Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Time Goes By - So Slowly

My most-loved song of all time is (somewhat embarrassingly) Hung Up, by Madonna. The searing desperation, the entrancing movement, retro glamour and the undeniable call to the dance floor from the icy Queen of Pop somehow, four years on, still gives me the cutis anserina it gave me when I first heard it in 2005.

The line that most hooks me is "Time goes by so slowly". Time is such a curious concept. The first half of my life was probably too primitive to contemplate it, beyond the fact that bedtime was at 8.30pm and whether I could push this any later. Then secondary school, and with it, thought processes suddenly much more sophisticated. The first time I actually thought about it was when, in Religious Education, our Chaplain asked "What is Time?". Naturally, when things are so black and white, my hand shot up and I announced that Sir could read it on the clock above the whiteboard, and see how slowly it was passing. Obviously I said the latter part in my head, but this suddenly became a debate.

St Augustine, in Book 11 of his Confessions, asks, "What then is Time? If no one asks me, I know: if I wish to explain it to one that asketh, I know not."

What IS Time? How does it work, where does it come from? Overloaded, my brain kept me quiet the rest of that lesson. I think everyone has noticed and commented at one stage or another that the weeks have gone so quickly, the working day is passing at a pace to rival a snail. Christmas is nearly here again, when once Christmases seemed so very far away. When danger is afoot, time stands still. Or so I am told!

In modern society, Time is essential to functionality and as such is coordinated on an international scale. Leap years, leap seconds can only make sense when the rest of the world agrees with you and participates. Though our Gregorian calendar is a corrected version of the Julian, it still has not become entirely universal. Globalisation and the internet have all but removed the barriers of time differences, but humans on the whole remain diurnal. Time is argued by scholars of Science, Philosophy and Religion, and many within have vastly differing opinions. In Economics, "Time is Money" is an ethos populated in the City and Wall Street.

"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once" Albert Einstein OR John Archibald Wheeler OR Woody Allen.

I am aware I have thrown a whole lot of disjointed and barely connected thoughts on Time together, but possibly because this is where my head is at. And also I am short on time (Ha Ha). Which leads me to the thought on Time in a personal sense. We are all aware we have a limited amount of time in the day, and limited lifespans as humans. Many seem to be challenging mortality, but I doubt it will come to fruition in my lifetime. But it does scarily make one value how one spends one's day, and to question life in general.

Perhaps this is the onset of an early life crisis? Or perhaps to merely aspire to make better choices, enjoy and LIVE.

Total mentions of the word "Time" in this post: Twenty.


  1. I've heard someone say that time is a dying star.

  2. Oh I like that very much, thank you!

  3. I have to admit that I love this song, too. I still listen to it, often (when I'm alone, especially driving at night in deserted country side lanes)... Philosophizing about time would take too much space here, but thanks for your thoughts. Sabine x

  4. Ta Sabine, I'm glad I'm not the only one!
    And yes, the whole concept was swirling around in my brain, and my hands gave up trying to make sense of it on the keyboard! x