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Timing Is Everything

September 14, 2012

As I look at the numerous chronological measuring devices around me (my watch, my car dashboard, my DVR, my computer, my phone, my clock radio, my microwave oven, my stove) – I realize that we essentially have created a situation where there is a new definition of time.

Since science figured out that the Earth was created more than 10 or 12,000 years ago, they also have offered a substitutionary embrace of unfathomable antiquity in an effort to make the unknown explicable.  Science uses a vast expanse of time (hundreds of millions, if not billions, of years for the Earth’s origin and some extreme extension of that for the rest of the universe) as the lubricant for virtually every theory of matter.

In other words, with infinite time, there are infinite possibilities.

With immeasurable eons under its belt, the universe cannot expect to be precisely understood, but more importantly, life on our planet can have an infinite variety of perfect-fits to any number of large-scale and small-scale reactions to climate, disease, nourishment, and atmospherics without “intelligent design.”  With essentially infinite numbers of generations of adaptations, the less functional will die off and the more adapted will burgeon.

That is all well and good, but the truth is that they way I measure time is beyond schizophrenic – it is polymorphic in extremis.

My car’s clock is at least 15 minutes fast.  My wife’s car’s clock was one minute fast, until magically it wasn’t.  My watch is at least 2 minutes slow.  My clock radio is 3 minutes slow.  My microwave is pretty much either permanently at noon/midnight or any variation of any time you might want to give it.  The wind-up clock that my wife inherited from her grandfather is either running perfectly when wound or some bizarrely inappropriate time when it’s wound down.

Those timing realities are “traditional.”  Clocks, watches and other measuring devices were only as reliable as those who maintained them.  Thus, time was inherently human.  Measurements of being “on time” were subjective to each individual who determined the precision of the chronological device used.

Now, time is everywhere and, yes, it can be totally objective.

Remember the extreme fascination we had for the “Atomic Clock,” an invention that used atomic movements to have timing that was so precise that we could see when any given year was a few thousandths of a second too long or too short?

Now, everyone has any number of Atomic Clocks – my cell phone continually reminds me of how imprecise my watch is; my DVR tells me when a program on television starts one minute late or early.

In matters of time, we are losing the lubricant of subjectivity, and now have the reality of objective truth ground into our faces 24/7, 365 days a year.

It has gotten to the point where the wobbles and variations in the Earth’s orbital speed and axial orientation are so measurable that tiny, incremental differences become distressing.

In creating the new and infinitely accurate universally accessible measurement of time, we can see how the world around us simply doesn’t live up to expectations of perfect precision with excruciating accuracy.

The other thing that this perfect benchmark leaves me with is the sad realization that I have not one clock in my mind, but all the rest – the 15-minutes fast and the 3-minutes slow, and on and on.

Where I used to listen to news radio to get the exact, precise ping of a given passing of an hour, I realize that all I have to do is turn on my phone, and whether or not it is at the magic moment at a specific hour of the day, I can know exactly, precisely, that an exact moment, what I am experiencing.

Bummer.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Patrick Pinnell permalink
    September 14, 2012 5:45 pm

    Duo the D; some time let me show you the old farmer’s device of keeping track of sun time with your fist. Meantime (as it were!), look up the once-famous difference in times between the 19th c. Yale observatory clock in the Old Brick Row and the one in Center Church tower.

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