The Second Eclectic

Technology changes how we relate to God and each other

The Yardstick by which We Measure Our Lives

Olympians win by hundredths of seconds. Seiko, Quartz, or Swiss vie to be the offical timekeepers measuring the hundredths between 24k gold and bronze alloy.

As history proceeded, measuring time began when dawn and dusk were the most visible markers. The sky-gazers began to measure years and months by the heavens. Then slowly, after many moons and sundials, they began bottling the beaches and deserts in hourglasses, creating miniature sand dunes to measure hours. But soon we tracked minutes, then subdivided them into seconds (why aren't they called "firsts"?).

Big Ben began to keep time in London's Palace of Westminster in the 1850s, the bells marking the hours with remarkable accuracy. We brought the clocks home to our living rooms, then our bed rooms, put them in our pockets, then on our wrists. The sounds of their ticking peppered the silence. The sound drove some--like Captain Hook--crazy. For others it was a constant reminder of the brevity of life.

In sports and science, seconds are parceled into milliseconds and today even into nanoseconds (billionths of a second). We measure the time it takes for particles traveling at the speed of light to leave Chicago and arrive in northern Minnesota with these imperceptible ticks of the clock.

Today, the sand dunes are desolate, the bells ring rarely in the clock tower, Captain Hook has smashed the clocks, our digital alarm clocks silently mark the minutes of our lives at our bedside.

While we have increased the accuracy by which we measure time, we have also eliminated the ticking clocks that remind us how our days and nanoseconds are passing. The internet will tell you how many minutes you've been alive, but living like the clock is ticking is harder when the clocks have been silenced. Wasting time is a luxury for many. Of course, a wasted life is a tragedy.


Note: This blogger was 23 years, 8 months, 20 days, 8 hours, 45 minutes, 6 seconds old when he wrote this.