Thinking about time is to acknowledge two contradictory certainties: that our outward lives are governed by the seasons and the clock; that our inward lives are governed by something much less regular - an imaginative impulse cutting through the dictates of daily time, and leaving us free to ignore the boundaries of here and now and pass like lightning along the coil of pure time, that is, the circle of the universe and whatever it does or does not contain.
Outside of the rules of daily time, not to be is as exact as to be. We can’t talk about all that the universe contains because to do so would be to render it finite and we know in some way, that we cannot prove, that it is infinite. So what the universe doesn’t contain is as significant to us as what it does. There will be a moment (though of course it won’t be a moment) when we will know (though knowing will no longer be separate from being) that we are a part of all we have met and that all we have met was already a part of us.
Until now religion has described it better than science, but now physics and metaphysics appear to be saying the same thing. The world is flat and round, is it not? We have dreams of moving back and forward in time, though to use the words back and forward is to make a nonsense of the dream, for it implies that time is linear, and if that were so there could be no movement, only a forward progression. But we do not move through time, time moves through us. I say this because our physical bodies have a natural decay span, they are one-use-only units that crumble around us. To everyone, this is a surprise. Although we see it in parents and our friends we are always amazed to see it in ourselves. The most prosaic of us betray a belief in the inward life every time we talk about ‘my body’ rather than ‘I’. We feel it as absolutely part but not at all part of who we are. Language always betrays us, tells the truth when we want to lie, and dissolves into formlessness when we would most like to be precise. And so we cannot move back and forth in time, but we can experience it in a different way. If all time is eternally present, there is no reason why we should not step out of one present into another.
— Jeanette Winterson
Sexing The Cherry