Archive for August 22nd, 2009

The ever-more-rapid passing of time captures my attention, albeit fleetingly since a quick ponder is all there is ever time for, so a headline from the BBC today grabbed both of my eyes.


“Ah ha!” thought I. “As unlikely as it may be, the Beeb sorts it.”

But no.

It’s a story about how a sundial on the Firth of Forth kept monks from wandering from the mandated lockstep of nibble, work, pray, sleep, nibble.

Aside from some minor astonishment that a sundial would do jack in a place as often perpetually dark as Scotland can be, the idea that Augustinian brothers were compelled to wrangle time into digestible tidbits fails to shed light on anything at all.

As limited by our biology as humans are, we mere mortals can only grasp what we can wrap our brains around … see a recent tangent on this … and providing boxes for those bits we have a handle on is so, so handy.

So, we make boxes for minutes and hours and days and weeks, and on an on, and fill those as we see fit.

Some are so attached to the labels on the boxes that confusion results; the labels are deemed actual as if the contents … and keep in mind that the boxes themselves are nothing more than figments … constitute matter that matters.

Conveniently, the BBC provides evidence of this today, too.

An Australian scientist says the continent needs five or six seasons to suit its climate.

Tim Entwisle, chief of Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens, says Australia should “unhook” itself from the “arbitrary” four seasons it inherited from Britain.

Mr Entwisle has proposed “sprummer” – the season between spring and summer – and “sprinter” – an early spring.

He says a new system could help people better understand their environment and monitor signs of climate change.

“Having four three-month seasons… doesn’t make any sense in the place we live,” he told Australia’s public broadcaster ABC News.

The continent needs 5 or 6 seasons to suit its climate? Hm.

Allow me to mention that the continent needs nothing at all from hapless inhabitants; it was there a few bazillion years before bipedalism became de rigueur and will still be there … with some sort of climate, as a nuclear winter snow falling with no one to see it could sound much like a tree falling in the forest … long after we fuck up the planet so badly that our frail forms go tits up.

May I, also, point out to Mr. Entwisle that it matters not the least what the heck name humans put, the globe spins and stuff happens?

He has suggested holding a national debate on the subject, and a public competition to name the new seasons.

If Australians need more boxes, that’s okay by me, even though it seems a silly waste of time … which is not linear and cares not one whit as it passes faster every day … which is an arbitrary designation based on where one happens to stand on this rotating globe.

Time marches on … or doesn’t, if that non-linear thing clicks … whether or not we attach names to its bits, and there’s something smacking of ‘too precious’ in the compulsion to confine the nebulous rather than attempt to appreciate the amorphous nature of stuff we can’t hang a handle on.

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