by Tom Stoppard
Arcadia Time Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene)
Valentine: There wasn't enough time before. There weren't enough pencils! (He flourishes Thomasina's lesson book.) This took her I don't know how many days and she hasn't scratched the paintwork. Now she'd only have to press a button, the same button over and over. Iteration. A few minutes. And what I've done in a couple of months, with only a pencil the calculations would take me the rest of my life to do again – thousands of pages – tens of thousands! And so boring! (1.4)
It's interesting to think of time as flexible in this way – that changes in technology can actually produce time (when there wasn't "enough" before).
Hannah: And then he didn't sail until the beginning of July!
Bernard: Everything moved more slowly then. Time was different. He was two weeks in Falmouth waiting for wind or something – (2.5)
Here's another take on the how time itself (or at least the human perception of it) changes based on historical circumstances – Bernard seems to be arguing that, since technology used to be slower (sailing ships vs. the bullet train), people actually acted differently. Or perhaps he's just trying to pull together the ill-fitting parts of his Byron theory.
Valentine: A film of a pendulum, or a ball falling through the air – backwards, it looks the same. [...] But with heat – friction – a ball breaking a window -- [...] It won't work backwards. [...] She saw why. You can put back the bits of glass but you can't collect up the heat of the smash. It's gone. (2.7)
It's interesting that Valentine calls upon film for his example – another technology that changed human perception of the world. Actually seeing things go backwards, or sped up, or slowed down, was all impossible before film came along. How do the possibilities created by other technologies affect the way we think about time?