Archive for the ‘Alan Lightman’ Category
Einstein’s Dreams, by Alan Lightman
published in 1993
where I got it: my bookshelf
why I read it: It’s very meditative.
How can such a tiny book be filled with such readable enlightenment?
How can something as complex as the nature of time be put forth in simple words and stories?
Alan Lightman, professor of physics and creative writing at MIT is also a magician. He takes the thoughts and dreams that Einstein might have had in Berne Switzerland and turns them into perfect little vignettes of how time works, or how time might work, or how we wish time would work, and turns them into meditative magic.
In some worlds, time moves in fits and starts, in others, it moved backwards. In still others, there is no past or future, only now, and as people can’t remember what they did this morning or where they will be tonight, there is no responsibility for one’s actions. In some worlds, time moves faster or slower depending on how fast or slow you are moving, or how close you are to the center of the Earth, in others, time is a sense, like touch or smell. In one world, time is sticky:
“Hypothetically, time might be smooth or rough, prickly or sticky, 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 in their lives and not get free”.
ahh, perhaps these dreams of Switzerlands where time is a little different, perhaps they aren’t so different from how time works in our world after all. Time after all, is relative, and we all seem to know someone who suffers from being stuck in a moment in their past. Sometimes that person is ourself.