May 30, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

It’s About Time: Part 2

It’s about time.

I was sitting in shul, holding my great grandfather’s pocket watch when I noticed my own wrist watch and clock cufflinks were all synchronized. Time stopped for one brief moment, for me.

(You do realize that a moment is a place in time, not a measure of time, right?)

That is how I used it. Time revolves around a moment, in time. It’s not unlike when a snowflake lands on your tongue and for a split second it is there, in front of you, then it’s gone, melted away.

It’s the illusion that “Stars stopped in the sky, frozen in an everlasting view,” to quote Neil Peart of the band Rush. The closest star to our planet is Proxima Centauri. It is 4.2 lightyears away…

(Which is how long in “people time”?)

That’s 25.2 trillion miles away. If that star died today, we wouldn’t know about it for the next four years. We would be looking at the light of a celestial body that had “left the room.”

On January 7, 1610, Galileo pointed his telescope at Jupiter and observed what he thought were fixed stars that were actually moons orbiting the gas giant.

(One man’s fixed star is another man’s moon.)

Right, it’s all relative. Speaking of which, in 1907, Einstein wrote about “gravitational time dilation” when he published his paper on general relativity. Time is not a constant. That’s why the two astronauts in the movie “Interstellar” aged one hour when they were close to a black hole, but everyone back on Earth aged years.

(Huh?)

Einstein postulated that a clock located next to the Dead Sea would run slower than a clock located on Mount Everest due to their proximity to the center of the gravitational forces that keep those clocks from floating off into space. It’s not just gravity that bends time, it’s words.

When Rabbi Tsvi Blanchard taught me that “words matter” he was referring to our relationships with people, but we can bend time with our words the way water refracts light. It is like when we stretch a piece of luggage to hold more than it was designed for, but we pay a price for trying to violate the laws of time and space, the way that you wind up wearing an overstuffed sandwich when you order the extra sauce on the side, but you add the sauce and you believe in your heart all the toppings will stay between the two pieces of bread you hold in your hands.

I’m sitting here, right now, on my sofa (as I suspect many of you are in your homes). Outside your window, time moves on as your Ring doorbell records all those moving parts that go past your front door; birds, squirrels, Amazon delivery trucks.

Inside your home, time slows down or even stops if you are not “watching the clock.”

(Or your watch.)

A conversation, a good book, or a nap can “bend time.” The trick is to enjoy the lapse in time and not see it as a point you need to race to catch up to, like when you miss the school bus.

“Hurry, we can catch them at the next corner.”

Ask my parents (who are reading this), as a teen, I was always late because of my perception of the amount of time required to get ready was not double, but exponential.

Ask my wife Janet (who is also reading this), and she will tell you, I “add time” to be on time.

I will tell the kids to be ready by 10 a.m. when I know we need to leave by 10:30 a.m.

(Because your kids can’t be ready on time?)

No, still me. I’ve just learned to build in time by starting sooner. If you are like me, there’s a term for us.

(You are making this up.)

The laws of how humans perceive time are called “Vierordt’s Law” named after a German physiologist. The study of a human’s perception of time or why some people are late is called, “Chronoception.”

(You made that up too.)

Nope. Since I’m a grad student, here is the bibliography:

Bejan, Adrian. “It’s Spring Already? Physics Explains Why Time Flies as We Age.” European Review, 2019.

Chronoception is the study of the time interval between two sequential events.

(Ok, great and for Vierordt’s Law?)

The Ancient Greeks had a word for that: “Kairos” or subject time.

(Is “Karios” Greek for ”being late”?)

To the Ancient Greeks, there was sequential time “chronological time” and there was “kairological time.” The linking of non-sequential events created the idea that time is fluid or as Steve Miller sang “time keeps on slipping into the future.”

(Because many people with ADD or ADHD have difficulty being on time?)

Because it’s about time.


David Roher is a USAT certified triathlon and marathon coach. He is a multi-Ironman finisher and veteran special education teacher. He is on Instagram @David Roher140.6. He can be reached at [email protected].

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