As I walked in Barnes and Nobles to purchase the book, “Einstein’s Dreams”, I was curious as to why it was titled that way. While I waited in the seemingly unending line, I started to read the plot of the book. Alan Lightman talks about Einstein’s Life and the concept of time. He gives time a new definition which changed my mind set on time. Then, when I started to read the book in class, my views suddenly changed. Despite our attempts to manage or handle time, it is something we cannot utterly decode. Time is measureless, it is impersonal, and it is always moving forward.
Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman recounts the life of the genius Albert Einstein as an eccentric young scientist who is disturbed by a series of dreams while he works on his theory of relativity in 1905. Lightman portrays vivid details in the dreams and how important and precious time is. Too precious actually. The novel takes a step back and ponders about what time really is and how sometimes people spend so much time reflecting about tomorrow or regretting yesterday that they forget they still have today. It isn’t a bad idea to have plans and goals but there’s a difference between making plans one intends to follow through and living their heads in the clouds, which is exactly what Lightman tries to tell me in his novel.
There were several dreams that showed me how essential time is and how it affects my life. On May 10th 1905, where a mother continues to write letters to the old address which she remembered her son used to reside at. She was still living in the past and that is the issue with people not understanding and grasping the idea of what time is. Her son, with puffy eyes, who was a drug dealer, visited her and begged his mom for money while she bluntly ignored her newly transformed son. She could not cope but only envision what her son looked like back then, then and was unable to see the present man he was.
In the real world, time affects everything just as it influences the dreams in the book. It determines everything. Once, I was watching a scene where a man was standing below a bricked building filled with icicles from an old snow storm. The man was waiting for a taxi around 7 a.m and there was a bicyclist coming towards him while quickly ringing his bell to let him pass through. The man slowly stepped to the left before two keen icicles fell down on the ground breaking into pieces of chards. Time played a major part in this situation and surely did have an impact on the man’s life. The time it took for him to move away and the few seconds it took for the bicyclist to ring his bell showed me that time regulates everything. For example, how long will I have to wait to catch the bus, how long will it take me to finish my homework, how long will I live, how long will it be until the snow melts away, and so much more. Well, there’s more to it than that and little do we know what time has in store for us. Starting from the trees, animals, including everyone; everything gets old. Food loses its flavor. Pictures lose their color. Often it’s not just time that does this, but the effects of nature over time. But other people will be in a hurry to beat the clock. Trains and buses run according to their schedules so people will be running to those, or try and get around them while driving. Someone will stress over a science fair project that they never did, and are running out of time on. Time makes some things better and some things worse, but it’s always going to have an effect on people. We’re the only species on Earth who are really aware of the implication of time. The only other animal that you’d ever hear saying, “I feel like I wasted today” would be a parrot. I think that time is distraction, a treasure, something that allows me to show the unlimited amount of knowledge that I have. It is also something that is more easily ignored than acknowledged. I think time is funny. It always goes slow when I’m waiting for something or doing something I don’t want to, but it goes so fast during the moments I’d like to cherish. Time with someone I care about goes much too fast. It is also a measure of where I’ve been and what I’ve done; how long it took to do those things and how long ago. We’re alive one second at a time and each second just becomes a memory for us that move forward. Time is the potential of the future and the memory of the past and the one second at a time that we are all alive. It is in everything that we do and the only differences between time and human being is that it makes no regrets. Humanity regrets the people, or things left behind, the things left unsaid or undone and time just keeps onward.
In the quote by Khalil Gibran, I think he is trying to say that to try and put any sort of label on how much time has passes, or how much time there will be, is futile, because time has been going since before people existed, before anything existed, and will keep going long after everything else stops. Time is infinite and though we can look at a clock and say how long something has taken, we can’t ever really get a full measure of the vastness of time and that maybe our consciousness, or some bit of us, some piece of our essence existed in the first moments of everything. So even when we think we have a measure of our own time, we’re wrong because some parts of existed before we did. And, doubtless, first moments of the universe exists in all of us. While the influence of our lives and who we are going even after we are gone. Time is infinite and though we can look at a clock and say how long something has taken, we can’t ever really get a full measure of the vastness of time and the role of people in it.
After all of our human history, we’ve learned to master our capacity to describe the things we experience. But when asked to describe time, we have fallen short. It has been compared to rivers flowing onward, a monster consuming everything in its realm, a race with an invisible, unbeatable opponent; but to no metaphor or description for time has ever fully encompassed every facet of time. Time is a race, it is a gift, a monster, a river, a moment and sure, time is money. Stripped of everything, all and our earthly possessions and relations would be time we all had. With a lifetime, a person could seek to describe time, and at the end their description would be like a drop of water falling into a pan. The greatest testament of the vastness of time is not to try and describe its massiveness but to know that in even trying to describe it, we will only cover the tiniest bit of it.