Tag Archives: time

Time Defined

Time, itself, does not exist.

It is as imaginary as angels, demons, muses, and ideas.

Time is one component of the medium in which our physical world exists, the other being the subject of next month’s blog, space.

So, how is it that we can measure a thing that does not exist? It is a matter of relationship. As a medium component, time is intimately related to all existence. Why? Because existence is change.

We perceive existence only by way of physical, chemical, or nuclear change. We see light from fusion that is a star. We hear sound that is displacement of atoms, ions, or molecules. We even feel changes in pressure. All change happens only through time.

Our moon moves through space and time in patterns that allow us to “tell time”.

  1. New Moon rises and sets with the sun;
  2. Each day the moon rises and sets later (some 50 minutes);
  3. Waxing moon gets brighter on the sun (right) side, waning stays brighter on the sun (left) side;
  4. The photo is a waxing crescent moon with the sun to the right and below the moon soon after sunset;
  5. The sun sets north of west in summer—to the right of the moon in the photo. That gives the crescent moon the appearance of pouring water rather than
    holding it. Some call this a dry (no water) moon and a cup crescent that appears to hold water a wet moon. I would reverse that, calling this moon wet because it pours the water out. In any case, it is a summer moon.
  6. This photo is a waxing crescent summer moon taken after sunset (around 9 p.m.) in early June.

I believe my conclusion is unambiguous; however, I welcome corrections and reflections. I could be wrong.

All existence (of the physical world) is change is matter and/or energy through space and time.

E = mc­2

Don’t see time in this relationship? It’s hidden in the c, the speed of light, which is a ratio of change in space (distance) to change in time, or distance divided by time.

Time, itself, may not exist, but it is still as real as angels, demons, muses, and ideas.


Essence of Time: God’s Art

Natural Time

Nature is an exquisite calendar and an elegantly functional clock. There is much we can determine about time from a single photograph of the moon—if we know how to read the clock. What time is it in the picture? How completely can you answer? Assume it is the Northern Hemisphere. I may post clues as needed from time to time.

While I was a Volunteer Interpretive Ranger at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in Arizona, I observed the phenomenon of light from the sunrise near equinox passing through a hole in the east wall, moving down the inside of a west wall, and passing through a similar hole there. Among other things, this great building is an impressive calendar.

Some people suggest this helped the Hohokam know the right time to plant their crops. I don’t think so.

My dad was a Wisconsin dirt farmer, and he taught me that the right time to plant corn was when the Burr Oak leaves were as big as squirrels’ ears. I suppose I remember this because it was important to me. It meant freedom. When my dad started planting corn, I was free to go barefoot all summer.

O’odham people, likely descendents of the Hohokam, hold a similar folk tale. The right time to plant cotton is when the Mesquite trees begin to grow new leaves.

Still, the Bitter Man of legend said to have built the Casa Grande had his reasons for making it a calendar. Prophecy aided by scientific prediction, like the Casa Grande itself, is impressive, and impressing people is an effective tool of politics. Perhaps his great big calendar helped the Bitter Man predict the coming monsoons. Maybe he even hosted great ceremonies appearing to bring the rains. That would be true power in the desert.

My interest in understanding the universe has taken me to inquiry of a spiritual nature. I find beautiful order in man’s perception of natural laws. Certain experiences have nudged me to accept some Mystery of Creation which, for simplicity and cultural relevance I choose to call God. In short, I want to know how the universe works, and this includes all things spiritual as well as physical. I want to understand what I can about God. But, I am an empirical sort of guy inclined to science as a preferred epistemology.

How do I find evidence about God? Well, I figure, if I want to understand an artist, I should probably study the artist’s work. After all, art is an expression of the artist. Since God is what I am calling the unknown (force, intelligence, being) who creates Nature (at least natural law), Nature is God’s art. I study Nature to study God.

I am attracted to Nature. I feel at home in Nature. I feel like me in wild places. I feel closer to my life goal, closer to understanding, closer to God.

Essence of Time: Grounding

Can you tell time with the moon?