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Perception

“The proper study of mankind is man.”
    ~ Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man, Epistle 2 (1733)

There’s absolute rest
Wherever an accurate clock gets ahead
Of a similar one on the go
How unfortunate
Three lines that poke a hole in the theory most beloved
By the professors among us with their heads stuck in their math books
For over a century now
Won’t put to absolute rest
Being first foremost fastest
That’s a digression
The reason to keep thinking about science
When the things done with it in this world
Flashy or creepy or just plain pretentious
All lose their charm
Is what it tells us about who we are

The professors won’t go away that easily
Check it out, they say
Some of the predictions are right
Go fast and
Time slows down and
Everything gets shorter and
Now I should take off with that restful clock
For a ride on their fancy half-light-speed spacecraft
It’s supposed to tick away as usual
Telling the time I’m supposed to experience
I’m supposed to turn on the headlights
With these hands supposed to show
The light supposed to be going on ahead
Fast as ever
That’s another digression
An idea based completely on math
And some experiments with entanglement
That speak only of interference
With which you approach a gorgeous but unrealistic model
Like the cover variety
Both lose their charm
Having nothing to say about who we are

Close those pages
You want to know real beauty
Then look
And don’t look away once your gaze is met
From both ends of your spacecraft
The outputs of a radio device I’ve installed
Transmissions of a signal that bounces back and forth through it
Come across as I rush past the restful asteroid where you’re sitting
Maybe a ship’s length away according to that clock I’ve brought along
Several of them by its twin in your pocket
Yet aren’t light-milliseconds all the same
When you say the signal’s supposed to look to me like it gets from back to front
No slower than ever because my clock’s been slowed down
I’m supposed to see it getting from front to back in the same time
By my slow clock because my ship’s gotten shorter
Going back to the front again would seem to stretch things
Where in your theory of curved spacetime do you find an explanation
For irregularity that should be visible only from certain vantages
Of an oscillator operating at what’s supposed to be a steady rate
When red and blue shifting are regular as the rainbow

How this hippity-hoppity signal could come across as steady to anyone
Any where any when at any speed
When the relativistic cause you crave in your opposition to absolutes
That you’re convinced never let the bones roll
Your reluctance to admit of a higher perception
I can picture
Only if all of spacetime is wrapped around itself
Boundlessly spiraling
Maybe that’s just me

In a life where we’re always rushed
Don’t we find returning backward faster than pressing forward
Burnout always a long push for so-called grace followed by a much shorter fall
So-called civilization when it so-called collapses sure to do it really fast
Having lost its charm
What gets through while I’m yet captive to high speed
Is less from all directions
But hardly all the same
As I look back fondly to what I’ve left behind
Traded for life in the fast lane
My old perception
Proof that relativity is illusion
That’s yet another digression
You see from where you sit at rest
That my clock whose main component is of course a reliable oscillator
Can’t even work
Going this crazy speed
Mind and body built around their clocks too
Wobble off their rockers and fail
The whole rat-race comes to an end
There’s absolute rest

The light goes on
Knowing nothing of time
Call it infinitely fast from its own perspective
From where it starts with a flash of energy
To where it ends with a flash of recognition
All identical to it with no time or space in between
There’s no from
It’s the same place as to
Which is no place
The only real perspective
As I point my flashlight at the darkest patch of sky
Play with the boundless
A universe endlessly expanding
Sees light never ending
What happens when something infinitely fast goes infinitely far
Isn’t so much a question of what’s something
As who’s watching
The infinite
The timelessness of perspective itself
The chunk of living rock on which I stand
And I
And even this
One of the relatively humble gadgets wrought by science
Which I’m holding in my hand beaming the timeless into forever
All one and the same
Hand me that failed clock
I might fix it if the spirit moves me
From absolute rest

    January 2017

Thanks always returns

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