This is time, familiar and intimate. We are taken by it. The rush of
seconds, hours, years that hurls us toward life then drags us toward
nothingness... We inhabit time as fish live in water. Our being is
being in time. Its solemn music nurtures us, opens the world to us,
troubles us, frightens and lulls us. The universe unfolds into the
future, dragged by time, and exists according to the order of time.
Wonder is the source of our desire for knowledge, and the
discovery that time is not what we thought it was opens up a
thousand questions [...]
And it seems to me that life, this brief life, is nothing other than
this: the incessant cry of these emotions that drive us, that we
sometimes attempt to channel in the name of a god, a political faith,
in a ritual that reassures us that, fundamentally, everything is in
order, in a great and boundless love—and the cry is beautiful.
Sometimes it is a cry of pain. Sometimes it is a song.
And song, as Augustine observed, is the awareness of time. It is
time. It is the hymn of the Vedas that is itself the flowering of time.
In the Benedictus of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, the song of the
violin is pure beauty, pure desperation, pure joy. We are suspended,
holding our breath, feeling mysteriously that this must be the source
of meaning. That this is the source of time.
Then the song fades and ceases. “The silver thread is broken, the
golden bowl is shattered, the amphora at the fountain breaks, the
bucket falls into the well, the earth returns to dust.” And it is fine
like this. We can close our eyes, rest. This all seems fair and beautiful
to me. This is time.
— Carlo Rovelli, The Order of Time, 2017.