A Wrinkle in Time
How we cite our quotes:
"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.
"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?
[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?