The Enigma Called Time

  • SumoMe

Let’s face it. If we are sitting for an examination, and the next question says ‘Define time’, almost all of us would stare blankly at the paper for some time, chew the end of the pen in thought, utter a perplexed sigh, put the paper down and go home!

What is time? This is something even the greatest minds have scratched their heads over.  Did time have a beginning? It is said time began when the universe was born. How do we know that? Was there anyone present there to verify this fact? Okay, to be on the safer side, let us say time was born when we felt the need to keep track of things, to create memories. We needed something to remind us about the occurrence of certain events and our age in this world. This train of thought leads to the conclusion that time was man-made. Now, they say – ‘Time and tide wait for none.’ Does it mean that man created something he didn’t have control over?  I cannot fathom the logic of such a creation. Reminds me of Dr. Frankenstein creating his monster, and then losing all control over it! Quite intriguing…

Let us now explore other possibilities. It is also said by some, that time neither has a beginning, nor an end. It is us who are perishable, not time. Well, that justifies the ‘no control over time’ theory. Time has a mind of its own. Time is the most punctual thing there ever existed. Time is equal for everything that exists in this universe. I find it fascinating. Nothing in this universe can escape the grasps of time. Why is it then that when I ask my friend to watch a movie with me, he replies ‘I don’t have time’? Quite fascinating…

We have accepted time as an important part of our lives without fully understanding its meaning. We have used it to instil order and method in our lives, to induce discipline among chaos. In recent times, we have challenged time as well. We have attempted to freeze time, by taking photographs and forever stopping that moment in time. We now know we can slow down time by travelling at the speed of light. We are trying to build time machines, to try and reverse the monotonous course of time (though I wonder what would happen if I go back in time and kill one of my ancestors. How would I justify my existence there to kill him in the first place?). Wait, did I refer to time as monotonous? I wonder, then, what people mean when they say ‘Times have changed now.’ Quite interesting…

But, are we any closer to finding out the true meaning of time? I think not. It has become such a part and parcel of our lives now that we no longer care about its definition. We have submitted to its power and allow us to be governed by it. Well, with all these thoughts, I bid adieu and say ‘time out!’.

Abhilash Sanyal


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