Sunday, March 1, 2009


This came up the other day in a conversation... and it stuck me as one hundred percent TOK...

"Why is time relevant?"

I personally have never understood that. Yes, it is a way that we interact with others, but why is it important? Why do some people cling so adamantly to it? Where did it come from? (Yes it is a part of life and I accept that, but why?)

Answers / opinions wanted :)



griffin said...

"Why is time relevant?"
Because nothing would exist or change without it. Thats all.
I am not quite sure what you mean by clinging adamantly to it. Do you mean why do we acknowledge its existence?
Where did time come from? Well, this is an intrinsically difficult question. To suggest it 'came' from something, as I see it, is simply an excuse to use time as proof of a god: "If time came into being, something must have created it". I recently saw a book on naturally occurring patterns in nature and all these intricate details in the world and outside of it are explainable by physically interactions between, say, granules of sand, molecules of gas, the shape of a bacterium, etc. In essence, the patterns (of which one could argue time certainly is) occur as a by-product of the materials they form in. There is no 'why?' to it: it simply occurred. I notice humans like to place meaning or purpose to various (in)animate parts of this world. The problem with doing this is you get 'why?' questions, which are false in their presuppositions.

Drivebracket said...

The idea that time is or is not relevant is a difficult thing to propose. It affects all we do, it constrains our lives and all we are capable to doing. The idea that it is not relevant to us in some way is, in my opinion, not true, because we are constrained in all ways by it. The idea that time is not relevant in the greater sense of our species and in a more cosmic sense is more true, as we will always find a way to progenate our species, and gravity and suns will simply be for a longer time than any of us can really contemplate.

B. Wurz said...

Time is and is not relevant.
Years, seasons, months (lunar), and days are all natural and relevant.
Hours, minutes, seconds, and the like are man-made concepts and are not really relevant.

jeewonk said...

I partially agree with Ben.

I've never thought of time as a natural thing in the world. Just like the Julian calendar, humans came up with the idea of "time" -- hours, minutes, seconds.. But it is so embedded in our lives it has to be relevant. Our lives practically revolve around the clock, and the world would be a chaos without the notion of time. Like today, the daylight saving time changed, and I was almost late to church—only an hour difference was relevant to my schedule. I guess time in a way reflects the way of life; it only goes forwards and never goes the other way.

I related your question "why do cling so adamantly to it?" to time pressure. People always complain that there's not enough time, the deadline is too early, etc... I know a lot of IBers do that, and the pressure affects their results. It really depends on your perception of time pressure. If you think you don't have enough time to finish a task, then it's surely going to affect your performance... Time (pressure) is only relevant if you make it so.


TristinW said...

in response to ben's comment about hours, minutes and seconds being a man made concept:
This is true. In nature there is no need for such close timing. Man created time to make more sense of the world.
To me, time is just like god. It doesn't really exist, it's still somewhat measureable and was created to give people a sense of safety and stability in everyday life. I don't know maybe I'm just cynical about it because I'm not religious but it's just one of those things that I think about a lot. It makes you think though, what life would be like if there was no way to measure years or even hours. Maybe I'm just babbling nonsense but it's just one of those subjects that I can't easily justify. It makes sense in my head..
I also really like the points that Jeewon made about how an hour change can mess up your entire schedule. Daylight savings have always been odd to me. People can just decide when to turn the world back an hour? Hmmm...

griffin said...

Gotta read this