What a lot of time there has been when I didn't exist yet! What a lot there will be when I won't exist any more! What a tiny place I occupy in this vast abyss of years!
—Jacques Bénigne Bossuet (1627-1704), French bishop and court preacher to Louis XIV at Versailles
Qu'il y a eu de temps où je n'étais pas! Qu'il y en a où je ne serai point! Et que j'occupe peu de place dans ce grand abîme des ans!
“From a scientific perspective, ‘destroy’ isn’t really accurate. Nothing has disappeared. All the matter that used to be there is still there, and so is all the angular momentum. It’s only the arrangement of matter that has changed, like a deck of cards being reshuffled. But life is like a straight flush: once you shuffle, it’s gone.”
–Windfall, an astronomer, in Death’s End, by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu
Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.