Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dividing Time

The concept of time has always fascinated me.  We all know what time is, but it defies definition.  Early in civilization, people began to mark time by breaking it into chunks.  We have millennia, centuries, decades, years, seasons, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds.

Only three of those units of time are directly embedded in nature:  the year, the season and the day.  All other units of time are arbitrarily created by man.  OK, the seven day-week was God’s idea.  But I suppose God could have set up a five- or eight-day week, if he had desired. 

For us, time is marked by regular, observable recurrences in nature.  All of these marks center around the sun, quite literally.  We evaluate and mark life on the basis of light.

I wonder how much simpler life would be if we measured only the natural units of time.