I took the image of Figure 1 with my IPhone yesterday. Simply, it is a photograph of my garage door, and the abstraction raises the question, what is it? So first point, abstractions seem to demand an explanation, or at least we look for them in the belief that everything demands and deserves an explanation. But at another level the what it is, the solutions that our imaginations offer us give us insight into the character and nature of our times. And, of course, the other “neat” point is that our interpretation of an abstraction is both personal and memetically shared.
So what are the possibilities?
First, I suppose it could be the reflection of the sun off my car. However, appealing because of its seemingly simple scientifically-based explanation, it is boring! However, it may be pointed out that this explanation does contain implicitly the view that light illuminates. Also this explanation is not void of the ominous, because such solar illuminations are well known for their ability to melt paint and siding and even to set fires.
Second, is that it marks the nebulous portal of a wormhole. Yes Star Trek and Deep Space Nine fans, we are talking about the ability to traverse great distances effectively much faster than the speed of light, and even just possibly, to go forward and backwards in time. It flies in the face of Marcus Aurelius’ belief that you only possess the moment, the present, neither future or past.
“No one can lose either the past or the future – how could anyone be deprived of what he does not possess? … It is only the present moment of which either stands to be deprived: and if this is all he has, he cannot lose what he does not have.”
I did not attempt to enter this wormhole. To even think of such an explanation is a twentieth/twenty-first century interpretation dependent on, at least, a rudimentary understanding of Einstein’s four dimensional space time. Space time is certainly a pervasive product of our times. Curiously, while wormholes fall out of what is referred to as gravity theory, even the derivers, when cornered in a room over wine or whiskey will admit that they do not quite believe in them. But the wormhole is a kind of mathematical singularity and the existence of black-holes, another kind of gravitational singularity, fuels the imagination with: yes, it might be possible. There is a counter argument often made that if such time travel were possible, we would be inundated with time travelers. The argument may be countered with the fact that as mind-boggling large, perhaps infinite, as the three-dimensional physical universe is imagine how much more vast and infinite it truly is when you add the fourth dimension of time. It is not hard to imagine that a few time-travelers would be so diluted in density as to be inconsequential. Even an infinite number of time travelers might not be encountered in this four-dimensional variant of Hilbert’s infinite room Grand Hotel. I should have seen what would happen if I tried to walk into my garage door. Would I have passed into another time and place?
A mathematician makes plans to travel backwards in time through a wormhole to a parallel universe when he can’t even make it to Mars with the fastest rocket on hand today.
Third, and speaking of four-dimensional travel, is it the aura, perhaps of some sort of Cthulhulian four-dimensional creature only partially perceived, much like how a tennis ball would be perceived by the two-dimesional inhabitants of Edwin Abbott Abbott’s Flatland. We are assured that the gods of H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos are merely fictional, albeit written in the context of Einstein’s theories. But they were conjured up in Lovecraft’s mind as a reflection of the evil of mankind and chillingly
the short story [Call of Cthulhu] asserts the premise that, while currently trapped, Cthulhu will eventually return. His worshippers chant “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn” (“In his house at R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.”)
There does seem to be the potential of so much evil in a simple aura. As a result there was a cathartic reassurance in the fact that opening and closing my car door altered the nature of the door.