Time-Blind John (Part One)

John’s world would be pretty amazing.

Alan Fleming:

Without a concept of time, John’s memories would have no order. No logical sequence. Think about it, he wouldn’t even be able to logically establish that if he was a baby in this memory, it must have happened before that memory of him as an adult. The concept of change, of time passing, would be lost. He would, of course, know it is him in the memory, because whenever he recalled a memory, he would literally live the experience, again. And from that first person perspective, he would know that the little body is his.

I kind of imagine that John’s life would be a random jumping from one experience to another, without any connection, except that he is playing the lead role in each. Just like when we smell something and it “takes us back”, I feel like such a memory jolt would literally take John back to that experience and he would live it, again. However, all of this would be happening in his head. Where would his body be?

Stuck in our time ordered reality, is my guess. So he would probably be zombie-like in our reality, but in his own, he would be living all sorts of experiences and creating new ones. He would be a living example of some extreme form of idealism, or a brain in a vat!

This is all disconcerting enough, but I think things would get worse for John, because I don’t think he would be able to tell the difference between reality and dreams. At first this seems incorrect. There is a certain logic to reality that is not followed in dreams and time concept or not, John would be able to tell. Like if a dancing dragon suddenly appeared and spoke to him. That doesn’t happen in “reality”, but don’t we know that because of our time concept. We remember that we fell asleep or dropped acid, and so the dragon makes sense and is ordered into the dream category. But John has no time concept. No way of knowing when he dropped acid, and so the dancing dragon would appear as reality.

It then follows, that John would have access to his unlived future. How so, you ask? Well, firstly John has no way of knowing whether he has lived or dreamed his experiences. He lives them all as if they are real. Secondly, before the accident John would have had dreams of the future. Memories, as it were, of what he will be like, what he will be doing. If he accessed these memories, and with the inability to separate dream from reality, John will “jump” into his future.

Of course, I have no idea if any of this is correct. Some of it seems pretty extreme, as if John bumps his head and becomes omniscient, but I don’t think that is my point. I think my point is that John would be lost in his memories with no way of escaping. He won’t be able to see tomorrows Powerball numbers in our reality, but without a concept of time, he will be able to see those numbers and win the Powerball in his reality. He’ll be ‘sipping champagne when he thirsty’ in his reality, whilst lying still in a hospital bed in ours.

Hold on, but surely from time to time he would jump back into this reality… My head hurts.


Follow the dialogue and go to 罗子禾’s retort here.

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