Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Thank you for your time
Time is relative said Einstein and Hawking’s Brief History of Time underlined the fact, though, it is said that the time to write the quasi-populist tract and the time to read it actually belong to two different universes. Let us call them the apple universe and the pear universe. The time to write it was obviously finite, let us say a couple of years , while the average time it takes to read it is beyond my mathematics O level capabilities. The latter equation is complex because a large proportion of readers never completed reading it and so the time they are taking over it is stretching inexorably towards infinity. I don’t know how to work out the average when part of what you are averaging is infinite. For example what is the average of one hundred pears eaten over anything between one minute and ten minutes when added to pears that are not eaten? Can you do it? Do tell. I expect there is some remarkable math involved that covers several blackboards in chalk hieroglyphics.
In the main, though, time seems to be measured relative to one’s own existence. A lifetime. Politicians govern on the basis that thinking about anything beyond their time in office is redundant. Witness global warming, species’ depletions, education, health services and on and on. It’s all short termism to reflect well upon them and get them into power next time round.
I saw an Israeli settler the other day in some sequestered part of Palestine, stating that he was only taking back what was Jewish land 3000 years ago. On that basis an African tribe that began the repopulation of the world many tens of thousands of years ago, actually owns everything, including Israel. I saw an indigenous Indian from North America demanding that the Prairies be returned to his tribe, a tribe that tried to stop the carbon dating of a skeleton, on the basis that the skeleton was sacred. Anyway, morally right or wrong, the scientists chipped a bit off the old blockhead and dated it, discovering it was from some European tourist, who travelled there across the frozen north west, many thousands of years before the most extreme dating of any North American Indian’s remains.
Time is relative to an argument. The passionate rush of blood in the young, demanding answers and actions this minute becomes irrevocably replaced by the indifference of age. Thus it is that nothing much changes, except through terrible acts by people for whom time is immaterial because it is virtual while stuff you touch is what must be possessed. The Egyptians spent their entire lives preparing for death because they reckoned that infinity is a better reward than the limited lifespan in this world. For them, the mathematics of averaging out infinity and limited time was not the problem I find it.