The Grey Chronicles

2009.February.7

Theory of Time


Time’s perceived duration is inversely proportional to your age. If you think back to when you were a child, it did seem a very long time between birthdays or annual holidays. Now, among adults, you’re more likely to hear exclamations of just how quickly the year’s gone!

That theory is probably true. Being a child of five years, children think that a year is a long time to really grasp the length of time to wait. Imagine waiting for about a fifth of your age?

Being a man of forty or so years, a year is chronologically only a minute fraction of one’s age. That is, as we age, each day is only a minuscule duration of the total time we have been on earth.

A very good exposition of what is time is discussed in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Dowden 2009):

“Time has been studied by philosophers and scientists for 2,500 years, and thanks to this attention it is much better understood today. Nevertheless, many issues remain to be resolved. Here is a short list of the most important ones—what time actually is; whether time exists when nothing is changing; what kinds of time travel are possible; why time has an arrow; whether the future and past are real; how to analyze the metaphor of time’s flow; whether the future will be infinite; whether there was time before the Big Bang; whether tensed or tenseless concepts are semantically basic; what is the proper formalism or logic for capturing the special role that time plays in reasoning; and what are the neural mechanisms that account for our experience of time. Some of these issues will be resolved by scientific advances alone, but others require philosophical analysis. ”

Many people say that whenever a life-changing event happened, they could pinpoint, to such minute detail, what they were doing at that time. Popular knowledge say that these happened when JFK was assassinated, or when the Berlin Wall was tore down. Closer to home, here are events which I distinctly recall, and what I was doing when:

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II visits the Philippines, 17 February 1981. I was part of the Citizen’s Military Training cadets lined-up to cordon people from where the Pope greeted us in the dialect. My mother remarked later at home that “It was like seeing God.” This was the time that Filipinos felt closer to their God, Pope and religion. That year, several Christian revivals became in vogue!

People Power

People Power

People Power, 21 February 1986. I was entering the front door of our family home when the radio announced that Enrile and Ramos broke away from Marcos’ tutelage. Later reincarnations of People Power pales in comparison to this specific, yet memorable, event. Triggered by the assassination of Ninoy Aquino, the Philippines’ way of peaceful revolution became the blueprint of other peaceful revolts against dictatorship worldwide. Many foreign media observers have considered the first People Power as the time Filipinos finally woke from their deep slumber and took back what was rightfully theirs: a government of the people, by the people and for the people! Unfortunately, those who inherited or enjoyed the fruits of the first People Power, are seen at present as squandering it.

Obama inaugurated as 44th U.S. President, 20 January 2009. I was at home glued to watching the CNN’s extensive coverage of the inauguration of the first African-American U.S. President, Barrack Hussein Obama in 150 years, with no work because GSPI closed its gates a month before. Some of us equated Obama’s inauguration as the dawning of a new global age. Maybe or maybe not. Expectations were so high on Obama’s first day of office, however, the man is only a human being with human strengths and weaknesses. In contrast, Obama took the presidency during this ominous time: a global economic crises triggered by the U.S. housing subprime crises. The question is: what would the Philippines gain from this? I’m guessing nothing . . . business as usual, so they say!

That’s the mind-boggling beauty of human memory. Although we might have forgotten names, or what we ate last Tuesday, somewhere in the recesses of our minds we retain some indelible trivia about past events, especially life-changing ones, even if it’s just a minuscule duration of the total time we have been on earth. So don’t ask where time flew!


Notes:

Dowden, Bradley (2009), Time. Sacramento: The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2009. Online. back to text

Disclaimer : The posts on this site are my own and doesn’t necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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1 Comment »

  1. Nice writing. I had some flashbacks of my own while I was reading this post. Kudos!

    Comment by Joe Narvaez — 2009.February.8 @ 01:58 | Reply


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