as the year is coming to an end i feel so compelled to once more reevaluate the question of time.
I watched some movies in recent times that really got my mind spinning and I liked the vagueness and hollow it created in my mind such movies raised my thoughts into some transcendental dimensions that seem to be confusing my understanding of all things I thought were normal. These movies; Interstellar, Coherence, Alice through the looking glass, Arrival and Passengers have created in me a very strange relationship with time that I am unable to put into words now- it’s more of a feeling. With a renewed interest in this dimension of reality I took up a little reading and I came across an article on time from the Encarta encyclopedia and a portion of it read that “Physicists agree that time is one of the most difficult properties of our universe to understand. Although scientists are able to describe the past and the future and demarcations such as seconds and minutes, they cannot define exactly what time is”. Since I want to equally spur your mind into the thought process that has engaged me of recent I will suggest that you check out these movies and articles on time especially from the works of Galileo, Newton, Einstein and to get introduced into the various measurements and determination which include: solar time, standard time, sidereal time, dynamical time and atomic time. Whichever fascinates you, I think time, in all of its facets fundamentally borders on duration and expanse of events, span of existence and period of relative value. Around these we develop our linear understanding of past, present and future, we interpret, analyze, and predict, we classify civilizations into different eras, we differentiate legendary from history and on and on time constantly acts as a deciding factor in human language, transactions, schedules and interpretation of happenings in the universe. Conventional parlance has so much to say about time such as time heals, time waits for no one, time is money, time is a friend to no one, and a lot more.
I am yet to lay my hands on a very promising 1988 book of Stephen Hawkings titled A Brief History of Time and its 1992 documentary film directed by Errol Morris. Access to these materials would have opened me up into fresh perspectives and maybe even shape my expressions much better and so that I can communicate more sensibly what is really going through my mind.
The summary of all I have learned so far is that time is not a physical constant because there have been proves of time dilation and contraction. In lay man terms it simply means that time can be fast in some regions of realities and slow in some other regions due to earth’s rotation, motion and gravity. For example someone can travel into the outer space and because of strong gravity, will then travel very much faster in time just to return to earth many many years into the future whereby his granddaughter has become a great grandmother while he is still the same age as he left probably just spent some couple of months out there. The implication of the relativity, complexity and fluidity of time is that the human person must question once more the value of his schedules, programs, calendar and set goals to be achieved within a given period of time. The human society must once again reevaluate her tempo of activities and what it considers to be on time and late what it considers as past or present or future and once more how it generally relates with time. Since there is no universal clock at the center which all other clocks must synchronize to, it is safe to assume that time is a concept and not a given and as such it becomes relevant because of its existential value upon which many references are made such as rites of passage and maturity, history and precedence with their predictable consequences.
My mind is fascinated also by the words of the Holy Bible where God is quoted to have said that his ways are not ours and his thoughts not ours also for a thousand years are like a single day and a single day like a thousand years come and gone not more than a watch in the night. I don’t know if the writer of this text knows about black holes and stars and planets as much as Stephen Hawking and Einstein know but there is treasure in those words that makes us glimpse into our curiosity and the awesome mystery in the dimensions of time vis-a-viz the Christian claim that there is a God that is not bound by time- in fact he is the Lord over time and willfully shapes time.
What then should be the proper relationship with time? Since while it is day in one part of the world it is night in another, or while it is just a minute in one sphere of the universe it could be ages in another; how should we perceive and relate with time?
For me I think this calls for more appreciation of the mysteries in the world and again the less of the pressure we put ourselves in due to the feeling that time is elapsing and we are running out of it. I for one think that the tempo the world is moving is so fast that we have little time to enjoy the little moments that really reconnect us to our truer human nature. The ideals of love, family, friendship, music, art, are constantly sacrificed on the altar of temporal success which is characterized by rush hour traffic, hourly wage, high speed computers, target goals, fast food and the many other prices we pay for the pace at which we are moving. For instance it is the fact that a person may feel like a failure simply because he or she has not achieved a set goal at an expected time scheduled; I am not yet married, I had hoped to be a CEO at this age, my life is crashing because I have little time left.
The ultimate relationship with time must be that of accountability, responsibility on the grounds that there are real consequences to the choices we make today and now. This relationship is built on the fact that what we do or not do today will definitely serve as a precedence as a cause factor as a reason and even a reference tomorrow. Another important relationship with time must be that of wonder at the mystery and the awesome nature of this reality which should open up our minds to the truth that we may never get to wrap our heads around every observable reality. The most practical relationship with time I think should be the ability to appreciate the present; the willingness and discipline to be in the moment and the gratitude of enjoying the little, the chatter; the laughter; the scent of spring; the heat of the summer, the now!
The ultimate time that confronts the human person is the reality of death and this explains the strife to achieve and accomplish because time is running out or more truly because death is approaching. This is echoed in our daily language as we say ‘make hay while the sun is still shining’. This reality must therefore spur us into prioritizing those things that really matter those things that are not subject to time and corruption those things that are eternal such as justice, love, peace, charity, kindness. We must hurry not to amass and gather but we must hurry to learn how to live truly how to smile and how to breathe in freshness and positivity that is translated into cordial sensitivity and mutual respect for if we measure the value of our time only on material success then we will come to the sad realization at the end of our time that time can never be enough because there will always be more to achieve there will always be more to discover, more theories to formulate and more inventions.
The value of time is to open us to our limitedness to our emptiness and powerlessness before something so common yet so powerful. With trains and buses at the stations, with flights, with the constancy of seasons, with malls and curriculum, with business meetings and court hearings, with deliveries, the modern man must respect time and organize himself to be prompt and right on schedules. This must never be at the expense of truly being alive; truly being human. We must not spend the little time in doing very well what is not our true nature- we must not misplace the value of time, we must never forget to love. One writer Bejamin Tregoe once noted that “the very worst use of time is to very well do what need not be done at all”.
as the new years begins i hope that you will think twice about your use of time and become more intentional about what is in your choice to do or not