Monday, December 31, 2012


"Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone the song is over, thought I'd something more to say"

(Time - Pink Floyd)

Appropriate for the end of a year.

G and I were sitting and musing on the passing of years, and the fact that there will (as usual) be the crop of new year binges across the country tonight. And we thought "so what is time, exactly?".

And of course greater minds than ours have examined the conundrum of time. Mathematicians have declared it to be the 4th dimension, following length, breadth and height, the familiar three. So while I sit here, hardly moving in 3 dimensions, I am speeding along in the 4th with all the rest of us. I shudder to conceptualise the other 7 or so dimensions that I'm reliably informed also exist.

So what will 2013 bring, and why do we want to especially welcome it with parties and lotsa booze and drugs and trance and all that crap? The easy answer to this double-barreled question is : 2013 will bring the same as 2012 and all the years before. Good things will happen, bad things will happen, people will be born and people will die. All of us will grow older. It's called "life" and it happens all the time.

And we welcome it with parties, because there are many clever people out there who know how to take advantage of many other people. And there are far more other people out there who are hell-bent on spending money in order to be convinced that they're having a good time. And they will - at least they think they will - on New Year's eve. They will drink and rock and roll and party and quite a few of them will kiss complete strangers in a fit of bonhomie in the "spirit of the season" and some may wind up having spontaneous sex either with a partner or a stranger; and many more of them will wake sometime on 1 January (or later) with a hell of a hangover and wonder what happened and why they did it (again) this year?

And the clever people will be more wealthy, and the masses will be poorer, but they will think they are happy, because they have been entertained. This is called "seeing the new year in". Consider it seen, and it's no different to the other 50 or so occasions (depending on how long you've been alive).

And when you drag yourself off the planet and you imagine yourself as a spaceman sitting far out in space, looking at the earth turning slowly, do you know time? You look at your watch and what do you see? It says 15H45, but it might as well say 03h03 or any other "time", because for everyone on the surface of the blue planet, it is every time and no time - all the time at every instant of the day. And while you hover in space for 1 million years or so, what do you see? You see the Earth spinning slowly and maybe the odd comet and orbiting moon and not much else. So what is the point of a watch?

And when you get back on earth, depending on where you land, your watch will either be "right" or "wrong", because time as we know it is a man-made local construct, useful only for ensuring you are at your next appointment "on time". It serves no other useful purpose in the greater scheme of things.

Consider the animals, or the early neanderthals. They saw the sun rise, and they lived their lives in the daylight. And when the sun dipped below the horizon, they made a fire if it was cold, they ate and they slept. The next day, the sun appeared again, and again. And at certain periods, it was warm, and at others it was cold. And those who were suitably prepared, kept warm or cool. And those that weren't, froze to death or died in the heat. This was called "survival of the fittest" and only the fittest survived. And so "time" passed, the only mark of its passing being the periods of warmer and cooler weather, and the fact that bodies become older and sagged more and were more frail. And sooner or later, some stopped breathing while others started. The passage of life.

Time. We all have a share of it, some more than others. And the only discretion you have, is deciding what you're going to do with your allocated portion of it.

Remember the last line of the song? "The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say". Say it, and do so wisely while you still have time.

No comments:

Post a Comment