How was the concept of time created? What is your theory?

What is the beginning of time? Scientists and philosophers have all puzzled over this question now for centuries. Currently we are told by physicists that all time began with the Big Bang. A giant explosion created the Universe and was the beginning of everything as we know it. If you are more religious oriented, you might point to Genesis in the Bible as defining the beginning of time. However, what about the beginning of “using” time to mark the passage of minutes, seconds and days? When did humans start noting the passage of time? I propose the following scenario.

Picture a bunch of our prehistoric relatives sitting around a campfire. Matilda notices that the fire is running out and wood is getting short. She suggests that perhaps the time the clan spends together could be measured in “log-woods.” One log-wood equals one increment of time. Two-log woods equal two increments and so on. Eventually, the sun dial was created and measuring the amount of sun available replaced log-woods. The sun dial proved to be more reliable and accurate then “log-woods.”

It is much more likely that with births, aging, deaths, seasons and the planting of crops humans noticed the importance that time played in their lives and at some point realized the need to measure. My cavewoman scenario is just a fiction. We can ponder over when and who but we may never know the answer. But fictions can keep us thinking. For instance, I believe the Big Bang Theory is simply a fictional description of how the universe was created. Not that I side with creationists or intelligent design theorists. It is more my lack of credibility in science. I delight in seeing the creative ideas that physicists have for trying to answer these riddles. I find it amazing that we gainfully employ armies of physicists who spend their time trying to figure out if the universe is receding or proceeding. They propose the most incredible theories to answer these with a straight face. Moreover, the rest of us are so awed by “scientists” that we would not think of questioning their theories. Scientists have replaced witch-doctors and spiritual leaders when it comes to creating belief systems. I refuse to take these theories very seriously.

What creates your belief system in the world? What or who do you rely on to create and define your reality? Do you question or accept whatever you are told? Why not question more and accept less? What do you think created time?

What does Thursday mean to you?

Thursday is the day we are on the downward side of the week. In some countries, Thursday is the fourth day of the week and in others, it is the fifth day of the week. It was first named after the Roman god Jupiter. In English, Thursday became “Thor’s Day”, since the Roman god Jupiter was identified with Thor in northern Europe. Thor was the Norse God of Thunder. The Scandinavians believed that as his chariot crossed the sky, Thor wielded a hammer that shot lightening through the clouds.

When we think of Thursday now, we probably don’t think of Gods and Thunder any more. We are probably thinking “Tomorrow is Friday, one more day to go this week.” Even though many of us love our work and miss it when we are on vacation too long, the freedom of the weekend and what Saturday and Sunday represent beckons us the entire week. We mark the days until the weekend. Each week becomes a journey we take and on the way, we pass through Thursday. It is not the most remarkable day in the week nor is it the hardest day in the week. Its primary significance seems to be that by the time Thursday comes around; we know that tomorrow (Friday) will be the END of the week. Of course, if you work weekends this will not be true. If you do not work a standard week, then very likely Thursday will not have the same meaning for you.

What does Thursday mean for you? What notable or special events in your life do you associate with Thursday? What is the single best thing that ever happened to you on a Thursday?

What difference does destiny make in your life?

It was destiny! Pete Seeger is one of my favorite singers and one of the most remarkable people in the world. The song from which the refrain “it was destiny” came was “Who Killed Davey Moore.” The story of a boxer who dies in the ring and no one will claim any responsibility. Pete shows us our own hypocrisy and cynicism as we all manage to sidestep any responsibility for the death of another human being. We can all walk away not feeling guilty and keep telling ourselves that these things just happen.

Don’t say ‘murder,’ don’t say ‘kill.’
It was destiny, it was God’s will.”

God just seems to work this way in the world. People die and it is destiny. Destiny implies that all of our life and hence all of our time is “predetermined.” Whatever happens is going to happen. We have no choice and no alternatives. Hence, it is destiny and we cannot be blamed for destiny, can we? To subscribe to this philosophy seems like the ultimate pessimism to me. I will never accept it. I will never believe that you and I cannot make a difference in the world. The evidence is irrefutable. Abundant examples exist of people who for better or worse have made a difference in the world. The world would be a much different place without the numerous courageous and sometimes cowardly people who have tread its dominions.

Today and tomorrow each of us has the power to make a difference that can substantially change the world for the better. When I kick the destiny excuse, I start taking responsibility for my time and for my life and for the rest of the world. There is no destiny other than a set of choices we make on how we will spend our life. We create our destiny by these choices. We create the destiny for the world we live in. This world reflects the millions of daily decisions made by you and me and our neighbors. What destiny will you create today? What choices will you make that can change the time of the world and your own time? Can you make those choices with a good heart and compassion for yourself and others?

What difference does one second make?

One second in Dallas is the time that it would have taken to make a difference for John F. Kennedy and the world. If Oswald had either pulled the trigger one second earlier or one second later, history as we know it would be very different. As you think about it, throughout the past, there have been many times when one second either did make or could have made a difference that changed the world.

When you think about your own life, perhaps you have had the same close calls. One second at a red light or one second before you moved might have saved your life. One second is the smallest practical unit of time measurement that we use. We often take our seconds for granted. Like pennies today, we allow them to be discarded or we ignore them when they are just lying on the ground. Yet, our seconds are the most precious moments we have. The seconds with a loved one before they pass away or the seconds that bring us wonders we never anticipated. Many of the most important events in our lives are over in seconds and will never be repeated.

I was sitting at a fireplace outside with some friends the other night. It was nearly 11 PM and the sky was very clear. The moon was not too bright but there seemed to be a million stars in the sky. I turned around to see where the Big Dipper was and suddenly there flamed the beautiful trail of a shooting star as it blazed across the night sky. I turned around back to the others who were sitting around the fireplace and yelled, “Look at the shooting star,” but it was too late. Not one of my three friends had seen the slightest trace or sign of the beautiful star I had just witnessed. It was over in less than a second. The other three people intent on watching the fire or some bit of conversation had missed one of the most moving events in the world. Life can happen that fast and often does.

Thus, the words “Live each second to the fullest” and you will live a very full life make a great deal of sense. “If you watch the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves.” If you watch your seconds, the minutes and days will take care of themselves. What are some seconds that have made a major difference in your life? Have you had some seconds that you will never forget? What difference has one second made to you? Do you squander your seconds or have you learned to be frugal with life?

Can you hear the beat of the time drummer?

Time marches on. You can hear the cadence of the drumbeat. You can see all of the good soldiers keeping a measured pace. Left, right, left, right, left, right, to the beat of the time clock. Tick, step, tick, step, tick, step, tick, step, tick, step. The clock beats and we march. W must keep up. The clock is relentless. It never stops or falters. Another one loses the pace and is left behind. We keep marching. No matter how tired we get, we can not afford to stop. We are all good soldiers. We are all marching every day to the beat of this unknown time drummer. All of us in perfect rhythm to the time clocks in our lives. We are all trying to remain in sync with this mysterious drummer. We are marching, marching, marching. We are marching ever onwards towards life, towards glory, towards fame, towards fortune, towards death. We are marching but often we do not even know where we are marching to.

Where will you march to today? Are you in the band, watching the band or one of those who do not even know a band is ticking and marching away? Whose drum are you marching to? Is it your own drum or someone else’s? Are you able to keep perfect cadence or do you sometimes fall out of step with life? How hard is it to get back in sync with the rest of the band? Sometimes, you may just need to give yourself a break from the march. Do you get enough breaks or do you feel like you are a rat on a treadmill? What stops you from leaving the band? Is today a good day to take a break from the band? Perhaps you will live longer if you do less marching!

When was the last time you made a wish?

Have you ever heard of “wish” time? We take the time to wish in a fountain, we wish on stars, we make wishes when we pray and sometimes we simply make a wish. A certain portion of our lives is spent wishing. Perhaps some of us wish too much and others do not wish enough. Wishing without action is fruitless, but action without a dream is worthless. Wishing can be a metaphor for what we want out of life or what we hope our lives can become.

Karen and I went to Rome a few years ago. On part of a tour we took, there was a large fountain (made famous in the movie “Three Coins in a Fountain”) called the Trevi Fountain. You stand with your back to the fountain, throw a coin over your shoulder and make a wish. If you do this properly, it is claimed that you will someday return to Rome and your wish will be granted. I am not sure if either will come true but we did it anyway. I love to throw coins in fountains, pools or wishing wells and make a wish. I don’t know if any have come true since I seldom keep track of my wishes. I guess if I were more organized, I would keep an Excel spreadsheet on my wishes. One column would be place, one date and one the wish I made. The final column would be a metric on the degree of success I had with that particular wish at that place. Perhaps some places are better for wishing than for others. I am sure a more scientific analysis could help us to determine the best places to wish in the world and even which wishes are most likely to come true. On the other hand, I would not hold my breath.

How much time each day do you spend wishing? Are you someone who spends too much time wishing or not enough? Are you too much of a daydreamer or someone who days not dream enough? What would you need to do to get a better balance of wish time in your life? What would it take to make your wishes a reality? Wishes can become dreams. Dreams can become goals and goals can become reality.

How well do you juggle your time?

Who is not juggling time today? When we talk about multi-tasking we are like the juggler who must keep four or five balls in the air at the same time. With all of the demands on our time, we are all acrobats with time. We have become a nation of time jugglers. Our mantra is “no time.” As time jugglers, we must be very careful not to let one of the balls hit the ground. We have numerous tools to help us keep the balls in the air. We have clocks, stop watches, regular watches, alarms, bells, buzzers, PDA’s, cell phones and GPS to incessantly remind us of our juggling chores. Time to switch, time to stop, time to start, time to go, time to do it, time to relax, time to run, time to exercise, time to visit, time to work, time to let go, time to sleep, time for ourselves, time for family, time and more time. Are we jugglers or rats in a maze of time? Running and running to find our way out of the maze while not dropping any of the balls that we are juggling.

A master juggler astounds us with how much they get done and how successful they are. They are the supermen and superwomen of today’s modern world. How we ask do they get so much done and never break a sweat! Perhaps we all need to take more training in “time management.” Pick up one of the million books on time management or take one of the billion courses on “how to better manage your time.” If you have already taken one of these courses, maybe it is time for you to attend a refresher class.

On the other hand, what would happen if you stopped juggling time for a day? Where would the balls all go? Do you ever notice which balls are harder and which are easier for you to juggle? Why do you suppose some are harder and some easier? Try juggling one less ball today, see how it feels. Do two less tomorrow and three less the next day. Perhaps you will one day have no balls to juggle and then you will not need any time management. What do you think that would feel like? Imagine a day without any balls to juggle?

What if you grew older backwards?

Living time backwards! I once heard someone say that it would be wonderful if we could be born 90 years old and grow younger instead of older. We would be born old and naïve and as we got younger, we would progressively know more and be healthier. It is a very intriguing idea if you do not stop too long to question the anatomical difficulties. Imagine being at the height of your physical prowess and having lived 60 years already. What would it be like to have lived for 60 years and have the physical age of a thirty year old?

Many things which I do not even begin to attempt today would not seem as challenging or difficult if I had the body of a thirty year old. I would not feel like my life was running down. Instead, I would feel like my life was running up. I probably would not be worried about retirement benefits, health insurance or funeral arrangements. Growing younger rather than older physically would change your entire world perspective. You would be getting smarter and healthier with each passing day. The mistakes of youth would now belong to old age; with youth would come wisdom instead of inexperience.

We would become better drivers and athletes as we became “younger.” Imagine what effect this would have on the sporting world. Teams would be looking for younger people who were really older in age but who came with thirty or forty or even fifty years of experience. Today most athletes peak in their late twenties with perhaps fifteen or so years of experience. If we lived backwards, we would peak in our twenties but with 40 or more years of experience. The impacts on the entertainment world and academic worlds would be equally profound. Imagine “young” people in these fields with forty or more years of experience.

What endeavors would you start today, if you suddenly became twenty or more years younger? What mistakes would you be able to avoid if you had the wisdom you had now forty years ago? What if you knew for certain that you were going to live another sixty years? How would this knowledge change your life?

What if is the question here?

One month to live! What if your doctor told you today that you had one month to live? Not a very pleasant thing to think about but something that could indeed happen to any of us. What would you do? Of course, you say you would start doing those things that were most important to you. Chances are you would quit your job, tell everyone you could that you loved them, go out and buy something you had always wanted, make sure your bills and expenses were all in order and finally you might think about arranging your funeral. Would the last thirty days of your life be the happiest or would they be the saddest days of your life? Not a very easy question to answer.

Would doing the tasks I noted above your last thirty days the best you had ever spent or would these tasks just be chores perhaps like you had been doing for so many years. Our lives are so inundated with tasks and chores that even if we knew we were dying, we would probably start filling up our remaining time with more tasks and chores. One has to understand the “meaning of life” to really live life. This meaning lies in finding the unique value that each of us has to give to the world. It lies not just in doing but in being. An old Cherokee saying goes “When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.”

Have you found the meaning of your life? Would a notice of your impending death help you to find this meaning if you have not already found it? How can you find the meaning of your life today and live it 365 days a year? What would it take to make the last thirty days, the best thirty days of your life? Maybe you should not wait until you only have thirty days left to think about this question.

How patiently can we measure time?

“One moment please!” I can still hear Lily Tomlin saying that line on the Laugh-In show when she played the obnoxious telephone operator Ernestine. Her voice was dripping with sarcasm and we all knew that it was going to be a heck of a lot longer than one moment. Come to think of it, we generally know it will be a lot longer than “one” moment whenever someone says: “One moment please.”

What is one moment anyway? One definition of the word moment is: “an indefinitely short period of time.” If you read this definition carefully, you will notice a “catch” word. Do you see it? Right! It is the word “indefinitely!” There is no real specification to this word as when someone says one minute or even one second. We know these latter are unreal specifications, but they are still definite. With the phase “one moment please”, we do not have any specification. Is one moment shorter than two moments or ten moments? This would all depend on the length of a moment, which has no definition. Thus, one moment becomes a sort of carte blanche to be as long as one likes. Imagine, calling in late to your company and saying “Sorry I am going to be late, I will be there in one moment.” What would your boss reply? He/she would probably not know what to say. Or else, it might not be something you would not like to hear.

We might all be more patient and then the words “one moment please” would be easier to tolerate. We could then reply to the Ernestines of the world with “No problem.” How long a moment can you be patient with? What do you say when someone tells you they will just be “one moment?” What would you really like to say? Perhaps you are a very patient person and one moment is very easy to deal with.

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