Once in a Bali Lifetime

The Texture of Time

By William J. Furney
The Bali Times

There’s a millisecond daze as you awaken from a brief doze in a quiet and dark room where before your neurons fire and remind you who and what you are, you are: nobody.
And I think: what a state ~
It’s a timeless now of tranquil calm, a present of serenity.
Ticking, ticking seconds rule our lives, and without them there’d be no element of surprise. But wait: The dimension of time does not exist when all around is an encapsulating mist.
As Suharto’s time was up a decade ago, a friend and I took flight from Jakarta to Bali and the more eastern islands. The further we moved from ordered civilization, the more our sense of controlling time evaporated. By the time we reached the prehistoric-looking island of Komodo, it had no meaning at all. There, people moved to an organic rhythm and were not enslaved by the hands of time – indeed, the scattering of waterfront villagers didn’t have any that I saw.  Weeks later, watchless but in Ireland, time crept up once more and took hold.
Here’s a theory I postulate: enrapture  cancels out time, at least the human experience of it. I’ve been enthralled at meetings and dinners and sitting on a front porch of a house in Bedugul for six hours that time was suspended and had no quality. I’m stunned by the later impact of it – how is it possible I was at that table for five hours when it didn’t feel like five hours. Hence: the awful heavy weight of time.
As an impatiently awaiting child, minutes, days, unfathomable months oozed by as though embalmed in treacle. These days, though mindful of work-time as in newspaper deadlines, I tend towards theories of differing spacetimes and what they could produce to our unknowing eyes, underdeveloped minds.
Towards the end of his life, Einstein theorized that the times we know of –past, present, future (what’s outside?) – all occur at the same instance, a kind of spacetime-cube, I think, that’s possible to envision.
“Since there exists in this four dimensional structure [space-time] no longer any sections which represent “now” objectively, the concepts of happening and becoming are indeed not completely suspended, but yet complicated. It appears therefore more natural to think of physical reality as a four dimensional existence, instead of, as hitherto, the evolution of a three dimensional existence,” Einstein wrote.
Just as we’re unaware of much of our existence on this planet, we’re equally blind to what’s above us. Space, it turns out, is not roomy space at all, but filled with what we’re now calling “dark matter,” a potentially potent force we know nothing about that could explain why the universe is expanding at such a rate while not overheating and burning itself up.
Oh, how little we know. But this is the nature of an enquiring mindkind; either knowledge will save us or kill us off. I opt for the former, because if there’s any sense in the world, it’s that we’re on an odyssey of discovery for which we were designed.
We have to open our minds to the gargantuan possibilities. And think: the fabric of time is already in our minds. Yesterday wraps to now that morphs to tomorrow that melds to evermore.
Forget nownews of presidential contenders, deadly tornadoes, mass sit-ins at a prime minister’s office, nuclear weapons’ showdowns and wars-without-end. This week what has my attention are subterranean movements approaching the speed of light along  the French-Swiss border (see page one of this edition), where scientists powered up the Large Hadron Collider to see if they can detect the “God Particle,” a supposed element that could be the fabric of all in existence.
This could be the instantaneous dawning of a entire new era in particle physics, an occurrence so revolutionarily expansive it could herald a new time of understanding of how the universe became,  what it is and what all that energy is for, and does. And ergo, our sense of place in it all, another notch of comprehension of us.
Such a momentous event is this that a universal search engine homepaged on Wednesday with:

Yes, we’ve only just begun.

Write to William at william@thebalitimes.com.

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