Lily in the Grinder

a short film about existence (13min)
directed by Michael Morgenstern


Articles and books related to Lily in the Grinder. Have something to add? Suggest it!


Time, Free Will and the Block Universe: A good summary of the tensless block-time universe, or block time, the Wheeler-DeWitt Equation, and free will. Contains many links to additional articles.

I think that consciousness is what it feels like to be inside a thing, and now might be what it feels like to be inside a moment. Is the duality of mind/universe congruent to the duality of tensed / non-tensed time?

Albert Einstein: "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."

"In the block universe model, events are unchanging and "frozen-in-time". But that does not mean that those events do not represent the expression of free will."

Arrow of Time: an article on the relation of physics to the backwards-to-forwards flow of time we experience. References an argument against the time directionality of entropy (which seems to go against current scientific consensus.

Loschmidt's Paradox describes the conflict between a time-symmetric universe and the second law of thermodynamics.

The Physics of Now, a Cornell University paper describing the division of time into present, past, and future (download link on top right.)

Philosophy Articles

Eternalism (Philosophy of Time): Rich article about Eternalism, the concept that all points in time are equally "real", which dovetails with the Special Relativistic notion that time and space are similar dimensions.

"We apparently fear death because we believe that we will no longer exist after we die. However, if Eternalism is correct, death is just one of our temporal borders, and the forms of the world with you alive in it would continue to exist even as one consciously moves forward through time toward dissolution."

An extension to Eternalism is the idea of a growing block universe, which postulates an eternal present which extends the block of time.

Compatibilism, a philosophical view which originated with the ancient Stoics, claiming that free will is completely compatible with determinism.

Science Articles

Rietdijk-Putnam argument: An argument based on Special Relativity that each observer lives in a different present, which potentially negates the theory of presentism, and the very idea of a present time.

Roger Penrose's Andromeda Paradox: "people pass each other on the street; and according to one of the two people, an Andromedean space fleet has already set off on its journey, while to the other, the decision as to whether or not the journey will actually take place has not yet been made. How can there still be some uncertainty as to the outcome of that decision? If to either person the decision has already been made, then surely there cannot be any uncertainty. The launching of the space fleet is an inevitability. In fact neither of the people can yet know of the launching of the space fleet. They can know only later, when telescopic observations from earth reveal that the fleet is indeed on its way. Then they can hark back to that chance encounter, and come to the conclusion that at that time, according to one of them, the decision lay in the uncertain future, while to the other, it lay in the certain past. Was there then any uncertainty about that future? Or was the future of both people already "fixed"?"

Filmic Style

Hyperlink cinema, the notion of films as constructed like web hyperlinks along axes of meaning rather than in a linear fashion. The consumption of media and news online often follows a more meaning-based than linear progression.

Deleuze's concept of deterritorialization, the removal of an object or concept from its prior context, is applied here to Tartovsky's cinema to describe it as something similar to the style of Lily in the Grinder:

"Temporal deterritorialization could be said to be the main tenet of Tarkovsky's cinema. His use of long takes, surreal settings and plot that typically resembles a type of science fiction engages the spectator in a sometimes excruciating and often futile attempt to follow or create a narrative. Any meaning that could be drawn from the work, comes not neatly in understanding ordered plot elements, but after reflecting on the film as a whole, both in form and in content."


Roger Penrose, The Road to Reality: Called (on Amazon) the only comprehensive and comprehensible account of the physics of the universe.

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaugherhouse Five: Block time is a theme in this novel, which was one of the major inspirations behind the film. The Tralfamadorians, an alien species, exist within all four dimensions and can see all points in time simultaneously. An excellent book.

Alan Moore, Watchmen: A comic book structured non-linearly, which flits through space and time, containing characters who see through spacetime.

Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, a wonderful series about space-traveling people in silly situations, includes the concept of the whole sort of general mish mash, which I've always interpreted to mean a full conception of the 4+ dimensional universe.