New user? Register here:
Email Address:
Password:
Retype Password:
First Name:
Last Name:
Existing user? Login here:
 
 
News >

Time does go slow

DOES time always march with an inexorable, steady beat? We have all experienced occasions when time appears, if not exactly to stand still, to be excruciatingly elongated: during sermons by particular preachers, or in General Synod.

Science might now support the phenomenon, we learned in Time, the first episode of a big-name documentary series presented engagingly by Dr Michio Kaku (BBC4, Sunday), a co-founder of String Field Theory in modern physics.

The passing of time is more than an industrial construct, a ploy by capitalist bosses to squeeze the last ounce out of a downtrodden proletariat by means of clocking-on, and time-and-motion stopwatches. Deep within our brains we all have a mechanism that fires cells in a pattern of beats which synchronises our bodies, a biological mechanism that we apparently share with every other terrestrial life-form.

But this steady rhythm can be altered: the production of adrenalin in moments of acute stress slows down our body time so that the perception of, say, a serious accident as happening in slow motion is in fact exactly what happens.

Speaking as a mere arts wallah, I thought Dr Kaku was concentrating on subjective rather than objective time, what we feel internally to be the passing of time rather than its actual passage: surely it's reasonable to expect that organisms would develop some mechanism to enable them to respond to the inexorable exterior temporal fluctuations - day and night, phases of the moon, the yearly progress of the earth round the sun. Perhaps all that will be addressed in future programmes, which, among other delights, promise to disclose why time proceeds in only one direction.

Time pretty much came to a standstill for me during the interminable Gideon's Daughter (BBC1, Sunday). This new drama is part of a celebration of the work of Stephen Poliakoff, and is intended as a riposte to the criticism that nowadays the BBC never commissions, well, new dramas.

On the showing of this and (in January) Friends and Crocodiles, they needn't bother. Both were self-indulgent: attempts to offer a dramatic critique of our recent history by weaving character and story around real events and political and social movements.

The characters had no internal reality: we were constantly told how important, successful, influential they were, but none of them said or did anything to make us believe these claims. On both occasions, a starry, wonderful cast, with no expense spared on location, design, and production, attempted to breathe life into wooden dialogue and incredible situation.

Our recent history was far more immediately summoned up by Searle's Progress (BBC4, Saturday), a celebration by his peers of the great cartoonist. Most telling was the way his famous St Trinian's drawings, the innovative presentation of schooldays as a time not of innocence, but of spite, torture, and crime, were a comic reworking of the terrible drawings that he smuggled out of his unspeakable sufferings at the hands of the Japanese as a prisoner of war.

It was a remarkable example of how art and humour can transform horror and degradation, a therapeutic coming-to-terms with the worst that humans can experience.


 

Job of the week

Archdeacon

Europe

Diocese in Europe The Church of England Archdeacon of Germany & Northern Europe and Archdeacon of the East (with a diocesan brief for mission) This is a unique opportunity to contribute to th...  Read More

Signup for job alerts
Top feature

The advocacy and the ecstasy

The advocacy and the ecstasy

St Teresa, born in Avila 500 years ago this weekend, is often depicted in a religious fervour. But there was much more to her than that, writes Laurie Vere  Subscribe to read more

Question of the week
Can Christians be trendy?

To prevent multiple voting, we now ask readers to be logged in. This is free, quick and easy, honestly. Click here to login or register

Top comment

Lessons from history can teach us how to live

The long shadow of the past can not only illuminate the present but also point to a more hopeful future, writes David Monteith  Subscribe to read more

Sat 28 Mar 15 @ 16:13
World Council of Churches (@Oikoumene) consults on humanitarian aid for Ukraine http://t.co/PAhK8GWynu http://t.co/BeHcOzsyDd

Sat 28 Mar 15 @ 15:08
The Bishop of Europe prays for the victims of the Germanwings crash http://t.co/7gJJyxZywH http://t.co/DXNQVIhbJ9