If the future is but a dream, and the past but a memory, perhaps all we ever have; is now. One, great big long stupendous present, for all to share, and everywhere.
We all live on the same planet. Seven billion of us (and counting!) as well as myriad other multitudes of highly evoluted species. What an amazing time to be alive! Now. A tremendous gift. An amazing planet. Our watery blue world – and cool sister moon – slowly revolving in tandem spiral about the sun. Spinning-ever-spinning beneath the unwinking sun in the vast solar now; a 4.55 billion year day.
Comically, perhaps even surreally, clever-monkey-clocks – now in their third millennium! – cluck and gibber the world over. All set to different times, all clumped in bands, all displaying different numbers, all purporting to describe the present. WOW! A Tottering Tower of Babylon Time. A Pre-Copernican, Geocentric Time. A Ptolomy of Time Elaborately Epicycled into Ersatz Zones. But wait there’s more! An International Date Line! Multiple Daze! Just imagine; on the other side of midnight, tomorrow ever dances away at 1,000 miles an hour! Ah, but don’t look now, for the absurdum reverberates! AS AN EXTRA BONUS: For two hours each day (thanks Kirimati!), there are not two dates but three. “Good SatSunMonday!” Even Umberto Ecco found it delightfully absurd.
If you have ever spoken on the phone (or texted, or chatted, or facetimed, or, or, or… connected) with a friend in California, or Hilo or Dubai — while you were at home in Detroit (or Sacramento, or Timbuktu, or whatever island you call home), you pretty quickly figured out no matter what ‘time’ it was ‘there’ or ‘here’, it’s all the same now everywhere. Blessedly, millions like you and I are beginning to confirm from direct personal experience — our global connections in realtime. No matter where you are, there is no time like the present, for truly it is now everywhere.
Consider our glorious present — indeed it is a gift. And everywhere on this world, so magical! WOW! An infinitely-faceted radiant blue gem. Floating in space. Spinning. Suspended in almost nothing.
The proposed extent of the known universe = 1 light exachi, or roughly 8.4 million parsecs (27.4 billion years).
Decimal systems of space time are not new, nor are they rare.
The ancient Chinese, Egyptian, Greek and Hawaiian cultures, all independently derived base-ten systems of time and calendar reckoning.
In the late 1700’s the Revolutionary French Republicans also created a decimal calendar and time systems to go with their other metric innovations of mass, distance, volume and temerature.
In the late 1800’s, English astronomer John Herschel – son of William Herschel, discoverer of Uranus – began using the decimal fraction of the JulianDay to time-stamp his nightly observations.
In the late 1900’s, amid a flurry of Y2K interest in time by such intrepid tree-octopus hunters as Lyle Zapato, ground-breaking Dutch Digital Media Theorist Geert Lovink, even Swiss toy-watch manufacturer SWATCH briefly tested the waters, peddling a colorful array of plastic watches that displayed a decimal fraction of the day called ‘beats’. Hurray Nicholas Negroponte. His brother John was a central american thug in the Reagan administration. Say what you will about the Negroponte boys, but they are not underachievers — and you can’t pick your brothers.
Call it what you will — Chinese ke; French cés; Hawaiian kaukani pana, beats, grands, measures, cycles, or simply a ‘kilo of time’, have been around all along. Quietly in the background, decimal time systems have never stopped. In fact, they have been ticking all along. Today J2000.0, is the decimal date & time-code used in high-eschlon satellite and mission control applications.
The 5th decimal fraction of the day — 0.00001 day — is surprisingly close to the 60-seconds-per-minute we are more familiar with. As there are 86,400 seconds in one day, so too there are 100,000 ticks of decimal time. 20 ticks = 17 seconds
This ‘decimal second‘ (Greek ‘chi‘, Latin ‘tempi‘, French, cès, Hawaiian iki, different languages and cultures all recognise time at this wavelength 1/100.000th of a day.
The “chi (χ) duration” — named after the first letter of the Greek word chronos (χρόνος) meaning ‘time’ — is the same in every language. As there are 86,400 seconds in each mean solar Earth day (24 x 60 x 60), it follows that with 100.000 division of the day, each part is then 86.400/100.000 or more simply 0,864 seconds.
To experience this ‘chi duration‘ of time, if one is attentive, the subtle but perceptible up-tempo of chi is familiar, shifted only slightly faster (~14%) than seconds, at roughly 70 bpm. Music is the art form most deeply concerned with time and tempo, and has a sophisticated lexicon to describe a broad range of tempi. Adagio, is the Italian for this pace, which translates loosely as: slowly, gentle, easy. Not quite languid, but not brisk either.
Turning back to science and a new set of definitions for decimal space-time units, chi is defined as equal to 864 milliseconds, or more precisely 7.942.433.849 +/-20 oscillations of Ce 133 atom under controlled conditions. When chi is combined with the International System (SI or ‘metric’) prefixes of nano- milli-, kilo-, mega-, giga- etc — and then applied to the spatial distance traversed at the constant speed of light thru a vacuum, a new set of decimal space-time units are created.
ONE LIGHT CHI
If light travels 186.000 miles per second, how far can light travel in one chi? Remember, 1 χ = 864 ms. How far can light travel in 86.4% of one second? 260.000 km!
ONE LIGHT KILOCHI
1.000 chi = 1 kilochi (kχ) ~15 minutes.
1 light kχ, light travels 260 million km.
If you drew a equilateral triangle in space, with each leg equal to 1 light kχ, each point would touch the orbit of the Earth/Moon system on Lagrange nodes. Johannes Kepler would be so proud!
The Earth to the Sun is about 150 million km. This distance is defined as 1 ‘astronomical unit’, or 1 AU.
ONE LIGHT MEGACHI
After kilo comes Mega, meaning ‘one million’. Mega chi — Mχ — one million decimal seconds turns out to be exactly 10 days. Instead of the familiar Judeo/Babylonian 7-day week, the Hawaiian, Chinese and Egyptian were several cultures to discern the value of a ’10 day week’. Hawaiian, this period of time is ‘Anahulu’. To those of us steeped in ‘God Created the Earth in Seven Days”, it may be surprising to learn that three 10-day-weeks (3 x 10 = 30) is a much better fit to Earth’s lunar month cycle 29.54d than four 7-day weeks (4 x 7 = 28). And with a 10-day week, every weekend is a 5 day weekend! Weeeeee!
How far can light travel in 1LMχ? Quite a ways!
ONE LIGHT GIGACHI
Giga chi — Gχ — are about equal to a ‘Saturn Return’ or 27,4 years . In one gigachi, light travels 27,4 lights years, or more commonly used by astronomer, 8,4 parsecs. Here is a map of our local stellar neighborhood.
ONE LIGHT TERACHI
After Giga- comes Tera-. 1.000 Gχ = 1 Tχ.
In a Tχ of 27.400 years, light travels 8.400 parsecs, coincedently the very distance our solar system is to the behive of blackholes buzzing in the middle of our Milkyway Galaxy
Try reflect on that kē or two!
ONE LIGHT PETACHI
After Tera- come Peta-
1.000 Tχ = 1 Pχ
1.000 Pχ = 1 Eχ
In a Eχ (Exachi = 27.4 billion years, light would travel 8.4 million parsecs, approximately equal to the proposed diameter of the known universe, which is quite a long ways. What do things look like at this scale?
I see a blue planet, illuminated from below by a small central sun. A thin lisp of atmosphere, a mountain so big it starts at the center of the planet. So tall it almost scrapes the moon, stars and sun. So little between the summit and the heavens. And lots of zeros. Something is about to begin.
Over the past 300 years, Western astronomers have now accumulated data supporting the existence of about 2,000 other planets around about 1,000 other suns, and candidates for several thousand more. Most of them are huge and hot and far away from – centuries of light years away. Even if they were listening for our radio activity, few of them have ever heard Elvis croon, or seen the pictures from our moon.
But of all the hundreds of hot jupiters and a handful of super-earths, only the one wee blue ball — the one we are on — with itʻs broad blue oceans, kid-sister looping moon, and 365 revolutions per orbit, has been found to be teaming with life, some of it possibly intelligent.
You would think that this colossal pile of stupendous data, the momentous wonder of this world we find ourselves on might be enough to say “WOW! What we have here IS pretty effin special! Perhaps we could take better care!
Because the planet is round, at midday in the center of the Pacific, itʻs closing in on midnight on the other side of the world. Turns out the English had it right – if Greenwich is the center of time, Hawai`i island is the alpha and omega.
the largest surface feature on our world, and the most expansive sea of liquid water anywhere on our solar system, massive volcanoes tower above the surface, their summits kiss the sky. If we were to begin to discover this planet anew, in all itʻs glory and wonder, here, is where we would zero in – not in some suburb of London – on these mighty equatorial landmarks, the tallest peaks on the planet. Here is as good as any place to mark the beginning and the end of time.
Now is the time when those of good faith, passion and an emergent global consciousness can set aside artificial zones of time that divide us, and begin working together in a single shared global now. Together, we can begin to turn the world in a new direction, a counter clock wisdom. a wise unwinding from our legacy industrial catastrophe. Now we can join forces, unify our efforts, and begin to tell a new story. Of how we caught ourselves in the nick of time, pulled back from the brink, rediscovered the heritage of our indigenous humanity and restored our connection to the living world.
Back before there were clocks, machines and empires, it was simple to look up into the sky and watch the sun and the moon and the stars wheel across the heavens. when they rose, when they reached zenith, when they set. the tides too rose and fell, the seasons cycled, and so not just because our lives depended on it, but because were actually of it, we were naturally entrained to these durations. not machine metronomes, but the pulse and pattern of life. though our connection to the living world we could not recognize ourselves as separate from, this time was intrinsic to our being. we woke. we slept. we laughed. we ate. we toiled. we sang. we made love. we had children. we moved in rhythm. not on time, but in it. now. always. forever.
The expanding industrialized technocratic Eurified western world made a break with the rhythms of the natural world, and began to marched to the beat of a different drummer. With their locomotives and telegraphs, their steamships and undersea cables, their factory production schedules and quarterly profit reports, those 18th, 19th and 20th century empire builders began coordinating their extractive and commercial activities at a larger and larger scales. As their sense and scope of ʻhereʻ grew incrementally, so too did their ʻnowʻ expand elastically to keep pace.
To rationalize, suppress, and control the infinite variety of 360 degrees of local time of day— the fact that on a spherical world , we all view different local horizons –they defined and Taylorized standard local time ʻzones,ʻ hour-wide segments of imposed industrial ʻnowʻ to make sure the trains ran on time, instead of crashing into each other. But as they wove their Victorian machine dreams around the world, an unexpected thing happened when they came to the ends of the earth: they split the date in two.
The International Date Line is an imaginary line in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but even if you are Umberto Ecco, you will be sorely disappointed if you ever go look for it, for it does not exist. It is a conceptual fiction ʻcreatedʻ from the illogical necessity of compartmentalized thinking. A bandaid on the broken idea that time comes in zones, that now can be stamped and clamped, divided into separate pieces. The IDL ʻenduresʻ only as a result of cultural inertia, a lack of imagination and failure of our thinking to evolve. The truth is there are no ʻzonesʻ of time. Time can not be limited or controlled by state or national boundary. There are not 24 versions of present on the planet. There are no separate dates in effect.
Today, in our globally networked world where millions increasingly have access to instantaneous global communication, legacy 19th century notions of 24 separate bands of ʻnowʻ and 2 simultaneous different dates seem utterly antiquated, incoherent and nonsensical. But old habits endure because change is difficult; it often seems easier to kick the can down the street, than fundamentally redesign your thinking to match a new understanding of the world. Yes our planet rotates roughly 365 times each orbit the of sun. Yes, our moon orbits roughly every 30 days, and yes this happens 12 or 13 times each year. But beyond these gravitational and kinetic realities, the manner in which time is further subdivided and socially regulated is quite arbitrary.
How we inherited the hodge-podge of 24 hours, 60 minutes and seconds is a long, complicated and fascinating tale. These frameworks weave their way through many cultures and epochs before arriving into the third EuroAmerican millennium. But there is nothing divine or inevitable about the 7 day week, neither springing forward nor falling back. February has 28 days assigned.
If you can imagine a ʻnowʻ big enough for the entire planet, or if you just want to collaborate smoothly with others around the world to blunt the destructive drive of Transnational Neoliberal Global Capitalism, then it is time to upgrade. The future is now everywhere.
Some things are so magical and vast, they seem almost impossible for you wrap your your head around… and for a very simple reason; they are. Some things – as it turns out most of the universe – one simply can not think oneʻs way through. How to resolve this conundrum?
Stop thinking. Can you do that? Try. What do I hear? What do I feel? What am I experiencing?
Donʻt think about it, simply feel. When thinking does not clarify, when words do not communicate, allow the quest for thinking and words to fall away. When experiencing connection, simply being present, perhaps simply allowing, and experiencing experience in itself is enough. Now, a gift. Called the present.
There are so many ways of connecting with ourselves, each other and the world. Many indigenous cultures, like the Polynesian, have long been present with these other ways of being in the world. Navigating and charting the vast oceans of our interiors. We could learn a lot, if we just started listening. Of Context. Relationship. Connection. And not just knowledge. But meaning. Wisdom. Love. Think about that… just kidding 🙂
In contrast, with itʻs focus on the external, the West is so technologically driven, so powerful, so overwhelming, so unaware of missing at least half of the big picture. This monstrous strength is a weakness that leaves us deaf, dumb, and blind to ourselves, each other, and the living universe we strive to dominate rather than simply inhabit. It gets in the way of learning, connection, obliterates possibilities, and stunts our spiritual growth. Not really so smart.
So stop thinking. Try just be. Like a mountain.
Mauna Kea is the tallest peak on Earth. Beginning 20,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, it then soars another 14,000 feet up into the heavens. But this million-year-young shield volcano on the Big Island of Hawai`i is not done yet. Itʻs merely dormant, taking a short geologic nap before the eruption cycle inexorably begins again. Further shall it rise, an evolving Ten-thousand Meter Temple on our living planet.
As if with enormous lungs, Mauna Kea breathes in and out once a day, in perfect sync with the rising and falling, warming and cooling cycle of the sunʻs rays with each planetary revolution. Once up and in towards the summit, once down and out to the sea. If you could meditate like that for one million years, breathing in, breathing out, 365 times each year, imagine what stillness of mind you could achieve. What could we learn from this mountain? What can you find in your inner mountain?
Close your eyes. Imagine yourself on the summit. Here you float above 40% of the Earthʻs atmosphere, a tenuous veneer is all that separates you from the infinite heavens beyond. The ʻseeingʻ here is beyond believing. It is stupendous. But donʻt just imagine yourself stuck viewing from the summit, imagine yourself as the summit. What is it like to be this mountain?
How big is your now? How deep is the bedrock of your soul? How much love, life and connection have you embraced in your eons? How far does your shadow extend into space?
now. we set aside our fears, for there is always time enough love. we can begin to tell a new story. of how we almost lost it all, but found ourselves again in time, and returned into the world. now. we can lay the foundation for a long and lasting peace, within us and between us. now. across the many lands. now. across the many waters. now — each one of us — our many colored hands, our vibrant beating hearts, our red hot blood pounding within our ears. can you hear it? the end is not near, we are only just beginning!
now. we no longer need to fight. now. we can unite. now. from every far-flung ‘corner’ of the globe, this watery blue world, this marble in space. our many multi-colored myriad tribes — all one single human race — now. we can come together in mutual respect. now. we can begin together to heal the world.