What time is it?
Daylight Saving Time ended and we returned to standard time Sunday morning. With the change, some of us complain how these changes play havoc with our system while others accept it with a resigned shrug of the shoulders.
This business of toying with time was first proposed by Pennsylvania’s remarkable philosopher-inventor Benjamin Franklin. It wasn’t instituted until 1916 by the Germans, those connoisseurs of precision, and then by the British as a wartime measure intended to save fuel and energy.
Daylight Saving Time wasn’t adopted in the U.S. until 1918, where Congress repealed it a year later. It was an on again, off again feature in various states until Congress made it a permanent feature of our lives in 1967. Even then, the law left instituting it to the discretion of individual states.
The practice always had its advocates, but there’s a certain fallacy to the theory it actually saves energy—if darkness comes an hour later at one end of the spectrum, then artificial light is necessary at the other.
Man is the only animal obsessed by this thing called time.
As Thomas Mann put it: “Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunderstorm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols.”
So, what time is it?
Even St. Augustine couldn’t answer that. “If no one asks me, I know what it (time) is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks me, I do not know.”
Dr. David Park, former president of the International Society for the Study of Time, confesses he has similar problems. Park theorizes there are actually two times: Time One, the invention of man, which is measured by clocks and moves constantly from past to future, and Time Two, which considers that the Eternal Now contains both the past and future. I like this latter concept, which eliminates the possibility of ever being late.
Man in his arrogance thought he had the idea of time figured out until the theorists of quantum physics illustrated the fallibility of a perception of the world based on direct experience.
What we have in the end is an invented “time” made accurate by universal agreement. It would appear the best advice of all is carpe diem (seize the moment).