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The Cepia Club Blog: The Cepia Club believes individual awareness and activism can lead to a peaceful and prosperous world. This blog contains the pertinent literature, both creative and non-fiction, produced by the Cepiaclub Director and its associates.

Monday, February 04, 2019

Sub Terra Vita Chronicle #54 Pieces of Time

Sub Terra Vita Chronicle #54
Pieces of Time
By Tim Krenz
December 2018

As most people know, at least those who know me well, I like wearing watches on my wrist, to tell “my time” accurately. I often wonder about my near-obsession with knowing the exact time. Most folks tether themselves to their smart phones or other devices in everything they do. A cell phone does not own my attention, but my watches have always felt like part of my left forearm—whole and inseparable. To not wear my watch, by pure accident of forgetting, or when one does not work, feels like a ghostly amputation.

When young, my father drilled into my head the virtue of “show up at least five minutes early, no matter what.” As a pretty good taskmaster and role model, I follow my father's advice, to the tune of my absurdly great punctuality. If I show up five minutes early, I feel uninhibited about leaving early.

I found in my life, whether wearing a Jedi watch, an old-school Swatch, my now-broken Donald Duck watch, or the really old and broken Marvin the Martian watch, that I imperfectly adduced, my very own philosophy of time. After all, I only need to add an “e” at the end of my name, “Tim,” to get the word that I seek to understand in concept, that concept of “time.”

As I approach the half-century mark of my time on earth, I see many others lucky enough to keep their internal watch wound up and running, and all the while I hope that the clock of loved ones keeps going. Whether family, friends, or others too good for this world to lose, the clock does tick, but I remain grateful that their chronometers keep working.

Time. It controls our lives, as time determines the length of living. Each person as an individual moves on that line we call time. On that line, we have birthdays and anniversaries, appointments and schedules; clocking in and clocking out of work; deadlines for work; wasted time spent useless in between; waiting for others; and constructive uses of time to keep our minds and hands occupied; and, sadly, and tragically, our time may unexpectedly end far too early. We humans have these influences to mark our time and hopefully make us men and women fit or better for our time. If really lucky we may shape the time in which we live.

With these issues of time, we do not seem to have a good philosophy of it, something around which we can build a more ideal state of mind or spirit. Like any philosophy, we must construct one about time each on our own. Such a philosophy should not replace our ideas or ideals of a god, godhead, or other self-revealed knowledge. Any philosophy of time should only enhance and enrich whatever beliefs we hold in the first place—about our place in the intricate fabric of space and time. Does everyone grasp the scope of triumphs well spent, when we spend our lives doing that which we love, and with the ones we love the most? For the limited time of one life span, when compared to the history of the universe, we need to jealously guard our time, give it to other things grudgingly, and claw it with our dulling, sore fingernails. When we realize the undue inevitability that we can do more with the time we have, we might think differently about a useful personal philosophy of time.

My father used to wear his father's gold wrist watch, a very special one,with the words “Hamm's” on the face plate. My grandfather worked at Hamm's Brewery in St. Paul his whole adult life, except for the years of the Second World War when he, like other members of his family, served as an enlisted man in the United States Navy. Grandpa's co-workers at Hamm's presented him with that gold watch at his retirement shortly before he passed away around the time I turned 10 years old. My father no longer wears Grandpa's watch because it does not work well all of the time, and Dad has another wrist watch. Dad keeps that gold watch in his special box where he has other mementos of very important value to him that he collected over a lifetime. Once in a while, he hands the things out as the years go past, to me and the other members of my family. A watch may keep time, but only as long as it functions. For me and my own philosophy of time, a good rule becomes: Keep the wrist watches and timepieces in good repair.

Time, like space and position, gives us perspective. Often, we may look at the same things differently from other positions. And hindsight in history always look somewhat different backwards along the time line. As history, a story may regress to first causes, or previous position, the way archaeologists date the time of their findings. In the life of one (or two) old people each 100 years old, a far away world long ago appears reachable. Two such persons a century old standing next to each other and holding hands, and we have a timeline that spans back to when Napoleon haunted the hills of his exile on St. Helena after his battle at Waterloo. Four such people in a line and holding hands, and we have a time-continuum reaching back to right before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth colony and made their first Thanksgiving. To stretch it back even more, twenty people of one hundred years of age, and we have the rough time frame of Pontius Pilot and the trial of Jesus. Thirty people a century old and holding hands, the accumulated years touch the shores of ancient Troy and the combat of Achilles and Hector. History, then, in time and in tangible human form brings us back a long, long way. In this sense, history remains near, and within our grasp to remember on the line we call time.

How does time begin? Astrophysicists call the event the “Big Bang.” Albert Einstein's theories say that space and time exist as one influencing the other, in a similar way the 19th Century American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson called the grand spirit the unified and indivisible “One.” Space and time, according to Einstein, bends, slows, and warps itself and even affects light, as his General Theory of Relativity explained how gravity functions in the universe. In the equation, E=MC2, “C” represents the constant speed of light, at around 186,000 miles per second, which Einstein used to represent the base-line of time in his theory. He used the constant “C” because he could find no other reliable and objective chronometer (clock) to make the calculations. According to the scientists, the speed of light in a vacuum and unaffected by gravity represents the only real way we know our age, as a universe. I wonder if we can accept that? It takes a while, but I did finally accept it. Another good general rule in my philosophy of time becomes: Accept the time as it exists and not as I would have liked it otherwise.

In the telescopes, astronomers look outward, and always backward in time, to see the early light of the universal dawn, closer to the beginning of time, in order to understand more of existence. They explore the depths farther out to see the internal logic of the great force of time and space. How it affects our reality, here and now, I cannot know, but in the present, I only know that none of us have enough of the time we want. This brings me to another rule: Use the time allowed for what I want to do, and not wait to do good and great things for people I love.

In a temporal sense, the line of time, the taskmaster that limits things to come, gives us opportunities to clew to it, enjoy it, and to benefit from the time we have on earth. Forget space, briefly, and all the science. On the other hand, on a spiritual level, time can also magically renew and reveal to ourselves the inherent powers we have to heal, help, balance, reflect and to correct. If we accept that life has justice, we must trust that time will do that justice, especially for those who live honest, good and loving toward themselves and others. We cannot make more time, due to the wisdom of whoever or whatever created it. As George Harrison once sang, “All things must pass,” both bad things and good. Time changes things. A rule: Let time change things, in and around us.

About ten years ago, I received a present from my parents at the family Christmas Eve. I opened the wrapping and the container and I found one of my father's heirlooms from his special box. He gave me a gem of a chronometer, from my grandfather or an uncle, I do not know which. He gave me a pocket watch, stainless steel with a glass face. Time in a box! On the back, it had engraved “US Navy Bureau of Ships, Comparing Watch, 1943.” A true wind up watch, I carry it only on specific occasions. I found it to valuable personally to carry it casually, even on a chain I added to it. Since I have to wind the old watch to keep it going, I wondered if I can keep the clocks ticking by my efforts. Given the times, I must try.


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