Hmmm…. Time Travel? Maybe, I suppose. I recall a strange video clip in which Steven Hawking throws a Time Travelers’ Party. He sends an invitation for a fancy soiree, holds the event, and sets the scene where future folk will find a welcome reception at specific coordinates in the past, should they find the means to get there.
Then, there’s the Baby and Bird pub in Oxford, England, where the famed Inklings writers convened to share manuscripts. There was a curious tile in the wall of one of the more private rooms, wherein, while drinking my Pimm’s Cup, I was told by some cat playing cards that Tolkien, Lewis, and company made a pact to use that tile as a sort of gathering horcrux, if they discovered they could get meet up again after crossing into the world beyond. I can imagine that conversation among pipe-smoking guys in tweed, very seriously stacking their hands together, imbuing their spirits into a piece of decorative ceramic. I hope it is a true story. I’ve heard enough Brian Greene to appreciate theoretically how perhaps skipping ahead to the future is possible.
My greatest sympathy, though, for the time theorists goes to my old professor, who used to pray for things to be different in his past. He said he believed God could change anything. I thought it was eccentric, and I sort of think he was praying for particular events and things to actually have been different. I admit, his level of specificity is hard for me to brook, but the concept makes a measure of sense when I consider that a person’s past is still actively present in her or his personhood insofar as we are constantly remembering, revaluing, and reintegrating ourselves in one way or another.
From a transcendental personal perspective, things that are decades old condition certain meanings, values, and tolerances in the present self. I have lunch with a friend every couple of months, and there is a never a visit that goes by in which she does not recount and somehow integrate the experience of having a gun pointed at her head. Our stories, especially how we re-member them, great and small, live on in us. It occurs to me even as I write that our conditioning is not even our own exclusively; we carry legacies of the human and cultural past in our embodied presents. And, we presume the future every time we make a promise.
I am reminded of St. Augustine here and largely persuaded to appreciate the value of recognizing something like a perpetual NOW: Continue reading “Time Traveling Letter to Kids of the 70s (especially you, Natalie) by Natalie Weaver”