“Which of Those Two is Now?” Famed Physicist Asks Twilight Zone-ish Question
You can’t just park your brain in neutral when you’re a Twilight Zone fan. Sure, some episodes are just a lark, but more often than not, your assumptions will be challenged and your horizons expanded — though always in an entertaining way. We wind up looking at our world differently.
Or even, considering the sci-fi trappings of many classic episodes, beyond our world.
I couldn’t help thinking of this aspect of the Zone when I first heard an Alan Parsons album called The Time Machine. It starts with the title track, then segues into a one-minute piece called “Temporalia.” Instead of singing, though, we get some narration from an Oxford professor named Frank Close, who is a famous particle physicist.
Against a backdrop of music that sounds like we’re drifting through space, Close says:
“When you look out into the night sky, and you see the stars far away, you’re seeing them because of the light that has travelled from them to you.
“But it takes time for light to travel here. So what we’re doing is seeing the stars as they were in the past, in the amount of time it has taken for the light to reach us. And the further and further away those stars are, the further back in time we’re looking.
“Now we’re seeing a star that’s, say, 6,000 years ago. Imagine somebody on that star looking at us. They would be seeing us as we were 6,000 years ago.
“Which of those two is “now”?
“So space and time are linked together. When we are looking across space, we are looking back in time.”
I don’t know about you, but I love that. The question “Which of those two is now?” is such a mind-blowing thought. It gives me a feeling very close (no pun intended) to what I experience while watching The Twilight Zone.
It’s a sense of wonderment and awe, a sensation that reality is much deeper and more complex than we realize. Quite an accomplishment for a half-hour TV show — or a pop album.
Here’s a YouTube clip that’s been edited to put Professor Close’s narration at the start of the music: https://youtu.be/JJCgINccuuM
To hear how the album opened originally, click here: https://youtu.be/mFh7nKqBleU
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Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!
Posted on 09/30/2022, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.
It’s amazing to me how much this show can still make me think. I honestly don’t think Serling was limited by space and time as we know them.
Agreed! I like that “as we know them.” Very fitting, given this quote here.
The video is awesome, the question becomes mind boggling once you’re looking at the images from the telescopes of our universe.
The soundtrack is quite good.
Glad you enjoyed it, Deborah. I’ve been a Parsons fan for years. :)