Time in a bottle

by Fargy

Time's up. Let's have a chat about time, if you have the time.

I was chatting to Jo Murphy about her article...


We spoke about time and tree rings and man made items under the ticking gaze of the sun.

And then she asked if I had written about time. And I hadn't, but thought it a piece whose time had come.

Schoolboy on a bus on a timetable.

I was thirteen when I was sitting on a bus stopped at a bus stop picking up passengers and I saw a woman running desperately to make the bus in time.

It's frozen in time that moment, I cannot even remember what she looked like, but in that one look I saw the whole bittersweet nature of our time on earth.  Her midstride fussing with the things she carried, her purse among them, while she ran to make the open door of the bus in time.

It was a snapshot of me.

We are on a timer.

It does not matter what we do in the time.  We can choose anything we want.

Would you like to be hedonistic?  Feel free.

Would you like to drown in money?  The choice is yours.

Would you like to pray in solitude?  Silence is your gold.

Or perhaps an ocean of noise is what you prefer?

All our choices are drops in the bucket of choices.

And there is a hole in the bucket and the water leaks out over time.

Because we have this biological timer we all reach certain times in our lives that sees the passage of time carry us past certain milestones.

Puberty and old age are two.

Time changes us, but we can't change time.


A brief history of time.

Stephen Hawking wrote a book introducing time to readers that are not familiar with physics or math.

Called "A Brief History of Time."  it has one equation, E = mc2

Only one equation because the more equations you have, the fewer readers you get, it's a publishing equation.  People don't want to spend time learning equations.

We see time in this equation.

It's c, the speed of light.  Light is the fastest thing.  It's why eyesight is so handy, it gives us information faster from further away than other methods such as sound.

299,792,458 metres per second.  Distance over time.

Light is how we see time.

At the going down of the sun and the minute hand of the clock, we time time with milestones we can see.

Time doesn't change what it does.  But we need to leave a knotted cord behind us as we venture into the labyrinth of the future.  And for this, a visual record of time is very useful.

By synchronising our watches, and our definition of time, we can organise ourselves better and arrange to ambush the wooly mammoths at the same time, or get to our Monday marketing meeting on time.

But our rule of thumb may not be what time is.  This method of comparing and counting our ticks and our tocks and making sure we are all ticking and tocking at the same time, is just a handy tool to sequence our actions in the world.

That even as we think there are things that are reliable enough to count out our years, that these things are an illusion.  Our planet goes around our star a little bit differently every year, and our star is moving through space as we move around it.  

Timekeeping is our illusion.  There is no perfect watch.

I haven't got time to think about time.

Distractions and diversions.

We need to eat, we need to sleep, we need to go to the toilet.

We need company and emotional connection.

All of us juggle these, and other, needs as we go on our journey.

We can get wrapped up and swept away.

Time is money may be our credo.

We can become so keen on being busy with our time, that we don't really think about what we are being busy about.

Being busy is valued.  It shows productivity and worth, that one is making the most of time.

My more maudlin view is that time doesn't care what we do.

That we can run or walk, it makes no difference.

That doesn't mean I think life is a hopeless affair, to echo Neil Armstrong...

"I believe that every human has a finite number of heartbeats.  I don't intend to waste any of mine running around doing exercises." 

Neil used heartbeats as a metronome, and he chose what to use them on.  Other people are perfectly happy exercising.

The important thing is making a choice on what to do with your time.

Memory of a stoplight.

For a time I lived in Alice Springs and moved in and out of that town over the years.

Once upon a train ride into Alice I saw an intersection I'd cycled through often as a child.

Except I saw it three times.

Like a palimpsest, like three tracings laid over each other, I saw the crossroads as it was in the past and as it was now, with traffic lights.

It was an emotional moment, but it wasn't sadness.

I'm not entirely sure what the emotion was, the memory has stayed with me all these long years, and I'm not entirely sure why.  But then again, emotion was never very rational.

And it's emotion that tinkers with our sense of time.

We love being happy and tempus fugits when we have fun.

We lose someone to the tick of Time and we mourn.

In the boredom of a classroom time can flow slow.

Memory.  Our storeroom of time.

Heartbeat of our drum.

Music connects to us emotionally.

Music depends on time.

We time music to our heart.

We like the rhythm of time that corresponds with the beat of our biology.  

Time is how we measure sequences, whether it is falling drops of water or tolling of an iron bell.

Memory helps us go back in time, and it can help us decide on a future path.

Imagination helps us go into the future.

But here and now is where we exist, each different moment finding us different because we are biological.  And our realisation of our biological time distorts us emotionally.

Our biology catches up to us and taps us on the shoulder and we realise that our time has passed for having children, that we have crossed over the midway mark.  That no amount of fast cars and hair implants will take us back in time.

We try anyway.  Try to hang on to our childhood toys.

But there comes a time to put away childish things, that wishing for more time is an illusion.

To accept that we die.

Updated: 10/28/2013, Fargy
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Fargy on 10/26/2013

I went with the flow, I meant to get more scientific but my words dragged me all over the place.

It's an exercise in courage to say okay that's what happened, publish it. I'm enjoying this Wizzley ride.

Jo_Murphy on 10/26/2013

Hi Fargy,
I will like this on to Facebook
Tel and I were talking about whether you can really put time in a bottle the other day!
There were a few patches in there where I had never thought about time in the way you have. I actually had never thought about the idea that light is the way we "see" time.
I knew it - but had never thought of it like that!
Let's see what Tel says!

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