Home: Scrying: Time and the cosmic mobius strip

Time and the cosmic mobius strip

March 30, 2006

I’m on spring break this week, which should explain some of my recent absence, and I’ve spent most of it obsessing about time. This is partly due to the fact that I procrastinate on some things, saying “I’ll have time to do that on spring break.” A cosmic mobius strip with a dimension of timeSo, vacation actually rolls around, and all of these chores are waiting patiently. The pump in the pond cries to be fixed; stories and articles are outlined, waiting to be written… but do I have time for them all? The odds don’t look good. But perhaps the flaw is not in the planning, but my assumption that I could ever “have” time. Is it even possible to possess something like time? On the other hand, time is a dimension, an inescapable aspect of our universe. All that we experience is subject to time. So everything has time… we just can’t necessarily use it.

I had a number of people comment privately on the poems I posted the other day. A few noted the line “Slipping, cracking, nothing lasting” as if they, too, were troubled by our inability to hold on to a moment. We can never exactly “have” time… it is slipping through our fingers, fracturing slowly, but surely.

One person wrote to me via e-mail, asking about the nature of time during meditative states. Can we reach a state where time does not exist? He wrote about being in such a state or plane of existence:

…Our concept of time does not exist here. The past, present, and future are all existing together (at once). And any being on that plane can experience any one of them, or even combinations of them. The more I think about this, the more my @!#&ing head hurts. Do you know what I mean? -J

I think he has something… but I envision the “being on that plane” he describes as the being of the universe itself. We’re pretty sure that the cosmos was once a quantum singularity—a single thing, collapsing within itself—a cosmic mobius strip. That singularity would, from all outside appearances, be as J. describes… The past, present, and future all exist together.

Now here’s the weird part: Is the cosmos still a timeless mobius strip? I’m not saying the big bang never happened—from our perspective. It must have happened, of course, and is still stretching and expanding, to this day. But even that sentence relies on a dimension of time, making a distinction between past and present. In other words, we’re biased. We can only deal with the universe in terms that have time… and when we try not to, our heads hurt. (Yes, J, I completely understand the @!#&ing pain.) We only possess so many tools by which we can explore our universe, and so far, every one of those tools is flawed by an aspect of time—except one: Thought. Somehow, our minds allow us to ignore that necessary dimension, and even perhaps allow us to look at the cosmic mobius strip from the outside. There’s a catch, of course: there is so much that can be imagined, but without the aspect of time to define what is versus what was or what will be, we cannot distinguish illusion from reality.

That’s the part that makes my head hurt, and causes me to call myself an existentialist: They say time is an illusion, but I think they’re wrong. Time must exist; it is everything else that is an illusion.

For more on this topic, see my series from January on chaos and awareness: Part I: A Dangerous Knowledge and Part II: A Delay From Reality.

Also, any regular readers might recall that I’m working on a story about the beginnings of the universe, Alpha: The Antegenesis, that would tie in beautifully here. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to work on it (see all of the above.) While I can’t share any of those details yet, I have another story that might tie in just as well. Rather than reflecting the origins of the cosmos, it relates to illusions and the effects on the mind. It’s one of my more abstract works, capturing a sense of madness brought on by too much philosophizing. I’ll try to post it over the next few days, so J. can see he isn’t the only one whose head hurts sometimes. Please, stay tuned, and we’ll return to our regularly chaotic schedule. ;)