It’s about time.
Meaning that’s what we’re discussing today.
Hope we have time.
Do you have time?
Is the time right?
Where does the time go?
What time is it?
We think, speak, and ponder time continuously but one wonders just how much we understand about the scientific realities of the physical nature of time.
First up is the commonly held idea that we invented time, meaning it’s simply a way of measuring the passage of reality.
Time exists in and of itself regardless of our understanding or perception of it. It’s real, measurable, and can be affected by other physical entities.
For example, time is affected by velocity. This can be and has been demonstrated. The most common example is the dual atomic clock experiment. An atomic clock measures time based on the atomic delay of a radioactive material. It’s one of the most accurate ways to measure time, perhaps the most accurate.
In the experiment, one atomic clock is situated somewhere on the ground. Another is placed in a nearby airplane. They are synchronized. The plane fly’s around the world and returns. When the clocks are examined the one on the plane will be slightly slower, perhaps only by a few nanoseconds. But the difference is consistent.
Because the clock on the plane was accelerated to a much faster velocity than the one on the ground. As the plane clock accelerated, time itself slowed down.
It sounds like magic but it’s a common, demonstrable way of showing how time can be affected.
Time is a real thing, as real as gravity or light. But it’s so fundamental to existence that it’s easy to misunderstand.
Our perception of time is wonky too. Many people think of the past and future as real things, simply existing in different parts of time.
The future and the past are nothing more than ideas. There is no real future and there is no real past. This can be very hard to get your head around.
Consider the nature of reality. Reality is the now. The past is nothing more than a memory or record of what was the now. The future is the possibility of what the now may be. There’s nothing more to either of them.
Why is this important?
It’s important to me because when I finally understood the unreal nature of the future and the past, I began the process of trying to live in the now rather than the past or the future.
I had a difficult childhood. There was no real abuse or neglect. But growing up the youngest of five in a poor family in a very small Texas town had it’s difficulties.
Role models were hard to come by. My parents did their best but they just didn’t have the skills to effectively raise five children.
Because of that history (my past) I tended to limit myself based on what I perceived to be my shortcomings because of my past.
Realizing that the past was nothing more than a memory allowed me to decide who I was. I was no longer restrained by the imagined forces from my past. I make my own reality. We all do.
I also used to have a bad habit of living in or for the future. I’d have the vague idea “Everything will be fine once this thing (whatever that may be, a job, money, a partner, etc) happens.
Once I understood that the only time that matters is the now, the real, I was able to make changes in the now to improve my reality.
This may sound heady and fundamental, but it changed my life. Understanding that there is only the now makes it much for precious.
Hope that didn’t take up too much of your time.