Only Time Will Tell
“Sorry, your honor. I was unwillingly delayed by some matter.”
“You are here now, that is all that matters. Will you state your name for the record, please?” Lord Chance requested.
“Wouldn’t you agree that more relevant than telling my name would be stating what I have to tell?”
“No telling what that could be if you are not known to the court and, therefore, recognized as the one who can tell,” Lord Chance replied.
“I must insist on what will become self-evident: If I indeed manage to tell, such telling will end with my own indisputable recognition.”
Lord Chance pondered for a moment. The reasoning was sound, if marginally unorthodox. He was not sure how worthwhile it would be to further postpone the procedure just so the record could be straight. Nevertheless, it was definitely worth raising the stakes.
“Very well, I will concede your motion. The burden of recognition will be upon your telling. If you succeed, your status will be elevated; you will be one of us. If you fail, however, your own identity will be in peril. The peril of non-existence,” Lord Chance adjudicated.
The severity of the ruling took all by surprise. Lord EM rubbed his hands with a spark of excitement; the Nuclear Sisters, Lady Strong and Lady Weak, were both charged with contradictory expectations; and finally, Lord Gravity kept to himself, his face grave.
A simple hearing had just become an existential trial. The fleeting witness, who was now the main defendant, started without further ado.
“How can one delineate that which, despite being constantly measured, tricked religion, philosophy, and science into an endless measure of circularity?
“I resent and repeal,” the swift defendant continued, “the simplistic definition that I shall be the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in an apparently irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future.
“Wherefore, regardless of whatever I may be, I will now tell what needs to be told.” The immemorial defendant exhaled, drawing nigh to the conclusion of his telling.
“The absolute continuum, whose own obsidian fabric I am woven into forevermore, cries out for a meaning beyond the singularity of the forward motion. Life does not flow invariably downstream but is actually the alluring amalgamation of all that was, of all that is, and of all that will be. Thence, may it be known that henceforth whoever dreams a new dream, shall not fear previous nightmares, because the past itself shall no longer be immutable, but changeable. Just a light travel away.”
The pantheon of Lords and Ladies, entranced by the telling, were snapped back to reality by the sudden dull crash of Lord Chance’s gavel, and his unwavering verdict: “It is told.”
“Only time (whatever that may be) will tell.”
—Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time