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Quotes

Quote #4

"And the fourth?"

"Well, I guess if you want to put it into mathematical terms you'd square the square. But you can't take a pencil and draw it the way you can the first three. I know it's got something to do with Einstein and time. I guess maybe you could call the fourth dimension Time." (5.32-33)

Calling time the Fourth Dimension connects it to space – and makes our brains hurt.

Quote #5

"Just how old are you?" Calvin asked her.

"Just a moment," Mrs. Whatsit murmured, and appeared to calculate rapidly upon her fingers. She nodded triumphantly. "Exactly 2,379,152,497 years, 8 months, and 3 days. That is according to your calendar, of course, which even you know isn't very accurate." (5.75-76)

Mrs. Whatsit reminds us that our understanding of time depends on arbitrary measures, and is very local: what significance would a time system based on the Earth's revolving around the sun have for anyone outside this solar system?

Quote #6

[Mr. Murry] "Time is different on Camazotz, anyhow. Our time, inadequate though it is, at least is straightforward. It may not be even fully one-dimensional, because it can't move back and forth on its line, only ahead; but at least it's consistent in its direction. Time on Camazotz seems to be inverted, turned in on itself. So I have no idea whether I was imprisoned is that column for centuries or only for minutes." (10.23)

Mr. Murry suggests that time is an experience, but a shared one – he may not be able to trust his own experience, but he still feels like there's a clock somewhere he should be able to check his experience against. But if Camazotz is an entirely different planet, do "centuries" and "minutes" have any meaning?

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