Time Is A Man Made Concept
The writing of this article was prompted by a conversation that took place between myself and a very dear friend as we discussed making our way to a presentation, by Dai Chef, at Brynteg Holiday Park in North Wales. It was a glorious September day with no wind, a blue sky and the Sun shining strongly down on the Park. Of course, the Sun cast very distinctive shadows and one such shadow was made by the slim trunk of a tree which is growing outside of my Caravan.
The presentation was to be at 12 Noon and, as we stood outside of the caravan, my friend asked me did I know which way the caravan pointed. I understood, of course, he was asking in which geographical orientation the van was set. I replied that the Sun rises over to the left side of the caravan door which would be East. My friend, being one step ahead of me, said that the satellite dish on the caravan pointed to the South-East which he said was the direction of the satellite which was being picked up by the dish. I was stuck for a moment, then, I looked at the shadow of the tree , looked at his watch and told him that the direction of the shadow from the tree pointed North. He was happy with that and we started our short walk to the presentation. As we started to walk I asked my friend what he saw when he looked at his watch. He looked at me as to why I should ask such a question and then said “The time”. I replied “What if I told you that time does not exist and what he was seeing was a sundial showing his position on earth relative to the sun” That statement was taken in with a snort and no response by my friend. We, then, went on to really enjoy the presentation by Dai Chef and the offerings of his delicious cooking techniques.
Moving on, as we grow up we are all taught how to tell the time
This piece of knowledge has been handed down, from generation to generation, from the first human beings whose simple understanding of time was by observing that there was day and there was night.
As the human species developed the word “time” was brought into language . As the understanding of our very existence developed the need to organise our lives required a more accurate means of measuring time. Hence the invention of the sundial.
Most of the human race understands the operation of a sundial, where a shadow of a vertical set piece is projected onto the face of the sundial. A fantastic invention of its day but of little use when the sun set below the horizon or when, as in many parts of the World, the Sun is blotted out by clouds. These facts were a challenge to those that sought to measure time more accurately. The video below shows a very good understanding of how man kind has developed the measurement of time without knowing what time really is.
It has to be understood that our system of time measurement is having to deal with the fact that the Earth’s rotation is slowing down. In fact, at the formation of the World, it was spinning much faster where one Earth Rotation was made in, by today’s time cycle, of 6 hrs. With the new knowledge, that Mars has water, could we colonise Mars were our system of time would be very challenged.
Science is struggling with the issue of time and its very existence but, for the daily use of mankind, a system of time measurement, of this very elusive concept, has been devised over millennium. All mankind refers to time with respect to events in their daily lives, their birth date, how old they are, our Sun’s position , the duration of our Galaxy and the birth and death of the Universe.
Life has developed on Earth and, very likely, on other very distant planets. The distances between our closest planets are extremely difficult to overcome and the distances to other planets we may never have the resources or technology to overcome. However, should, by the remotest of chances, we were to colonise a new world, some billion, billion, billion miles away, what time system would we need to set up as Earth’s system would not cut the ice
Whilst we are contemplating our existence on earth , our earth is changing beneath our feet constantly. The Earth’s population is forever threatened with natural and, of late, man made catastrophes. It is ageing, its dynamo is slowing, its magnetic field will decay and from that moment life on Earth will decline. We, as a human race, will end and, eventually, all life will end and the Earth’s existence will end. Not to belittle the Human Race and its triumphs and tragedies, it has to be understood that we are an accident of nature. In the vastness of the Universe we are nothing, an insignificant blot. When we are gone forever, a in an instant, after the last human being succumbs to fate, a billion billion years shall go by, in an instant, as there is nobody to monitor our time pieces. Time as we understand it will have disappeared. Our measured time, only of use to us, is irrelevant to the Cosmos, the Universe and Nature.
Let us put “time” in the pigeon hole were it best sits. It is a human concept and plays no role in the physical laws of Nature and the Universes.
Many scientists now believe that time does not exist and an “instant” may be defined as the relative position of every particle ( which covers every physical mass) in relation to every other particle. There is no past or future just this “instant”. We are the product of constant change at varying rates of change. however, to have a “rate” of change man devised time otherwise we could never set a time (a grand GPS) to meet at the pub
There is one consolation. We may fear death and believe that we shall miss an awful lot after the very moment of our last breath. However, in an instant, after your last breath and as far as your life is concerned, a billion years will have elapsed and everyone will be dead, that’s for sure.
Please note that the whole purpose for the existence of www.mcewenandhoward.com and its associated blog is to help, advise, encourage and guide students to reach their potential through gaining academic success and social skills, whilst also gaining leadership skills through sailing experience