I have come to believe, over the years, that literary fiction is remarkably suited to grappling – as philosophy and science grapple – with the difficulties of reconciling objective truth with inner points of view.
Science is always adding to, and sometimes changing, our views on what objective reality is like. When those modifications are radical, there is a time lag in bringing our world view into line, and sometimes we never fully succeed. So it is that we have struggled to come to terms with, say, the devastation of our view of time that was wrought by Einstein.
Time is so fundamental a concept, not only in the objective scientific world view, but in our inner worlds, where time flows ineluctably, no matter what scientific revolutions may come our way. Almost all of our emotions – hope, fear, anticipation, worry, excitement, regret, nostalgia, remorse, resentment – presume the linearity of time.
Can we make art that reflects on the world with which we’ve been presented by our ever more powerful sciences? Can we explore what these discoveries mean in human terms?