Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Day 126 - 06/26/2007

I recently read an interesting article in Discover about time that prompted me to think further about the concept of time (that and a conversation I had recently about how old we are physically vs. how old we are mentally).

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

Does time exist as a physical entity or is it merely a figment of our imagination and something that we (mankind) have developed as a means to measure the past, present and future? Or is it something in between? I mean, it's not something tangible that you can put in a box on the shelf to use later or anything. Once it's gone, you can't replace it. To go one step further, is time something we use to measure our passage or is it something that measures us? We often speak of how old we are, where we have to be in 15 minutes, that we're running late, etc., but in the end, we're always in the here and now, the present.

It's like the old riddle that asks: What's always coming, but never arrives?

(In case you didn't know, the answer is tomorrow.)

Unlike the present (which is gone before you know it), the future is always out of our reach. We plan for it and when it arrives, it's no longer the same; it's different. It's the here-and-now vs. the soon-to-be-released. Our plans don't always pan out like we had hoped (whether that be good or bad).

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

If time is a measurement tool, when did it begin? Will it ever end? The answer to both questions (IMHO) is never. Time (the concept, not the measurement itself) is infinite. It was always here and will always be here. Our lives will come to an end eventually (both yours, mine and the Earth's itself), but there will keep on being a past, present and future.

Time machines do exist. Except there's no reverse. And no steering wheel. We move forward at what we believe to be a constant rate as we travel through time. We can't turn around if we forgot to unplug the iron as we head out west for summer vacation. We can physically go home and unplug the iron, but we can't go back to the moment we forgot to unplug it. We need to take advantage of the time we have. What are you going to do today? What did you do yesterday with the time you had? Did you forget to unplug the iron before leaving on your trip?

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking
And racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Time is sometimes depicted as an arrow pointing to the future. It hardly ever points to the past. The arrowhead is the unknown; the flights are the past. The shaft is the here-and-now, the present. Whoops, there it went. Did you see that? We will never share this space again. We are changing with every breath, every heartbeat, every movement.

The question that remains (and that only you can answer for yourself) is: What will you do with the time you have been granted? Remember, the memories of an old man are made from the actions of his youth. What will your memories be?

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time has gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say

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