Thursday, November 24, 2005

Time (2)

I have a confession to make: I have been having a sizzling affair.

My goodness Zaz, who is it?

It is none other than the slimy, clingy seductress, time.

I suppose you can say that I have a love/hate relationship with her. Sometimes I really hate living with her, but I honestly cannot live without her.

I think I have an unusual obsession with time. I cannot even count how many times I look at my watch during the day. Even if I am doing something fun, I still look at my watch at least a dozen times. It's not that I fear being late - in fact, it is quite the opposite - but I just like to see where the hands are pointing. Clocks with hands, rather, show us the time on the scale of twelve hours. It makes me feel a lot more oriented, and it gives me a point of reference.

As for digital clocks, they are less aesthetically pleasing than traditional clocks. Their only real purpose is to tell us the immediate time. What I do like about these kind of clocks is that you can see one number move to another. I find numbers are intriguing to look at; I like watching them change shape over and over again. They repeat the same pattern, but they never repeat the same pattern in time.

I have this fascination of numbers mixed in with a fear of numbers. As for my fear, when I was in Boston six years ago, I went to this museum where there was this counter that would count all of the people of the world. The number was quickly going up, like when you see the number of dollars rise at the gas pump fill when you fill your car. The number was growing at such a quick pace that I didn't even know that so many people could be born at once!

"But Mom", I sputtered, looking from the counter to her and back to the counter, "what about all the people dying?"

"Well, they've taken that into account," she replied.

What! Our population can't be climing this quickly! By the time I will have left this stupid museum, that stupid counter will have counted over a hundred, maybe even a thousand new borns!

Freaky. I was so scared of it, that I could not bear to look at the constantly changing numbers. That museum freaked me out because of that. Even when my brother brings it up now, I cringe.

As for my fascination with numbers... I suppose I also like the way the numbers move and change and always keep going forward. It's sometimes scary; you can't ever stop them. Time is one thing that cannot be altered, and I believe that it is the fact that it never stops and can never be changed that frightens me. Sure, there are several other things that are unaltered, like the weather for instance. Then again, in terms of the weather, you will always have summer, spring, fall, and winter again.
We will never again revisit June 16th, 1991 for instance. It's gone forever.

Okay, so what? Does that really matter?

Not really, but time is an interesting phenomenon to think of.

I have been told that I "live in the shackles of time". This may be a problem if I stressed over things like being late or making sure to get to bed at a specific time. I don't worry about that. In fact, I am constantly late because I hate being early. You know how some people are afraid to chase someone because they don't want to look desperate? Well, I am afraid that if I show up early to something, I will look desperate or pathetic in some way. Of course, flights are an exception to this.
And as for making sure I do something by a specific time? I am very loose with my time, pretty much doing what I want at any time I want, unless I have made a commitment. The thing I fear is wasting an entire day. Holy crap, I didn't do anything and it's 7 pm now! I hate that, and because I am conscious of time (and not anal about it), this never happens to me. I like to pace myself sometimes. Then again, some days, rare days though, are just lazy days.

I just love time, numbers, past, present, and future. Can that be unhealthy? Does time add stress? Isn't it a necessity?

One of my closest friends, Andrea, does not wear a watch. She says there are enough clocks around her to tell her what time it is. Although, she runs into the problem of "losing track of time" whereas I rarely don't. Does this mean she is living freer? Is she out of the shackles and the chains of my horrible mistress time?

I love her, but sometimes I feel chained.

It's 9:25 pm.


Tex Texerson said...

"I am very loose with my time, pretty much doing what I want at any time I want, unless I have made a commitment"

PFFFF! Are you referring to that one time you weren't late for a commitment? (excepting buses, planes and presumably trains)

By the way, being ridiculously early all the time is not stressful in the least! You can go at your own pace with no worries, and when you get there you can take a leisurely stroll. It's like being the lead car in a race. As long as you keep the pace, time won't overtake you. It's better than playing catch-up.

Tex Texerson said...

"Time is one thing that cannot be altered, and I believe that it is the fact that it never stops and can never be changed that frightens me"

From the Wikipedia entry on Time:
"Leibniz and others thought of time as a fundamental part of an abstract conceptual framework, together with space and number, within which we sequence events, quantify their duration, and compare the motions of objects."

That's an interesting way of looking at it. This is sort of what I was saying the other night. Time is an abstract concept humans have invented to describe how we perceive actions and their associated reactions.

Everything happens now. It's always now. There is no future, it's just a way of saying that there are things that will happen. It's kind of weird.

You're watching a cartoon about a guy walking through the city. Typically, you'd expect to see the person actually walking through the city. But now picture the person not moving.. He's walking in place, but the city is what's moving. It's effectively the same thing, but it's fundamentally different.

I think most people see time as something you are passing through. What if there is no time, there is just the present state that is constantly being altered. It's like a canvas. If you paint on it, then it's changed forever. It is whatever it is right then. If you change it, that's how it is.

It's a little easier for me to conceptualize.. In programming, you have objects that are not affected at all by time, they stay the same until something comes along and changes them. They just are there. It's easy for me to apply this to something like a snowman melting. Time has nothing to do with it melting. We observe it happening gradually, but it is always happening now. It's hard to explain.

The wonderful thing about the time debate is there's no right answer, just a lot of theories.

Mine? There is no time.

"Time is one thing that cannot be altered, and I believe that it is the fact that it never stops and can never be changed that frightens me"

There is no time, only there here and now, and that can always be altered.

Your sentence reminds me of a movie..

"Do you hear that, Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability. It is the sound of your death."

Now it's worth noting that the sound was just a subway, and Mr. Anderson didn't die. And there was no spoon. There's no point to that, other than that I thought it was funny. Oh and the word "inevitability". That's scary. But I'm too tired to get into it.