Thursday, 12 August 2010

Would Time by any other name still stink the same?

A wordy intermezzo

One of the things I love the most about my life is that it occasionally produces short, electric word storms that get me going.
(They get other people going, too, although not necessarily in the same direction.)

Here's a snippet of one such impromptu exchange that happened as I was standing on a terrace with an acquaintance of mine who is a physicist, on August 10th, the notte di San Lorenzo, when Saint Lawrence sheds tears - AKA comets - and wishes come true.

I must have had a secret wish for a rambling conversation about time, because that certainly came true.

The beginning of the conversation is intentionally omitted.
You're welcome to insert one of your own making.

HE: You mean, our perception of time?

ME: Time is nothing but perception. You of all people should know that.
And maybe that's just it. We name it as if it were something outside, a force of nature or something, when in reality it's all on the inside. All of it.

HE: Not all of it.

ME: All of it. And I know everyone is supposed to sort of know that, but intellectual grasp is one thing and true knowledge, conviction, is another. If time were used as a name for a perception, almost sense-like, like smell, sight, touch, maybe that would make Time easier to grasp. And maybe even manipulate.

HE (silent, staring at me):

You just gave me an idea.

You just gave me an idea.

(It's not an editing error; I gave him an idea twice. Or maybe he thought I did not understand the first time.)

I wish I could say he dramatically stormed out and ended up producing something that will be on all news channels. Or at least in Nature magazine.
But he didn't. He stayed for pizza and apple beer, and even watched part of Australia's Next Top Model (a rerun) on TV with me.

Still, he said I gave him an idea.
Let's just hope it's about physics.


M. R. said...

You gals always make me laugh. :)
Are non-physicists not accepted on that terrace? I'l bring my own apple cider! Pizza too! :-)

Myosotis said...

And boy, would you be welcome! :)

Any time, my friend.
Don't worry about the cider an d the pizza.
Just bring your own time. ;)