Physicist, philosopher, “free electron” or “knowledge accelerator”, Étienne Klein, who called himself resolutely impatient, has devoted his research to the study of time for years. Despite the metaphysical vertigo this notion can create, it is nevertheless fascinating. Let’s take a look to Étienne Klein’s work, which participated in the genesis of klokers and could definitely upset our representation of time.
The time has flown… I did not have time… Killing time… Étienne Klein considers these expressions of everyday life as abusive language. The time that everyone thinks about does not exist. The time is nothing, except for those that speak about it, or represent it. When we think that we are speaking about time, we are actually speaking of the alteration, the speed, the length, the simultaneity, the movement, the outcome… The word “time” is used in order to indicate something else other than time itself.
We see time in a flower that fades, in a child born, in an unhappy love affair that will be forgotten, in facial wrinkles. We picture the watch dial as the object that gives us the time, when it only gives us a measure of it. We mix up “time” and “what currently happens in this time”. We mix up “time” and “temporal phenomena”. Indeed, the time is not getting us older, a combination of biological and cellular phenomena, amongst other things, is. Physics is telling us that the only constant in the universe, the only thing that does not change, is time. It is always here, renewing the present moment. From a physical point of view, this sense of speeding of time, current in our modern societies, is therefore nonsense.
Thus, Étienne Klein refutes the metaphor of Marc-Aurèle: “Time is a sort of river of passing […]”. But the real time stays still. We are the river.
If a new vision of time is possible, new representations of time are possible too. Étienne Klein was thus an inspiration for klokers and its mission to always display time in a singular way. klokers reclaims and enhances time, beyond the traditional hands turning.