Time itself was uniform in composition, but once consumed, it took on a deformed shape. One period of time might be terribly heavy and long, while another could be light and short. Occasionally the order of things could be reversed, and in the worst cases order itself could vanish entirely. Sometimes things that should not be there at all might be added onto time. By adjusting time this way to suit their own purposes, people probably adjusted the meaning of their existences. In other words, by adding such operations to time, they were able — but just barely — to preserve their own sanity.
— Tengo trying to figure it all out, in 1Q84