History of time part 2
When I last spoke about time, I barely managed to scratch the surface of how the human understanding of time has developed since the start of the world. The history of time may never be done, what with the way that the world continues to develop and grow, but for now, there is so much that has become part of our idea of time.
Religion has often depicted time as all-powerful beings, no matter what religion that may be. The passage of time was depicted throughout the world in many different ways. For example, the Greek Deity of time was Chronus, who was often depicted as a winged snake, although the Roman’s depicted this god with more human-like features. Another depiction of a time deity would be Batara Kala, who was depicted to have the features of a hideous troll and is said to be the cause of solar and lunar eclipses. So between just these three cultures, there is a variety of different interpretations of the personification or controller of time. While Chronos was seen as grown and wise, the other interpretations were more beastly. Perhaps this is supposed to suggest the cruel nature of fate.
Aristotle said that time is “the calculable measure of motion with respect to before and afterness.” Aristotle also believed that time had no beginning of time because, for time to begin, something would have to have caused it, which would have come first, so the beginning of time wouldn’t have actually been the beginning at all. He also believed that time and the concept of it, were dependant on the presence of a thinking mind. Without it, the presence of time would hardly be acknowledged and would therefore be pointless.
Aristotles opinions weren’t the only work on time that occurred. Su Song, a chinese man born during the Song Dynasty, was a very accomplished individual. Not only was he statesman, but he also excelled in at least nineteen other fields. One of his main fields was astronomy, in which he charted the stars and developed a wide range of star maps, included one that showed the pole star. With his expertise in stars, hydrolich and mechanical engineering and the backing from the government, Su Song constructed the first mechanical clocktower. The tower was five stories tall, was powered by water, and had little figurines that emerged from little doors.
After Su’s death, the place where the clocktower was built, Kaifeng, was under siege and became occupied by the Jurchens. These occupants then dismantled the clocktower, moved all of the pieces to their country and tried to reassemble it. The tower, however was too complicated and was never rebuilt. Even Su Song’s son tried to rebuild his fathers creation but found he never could, even using the buildings original plans. Many believe that Su left pieces out of his schematics so that no one could ever steal his work or remake it.
Time twists and bends, but as long as we continue to think about it, continue to map it, continue to track it, then we will be able to see where we are coming from and maybe one day, even where we are going.