In Search of Eternity
The essence of time and the question of eternity has puzzled the minds of mankind since the earliest years of philosophy and science, and the quest to understand both the beginning and the end of all things has given rise to the deepest questions our civilisation has asked itself. The search for the fabric of time, the quintessence of cause and effect, the nature of how each second passes is the driving force behind the latest explorations in physics, revealing secrets and revelations with each discovery.
As we sense the ticking of the clock with each moment we experience, it is but human to attempt an understanding of the eternal. However, the more we learn about the nature of time, the more we realise that perhaps, our sense of its passage is merely one facet of something infinitely complex and fascinating.
Time is something which seems immutable, constantly marching forwards, with each day separated into the regularity of hours and minutes, and each minute carved into seconds, which in turn are split into ever-decreasing quantities. The zeniths of the physics of time have, however, proven this has never been the case. When viewed through the prism of outer and inner space, we find time be as complex, as it is fragile, and as flexible as it is endlessly surprising.
Einstein’s theory of relativity states that the higher the gravity, the slower time passes. Indeed, the passage of time is dependent on location, due to the fact that the dimension of space-time isn’t a flat or linear plane. Rather, it curves magnificently, meaning the closer an object is to a centre of immense gravitational pull, the more rapidly the clock ticks. This is why astronauts age ever so slightly differently than those of us here on terra firma, albeit by a matter of microseconds, having been marginally liberated by the tightening time-space curve of the gravity of Earth.
Einstein wrote extensively about our perceptions of time, too, waxing lyrically about how the clock cruelly speeds up through moments of passion and love. To experience time passing more quickly the older we become is something of a universal shared experience, but scientists are only recently uncovering why this might be the case. It has been found that the principles of the flow of time correlate alongside the physics of the human mind. As we grow, the neural patterns in our brains, and the way we process data, become ever more complex. In this sense, time isn’t merely relative in space, it’s also relative within our minds.
If time is both relative in the physical universe and within the human mind, is it possible to claim it as existing at all? Should the very existence of time as a tangible force be unclear, comprehending the nature of eternity is even more so. After all, contemporary physics dictates that time does not flow through the endless void of space, it merely is. However, time unquestionably appears to have a forward direction, an onward march, and a thrust towards the future and the eternal which lies beyond. Questioning whether or not this is merely an illusion of the human mind is one of the most significant questions in science today.
This onward march towards the infinite is known in physics as the Arrow of Time. Psychologically, and from our human perspective and general experience of time, we encounter this phenomenon daily. We recognise that cause invariably precedes effect, and our anticipation of what the future, both immediate and distant, dictates our behaviour and the way we live our lives. Our sense of the arrow of time, and the essence of the everlasting that it provides, holds a remarkable sway on our notion of reality.
In thermodynamics, the arrow of time also appears clear. The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy will always either increase or stay the same as time progresses, something we are able to observe repeatedly across the universe. Cosmologists, by and large, also have evidence for the onwards motion of time, by observing the expansion of the known universe following the Big Bang. However, contemporary cosmologists are posing theories that this expansion may not be eternal, and once the universe ceases to grow, it may begin to retract. This ‘Big Crunch’ could see time reverse itself, beginning an unstoppable backward flow. The arrow of time may not, therefore, be as pointed as it appears.
If we are to gain an understanding of the mechanics of time, and as such, understand the concept of eternity, it seems likely the answers will be sourced from the ground-breaking and ever-evolving realm of quantum physics. By studying the minutiae of the fabric of the universe as we perceive it, the bigger picture slowly manifests itself, glimpse by tantalising glimpse.
2019 saw major breakthroughs in quantum mechanics and the science of time, with physicists challenging, and seemingly breaking, the laws of thermodynamics, something which up until now was thought impossible. Using a quantum computer, a singular simulated particle was reverted from an entropic to an orderly state, essentially sent back in time by fractions of a millisecond. Such miniscule yet gargantuan steps as this throw open myriad doors of possibility and suggest the requirement of a total paradigm shift of how we understand the behaviour of particles in time and space.
The theory of general relativity allows room for concepts such as eternity, the stopping of the clocks, and even the reversal of time, and it seems that science is just beginning to walk a path leading to these concepts being understood and utilised in all their magnificence. Indeed, as we delve ever deeper into the mysteries of this most enigmatic of dimensions, the more thrilling the notion of humanity’s mastery of time becomes. After all, to uncover the nature of time, and gain a hold on the nature of the eternal, is to recognise the space in which we exist, and to further march onwards in knowledge and wonder.
Platinum, that most noble of metals, originated with the exceptional Collision of two neutron stars in a distant corner of the Universe, where gravity is extreme. According to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, the higher the gravity, the slower time passes. Consequently, platinum comes from a place where time is suspended. It hurtled to Earth in a meteor shower more than 3.5 billion years ago carrying with it its own dimension of time – the Platinum Moment.
Intrigued by the possibilities to disrupt the rules of time that the Platinum Moment represents, the scientists at La Prairie pursued their quest for eternal beauty. With the re-innovation of the Platinum Rare Collection, La Prairie re-creates this moment – a moment in which time is suspended – and Haute-Rejuvenation is born.