…or, A Brief Hysteria of Time
YoLoBloMo #6: It’s Frickin’ Friday!
“You may delay, but time will not.” ― Benjamin Franklin
Because I grew up in a place that was frequently “out of control”, I tend to prefer something resembling orderliness, and like to have a certain amount of control over my situation. not a control freak, much Mind you, my situation – other people can go running about any way they wish, bouncing off each other, whatever. But when one of them trips and scrapes a knee, I’m also the one who will be there to help them up and make it feel better, ’cause others are too busy running around and bouncing off each other. But I regress. to age 14
The point is, because I seek a certain level of orderliness, I spend a lot of time watching out for what I call “vortices of chaos”tm, and that means my head spends a great deal of time analyzing, so I can predict the immediate future… or a close approximation anyway. So, basically, I spend most of my time as far into the future as the information at hand will allow. In order to do that, I must also analyze the patterns of the past, watching out for repeated patterns that may lead to a “vortex of chaos”tm.
So where does that leave me? I spend a lot of time bouncing between the past and the future, in order to “control” the now where, it seems, I spend surprisingly little time. Hmmm…
Not surprising, therefore, I have recognized a new trend… people–several people, people I have reason to trust–telling me to stop and experience “the moment”. But what is a “moment”? Can a moment even exist? If it can, how can we possibly experience it?
“Oh dear God, he’s going to get all sciencey and shit again, isn’t he?”
– various readers of this blog
As I mentioned in a previous post, my brain is like having two people, whose personalities are polar opposites, residing in a small studio apartment. So, while half of me, the silent half, can appreciate the metaphysical world, the other half, the one with my internal voice, spends a lot of time saying unkind things to the quiet side. The side with a voice is the purely rational side, the side that wants, more than anything else, to avoid the vortices of chaos. So, when someone says, “Live in the moment,” the rational side picks that phrase up, and turns it this way and that, examining it to see if it makes any sense.
It also helps to remember, back in the late 1980s, Stephen Hawking published a “popular physics” See: oxymoron book called A Brief History of Time. The book quickly became a best-seller, and one of the most popular coffee table books around. If you want to appear super smart, you leave super smart people books lying around your house.
“You are the only person I know who not only read the whole thing, but actually enjoyed it.” – my ex-wife.the “what is wrong with you?” was implied
One of the best things my ex-wife did, while we were married, was to enthusiastically encouraged my interest in physics. Accordingly, she gave me A Brief History of Time for (I’m pretty sure) my birthday. Divorced? Really? And, yes, I really do read that kind of stuff for enjoyment. I have spent many an evening curled up with a book on particle physics, without even being in college.Seriously, what is wrong with you?
These days I’d say bartender, but that’s just me (I understand bartenders can be quite intelligent… and strange), so let’s see if that’s true. I’m going to explain the whole concept of time in one sentence:
Time is the movement of particles, nothing more, nothing less.
Simple enough? Some people won’t quite get the reference to “particles”, so: particles are, for all intent and purpose, little specs of dust, smaller than an atom. Everything is made of particles whizzing around each other, bumping into each other, and just generally partying like it would be the end of the universe if they stopped… well, ’cause it would.
You see, every-frickin-thing in this universe is made of particles zizzing around each other to create heat, light, and atoms. Atoms, of course, make up all the known elements. Those atoms are in constant motion. Things are hot because the atoms they are made of are moving and bouncing off of each other very fast. Other things are cold because all the atoms in them are moving very slowly, so their collisions don’t put out much heat. We have electricity because electrons, which are particles, zip along wires.
Particles move, time progresses. All particles stop moving, so does time, because at that point absolutely nothing is happening, and time is something we made up in order for us to measure the progress of the universe.
So what, then, is a “moment”? Is it a single point in time? A single point in time would be a point in which all particles are where they are, and have not changed place, direction, speed – have not changed at all. To experience such a moment is completely impossible since, as soon as anything has moved, time has progressed; that moment is gone…
The thing is, in this universe, something is always moving.
For the sake of discussion, though, we’ll say that it is possible to stop every particle – to freeze1 one single moment, like taking a picture of the universe. Sorry, Sparky, you still can’t live in that moment because all of the chemical processes that make you work have also stopped. Your brain is frozen, so you aren’t appreciating any-damned-thing. And what’s worse, you idiot, there’s nobody to turn off the freezey machine!
You couldn’t just take my word for it, could you? Noooo… you have to see what happens when ALL THE THINGS stop moving!
Crap! You can’t even experience me yelling at you for being such a bonehead… How the hell am I yelling at you..?
Oh yeah… I’m the blogger… oops. Let me just step over here… flip the flippy thing…
HI! I was just saying what a cool experiment we did just then! Right?
I know, for me, there were definitely parts of this past week when I thought all the things had slowed way down. But now…
It’s Frickin’ Friday! And there will be a butt-load of “moments” this weekend. Enjoy every one of them, Sparky, they are not infinite.
Hey look! I used the superscript thingy right for once.
Anyway, The point at which all motion ceases is called 0oK, or zero degrees Kelvin – the only temperature scale that makes any sense: it starts at absolute zero and goes up from there. The resulting numbers take some getting used to, though. Like, 75oF = 294oK. So…
Incredibly HUGE thanks to the folks at WordPress for giving bloggers the ability to recover stuff from the Trash bin. Otherwise, there would not be an entry here today.