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OUT of TIME and SPACE: An ECOLOGICAL CONSIDERATION

on Thursday, 28 January 2016. Posted in Blog, Eco Issues

The triadic rotations of the earth, the sun, and the moon command the temporal dimension on our planetary system.  No material object on earth can escape them. These rhythms include the daily gravitational dance of the sun on the earth, the monthly gravitational pattern of the earth to the moon, the daily light pattern of the earth to the sun, the monthly light pattern of the earth to the moon, and the annual light pattern of the earth to the sun. Thus, units of time are composites of these five rhythms as they occur at any point on the surface of the earth.

 

Life on earth has tuned itself to these recurring sequences. They govern reproduction cycles, foraging cycles, feeding cycles, hibernation cycles, migration cycles, nest building cycles, molting cycles, and growth cycles.   

 

Humans are not exempt from these orderly sequences. However, human experience of time is no longer dictated solely by the observable rhythms of the earth, the sun, and the moon.  Dawn, noon, and dusk do not comprise our work day. Our activities do not evolve with the phases of the moon each month.  Equinox and solstice do not initiate annual cycles of behaviors. 

 

Psychologically, biologically, sociologically human activities are now regulated by forces controlled by humans. Seconds, minutes, and hours are human constructions that bear no connection to the rotations of celestial bodies.  Clocks were invented to control these arbitrary temporal units, making it possible to coordinate activities in distant locations. Likewise, calendars were devised to document and synchronize weeks and decades. These temporal units are also products of human contrivance. Just as grids have been overlaid onto convoluted geological topographies, so clocks and calendars have been imposed onto shifting temporal topographies. Minutes, hours, and weeks regularize time just as perpendiculars regularize space.  Grids, clocks, and calendars provide fixed units counted out in exact, predictable measures. Since these measures are pure fabrications, they can only function through human consensus. The difficulty of establishing world-wide consensus for an arbitrary system is evident when it became necessary to decide which year should be designated as the first year. Some cultures began counting years after the birth of Christ, others after the death of Buddha, others after the assassination of the last Zoroastrian King, and still others after the first Olympic game.

There were no such distortions when people measured temporal units according to the lengths of the shadows cast by the sun, configurations of stars, ebbs and flows of tides, courses of the moon, tonalities of clouds, choruses of frogs, buds on trees, ripened fruits, morning dews, and drifting leaves.  Dials and numbers have usurped the temporal indicators that are immediate, that can be perceived, and that correlate with experience. These unmediated observations of time all proceed gradually from one state to the other. Dawn does not announce the beginning of a new day with the precision of an alarm clock.  Trees do not drop their leaves overnight to announce the arrival of autumn.  Rain does not fall without warning like a tipped bucket. These events are the result of gradual transitions. Temporal accuracy in these situations is not measured in seconds, nor micro seconds, nor even pico seconds.

There were no such distortions when people measured temporal units according to the lengths of the shadows cast by the sun, configurations of stars, ebbs and flows of tides, courses of the moon, tonalities of clouds, choruses of frogs, buds on trees, ripened fruits, morning dews, and drifting leaves.  Dials and numbers have usurped the temporal indicators that are immediate, that can be perceived, and that correlate with experience. These unmediated observations of time all proceed gradually from one state to the other. Dawn does not announce the beginning of a new day with the precision of an alarm clock.  Trees do not drop their leaves overnight to announce the arrival of autumn.  Rain does not fall without warning like a tipped bucket. These events are the result of gradual transitions. Temporal accuracy in these situations is not measured in seconds, nor micro seconds, nor even pico seconds.

There were no such distortions when people measured temporal units according to the lengths of the shadows cast by the sun, configurations of stars, ebbs and flows of tides, courses of the moon, tonalities of clouds, choruses of frogs, buds on trees, ripened fruits, morning dews, and drifting leaves.  Dials and numbers have usurped the temporal indicators that are immediate, that can be perceived, and that correlate with experience. These unmediated observations of time all proceed gradually from one state to the other. Dawn does not announce the beginning of a new day with the precision of an alarm clock.  Trees do not drop their leaves overnight to announce the arrival of autumn.  Rain does not fall without warning like a tipped bucket. These events are the result of gradual transitions. Temporal accuracy in these situations is not measured in seconds, nor micro seconds, nor even pico seconds.

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