Quotable Heinlein  
 
 

Jenkins said, "But that is impossible, Professor. You aren't built to observe two time dimensions."

"Easy , there..." answered Frost. "I am built to percieve them one at a time - and so are you. I'll tell you about it, but before I do so, I must explain the theory of time I was forced to evolve in order to account for my experience. Most people think of time as a track that they run on from birth to death as inexorably as a train follows its rails - they feel instinctively that time follows a straight line, the past lying behind, the future lying in front. Now I have reason to believe - to know - that time is analagous to a surface rather than a line, and a rolling hilly surface at that. Think of this track we follow over the surface of time as a winding road cut through hill. Every little way the road branches and the branches follow side canyons. At these branches the crucial decisions of your life take place. You can turn right or loft into entirely different futures. Occasionally there is a switchback where one can scramble up or down a bank and skip over a few thousand or million years - if you don't have your eyes so fixed on the road that you miss the short-cut..."

"...if you have the necessary intellectual
strength and courage, you may leave the roads, or paths of high probability, and strike out over the hills of possible time, cutting through the roads as you come to them, following them for a little while, even following them backwards, with the past ahead of you, and the future behind you. Or you might roam around the hilltops doing nothing but the extremely improbable. I cannot imagine what it would be like - perhaps a bit like Alice-through-the-Looking-Glass."

Professor Arthur Frost in "Elsewhere" in Assignment in Eternity

Submitted by Kelli on December 3, 1998.

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Last modified on March 05, 2011. Presentation © 1996-2014 Andrew B. Peterson.