Time. As a physicist, Wheeler had always been curious to untangle the nature of that mysterious dimension. But now, in the wake of Joe’s death, it was personal.
Wheeler would spend the rest of his life struggling against time. His journals, which he always kept at hand (and which today are stashed, unpublished, in the archives of the American Philosophical Society Library in Philadelphia), reveal a stunning portrait of an obsessed thinker, ever-aware of his looming mortality, caught in a race against time to answer not a question, but the question: “How come existence?”
“Of all obstacles to a thoroughly penetrating account of existence, none looms up more dismayingly than ‘time,’” Wheeler wrote. “Explain time? Not without explaining existence. Explain existence? Not without explaining time.”