In the Slip of Time: Will We Live in All Times at Once?

Recently Ben and Aaron have been reporting a lot of timeslip stories–first-person accounts of that uncanny feeling of suddenly having slipped out of the present time and into the past.

Is it happening more often?  And if so, what does that mean for the future?  Past? Present?  Is the new immortality not about living longer, but living through infinite time all at once?  It sounds exhausting, like going to Disneyland, Universal Studios Tour and Paris all in one day. What was wrong with reincarnation? It was so much less stressful living one life at a time (and good to think of having another go ahead).

Of course, this could be a temporary temporal shift. If you’re into the 2012 meme, you’ll probably know that as the Mayan Long Calendar progresses to the final days, events are supposed to pile-on at an ever-more condensed and accelerated rate. Kind of like the acid-trip montage at the end of “2001, A Space Odyssey,” when the astronaut played by Keir Dullea tumbled through space and time as his life flashed before his eyes. Could it be that timeslips are becoming a more widespread phenomenon as we race to The End?

Or maybe more people are experiencing or simply reporting timeslips (and other psi phenomena) because popular culture — TVs “Lost,” Deepak Chopra on quantum aging, the documentary “What the Bleep” to name three out of infinite examples–has caught up with the scientific view spelled out at a conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) held in June of 2006 specifically to discuss the physics of time and retrocausation. (referred to by  Feeling the Future: Experimental Evidence forAnomalous Retroactive Influences on Cognition and Affect a recent paper by Daryl J. Bem from Cornell University) :

“A central starting point for such discussions is the consensus that the fundamental laws of both classical and quantum physics are time-symmetric. In particular,they formally and equally admit time-forward and time-reversed solutions. Thus,though we began simply desiring to predict the future from the present, we find that the best models do not require in fact, do not respect this asymmetry.[Accordingly,] it seems untenable to assert that time reverse causation (retrocausation) cannot occur, even though it temporarily runs counter to the macroscopic arrow of time (Sheehan, 2006, p. vii).

That’s not to say that there’s anything new about suddenly finding oneself in the middle of history. In philosopher, paranormal researcher Colin Wilson’s “Beyond the Occult,” he traces the history of the out-of-timeline phenomenon to “The Information Universe.”

Wilson timeline ends with the work of  neuroscientist Karl Pribram and physicist David Bohm who conclude that  just as our senses interpret energy waves and sound waves as color and music, everything –past, future, present–already exist encoded as an interference pattern behind the familiar reality we can readily interpret.

Wilson does see the pattern in the practices of psychics, remote viewers, prophets who are able to access this background data by their ability to achieve the right state of mind. Famed psychic medium Eileen Garrett described in Adventures in the Supernormal A personal Memoir by Eileen Garrett:

“In the clairvoyant experience, one follows a process. Light moves in weaving ribbons and strands, and in and out of these, fragmentary curing lines emerge and fade, moving in various directions. The perception consists of a swiftly moving array of these broken, shifting lines, and in the beginning one gathers meaning out of the flow as the lines create patterns of significance which the acutely attentive clairvoyant perception senses….

I have referred to an inner condition of alertness which is the essential factor in many of these activities. It is a realization of superior vital living. I enter into a world of intensely vibrant radiation; I am extra competent, I participate fully and intimately in events that move at an increased rate of movement, and though the events that I observe are objective to me, I do more than observe them–I live them.”

So far the timeslip thing doesn’t sound like anything to worry too much about.  For most of us, timeslips happen randomly, perhaps due to finding ourselves in a setting where dramatic incidents from the past have imprinted deeply on the landscape or when our own state of consciousness is altered by unusual stress, exhaustion, or novelty, suddenly pitching us head first back in time.   It’s an interesting experience, but one that doesn’t seem to be spinning us into a time vortex.

Here is an account from Wilson’s “Beyond the Occult,”  recounting  the timeslip experience biologist Ivan Sanderson’s wrote about in his book “More Things,” about zoological oddities.

“After stating that he has never been interested in the occult, he tells how he and his wife were living in Haiti, engaged on a biological survey. One day, on a drive to lake Azuey, they made the mistake of taking a short cut that landed them up to their axles in mud and had to spend the night walking back. Sanderson and his wife were walking together, their assistant Frederick G. Allsop walking ahead, when:

‘…suddenly, on looking up from the dusty ground I perceived absolutely clearly in the now brilliant moonlight, and casting shadows appropriate to their positions, three-storied houses of various shapes and sizes lining both sides of the road. These house hung out over the road which suddenly appeared to be muddy with patches of large cobblestones.

The house were of (I would say) about the Elizabethan period of England, but for some reason I knew they were in Paris!

They had pent roofs with some dormer windows, gables, timbered porticos and small windows with tiny leaded panes. There and there were dull reddish lights burning behind them, as if from candles. There were iron-frame lanterns hanging from timbers jutting from some houses and they were all swaying together as if in a wind, but there was not the faintest movement of air about us….

I was marveling at this, and looking about me, when my wife came to a dead stop and gave a gasp. I ran smack into her. Then she went speechless for a time while I begged to know what was wrong. Finally she took my hand and, pointing, described to me exactly what I was seeing. At which point I became speechless.

Finally pulling myself together, I blurted out something like, ‘What do you think’s happened?’ but my wife’s reply startled me even more. I remember it only too well; she said, ‘How did we get to Paris five hundred years ago?”

We stood marveling at what we apparently both now saw, picking out individual items and pointing, questioning each other as to details, and so forth. Curiously, we found ourselves swaying back and forth and began to feel very weak, so I called out to Fred, whose white shirt was fast disappearing ahead.

I don’t quite remember what happened then but we tried to run towards him and, feeling dizzy, sat down on what we were convinced was a tall, rough curbstone.

Fred came running back asking what was wrong but at first we did not know what to say. He was the ‘keeper’ of the cigarettes, of which we had about half a dozen left, and he sat down beside us and gave us each one. By the time the flame from his lighter had cleared from my eyes, so had fifteenth-century Paris, and there was nothing before me but the endless and damned thorn bushes and cactus and bare earth. My wife also ‘came back’ after looking into the flame. Fred had seen nothing…”