Einstein's Dreams

I remember reading this book during 1993 when I worked towards finalizing my M.A. in English. On Sundays I lay on the couch, falling into the various worlds Alan Lightman would create. My sense of structure and time slowed to a series of long hours relaxing in the afternoon sun, lingering over the casual phrase and individual words, one-by-one. In my own method I became a portion of the story itself; the act of reading is shifting the notion of personal time and placement in the universe for the indivdual.

Frequently Lightman uses the phrase: "this world"—as if holding up a physical example of an alternative universe in front of the reader—as holding a slide to the light, a vacation picture show presented to the reader of the various fragmentations of the known universe he visited on holiday. The book becomes a travelogue devoted to the interpretation of time  and logic. Ultimately he resolves time is a perception, as well as a mathematical equation. The human body reacts to time physically, spiritually, as well as psychologically.

What holds true for clocks holds true also for the rate of heartbeats, the pace of inhales and exhales, the movement of wind in tall grass. In this world, time flows at different speeds in different locations" (153-154).

Lightman combines diverse notions of time with the mathematical equations and thus he himself successfully stands in two worlds at the same time.


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