by Alphaville Herald on 09/10/09 at 7:46 am
How is your time in Second Life best spent?
by FoxM Ember
What is time? “Time,” measured in minutes and hours, days and weeks – even here in SL. Is it simply an awareness of events and occurrences sorted in our minds in such a way, as to allow us to perceive them in an ordered, rationale way? Without it, the flood of simultaneous information would be unmanageable and overwhelming for the construct of consciousness – ours anyway. Where did time come from, and why is it here?
If time an infinite reality, always having been, always still to be, then it disqualifies the theory of the Big Bang; which necessitates a beginning to our universe, and to our reality; the start of time. Who wound the clock?
Conversely, if the universe always was, and always will be – infinite in existence as well as breadth – then why is everything winding down, decaying…burning out? When did the “dying” begin? A star burns itself out; and from its “burn rate” we can trace back its existence to its beginning. We can see water poured out of a pitcher, and by observing the volume and speed of the water as it falls away, we can discern the time at which the water began to pour – we can measure back to its beginning. So if the universe – and by extension time – always was, who started the countdown clock, and why?
Is there a difference between real and virtual time? Have you ever said to yourself, “Wow, time is flying by.” What does that mean to you? Did your perception of the pace of events and occurrences change, was it altered by something? Why do some days seem to drag on forever, and yet years seem to fly by at breakneck speed? The passage of time – of water flowing out of the pitcher – should be constant, but it seems to ebb and flow.
Some might argue that regardless of our perception, time is in fact passing at a constant unflinching steady pace. I admit having difficulty wrapping my mind around the concept of time, much less being able to accept with any degree of certainty that its passage is constant. My own perception of time’s passage seems to vary based on what is happening at that moment; and often, when I compare my perception its pace with family or friends, but for the clock on the wall, our perceptions of the pace of reality can be markedly different. “Reading this damn column is taking forever!” “It’s only been 3 minutes.”
For example, when I “play” in SL, hours seem to compress into minutes. I can find myself spending an entire afternoon exploring, meeting people, building, etc. in the Land of Lindens. When I am on vacation, days fly by at speeds I cannot explain; but for the days immediately preceding my escape from the shackles of Blackberries and Franklin Planners, I can swear that I hear the ticking of my office wall clock slow to a virtual snail’s pace. Hours seem to tangibly melt into an unreal slow motion reality when I am waiting for the doctor to call with the test results. But an adagio day at my favorite beach; with each beautifully relaxing note seeming to waft through the measures of time, suddenly ends – de capo el fine, sans D.C.
The most wonderful, important and cherished moments of my life seem to be the ones that are blurred by the rapid passage of relentless time: the birth of my children and their infancy; my wedding day; that incredible family vacation we took 5 years ago that we all still talk about. All of these events, now a fading memory, like the lingering optic shadow of a shooting star just witnessed, and now gone.
How then shall we think about time? How shall we treat it and the ways in which we pass it; with ambivalence or profound respect? How then shall we spend our time here in the real and virtual world?
A philosopher by the name of Jim Croce once wrote:
“If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day 'til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you.
If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then
Again I would spend them with you.
But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go thru time with.”
How then shall we spend our time here? Think about it, before your time is up.