Is my watch right, or is there no such thing as time any more?
I have never thought Iíd be alive on the day when scientists around the world would be proclaiming that time may not exist. Iím not talking about dozing off on the train and accidentally taking a return trip back to where you started (as embarrassing as that must be).
Iím referring to celebrated physicists Professors Wheeler and DeWitt† suddenly noticing in one of their internationally acclaimed physics equations that:
ďThere may be no such thing as time, and the universe
may actually be frozen and unchanging.Ē†
Until now, my understanding of the physics of time could best be summed by my friend Herman Hupfeld. He was so convinced time was real that he wrote and made us all whistle, As Time Goes By. And as we whistled, I believe we all got used to the idea that time was in fact going by. I certainly did. And the record shows that nobody has as yet disproved Mr. Hupfeldís memorable song lyrics.
Now, I will be the first to admit there have been those moments, such as that splendid piano sing-along in Montmartre last year, when I wished that time would stand still. And of course it did stand still, until about four the next morning when I woke up under the piano. No sooner was I back at my hotel, when time began throwing its weight around again, concluding with my Monday morning wake up call, which served to tumble me out of bed. I had to take a 9 AM flight back to the office for a meeting at 5 oíclock on Monday afternoon.†
Now, if Professors Wheeler and DeWitt are right, I really didnít have to fly back to the office at all. Because there was no 9 oíclock in the morning or even a Monday afternoon. So how could there be a meeting?† I could have just rolled over when that wake-up call came in, and ordered a croissant and cafe from room service.†
On the other hand, as brilliant as they may be, it is still possible that the good professors may be mistaken. Itís one thing to lose a pair of glasses, or even a set of keys, but when somebody goes off and forgets what they did with one of our principal dimensions, I donít think it brash to suggest that they take another look at their equations. Perhaps, they have dropped a zero somewhere or forgotten to carry a five. Iíve certainly done it enough times writing checks. And thereís been no end to the mayhem it has caused.
However, if Professors Wheeler and DeWitt insist on sticking to their calculations and canít seem to figure out what they did with the fourth dimension, then I say, letís just toss away our clocks, our calendars and our ďClosed, back at 2Ē signs and crack open some champagne (Dom Perignon 1945, if there was a 1945), and let the good times roll. (No, Iím not trying to confuse you. It just slipped out.)†