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Got the Time?



The essay on reality by Barry Evans ("Field Notes," Oct. 31) reminded me of a quotation from Arthur Eddington: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine."

A consequence of Einstein's relativity is that moving observers slice space-time in different directions so that a distant person's "now" intersects my future (or past) if she is moving toward (or away from) me. To quote Einstein: "The distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, however persistent. The only thing that's real is the whole of space-time."

As Brian Greene emphasized: "If you buy the notion that reality consists of the things in your freeze-frame mental image right now, and if you agree that your now is no more valid than the now of someone located far away in space who can move freely, then reality encompasses all of the events in space-time. The total loaf exists. Just as we envision all of space as really being out there, as really existing, we should also envision all of time as really being out there, as really existing, too."

If the whole loaf already exists, then free will is an illusion (yet I have no choice but to believe in it). When I face my day of judgment, I will call upon Einstein as a witness to confirm that I had no choice.

Don Garlick, Fieldbrook

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