16 October 2020
In an earlier post here I referred to time as passing and things changing. But what is time? We use it as a measurement to help us control our lives, but it is something we have created. Plants & animals don’t use clocks or watches. Nature has its own time for things to occur, like in our own bodies a series of events occur, usually at the right and proper time as we grow up. Certain things occur as and when they must, like if a fire occurs in a forest, only then do some of the seed pods break open in the heat of the fire and these seeds grow, so creating new trees. It is very clever, but it will only happen at the right time.
We generally measure time throughout our daily lives in terms of hours, minutes and seconds, then days, weeks and years. But at one time (that word again!) in the UK, clocks were set to various different times around the country and it was not until the mid-1850s that almost all public clocks in Britain were set to Greenwich Mean Time. It finally became Britain’s legal standard time in 1880, which made train travel very much easier, with proper time tables! I am saying nothing about the trains keeping to such schedules though…
For us, time passes at the same speed but so often it can seem that time either goes slowly or quickly. It seems to depend what we are doing. How often have we felt that time was dragging! When I was quite a bit younger, I made the mistake of saying to my parents that I was bored. They soon found me a job to do, cleaning the outside down-pipe to our house. I learned to keep myself busy, either making stick-together models or by reading. I found that my time passed more quickly that way and it made a big difference improving my hand & eye coordination as well as my vocabulary.
We are introduced to the concept of time at a very early age, with stories beginning ‘once upon a time’. I also really like the way the late Dave Allen, an observational comedian, did a sketch in which he introduces ‘time’ to a child. This is the sketch, on YouTube:
Back in March, when I was rushed into the hospital, after a day or so I woke up with no idea as to where I was or what had happened to me. With no windows in the room I was in, I had no concept of time. I could not tell when it was night or day, I thought some meals were breakfast when they were dinner, it was so very confusing. But gradually things began to make sense again. Right now I am in an excellent Care Home, recuperating, but I still keep myself busy. One way is by writing a daily diary, which is useful, as is writing this weekly blog – it certainly helps pass the time!
I have mentioned the Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy, in which the Earth is apparently blown up to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Mention is made of Alpha Centauri, our nearest star, being a mere five light-years away. But given that light travels at about 186,281 miles per second, that there are around 31,536,000 seconds in a year, also that a light year is a unit of astronomical distance equivalent to the distance which light travels in one year, that star is a very long way away! So at the best speeds that we can muster, it would take a very long time to get there. Will we ever achieve anything close to the speed of light? Or even manage to ‘warp’ ourselves across distances at fantastically fast speeds, as in Star Trek? Perhaps.
As the Earth spins around, throughout our year there are the seasons. It still makes me smile thinking of folks over in Australia and New Zealand who will be celebrating Christmas in the hot weather, whilst over in the UK we might have snow! Then it all changes again as time passes and Nature works its wonders. The regular cycle of life continues around the world, all at about the same speed. It does vary a little, but not by much. I am led to believe that in reality, time is not the same for everyone but I won’t go into such things as space-time and all that sort of thing here, like how the passage of time is different for those out in space to those on Earth. That I will leave to the scientists.
I have previously mentioned my love of music and that too is governed by time, as the speed at which music is played is its tempo, the Italian word for time. We also use the word in our daily lives, like ‘this needs to be done in good time’, also when interacting with people, as in ‘I have no time for you’ or ‘can’t you make the time?’. In truth, we cannot make time. If we sit and listen to music, it can be said by some that we are sitting back and relaxing, but by others as simply wasting time. But that time still carries on, ticking away. Some feel that they must fill their waking hours with activity, but I have found it vital just to calm the mind, body and spirit, allowing a portion of our waking hours spent letting ourselves be at peace. I can assure you, it is not wasting time in doing this, it really is something I recommend, especially at the moment.
Right now we are all coping with a range of restrictions and changes, for quite how long I have no idea. So let us try and make the best of how things are, I have no doubt that there will be a few ups and as well as a few downs to deal with – all in the time to come!
There are 10 types of people – those who understand binary and those who don’t.
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