Dear Dr. Boli: I play circadian rhythm guitar in the psychobilly fusion rock band, “BiPolar Express.” We tour nearly constantly and our gigs typically last well into the wee hours of the morning. As a result I suffer from a high degree of sleep deprivation. I try to sleep on the tour bus, but it’s not a wise idea to close your eyes when you share a bus with a lead singer named Brain Scissors! I, therefore, am plagued with chronic insomnia. So naturally, I have a lot of time to think. And this leads me to my question for you. If time should suddenly stand still, would I only be able to think in past and present tenses? —Signed, M.T. Syringe.
Dear Sir or Madam: If time should suddenly stand still, would you be able to think at all? That is the question we must answer first. How would you form an orderly chain of reasoning when one thought cannot follow another in time? Dr. Boli cannot come up with any way to do it.
Nor can Dr. Boli think of any reason why time should not suddenly stand still. Why should time move forward at a constant rate forever? It is true that it has done so recently, but all we can say about that is that we have been lucky so far. We have no right to assume that it will go on that way forever. We must assume that time could stop, or go backwards, or skip a groove, without the least warning.
Thus the question of what would happen to our thoughts if time should suddenly stand still becomes a matter of immediate concern to every thinking individual. Dr. Boli is of the opinion that we would be stuck in whatever thought we were thinking when the flow of time was interrupted. Thus it is vitally important to regulate our thoughts at all times.
Suppose, for example, that you were thinking about cummerbunds, and what a funny word “cummerbunds” is. Cummerbunds cummerbunds cummerbunds cummerbunds cummerbunds. Would you want to be stuck thinking about cummerbunds when time stopped, and never think about anything but cummerbunds again? Yet Dr. Boli happens to know that you are thinking about cummerbunds right now. Stop it!