Deepening Time

The direction of time is always in, in every direction. The past does not exist at some distant point on a timeline, it exists embedded inside each body.

As the early universe expanded and cooled, loose waves of light “froze out” into bounded cycles of particles[1], building time into timelessness. Only with the emergence of matter did time begin to layer itself into timelessness. Every time an atom absorbs a photon, light becomes matter, wrapping timelessness into time via the energy held in electron orbits. Plants weave timelessness into time, by weaving light into matter. What we experience as movement through time, I suggest as a deepening of matter into the timelessness of light.

With every birth, the universe begins anew, omnigenetic, always beginning. With every first breath, first step, first cry, first blossom, first thought, first playful romp in springtime meadows, the universe begins anew. With every birth, time begins anew—a seed sprouting, hummingbird hatching, baby born, particle emerging from the quantum vacuum, woman starting over single again, or star first lit from the inside. No absolute beginning exists, but instead many relative beginnings. The universe begins continuously, with each new perspective, each new set of eyes. Beginning has always been and will continue to begin again. The center and the beginning of the universe do not exist in some distant place or time. They both exist in the here and now, everywhere and at all times, continually occurring at the interface of energy and matter.

nested waves

We are born into an experience of timelessness. As we age, we layer the repetitious divisions of days, weeks, months, seasons, and years, into our one, timeless moment. The more years we divide that moment into, the smaller the each year becomes. To a one year old, a year constitutes the entirety of her life. To a 100 hundred year old, a year encompasses a mere one-hundreth of her life. The first years retain their largess, as subsequent years, smaller by comparison layer within the larger previous years, within the shadow of those first memories. The more numerous the divisions of the moment, the smaller the divisions become, and the longer the total lifetime feels. We deepen into time. Time deepens into us.

The direction of time is always in, in every direction.[2] We take in the present moment, compressing it into a particulate memory, to hold it within the constant flow of the present. Even as two entities meet, we continually recede from one another inwardly. We measure every experience against memory, nesting novelty within recollection. As we age, we deepen into the present moment, into timelessness. Canyons deepen with flood. Tree trunks furrow with years. Emotions contour our faces. The past does not exist at some distant point on a timeline, it exists embedded inside each body. Building on Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Martin Heidegger’s notion of time as centripetal – or center seeking, David Abram states, “The visible landscape has the other moments of time ‘inside itself,’ precisely in that the past preserves itself…inside every entity that I perceive.”[3] We read the past by digging into the interior layers of trees, glaciers, soil deposits, and archeological digs.

Time deepens into timeless space by dividing it—into moments, into particles—building interior structures which bind standing waves in contrast to external frequencies. Time emerges at the interface of different frequencies, one nested inside the other, defining interiority. Time, as a relationship between frequencies, inhabits a dimension of scale. As a dimension of scale, time moves inward in every direction. With time as a dimension of scale, past events no longer exist as distant points on a timeline, but rather in the present, here with us, hidden from view in the interior dimensions of memory, in my own memory and in the collective memories of my surroundings.

[1] Here causality breaks down. How could space have expanded before there was any time? Perhaps the freezing of particles and the expansion of space co-arose in some mutual causality.
[2] Heidegger transitioned from a notion of centrifugal, or center fleeing, time to a notion of centripetal, or center seeking, time between his writing of Time an Being (1967) and a later essay “Being and Time.” (1972)
[3] (Abram, 1996)


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