Student: Albert Einstein and Time Essay

Submitted By anajellie
Words: 1000
Pages: 4

How many times have you bounced two balls at the same height at the same time and assumed both balls bounced up simultaneously? How many times have you experienced the feeling of events happening to you in the past and assumed it was déjà vu? Einstein’s Dreams is a novel written by Alan Lightman that fictionalizes a young Albert Einstein being trouble by dreams while developing his theory of relativity. These dreams were recorded between April 14 and June 28, 1905. Each dream, describes different worlds and time behaving in different ways. Each dream, explores relationships between people and time. In the novel, Alan Lightman makes various connections between simultaneity and the repetition of time. When people think of time repeating itself, they think of rebirth. What if simultaneity and time repetition were connected? What if in some way an event that happens to one person repeats itself and happens to another person. The thought of two events happening simultaneously often bring up the idea that time repeats itself. Einstein’s relativity of simultaneity is the concept of whether two spatially, separated events occur at the same time. Scientists often say that it’s impossible for anyone to say in an absolute sense whether two distinct events occur at the same time. In an article by John Walker he states, “…because light takes a finite time to traverse a distance in space, it is not possible to define simultaneity with respect to a universal clock shared by all observers” (Walker 1). If a group of 3 people were obligated to view a pair of ball of lights traveling at the “same time,” one observe will say that both lights are traveling at the same time, the other observers will say one of the lights started traveling before the other. What is meant by the above quote is that we all have different ways of observing events, which is why the relativity of simultaneity is not absolute but depends on the observers’ point of view. In Einstein’s dreams, Lightman stated, “Imagine a world in which people live just one day…..In this world, no one lives to witness the change of the seasons” (Lightman…). The people who live in this world would experience the same things. They would experience birth at the same time and they would experience death at the same time. While they experience these events at the same time, they also experience each event repeating which ties back to the connection of time repetition and simultaneity.
When people think of time repeating itself, they often think of rebirth. When someone dies there’s always the question of where their spirit goes. One of Einstein’s dreams in the novel is describe by Alan Lightman as if time were to repeat itself. In this dream, a women, along with her child, visit her sick husband who’s about to die. Lightman asks the question, “How could she know that time will begin again, that she will be born again…” (Lightman8). How could we know that time will begin again? When someone experiences déjà vu, they feel like they’ve been at that same place at the same time with the same people. Some people that have experienced déjà vu will make inferences that it has to do with their spirit living in the past, like they were born again. When connecting time repetition and simultaneity you can infer that both are hard to define. In the article, “Time: India”, author Brian Smith states, “Just as souls were perpetually reborn, so was the universe and time itself” (Smith1). This means that whenever someone had passed away, their soul didn’t. Their soul will go on and live in someone else’s body and whenever that soul was born again; it was like starting all over. If this could be connected to déjà vu and time repetition itself, anyone can infer that déjà vu can connect to rebirth. Brian Smith also