birthday notches are passe

Something that my aunt said recently while visiting made me think about the concepts of time and space as different cultures currently understand it.

She saw my chin-hawk (a mohawk on the chin 🙂 ), and said that I had had grown older (and looked it too). Besides the fact that I had definitely grown older and that I hadn’t seen her in person in like 14 years, a token bunch of my facial hair definitely made me look older.

Getting older in my culture, and probably other cultures, is also associated with getting wiser, like good old confucius. With his belly hanging out proudly, stroking his beard and dispensing nuggets of packaged self-inflating wisdom. Unwrap and apply at will.

Days, then months, then years go by. Children are begot, and their children. Passage of time is marked by birthdays, anniversarsies, dates of accomplishment. We’re leaving our notches in the tree-trunk of time. Or so we think. The notches don’t exist, or are quietly wiped away. Nobody remembers your birthday after you’re gone. Even birthdays of famous people are approximations made common belief.

I personally like the atemporal concept of time that apparently the Hopi Indians have. There is no one-way arrow of time moving from the past to the future. Instead it’s like a big ole jello-ball containing all events, past present and future and even space in one whole appetizing piece of fluidity. My problem is going to be digesting that concept. I’m afraid it’s going to give me indigestion, I’m afraid my entire being will reject it. Probably cause “my entire being” has been shaped from day one to fit into this arrow of time, marked by my birthday notches. The Hopi’s apparently have no words for past, present and future, or even a here and there in the spatial sense of the word. It’s one big whole everything occuring simultaneously everywhere. It’s mind bending. I’m already getting stomach cramps.

Imagine the connotations of living in such culture, world-wide. I’m sure some of our newer branches of sciences that we deal with, quantum physics, relativity would have come much more further along. Or maybe, we wouldn’t need to explore those concepts using mathematics of today, cause we automatically grokk it. It’s part of our being, just like birth and death are certainties of today.

I’ll need another way to measure my finiteness. Wait, measure is the wrong term here. I need to understand my finiteness, be one with the large lump of jell-o.

I hate jell-o.

Some interesting reading about Hopi indians, the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, Minkowski space and the time-space continuum:

..etc etc etc..
yeah, go google it..

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