If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
–T.S. Eliot, from Burnt Norton
Here in the Gallery, “at the still point in the turning world,” I’m using this eternal pause to do some research. It occurred to Elder and me that maybe Emelia’s original theory about time loops was correct. Maybe there is a way that she and Free can return to the time they left, and we can all be together again!
We know that Amina has returned to Wolfflandia with no harm done to her coding. She traveled through the time-space thingy, not the Tardis, and so she appears unaffected by the strange regressive/progressive decoding shift that has caused Free and Emelia to experience rapid aging.
Amina seems to have settled into her life back home with no ill effects, so the focus of our efforts, at this point, is on getting Free and Em back home and back to childhood again.
At first, the research felt so discouraging. I mostly found things like this:
Elder always seems to intuitively understand equations like this, and he explains them more quickly than I can follow. Somehow, I translate my experience of the universe through words and feelings, not equations. Art and music work for me, too, but I don’t seem to share Elder’s talent at understanding the world through the language of mathematics.
I did come across an amazing poem by T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton. It’s funny because I remember Eliot’s Four Quartets being on our bookshelf in Uncle Jacob’s home all through childhood–I just never paid attention to it. And when I encountered it the other day on the web, I saw, in a flash, the “kingfisher’s wing… answer light to light.”
Time past and time future
Allow but a little consciousness.
To be conscious is not to be in time
But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden…
Only through time time is conquered.
Whatever step we need to do, we need to do it in a world where time exists! Where aging is on, and where the slow movement of time allows us to enter fully into the present moment in order to remember time past… and then, perhaps…
The flick of the wing faded as quickly as it flashed, and I was left again in the still point.
Just before I gave up in discouragement, I came across a conversation that Paul Davies had with Edge.org in which he mentions a proposal made by Kurt Gödel, a colleague of Einstein’s in the 1940s.
Gödel discovered that if the universe were rotating it would then be possible for an object to travel in a certain closed loop in space and come back to its starting point before it left! In other words a person could travel around a loop in space — and discover that it is also a loop in time.
I showed it to Elder.
“Whoa,” he said, “That’s exactly what Free was talking about when he called me up before they disappeared. I remember he said, ‘Me and Em are gonna head off and have all these adventures, but you won’t even notice that we’re gone until we’re back again.’ He called it the ‘lyin’ witchin’ wardrobe.'”
“Time must be fully engaged in order for a loop in time to occur,” I said. “That’s why the loop didn’t properly form when they departed from Animal Hat. Aging is off there so that the kids don’t grow up while they’re at camp.”
“But aging’s on at home,” Elder said excitedly.
“Yeah.” I began to wonder if maybe, just maybe, we could find a way to loop up time in our home world.
We read on.
“Look at this!” we cried simultaneously.
Gödel’s idea of the rotating universe is just one scenario; there are others. The most popular is the wormhole in space, which is a little bit like a black hole but different…
To travel in time, what you do is this. You first plunge through the wormhole and exit at the remote end, then you zoom back home again through ordinary space at nearly the speed of light. If the circumstances are right, you can get back before you leave.
“Back before you leave!” I said. “Elder! We might be able to bring our boy back again! And as a child, too!”
To make [a wormhole], probably you would need to capture something like a black hole, and then adapt its interior to create a wormhole. We’re talking about cosmic-scale engineering here
“Oh,” I said. “How do we even do that? I’m ok at fixing plumbing or upgrading refrigerators, but cosmic-scale engineering? I don’t think I’m up to that!”
“Have you seen those portal thingies?” Elder asked. “I’ve been reading about them in GTW News and Times.”
“Who do we know that has access to that type of technology? Do you even know any scientists?”
We both thought for a moment. I remembered Animal Hat Cathy Tea telling me about the father of one of the camp kids there, Penelope Pigglewiggle, an alien and a friend of young onezero.
“There’s Cocoa Pigglewiggle,” I said. “I remember that CT mentioned that he was doing research in portals! onezero is with them now!”
I called Animal Hat CT and told her what we’d discovered.
“I’ll call Cocoa right away!” she said. “I’m sure if anybody understands this stuff, he does!”
Elder and I read the rest of the article. I was intrigued by what Davies said about the information processing capabilities at the subatomic level. This is something I feel I know intuitively, as when I tune into that deep level of silence, I feel that I can hear–or at least sense on an electrical level–the processing of information that is happening within and without. It is this which links me up to all-that-is.
“There’s deep healing here,” I said to Elder. We read together:
Why do we live in a universe that has the capability of processing such a huge amount of information at the subatomic level? Of course, that’s not a scientific question, it’s a philosophical question. But I’ve a sneaking feeling I know the answer, which is that it plays a crucial role in the origin of life, and possibly in the nature of consciousness too.
“Do you know?” I said. “All the damage that’s been done to Free and Em’s coding through their travel from an aging-off world, and then through the Tardis–all of that which resulted in them aging-up into elders while Free still remained a child inside–it’s possible that traveling back to the time before they left, that just might heal it up again!”
“I’ve always felt it would work out right,” Elder said.
“Look at this–this subatomic processing. It’s hooked up with the origin of life! And I know, through my own experience, it’s the source of consciousness, too! You know there’s healing in that!”
I hugged Elder. “Our baby’s going to be ok,” I said.
“I always knew he would be,” Elder replied. “He is the Intergalactic Mailman, after all!”
“And don’t forget his interstellar cheese delivery mission!” I joked.
Suddenly relieved, we were suddenly famished, and we headed into the kitchen for a helping of spinach frittata with gouda.