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Mary's musings: Time

By Mary Bridges, Salina Presbyterian Manor chaplain

Did you know that September 5, is officially “Be Late for something” day? Finally a holiday just for me. I grew up in a home where being on time was important. Dinner was at noon and supper was at 5:30 pm.

My parents were always punctual and made sure I was on time. After getting married I discovered that Kenny’s family used a different method to decide on their meal times. Meals were served when they were ready. What a concept?

When my children were growing up and I would say to my mom, “I can’t wait until Lisa or Todd can feed themselves, etc.” My mother would reply with, “You are wishing your life away.”

In 1992, I spent a month in the Holy Land living with the Palestinian Christians, in Ramallah and it was pretty much a war zone with curfews in force. And no one I met  there was ever on time. The pastor said he always did the sermon at the end of the service because hopefully everyone would be there by then.

After much reflection I discovered that living in a war zone gave them a different sense of time than I had ever experienced. You see they lived in and made the most of that moment because they understood their lives could be changed in a heartbeat.

When writing I always check with Wikipedia to see if their definition is the same as mine or what other definitions or ideas I can learn about the word. Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in apparently  irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future.

Time is a component quantity of various measurements used to sequence events, to compare the duration of events or the intervals between them.

Time has long been an important subject of study in religion, philosophy, and science, but defining it in a manner applicable to all fields has consistently eluded scholars. Two contrasting viewpoints on time divide prominent philosophers. One view is that time is part of the fundamental structure of the universe—a dimension independent of events, in which events occur in sequence.

Isaac Newton subscribed to this realist view, and hence it is sometimes referred to as Newtonian Time. The opposing view is that time does not refer to any kind of “container” that events and objects “move through,” nor to any entity that “flows,” but that it is instead part of a fundamental intellectual structure (together with space and number) within which humans sequence and compare events. This second view in the tradition of Gottfried Leibniz and

Immanuel Kant, holds that time is neither an event nor a thing, and thus is not itself measurable nor can it be travelled.

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