A contagious confluence, metaphorical hydraulics in chronofluidity, multiple rippling effects.

Location: Lawrence, Kansas

Monday, December 13, 2004

A Viral Theory of Time

DT made a good living blacksmithing and teaching witchcraft by correspondence. But his academic training had been in philosophy, and that was still his passion. In the evenings, after grading papers, he would resume work on his philosophical investigation into time as phenomenon. His working title was “A Viral Theory of Time,” although he also liked “Time as Contagion.” He’d leave it up to whichever journal editor finally accepted it. Once he had completed the study to his satisfaction, he planned to submit it first to the “Journal of Predictive Coincidence,” then to the “Journal of Chronological Ambiguity.” He subscribed to both and was sure his approach would be well received by either.

His thesis was that we are aware of time or understand time through cause and effect and the kind of linearity that causal chains imply. Yet causality is itself an effect of coincidence, a nonlinear and timeless phenomenon. On those occasions when we are conscious of coincidence, we often ascribe the phenomenon to improbable agents such as karma, destiny, luck, fate, predestination, spiritual forces, when in fact they are at least chromosomal. Time is, put simply, a byproduct of human procreation, a sexually-transmitted disability that underlies all the anxiety, ignorance, and misunderstanding that characterize the human condition. But armed with this self-knowledge, we still are powerless to improve our lot. He still had to work out some details. He needed to do some research on retroviruses and DNA to take his thesis beyond the metaphor that had first illumined his thinking. As he had worked through the ontological details, DT at first was depressed at the implications, but every evening he became a bit more comfortable with the truth and was finally beginning to feel its liberating effects. He thought he must feel something like the first hominid to stand erect and see for the first time an enlarged world, a range of possibilities. If his paper was never published, it didn’t matter. The writing of it had already been transformative.

As he was about to resume work on his essay, the computer beeped to announce incoming email. It was a message from the producer of the Rill World television show, who had traced DT’s whereabouts through some old Pearl Brewery records. He wanted to take a remote crew to Lubbock to shoot Pearl Stream for Channel Tao, but no one in Lubbock seemed to know where the stream flowed. DT smiled. He emailed back, indicating that he thought the stream would be a disappointment. The producer replied that one of the production principles of the show was to take what comes, to go with the flow. And the crew was going to be in the area anyway, as they were scheduled to broadcast from the Paluxy River, near Glen Rose, anyway. Sure, DT replied, he’d be glad to meet the crew in Lubbock for the shoot.