The puzzle of Everywhen

Nothing seizes my imagination as completely as Time does. The concept of Time is a high one. That is, Time as a measurable, independent subject which hastens or halts other life events. I suspect all animals have a sense of rudimentary time, but it is only a disconnected perception of time in the sense that they are hungry or tired or anxious or frightened. The presumptive result of Time is how animals measure and experience it. This is how they realize it. Time as an independent environmental trait does not reside in the animal mind. What is existent is the result of Time. Time bequeaths All, but lower consciousness’s only realize it for this effect and nothing else. As humans, we have a nuanced concept of Time that allows us to separate and parcel it out from the influences it has on life. We possess the self-awareness and aptitude to appraise life independently of anything else. We understand Time brings us good and it brings us bad. But we do not blame Time. Time is an integral fruition of the unfolding nature of our learned apprehensions. A dog does not know Time. It only knows, from experience, that when certain sounds, neighborhood behaviors, and other environmental objects are present, that the owner will be home soon. And food. The dog does not know 5 pm, but the dog knows that when the next door neighbor drives up in his pick up the owner is not far behind. Time is a displaced master concept hidden by the base stimuli’s that the dog awaits to be satisfied.

Time is on my mind because I just bought a new book for my Kindle called About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang by physicist, Adam Frank. I just started the book but Frank tackles the mystical essence of Time and our comprehension of it from an astrophysicist’s perspective. One passage in the book just caught my eye:

The Aborigines of Australia, for example, conceive of returning to the primordial cosmos in the Dreamtime. As Armstrong wrote, “Dreamtime…is timeless and ‘everywhen.’

I was transfixed by the concept of “everywhen.” In my attempts to envision and understand Time, I’ve found myself contemplating a latent concept residing in my mind that seems to define “everywhen.” It is a faceless and elusive concept which nevertheless is embodied deep in my primal awareness. Timeless existence. Dreamtime. A period of time which never began and will not end. Which encircles itself. An instant of existence, now, then, what has always been and will always be.

I’ve often wondered about Time’s fluidity and malleable essence. Growing up, we accept that time is non-negotiable, an affixed, unmovable wall which dictates our existence and which we encircle helplessly but which we are controlled by. Time. The master. But Time is not such, and in fact physics has demonstrated that time is not purely objective. In the presence of extreme gravity or velocity, time in fact does warp and shift. The key here is not that time is fluid, but that time is just as elusive but knowable as any other physical characteristic of our cosmological world and abides by the same rules and limitations, just as a mystical probability wave is rendered visible with the right instruments.

I know Everywhen. I live Everywhen.

I have always worn it as a drape over my existence. I’ve often felt as if this moment is not far afield from a moment a distant ancestor experienced while sitting on a deserted plain 20,000 years ago. Two moments separated by millenia are much closer than we entertain. Time is not so vast, it’s our comprehension of it that is vast. All time, Everywhen, resides in our mind; we dissemble it into millions of unrecognizable parts, this is what our consciousness does, and we ascribe incomprehensible largeness and complexity to it. Is it possible all this has happened in the singular moment that is the reality, but which our hairtrigger senses sought to enliven with experience and drawn out tales of imagination and life and death? I think of the executed prisoner in the short story, An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge, who lived out half the story in the last few seconds of his life while a noose choked his life away. In the book, he travels a long distance, encounters a vast range of barriers, before finding his way back home to his wife. The journey, lasting days in his dying mind, but only a few seconds of our time as he hung at the end of a rope.

Time is a facade. All the time that has ever existed is all the time that ever was.
Time is neither destroyed nor created?
Time is infinite. But it is finite, because, it is…Time. Can Time resolve itself while continuing to unravel into eternity. Because it is Time. Time can create a whole greater than its sum.

This is Time. But, is it?