With the disguise of “dream”, the excerpt was trying to illustrate the abstract concept of “time” being non-linearly progress, by portraying different shapes of the world, when time, whose measurement is the base of the order and the spiritual system of human world, is in shapes more than just an irreversible progressing line.
When time is linear, the continued progress of time corresponds with “events that occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future.” While when time is no more linear, this kind of correspondence as well no more exist, which means, when the shape of time is distorted or the dimension of time is added, any point on the event sequence could possibly be connected with other points.
We’ve been very familiar with the abstract while unemotional description of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. But most of us may never think about the meaning behind imagining or picturing the world with multi-dimensional time. “I want to understand time because I want to get close to The Old One,” said Einstein in the book. We all dream about being The Old One, understanding the order of the world and save ourselves from samsara. The book provides a medium for us to consider time as something more than the ticking sound of the clock, but a window to imagine many possible ways of living your life.
When the ending point of the world is clear, people put aside their fears and hatred, “the streets swirl in laughter”; when the texture of time becomes sticky, individual people become stuck in some point of their lives, of pain or of joy, and do not get free; when the passage of time brings increasing order, people never worry about manners and orders, since it’s something to be done as time passes by; when time travels outward in concentric circles, some choose to stay at the center of time, preserving the best moment of their life, while some stay away from the center, let the flowing of time shape their lives; when time is static, everything become a freeze frame; when time only indicates present, human walk along the beach of the time without leaving their footprints; when time flows fitfully, people in the present get lost in the predictable future; when time passes more slowly for people in motion, every behavior is driven by saving time and keeping efficiency.
Reading this book about dreams is like doing a dream interpretation: the scientific idea provides the takeoff point, and what you dive into is still the ocean of human society: when you realize there are infinite types of order for time to exist, does it provide another point of view to consider the sufferings from one type of time?