“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.