Fiction · Rudimentary Philosophy · Scene

Measurable Time


The slim frame of ALEC passes a doorway where a man with grey in his beard sits facing the other direction. BARRY stirs in his chair and calls the figure he hears rustling in the other room to come speak with him. BARRY speaks, inaudibly, to the slim young man. 

ALEC: I stopped measuring time, as it pertains to my own life, long, long ago.

BARRY: But time is not time unless it is measured! Is it not? And how can you say this phrase, “long, long ago,” in the same breath as you claim to no longer measure time? Does not using the terms “long” and “ago” inherently invoke measurement?

ALEC: I speak these terms for your understanding. To say it any other way would not make an ounce of sense to you. My mind is unconditioned, reverse-engineered from the arbitrary laws we were born into. Moments, progression, evolution—these all still exist, but I acknowledge their existence as being in another dimension, separate from that of where I dwell. Perception is what the measure of passing moments boils down to. Perception—is it not what all you consider reality boils down to? It is a lifelong sensation you will never fully share, for at the core of perception is the unique, the snowflake’s intricacies that can claim no match in all the multitude on this blue orb and beyond.

BARRY: What method, if not those agreed upon by the histories of civilization, use you to comprehend the progression of—forgive me for using so arbitrary a term—time?

ALEC: Not by years, days, minutes. Not by sun ups and downs and the relative proximity to the sun and the moon’s to us. Nay; by feelings, impulse, what you and yours may damn as lunacy or play up as damaging and disruptive to order, humanity’s excuse for bastardizing the natural world by pretending our cues come from some tenets of science and nature and are beyond our methods of corruption, greed, hate, and vanity.

BARRY: So you arrive at the feet of a principle of disorder, do you? When you begin with your manta-feed against time and telling me you long ago decided to denounce it’s measurement, you come to the flaws in millennia of societal progression? And what are you but a squeaking, un-budging cog? What will you do to change any of these flaws? Anything?

ALEC: I seek to change only one thing—

BARRY: —On second thought, spare me any further entropic philosophies. You cannot expect to flaunt nonconformist ideation with urbane vocabulary and expect me to lower my position.

A beat.

ALEC: Then where do we stand?

BARRY: You broke curfew. You know the punishment. For the next week, you are to perceive nothing but video games. You even think about thinking, you’ll get another week. And by week I mean 7 days. 168 hours. 10,080 minutes. 604,800 seconds. However you want to measure it.

BARRY gets up from his recliner, patting his son on the shoulder as he moves toward the stairway to retire to his bed.


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