Three Bagatelles

COMMON TIME

People often observe that each year of life
seems to pass more quickly than the last.
This appears to be a consequence of the fact
that each passing year becomes an increasingly
smaller fraction of a person’s lifetime.

For example, for a one-year old infant,
a period of a year represents an entire lifetime,
while, for a person 80-years old, the same
period of a year occurs as a mere fraction,
or one-eightieth, of ones’ lifetime.

With each succeeding year of life,
the period of a year represents
a constantly decreasing portion
of one’s lifetime, creating the
perception that life itself
is speeding-up.

IMPRINTING

There is evidence that the human
species has evolved from the oceans.
Our veins are filled with salt-water.
Our lungs appear to be formed
from a system of gill-like slits.

Slowly, over a long period of time,
our mammalian ancestors emerged
from the oceans to populate the land.

Some mammals, such as whales,
were forced to return to the ocean,
presumably because of their great size
which ultimately became more of a liability
on land than in the buoyancy of the sea.

Many species of fish eventually return
to the streams where they were born.
Some fish, such as salmon,
after swimming thousands
of miles over a virtual lifetime,
return to the exact spot
where there eggs were deposited and hatched.

Humans have remained on land, and have
roamed the oceans only with the assistance
of hydro-navigational equipment.

In all races and cultures, humans find the need
to return to their place of birth, to where they
grew up as a child, where they spent their
formative years.

This tendency gets stronger with age, and
probably represents the origins of what is
commonly referred to as nostalgia.

It is quite possible that the sensations and
feelings associated with nostalgia are a
by-product, or side-effect of this most
basic instinct, an inherent tendency
to return to our beginnings, directly
traceable to the millions of years which
we spent as creatures of the oceans.

NOW AND WHEN

 It’s time.

 What time is it?

 She said: ‘it feels like midnight, psychological time.’

He said: ‘it is 4.7 billion years, geological time.’

She said: ‘a three-quarter moon, lunar time.’

He waited, then said: ‘the technological age, historical time.’

She said, with longing: ‘soon enough, social time.’

He remembered: ‘it may be 30,000 years after the birth of modern civilization, evolutionary time.’

She paced herself, saying: ‘perhaps it is current standard time.’

He said, ‘you mean based on Coordinated Universal Time as opposed to a national uniform time, referred to in International Legal Time, and determined by measuring the distance east or west of Greenwich, England.’

She considered his remark before saying: ‘it could be that we are at the beginning of a new cycle of development, biological time.’

He shifted position, then said: ‘we may not know for a million light-years, astronomical time, or even for the amount of time it takes light to reach the Earth from the optical limit of the universe.’

She reflected, ‘It may have happened already.’

He experienced a delayed reaction: ‘it is something we may only be able to observe experimentally within a billionth of a second, atomic time.’

She said, ‘It may begin today or tonight, Earth time, or when lightning strikes a dry forest, geophysical time.’

He said, ‘or at least before the next 26 million-year mass extinction cycle, geospheric time. Or perhaps after the next ice age.’

She anticipated his last remark, saying: ‘it’s late, cultural time.’

He timed it perfectly. ‘Let’s synchronize.’

She said, ‘when?’

He said, ‘Now.’

– J. H.

Advertisements