Our temporal condition means the ways we perceive time, or duration.

tempus fugit

Facets of what we call time are: frequency, duration, measure, for example.

Start, dialectical approach, argument, evidence, conclusion, sources.

Time Thievery

We "ran out of time."

I have no time left for this conversation.

She had no idea where the time went.

Have you ever lost track of the time?

These expressions suggest often contrary views about what time means to people, at least in the west, where the instrument of a clock has replaced the heavens as a primary means of determining brief durations.

dates | time lords | spacetime | "keeping time" | conclusion

Time as a cycle and as an arrow moving in one direction.

This dichotomy is an example of a dialectical way to describe time's two features.

The arrow of time, moving inexorably from past to now.

1250, Su Sung's astronomical clock, runs on water in China

1320, Great clock in Baghdad

1300s, spread of clocks to Mediterranean and Spain, weight driven

Clocks in Churches in Roman Catholic rite, not Orthodox rite.

1450s, watches designed once spring movement is perfectedclock

1600s, Galileo and Newton perfect and explain pendulum driven clocks

1700s, search for navigational clocks to establish proper longitude

1800s, Greenwich Mean Time or GMT established due to steamships & railways

1900s, Einstein discover's time dilation and elasticity related to mass and the warping of spaces by massive objects.

"spacetime" is the term Einstein gave for the warp of space (three dimensions) and time (fourth dimension) by very massive objects like planets (less massive) and stars (way more massive) in outer space. Einstein argued that as you approach the very fast speed of light, that clocks would slow down and at the speed of light stop! A consequence of his new conception of acceleration was another disturbing prediction, that distance shortens in the direction of movement as you approach the speed of light. This consequently means that "ruler's" or measuring devices shrink as one approaches light-speed. He proposed that time was inseparable from space and the space was inextricably bound up in time.

dates | time lords | spacetime | "keeping time" | conclusion

Time lords

Time as an illusion:

All existence persists now, we just do not see, feel or apprehend it as a single, seamless, existing situation because:

1. Our Indo-European derived languages have tenses

2. The diurnal changes we experience from daylight to night have influence–called circadian rhythms–on our wake-sleep cycles.

3. Someone always want to know what time it is, or you have to be at a certain location at set periods throughout the day and night.

runnerHowever, time as elapsed duration, frequency, & recurrent patterns, is a dimension we are trapped within and sense as passing away.

Time as measurable:

The half life of an unbound neutron is like a beat, because about every 12 minutes neutrons will spontaneously decay into a proton and an electron, when not bound in an atomic nuclei.


asymptot Neutrons bound by the strong force to proton, but look more closely .

Time as a cycle the recurrent movement through a repeated series of events

Time as an arrow the duration existing between two separated events

• creation of Rome or Mecca as holy places.
• death of Christ & his return to Earth.

Time as a dimension Einstein insisted is really spacetime.

Stephen Hawking & Richard Feynman -- argue that time flows two ways meaning that for some subatomic particles such as tachyons, time flows in the reverse direction from our experience.

dates | time lords | spacetime | "keeping time" | conclusion


If time is both a cycle and an arrow moving from start to finish, then what else do our metaphors, hide from us about duration and frequency?

What if time has three dimensions (massless mass)?
1. Duration |------------------>|
star 2. Frequency -------/\------/\--------------/\------/\------
3. Intensity ------____----˜˜˜˜˜˜˜ ------____----

Time is, was and will be the underlying mystery,
Where we are the instrument, not the lovely melody.

Then, Reality is beyond our perception and understanding, but must be comprehended by some "fiction" by which we experience passage from period to period and era to era as we age.

Red Queen Hypothesis: To keep ahead of nature is impossible, but to keep ahead of technology requires intelligence, caution, judgment and split second timing (synchronicity); this is why we love games. They test our capacity to synchronize our responses with the rules, character and objectives of the contest.

See: Article on time as real: Smolin, "the experience we all have of reality being in the present moment is not an illusion, but the deepest clue we have to the fundamental nature of reality." Lee Smolin, Time Reborn, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

dates | time lords | spacetime | "keeping time" | conclusion

"keeping time"

========= Some clues to place being a significant component of time.

Apparent to even the Sumerians, Egyptians, Indians and Chinese astronomers, the planets appear to move with some regularity through what are viewed from the earth as "background stars," called the constellations of the zodiac. It was not until Kepler that the elliptical paths of these heavenly bodies was mathematically determined and tested. but until the invention of the astronomical clock, no one could have assumed that the planets move about some center of motion as the hands do across the "face" of a clock. For anyone to think of the planets' moving, as if hands on the face of a cosmically solar clock, and to have that make sense to an audience would require a common experience with clocks and that did not come until the high middle ages in Europe. An example of the clockwork machinists and millwrights were able to build is the 1410 clock tower one can see today in Prague's town center.

The Prague clock shown below is a mechanical marvel that keeps pace of the earth's twenty-four hour rotation on its axis and it describes, with signs of the zodiac on the lower clock face, the passage of our annual revolution around the sun.


It was Kepler who revealed that as theses bodies move they sweep out equal areas about the sun in equal time (elapsed duration).


Why are the planets in the positions that we call orbits around the sun?

The mathematical concept that explains how forces in the universe act at a distance is called the inverse square law. Used to account for the power of gravity to keep the planets from moving directly away from the sun, the inverse square law required some understanding of plane geometry and was later discovered to describe more than just space. It defined space for Newton and those who tried to later determine the attractive and repulsive forces of electromagnetic energy.

Inverse square law

Inverse square law.

petrified tree

The geological past

measured time

dates | time lords | spacetime | "keeping time" | conclusion

That is all the time we have.

That is all the time we have.