Revisiting Questions of Linear Time and Object Permanence

In an earlier post about a fascinating (and more than a little surreal) discussion about quantum physics in an online humor and gossip forum, I mentioned that the thread had concluded.

Well, it keeps getting new posts periodically, and some of the comments have been fascinating, not to mention hysterically funny:

R37: “This is known as reality shifting. It happens all the time. Who hasn’t ‘lost’ something only to find it’s reappeared someplace you know you didn’t put it? It’s happened to me and lots of people I know and if it hasn’t happened to you yet, it probably will!”

Roger: “Hello!!! Socks in the dryer anyone? I’m tempted to throw myself in there and see where I wind up. Somewhere I hope with lots of dimmer switches.”

R40: “What I find is that when I’m looking for something, the thing I’m looking for anticipates where I’m going to look next and, if that’s where it is, it moves itself. It keeps doing this until it gets bored and lets me find it.

“Also, anyone else have this experience: you’re in some room (typically one without windows, such as a basement, and it’s filled with stuff. You turn out the light and everything disappears! Where does it go? I figure probably to another dimension. In any case, it can’t be far because you turn the light back on and everything reappears, seemingly instantaneously. It’s weird.

“Don’t get me started about linear time! I was so tired last night, I fell asleep watching television. Several hours disappeared and suddenly was I thrust into the morning.

“People who live in reality are just boring.”

R45: “Do you even know what object permanence is? You can’t make up a definition of a well established term and then ask if we believe in it.”

R49: “I say find the crack-whore in the red wig (in whatever dimension she’s tricking in), and you’ll find the cigs.”

R51: “I first experienced either a reality shift or missing time back in the first grade. I was the MC of our cchool Christmas play (we could have Christmas plays back then). I read the Bible verses while the costume characters stood in tableau (I remember the Holy Virgin wearing her coke bottle glasses.) At the conclusion of the play I was told that I had to wait until the remainder of the class had changed but if I wanted I could stay in my suit and tie. Which of course I chose to do. I watched the other kids walk into separate boy/girl restrooms carrying their street clothes. I sat down on a stool backstage for what seemed like one second when the entire class came from backstage wearing their street clothes. I remember at the time thinking, ‘That was impossible,’ but I also had enough naive intelligence to know that adults wouldn’t even understand what I was talking about. One teacher told me, ‘Thanks for waiting, now let’s form a line and go back to homeroom.’ I have been told that I was daydreaming and ‘fell asleep’ and woke up at exactly the right time but I have done that and this was nothing like that , this was a skip on the DVD of time, one scene suddenly became another.”

R59: “I’m currently caught in a time warp where the Hallmark Channel is 15 minutes ahead of Comcast time.”

Colin Powell: “Anyone seen my reputation?”

R65: “So conventional notions of time and space are totally flawed, but it’s out of the question that OP had something else on his mind and just misplaced his cigarettes?

“I don’t buy it. If objects were constantly disappearing and reappearing in space or time, it wouldn’t only happen with little, easily misplaced personal effects, and it wouldn’t only happen when there was no one around to witness the de/rematerialization. There would be witnesses, documentation, corroboration etc. We would be missing a lot more than our keys, phones and spectacles.

“Reality is astonishing enough. There’s no need to spin your own brain farts into an episode of The X-Files. And this is coming from someone who would love love love to have some other dimension to blame for my own forgetfulness.”

R66: “This would fit nicely into the seemingly eternal Yin and Yang structure of perceivable existence. If existence is ‘reality,’ the non-existence (of energy and/or matter) would imply that there does exist and opposite of existence. And while I think the OP’s smokes are still in the sofa cushions somewhere, somewhere there’s a place where that sofa doesn’t exist and those smokes may be spiraling down to nothingness even now.”

R68: “Now I know why I finally found my cell phone in the freezer even though I haven’t been in the freezer for weeks. It just did that . . . well . . . that thing that you are all talking about. I think. Oh, what the hell. I’m getting another drink.”

R72: “If any of you bitches do happen to fall through the space-time continuum, please be kind enough to stand to one side so that those of us in a hurry to get to nowhere can get there faster. TIA!”

R87: “Matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed. They simply assume shapes, and the shapes change. Don’t tell me you never imagined Schrodinger’s Cat as a cube. That’s like saying you never checked out other guys in the showers. Let’s face it: physics is a slippery slope.”

R88: “It is not, perhaps, as slippery as you would imagine it, R87.”

OP: “We forgot to mention that gravity is not constant either. I started weighing myself every morning and, wow. I can gain or lose eight or ten pounds per day. Or, more accurately, per night. I can go to bed weighing 215 and wake up weighing 207. (Oh shut up, I’m 6’5” so I’m not that fat.) This is pre-pee and pre-dump, so the weight’s not leaving that way. Could I sweat out 8 pounds of water a night? I think not. The scale is consistent, the floor’s not warped, and (just in case) I place the scale in exactly the same place every time. I can only conclude that gravity is a fickle, fluctuating bitch.”

R94: “Time is an artifact of our three-dimensional physical existence, which is limited to the five senses and our relation with matter within that construct. But there are many other forms of existence beyond three, which is where we graduate to once our physical bodies are no longer necessary.”

R97: “I may not believe in object permanence. I am studying art in college right now, and we’re heading into the 20th century. Why are the objects in Dali’s, Picasso’s, and Matisse’s paintings so non-literal? Why did they paint them that way? I think that they may not have believed in object permanence, and that things could change form and be manipulated, possibly in other dimensions that overlap ours. Who knows. I think bringing this up is going to make my fall semester very interesting.”

Frankly, I’m with OP on the gravity problem. It explains so much.

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Categories: Body and Mind, Humor, Time and Space | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Revisiting Questions of Linear Time and Object Permanence

  1. indigo bunting

    Which one are you?

  2. Which sounds most like me?

  3. indigo bunting

    Oh, I don’t know. R51? But really, it could be any of them.

  4. I can see that. But I thought R66 was more “me,” or possibly R87.

    As it happens, I didn’t write any of them. I couldn’t think of anything witty (or wise) enough.

  5. Nanu

    You know I was thinking you would have written r51 or r66 also…

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