It certainly seems like that.
It’s definitely the way we process the universe. Or it appears to be.
But we get caught in a loop if we think like that. Because you can’t trust appearances, not in your mind, but you have to.
Because it’s all you’ve got.
I know this. I’ve detached from a linear thought process before, and it can get a little messy, to say the least.
There’s a wonderful little book, called Flatland. It’s a simultaneous satire of Victorian morals and discussion of the mathematics of dimensions. It stars A Square, who is a square, literally. He lives in a flat land, entirely 2 dimensional, until he is visited by a sphere. He percieves the sphere initially as a perfect circle getting larger and smaller as it dips into Flatland. A cross section. The sphere then takes him on a voyage to various other lands, on the way providing a nifty metaphor to help teach about four dimensional space, and beyond.
Anyway, the point I was going to make was initially about the smaller dimensions.
I can’t remember whether the sole occupant of pointland, the no-dimensional world, was terrified by his loneliness or satisfied immensely by his existences as an entire universe.
There is no escaping the single point.
Lineland struck me as even less interesting. Just a constant forward and backward. Seeing a point in front of you, whoever that was, and only that point. Forever.
Living in a line is dull. But it’s what we do.
With time it’s probably the only way we can comprehend it without going mad.
In my weirder moments, I’ve believed I’ve seen a looping pattern. Like there’s one instant, that’s being experienced again and again.
It’s the meeting of two forces, two tails of energy undulating next to each other. Each time they meet, a force is unleashed, infinite in power.
That infinity is where we exist. Constantly experiencing this meeting of two forces, from as many different angles as possible.
To make sense of it, or to give ourselves the illusion of being something that can sense and make sense, we experience it a tiny bit at a time.
Of course, I’m no great omniscient being, so I’ve don’t even claim to have seen the moment itself. It just appears that if you change your angle ever so slightly, you can see this recursive pattern. Like a fractal. Where the two forces meet, and chaotically stumble on top of each other. Repeating infinitely.
Obviously, this is nonsense. But occasionally, I fear this is the truth behind things.
But it’s just an hallucination. A symptom of a mind in collapse.
I should probably stop collapsing my mind like that.
Time, of course, is only experienced as a line, any single dimension is. But in fact it is a dimension. It’s the stretching out of the three we know into infinity. No mere line, but the entirety of existence (as a frozen, static slice) stretched into motion.
Time is motion.
Illustration by Chris.