Thursday, March 6, 2014

Time out!

So I was minding my own business setting the timer in the kitchen today, when my darling husband (DH) announced, for no good reason that I can think of,  that physicists now say that time does not exist. Time is nothing more than a perception problem or an impression. He then drifted off to his office leaving me to deal with this bombshell.  He didn’t name any of these alleged physicists.

All I have to say is,  "Really, physicists? Really?"

If that is so, then why am I always ten minutes late?  Why do I own all those watches, most of them non-working?  How do you explain the deadlines that go whooshing by?  What about those clocks on my stove, my television, my phone? You can't escape the time.

The notion of time is an interesting one. In our time-stressed society, we feel the pinch, the sense that we are squeezed for time, short of it and that scarcity can only result in trouble.  

How many of you have made any of these comments lately?

“I don’t have time.”  

“There’s not enough time!"
“Not sure if I can make time for that.”

Or the more ominous-sounding: “I’m out of time.”


What’s that all about?  According to my calculations – which admittedly assume that time exists – we all have the same amount: in a week, seven days and twenty-four hours.  That’s a hundred and sixty-eight hours.  Quite a bit.  And yet, I seem to be behind schedule again.  Where do those hours and minutes go?  Specifically what happens to the ten minutes that vanish between when I step through the front door and get into the car five feet away?  

I realize, it’s not how much time you have, it’s how you use what you have.  We all know that.  And yet often, I feel I’ve squandered time.  We have to use what we have to live well. If you know me well, you’ll realize that’s usually a preamble to an announcement that I plan sit and read a bit even in the afternoon.  

I will always make time for reading. After all, we only live once, unless the physicists have news on that front too.

Have a great one hundred and sixty-eight hours this week, my friends, and I hope that includes time for reading.  With luck, you’ll  find a couple of minutes to share your opinions here!


Mark Baker said...

I'd leave a comment, but I just don't have the time. ;)

Seriously, time doesn't exist? I'll let them wait in the doctors office and go first. After all, if time doesn't exist, it doesn't matter, right?

I think someone has too much time on their hands.

Susan L. @ Full Happy Muffin and Mama said...

I try to ignore physics, including theoretical physics, just for reasons like this. I went out of my way not to take physics in high school or college. I refuse to read anything about quantum physics or quarks or string theory or anything like that. I do love The Big Bang Theory, but when they talk about the physics-y stuff, my brain simply shuts down. Done. But your post did remind me of Salvador Dali's painting The Persistence of Memory with the timepieces all in various stages of melting. I guess the way I look at it is this: time is a human creation. Just as other human creations, like books, exist, time exists.

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

MJ, such a great post!! I read the same piece about the non-existence of time and thought, REALLY? Maybe we can use that argument the next time we have a deadline . I wonder if our editors would fall for it...I'm married to a physicist, I'll have to ask him what he thinks of all this (or maybe I won't...) Anyway, it's a very interesting post.

Leann Sweeney said...

Food for thought, MJ. I remember in my first philosophy course in college, one of the topics was the notion of time. He predicted that our concept of time would change because (at the TIME-hehe-) clocks were switching to become digital. He said "a quarter past" would not be understood by future generations. Look at the times stamps on these comments and you can see he was right on. 5:06 AM is the one before mine. They are all very specific times. So, though I am too old school to imagine that time doesn't exist, I can understand where concepts change and that in the future we may well look at things differently.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Excellent point, Mark! That would solve two problems in one audacious move. Thanks for the chuckle. I'll remember that in the doc's office.



Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks for your comment, Susan., I love that painting, although I always feel slightly behind schedule when I think of it. You have an ecxellent strategy for dealing with Physics too. I feel the same way about anything physics-y.



Mary Jane Maffini said...

Yikes! Don't rat me out to your tame physicist, Mary! Our little secret and all that. I am so glad you liked the post - I always find yours inspiring!



Mary Jane Maffini said...

Very interesting observation, Leann. I think digital clocks have changed our ideas about time. Because they are so pervasive, those numbers get in our heads. In my office now, there are four screens showing time: my computer, the house phone, the DVR and my cellphone. Yikes. They all say 9:11 and I'm about to panic.



Unknown said...

Dear MJ:
I start to panic when all the clocks read DIFFERENT times!! More food for thought [grin]..........