The Order of Time

Posted on February 18, 2022

Author: Carlo Rovelli
My Rating: 3/5

This book was the third science book I’ve read in a row, after Astrophysics for People in a Hurry and Origins of Existence. This was actually probably more of what I was looking for after Astrophysics for People in a Hurry – it was fairly short, easy to read, moved slow and, for the most part, easy to understand – although maybe not.

Rovelli describes how time is relative – it passes faster in the mountains than it does at sea level. So if there were 2 friends one in the mountain and one at sea level, the friend in the mountain would age quicker. So in that sense, there is no “true time”.

He says, there is no “now”. The present only works for a little bubble around us – the farther away you get (other planets, galaxies) the less “the present” makes sense.

Then, there were parts of the book that blew my mind – I just could not comprehend some of it. For example this section in chapter 3 where Rovelli is describing sections of time as cones which he says describes an order between the events of the universe that is partial, not complete – this I could somewhat follow. Then he shows how a “continuous trajectory toward the future returns to the originating event, to where it began”.

That just seems like a science fiction movie to me. I can’t understand how that would happen in the real world/universe.

After several chapters of in-depth science where he describes loop theory, blurring, entropy, indexial phrases he starts bringing it back to a human point of view.

Music can occur only in time, but if we’re always in the present moment, how is it possible to hear it?

He says that in the human mind, which might be where time really exists, we use memory and anticipation of the future to help us sense time. He says,

In the end, we can only speak of a single time: the time of our experience.

In the end, this book was pretty good, but perhaps a little over my head or beyond my comprehension.