Marvels: Letters from an Elder, Part 4

Continuing with excerpts from an upcoming book:

Letter #3, April 5th 1948

Dear Son,

Time? Yes, the big conundrum, one of the hardest things to grasp — and yet, once grasped, so simple as to be inexplicable.

Death brings wisdom on many fronts. Shedding the physical body opens up new dimensions of knowledge, and the being realises that he has been limited and hampered by being in the physical world. But the ‘physical world’ encompasses much more than the images we perhaps first think of when those words come to mind. We tend to think of objects, space and mass; we more often than not leave out the mysterious dimension known as Time.

An analogy may again rescue us here: Time, when it is considered at all, is usually thought of as a line or string, upon which events are threaded, one after the other, in linear fashion. Events which appear ‘earlier’ on the string are naturally, our human perspectives assume, responsible for those which appear ‘later’: if we drop a book upon a table, the letting go of the book obviously precedes its falling to the table; the thump of the book onto the tabletop is the last in an apparent sequence of miniature events. To express this seems to be stating the obvious.

But consider instead a motion picture film. It is made up of frames, each one in itself a still image; each frame is placed so as to create, when played through a projector, the illusion of motion, of Time. If we had filmed the dropping of our book, we would have a collection of still pictures, which, played in a particular sequence, would present the scene of a book being released and falling to a tabletop. But each frame could also be considered as an item in itself: the holding of the book, the moment of its re