Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Time and tide
Lee Child a crime fiction writer created a character named Reacher. This Reacher is a very peculiar individual. He busts many a crime even though it is not his duty. Films are being made based on the novels written around this character. At one point, in one of those novels, this Reacher wants to sleep. He bluffs and to support that he wants to impress the other fellow that he is always in tandem with a satellite. He wants to sleep exactly for 1 hour fifty five minutes. He says the satellite would wake him up at the appointed time. There is no such arrangement. But, he gets up exactly after that much time. He says elsewhere that it is his training that helps him keep time even when asleep. Is it possible? For you and me? Did you ever try getting up when you want to/ looks it is possible for some people. Do we know how much time elapsed even when awake without looking at a watch? Forget about knowing time when asleep! It is all about the movement of time. And us being conscious about its movement.
We are used to saying much water flew under the bridge, that is to say a lot of time passed from a particular moment. We know that now here, now gone, is a much experienced fact. The moment itself does not exist after that so called moment. Every moment, that moment gets into what is called the past. With that we get a feeling that time has moved or elapsed. But what is it that moved? How did it move? Time is not any material or thing. It can stay here this moment and in another place a little later. Then what is it that moved when we say time has moved. How did it move? From where and to where did it move?
Unless we know what moved and how it moved the speed of that movement can never be calculated. If you are waiting for or with one dearer to heart even in hot sun the heat would not be known neither the time. With a heavy heart, waiting for one turns really gruesome and each second feels like eons. While on an up journey, it appears time moves slowly and on the way back home it moves faster. If this is real, is there no particular speed for the movement of time?
As per science earth goes round the Sun once in 365 and a quarter of a day. It spins around itself every 24 hours. Based on this movement the clocks are designed splitting the day into 24 parts called hours. Each of these hours is further divided into minutes. Thinking that they even designed atomic clocks with uncalled for precision. Once in a while they say a second has to be added to the clock. After all said and done, what is it that the clocks are trying to measure? Is the time moving according to the clocks? Or the clocks follow the time?
Time is after all an experience according to our experience. Even its movement is an experience. Then would it have a speed? Would the clock measure hat speed and movement? It is far from possibility. Clocks have movements. We perceive that as the movement of time.
There are myriad things in this world. There is a correlation between some of these things. That correlation keeps changing. When you look at the clocks the hands would be in a particular position. We think that is the time at that moment. We look away and look back at the clock after a while. Time would have changed by then. Let us assume that four minutes elapsed in that interval. How do we say that? Because the minutes hand moved that much! What exactly is this time lapse called four minutes? How much is that? You cannot really perceive any movement in the smaller or the hour’s hand of the clock in such a short interval. If at all there is a hand showing seconds, it creates confusion because of its movement. How many rounds did it make in that interval? On the whole, we see some change in the positions of the hands there. If the change of these positions indicates five minutes, we come to a conclusion and start feeling that five minutes elapsed between our two glances at the clock. But, meanwhile our mind would have gone a thousand miles and come back! After all, in that interval, all the things in the world would also have moved like that with immense speeds! Even then is it only five minutes that lapsed between the glances? Or, perhaps the world would have gone a little slower, for that matter! Alas! The clock does not know about all that! Did you notice that no two clocks show the same time ever! They dot know what exactly the time is! Even the atomic clock that they say is perfect to the T! Then what exactly they are showing? Not time anyway! We have fixed them to move according to some principle. We are assuming the movement of time in their movement.
Close your eyes and for a moment, imagine that there is nothing in this world. Neither us the humans, nor any other living or non-living things. It is just an empty world. Imagine, would the time move in that world? We thought there is no relation between the clock’s progress and time’s. We also saw that the time moves on its own. Then, even in that blank world time must be moving. Remember, there is nothing in that world. No material at all. No occurrences, happenings and movements. Then where is any movement? Where does and how does the time move?
Even now, we are not exactly aware of time’s progress. Interestingly, they say the time always moves forward only, never backwards. My ideas are going in all the directions. Are you happy with that? I am happy if you are. If you are bored and unhappy with all this, I am happier! When happy my time moves faster. With headache your time gets slower. It may even stop. But, the clocks and watches, both yours and mine keep moving with the same old speed. Then tell me if the time is moving. Think and think. Then tell me what you think.