It took me some time to find a copy of this book. I checked the bookstores in the Philippines since last year and found none, and even from bookstores in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, no success. Until a staff from Magrudy’s offered to order it online for no extra charge, I exclaimed Eureka. For that one reason + other things, Magrudy’s is now my favorite bookstore in UAE.
Einstein’s Dreams is a novel by Alan Lightman. In this modern classic, a fictional collage of stories dreamed by Albert Einstein was narrated. He was working then in a patent office in Switzerland.
Between April 14, 1904 to June 28, 1905, while drafting his theory of relativity, Einstein dreamed of many possible worlds:
- Suppose time is a circle, bending back on itself. The world repeats itself, precisely, endlessly.
- Wherein time is like a flow of water, occasionally displaced by a bit of debris, a passing breeze.
- Time has three dimensions, like space. Such people are content to live in contradictory worlds, so long as they know the reason for each.
- A mechanical and body time.
Where the two times meet, desperation. Where the two times go their separate ways, contentment. For, miraculously, a barister, a nurse, a baker can make a world in either time. but not in both times. Each time is true, but the truths are not the same.
- Where future and past are entwined.
It is a world of impulse. It is a world of sincerity. It is a world in which every word spoken speaks just to that moment, every glance given has only one meaning, each touch has no past or no future, each kiss is a kiss of immediacy.
- A world where time passes, but little happens.
If time and the passage of events are the same, then time moves barely at all. If time and events are not the same, then it is only people who barely move. If a person hold no ambition in this world, he suffers unknowingly. If a person holds ambition, he suffers knowingly but very slowly.
- A time where no one is happy, whether stuck in a time of pain or of joy.
- A place where time stands still.
- A world without memory is the world of the present.
- A world in which people live only one day. In either case, a man or woman sees one sunrise, one sunset.
- A world where time is a sense.
- Suppose people live forever. Over time, some have determined that the only way to live is to die.
- Suppose that time is not a quantity but quality.
- A world where time is a local phenomenon.
This book is brilliant. At first glance it may appear like a fast read. But you have to think that you are actually in ‘each world’ (each chapter) to be more captivated and delighted. It is supposedly about metaphysics. But it turned out to be a romantic and oh so-poetic novel. Weird, but I can see myself re-reading it soon. That’s how much I did like it.