By David R Graham. 05.02.05
‘What is a theory?’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Let me put it this way, ‘What is a theory?’
‘Well, since you put it that way. A theory is an incompletely formulated idea.’
‘Is it?’
‘I, think so. Why do you ask?’
‘I have been thinking.’
‘Is that wise?’
‘I have not experienced any adverse symptoms, so far. So I shall continue to push the envelope.’
‘That’s very pioneering of you. What have you being thinking?’
‘I have been thinking, in relation to theories, that there is no such thing as Time.’
‘That sounds suspiciously like an adverse symptom, to me.’
‘Why do you think, that?’
‘Because it is irrational to think that there is no such thing as Time.’
‘Why do you say, that?’
‘Because the theory of Time has been an accepted fact, for centuries.’
‘Ah, but you see. A theory cannot be an accepted fact. Can it?’
‘Granted. But you understood what I meant.’
‘I’m not sure that I did.’
‘What’s not to understand. Everyone accepts that time is a fact of life.’
‘Well, everyone, except you, it seems. How can time, not exist?’
‘Because it is a man made concept.’
‘Not so. Time is not an abstract, it is a reality.’
‘Not so. Time is not a real thing.’
‘That is an unfounded statement; bereft of any shred of supportive evidence.’
‘On the contrary. Since Time is a man made concept, it has no basis in reality. It is non existent.’
‘Now I know why you shunned regular employment, for the past decade.’
‘A case in point. Regular employment is another man made concept, that bears no relation to reality.’
‘Bear that thought in mind, the next time you suffer a power failure.’
‘Which brings us neatly back to the subject of Time. You used the words, ‘the next time’. What exactly does that mean?’
‘It means, when there is another power failure, it will be similar to the last one. The power failure we had, last time, will be similar to the one we have, next time. It is a perfectly straightforward statement.’
‘It would be more straightforward to say, that the next power failure will be similar to the pervious one. Time has nothing to do with either power failure.’
‘I am beginning to feel a localised pain in my frontal lobe. Be merciful and tell me, why you think that there is no such thing as Time?’
‘I will answer that heartfelt question, with a cold, logical, one.’
‘I detect a faint trace of mercy in that. Ask your question.’
‘What existed, before Time?’
‘There has never been a time, before Time. Time always was. And always will be, I might add. Beside, the very fact that you have asked that question, proves the existence of Time.’
‘Since the word is the subject of this discussion, I am forced to use it. My use of it, does not make it a reality. Time, is just that: a word. The theory of Time only exists because the word was invented in an attempt to describe the indescribable.’
‘Time is not indescribable. It is the scientific measurement of…of the duration of any given event. From its starting point, to its finishing point. Time is the measurement of the gap, real or theoretical, between those two points. Like running a mile, in under four minutes. Simple.’
‘And how is the duration of such an event measured?’
‘Well, I may be going out on a very shaky limb here, but I would say, by the use of a watch, at the very least. Most likely, a stopwatch.’
‘Exactly. Such mechanical devices have nothing to do with Time.’
‘Stopwatches have nothing to do with Time? I need a large Jameson’s at this point. I will be right back.’
‘Stopwatches, clocks; all so called, timepieces, are merely manufactured devices, that are segmented into exact proportions, of seconds, minutes, hours and days. Those segments are then used to determine the duration of a given event; from its starting point, to its finishing point. The duration of such an event is governed by the number of segments of the watch, or clock, and nothing else.’
‘Ok. I will allow that that just might be true of analogue watches and clocks. But what about digital clock? What, even, about atomic clocks? They are not divided into segments.’
‘Oh, but they are. A digital clock uses numbers, and an atomic clock uses regulated frequency oscillations of caesium, to produce the segments that determine the duration of any given event; whether it be microwaving a meal, or calculating the MPH of a motor vehicle.’
‘Don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing.’
‘What am I doing?’
‘You are using words, like segment, and duration, and measurement, to avoid using the more obvious, and more logical word, time. Such an avoidance technique highlights the weakness in your argument.’
‘My argument is not weak. Time does not exist. It is merely a man made invention.’
‘If it has been invented, then it must exist. That is the nature of invention.’
‘Time has no reality.’
‘Tell that to Albert Einstein, at the next darts match.’
‘Albert Einstein is largely responsible for the spread of the erroneous notion of Time: amongst other things.’
‘Such as?’
‘Not now. I don’t want to muddy the waters.’
‘Too late, mon brave. How was Einstein in error, about Time, I mean?’
‘He got off on the wrong foot, with his theory of relativity, I mean. He got back on the right foot, when he removed the notion of Time, from his theory. From that point on, there was no past, present, or future, separated by Time. There was only a continuum. And that is what existed before Time, mon brave.’
‘A continuum? I am not entirely sure what that is.’
‘Put simply, it is the existence of everything, past, present, and future, without the involvement of any notion of Time. In other words, Heaven.’
‘Heaven? That’s a Creationist notion, isn’t it? I know you’re not one of those.’
‘No. I am not. I don’t mean, Heaven, in a biblical sense. I mean Heaven, in an idyllic, worldly, sense. A world without Time.’
‘Such a world would not last long. It would collapse into chaos overnight.’
‘Such a Timeless world, would not happen overnight. It would take…it would…’
‘Ah ha! Hosed down in your own backyard! You were about to say, that it would take time!’
‘I use the word in a purely explanatory role. Such a use, does not indicate a belief in the accepted meaning of the word.’
‘Perhaps not, but it does indicates an acceptance, however unconsciously given, of the existence of the universally accepted belief in the use, if not the reality, of Time. Does it not?’
‘No. It does not. A slip of the tongue, cannot be taken to indicate anything; other than what it is.’
‘What about a Freudian slip?’
‘Please don’t bring that man into the equation. I have drunk too much alcohol to discuss his psychological problems.’
‘Ok. You sound as though you might have difficulty discussing any problem, right now. Do you want to go?’
‘Certainly not. The night is young. I want to continue our captivating discussion. If you have the time.’
‘Oh. I always have the time to talk about Time.’
‘What is the time, by the way?’
‘Do you know. I have completely lost track of it.’
‘Oh. What about it?’
‘Well. Since you don’t believe it exists. We can stay here as long as we like.’
‘Yes. We can. Until, that is…’
‘Until what?’
‘Until the landlord calls, Time.’
‘And when he does, we will have to obey him. We will have to leave here.’
‘He has power over time itself. He has power over our…over our, time.’
‘Such power should not rest in the hands of a mere publican.’
‘Alas. What are we to do. We are powerless in the face of such timeless power.’
‘We could steal his bell.’
‘What bell?’
‘The bell, he uses to wield his power over the comings and goings of us mere mortals, of course. The bell he uses to control Time. Time! Who gave publicans the right to commandeer that word? They have claimed time, for themselves’
‘He does not possess such a bell. He calls Time, with his deep, tenor voice.’
‘A punch in the throat, would soon put a stop to that mode of time control.’
‘That’s not a universally recommended method of dealing with Timelords…landlords, who abuse their power over Time.’
‘Why not?’
‘You could end up, doing Time. At Her Majesty’s pleasure.’
‘Someone, needs to do Time. Time is overdue for a good doing.’
‘Perhaps we could do it.’
‘Do what?’
‘Give Time a good doing. Outlaw the blood stuff.’
‘You mean, become, Time bandits?’
‘Why not.’
‘You’re a good mate, Tim. But I haven’t got time for banditry. I’m behind with my brassicas.’