When I’m working the late, late shift, one of my small joys is coming home at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. and flicking on the Discovery Channel or the National Geographic Channel for 20 or 30 minutes.
That time of the night/morning is ideal for catching some wacky documentary about, say, physicists who are researching time travel, or the existence of a 4th dimension.
Having not been smart enough to take high school physics, let alone university physics, I must rely on Channel 37 or Channel 85 to inform me that, according to the strict laws of physics as presently understood, time travel should indeed be possible.
On another night/morning, you can learn some physicists believe a 4th dimension is not only possible, but it might coexist alongside our own.
They look at all sides of a question, of course, making the conjecture even more fascinating.
According to one physicist, the equations and calculations might point to a conclusion of time travel being possible, but the best evidence it is in fact impossible is that time travellers haven’t visited us.
(“That we know of,” conspiracy theorists will murmur.)
The documentary makers always leave you guessing.
They’ll serve a snippet of mind-bending quotes in an interview with an assistant professor at Miniscule State College, and you’ll momentarily be amazed by the fantasticality of it, before thinking, “Wait a minute; get a prof at Harvard or Princeton to say that, and I might be swayed.”
In the social realm, a 4th dimension already exists alongside the real world, and it is occupied by politicians — as well as royalty, movie stars, athletes, billionaires, rock stars and assorted self-aggrandizing celebrities.
As a social construct, the 4th dimension is simply a mode of existence far removed from what is experienced on a day-to-day basis by an average citizen. In their daily lives, residents of the 3rd dimension and residents of the 4th dimension have very little in common.
For example, most occupants of the 4th dimension have something called “drivers.”
This isn’t because they don’t know what a steering wheel or clutch is for. It is because they are so important that, when they travel, they must be in the back seat, so when they emerge in front of the amassed media cameras they appear all-powerful and irreplaceable.
When was the last time you saw a clip on the TV news of a prime minister or president pulling up to a conference in their own car?
This is one of the intrinsic contradictions of democracy.
Despite the wonderful egalitarianism created by the rule of law, a leader of any given country has more in common with the leaders of other countries than they have with the citizens of their own country. Call it the Law of Leaders’ Limousines.
Anyone bewildered or revolted by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s comment this week that there is no such thing as a bad job, and Canadians must adapt to the economic times by being willing to take any job available, can make sense of the obvious idiocy of his statement by realizing he doesn’t live in the same dimension as “ordinary Canadians,” to use a phrase favoured by residents of his realm.
Not only are there bad jobs, there are really bad jobs, there are horrible jobs and there are even terrible aspects of good jobs.
Hearing the shallow echo — as sounds coming from the 4th dimension often seem — of Flaherty’s vacuous opinion, many Newfoundlanders (and Labradorians) must have been reminded of the pre-boom condescending slur often levelled against them: “Those lazy N------ should move to where the jobs are.”
Brian Jones is a desk editor at
The Telegram. He can be reached by
email at firstname.lastname@example.org.