Frame of Reference - Index

Octavus Stele

Time

1) The regular movements of Moon constitute almost a thirty-day clock: as it was perceived by ancient intellectuals. The Babylonians were among the first to perfect time telling -- and fortune telling -- based on astronomical observations. Religious prophecy and guidance proved to be profitable occupations among an uneducated people living in part of what is now Iraq, the Euphrates Valley. They first separated the heavens into a giant circular band of 12 equal distances called the Zodiac. Each distance was identified by a constellation of stars with a name and a story. These were signposts along the path of Sun, now we know this apparent motion is caused by Earth spinning and following an elliptical path around Sun.

A further elaboration of time came when the Babylonians divided day and night into 12 hours each in recognition of the power of the Zodiac. The number of minutes in each hour was set at 60, and each minute subdivided into 60 seconds. This division paralleled the division of geometric space into 360 degrees, each degree had 60 minutes and each minute had 60 seconds. The day, month and year depend on astronomy, while the week, hour and minutes are artificial measurements that help organize time, these are abstracts of time without recourse to nature. (All in number base 12)

English word 'month' is only a form of 'mooneth.' As agriculture developed, it led to a more complex study of the seasons and the more important reliance on Earth's motion around Sun. Saturday comes from Saeter's day (called Saeter-daeg, from Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture). The names of other days vary in different languages, with the first two days of seven honoring Sun and Moon, respectively, in many traditions. The Babylonians honored the five know planets for the other days of the week, while the English tradition follows the Anglo-Saxon remembrance of the Norse gods: Tiw's day (god of war), Tuesday; Woden's day (god of storms), Wednesday; Thor's day (god of thunder), Thursday; and Freya's day (Norse goddess of love), Friday.

2) Time is money; or is it?

Heritage Dictionary: "A nonspacial continuum in which events occur in apparently irreversible succession....A prison sentence...The characteristic beat of musical rhythm..." Seconds, minutes, hours, days, years...a life-time - are divisions of time that make sense.

Carpae diem - seize the day.

"Improve your time." (Henry David Thoreau - was also an advocate of civil disobedience.)

Yet for physicists time is a dimension much like length, height and breadth. It is conceivable to visualize a three dimensional set of coordinates moving in a linear fashion at a constant rate, thus we can conceive this forth dimension. I find the fifth dimension and more impossible to visualize.

3) Since Einstein, scientists have considered three-dimensional space and time not as two different things, but as different aspects of four-dimensional space-time. It is easier for quantum physicists to explain events by assuming time runs backward as well as forward, even though it defies common sense. Space and time can be warped by gravity and speed. The German mathematician Kurt Goedel, in the 1940's, proved that if we could warp and twist space-time enough, we could create "closed, timelike curves," then we could bore tunnels through time itself.

The identification of black holes and their description shows these are surrounded by an enormous gravitational pull distorting the very fabric of space-time into what is called a "singularity." When these singularities were found to spin, it was proved that closed, timelike curves not only can occur, they must occur. The singularity forms a doughnut in space-time, while the hole in the middle is perilous gateway to somewhere - or when. Is it easier to understand the Christian concept of 'Holy Ghost' than the contradictions of warping space-time? Maybe these are one and the same?

4) Closely associated with the notion of time is the notion of freewill, human agency. If we each indeed have control of our lives, it is 'in the now,' not before, and then in each moment of the future as it comes we know we can act according to the dictates of our own conscience or will. Knowing that we have this freewill, the power to choose without some over-arching cause or divine power dictating our actions, is a liberating concept. It is also a responsibility to be taken seriously.

When parents give children the freedom to choose, they are encouraging them to exercise freewill. This may be the most precious gift of life: to create, think, act freely and reason clearly -- these are inalienable rights of man since the 18th century and the Declaration of Independence. Yet is this such a modern concept?

Freewill is a fundamental assumption of any discussion of virtue. We assume that a person CAN and MAY do what they think is right and for the right reasons. If our destiny were already determined, or even if there were some "karma" that influenced our choices, then there would be no freewill. The decisions, habits and actions of every day life provide ample evidence of how we have control of our lives, if we choose to exercise it. "What kind of answer do we want?" "What will it take to prove to you that you have freewill?" Freewill is a necessary condition of virtuous actions, because we must do an act voluntarily (or by our own hard earned habit) in order to take credit for the decision to act. If we were controlled by strings as a puppet, then the puppeteer would get the credit for our virtuous actions.

Where there is a compulsion, the responsibility for an action rests with the authority. Where there is free choice in time, the responsibility for the action rests with the individual. (see Vicesimus Alter Stele, Ethical Decisions, verse 10.)

5) "There's also the question of fatalism. I have long since come to an agreement with destiny: that is, I have, myself become destiny--destiny in action... I don't choose anything; I take what comes... I [Picasso] have no pre-established aesthetic basis on which to make a choice. I have no predetermined tree [for example], either. My tree is one that doesn't exist, and I use my own psycho-physiological dynamism in my movement toward its branches. It's not really an aesthetic attitude at all." (Francoise Gilot and Carlton Lake, Life with Picasso, 1964) What changes in our lives would occur if we each made our daily choices from the menu of life with such reckless abandon? What excitement could we generate?

6) About time, Newton would most likely have responded: 'It is absolute, true, and mathematical. It flows continuously without any relation to anything else. Pieces of time, which we call duration, are relative, apparent, sensible, and measurable. We measure these pieces by their motion. We assign different names to those pieces according to the amount of their motion. A year is the motion of Earth around Sun, a month is the motion of Moon around Earth and so forth.'

7) Methods of indicating the main points of the compass, arrangements of stars into constellations, co-ordination of these with the seasons, naming of moons in the year (corresponding with birth dates), of quarters in the moon -- all these (following these rules) accomplishments are known to specialized members of primitive societies. By coordinating space and time they are able to arrange big tribal gatherings and to combine vast tribal movements over extensive areas. Leadership in a tribe is often based on the expertise of individuals who can tell time and remember the surrounding geography. The use of leaves, notched sticks, and similar aids to memory is well known and seems to be almost universal. This is much the same kind of mental activity as developing scientific formulas and models which are simple and handy paraphrases of a complex or abstract reality, giving our civilization mental control (new rules to follow) over difficult concepts.

Telling time by Earth's movement around Sun is such a convenient device. It's a good rule. (see Septimus Stele: Mathematics, verse 19) Other rules of time, as with rules of mathematics seem to be natural even god given, but of course these are just good ideas that work if everybody agrees to follow them.

8)

Spring is that glorious time of year
The best of four
Most like the promise of new love.

The paired geese walking together
Kind devotion
Unembarrassed, show how natural mating is.

The limber pine trees dance and sway
Rhythmic movements
Protecting each other in Oregon's forest.

The wavy pond excites the imagination
Distorted mirror
Improving on the gray cocoon sky.

The bracing morning air gives comfort
Fresh with each breath
Endorsing the prospect of good health.

New love folds into this idyllic scene
In harmony
Unrestrained, unaffected by past sadness.

We shall exchange joy and sorrow the same
Our souls mating
As naturally as sharing our food.

Our future days together are a medium
Nurturing hope
That can improve individual growth.

The tenderness of touching and humor
True thoughtfulness
Will enrich our purpose and Spirits.

The complexities we all must confront
Life's trials await
Are not destructive to our unity.

Dedicate this season to each other
New potential
Bonding with each signal of love.

Be Tolerant of uniqueness, blessed
Free as the wind
So enjoyment can be constructive union.

Freedom brings us closer to our goals
Voluntary love
And our Spiritual growth blends with Nature's.

Peace

( IJ, "Spring 1997")

9) Suppose the human race was never going to die out, perhaps infinite? Would this mean that the number of generations of Man is infinite? Aristotle argued against this, suggesting that the number of generations of man would be but potentially infinite; infinite in the sense of being inexhaustible. At any one time there will have been some finite number of generations, and not permissible to consider the future as a single whole containing an actual infinitude of generations.

If Universe, and time, does really start with the Big Bang some 14 billion years ago, and eventually contract back to a point, is it reasonable to say there is only time between this beginning and end? If Universe is an oscillating system, a sequential series of Big Bangs, then time can be infinite in both directions beyond our present.

We do measure time in the past, and actually see the past in the stars because of the distance between us and other phenomenon in Universe. This past gives us some confidence that we have the future, at least that which is available to Sun. What kind of explanation do you want? Is it enough to measure time by the rotation of Earth around Sun? That seems reasonable, although I would definitely choose a calendar that was not based on some arbitrary religious event, i.e.. the hypothetical birth of a Jew from Nazareth.

10)

The People Will Live On

The Learning and blundering people will live on.
...The people so peculiar in renewal and comeback,
You can't laugh off their capacity to take it.
...a vast huddle with many units saying:

'I earn my living
I make enough to get by
and it takes all my time.

If I had more time
I could do more for myself
and maybe for others.

I could read and study
and talk things over
and find out about things.

It takes time.

I wish I had the time.'

The people is a tragic and comic two-face:

hero and hoodlum: phantom and gorilla twist-
ing to moan with a gargoyle mouth: 'They
buy me and sell me...it's a game...
sometime I'll break loose...'

(Carl Sandburg, born 1878)

11) "Time is a construct of ritual observance as much as it is a configuration of myth... As myth expresses world foundations in terms of word [Genesis] and image [Brahma], ritual dramatizes world foundations in terms of performance. The two concepts, myth and ritual, are equally important in understanding religion. Indeed, the Roman term 'religio' meant something very close to ritual observance. Worlds [religions] are formed not only through representations but also through actions, and a religious system is simultaneously a system of mythic language and a system of observances. Religion can be construed from either angle. We can study people through what they say, and we can study people through what they do."

"...What was most important about a religion was its beliefs. But the emphasis is changing. It is now realized better how ritual and action are forms of expression in their own right. Whatever else it is, the sacred is something acted out... Ritual is the deliberate structuring of action and time to give focus, expression, and sacredness to what would otherwise be diffuse, unexpressed or profane. Ritual is sacred action and time deliberately created." This sacred transpires now, in the present, in this moment in time if it is to be regarded as important and is brought to us through ritual.

"Once within the potency of the ritual circle, time assumes a charged quality. Within the hothouse of its frame, the content of that time becomes real, alive and effective." (William E. Paden, Religious Worlds, 1988)

12) The division of life into age segments was a respected part of antiquity, though the divisions differed among many cultures. The Pythagorean philosophers identified four divisions, whereas Hippocratic writers acknowledged seven ages of man, each seven years in length. Belief in the magical power inherent in certain numbers, notably seven and three, meant that certain ages were believed fraught with danger. Augustus is said to have expressed considerable relief at having survived the 'climacteric', the sixty-third year. In Greece probably less than one percent of the population attained the age of 80 and anyone who did so was given special respect.

Old age is commonly described as hateful and detestable in classical literature (rather than as a useful goal) and many lives would have been restricted by loss of mobility from the beginning of the third decade onwards (because of the common occurrence of osteo-arthritis). Certain races had a reputation for extreme longevity, notably the Ethiopians who could live to 120 years. (Maybe it was natural minerals in the diet? low rainfall, high selenium? Good sleep habits?)

13) Pablo Picasso described his concept of time in the following way: "I paint the way some people write their autobiography. The paintings, finished or not, are the pages of my journal, and as such they are valid. The future will choose the pages it prefers. It's not up to me to make the choice. I have the impression that time is speeding on past me more and more rapidly. I'm like a river that rolls on, dragging with it the trees that grow too close to its banks or dead calves one might have thrown into it or any kind of microbes that develop in it. I carry all that along with me and go on. It's the movement of painting that interests me, the dramatic movement from one effort to the next, even if those efforts are perhaps not pushed to their ultimate end. In some of my paintings I can say with certainty that the effort has been brought to its full weight and its conclusion, because there I have been able to stop the flow of life around me. I have less and less time, and yet I have more and more to say, and what I have to say is, increasingly, something about what goes on in the movement of my thought. I've reached the moment, you see, when the movement of my thought interests me more than the thought itself." (Francoise Gilot and Carlton Lake, Life with Picasso, 1964)

14) "Every world [i.e., the Western Christian world] has certain cyclical or periodic occasions of renewal. These go by names such as feasts, dances, holy days [holidays], rejoicings, resurrections, sabbaths, and campfires. Like places in time, they form a temporal geography. These points in the year are no incidental feature of religious worlds. There would be no worlds [organized religions] without them. Calendrical rites are not just a matter of seasonal symbolism. They are the points where a community renews and acts out what it holds most sacred, and these times are as central and definitive in world construction as myth... Through daily, weekly, monthly, or annual ritual time, myth is recoverable. Time, that in its usual course is spread so thin in quality, now returns to its source." Time, like Life, becomes a sacred gift, and indeed they are intermingled in our language and our minds.

"Festivals are often connected with the beginning of a new season or calendar year. Such times have special richness and comprehensiveness, involving the entire community and every aspect of life in their regenerative power... It is as if that system, that world, is created anew, in its perfect, pure form." This explains why, for a secular society, New Year's Eve (and to a lesser extent the following day) has taken on special significance. Even Atheists cling to this periodic observance that can restore their hope in humanity, their energy for a new life (New Year's Resolutions). Civic celebrations in such communities as New York City and San Francisco are especially noteworthy.

"The festival provides for the group an experience of itself in its ideal social form, thus setting up paradigms of social existence that contrast with the imperfections of society during the ordinary time of the year. The festival brings out the 'best' in people, however that may be defined from culture to culture." (William E. Paden, Religious Worlds, 1988) If one visits New York City or San Francisco during these new years' celebrations, one is forced to hope that this is not the "ideal social form" of our lives.

15) And Siddhartha said: "He is sixty years old and has not attained Nirvana. He will be seventy and eighty years old, and you and I, we shall grow as old as he, and do exercises and fast and meditate, but we will not attain Nirvana, neither he nor we... We find consolations, we learn tricks with which we deceive ourselves, but the essential thing - the way - we do not find..."

"...I have always thirsted for knowledge, I have always been full of questions. Year after year I have questioned the Brahmins, year after year I have questioned the holy Vedas. Perhaps, Govinda, it would have been equally good, equally clever and holy if I had questioned the rhinoceros or the chimpanzee. I have spent a long time and have not yet finished, in order to learn this, Govinda: that one can learn nothing..."

Govinda: ..."if, as you say, there is no learning? Siddhartha, what would become of everything, what would be holy on earth, what would be precious and sacred?"

"He whose reflective pure spirit sinks into Atman
knows bliss inexpressible through words." (Upanishads)

"Siddhartha was silent. He dwelt long on the words which Govinda had uttered."

"Yes, he thought, standing with bowed head, what remains from all that seems holy to us? What remains? What is preserved? And he shook his head." (Hermann Hess, Siddhartha, 1957)

If we thus fail to live and realize the great potential in life, we have wasted time.

16)

On Time

Fly envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,
Whose speed is but the heavy Plummet's pace;
And glut thy self with what thy womb devours,
Which is no more than what is false and vain,
And merely mortal dross;
So little is our loss,
So little is thy gain.
For when as each thing bad thou hast entomb'd
And last of all, thy greedy self consum'd,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss;
And Joy shall overtake us as a flood,
When every thing that is sincerely good
And perfectly divine,
With Truth, and Peace, and Love shall ever shine
About the supreme Throne
Of him, t'whose happy-making sight alone,
When once our heav'nly-guided soul shall climb,
Then all this Earthy grossness quit,
Attir'd with Stars, we shall for ever sit,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee O Time.

(John Milton, 1608-1674)

17) The division of the day into certain periods occurs in many religions and is central to Zoroastrian faith. The Avesta divides the day into 5 distinct periods called gahs. The changeover from each period to the next is the occasion for specific prayers. The prayers signify and facilitate the process of salvation (being one with the Creator).

a. Each day (and Man's journey) begins with Havan gah from sunrise to noon. In Man's haste to commence his cosmic journey, full of enthusiasm, he makes mistakes and often takes the wrong path. Savangh collects the good and bad deeds for future use. Vis is the compassionate, the merciful who through love guides Man away from evil, giving gentle lessons on the way.

b. Soon man reaches Rapithwin gah, from noon to 3 PM. Man realizes he has lost his way when he is bogged down by the affairs of the world and family, and begins to loose hope. Two co-workers Fradat Fshu and Zantu step in. Fradat Fshu is the gentle source of hope and sustenance to man, laying the foundations of faith. Zantu is the hard taskmaster bringing misfortunes and bad luck because of past transgressions. Zantu punishes Man but makes him emerge cared but pure, ready to move on.

c. Then Uzirin gah stretches from 3 PM till sunset comforts him in the cool, just as the darkness frightens him. [Nature's dialectic.] Fradat Vira imbibes Man with spiritual strength to face hunger and poverty, while co-worker Dakhyu gives Man spiritual wisdom called Khshnoom, persistence and faith and Man realizes his importance in nature.

d. When the darkness is complete from sunset Aiwisruthrem gah commences, until 12 midnight. At sunset the darkness-passion, lust and promiscuity arise in Man. Aibigayai supports and protects Man while Fradat Vispam Huzyaiti induces him to sleep to wake refreshed. Co-workers Zarathushtrotemas wage a valiant battle against evil.

e. Finally Man drifts into Ushahin gah from midnight to dawn. Co-workers Bereza blesses him by showing the path to salvation while Nmana accompanies him on the way to Hoshbam, the dawn of consciousness. The prayer of Hoshbam is repeated as Man approaches the dawn of consciousness: "Through our actions may we approach You [Creator], may we come near You, may we enter into eternal friendship with You!" (Website: Ervad Marzban Hathiram)

The day's journey through gahs is allegory for the full cycle of human life. The 21st century Atheist must be content with a division of breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The Muslim salat divides the day into five times for ritual prayer. It is always said facing in the direction of the holy shrine at Mecca, the God-ordained axis between Earth and heaven.

18) The first Egyptian calendar dates to 4241 BC according to some historians. They used the 12 month, 360 day calendar, but fixed the short year by adding 5 days of feast at the end (as did the Maya). Priests were also skilled astronomers and built the Temple at Karnak with rows of columns that accept Sun directly on the longest day of the Summer (June 22). The Egyptian calendar still suffered from the defect of being too short, by 1/4 day. It was Ptolemy III in 238 BC who suggested inserting one day every four years. This scientific achievement was not acceptable to the priests, who refused to alter the routine of religious observances which depended on the calendar. It wasn't until 200 years later that Ptolemy's leap year was adopted by Julius Caesar, acting on the advice of the Greek Sosigenes, in more or less the same way it is in common use today. This Julian calendar was adopted in 45 BC.

Even with this improvement the calendar was off, too long, by 11 minutes and 14 seconds, or about 3 days every 400 years. The names of the months and their varying lengths are derived from this Julian calendar and some of course relate to various gods important in Roman myths. Thus it was handy that they had more than one for such naming purpose. The continuing problem of the length of the year was corrected in the year 1582 AD by Pope Gregory XIII with the aid of scientists, establishing the length of the year within 26 seconds of the solar year. The differences were adjusted each 100 years. The century year would not have a leap year, except years divisible by 400 which would. Thus we perpetuate the Gregorian calendar (commemorating the presumed birth of Jesus the Christ as well) today in (mostly) international use.

The Jewish calendar is still based on the cycles of Moon and Sun. Their first year is reckoned by the tradition for Creation, 3761 BC. The year varies from 353 to 385 days, containing 12 months and is kept up to date by inserting a 13th month 7 times during every 19 year period. We get the Sabbath from Jewish tradition, resting on the seventh day, which for most Christians is Sunday in common usage.

The Islamic calendar is set by Moon, and 'wanders' through the seasons from year to year, which doesn't seem to bother anybody.

The Chinese calendar dates to 2397 BC with dates corresponding to days in a cycle of 60, and solar years.

The Maya had a Sun calendar some 2000 years ago, using special numerals shaped like human faces for their records of dates. These were carved on stone columns called steles (as are the chapters in this book). This calendar of 18 months of 20 days, adding 5 at the end of the year, has some logical appeal. They used 52 year periods (instead of centuries) for numbering.

The Aztec was similar to the Maya calendar, but not as accurate. The round stone carving found in Mexico in 1790 is not entirely understood, but certainly is a calendar.

Many other calendars in India and Africa exist, most of which use Moon in some way or other. It is hard to imagine how emotionally lost one might feel without being oriented to a calendar for reference. It feels peaceful during a period of vacation to feel unattached to a calendar, but this is of course an illusion based on the assumption of security and acceptance of a standard routine surrounding this period of relaxation.

19) "The besetting sin of philosophers, scientists, and, indeed, all who reflect about time is describing it as if it were a dimension of space. It is difficult to resist the temptation to do this because our temporal language is riddled with spatial metaphors. This is because temporal relations are formally analogous to spatial relations... If we picture the passing of time in terms of movement along a line, we are led to ask 'What moves?' and are disposed to answer: 'Events keep moving into the past.' and forget that 'move' is now being used metaphorically, that events cannot literally move or change... Those who spatialize time, conceiving of it as an order in which events occupy different places, are hypostatizing events... Those who ponder about time forever using event expressions as their main nouns, and they frequently seem to forget what events are -- changes in three-dimensional things. [location of Earth in relation to Sun] What we perceive and sense are things changing. [sunset] Time is a nonspatial order in which things change... We cannot prevent metaphysicians who are so inclined from trying to reduce things to events or processes or to expand things into four-dimensional solids, but such intellectual acrobatics are unnecessary, apart from the paradoxes which they generate. Our consciousness of time's 'flow' is our consciousness of things changing." (C. W. K. Mundle, Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1988) This is an effective argument against time as the fourth dimension, however, I prefer to think it so.

20) "If we are to have an adequate perception of our place as human beings in the modern world, the past matters. It is where we have come from, and it has determined what we are. For that reason, it is necessary for us to set our faces against the lunatics and the fringe archaeologists who seek to confuse or corrupt our view of the past. Writers such as Erich von Daniken, author of Chariots of the Gods, have written highly readable books purporting to give new insights into the past that differ markedly from those of modern archaeology. In von Daniken's case... developments of human civilization are due to the influence of alien beings arriving on earth in flying saucers. The matter would be comic if such views had not been so widely believed... The objection is that such works gloss over the difficulties [faced by archaeology], and fail to submit their evidence to... scientific scrutiny... such writings, and others that propose ancient (and undocumented) catastrophes, or lost continents, or long-range migrations by the Lost Tribes of Israel, or the forces of 'earth magic' at such sites as Stonehenge, are a snare and a delusion." (Renfrew and Bahn, The World of Archaeology, 1991)

21) Man is fascinated with speed, at least during the 20th century as we have developed the capacity to race around Earth at tremendous rates of velocity. Animals use speed for self-defense and hunting. We keep records on such arcane speeds as the fastest Internet connection, the world's fastest guitar player and the world's fastest airplane, etc.

The absolute speed record goes to the SR-71 Blackbird (retired in 1998) at 2,193.167 miles per hour, set on July 28, 1976. This is a speed equivalent to 3.5 times the speed of sound.

For land records, the number to beat is 763 miles per hour, set on October 15, 1997 by Andy Green who piloted the 'Thrust SSC' jet-powered car.

To date (actually there are faster ones now) the world's fastest computer is the IBM, ASCI White, with 12.3 trillion calculations per second. That's about 30,000 times faster than the computer that wrote this text, and that much more efficient than my fingers.

The fastest bicycle was powered by Chris Huber, moving at 68.7 miles per hour in 1992. The fastest bird is the Australian Emu at 31 miles per hour. It takes an opossum a mere 12 days from conception to produce offspring, which are subsequently nursed in a pouch, so maybe that doesn't count.

Of course we cannot go back in time, that would be a record of its own.

22) In the beginning, some 14 billion years back, so the theory goes, there was nothing. Then with a 'big bang' an almost infinitely small, dense, hot universe exploded into existence. "Mere seconds later, the soupy universe had cooled enough for quarks to combine into positively charged protons and their neutral cousins, neutrons -- and then for neutrons and protons to fuse into the nuclei of light elements like hydrogen, helium and lithium. A few hundred thousand years of cooling later, these nuclei combined with negatively charged electrons to form atoms. Finally, gravity pulled the atoms together to form stars and galaxies." (www.popsci.com) Events proceeded more slowly from then until now, but this is changing since the expansion of Universe is apparently speeding up. (see Tertius Stele: Physics, verse 35)

23) Memories

The happy moments, dragging into beautiful, long hours are gone now for both of us.
But just like the week ends with days of celebration and relaxation we can enjoy our lives apart in this new way...
Made more poignant by the sweet thoughts of the past that inform our wishes.
The voice of the wind sings your praise in spite of my attempt to hear a more mundane note...
The tears of the rain wash my face as you once did with yours...
The warmth of lonely Sun barely inspires me to stretch and reach this energy...
For, each of these phenomena stand, slighted in comparison to my glorified recollections of you.
Is this fair to prejudice the future with the declaration of such a spectacular standard?
No, but this triumph of recollections is more candid than biased.
Can there be pleasures coming that will inspire as did ours, peaceful, sober and absorbing?
Will there be authentic bliss or a counterfeit of what we shared in hope and solace?
Or, has our joy together in some subtle way equipped us to enjoy our lives both alone and shared with another love?
Can we be thus more receptive and wise to recognize the grace that blesses us each day?
I hope that for you and me our seasoned memories enhance each love we taste.

(I.J.Hall, July 13, 2002)

24) There is a suggestion from recent work that the speed of light, by which we measure distances back in time across Universe, has been exceeded. The breakthrough, literally, was identified at Princeton, New Jersey, by physicists who sent a pulse of laser light moving "through cesium vapor so quickly that it left the chamber before it had even finished entering. The pulse traveled 310 times the distance it would have covered if the chamber had contained a vacuum. Researchers say it is the most convincing demonstration yet that the speed of light can be pushed beyond known boundaries, at least under certain laboratory circumstances... The experiment produces an almost identical light pulse that exits the chamber and travels about 60 feet before the main part of the laser pulse finishes entering the chamber... light has no mass; the same thing cannot be done with physical objects..." According to Aephraim Steinberg, [physicist at the University of Toronto who remains skeptical] "...The interesting thing is how did they manage to produce light that looks exactly like something that didn't get there yet?" (CNN.com, July 20, 2000)

25) "If we look at the universe in the large, we find something astonishing. First of all, we find a universe that is exceptionally beautiful, intricately and subtly constructed. Whether our appreciation of the universe is because we are a part of that universe -- whether, no matter how the universe were put together, we would have found it beautiful -- is a proposition to which I do not pretend to have an answer. But there is no question that the elegance of the universe is one of its most remarkable properties. At the same time, there is no question that there are cataclysms and catastrophes occurring regularly in the universe and on the most awesome scale. [all the time] There are, for example, quasar explosions which probably decimate the nuclei of galaxies. It seems likely that every time a quasar explodes, more than a million worlds are obliterated and countless forms of life, some of them intelligent, are utterly destroyed." (Carl Sagan, Broca's Brain, 1974)

26) "In trying to avoid fallacies [and errors] of all kinds, we must beware of falling into the pitfall of decision by indecision by permitting time and events to make decisions for us. Decision by indecision may itself involve a kind of neglected aspect. For as long as we hesitate to act on a tentative conclusion because it seems insufficiently reliable, we are acting as though we believe the tentative conclusion to be false." (W. Edgar Moore, Creative and Critical Thinking, 1955) This is not always true. For example in the case of governors who delay signing laws. These will be considered accepted after a given period without the governor's signature. It may be politically expedient for the governor to let time approve legislation so he or she can deny his or her support, without having had to fight, and failing the battle of veto.

On to Nonus Stele