One Good Thing

I have learned a lot of information over the past decades, though probably not as much as I learned in my first couple of decades.  Young people are (or at least they can be) information sponges.  They draw in knowledge (whether they like it or not) although squeezing it out of them is hardier than you might expect.  In my case, I was a leaky sponge, never reluctant to share the facts (as best I knew them, though often incomplete)(who, after all, remembers the exact Wednesday a treaty was signed in the eighteenth century, or even if it was a Wednesday? And even if it was a Wednesday in America, it was already Thursday in China, so whose clock are you going to use? For that matter in the eighteenth century, clocks all over America, and much of the world, had a local time based on “high noon” when the sun was at its zenith, and everyone else’s clock be damned!  It wasn’t until the railroads needed a coordinated system of time keeping that “time zones” were officially created [by Sir Sanford Fleming if I remember correctly, or at least he had something to do with it].)

Take that Stephen Hawking!  Now THAT was a BRIEF History of Time.  But, returning from my time travels…

One good thing I have learned in the past few years is that if you manage to do “one good thing” in a day, it was probably worth your effort to have done that one thing, and the rest doesn’t count.  Doesn’t count against you, doesn’t count for you, it just doesn’t matter all that much.what else you did or didn’t get done.  If you did one good thing in the course of your day, you’ve probably accomplished more than most people have in the same span of time.  (You see, time was not just an irrelevant side trip, after all.)  For that matter, time isn’t really “measured” in days.  Time is a continuous succession of moments, and of rushing forward events, usually mostly forgotten even by those involved in those events.

We have developed a system of sleeping once a day, in most cases and most places, so we think of a day as a significant unit of time.  That’s essentially not true, because while we slept soundly in our beds, folks in Australia, Hong Kong, and Madagascar went about their daily business on the same day that you won’t get around to until “tomorrow”, when in fact, tomorrow was happening all the time you were asleep.  You just weren’t yet awake to notice that it was happening.

Wherever you are, you are at the leading edge of time. You can never go backwards in time.  You can only go forward.  You can accomplish the illusion that you have traveled back in time.  You can leave Chicago, fly Westward and land in Denver before the time you left Chicago, according to local time in Denver.  Regardless of what they call the hour in Denver, however, back in Chicago, time has passed and it is later in the same day.  Another time travel illusion is to fly Eastward from Tokyo to Hawai’i such that you arrive on the day you left but much earlier in the same day (I’m not about to run off to an airline schedule to prove it to you, besides all you need is a military jet fighter [and maybe a refuel or two along the way] at super-sonic speeds, this trick/illusion is relatively easy to do.)  But it is only a trick.  Time “flows” ever forward.

As far as we know, this is shown every moment in the relative movement of the stars and planets.  They never take a little nap while you are asleep.  They are always right exactly where you would expect them to be based on where they were yesterday and the days before that.  The whole universe flows, and as far as we know, it is all powered by gravity, the relative attraction of any one body to any other.  But that’s worth a separate discussion some day.

Meanwhile, it’s one of my favorite sayings (and I do mean MY favorite sayings because I made it up myself), “Tomorrow has already happened, you just haven’t seen it yet.”


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