Starting this assignment, I’ve realized just how much we’ve discussed in this class, how many different topics we’ve covered. It’s honestly quite hard for me to narrow down what I’ve learned and to summarize it. It’s not because I haven’t learned anything, it’s because I learned it in such a different way. When it comes to learning about time in this class, it feels like we took the scenic route. At the beginning of the semester, I was focused on the route, but by now I’m focused on the scenery. Because of the unifying theme of time we’ve studied history, theology, literature, sociology, and more.
One of the more interesting revelations I’ll take away from this class is the realization of the uniquity of our time. By our time I mean really the last hundred to two hundred years. Time today is a science, more so than any other time in history. Someone researched the atomic clock for our second essay, something I had heard about but never really thought about. After our presentations, that changed. In a way, the accuracy of the atomic clock and its sheer existence baffle me. It has made time seem iron-clad—constant—definable. It has removed some of the mystery, some of the magic, from time. It runs in opposition to one of my biggest takeaways from this course; that time is in many ways undefinable. No—undefinable isn’t the right way to describe it. A better way would be to say there is a myriad of definitions, and they are in a constant state of flux. What is true about time one day is false the next. Some days feel like years and some seconds. Our bodies clocks can be thrown way off by even simple changes in our surroundings. And time is such a personal experience. It means something different, moves differently, for every person. Yet modern science has negated that. It’s told us it’s the same for each person, but I just can’t believe that anymore. Not after this class. If you asked me at the beginning of the semester; “what is time”; I’d like to think I would have a firm answer. It might be tricky to word but I’d get there eventually. If you asked me today the best I could do is shrug my shoulders. That’s not because I haven’t learned, but because I have. I’ve learned that time is such a huge concept, a huge force, that it is just as hard to properly explain as would be the total order (or disorder, depending on how you look at it) of the universe or the entirety of human history. Time simply cannot be wrapped up nicely in a bow.
Time’s conceptual illusiveness both frightens and excites me. It excites me because it is a concept that constantly begets more questions. There are no firm answers and thus there is no end to questioning. I love being a student, so a truly inexhaustible subject excites my desire to question and to learn. But, there is also something very frightening about facing a concept that you can hardly understand. It takes a certain kind of humility to accept that the forces around you, that shape you and everything about you, can never truly be understood. There will always be questions left unanswered, and most of us like things to be understandable and explainable.
If someone were to ask me to impart to them a lesson from this class I would say this; the things you see as the smallest parts of your day, or even your personality, are really the biggest things. The way you allot time to yourself, the way you reflect on time spent, your proclivity for punctuality, all of these aspects of daily life carry with them fascinating revelations waiting to be experienced. I would tell this hypothetical person to simply question. To try and locate the most mundane aspects of your life and dissect them. That process will always lead to great knowledge not just of yourself but of the world around you.