There are few things as steady and predictable as the passage of time. But what if time were different? Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman helps us gain a new appreciation for the time we do experience.
In a world where time stands till:
Days, months, and years become mere illusions. When time ceases to progress, you'll find yourself trapped in an unchanging moment.
In some ways, it is time's steady passage that propels us forward, the steady ticking hand that underlies progress.
In a world of looped time:
We relive certain moments over and over again. Time repeats itself in a perpetual loop. It doesn't matter what choices you make. You'll always have a chance to try again.
Without novelty and forward motion, the eternally looping world diminishes the significance of our choices and actions. It is in time's linearity where our actions bear consequence and our lives find purpose.
In a world of changing time:
Where time accelerates and decelerates at will, we live in a fragmented and disorientated existence. Accelerated time means rapid aging, and childhood friends grow old while you may remain in slow motion, or vice versa.
Temporal consistency provides the stability for a sense of reality and a shared understanding of the world.
In a world where time flows backwards: Events unfold in reverse, muddling causes and effects. Instead of making choices, we live the effects and discover the causes. We see history, and progress, happen backwards.
Without time's unidirectional flow, we would lose the ability to actively shape the trajectory of our lives, and the belief in causes and effects that propels us towards a better tomorrow.
Take solace in the knowledge there's always tomorrow.