didn t exist and clocks were less reliable You ve forgotten that, haven t you That clocks used to run at different speeds, that your clock might lose several minutes a day while your neighbour s was always fast, or vice versa And if you forgot to wind your clock, or mislaid the key, you lost track of the time completely, unless, of course, there was a friendly German clock winder in the vicinity, but that s another story which I won t waste time on right now Back to the people of Berne and the efforts they made to check the time Berne has a famous clock tower dating back to the thirteenth century, the Zytgloggeturm take your time Every afternoon, the townspeople of Berne convene at the west end of Kramgasse There, at four minutes to three, the Zytgloggeturm pays tribute to time High on the turret of the tower clowns dance, roosters crow, bears play fife and drum, their mechanical movements and sounds synchronised exactly by the turning of gears, which, in turn, are inspired by the perfection of time At three o clock precisely, a massive bell chimes three times, people verify their watches and then return to their offices on Speichergasse, their shops on Marktgasse, their farms beyond the bridges of the Aare.The bears mentioned in that quote don t all appear every day No, every bear has six days off so the townspeople always know which day of the week it is from the attributes of the bear which appears just before the clock strikes the hour the Sunday bear is white, for example So the clock also served as a calendar and its giant face showed the position of the sun, the phases of the moon, the date and the seasons Anyone living and working within sight of that clock had their very own giant app full of time related information available at the merest swivel of the eye And there you were thinking those must have been such primitive times.Far from it This book opens at six o clock in the morning in an office on Speichergasse where a young man, who would later become the most famous man of his century, perhaps of all time, has just spent many hours putting the finishing touches to his new Theory of Time He has been working on the theory for months, and his dreams as well as his waking life have been preoccupied with examining all the possible variations of time that may exist and the relative consequences for the world and those who live in it The rest of the book recounts Alan Lightman s version of those dreams the people of Berne living their lives, working and sleeping but not necessarily in the world of time as we know it, so that a husband might be rich and successful in one time world, poor in another, a wife might be faithful when time runs rapidly on, unfaithful when it slows down Lightman s language is simple, his ideas are accessible and by the time you finish this book, you will be convinced that you yourself actually lived in Berne in the spring of 1905, perhaps on Speichergasse, or maybe on Marktgasse or preferably along the leafy, sunny banks of the river Aare.And now you are four minutes older than you were before you started reading this review.And if you want to be another four minutes older but not necessarily unhappy about it, have a listen to this


  3. says:

    Einstein s Dreams, Alan Lightman Einstein s Dreams is a 1992 novel by Alan Lightman that was an international bestseller and has been translated into thirty languages The novel fictionalizes Albert Einstein as a young scientist who is troubled by dreams as he works on his theory of relativity in 1905 The book consists of 30 chapters, each exploring one dream about time that Einstein had during this period The framework of the book consists of a prelude, three interludes, and an epilogue Einstein s friend, Michele Besso, appears in these sections Each dream involves a conception of time Some scenarios may involve exaggerations of true phenomena related to relativity, and some may be entirely fantastical The book demonstrates the relationship each human being has to time, and thus spiritually affirms Einstein s theory of relativity 1998 1376 112


  4. says:

    Poetic twists on the paradoxes of time.The quotidian becomes extraordinary and unsettling.Time travel needn t involve machines or blue boxes sorry, Apatt Lightman makes it leap off the page and into your mind, leaving you questioning the very root of reality Now that I am reading Borges, I assume Lightman was influenced by him and maybe others , in particular, the short story, Tl n, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius FORMATThere are about 30 very short chapters typically, three pages of well spaced text Each uses an artist s palette to conjure ordinary scenes of human interaction in a small Swiss Germanic town Everyman, everyday, anytown except that the unique way time operates in each place creates a uniquely alien culture.It s full of dilemmas and paradoxes, and the book itself is a paradox it s so little and light, but it contains SO much of weight There, Apatt, I ve squeezed in a TARDIS Each time is true, but the truths are not the same WHO IS THIS FOR It s for anyone who likes to play with ideas and appreciates beautiful writing I know real physicists who have enjoyed this, but you certainly don t need any esoteric knowledge to be transported by it POETIC PROSEI appreciated the lyricism as I read it, but mainly noted down the ideas There are many series of single sentence, seemingly unrelated, vignettes, especially on page 58 60 Footprints in snow on a winter island A boat on the water at night, its lights dim in the distance A locked cabinet of pills A leaf on the ground in autumn, red and gold and brown, delicate A mother on her bed, weeping, the smell of basil in the air Sunlight, in long angles through the window in late afternoon A worn book lying on a table beside a dim lamp Sunrise Ten minutes past six by the invisible clock on the wall Minute by minute, new objects gain form Hypothetically, time might be smooth or rough, prickly or silky, hard or soft But in this world, the texture of time happens to be sticky In a world where time is a sense a sequence of episodes may be quick or may be slow, dim or intense, salty or sweet, causal or without cause, orderly or random Here, the time deaf are unable to speak what they know For speech needs a sequence of words, spoken in time Where time stands still Raindrops hang motionless in the air Pendulums float mid swing Dogs raise the muzzles in silent howls The aromas of dates, mangoes, coriander, cumin are suspended in space Time can be measured by things other than clocks by the changes in heavenly bodies by heartbeats the duration of loneliness HOW TO BE HAPPYThis is a book of hypotheses, not solutions It isn t theological or prescriptive, but its exposition of adaptation and happiness spoke to me In most of the worlds, some people have coping strategies that bring happiness, or at least contentment, whereas others are mired in misery In many cases, that means going to great, even ridiculous, lengths to gain just a little bit time In those respects, these worlds are like our own In some of the worlds, predestination or inevitability breeds recklessness, free to do as he pleases, free in a world without freedom In another, it s suggested that a world where time is absolute is a world of consolation because time is predictable I m not sure about that one people are still unpredictable Lightman is also very upbeat about a world where people have no memories every night is the first night, and people live in the present but they could just as easily be reckless, not being able to learn from experience.Should we live for the moment, the past, or the future echoes of A Christmas Carol Would you rather have an eternity of contentment, even if that eternity were fixed and frozen, like a butterfly, mounted in a case There is no single answer, but I believe we are responsible creating the framework for our own happiness We may need help especially if saddled with depression or grim circumstances , but ultimately, peace can only come from within How one achieves that is trickier rather like the solution for travelling safely through a black hole that starts, First, build a time machine or maybe the way to build a time machine is to first find the black hole WEIRD WAYS TIME COULD WORK Spoilerish Some examples of worlds described in the book For each, the implications of understanding and ignorance of the nature of time is different, and almost all could be the basis for a whole novel Suppose time is a circle, bending back on itself The world repeats itself, precisely, endlessly Time is like a flow of water, occasionally displaced by a bit of debris, a passing breeze People caught in the branching tributaries find themselves suddenly carried to the past A stop start world where time is seemingly continuous from a distance but disjointed close up Time has three dimensions, like space an object may participate in three perpendicular futures Time is like the light between two mirrors a world of countless copies There is mechanical time and there is body time One is rigid and metallic , the other squirms and wriggles like a bluefish in a bay Where the two times meet, desperation Where the two times go their separate ways, contentment Time flows slowly the farther from the centre of the earth Or the converse The centre of time from which time travels outward in concentric circles , getting faster as one is further away Where time is a local phenomenon, passing at a different rate, each town has to become a self sufficient island, and no traveller can ever return home, being cut off in time, as well as space Time is visible in all places A vast scaffold of time, stretching across the universe And Time is a visible dimension one may choose his motion along the axis of time Which way would you go Consider a world in which cause and effect are erratic each act is an island in time Scientists are helpless, but artists love it A world without a future Time is a line that terminates at the present, both in reality and in the mind What about a world where everyone knows it will end in a month Lightman sees it a world of equality , but I think that s optimistic Or where people are like mayflies and live for only a day each What about a world where people live forever Does infinite time and infinite possibility send you to a frenzy of business, experiencing everything you can imagine, or does it take the pressure off, so you sit around, doing nothing just yet The passage of time brings increasing order In spring, people create mess and chaos Imagine a world in which there is no time Only images I can t really get my head round that one, but it s the most beautiful one Time is not a quantity but a quality Time exists, but it cannot be measured Events are triggered by other events, not by time Time flows not evenly, but fitfully and as a consequence, people receive fitful glimpses of the future Shades of Flashforward Here, Those who have seen the future do not need to take risks, and those who have not yet seen the future wait for their vision without taking risks Time passes slowly for people in motion The converse would have possibilities too There s a backward flowing time, but Kurt Vonnegut, Martin Amis and others have done that in Slaughterhouse Five and Time s Arrow respectively.Perhaps we should try to ignore time One world has only just discovered objective measurement of it The clock was magical unbearable outside natural law but it could not be ignored, so they worshipped it They have been trapped by their own inventiveness and audacity And they must pay with their lives TINY FLAWThe alternative time chapters are interspersed with occasional ones describing Einstein as a young patent clerk, working on this theories of time I found these an unnecessary and unwelcome distraction.HOW TO READ ITYou could easily sit and read this book in one short session, but although you would imbibe the beauty and the tangling of time, I wanted to digest and ponder a few worlds at a time I might choose differently on a reread, though.TO MY FRIENDS yes, you This is another wonderful book that I discovered purely because of the enticing reviews of several friends on GR Thank you To my other friends, I redirect the favour by recommending this book to you.UPDATE re CalvinoA few months after loving this, I read and loved Calvino s Invisible Cities I now realise how heavily influenced Lightman was in content, structure, style every way Whether you class it as homage or borderline plagiarism is debatable, but it does not detract from my enjoyment of this at the time, and I think Lightman s book is probably the accessible of the two, even though it is primarily about physics time, rather than geography.


  5. says:

    I had an awful Physics teacher at University, but one thing he was good at was getting the class to understand Einstein s Theory of Relativity, which has always fascinated me.This book was brilliant Imagine a world where time is a circle.Or a world where cause and effect are erratic Or a world where time is not continuous These are a few of the worlds Einstein dreams up while he s working on his Theory Time is definitely a central theme in this book and few will be able to look at time or life in the same way after reading this book I was impressed by how creatively Lightman used the different concepts of time in his little vignettes This book has compelled me to look for fiction written by scientists A very unique,intelligent and philosophical read.


  6. says:

    Time has always fascinated me Well, I say always, but that s not true In fact, I m almost never fascinated by time Only very occasionally, in short bouts, whenever I happen to think about it If I d have to add up all the time during which I was fascinated by time, I don t think it would add up to much than a week, if that And yet, during my fascination with time, it feels like an endless, enduring fascination that I always carry around with me, and that I ve been subconsciously pondering on ever since I was capable of doing such a grave thing as pondering Given this wonderment with time, I was ready to love this book, a book that would make me think about time and forget about time all at once Sadly, it was not to be.With every page I turned, time, much like the words I was wading through, became a sticky jello Everything started moving slowly My thoughts, the story, the people under yet another arcade in yet another Graschengasse or some other German sounding street that looks like any other German street that apparently always needs to have arcades And I m not talking about the cool arcades with games and pool tables and candy, but the old architectural thing with which there s only one thing to do stand under it and do absolutely nothing of interest The only thing that happens in this book is time It happens in different ways, as it happens, but while time is a great host for happenings, it doesn t make for a very great entertainer itself As my slow thoughts slowly built up to slow frustration I finished another three page chapter, which should actually be called a vignette, because stuff actually happens in chapters These vignettes are intellectual and poetic masterpieces that are boring beyond the imagination, which is the least boring way to be boring, so I ll give them that No, time did not disappear It did not become a concept that in turn became a gateway to leaps and bounds of the imagination Time became the annoying tick tack tocking of the clock while you re trying to sleep Every tick signifying another segment of time irrevocably wasted on lying awake without good reason, trying to read this book I m being harsh I m maybe even being a bit evil Definitely rude So let me have a little pause right here and calm down So I just took a little pause, not that you noticed because you just kept reading, but I assure you I did You can t begin to imagine how much time passed between that dot and that So The stuff I did The laundry The dishes A walk in the drizzle Thinking about Fionnuala s sublime review that shows what a greater mind than mine can give in terms of interpretation of this book Her review also comes with a great soundtrack So yes, it was a good pause, I even had a cookie The American kind, with little bits of chocolate, that fall apart in big crumbles that you can find on your clothes later on for a little treat after the treat And you What did you do with that pause Absolutely nothing You just rushed to the end of this paragraph, perhaps just to end up feeling hungry for a cookie, perhaps even willing to settle for a crumble.Maybe I should point out that those German sounding streets aren t German, but Swiss Imagine that, a book about time set in Switzerland It s also about Einstein What s his nationality, I ask Who knows, I sure don t, that s why I asked The guy lived absolutely everywhere, relatively speaking Time for another pause Wikipedia just told me he s a W rttemberger, whatever the hell that means Guy is so old he was born in a country that doesn t even exist any Makes you wonder if he s even real, right But he was And I guess that means that he is And he dreamed dreams And who decided to commit these dreams to paper Alan Lightman His name Not a coincidence, I would think Unless everything is a coincidence, because every incident links with another incident somehow, every effect knows a cause that s also an effect and you get these long strings of effects and causes and they get all entangled like your headphones do and one of these strings, perhaps through some inextricable knots, must connect Lightman s name to Einstein s dreams The result, namely this book, is as frustrating as the spaghettis coming out of your pocket whenever you want to listen to some tunes during a walk in the drizzle Should you read this book Only if you want to make up your own mind Read Fionnuala s review to get another side of the story, a beautiful one, before making up that cluttered mind of yours Unless you re Fionnuala Scratch that, even if you re Fionnuala, because you deserve a little treat of your own making after all this rambling.My two cents Maybe just read the first line and the last line of every vignette They usually get the point across and it will save you the trouble of reading about how a couple is standing under an arcade or how a butcher is passing an arcade or how that Aarhe aargh indeed is twinkling under the sun or the moon or, wait for it, twinkling in time You didn t wait for it, did you Okay, that s the end of this review for you, young reader What I m trying to say is that some ideas on how time could work are interesting enough, which are described in the beginning of each vignette Then flick two pages while thinking for yourself what it could mean, and then read the last couple of sentences to sometimes get a nice paradox on the way we deal with our past, or how time can make us alone, or how an absolute lack of freedom provides its own form of freedom I think a lot could have been done with both time, this author s time and my time Nothing can be done without time, ergo everything should be done WITH it Lightman didn t do enough and failed to live up to his promising name Of course, that s just my opinion As you very well know by now, it s all relative.


  7. says:

    In this world, a scientific theory is a game Scientific gamers spend their lives investigating new strategies, tactics, opening variations Most gamers work on established games chess, whist, electromagnetism but every now and then someone invents a new game The Institut f r Spielforschung on Hochschulstrasse in Bern is in the middle of hosting an international games conference Gamers have come from a dozen countries to present the results of their latest researches In the main auditorium, Professor Lasker is reading a paper entitled Some Remarks on the Queen s Gambit Declined Further down the hall, the Symposium on Squeezes and Endplays is being attended by some of the world s foremost card theorists.In a small room down in the basement, a junior patent clerk and amateur games enthusiast is explaining the game he has recently invented Only a dozen people have turned up When he has finished, there are some hostile questions one person goes as far as asking whether the rules even make sense During the interval, he asks the patent clerk if they could try a practice session The clerk takes out a board and sets up the pieces.They play four moves, and the clerk suddenly announces checkmate I don t understand says the skeptic ironically But, a moment later, he finds to his surprise that he does The clerk s game is interesting than he had first realized.___________________________________In this world, a scientific theory is a painting There is a long tradition of scientific art, which has created a rich and fertile vocabulary of visual metaphors.Scientific artists belong to many different competing schools Some of the accessible pictures look like religious icons, filled with angels and gold leaf Even laymen who understand nothing about science can look at them and feel momentarily comforted and uplifted More knowledgeable people, who see them displayed in churches and museums, like to show off their learning and explain to their less well informed friends what each halo and wing is meant to signify This information is also imparted by school teachers to their students, who need to remember it in order to pass their yearly tests Other works of scientific art are less obvious in meaning They consist of abstract forms, smudges of color, objects apparently flung together without any purpose or unifying theme Most modern compositions belong to this family Opinion is divided as to their worth Some people say that they embody the very essence of science, others that they are a simple fraud.The Kunstmuseum has a display of these avante garde pieces A young couple are standing in front of one of the less prominent canvases, which contains a few colored shapes arranged in a symmetrical pattern The boy finds nothing to hold his attention, but the girl stops and looks at it carefully from several different angles I have never seen anything like it before, she murmurs, and takes her glasses out of her handbag So what s special about it asks her lover He is disappointed that she is now going to wear her glasses he thinks they make her less desirable She does not answer, but continues to study the painting.___________________________________In this world, a scientific theory is a series of dreams


  8. says:

    One cannot walk down an avenue, converse with a friend, enter a building, browse beneath the sandstone arches of an old arcade without meeting an instrument of time Time is visible in all places Clock towers, wristwatches, church bells divide years into months, months into days, days into hours, hours into seconds, each increment of time marching after the other in perfect succession And beyond any particular clock, a vast scaffold of time, stretching across the universe, lays down the law of time equally for all In this world, a second is a second is a second Time paces forward with exquisite regularity, at precisely the same velocity in every corner of space Time is an infinite ruler Time is absolute Or is it A mechanical engineer like me is concerned with questions like Why and How things work A theoretical physicist like Lightman goes one step further and asks WHAT IF And with this step he crosses the border between science and poetry, pushing the limits of our understanding, of our imagination far beyond the Newtonian, rigid, limited understanding of the natural world Lightman does even in his tribute to Einstein, in this glorious attempt to translate the theory of relativity into the everyday passions, concerns and aspirations of the people he meets on the streets of the city of Bern, finding beauty and freedom in the so called cold equations of modern physics On this late afternoon, in these few moments while the sun is nestled in a snowy hollow of the Alps, a person could sit beside the lake and contemplate the texture of time Hypothetically, time might be smooth or rough, prickly or silky, hard or soft But in this world, the texture of time happens to be sticky Portions of towns become stuck in some moment of history and do not get out So, too, individual people become stuck in some point of their lives and do not get free WHAT IF time can speed up or slow down, stop like a stalled engine or skip seconds ahead like a child playing hopscotch What if time moves backward instead of forward, or becomes transparent to the eye of the beholder, allowing glimpses of the future, or becoming opaque and limiting the experience to the present moment only What if time moves faster as you go up in altitude, like the opposite of gravity What if time moves in random waves like the clouds above the alps or along predestined paths like a tramway How will this fickleness of time alter the lives of the people living in one of these alternate, parallel universes Coming back to that world of stalled time The tragedy of this world is that no one is happy, whether stuck in a time of pain or of joy The tragedy of this world is that every one is alone For a life in the past cannot be shared with the present Each person who gets stuck in time gets stuck alone Lightman translates all these possibilities into the waking dreams of a genius physicist, weaving into the novel biographical notes and the sights, the history of Bern the city where Einstein developed his theory of relativity Wouldn t you rather read a book about the misadventures of time travellers than study differential equations I wish my physics teacher had given me this novel as homework instead of that formula that covered half the blackboard in the classroom Depending on the speed, a person in a fast house could gain several minutes on his neighbors in a single day This obsession with speed carries through the night, when valuable time could be lost, or gained, while asleep At night, the streets are ablaze with lights, so that passing houses might avoid collisions, which are always fatal At night people dream of speed, of youth, of opportunity Who can refute Lightman s arguments that time moves differently for different people To some, it is a snail, a Sunday afternoon spent alone when the phone never rings and the night refuses to come To others, there are not enough seconds in a day to do all the things they want to do, to meet all the people they love and to read all the books that deserve to be read What if time stretches unbroken into infinity and people live forever Strangely, the population of each city splits in two the Latters and the Nows The Laters are masters of procrastination why do anything today, when you will have an infinite number of tommorows to start a job, a project, a life The Nows are constantly reading new books, studying new trades, new languages In order to taste the infinities of life, they begin early and never go slowly And who can question their logic The Nows are easily spotted They are the owners of cafes, the college professor, the doctors and nurses, the politicians, the people who rock their legs constantly whenever they sit down They move through a succession of lives, eager to miss nothing And to some precious few, time is alive with possibilities and wonder, and they dream for us a new universe, a universe dancing to the secret music of celestial spheres In the middle of a room with books on tables, a young man stands and plays his violin He makes gentle melody And as he plays, he looks out to the street below, notices a couple close together, looks at them with deep brown eyes, and looks away He stands so still His music is the only movement, his music fills the room Some readers might find the style of presentation familiar I was struck by the similarities with Italo Calvino, especially with Invisible Cities and Cosmicomiche When I reviewed the latter, I described it as what happens when you let a poet loose in a room full of physics manuals Alan Lightman approaches the subject from the opposite side, a perfect mirror image of Calvino a scientist who has the sensibility and the way with metaphor of a poet Together, they arrive at a serendipitous midpoint where science becomes fun and adventurous, where numbers become living people breathing, running, loving, dreaming Quick or slow, time stops for nobody, and in the final pages of his unique novel, Lightman echoes the wisdom of the ancients and invites us to seize the day and enjoy being alive In a world where time is a sense, like sight or like taste, a sequence of episodes may be quick or may be slow, dim or intense, salty or sweet, causal or without cause, orderly or random, depending on the prior history of the viewer Philosophers sit in cafes on Amthausgasse and argue whether time really exists outside human perception Who can say if an event happens fast or slow, casually or without cause, in the past or the future Who can say if events happen at all The philosophers sit with half opened eyes and compare their aestethics of time also, Indeed, each man and each woman desires a bird Because this flock of nightingales is time Time flutters and fidgets and hops with these birds Trap one of these nightingales beneath a bell jar and time stops The moment is frozen for all people and trees and soil caught within In truth, these birds are rarely caught The children, who alone have the speed to catch birds, have no desire to stop time For the children, time moves too slowly already They rush from moment to moment, anxious for birthdays and new years, barely able to wait for the rest of their lives The elderly desperately wish to halt time, but are much too slow and fatigued to entrap any bird For the elderly, time darts by much too quickly They yearn to capture a single minute at the breakfast table drinking tea, or a moment when a grandchild is stuck getting out of her costume, or an afternoon when the winter sun reflects off the snow and floods the music room with light But they are too slow They must watch time jump and fly beyond reach.Highly Recommended


  9. says:

    The Value of TimeTime is the skeleton in the intellectual closet, the elephant in the scientific room, and the rogue gene of rationality Time presents a series of paradoxes which Lightman presents as if they were dreams to be analysed not to be resolved but merely to be appreciated Perhaps that s the limit of human capability, that is, merely to appreciate time as something unknowable If so, then the purpose of time may well be to keep human beings humble, an unexpected consequence of eating from the tree of knowledge.Time, of course, is an essential concept not just for the conduct of everyday life and the purported rationality of scientific thought, but also as a foundation for ethics, and for one s fundamental feeling about the world and our place in it So how we think about time, however unconsciously, matters We wouldn t be able to communicate without time since words come in a sequence Yet single celled animals appear to communicate and have no detectable sense of time Time has been considered as a threat or a consolation as objective or entirely subjective as universal or merely local as a fact of existence or a fantasy created by human beings to make our lives bearable as something which gives or destroys meaning But no matter what view one takes on time, its paradoxes prevail Lightman catalogues them in his witty vignettes of life in Berne If time is circular, there can be no choice, no free will If time travel is possible, choice and free will could destroy the world If there are dimensions in time as there are in space, then there could be an infinity of simultaneous worlds If time is reversible, the relation between cause and effect is merely conventional, etc., etc It seems that no matter where one turns philosophically, someone has already opened a door to understanding and someone else has closed the same door with a decisive bang.Without time, there would be no regrets, no sense of loss But there probably wouldn t be anything like love either, certainly not anticipation or longing Commitments and contracts would be meaningless History, indeed memory of any kind except for the most unconsciously instinctive including the false or distorted kind , could not exist Greed would be eliminated so would ambition Neither progress nor deterioration would be noticeable But entropy would be stopped in its tracks so everything would be much tidier Age would be a mythical fantasy Ethics as a consideration of the consequences of one s actions would be senseless On the other hand, an ethical ideal of equality might well be a consequence of the absence of time Does time even exist in a galactic black hole So Lightman is pretty comprehensive But I think there is at least one theory of time, or Einsteinian dream, which he may have neglected Time as metric of value That time is a metric, a scale on which we measure and evaluate, is something fairly certain Such a metric is neither subjective nor objective but inter subjective and communal, quite a bit like language really So it is something real but created by human beings for an evolutionary purpose, namely to be able to rank things events, structures, traditions, words, and people according to their importance And, of course, this implies arguing about their importance An agreement on something as the basis for disagreement, one might say.How ironically fitting, therefore, that the nature of the thing agreed as a metric should be the subject of such intense disagreement and confusion I am 72 years of age I can prove it by both memory and birth certificate But memory is uncertain, and documents can be forged In any case, the literal meaning of my assertion is that I have experienced 72 Springtimes a mere convention Scientifically it means that the replicating tails of my bodily cells are running out of steam Culturally, it means that I am either a carrier of wisdom or over the hill depending on whom you ask Psychologically, that I am probably filled with memories and suppressed memories than is good for me All these are evaluations, judgments that require the metric of time As with all metrics of value, there is nothing beyond, under, or inside the metric of time It stands on its own It is its own substance We place ourselves and everything else on that metric The metric is not part of us or of anything else Confusing the substance of the metric with something either out there in the cosmos, or in here in one s mind, is a mistake Just as Zeno created his paradoxes of movement in space by confusing the metric with the world to which it is applied, so we create similar paradoxes with time The apparent contradictions of quantum mechanics is just one example There are, of course, not one metric of time but any number of them depending on our perspective on the world just as Einstein showed These metrics are not simply contraries, they may even be contradictories uniformly increasing as others decline Comparing them implies a difference in purpose which completely explains the difference in scales Many of these purposes are strange to prove that God exists or that he doesn t exist to prove that the universe expanded rapidly or that it didn t As if time itself doesn t change with the intentions associated with it Time is its own metric and nothing else, just like every other measure of value.This theory of time as a metric of value may involve its own paradoxes But it does have one signal advantage by allowing purpose to determine what time is, the theory incorporates all of Lightman s common sense and philosophical conjectures, including Einstein s, and allows each its place None are incorrect, although some may be better than others depending on intention Responses on a postcard, please.


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