Einstein’s Dreams #4pages 61-82 Nikki Hatamian Hayley Rice Rachel Stewart Veronica Thompson
20 May 1905 • Concept of Time: People have no memories • “A world without memory is a world of the present” (Lightman 63). • People need maps to find their way in a city they have lived in their entire lives • People do not know their families when they return home • “In order to know himself, each person carries his own Book of Life, which is filled with the history of his life” (63).
The Book of Life • Some people are shocked by the events of their past • Others try to fill the extra pages • Eventually, the Books of Life become too long and people must make a decision on what parts to read • “Some have stopped reading altogether. They have abandoned the past . . . Such people look you directly in the eye and grip your hand firmly. Such people walk with the limber stride of their youth. Such people have learned how to live in a world without memory” (64).
Discussion Questions • “Without his Book of Life, a person is a snapshot, a two-dimensional image, a ghost” (63). • Do you agree or disagree?
Discussion Questions • Who are the happiest people in this universe? • What is Lightman saying about time and life?
Connection to The Sound and the Fury Benjy Jason • Jason is like the people who choose not to read their Book of Life • Jason is the character who most lives in the present • The people who choose not to read their Book of Life do not dwell on past actions, but work with the time they have in the present • Benjy is like the people who choose to read their Book of Life • Benjy lives his past in the present through his memories • The people who read their Book of Life relearn their past everyday
22 May 1905 • Concept of Time: Randomness and Spontaneity • No particular reasoning behind things • Bridge half finished, House removed from foundation, Street veering East, Bank in center of grocery store, stained glass windows at St. Vincent (mix of religion and Alps) • “This is a world of changed plans, of sudden opportunities, of unexpected visions” (66).
22 May 1905 • Concept of Time: Visions of the Future • Three types of people living in this universe: 1) Those who see the future and live only 1 life for the future. 2) Those who cannot foresee the future and live in the present. 3) Those who can see the future, but deny it, living 2 lives. • “For those who have had their vision, this is a world of guaranteed success…for those who have not had their vision, this is world of inactive suspense…some few who have witnessed their future do all they can to refute” (67). • World of Guaranteed Success vs. World of Inactive Suspense
Connection to The Sound and the Fury • Quentin • Like Quentin, this kind of person knows his future and revolves each present decision around the future. • Jason • Like Jason, this kind of person is uncertain of his future and lives in suspense. Every decision is a risk. • Benjy • Like Benjy, this kind of person knows his future, but refuses to accept it. Benjy is living in 3 different times, the past, the present, and the future. He is mostly stuck in the past trying to avoid the future as much as possible.
Discussion Questions • “Who would fare better in this world of fitful time? Those who have seen the future and live only one life? Or those who have not seen the future and wait to live life? Or those who deny the future and live two lives?” (68).
Discussion Questions • If you had a vision of your future, which type of person would you likely become? The one that lives the present for the future? Or the one who refuses his future and believes that he can change his future? Or would you simply ignore it and live life as it comes?
Concept of Time: When people are in motion, time passes more slowly People travel at high velocity in order to gain time Everything is in motion, even buildings - nothing is still and there is an obsession with speed and time After Mr. Randolph Whig from Surrey published his findings on the speed effect everyone moved as quickly as possible This dream world is a world of constant competition Some have stopped caring how fast they are moving 29 May 1905
The motional effect is relative based on logical tautology (formula true in every possible interpretation) “When two people pass on the street, each perceives the other in motion, just as a man on a train perceives the trees to fly by his window” (71). One sees the other go more slowly thus gain more time when passing them “Some argue that only the giant clock tower on Kramgaase keeps the true time, that it alone is at rest. Others point out that even the giant clock is in motion when viewed from the river Aare, or from a cloud” (72). 29 May 1905
Quentin Both the dream and Quentin reveal their obsession with time Quentin keeps busy right before his suicide to slow down time Both the people in the dream and Quentin are never satisfied with their lives Quentin does not want time to move forward because he believes life is meaningless if he moves on from his past Attempt to conquer and manipulate time - always a focus on the past Connection to The Sound and the Fury
Jason Time passes more slowly when in motion: Can relate to Jason’s perception of time Both the people in the dream and Jason are very competitive and constantly work People in the dream work to gain time while Jason works to gain money People manipulates time like Jason manipulates Miss Quentin “Consequently, when two people pass on the street, each sees the other’s time flow more slowly. Each sees the other gaining time. This reciprocity is maddening” (71). Jason’s relationship with Miss Quentin - the faster he travels past her, the faster she appears to be traveling - he is in constant competition with Miss Quentin but can never outdo her Connection to The Sound and the Fury
How does the competition influence the way people live their lives? What are the consequences of trying to manipulate time? Discussion Questions
Interlude • It’s noon and Einstein and his friend Besso are sitting at an outdoor café • “Minutes go by, or perhaps only seconds” (75). • Besso notices that Einstein doesn’t look too well • Einstein tells Besso that he is making progress • They are silent and Einstein stares into space • Besso invites Einstein and his wife over for dinner; he doesn’t understand why Einstein ever got married • “Einstein will work up a new design himself and send it to Resmussen without requesting payment or even acknowledgment” (78).
2 June 1905 • Concept of Time: Time Flows Backward. • people and things are moving backward and going from old to young. • They live their lives with memories of what their "future" will be because even though we (us in the world outside the book) consider it the "past" it hasn't occurred in their time stream yet. • Old young • Rotten fresh • Nobel Peace Prize research
Important! Their lives are similar to rewinding a movie, They do everything the same but it's just backward, like rewinding a tape. However, they are aware that they are living backwards and know they have their younger bodies and younger experiences to look forward to.
Connection to The Sound and the Fury Benjy Quentin • The people have an awareness of time and the way it works and knowledge of the existence of a future • “He does not weep. He looks ahead to the day when his best friend’s lungs will be strong . . . when the two of them will drink ale together, go sailing, talk. He does not weep. He waits longingly for a particular day he remembers in the future when he and his friend will have sandwiches on a low flat, when he will describe his fear of growing old and unloved and his friend will nod gently” (82) • The sequence of time is not from youth to old age • Although Benjy does not live his live completely backward he goes from the present to past events because of triggers • “His thoughts quickly shift twenty years to the future, when he will work alone in a small room with only pencil and paper . . . His heart will pound as if he were in love. The anticipation of that rush of the blood, that time when he will be young and unknown and unafraid of mistakes, overpowers him now as he sits in his chair.” (81)
Discussion Questions • How would you feel if you were in this universe and you knew you would live your life backwards?
Discussion Questions • Would you prefer to live your life from youth to old age or old age to youth? What are the advantages and disadvantages to both?