On Time

Days race by, behaving as if the clock hurries to complete its tasks quickly, lest time render the hands of the clock unable to accurately measure the duration of the unfolding of experience. There will come a moment, or perhaps it already has come and gone, when “hands of a clock” is a meaningless phrase; an arcane reference to an artifact of human history as precious and pointless as a sundial.

Physicists and poets argue about the genesis of time, though quiet conversations about competing theories of the physical and spiritual worlds hardly can be called arguments. The measurement of time is both expanding and contracting. By the way, can theories that do not intersect, even tangentially, be called competitors?

We speak different languages, hopelessly engaged in innocuous gibberish communications. Some argue that red is a point on the spectrum of physical light, while others assert the superiority of salmon as both a flavor and a hue. Yet both assertions rely on the supremacy of time to define the moment at which a fact can be measured.

We must know both “where” and “when,” but “where” cannot be without “when” and “when” relies on “where” as well. Yet we hedge our bets with “sometime” and “someplace,” hoping to escape the certainty of when and where.

For example, a street corner in New York City exists only within precise parameters of time, so location really is time dependent. That street corner did not exist a thousand years ago and will not exist a thousand years hence.

And time’s measure, whether on a clock’s face or in the shadow of a sundial, depends on where it is taken.

 

 

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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