The unfolding of time
Authored by: Monica  

There must have been a world before time. A world before wristwatches told us what time it is. Instead, mankind must have listened to his body clock to decide what he should be doing. He must have looked at the tides, the sun and even the moon to decide when his crops should be harvested.


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Then, somewhere in the past someone decided that a day would consist of 24 hours, equally divided between night and day. Apparently it was the Egyptians who created a 24-hour day to govern the world. From there, we broke up time into hours, minutes and seconds and came up with pocket watches, wristwatches and wall clocks that kept us organized and unified.


Philosophy, religion, business, culture, sports, science and even the world of academics look at and use time so very differently. Different countries and civilizations across the world look at time very differently too. If you thought time was simply something that your watch (or smartwatch or cell phone) showed you, then how would you define or explain concepts and tenets such as the past, history, eternity?


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Even more complex are the theories that surround belief systems such as the afterlife and even karma. Of course, every theory always has had its fair share of debates and conspiracies surrounding it. Think of the conundrum wrapped in an enigma covered in mystery that the JFK assassination is! So, here is something that you can dwell on – did you know that Buddhism states that time is an illusion?


Way back in the 5th century BC, Antiphon, a Sophist said that time is not a reality. He said it was only a measure. A Sophist, incidentally, described simply, is a teacher. Controversy and complications aside, there are many facets of time that have changed the way the world conducts its affairs. For instance, even though the world was following 24-hour days, we also realized that the sun does not set and rise at the same time all over the world. Perhaps this extended into the establishment of different time zones. Today’s time zones owe their existence to the year 1884 when the International Meridian Conference was held in Washington.


This conference established the prime meridian which was the Greenwich Meridian. The 24-hour time zone that the world follows center around Greenwich Mean Time. More on the different time zones in another blog in the future! For now, a world which did not have wristwatches, GMT or time zones does seem surreal today! But I still wonder about the future or should I say eternity?

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