Borough Council debates the nature of time

Showing the two futures hypothesis overlaid with Shanks's layman explanation involving foxes and hens.

 A Drogheda Borough Council meeting took an unexpected twist last night during tense all party discussions on whose turn it was to turn on the Christmas lights…

Deviating from the agreed agenda, Cllr. Tully quipped that Christmas ‘doesn’t be long in coming around again’ and that sometimes it’s hard to know whether indeed time moves from the past to the future irreversibly. His party colleague Cllr. Culhane backed him up by suggesting that theoretically, time may not be linear in nature.

Labour Councillor Pio Smith lent his support to his coalition partners by announcing that two parallel universes were indeed produced by the Big Bang – ours, which moves forward in time and another, where time flows backwards. Nodding vociferously in agreement, Cllr. Cassidy then slapped his copy of October’s Physical Review Letters on the table, in which an international trio of theoretical physicists published a paper suggesting that there is more than one future.

As the assembled representatives leaned over the table to see Cllr. Cassidy’s magazine, the Celtic Tiger’s Cllr. Tommy Byrne foghorned, in that indomitable style of his that according to his own research, time moves in the direction of increasing entropy — or disorder, randomness, and even chaos – in an effort to approach some equilibrium among all of the things. He further posited that according to this thermodynamic ‘arrow of time’, things increasingly fall apart, not unlike the present coalition government.

As he sat down to backslaps from party colleagues Cllr. Callan stood up. Momentarily forgetting that he’d quit Fine Gael in a fit of populist euphoria, he piped in that if that is the case, then our universe must have begun in a low-entropy, highly ordered initial state, unlike that of the current rabble of opposition parties.

If only I’d not quit the party, that would’ve been a killer riposte,”  inner-monologued the former Fine Gael man.

At this point Cllr. Smith sought to redirect things by introducing a new arrow of time to the debate, one based not on thermodynamics, but on gravity. “Time is a mystery,” he thought aloud. “Basically, when you think of it, all the known laws of physics look exactly the same whichever way time runs.”

Until now, Newtonian principles of time have be rigidly adhered to. However, the Godfreyian school of thought is challenging this long held belief.
Until now, Newtonian principles of time have be rigidly adhered to. However, the Godfreyian school of thought is challenging this long held belief.

Feeling that her party hadn’t had a fair chance to put its position on the matter across due to institutionalised bias and fear amongst the established media, Sinn Féin Councillor Imelda Munster put her hand up and started talking over everyone like it was LMFM. “So what you’re really saying about the peace process is that gravity and time run a bit like the magic road in Cooley, is it?” 

“I’m glad you asked that Cllr. Munster. I’ve been working with my colleague Cllr. Godfrey on this very issue over the past 14 years.” Councillor Culhane motioned Cllr. Godfrey to pull down the white screen and dimmed the lights. “What myself and Cllr. Godfrey have been cooking up in our spare time is very simple really. Frank if you could…” 

They found that every particle configuration evolves into a state of low-complexity – like a chaotic clutch of hens that settles into a more orderly structure which is analogous to Boltzmann’s low entropy fluctuation. And from there the hens expanded outward in two distinct, symmetrical and opposite arrows of time. Councillor Godfrey then did the Council some service by explaining all that in layman’s terms.

“If you look at the Big Bang as a simple model with a clutch of hens in the middle but legging it in either direction after they see a fox, then you would say there are two arrows of time, pointing in opposite directions from the hens.”

In this diagram, you can see how a unique moment of lowest complexity, or a past from which two futures emerge
In this diagram, you can see how a unique moment of lowest complexity, or a past from which two futures emerge.

The eyebrow Cllr. Tully raised confirmed the academic advantage he held over his colleagues. Pulling effortlessly from his background in woodwork and technical drawing, the man they call the Hector of Baltray announced that he agreed with the findings, further adding that this two-futures situation would probably exhibit a single, chaotic past in both directions leading to the conclusion that there are essentially two universes, one on either side of this central state.

Agreeing in theory with Councillors Culhane, Tully and Godfrey, but not wanting to be publicly seen to be agreeing with any government argument, the Sinn Féin block rang national headquarters in Belfast to seek clarification on what to do. After a look at the Republican Scientist magazine, 32 Adams, a phone call was received by Cllr. Flood allowing him to read a prepared statement confirming his party’s belief that both sides could sustain observers who would perceive time going in opposite directions and that any intelligent beings there would define their arrow of time as moving away from the central state, or fox, as Cllr. Godfrey explained.

“What happened to the hens Frank? Did some of them get younger and die like in that movie where Brad Pitt is an old baby?” asked Mayor Bell, who until this point preferred to take a backseat in proceedings and let the lesser elected mortals have some voice time.

However, Cllr. Tully, who was chairing the meeting, moved proceedings along by tabling the motion that the Christmas lights best be left alone. Turning them on, he thought, could have catastrophic results in a parallel universe, which in turn, could prove fatal for our parallel selves. So the motion was passed to leave the Christmas lights well alone until further study by Councillors Godfrey and Culhane could be substantiated by peer review.

A generous research grant of hens and PCs was sliced off next year’s budget for the pair. The motion was passed by ten votes to seven, for appearances sake more than anything.

The Celtic Tiger’s Cllr. Tommy Bryne closed the meeting by pressing his fingertips together and imploring, as a personal favour, that the honourable members reflect on the consequences of their actions, stating that alternate versions of ourselves in other dimensions of the multiverse may have already had this debate many times and that what was decided here today may or may not have been predestined. He left the group with the following message before reminding everyone that they had his personal number should they need to talk further about things or have any property they needed shifting.

“They would think we now live in their deepest past.”

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