time and the seven measures

Imagine someone gave a wrist watch to a person in the Middle Ages.
What fun would that be looking at that person’s flabbergasted face.
Those guys had it all cheap, cheerful and easy back in medieval time.
Minus the barbarianism, primitive medicine, and the inquisition. Ok, and all the other nasty stuff that I’m missing.
Those guys knew time as measured by their calendar, their feasts, and the sun.

And how do we perceive time?
Just the thought of this amuses me.
If there is any other word that has more meaning and value to us than ‘time’, it’s perhaps ‘money’.
One that begets from ‘time’ in our ‘time’, of course. So, it’s really a tautology talking about money while discussing time.

Time to us today is precious. It’s money – see.

  • There’s no time – a confusing one (how can you not have time when there are 24 hours every day of your life. That, estimated by the amount of days you live, it’s a lot of time)
  • We spend time – a symbolic one and one that makes us feel guilty, especially when time is spent on ourselves only!
  • We borrow time – an everyday one.
  • We waste time – a subjective one.
  • We compare times – that’s worse than wasting time.
  • We share time – a rare one (since after the last Middle Ages man died and internet came around).
  • We time things – a necessary one.
  • We talk about time like we talk about the most indispensable commodity. Because it is.
  • Time is religion and science and life. And all three argue like three old crones who can’t decide on where to meet for tea because one is naive, the second one is stubborn and the third one is changing her mind all the time.
  • We live by the clock and everything surrounding us ticks and tacks.
  • And the ticks and tacks make us nervous.
  • Because time flies.
  • We organise our lives around a tiny little ticking machine. Like a time bomb.

Time is a nasty, opinionated, irritated woman who ticks slowly when you’re working really hard and ‘times you up’ when you’re loving the moment. I mean, have you tried doing squats for two minutes? (to give a super simple example). Two minutes never end when squatting and it huuuurts!!!
Have you been in love? Time flies for you both, like a breeze that’s touched your cheek at the crack of dawn by the sea in summer.

My point to all that?
Well, ‘time’ is one of seven units from the international system. The other six are:
meter
kilogram
ampere
kelvin
candela
mole

We can’t object to these (except for the Americans and their inches. But that’s more of their marketing strategy).

Our society measures itself and its own accomplishments, development, phenomena, and facts by using an accepted system of units.
I thought that these will serve me well as a guidance to the way I’d raise my kids.

So, to translate the above (and what I’d teach my kids):
Meter measures length.
Take it as far as you can – and a few more steps that you thought you couldn’t possibly make.

Kilogram measures mass.
Knowledge is a heavy burden.

Ampere measures electricity.
That’s a fun one. And I’ll remember a dear Albanian friend of mine with whom I lived when I was a student. We used to take these walks in the afternoon, as a break from the studies, and he’d say ,”Viv, I don’t want to be just another ‘s…t producer’ in this world. I want to be useful and leave something behind me, even if it’s just for a couple more people”. Then, we’d go back to studying and we’d have our ‘meetings’ in the kitchen for a coffee break in the middle of the night. We often took bigger breaks like, once, we decided each one of us will perform our ex-dictators (we both came from ex-communist countries). The fun was unmeasurable. And time was irrelevant. Each of us would gesture and shout and speak in our own languages but all you could distinguish was ‘the party’ this and ‘the party’ that, ‘communism’ this and ‘communism’ that (because those two words – party and communism – seem to be shared across languages)….

The point is that, whatever one does, he should produce some form of an electrical current. In a positive way.
That last part is always questionable, of course, because one action/change/development/innovation is likely to ricochet elsewhere and spin off negatively for other things. I mean, think about the Luddites.

Kelvin measures thermodynamic temperature
This is the absolute measure of temperature and calls for absolute vibrational motion of the ‘matter’s’ particles. In short, and figuratively speaking, don’t do it, or if you do, do it wholeheartedly.

Candela measures (as its name implies) light’s intensity
That’s the light the human eye can see. Because there’s that other light invisible to the naked eye – literally and metaphorically. I so wish my kids can grow up to see that other one.

Mole measures the amount of substance
One of my favourite words “substance”. I use it even if I refer to ‘soup’, as in, “please, eat at least the substance of the soup”. ha.
I’d teach my kids to learn the substance, to do something substantial – measured in kelvin, candela, ampere, and taking responsibility for all that in kilograms.

But most of all, if all fails, they may remain stingy on all measures and scales. Fine. I’ll live with it.
I’d only wish them to be generous with their own time and the time they will have with their kids and families.

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