It’s not what you think/Outside the box: What is time?

What time is it right now? Depending on where you are in the world, the answer will be different. For instance, the time for me right now, (as I am writing this) is 4 pm. But for you it may 3 am or 6 pm or 1 pm.

When it comes to time, there are some rules we accept as universal truths: 60 seconds is 1 minute, 60 minutes is 1 hour, 24 hours is 1 day, and so on.

But here’s the thing, all these rules of time and how we measure it was set by us (human beings), and the only reason we did it was so that we could measure the passing of moments more easily. WE created the past, present and future, and WE may be the only ones who care about it. Do you think animals care about the past or the future? I say no, they just pay attention to the now. It’s getting cold now, time to go south, The water’s drying up now, time to move. I’ve reached that age now, time to mate.

Time and the concept of time is very much a human construct, one which is actually malleable. In the past every country had its own form of measuring time. For example, China and India used to follow Lunar calendars (they still do in some aspects) and so would both create their months based on Lunar cycles. That calendar is strange because sometimes you will get years with 12 months and sometimes you get years with 13 months.

Nowadays however, everyone follows the Gregorian or Solar calendar. But imagine if you followed a different system. What if we measured the passage of time in half days, so morning to noon would be one day and noon to night another. That’s twice the number of days to a year (365 x 2 = 730).

Or what if instead of 60 seconds to a minute we made it 70 seconds. Our entire means of measuring everything would change, Km/hr, Miles/hr, it would all change.

There’s also the fact about time being a fixed dimension. What does that mean? Well take the 3 dimensions we have; we can travel through them freely. I can travel up and down, left and right and front and back. But no one can travel forwards and backwards in time freely. We can’t go back in time (not yet anyway) and we can’t go forward in time any faster than we already are going (again not yet anyway). As a dimension, time is pretty much out of our control.

Then we come to a more existential question. Does time actually exist in the Universe? Does the universe care that today isn’t the same as yesterday or that 50,000 years from now a star in a particular system will die and turn into a black hole? Or is it just something we as humans need to make sense of; these fleeting passage of moments, gone, going and yet to come.

That’s a harder question to answer.

So at the end of the day, what is time?

To me time is simply a measurement we created to make more sense of the Universe around us. Whether it really exists or not doesn’t matter, it is important to us and therefore has meaning to us, and for now that’s all that matters.

And that’s the end of this blog post. I hope you enjoyed your time reading it and I hope you have a nice day ahead.

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