Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge

the third policeman

Published: A Century of Flann, Irish Times, October 1 2011

Humour down to a science

IN 1927, an Irishman named JW Dunne published an eccentric philosophical tome entitled An Experiment With Time. The author was an engineer, best remembered today (if at all) as a pioneer of British military aviation. But in his book he expounded theories that went far beyond matters aeronautical.

Dunne described “precognitive dreams” he had experienced, in which he claimed to have foreseen major world events. This led him (with somewhat reckless abandon) to conclude that time is not linear, and that human beings are capable of existing simultaneously in the past, present and future.

“The kindest that could be said about Dunne’s ideas is that they were a little off the wall,” says Dr Mark O’Connell, a postdoctoral fellow in the school of English at Trinity College. “A harsher verdict might be that they were completely insane.” Read the rest of this entry »