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Friday, 25 May 2012


1. I've just finished reading a superb piece by William Manchester entitled, Goodbye, Darkness - A Memoir of The Pacific War, and I feel obliged to share the secrets of life pen down by the author on the essence of time. His thoughts on time does really opened up another dimension on how I see life as a gift to me cherished upon and lived on. Living ones life based on your own understanding of it and to make each day count whether it is in the time of war or peace.

2. Before ones could understand war and peace, you had to come to grips with the nature of time, with awareness of it as the essence of consciousness. The passage of time was probably the first phenomenon observed by a prehistoric man, thus creating the concept of events succeeding one another in man's primitive experience. Our own each life exists in another dimension and it is different from one another and definitely not similar. Heraclitus saw it five hundred years before Christ, and he wasn't the only one. Time was an eternal struggle between thesis and antithesis; Marx in the next generation, interpreted it as an inevitable conflict between bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Jews, Christians, and Moslems all agreed that time would reach its consummation in a frightening climax i.e. the judgement day.

3. Theoretically, once man had perceived time as a stream of experience, they began trying to measure it, beginning with the sun, the stars, the moon, the two equinoxes, and the wobbly spinning of the earth. In 1583 Galileo discovered the pendulum; seventy-three years later a Dutchman built the first pendulum clock. Splitting the day into 24 hours, or 86,400 seconds, followed. A.M. (ante meridiem, "before noon") and P.M. (post meridiem, "after noon") became accepted concepts on all levels of society - the week, having no scientific validity, varied by as much as three days from one culture to another - and in 1884 the world was divided into twenty-four time zones.

4. The International Date Line, electromagnetic time, confirmation of Newton's laws of motion and gravitation, and the transmission of time signals to ships at sea, beginning in 1904 as navigational aids, united the civilized world in an ordered, if binding, time structure. That is the historic concepts of the ticking time and nothing got to do with the concept of making each time counts as you lived through the life.

5. According to Heraclitus, "No man crosses the same river twice, because the river has changed, and so has the man". Heraclitus believed that the procession of time is the essence of reality, that there is only one earthly life. The riddle of time was baffling because no one knew whether it flowed past men or men passed through it. The point was not picayune, it was infinite. Either life was a one way trip or it was cyclical, with the dead reborn. The life you lived, and the death you died, were determined by which view you held. Often we saw occasion where one man tries to impose his own version of life towards the other and thus resulted in a conflict and hatred.

I'm blessed with my great life within the understanding of my own rhythmic cycles of time 
6. Despite all evidence to the contrary, most thinkers, with the exceptions of the Egyptians era and the twentieth century, had come down hard on the side of rebirth. Plato, Aristotle, the fourteenth century Moslem Ibn Khaldun, and Oswald Spengler believed men and civilization were destined for rehabilitation. So did the biblical prophets; Abraham, Moses, Isaiah and Jesus. All used the same evidence: the generational cycle and the cycle of the seasons. "Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but, if it dies, it bears much fruit" - John 12:24.

7. Like it or not, time is really a matter of relevance. We all have rhythms built into us. It wouldn't be much matter if all the timepieces in the world were destroyed. Even animals have a kind of internal clock. Sea anemones expands and contracts with the tides even when they are put in tanks. Men are a little different. John Locke wrote that we only experience time as a relationship between a succession of sensations. No two moments are alike. Often time drags. Often we encounter moments that time fly us by and sometimes time seems to be so long; moving very slowly. There are also occasion arises where time is running out or the leisure of killing of time during ones free hours when the amount of time is stagnant with the cyclic 24 hours a day that never changed. Depending on the relevancy of moments ones encounter.

8. Truly is, time really is relative. Einstein wasn't the first to discover it - the ancients knew it, too, and so did some of the modern mystics. In our memories, as in our dreams, they are set pieces which you live on and on, overriding what happened afterwards. You hang up time up in great bells in a tower, you keep time ticking in a delicate pulse upon your wrist, you imprison time within the small, coiled wafer of watch.  But each man has his own rhythms, a separate time to lived, to make it count, to be pondered upon and to be understood. That is the essence of life, and whomever holds the key to grips time, he holds the key to a great meaningful life.

Reference: William Manchester, Goodbye, Darkness - A Memoir of The Pacific War, Little, Brown and Company, 1980. pp. 294 - 297.

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