e: if then
e: beyond time
Etymology: The origin of this symbol and spectrum
E is the most common letter in the English language. Printers used to have to carve letters, which they would put together to make plates. They had a term “Etioan Shrdlu”, which simply lists the letters that appear the most in English. As I was terrified that someone would actually crack my code (heaven knows why anyone would be interested in my secrets!), I carefully chose e to carry the most permutations.
Time is a concept that has many subtle variations. First, of course, there is the past, present, and future. But these can be merged—something that happened in the past can continue on to the present and into the future (such as creating a country or living in your home). Something that just started today could extend into the future (such as a new job or a new resolution).
Then we can say, what if? What if the past were different? If I had a different past, would the present be different? If I do something differently now, will the future be different? This is basically akin to saying “If … then—only this then could refer to the past or the present or the future—or all three.
And then, what happens if we remove time from the equation entirely? I wanted a way to take myself out of time, to just be—to reflect on who I was regardless of a past, present, or future. Yeah, I know. It is a weird concept—one I may not fully grasp, either.
Orthography: How to remember these symbolsDraw a straight line. Now put marks on this line:
- On the left for the past, for what has gone before.
- On the right for future, for what will be.
- On top for the present.
Curving that top line indicates that the timeline is not straight—that we are dipping into the realms of what could be.
The e for time out of time is really a cursive z—half loops on the line itself and then a long loop dipping down. This was as far away from the angular concept of time as I could get.
Philosophy: How I use these symbols to embrace life
I think about the time that an event or thing occupies. The further distant in the past or future, the more little marks there will be.
For what could have happened—or what could happen—I concentrate on that curved line, going over and over it with my pen. As I do this, I think about how I want reality to bend—what I want to have happen. Or to have happened differently.
The e for time out of time frees my mind to think beyond the confines of yesterday and tomorrow. I trace its loops and think about who I really am.