Edit note: I am publishing my drafts. Enjoy this one from 2015.
Time is weird. We recently “fell back” an hour as Daylight Savings Time came to an end. Now, I drive to and from work with the sun shining into my eyes, preventing me from seeing the other commuters on the road with me. It lead me to thinking about how arbitrary time is. Someone, somewhere, broke time down into measurable increments, and developed a device that keeps track of those increments. Now, it is all that we live our lives by. Time is universally accepted as a measurable constant by the majority, because if one were to start thinking about it too long, one would suddenly develop migraines and begin to question everything. Or maybe it is just me.
The problem with breaking down time into measurable increments and then building machines to keep track of those increments is that it can not be done. We have an approximated time that we are able to keep track of. However, we add an extra day to our calendar every four years due to the Earth’s solar day being less than the twenty four hours that we allow for it to be.
Twice a year, we change our clocks to accommodate the day/night cycle, and attempt to maximize the sunlight that is available to us, while minimizing the use of non-renewable resources. While it is better than losing weeks or months at a time, it is still not a perfect system. Then, when you factor in that humans will revert to a 25 hour circadian rhythm when they are taken out of the normal light/dark cycle of day and night, that is when things get really interesting.
What causes us to have the need to mark time? Why are we so obsessed with trying to keep our way of life in sync with the day and night, even as we try so hard to get more usable hours of daylight, and light up the night to more resemble the day? Why do we understand so little about time? Is there any other creature, on Earth or elsewhere, that is as obsessed and confused by the marking and passage of time as humans are?
Time is weird. Humans are weird. I’m going to get some chocolate and look up at the night sky, as it is filled with light from dead and dying stars. Only they do not look like they are dead and dying, as their light that is reaching us is from when they are young, with many years ahead of them. They are dead and gone, but still there, shining bright.