Isolations of Space and Time

Isolations of Space and Time

Geologic time is rather impossible to appreciate. We live with a sense of time measured by a unique metronome, the human heart–one second for each beat. We borrow the cadences of planets and moons to capture days, months, and years. Our lifespans gauge larger periods, as do those of other living things. And stories of origin and ancestral histories put us in an even greater temporal framework. But nothing we easily sense corresponds to the immensity of elapsed time recorded in the layers of rock beneath us. What can hundreds of millions of years mean? We have words like millennia, era, and eon as placeholders, and we know of billionaires and about gigabytes. Still, those concepts do not translate fluently into time. Geologic time has little resonance–our consciousness is fixed to different, more immediate scales.

The inability to think at longer time scales or to see time as a variable of process has consequences, though. We mis-identify problems and solve them wrongly. One tendency is to apply spatial barriers, like territorial or geographic controls, to all manner of dynamic biologic, physical, and cultural phenomena. A look at these problems from outside our usual time frame situates them differently, and allows more appropriate and robust responses. Taken together these mis-solved problems also demonstrate a similar mindset that begs the question:
What are we keeping out, and in, and why?


 

Scroll Up
error: Content is protected !!