Silly Answers to Important Questions and Important Questions to Silly Answers: Part One

by lisa st john

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen all at once.” Einstein

dali

Where does the time go?” A simple idiom, but the answer is never simple.

It goes into the past.”

Isn’t the past part of time?”

Yes, but… .”

If we want to understand the ontology of time (if such a thing exists) philosophers fall short and science fiction wins. How many online discussions of the movie Lucy are happening right now?

Language is not immune to time either. Prose falls short and poetry wins. Apparently, both the words “space” and “moment” are synonyms for time. A moment of space, please, while I gather my thoughts.

Knowing is easier than being.

I know, for example, that it has been 625 days (also known as 900,000 minutes) since Kent died. Apparently, time passes. That does not make it any easier to BE in the so-called present. Sorry. Wish I could say it gets easier. It doesn’t. It just gets…just gets on being.

I know, getting back to Lucy, that the human brain uses far more than 10% of its capacity, despite the premise of the film. But science-fiction raises great questions. It is the perfect medium for critical thinking. In addition to suppositional thinking, (“Wow. IF we only use 10%…”) people should leave the movie also wondering, “Wow. What does the REAL science say about brain theory?” The art asks the question. How we answer it is another thing altogether.

“In the movie Lucy, the entire assumption that humans only use 10 percent of the brain is misleading. The correction is this fact: it’s not that we use only 10 percent of our brains, rather it’s that we only understand about 10 percent of how it functions.” Olympia LePoint (She really is a rocket scientist. How cool is THAT?)

There is a huge distinction between “using” and “understanding.”

“Another mystery hidden within our crinkled cortices is that out of all the brain’s cells, only 10 percent are neurons; the other 90 percent are glial cells, which encapsulate and support neurons, but whose function remains largely unknown.” Boyd, Scientific American

There is also a huge distinction between “mystery” and “unknown.” The first connotes secrecy, the second implies an inevitable answer. It’s “unknown” for now.

But the character of Lucy knows. She says something along the lines of, “Time is the only true unit of measure, it gives proof to the existence of matter, without time, we don’t exist.”

Without time we don’t exist.” I need to wrap my brain around that idea. Is it because at the atomic level there is only frequency and no “time”? But we put a bunch of atoms together and we get time because we can measure decay? So…”we” don’t exist at the sub-atomic level, but the stuff that makes us (also known as matter) does. Okay. Back to time.

The time it takes for weeds to grow in the flower bed is directly proportionate to the time it takes to weed the other flower bed.

The real Lucy is over three million years old.

I want to believe that the anecdote of how the scientific Lucy got her name is true.

The time I spend reading on the beach is much shorter than the time I spend in meetings, regardless of the fact that they are both measured by, let’s say, 60 minutes.

We can measure by how many treatments are left or by days of sobriety. We can measure by the arrival of hummingbirds or the departure of the sun over the horizon.

We measure by moments. The poets know this.

 

You’ve asked me what the lobster is weaving there with
his golden feet?
I reply, the ocean knows this.
You say, what is the ascidia waiting for in its transparent
bell? What is it waiting for?
I tell you it is waiting for time, like you.” Pablo Neruda “Enigmas

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