The Concept Of Time

H.G. Wells “The Time Machine,” is an extremely detailed and descriptive look at the year 802,701 (and beyond). In his travels, he encounters a world that was completely different from his own, “right down to the flowers,” he states. The new world had no social or economic toil, and he suggests that he should be excited at the idea of social paradise. It was interesting how this new way of living was without hardship and everything the past encompassed. This is what we strive for; the idea of having no worries, yet the Time Traveler has to actively make himself comfortable with the idea. How the Eloi were described was intriguing as well, because of the word “childlike.” I view that time in our lives when we a limited amount of worries or concept of time. In the world of the Eloi, they never have to grow up; there is no need for progression of the species, as it had already reached its peak.

Also, the Time Traveler brought with him what could be looked upon as one of the most primitive developments of man, (the concept of fire), yet this new world has no knowledge of it. I find it ironic, that once the Time Traveler goes to this wondrous, beautiful and apparently untouched world he ends up destroying it. Even with the divide of the Eloi and Morlocks, they lived together for seemingly hundreds of thousands of years before the Time Traveler arrived, and in a matter of days he ravaged part of their land. Not to mention killing one of the Eloi in the process, especially poignant since death was an uncommon occurrence in this world, as they had mastered the art of preventing disease, famine, and decay. In all accounts, their world had become “perfection.”

I found a New Yorker Magazine article by Brad Leithauser entitled “H.G. Well’s Ghost,” and the line “Perfection suggests stasis, and there is no stasis in the medium of time, whose essence is mutation.” In The Time Machine, time itself in the world of the Eloi essentially stood still, but in present day we are constantly consumed with time. How much time we have left, what time it is, where we have to be by a certain time etc. Perhaps because we have not reached our own version of perfection, and only have a limited amount of “time” to achieve it, in our mind. I wonder also if we do achieve the balance (between time and life) we strive for, if the human population (present day) would ever be satisfied.

One other theme that struck me, and I saw in both the “The Machine Stops,” and “The Time Machine” was the essence of silence, when the world around them stops. The stillness at the beach, in the new world, H.G. Wells found hard to convey. This always reminds me of present day black outs, and how the placidity of it can be overwhelming. We are so used to having constant sounds around us, that the calmness of silence can be unnerving.

H.G. Wells does a good job at creating a new world that the reader can easily envision. You can clearly see the differences in the classes (Eloi vs the Morlocks) and how they relate to present day. The Time Machine was an interesting take on how he saw the future, and how the new world it essentially cured itself, but in the process had reverted back to the beginning in regards to technological advancements.

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