You may have seen Dr. Amodeus Harrington-Willey with a lot of electronic equipment at The Void. He's a researcher from the University of Chicago and a descendant of town founder Reginald Willey. You may have seen him, but you probably haven't talked to him, because too many people are still operating like everything is fine in this town. But what he has to say is profound and I interviewed him today so that everyone can know what this town is facing. I hope everyone reads this.
VB: Please tell us everything you know about Time and why it’s so powerful.
HW: I know very little, I’m afraid, although I must admit I am fascinated by it. We do know that Time moves differently in different places in the universe. But members of the serious scientific community are not certain why. I am excited to find out the how and why of this particular question.
If we imagine Time moving in a straight line, it fails to capture Time’s complexity. We do know the universe is constantly expanding so I like to imagine Time not as a straight line but a slowly widening circle, a spiral unfolding out, wider and wider, revolving around itself, with certain events, certain places, certain people coming back around again and again. We know, for example, when a certain comet will pass by Earth on its orbit with some degree of certainty, so this model, the spiral model of Time, helps us recognize that Time is both dependent on both the patterns of the past while making allowances for variations in the future.
Only think of the life of the universe and your own life and you can see the questions, the challenges that seem to recur. Nietzche called this Eternal Return, a theory in which certain challenges keep recurring until one finally confronts them, and I believe this has applications for our understanding of time as well. Only look at the pandemic, or the return of facism, or ongoing questions about identity. Until we face these questions head-on, they will return over again and again.
By this model of Time, whatever you fear, whatever you are most afraid to confront will continue to reappear until you have the commitment or courage or intelligence to solve it.
VB: Why are you so personally interested in Time?
HB: As you’re aware, my great-great-grandfather, Reginald Willey, was not only fascinated by industry and progress, he was also deeply curious about the mechanics of Time itself. From reading his works, I believe he had a very clear sense of some of the questions modern physicists are asking about Time and the influence it exerts upon our lives. I also think he was trying to understand why Time seemed to work so differently in this town that he so came to love. My great-grandfather, Reginald Jr., and even my grandfather, Reginald Jr. Jr., were also both fascinated by some of these questions. So it’s something of a family preoccupation and I feel very privileged to be able to pursue it to its logical conclusion.
VB: What is The Void exactly?
HW: I believe The Void is an opening from the future. I believe someone, at some point in the future, caused a kind of abruption, either accidentally or on purpose. I believe this abruption may have been here for hundreds of years and may be responsible for all the anomalies in your town relating to Time.
Imagine The Void as a kind of chemical or oil spill. Imagine molecules from the future leaking into your own time and slowly destroying the living matter all around you. I believe this is why objects with shorter life spans, things most susceptible to change–including objects like shoes and living organisms like small pets–are being affected most directly.
VB: Why do you think The Void is a circle?
HW: Ah, I have been asking myself that exact same question and I don’t know if I have yet to come up with a satisfying answer. But if we look all across the universe, what is the shape we find most often? A circle. Look at the sun, the moon, the Earth, the stars. Look at how the universe often arranges itself in circular or elliptical orbits. Once again, this makes me consider the elliptical nature of Time.
VB: Can anyone change the future?
HW: Of course, as that is the very nature of the future. The future is the universe’s constant sense of change and it is constantly changing, even as it happens. But an even more interesting question is: Can anyone change the past? If you attempt to obscure it, erase it, deny it, what will the results be in the future? I believe someone here in your town has attempted to do just that.
Now if we go with my spiral model of Time, that would mean someone would leave at a certain point in the future and would arrive at a point in the past that would correspond on a different loop of the same spiral. So you could travel from Point A to Point F but not point E. This would make it very difficult to return to a particular moment, which is perhaps what our time traveler has recognized a little too late.
I am also curious about how political groups are attempting to do the same thing at the moment, to rewrite or obscure uncomfortable moments in our history, to take the entire country backwards in time, as it were. I am fairly certain these movements will have the same consequences.