Now And The Timepiece

by M. A.

The concept of Time in Arab culture remains a literary one. Perhaps its best manifestation in Arabic literature is the use of ‘The Hour’ in Quran in reference to the extended and infinite moment of the Judgement Day.  Sleepless cities like Cairo have a flexible way of dealing with the unit of day, as their inhabitants consider the early morning hours and the late night hours one and the same.  The module here becomes the rising and setting of the sun as ‘the start and end of the day.’  This arrangement becomes fascinating when taking into consideration the Arabs’ leading role in developing the first time measuring mechanisms during the Abbasid period.  Linguistically, Arabs use the verbs derived from the roots to be in the morning and to be at night, which literally reflect a reoccurring and temporary alternation between one moment of the day and another, to express total transformation.  It is likely that Arabs, for geo-cultural reasons, were not too concerned with concepts like cycles, repetitions or perpetuity like their Egyptian neighbours for example.

There is a basic human fixation that drove the Chinese and the Arabs, and later on the Europeans, to develop the most complex of mechanisms to fracture and measure time.  This ancient obsession is in the heart of the most contemporary questions: what is the meaning of us being here Now? Is there a way to share what we are experiencing with others in other moments? What comprises Now? Can it be recorded and thus measured? In music, this principle of fracture becomes the source of all things.  Notes are broken into an infinite number of fractions as far as the human hearing could process.  Fracturing here channels the deepest sensations of a human soul, its furthest expansion of energy, its meaning of momentarily existence.

Until a recent moment (please note the elasticity of this figure of speech) our handling of the recording of Now was a personalized one conformed by technical limitations.  No matter how engaged with contemporary events we were, or how much empathy with the feelings, hopes, and fears of others we had, our perception of the Now revolved around it (Now) being a particular intellectual moment specified by us: a certain positioning of a clock’s three hands in relation to its face module.  It is liberating to know that the first clock hands were constant indicators behind which a clock’s face revolved.  This seems more logical when considering that the continuum factor is time, rather than our limited indicators.  It is likely that those first inventors’ momentarily intellectual moment of existence is finishing its cycle of re-occurrence now as a technological application allows the Creator to produce an ever swinging pendulum of intellectual moments, while giving the User a hand with the power to indicate freely, for the first time, which moment is Now.

This text was commissioned as a supplementary narrative to the website SeaShellNoise.com

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One Comment to “Now And The Timepiece”

  1. dude, lately on my yoga mountain all i seem to be pondering is the
    concept of time. i like think about how i tell myself something
    happened to me for example 3 years ago, but time doesn’t mean
    anything, if i got all the same people together and recreated the
    scene exactly, it would still be different, so its not linear. and if
    i meditate on an event in my life, then that would change the way i
    experience the event in my head when i recall it inside my brain,
    which again has no bearing on time….

    well done dude, hope all is well. its already autumn up here in westen mass.

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