Elk looks on somberly, dressed as The Architect from the Truman Show, donning aberet and glasses and an earpiece. Above him reads THE MOVING PRESENT in big bubble letters. In front of him is an unspooling roll of film. A single frame is illuminated with two light cones expanding out from either side of the frame. A bubble reads, Since we have concluded that slices of time are arbitrary, let's take another look at the basics of block universe theory.
Pictured is a gray see-through rectangular prism with a red line going through the middle. The start of the line is a dot, and the end is an arrow implying the line continues infinitely. It is indicated as being a modified figure by Rudy Rucker [click link] from his book. A bubble reads, as mentioned previously, in BLOCK UNIVERSE THEORY [link] every moment in the universe is crystallized in an all-inclusive chunk of spacetime known as the block universe. We see another rectangular prism, this time all sliced up like a loaf of bread into smaller cubes. One of them sticks out and is labelled NOW in big red letters.
Elk, again dressed as the Architect, waves his hands, saying This means that time itself is homogenous: in other words, the present of the now isn't weighted more than past or future presents since they all coexist. We see the block from before, but now ALL of the slices are sticking out and labelled NOW. One slice shouts, ME FIRST! Another shouts, NO, ME!!
Elk continues, looking pensive with his eyes closed. He says, Neither past nor future can be valued more or less than the present. Each moment is equally real ; unlike in presentism [link], we value all moments with the same weight as the present. He continues, Just because we occupy a particular now doesn't make any other now less important, since they are all equally existent.
Elk points at a framed portrait, and says let's check out another way of visualizing this.
A portrait of H. Minkowski, his name written in old-timey cursive, sits in an oval drawn in black and white. He is a curly-haired chap with a twisted-up mustache and some old-timey circular glasses. He is wearing a stiff-collared shirt and bowtie with a wooly jacket.
A bubble to his right reads: Hermann Minkowski helped find the mathematical basis of special relativity, through his formulation of what is now called minkowski spacetime [link]. Another bubble continues: Minkowski space is a non-euclidian, four-dimensional manifold [link] discovered through what Minkowski calls visual-geometric intuition (page 87). Next is pictured the Minkowski Space diagram. There is a flat plane at the center of a simple x,y graph where x and y are both demarcated as 'space'. From the center (x=0, y=0) two light cones project outward on a z axis. This point is labelled 'observer'. The cone projecting into the past is labelled the past light cone, the other which projects forward, the future light cone. The flat plane on the x,y graph is labelled 'the Hypersurface of the present'.
Next to the graph, we see a tiny Elk standing on a flat plane looking through a telescope, with his shadow projected down and through the base of the plane. Above him, in a starry sky, is a giant Elk-ghost or hologram looking down at the tiny Elk. The giant Elk says, Minkowski space is centered around the OBSERVER'S connection to events.
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Next there's an image of a flashlight that reads, let's turn on the flashlight! with an arrow pointing towards the flashlight's on button. It reads CLICK. Then, a light cone comes out of the flashlight with the sound effects BOOP BOOP BOOP nad we see the cone is made up of a series of ever-larger concentric circles growing outwards away from the light source.
Next, we see a top view of the light cone, where the concentric circles all converge at a vanishing point marked with a little star. It reads, The light expands concentrically as it moves away from the source. [cr. John Norton is linked] Then, a big flashy text bubble says: Every event in space time is a light cone
The next diagram shows a star labelled THE EVENT! To its left is a light cone expanding outwards that reads, all past events that lead to this moment. To the star's right is a light cone that reads, all future events resulting from this moment.
In brackets, it says Or... In Other Words... You! We see the previous diagram modified to where the star in the center is a litle drawing of you, with your arms upraised like you're saying WOO HOO! The light cone at stage left reads, all past 'yous' that lead to current you, and the light cone stage right reads, all future 'yous' resulting from current you.
Here we have a dissection of the light cone, where it consists of overlapping transparent circles. A text box reads, each circle in the light cone represents a 'slice' of spacetime. The smallest circle closest to its starting point is labelled 'yesterday'. The next slightly larger circle is labelled 'last Tuesday'. The next largest, 'last month', the next largest, 'your 1st birthday', et cetera.
A text box reads, If you stack these slices, you can trace lines of causation through spacetime, which is called a worldline. The minkowski diagram is shown again, but with a squiggly line traced through the light cones from past to future labelled 'worldline'. There are various red points across this worldline, and a key to the diagram says that each red dot is an event.
Next, instead of a minkowski diagram we see the same world line but juxtaposed over a series of overlapping 2D planes, where each red dot is mapped to each plane. A text bubble reads, each 'event' on a worldline occurs at a simultaneous succession of 'presents'. Hence, the 'hypersurface' of the present can be seen as fluid, constantly shifting.
Next we see a strip of film laid flat. The same worldline cuts across the strip, and the red dots match up with each single frame. A line of text below this reads, Just as a film strip is made up of continuous individual frames which in sum create a reel...
...each 'present' on your worline in sum creates you. Pictured is the same worldline but in place of each frame is an image of you at different points in time, each with a red star on your chest.