The Time Warp

“You take a step to the left,

And then a step to the right,

. . . . . . . . . . .

Let’s do the time warp again!”

So wrote Richard O’Brien in the iconic Rocky Horror Show.

We usually represent time on a graph as a line going from left to right, often with an arrowhead at the right hand end to indicate the ‘direction’ of time.

So if you take a ‘step to the left’, you go ‘back’ in time and a ‘step to the right’ takes you ‘forward’.

But, other than perhaps being ‘the fourth dimension’, time doesn’t actually exist. Like height, depth and width it’s just a measuring stick for the way humans have developed to understand the world.

Time as a measurement is just a function of the rotation of our planet around our sun that we have chosen to divide into months, days, weeks, hours, minutes and seconds.

These ‘bits’ of time don’t exist – they really are just figments of our imagination.

So what about those ‘steps’ to the left and right?

We are continually taking ‘steps to the left’, consciously and unconsciously. When ‘memories’ pop into our consciousness and we ‘remember’ something we did, where we were and so on.

Think of a ‘memory’ now – it will become as vivid and real as if it were actually happening in this moment.

But you’ve not gone back in time, you’ve brought that event forward – you are now living that event again.

For devotees of Star Trek this was explained very clearly in the first episode of Deep Space Nine when the non-temporal entities who lived in the wormhole explained to Commander Cisco that his consciousness was fixed in the event when his wife was killed in a battle.

The concept of non-linear existence was also explored in Next Generation when the idea of the ‘Q Continuum’ was introduced – again populated with beings for whom ‘time’ had no meaning.

There are several other references in the Star Trek franchise, Dr Who, Back to the Future and of course H G Wells’ ‘The Time Machine’.

One principle however generally persists through these stories.

You can’t go back and create a new beginning.

You can go back and examine what happened, learn from mistakes and successes, and then start again and create a new ending.

But what about that ‘step to the right’?

It’s easy to visualise what has happened, we remember, we were there, we did it. But what about what hasn’t happened – can we ‘step to the right’ go to the ‘new ending’ and discover what action we need to take now to create that ending?

Yes we can.

When we visualise an event in the past we can also visualise all the steps that led up to it so in just the same way when we visualise an event in the future we can also visualise all the steps we need to lead to it.

Take one of your goals. Step to the right. See what achieving that goal means. Look back and see the path to that goal. Come back to ‘now’. Start taking action.

Don’t get hung up about ‘time’.

When I started writing this about 20 minutes ago I visualised what it was going to look like at the end, worked it out and then started writing. I wasn’t concerned with the ‘time’ it was going to take.

I started with a new beginning (blank screen) and arrived here at a new ending.

I’m off to do the time warp again and create something else.

How about you?