Friday, September 10, 2004


Is time a man-made object? Is it really, as my high school history teacher put it, a deception by the Swiss just to sell their watches?

Nearly all cultures express time through their languages- if not with direct words for "yesterday," "today," or "tomorrow" then with concepts such as tense or mood, which describe things that have happened continuously in the past, are still happening know, or have yet to happen. For centuries, man has established lunar and solar calenders to map the progress of the Earth going about the sun. But even now, our calenders are not precisely correct ("there is a leap year every year divisible by four except for years which are both divisible by 100 and not divisible by 400")... so is it justified to split the natural behavior of our planet in the universe into well-proportioned segments of days, weeks, months, years, etc.? Time runs the modern world- deadlines, meetings, appointments... it has been used to measure the "pace of a society" in psychology (from my textbook, Psychology by David G. Myers Seventh Edition, copyright 2004- Page 30 "By operationally defining pace of life as walking speed, the speed with which postal clerks completed a simple request, and the accuracy of public clocks, they [Rober Levine and Ara Norenzayan (1999)] concluded that life is fastest paced in Japan and Western Europe, and slower paced in economically less developed countries."). The basic units of time build into calculating speeds and the second is the basic unit in the SI for science. But are these seconds as physical as grams or liters? Can all of nature, including the duration from the production of a life form to its complete end of existence, be reduced to numbers? Can mathematical formulas like Fibonacci's sequence apply to everything around us and can the fate of the universe depend on such mathematics? I hope not- because I really don't like Statistics.

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