Greg Cook was one of pro football’s shooting stars. Although his career consisted of just 12 games, he left an impression that hasn’t been forgotten, especially by his teammates and coaches. Greg Cook was a talented quarterback whose promising career was cut short by injury after only one season. Cook died after being hospitalized with pneumonia. He was 65.
Greg Cook had everything a football player could ask for. Everything, that is, but the gift of time.
But what is time? And, what do we understand when we think about time?
In Islam time is more than Gold or any precious material thing in this world. Of all religions, only Islam guides mankind not only to the importance of time but also how to value it. Islam very clearly tells you the value of time, why we must not waste it and how we can make use of our time wisely.
It’s natural to think that time can be represented by a line. But a line has a shape. What shape should we give to the line that represents time? This is a question about the topology, or structure, of time.
Time is what clocks measure. The three key features of time are that it orders events in the sense of placing events in sequence one after the other; it specifies how long any event lasts; and it specifies when events occur. Yet despite 2,500 years of investigating time, many issues about it are unresolved.
We use our concept of time to place events in sequence one after the other, to compare how long an event lasts, and to tell when an event occurs. These are the three key features of time, but they do not quite tell us what time itself is.
Consider the question of whether time should be represented by a line without a beginning. Aristotle has argued (roughly) that time cannot have a beginning on the grounds that in order for time to have a beginning, there must be a first moment of time, but that in order to count as a moment of time, that allegedly first moment would have to come between an earlier period of time and a later period of time, which is inconsistent with its being the first moment of time. (Aristotle argues in the same way that time cannot have an end.)
The flow of time seems to be in only one direction, toward the future.
When we speak of God as eternal, then, we may mean either ‘timeless’ or simply ‘everlasting’. The question is: which understanding of God’s relationship to time is to be preferred?
God is the ‘high and lofty One who inhabits eternity’, declared the prophet Isaiah, but exactly how we are to understand the notion of eternity is not clear.
Is God’s eternity to be construed as timeless or temporal? Given that the universe began to exist, a relational view of time suggests that time also began to exist. God’s existence “prior to” or sans creation would not entail the existence of time if God in such a state is changeless. But if God sustains real relations with the world, the co-existence of God and the world imply that God is temporal subsequent to the moment of creation. Given the superiority of a relational over a non-relational (Newtonian) view of time, God ought to be considered as timeless sans creation and temporal subsequent to creation.
When a physicist defines speed to be the rate of change of position with respect to time, the term “time” refers to physical time, not psychological time. Physical time is more basic than psychological time for helping us understand our shared experiences in the world, and so it is more useful for doing science, but psychological time is vitally important for understanding many human thought processes.
Physical time is public time, the time that clocks are designed to measure. Biological time is an organism’s circadian rhythm or body clock, which is normally regulated by the pattern of sunlight and darkness. Psychological time is private time. It is also called phenomenological time, and it is perhaps best understood as awareness of physical time. Psychological time passes relatively swiftly for us while we are enjoying an activity, but it slows dramatically if we are waiting anxiously for the pot of water to boil on the stove. The slowness is probably due to focusing our attention on short intervals of physical time. Meanwhile, the clock by the stove is measuring physical time and is not affected by anybody’s awareness. Psychological time is faster for older people than for children.
The idea of time is a very complex one but it is not beyond comprehension.
Whatever time is, it is not “time.” “Time” is the most common noun in all documents on the Internet’s web pages; time is not. Nevertheless, it might help us understand time if we improved our understanding of the sense of the word “time.”
Live and Learn. We All Do.
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