Wednesday, April 10, 2013


You are born. And some time after, you will die.

You can argue whether you are born when you exit your mother or whether you achieve a sense of understanding before that or even much before that, that you are part of some universal consciousness that exists outside of space and time and that birth and death are simply small blips on your eternal journey. But after you are done being high, you will still die. And so you fear death because almost no one dies when it's convenient.

I had to think about that because I saw an image where someone had sprayed a wall with these words: "time does not exist. clocks exist."

This is one of those naive beliefs held by teens and possibly anarchists. No, not anarchists because they have meetings. But teens, definitely.


In our universe. Time may exist differently or not at all someplace else, but it works here. And a clock is just a tool to measure it. Time exists because the Earth turns and the Sun appears and then relative to our position on Earth, moves elsewhere. Seconds and minutes may seem arbitrary when observed out of context, but the long view of a clock is that it reverse-engineers the day into somewhat equal parts. The event is planetary movement and the clock measures a small part of the cycle in a way that makes us always late for something.


Time is truly the only commodity where there is no standard of value. Love, you say? No. We know what love is worth. We've been told by experts. An engagement rings costs three months salary. You sleep with him on the third date. You buy her a nice dinner and get to spend the night. A lap dance costs around $40 for a 4-minute song. We know these things. And if you don't, you should. Lap dance: $40. The bouncer isn't happy if you can't find the other twenty.

So we know what love costs: love is free.

But Time is a mess to calculate. We attempt to measure it, but what we are really trying to measure is the space between events. That's why Time drags during meetings but flies when you're having fun: time is a measurement of space between events throughout existence.

So time is not arbitrary. Time exists. The day comes, then night. Seasons change. We age. We pay taxes. Anyone who denies the existence of time is someone with really old food in his refrigerator. Don't drink the milk. Don't even sniff it.

But Time is directly related to money. Anything that has value, gains or loses it over time. Books. You know that a new book is heavily discounted in order to increase sales and get the author on the Bestseller List. Then that 40% discount evaporates to 15% once the book is a hit. Until the market becomes saturated and the publisher remainders get marked down to $6.98. But if the book goes out of print and the author sleeps with the president, then all the available copies shoot back up to $100. Without Time, none of this could happen in any observable, enjoyable way.

Time seems even more arbitrary at the Library. Due dates vary by material. Or by demand. This book can be borrowed for 14 days, while this one can be yours indefinitely. That movie is due back next week, but that box set of Game of Thrones can be yours for 14 days. 

But at least the library puts stickers on everything so you know.

No comments:

Post a Comment