The Nature of Time and Numbers

Time exists. It would exist one way or another whether we understand it or not. Most people think they understand time but they probably don’t. It’s easy to understand the units in which time is measured and it’s easy to see the effect that time has on things, but it’s hard to really grasp what time is. If you look up the definition of time, you’ll begin to get an idea of how abstract the concept of time truly is. Google defines time as “the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole”. Some guy on yahoo answers defined time as “the changing states and relations of matter and energy”. When I try to truly understand time, I realize how little I actually understand it.

Different countries tend to have different units to measure things. You can measure weight in grams, pounds, stones, poods, and the list probably goes on.  I’m surprised at how standardized the measurement of time is. In science, we use seconds as the unit of time when calculating things. Until we reach the final answer, we avoid using minutes and hours because you divide by 60 and that either messes things up or makes it more confusing.

Numbers are weird. I was about to rant about the division of time into 24 and 60 instead of 10 but then I actually bothered to do a little bit of research and the whole topic just got even more mind boggling. Let me write out my original rant anyway. I wanted to say that seconds is a weird unit of measurement. When inventing a way to measure time, where do you start? “Day” would be a good place to start. Then we need to break it up into smaller units and some fucktard decided to divide it into 24 hours. We still need to break that down into smaller units and some other fucktard (or maybe the same fucktard) decided to use 60 instead 100. I speculated that it might be because 60 divides nicer into 360 than 100 and time was probably measured in a circular clock early on. Now that I thought about it more, first off – my brain hurts, but also, more and more units of measurement are becoming questionable. There’s 360 degrees in a circle, but what the fuck is a degree? Why couldn’t there just be 100 degrees and each degree is bigger. Also, even approaching the measurement of time with “day” as the base is bad because that only makes sense because of the distance between Earth and our sun. If we move to another planet or the distance between the Earth and the sun changes, then the unit of “day” would become completely arbitrary.

Anyway, I did a bit of googling and it turns out that the reason for dividing a day into 24 units is because of ancient civilizations like Egyptians who would count in base 12 instead of 10. 10 makes sense to us because of the way we write numbers and the way we count our fingers. Apparently, Egyptians used to count finger joints instead of fingers. There are 3 joints in each finger so you can count to 12 on one hand. Base 10 is also a weird concept if you think about it. It only seems natural to us because the person who designed numbers went up to 9 and decided to not draw a new symbol. It was probably arbitrary. Even on Earth, different civilizations understood numbers differently. If there is alien intelligence out there, it would be very likely that their units are completely different than ours as well. I’ve coded working programs that kept track of numbers using base 256 instead of base 10 so I have a better understanding of numbers than the average person and this shit I’m writing is still confusing as fuck to me.

I actually started off with the intention of writing about something quite different than what this turned out to be. I was going to write about TV frame rates going to 60 frames per second to 120 to 240. When does it stop? What’s the frame rate of real life? I think the next level of displays would not use the current light technology that has a refresh rate. Instead of a frame rate, the colored pixels could physically move from one position to the next so that there are infinite “frames” in the smoothness of the motion. I was going to write about the division of time into small units to perform calculations in a simulation. Because you can always use a smaller unit, there will always be a certain level of inaccuracy. Now that I’ve examined the nature of numbers itself, everything else seems kind of pointless.

If you liked what you read, please comment. As a blogger with few followers, I need the affirmation lol.

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