A surrealistic approach to science fiction

Many a times sci-fi stories will evoke some of physics’ most mindboggling concepts. Parts of the universe’ clockwork which completely captivate the imagination of anyone who hasn’t tragically lost their innate sense of wonder. These elements are not only excellent tools to establish an exciting setting, develop a complex plot or even impact the dynamics of storytelling itself by altering the very fabric of interdimensional perception with hyperquantum wackamadoodle. No, sir. They are much more than merely eloquent interpretations of general science meant solely to entertain. Indeed, one would even venture to say they engage humanity’s most paramount endeavour. The continuously ongoing discovery of absolute truth.

That said, I’d be hard pressed to claim I ever grasp much of what is said at times. Most times actually. I figured there must be at least a few kindred nitwits like me out there who can relate. So without further ado, you are hereby invited to a highly refined and professionally accurate lesson on the perception of time. Here goes:

Say the traversal through the digestive system takes u the entirety of a day. You are a piece of sustenance entering the top end – the day has begun. You’re getting chewed on and swallowed – that’ll be the early morning. Midday goes by as you pass through the various intestines, stomach and eventually come out the back end by which time night has fallen again thus completing the cycle. You have now also turned into shit.

Now, if I were to look back at your trajectory and freezeframe any instant of your journey, you’d be at the particular time of the day corresponding to your current level of progression. You would see, taste, hear and smell what surrounds you right then and there. This is also what humans’ perception of time has developed into. Or rather it is how we experience it.

Right. Now imagine you’re not just a little turdlet moving through peristaltic time but rather a more sausage-shaped specimen continuously omnipresent. An elongated tubular object spanning through the whole system. A full daylong shaft of food gradually turning into excrement as it progresses from mouth to butthole. You’re not just experiencing what goes down right behind the uvula. In parallel, you’re actually also partying with gastric acid and squeezing your way through the colon as it tightens into starfish gate. All at once! You are simultaneously living every single moment. Always. Not unidirectionally, from one point to the next. Not forward or backward, first and last. None of that. We’re talking about an absolutely ubiquitous state of perpetual being. Pretty unfathomable stuff.

But there you have it. I find it a crafty little visual aid in pretending I understand the slightest thing about astrophysics. And today it is my gift to you. You’re welcome. Now go forth. Tell your kids. They’ll adore the poop stuff. Guaranteed. And then… at the end of the day when they’re in bed and the sun disappears behind the horizon… get comfortable. Put on Interstellar or Arrival or something and just bask in feeling good about yourself. Even if it’s only for one brief moment.

Loïc Charlier

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