The best of times, the worst of times, and the time that we no longer have

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair

Still following a previous post about the crucial importance of the lack of perfection in the universe it makes perfect sense to initiate this post by quoting the opening paragraph of Charles Dickens’s novel, A Tale of Two Cities, as an introductory note for a recent article in The Economist over a famous dispute that took place 100 years ago on April 6th, 1922 between Albert Einstein (43 years old) and the 63 years old French philosopher (and vegetarian) Henri Bergson about the nature of time.

The article recently published in The Economist has an interesting comment by the theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli who wrote that “Bergson correctly pointed out that experiential time has more features than the time the physicists were talking about”. It is important to bear in mind that Carlo Rovelli is the same scientist who said back in 2019 that “You have to be a rebel to be a creative scientistanticipating the findings of the paper “New directions in science emerge from disconnection and discord” published a few months ago in the Journal of Informetrics.  

PS – Ironically (but also tragically), time is exactly what Humanity does not have in order to try to prevent climate change. Another article in the same edition of The Economist shows we are entering a season of Darkness. For instance, the carbon intensity (amount of carbon emitted for each unit of energy) should have declined 3.5% per year to limit global warming to 2 ºC (7.7% for a 1.5 ºC goal) instead it has declined just 0.3% per year. Moreover, technological solutions for carbon sequestration are extremely expensive. The two companies that have commercial operations offer to remove one tonne of carbon dioxide for between $300 and $1,000.”