Quote of the Day

"Time, her father was saying, looking upwards and scratching his chin through his beard, time has tiny flaws in it, tiny slippages, that in the very beginning hindered the flow of formlessness and created form. In the same way, he said, that your nails catch on something made of silk, with little hooks you did not know were there until they snagged. 'Do you see?' he asked. Flaws in the matrix, temporal discrepancies. So at the start, when there was still nothing, the world was, you could say, hindered into existence."

(The Infinities, John Banville)(A loveable and thus, given the author's previous works, disturbing book)


  1. That is a terrific quote and it is actually another way of saying what happened at a certain very early point of the big bang. The map we have of what we call the background radiation, the earliest part (farthest away that we can see) of the universe, a historical record, shows the gathering of mass around the "snags". According to theory, if it is accurate, this background radiation is the earliest that we will ever see. It is the first thing in the universe when it became transparent. Before that time the universe was opaque for reasons the physicists can explain but I don't remember.

  2. I depend on these literary descriptions, of course, because too dim to take the physics straight! Even the best of the popularizers (Ferris, Bryson) whiz above my head, so snagged silk it is.

  3. I love 'hindered into existence'.