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Time: Alan Lightman ‘Einstein’s Dreams’

October 18, 2012

These quotes are from Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams:

p68 Philosophers have argued that without a trend toward order, time would lack meaning.

p74 without time, there is no life

p82 Without memory, each night is the first night, each morning is the first morning, each kiss and touch are the first.
A world without memory is a world of the present. The past exists only in books, in documents….

p83 … Without his Book of Life, a person is a snapshot, a two-dimensional image, a ghost.

p91 [imagined world…] No one is still.
Why such a fixation on speed? Because in this world time passes more slowly for people in motion. Thus everyone travels at high velocity to gain time. …

p93 This obsession with speed carries through the night, when valuable time could be lost, or gained, while asleep. …At night, people dream of speed, of youth, of opportunity.

p150 Long ago, before the Great Clock, time was measured by changes in heavenly bodies: the slow sweep of stars across the night sky, the arc of the sun and variation in light, the waxing and waning of the moon, tides, seasons. Time was measured also by heartbeats, the rhythms of drowsinees and sleep, the recurrence of hunger, the menstrual cycles of women, the duration of loneliness. Then, in a small town in Italy, the first mechanical clock was built.

p154 …commerce requires a temporal union.

p63 …contemplate the texture of time

p116 …Some few people are born without any sense of time. As consequence, their sense of place becomes heightened to excrutiating degree. … Yet the time-deaf are unable to speak what they know, for speech needs a sequence of words, spoken in time.

p115 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.

 

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