“I’d like to widen people’s awareness of the tremendous time span lying ahead — for our planet, and for life itself. Most educated people are aware that we’re the outcome of nearly 4 billion years of Darwinian Selection, but many tend to think that humans are somehow the culmination. Our sun, however, is less than halfway through its lifespan. Six billion years from now, it will not be humans who watch the sun’s demise. Any creatures that then exist will be as different from us as we are from bacteria or amoebae.”
~ Martin Rees, cosmologist and astrophysicist
What statements such as this fail to address is something that puzzles me. Surely, the sun is also changing? Six billion years from now, surely, it will not be the same sun that we see today?
I believe, as many others do too, that time is the biggest joke that man has thought of for himself. Let me just give a couple of examples of why it is such a joke.
Take the nearest star that all of us can comfortably see from the earth. The Sun. The sun that we see is 150 million Kms away from us. It takes sunlight a little more than 8 minutes to reach the earth. In other words, in those eight minutes, anything could have happened to the sun and we would be still thinking that the sun is alive.
Similarly, the brightest star in our skies is the “dog star”, Sirius. It’s the primary star in the constellation of the big dog, Canis Major. Sirius is roughly 9 light years away. Think of what you were doing 9 years ago. That’s when the light we see from Sirius tonight first began its journey to us. In other words, Sirius could well be dead when we think that we are still seeing it!
My surgery is scheduled for the end of September. My discomfort makes that seem like an eternity. Days do not seem to run fast enough for my liking.
On the other hand, a visit from an interesting friend, though lasts for a few hours, seems to fly like minutes and I don’t seem satisfied with the briefness of the visit.
All well meaning advisers advise to concentrate on the NOW. That is the only reality of time. Try it. If you can permanently live in the NOW, you would not be reading this post.
This is not a problem that I have started to grapple with recently. The same issue troubled our friend Socrates too in his ‘De anima’. “The Undivided ‘now’ of sensation must rest upon a duration with which it does not altogether coincide, the present moment must conceal, within itself, the passing of another, immeasurable by its own standard.. It is another time; to the degree to which time cannot admit of varieties of itself, it may well be something other than any time at all.”
Having confused myself thoroughly and perhaps my readers, let me now come to the conclusion about why Indians are never on time. For that I take you to another post of mine. I was confused then and continue to be confused now too.