From Stoppard’s play, Arcadia (1993, Faber and Faber), an opening scene set in Derbyshire, England in April, 1809:
THOMASINA (a pupil, age thirteen): When you stir your rice pudding, Septimus, the spoonful of jam spreads itself round making red trails like the picture of a meteor in my astronomical atlas. But if you stir backward, the jam will not come together again. Indeed, the pudding does not notice and continues to turn pink just as before. Do you think this is odd?
SEPTIMUS ( her teacher, age twenty-two): No.
THOMASINA: Well, I do. You cannot stir things apart.
SEPTIMUS: No more you can, time must needs run backward, and since it will not, we must stir our way onward mixing as we go, disorder out of disorder into disorder until pink is complete, unchanging and unchangeable, and we are done with it for ever. This is known as free well or self-determination.