Tuesday, January 7, 2020

What is time?

“What is time? We surely know what we mean when we speak of it. We also know what is meant when we hear someone else talking about it. What, then, is time? Provided that no one asks me, I know. If I want explain it to an inquirer, I do not know” lamented Augustine in Anno Domino 340.

Six hundred years earlier, Aristotle cut to the chase in his Physics “First, does time belong to the class of things that exist or to that of things that do not exist? Then secondly, what is its nature?” Is it even real, he wondered. And if it is, is time absolute, as Newton proposed, or relative, as Einstein argued?

Or, should we simply stop worrying altogether, and settle for probably the only way humanly possible: to describe time through a metaphor; to accept it as flow of a river, or something that stands still like a moment between two hearth beats, that flies like an arrow, freezes like ice, runs out like sand, cuts short, or like love, last for eternity?

My watch no longer keeps time”, he said.

It never had.   

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