by Tom Stoppard
Arcadia Time Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene)
Septimus: We shed as we pick up, like travellers who must carry everything in their arms, and what we let fall will be picked up by those behind. The procession is very long and life is very short. We die on the march. But there is nothing outside the march so nothing can be lost to it. The missing plays of Sophocles will turn up piece by piece, or be written again in another language. Ancient cures for diseases will reveal themselves once more. Mathematical discoveries glimpsed and lost to view will have their time again. You do not suppose, my lady, that if all of Archimedes had been hiding in the great library of Alexandria, we would be at a loss for a corkscrew? (1.3)
Septimus's theory is kind of similar to the idea that enough monkeys at enough typewriters for enough time would produce the complete works of William Shakespeare. It's a rare idea that would occur to only one person in the entire course of human history.
Hannah: The weather is fairly predictable in the Sahara.
Valentine: The scale is different but the graph goes up and down the same way. Six thousand years in the Sahara looks like six months in Manchester, I bet you. (2.4)
It seems time is similar to the fractals Valentine talks about – you can zoom in and out, and see the same patterns on different scales.
Bernard: I'll tell you your problem. No guts.
Bernard: By which I mean a visceral belief in yourself. Gut instinct. The part of you which doesn't reason. The certainty for which there is no back-reference. Because time is reversed. Tock, tick goes the universe and then recovers itself, but it was enough, you were in there and you bloody know. (1.4)
All that stuff about time only going in one direction, towards disorder – Bernard doesn't believe a word of it. The experience he describes here, of a certainty that transcends time, is almost mystical, though of course Bernard manages to express it in his usual annoying way.