Sunday, January 15, 2006


Time is on my mind as of late. Unfortunately, my Grandmother is now under care at a home and she suffers from dementia. Witnessing this has made me curious as to how the mind works, in relation to memories and time. When she's enduring dementia, time has no definition for her. Memories criss-cross in conversations and there's no difference between something that occurred decades ago (even involving someone no longer living) and something that occurred last year. It's strange and perplexing.

I'm also reading a book, In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore, which documents the current revolution in slowing down all aspects of life. It's fascinating to see how people are reacting to our modern state of speed lust. One thing that caught my attention the most is the organization (the Long Now Foundation) that's building massive clocks which measure one tick per year; this particular clock measures time over ten millennia. Another thing is the LongPlayer, which is playing a musical composition that lasts 1,000 years. While this may seem extreme, it forces you to re-examine your relationship to time. What's of special interest is the juxtaposition of current, urban life (everything measured by the clock; techno music; stress caused by overpacked schedules) and these movements which highlight the slowness and immeasurability of time. It's like a collision of two opposites: breakneck speed vs. eternity.

One other aspect of time that I've been exploring is Einstein's theories. After watching the film, Donnie Darko, I was intrigued by the idea of time travel. I never believed that it was possible and I still don't. However, I read into what Einstein and other physicists had researched (and this coming from someone who stayed as far away from math and advanced sciences in school as possible) in their careers. It gets into bizarre territory and most of it I've only grasped the faint idea of what they're aiming at (some reading this will undoubtedly already understand more than I do). What they and current experts have found is that time and space affect each other and, ultimately, are one and the same. Without going into details, all of this is based on calculations figuring in the speed of light. So, we aren't going to see any of this evidence with our physical eyes (such as how time slows down the faster you move, for instance, like when you're driving your car). We can't achieve the necessary speeds to witness such phenomenon. Nonetheless, it's very intriguing, especially when you get into ideas such as time portals, black holes, and other dimensions.

Since I'm not a sincere believer that we'll ever be able to go back in time (or forward) or that we can find some portal in the space-time continuum, I can't give myself fully to this. It does make my imagination roam, though. Going further, it makes me think of time and eternity and how God is in control of it all. This world is infinitely complex and our minds can barely make sense of these concepts sometimes. I'm awe-struck at the majesty of this creation and it certainly makes me want to slow down to appreciate it all.


Honey said...

Wow, you stretched my brain on this one. But that is good. It seems the hurrier I go, the behinder I get. That's what my MeMa used to say and it is proving true. But I am trying very much to slow down and enjoy the things and people around me instead of always looking to the tasks in front and ahead. I press on for the Peace of God in my everydayness. He packs our day with His goodness to behold and to draw our attention to Himself. A really Good Father!
Your mom, Honey

dustin said...

I tend to think time is perfect, not like God-perfect with righteousness and majesty and all that, but perfect in the "only God could have designed it" type of way. I mean, shouldn't Genesis have started out like " the beginning there was God (and time)...". Or, since "the beginning" is itself a measure of time then God and time were and were always. There totally wasn't a beginning at all, just a...
If Jesus is "I am", then time is "I'm not". Further more, time itself, being an eternal measure, and eternity being an anti-measure of time (a measure with no possible answer), means that time is a constant, like God. And now I'm confused, as are you, I hope.

Anonymous said...

Just read a quote by Henry Canby: "Live deep instead of fast."
And one by Wordsworth: "we are always getting ready to live, but never living".
Good stuff!
Honey, Mom

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seantk said...

Barnuckle, interesting thoughts (and quite a name, too). In tackling time and God (wow, He'd have to just let you knock Him over or something), I would say you have to strip your mind of what we consider time. God is outside of our timeframe and how we keep time. The whole kronos/kairos thing. And I am confused, because if Jesus and time are at odds, then how can time be a constant, like God, if God and Jesus are the same? Anyway, I just think we have to ask God for wisdom and depend on His answers to give us knowledge of what to do in our earth-bound timeframe. Since He is totally outside of our time and we aren't privy to what He knows, we must be dependent. I believe the closer we are to God and the more we lean into Him, He speaks that wisdom into us, through the Spirit, so that we know what to do and when to do it. That way, we are operating outside of earth-time, in conjunction with God Almighty, as His sons and daughters. What this reveals is that everything is for God's purposes and plans, not the reverse, which is what most of us think. It's pretty mind-blowing. And that's one way I think we can "time-travel," outside of the Einstein-physicist-10th dimension-sort of way. If that were to ever be a reality, people would then be somehow dominant over the laws of the earth, and, knowing human nature, I think people would use time-travel to their own ends and really mess things up worse.

Just some thoughts......