Centuries ago, man learnt that it took the earth 24 hours to turn around once on its axis and 365
days to travel once around the sun. The first he called a day and the second a year. Other divisions
came to be called a month and a week. Then for some reason he began to count the number of
years he spent on earth. He called it aging. So came birthday to celebrate that he had been alive
for so many years. Does measurement of time exist in every society?
As far as can be seen, time is measured by every "civilized' society. From western to eastern
civilization to civilizations that are no more, like the Mayan and the Aztec civilizations, time
measurement has been a dominating influence all their lives. Man came to measure his own age
by the passing of the seasons. By observation, he realized that as the season's changed, he aged
until he grew feeble and then died. His body seemed to get weaker with time and so did his
But in so called 'uncivilized' societies, there does not seem to be any time measurement. Ask any
aborigine about how old he is and he will be puzzled. He does not know and probably does not
care either. There is respect for elders and so on, but they do not sit around and celebrate birthdays
or worry about the passing years, They just are. They carry on living until it is time to go and then
go. They have no days of week, months or years. They just live with nature as part of the whole.
Scientists have always suspected that time is an illusion. Many theories have been
arguments sake but none can tell us exactly what is meant by time. Einstein's theory of relativity gives
us some way of understanding that time is entirely a creation of the human mind, unlike the law of
gravity. In fact, time does not exist. It is just like any unit of measure, like celebrating that you have
walked a certain distance - nothing really to be excited about.
The question now arises about the breaking down of the body with age. Here is another mystery.
It is commonly known that not all humans age at the same rate. It is usual to see people younger
than they really are and older than they really are. A fit 50 year old person may actually be younger
than an unfit 45 year old. In other words, age cannot be controlled if you measure it by the years
you exist in the world, but aging can be controlled. Now if ever there is a
contradiction here is one.
In fact it is clear that what we call aging is the rate of replacement of the cells in the body. If the
cells are replaced fast, a person remains young. If the replacement rate slows down, the person ages
fast. Again, we confirm that aging has nothing to do with the passing of the years.
Another measurement of aging is when mental age is considered. It is believed that some of us
mature faster than others. Using this argument it is possible that a person who is 10 years old when
considering the years but having a mental age of 12. Now clearly, he is older than a 12 year old
whose mental age may be only 11. If we go into the region of religion, another measurement of
age comes in. Some religions believe in reincarnation. If this is to be considered then there are older
souls and younger souls. In that sense, a son can be older than his father or even his grandfather.
Before you scoff at it, please
realize that reincarnation is a serious belief among some of the world's top
So coming back to the original argument, does time exist ? If we accept the
argument that it is an illusion, does it make sense to let it dominate our lives
so tyrannically ?