Saturday, October 20, 2012

Time - the first mystery

First is relative. Here's an interesting note on Science and Theology from the BBC (HT Entangled States).

I look on time, consciousness, and gravity as three big unknowns. If we could only explain these, we could overstand creation.

Augustine of Hippo, in his Confessions, writes:
What, then, is time? If no one asks me, I know; if I wish to explain to one who asks, I know not. 
Time just is. Somehow we are aware of all those things that show its passing. No one gets more of it per day than anyone else. We can’t see it. We can measure it and it changes us, yet we remain the same person we were as a child. Listen in common speech for all the arguments and for all the things that are based on time. Listen for these words: now, then, after, before, growing, fading, evolving, learning, remembering, generation, predictability, experiment. This list might get very long.

A great many of the laws of science contain a dependency on time. That the laws of science are discoverable is an indication that time is somewhat predictable. Time is directly related to the first act of creation in the Book of Genesis. It seems that God spoke and time was. It seems that God implicitly submitted to time and and its corollary, memory, as contained in the fragments of ‘the depths’. Science notes the memory of the birth of time in the background microwave radiation in the universe. We know (via Einstein's theory of special relativity) that theoretically, we can stop time by moving at the speed of light. And light was, according to the love song, the first thing created.
וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֖ים יְהִ֣י א֑וֹר וַֽיְהִי־אֽוֹר
Genesis 1:3. And Elohim said, let light be, and light  was.
How do we know it is the third verse? The music tells us. The text of each verse generally starts on the tonic and finishes on the tonic. And it rests in the middle of each verse at the sub-dominant (but not always). At this point in Genesis we have twice rested and twice begun and twice finished. And the third is God speaking and time being created. I can say that the creation of time is noted in the third verse because time is dependent on light.

And here’s something to note about music. Music subtends time. A performance can be as powerful as moving at the speed of light. Time is not dilated, but it is held together by the performance as a single unit. Drama, dance, poetry and liturgy have a similar effect. Our minds are attuned to rhythm, pace, rhetoric, pulse, tone, and timbre. All these things are held in the music that is contained in a compact score in the signs above and below the Biblical text. The music slows us down to hear the text one jot, one letter, one syllable, one word at a time.