Time ain’t. There is no time. Time is subjective. When I was a kid in school they tried to make me believe that time was something linear, like edge of a knife. Problem was, I kept falling off, kept getting cut. I knew, without even thinking about it, that time was an invention to keep things from happening all at once. Cuz that would be totally confusing, would it not? Linear time is easy to understand, you can cut it into little portions that fit into the world. My teachers thought that was good, they thought they were doing me a favor. But kids don’t think that way, thank God.
Most of us kids learned to think that way, we were forced to, but some of us simply couldn’t. What I learned was to pay tribute to that system, though I did not believe in it. I learned to be realistic. I live in a world of deadlines and dates. It’s my curse, but it is a system. I like systems, I’m a system guy, in spite of myself. Damn, those teachers did good work, they got me, but nevertheless… time ain’t. Perfect example: gotta get up in half an hour, spent the night drinkin’ and thinkin’, the morning too…. People believe time is based on the movements of our planet around the sun, the movements of the moon around our planet, as if that was a repeating system, a clock. But it isn’t. It’s irregular. Our planetary system, our galaxy, our whole universe, is irregular. The most precise clocks we have in this day and age, after thousands of years of calculating time with increasing precision, fucking atom clocks, have to be corrected, because the universe doesn’t do what we would like it to do. The universe is irregular.
Okay, stop. I’m thankful for the concept of time. Just now I am listening to Ska Fort Rock from the Skatalites. It’s six in the morning. I’m drunk, been up all night, but no so drunk that I can’t appreciate this song. Why? Because it has a beautifully syncopated beat combined with wonderful horns… impossible without a concept of time. You know what gets me? It’s the pauses… the moments where there is nothing, where time is suspended… where time is drawn out… and then it comes… yeah. It’s a perfect example of what I mean. Subjective time, drawn out und then contracted, so beautiful…
Musicians play with time, and we should too. It’s a fucking game. Now I’m listening to Turn the Centuries, Turn, from the Stranglers. No pauses in that piece, incidentally.
For God’s sake, why? you are asking yourself. Because every Russian I ever met knew how to suffer. A delightful capability for suffering, for being despondent. They raise the art of melancholy to the highest possible level. They have a knack for sorrow. They are so skillfully world weary that it boggles even my mind. Not to mention their truly enviable capacity for vodka.
Whoa, boy, whoa. You ever meet people who can’t seem to relax? You engage them in a simple conversation, and it seems as if they take a harmless discussion as a challenge to their intellect. They are rarin’ to go. Whoa, dude, I am not trying to pierce your leather here, you think to yourself. Take it easy, have another drink ― no, I don’t think you are an alcoholic! Everything cool? Just relax. Everything’s cool, believe me. Breathe, just breathe . . . slow down, or you’ll die in a fit of apoplexy.
Never was a truer word spoken. Rearrange the words. Wrong-right, topsy-turvy… connotations. They will drive you insane, those words. They can mean anything. Far too flexible, the little bastards. Anything but straight out. Devious. Under-the-counter. Ambiguous, suggestive. You think fish are slippery? Get hold on a word.
What you say? What you say?
Scientists have a tendency, and don’t tell me they don’t, to reduce the world to their sphere of knowledge. This tendency isn’t confined to scientists, of course, so scientists are no different than anyone else in this respect. The difference is that scientists claim to know. Yes, they do sometimes know, in the pure sense of the word, but their knowledge is bounded, just like everyone else’s. They act and speak within the sphere of their own knowledge.
I have no problem with a scientist who does that while being aware of the boundaries of his own knowledge, but I believe that most scientists don’t think that way. Some scientists would say: those are not real scientists! Well, yeah. They are humans, and thus subjective beings, and they, just like everyone else, act within the boundaries of their beliefs. That these beliefs are supported by objective evidence is neither her nor there, since this evidence is always limited. Limited, if not by the views of the scientists themselves, then by the limits of human perception and the possibilities of measurement.
Many scientists claim that nothing cannot be measured. Maybe they are even right, but the fat lady hasn’t sung on that note yet. Even if they were right, we can be sure that the human race is a damned long way from that point. A damned long way, I mean, like, millennia. So we should be careful about making decisions based upon the evidence that scientists give us.
Okay, some evidence is better than none, right? I am not so sure about that. It seems to me that, when we are talking about a world which has evolved over billions of years, we should be very careful about making decisions based on limited evidence from the last few hundred years, or, in some cases, the last few decades, or even the last few months. Whoa, baby, just a second there.
Let us assume that everything can be measured, that everything can be observed. And understood. That is perhaps the catch, no? Even if we assume that everything can be observed, can we assume that it will be properly understood? Infinite variables, quantified one against another? Fuck it, let us assume that every single thing can be implicitly known and understood (I know, the idea itself is absurd, but let’s just try). So, science has observed, measured, and understood everything. That’s the wet dream of science, isn’t it? Quantify it all, God help us; yeah, that God in which I don’t believe. Alright, so, we know it all. Now what?
I said I’d define ‘nature’. Hah, I lied. Nature is undefinable, by my definition. Nature is everything that happens, including the production of ‘synthetics’ by human beings. There is no way to produce things that are ‘unnatural’, unless you’re into the occult. I dare you to produce a devil. A real, bonafide, evil devil which will eat my soul (don’t have one, but that’s beside the point). Even if you did manage it, it’d be a natural product. Nothing, and I mean nothing, occurs outside of nature. A smart-ass would say: so nothing is unnatural? Yep. Nothing is the only thing that is unnatural. The only thing that can’t possibly be is nothing. There has never been, and never will be, nothing. There has always been something. Well, maybe someday science will prove me wrong, but by then I’ll be long dead (eons, baby), having been and still being something.
That sounds like religion, doesn’t it? An undying soul. Bit it’s not my soul that will never die, it’s the sub-atomic particles I am made of, and sub-sub-atomic particles, and the sub-sub-sub . . . They aren’t particles anymore at all, but rather the material of which something consists. Of which everything consists. I am convinced that we, as humans, will never know what we consist of at the most basic level. We are prisoners of the limits of our understanding.
In fact, I agree with the scientists. I truly believe that everything is measurable. But I don’t think we can measure it, no matter how deep we delve. We are limited by our biology, and we will never, ever get to the bottom of it all. And that’s the way of it. That’s natural, just as natural as the fact that we will never stop trying.
How will you scientist ever quantify my drunken thoughts? How will you capture the way I feel? How will you quantify the drunken idiots that I hear outside my window at this moment, down at the corner bar?
You never will. You wouldn’t want to. But these are the things that make up our daily lives. The feeling I have when I roll a cigarette, when I go take a God damned piss. Well, the time will come when they’ll investigate even that, but do you think that’ll help them?
Nah. They’ll just get lost in details, like they always have. It’s the human condition, detailing, categorizing . . . that’s the secrets of our ascendence. But there’s a limit to that. I believe we are pretty near the end of that road. Shit, I feel sorry for humanity, because I honestly don’t see how we can get over that hurdle. The scientists are just a logical step in our progress. They can’t help themselves. The question is whether we can progress beyond that phase. I doubt it very much, but, of course, I am just as much a victim of my times as anyone else. I can’t see the future, I can only extrapolate.
So, I imagine a future in which science has taken over. Science is your government, science is . . . God. The song I am hearing now, Candela, from Buena Vista Social Club, is long forgotten. Lovely horns and guitar. Science reigns, a science which has, long since, quantified these rhythms and melodies (Hellstrøm takes a short break to chew the dried algae bar lying before him, because that is all, all that is left to him). Beautiful new world, ain’t it?
Rationalization. That’s what science will be about. They won’t give a fuck what you think, because they’ve already quantified your thoughts. Tell me of a time when, ultimately, those in power didn’t make use of such knowledge. Humans aren’t stupid; well, not completely.
I’ll tell you something that gets on my nerves. I have wireless headphones. I go into the fucking kitchen, and I get disconnected from my music. It comes and goes. Y’know, I’m a technical person, I gotta deal with computers and technical shit the whole day at work, I solve technical problems every fucking day. And here I am now, wishing that my wireless headphones would simply work. ’So this is science,‘ I say to myself. ’Ain’t no wonder people have no faith in it, it only works half the time, if at all. Perhaps there is yet hope that the scientists will not take over…‘