Book Report October 2023

Plenty of “time” this month

All the books I read this month

Carlo Rovelli (2018). The Order of Time. [Audible] Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch. Penguin Audio.

“People assume time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it’s more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff” (David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor in “Blink,” Doctor Who, third series, episode 10. Written by Steven Moffat.)

This book is a mind-bending exploration of the nature of time. Is time a construct to measure the intersections of events? Do the past, present, and future all exist equally? Is time faster in some places than others? Is time experienced phenomenologically or physically?

The book tries to be both science and philosophy, and I’m not convinced it succeeds. There are some thought-provoking, poetic quotes scattered throughout the text, and when spoken by Benedict Cumberbatch, they become magical, even if they are ultimately meaningless.

“We are stories, contained within the twenty complicated centimeters behind our eyes, lines drawn by traces left by the (re)mingling together of things in the world, and oriented toward predicting events in the future, toward the direction of increasing entropy, in a rather particular corner of this immense, chaotic universe”

“None of the pieces that time has lost (singularity, direction, independence, the present, continuity) puts into question the fact that the world is a network of events. On the one hand, there was time, with its many determinations; on the other, the simple fact that nothing is: things happen.

“Perhaps the rivers of ink that have been expended discussing the nature of the “continuous” over the centuries, from Aristotle to Heidegger, have been wasted. Continuity is only a mathematical technique for approximating very finely grained things. The world is subtly discrete, not continuous. The good Lord has not drawn the world with continuous lines: with a light hand, he has sketched it in dots, like the painter Georges Seurat.”

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Defaulting to Grace and other observations

By Stephanie Loomis: Lover of Jesus, Wife, Mom, Ama, Writer, Teacher, Photographer, Singer, Athlete, Artist...a modern Renaissance woman.