courtesy of fravia+'s searchlores.org
12 November 1998
I was inspired today by IcE's neato essay on reality cracking to rewrite and update a little essay I wrote last year about the year 2K thingy everyone seems to be so excited about. I took out most of the Y2K rhetoric and tried to focus more on the perceptions of time and reality cracking.
Assuming that something good or bad will happen at the turn of this upcoming century is an odd thought. Two thousand is just a number like any other, like eleven, fifty-three or million-six. If you believe in linear time then every year, day, hour, etc. is unique, different, and potentially a threat to human and animal kind--or not. The Earth doesn't know what year it is, what day it is or what hour it is. The Earth speeds itís way around the Sun completely unaware as to what we silly humans are doing (or measuring for that matter.) Nothing bad has ever happened exactly at 12 midnight, January 1st in the year 1 or 100 or 1000, and thinking that anything other than "normal" life will continue is a matter of perception, human perception. My watch says it's 9 PM, but yours says it's 6 AM. Go figure.
Human ways of measuring time (calendars and the like) change every so often. Weíre fickle. What we believe to be the beginning of a new century today may be perceived as the middle of another century in the future. For example, Jewish and Chinese culture do not agree with us misguided euroamerican westerners as to what year it really is. Is it year number 2000 or is it 5700? I donít know for sure, but my paycheck from the man says itís 1998, so it's got to be right, right?
The Christian Bible (no, Iím not a religious nut, this is just an example so get over it) states that the Earth and everything on it was created in six "days" (on the seventh day, God took a day off) a few thousand (or whatever) years ago. Let's say just for a moment that this is true. Was the calendar as we know it today (12 months, 7-day weeks, 365 days, etc.) in use at the time that was written? Nope! So assuming that one "day" back then is the same 24 hours we know and love today is silly, when you also know for a fact that the Earth's own happy rotation is slowing down, making the "days" "weeks" and "years" constantly longer than before, and this has been going on since way before the beginning of human timekeeping. We are measuring the same thing (we hope), time, but are constantly altering our perception of it. Think of how often you have to change the time on your wristwatch. Do you adjust the time every so often? I thought so. See? Even you're doing it!!
Every year or so timekeeping scientists must adjust our conception of time in order to keep us on an even, precise calendar, so that we donít miss that important meeting or sports game on the telly. Leap year is a good example of this. Every four years, we add a day onto February so as to make sure that 1/4 day we gain every year is taken into account. I find it odd that seventeen whole days was permanently removed from our western calendar a few centuries ago because of this leap year thingy, as if they never existed. Lamers, canít they get it right the first time? Guess not. Letís change it again! A few seconds added or subtracted here and there are seemingly insignificant, but as you calculate the minutes and hours as compared to the number of years that we have been keeping time, the added days and weeks can throw off your whole conception of time, history, life, and when you think last year was.
Time is relative. See a trend in this essay? Human evolution, what IcE calls "reality conditioning" has defined our perception, because we have learned and think we know how to measure this thing we call time. There are advanced ways of timekeeping that we puny little humans, with our written calendars, watches and other devices, neglect to acknowledge, that wonderful thing we call "biological time." IcE asked, "do animals wear Rolexís? In a way." I say with no small emphasis that whales, butterflies and geese keep time. Not the way we do with machines or other technologies, but with their internal biological clocks. They all seem to happily migrate and travel places "right on time" year after year after year without the use of written language or calendars. Whatís up with that? How can animals be so precise without the aid of technology? Don't we need technology in order to function properly in proper human society? Bah! We humans are handicapped by our material conditioning (our consumerism upbringing) with all this stuff we rely on to simply function on a day to day basis, as animals are precisely unencumbered by this stuff, and still do the same job of functioning just fine without it. How can I keep my little job working for the man if I don't have my alarm clock to wake me up every morning? The Sun? What's that? You mean the Sun can wake me up in the morning with mere light? Scary! Animals do use technology, so donít think we made tools and the like first. Birds modify sticks to catch beetles underground, monkeys make beds and wash their food with leaves, and even ants have agriculture and use tools that weíve only been making and using for a few thousand years...they have been using them for millions of years...but I digress.
Are we humans so different from animals (most assume that it's the animals that are the "primitive" ones) because they can't keep our concept of time, read or write any human language? I think it is we who are primitive because we, in all our supposed wisdom of the world around us haven't been able to figure out how geese or wildebeest migrate, or even decipher even one animal language. I can teach my dog to learn, react and respond to German and English words and phrases, but I cannot speak or understand my dogís language of woofs, barks and whines. I think my dog is more advanced than I in many ways, for he knows very well the cross-species human words "cheese" "walkies" and "TV" but I have no idea what the dog word "woof" means. I might know he was barking at a cat, but I donít know what exactly Big Jim was saying in dog words. "Look, it's the neighbor's cat, and she has kittens, and they look yummy!" Iím illiterate when it comes to dogspeak. No matter how hard I try, I just can't understand "woof."
Perhaps animals already understand us and our calendars, languages, and computers, and choose not to partake in our silly materialism. Perhaps it is the animals with the true wisdom on this planet, and have the biological technology to not need useless crap to keep track of things. Maybe, just maybe "wetware" is the answer to all the questions we try so hard to solve with machines.
Time is what you perceive it to be. Make the most of it in your own way, or it will overcome you and take over your life, becoming the focus instead of the instrument for something more important: living.
Copyright 1998 NotAnne
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