Against The Stream ~ MEASURING TIME
has gone, just like a dream;
Tomorrow never comes.
What time have we to call our own?
The present is like a bubble on the water:
Grasp it—and it’s gone.
Are not our hands always empty?
Swept along, endlessly,
Becoming old, against our will;
Where are we going?
Do you have time?
Perhaps it is Time that has you!
We measure Time in many ways. For ordinary everyday
affairs, in our relationships with others, and for
our convenience, we measure time by the clock, which
divides the day into hours, minutes and seconds, all
of which are artificial, man-made divisions; nowhere,
in Nature, can we find an hour with sixty minutes
or a minute with sixty seconds. But these are useful
inventions that we all agree on; they enable society
to run efficiently and smoothly; we can be punctual
and keep appointments because of these agreed-upon
We further divide time into days and nights,
weeks, months and years. Well, these divisions, as
we know them, are realities on this planet only, and
if we were to go into Space, what we call days, weeks,
months and years would not exist. And, even while
we are on the planet, really, there is no such thing
as a week with seven days. Again, this is man’s
invention, and is unnatural; we cannot observe a natural
division into seven days. Actually, the 7-day week
originated in the Jewish-Christian Bible, and, because
of the aggression and conquests of the European pirates/colonists,
it—and the English language that is now the
international language—has been accepted worldwide,
and for no other reason.
Space is so inconceivably vast that it is
meaningless to measure it in miles or kilometers,
so we measure it in time. We are told that the distance
from the Earth to the Sun is about 93 million miles
(approx. 150 million kms), and since light travels
at 186,000 miles (approx. 298,000 kms) per second,
it takes about 8 minutes for light to cover this distance.
But some of the Stars are so distant that it take
hundreds-of-thousands—or even millions—of
YEARS for their light to reach Earth! We cannot comprehend
the immensity of this, for compared to such time,
our brief lives are less than a finger-snap. But it
is good to look up at the night sky and ponder on
our smallness; our problems and worries often feel
different and less potent by the light of the stars.
Few people live beyond a hundred years;
compared with the life of a butterfly, of course,
this is an unthinkable age, but as measured beside
the giant Redwood trees of the West Coast of the USA—some
of which are more than 2,000 years old—it is
not very old at all.
We measure time, most of all, by our feelings:
our joys and sorrows, hopes and fears. An hour in
a leaking boat on a stormy sea might seem an eternity,
while a happy hour passes like a minute; however long
it might be, our happiness always ends too soon, while
our sadness drags its feet.
But, when things have passed, they seem
to be part of a dream, and we cannot be sure if they
ever really happened; maybe we only dreamed they did.
This is why life is spoken of as a dream, a rainbow,
a mirage; it is not ours, but comes and goes, uncatchable.
If our life really belonged to us, we could say: "I’m
not going to grow old, get sick or die". Well,
we can say it—it’s easy to say it—but
we grow old (if we are lucky), get sick, and die anyway.
Time, in whatever way we measure it, is
like a one-way street: we move from the past, through
the present, to the future, never the other way around.
Every day is important. Take care of it, therefore,
so you have no regrets about growing old.