“Clocks slay time… Time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; Only when the clock stops does time come to life.” ~ William Faulkner
When did time-keeping begin? How was the 1st day recognized, calculated, agreed upon, written or preserved? We have little to no answers of these questions…
It is no secret that cultures throughout “time” have kept time, and they’ve kept it in their own fashion based on their own view of life cycles. But, what day is it?? Deep within the sphere of conscious thought is where we find the concept(s) of time.
For those of us born into western culture, today is August 17th, 2012. And, interestingly, many of us believe that this date has been calculated and confirmed and is correspondingly observed in unison throughout the world… However, there are at latest count 42 calendars observed across the globe, 12 of which are recognized as national calendars. Not surprisingly, our notion of time is distorted when held up to these other calendrical systems and how they developed.
Most calendars are based on lunar or solar cycles, or solunar cycles and rhythms. Our own calendar more or less incorporates these cycles, but fails to recognize them as the ancient calendar systems did. We westerners have used the Gregorian calendar system since 1582, which replaced the Julian calendar.. However, the Julian calendar is still used and accepted in a few cultures. The Julian calendar is also used in nearly every astronomical software system for base numerical data collection. Today’s date in Julian time is 2456156.500000, or 56156 for short. 🙂
Then we have the Chinese, Hebrew, Islamic, Persian, Mayan and a host of other calendars which are still observed in smaller sectors. Today’s date on the Chinese calendar is the 7th month, 2nd day in the year 4710.. It is the year 5772 according to the Hebrew calendar, the Islamic calendar claims the year 1433, and the Persian calendar claims the year 1391…. these are just slightly different from ours to say the least.
No need in listing every calendar and every date…. The interest here is the notion of time-keeping itself. In ancient times calendars were based on astronomical precision and in harmony with natural human cycles.. Today they are not, and could be a part of the problem concerning the undeniable disconnection with the natural world.
We westerners have a calendar based almost entirely on the Christian religion, which is the calendar accepted in 90% of the developed world. Yet, only 33% of the world population claims a Christian religious faith. Still, we base our calendar’s beginning on the day of Christ’s birth… What year was it when Jesus was born? No historical data gives an accurate year or day. What’s more.. as time progressed.. his divine birth replaced the ancient Pagan festival of Saturnalia, which fell after the winter solstice… Today this same festival and the act of gift-giving, bringing tree boughs inside and celebration is known as Christmas. Yet, despite no known data to original dates and times… we claim today is August 17th, 2012. But do we really know?
Time keeping may be necessary, or not.. No matter, I look at it with simple eyes. Today is the present moment.. Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow is not guaranteed. The ancient people understood cycles. They understood harmony, balance and the sacred bond shared between these cycles and human consciousness. We have come far and away from this practice. Their calendar was harmonic rhythm and sequence.. Ours is business only. Our calendar may need modification in order to return to a harmonic balance with universal rhythm.
If we must synchronize our lives, I only hope we do so in a natural way and pleasantly forget the numbers. Time is only a real concept when it’s given conscious thought. In our busyness of existence, time can stand still if we so choose… or come to life and tick away.
19 thoughts on “What Day Is It?? Does it matter?”
love the beginning quote,and you are so right,time is a man made construct,much better to flow with natural cycles,metta
Thank you! Faulkner is one of my faves.. 🙂
1. Kant, who arguably pivoted us into the current age of philosophy, says that time and space are not things in the world but are ways of understanding the world, subjective inventions/projections that we use to organize the otherwise unintelligible flux of reality.
2. Most religions have a mystical side that considers all reality to be in the “eternal present,” from which past and future are intellectual abstractions.
3. I can only synchronize this idea of the eternal present with the sense of my own groundedness in cultural history this way: I have to think of history not as something “out there” at an ever-increasing distance from the present, but rather something within the present but at a depth. Layers of cultural history are in the present just as all the rings of a tree are present and part of the living tree, even if unseen on the surface.
Well stated..Kant had many, very poignant expressions of what human thought is composed of and how it is used.. An eternal present in my view comes from the inherent knowledge that all reality is perception.. as many great seers from the past have all said that time is but an illusion that has only a small purpose.. we need it for cognitive function and planning.. and in agreement with your thoughts, all forms of time are interlocked in a cycle, even if unseen or not.
An interesting topic to endlessly ponder about. I am a Christian who is aware of the merging of the pagan custom to celebrate Christ’s birth. It’s a progression of history that became a nice tradition and would’ve remained so if the overzealous madness of materialism hadn’t crept in.
The concept of time is a truly unfathomable topic when we think about the reality vs. the metaphysical aspect of it. I really like that you touch on living in harmony with nature for I believe that God set the rhythm of life into motion and our modern existence has done much to disturb it. We see the results, even in the simple electric lightbulb, which causes us to stay up beyond our body’s natural rhythm.
I know we long for the simplicity of the past but can we not still strive for balance? It might take some self-discipline on our part but I’ll bet the vibrant health of body, mind, and spirit would be so worth it.
Thanks for the information on calendars…very interesting.
Thank you! Indeed I agree.. We should strive for a balance.. the simplicity of the past may once again be upon us if humans have a paradigm shift of conscious awareness, but that is a dream within a dream.. I enjoy the thoughts of how many ancient tribes made calendars and planned everything according to natural cycles. From planting crops, migrating, harvesting, where they would build and even when they would reproduce was done in congress with nature.. since we’ve disconnected so much since that time it is obvious the shift in balance has teetered significantly.. we can see it everyday all around us.
I like the way the Greeks divided time into kronos and kairos. I try to live life mindful of the difference and I swear the present moment has amazing elastic qualities if you take your eye off the clock. Lovely to read this post and I have linked to it for that reason; time perceptions being one of my fascinations in life! Thank you.
It is true.. once the clock is forgotten it seems that “moments” can last forever.. and Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Your time piece brings to mind when Peter Fonda steps on his watch at the opening of the film Easy Rider.
Great piece! Yesterday is truly gone and “being present” is all that matters, on multiple levels. Thank you for investing your time (there’s time again!) in putting together this thoughful post. I wish you “enough.”
Thank you sir! I wish you “enough” as well..
Very interesting post. It kind of makes me ill, somehow, when I hear someone saying “I’m just killing time.” I don’t have any moments to waste..laugh, live and love!
I totally agree.. Thank you!
When I retired two years ago…the alarm clock was thrown away…I too enjoy seeing what the day
brings…and just adjusting to it…My body is more at ease…and I love the thought of letting nature
desern my being…rain…sun…warm…cold…Let’s just enjoy!
Reblogged this on Miriam Miles and commented:
Love topics like this 🙂
This was really inspiring and what it brought to light when I read it was time can not be measured but only lived.
Excellent. Love your writings and insights.
Reblogged this on andreatmbrownm.