Monday, February 16, 2009

Flowing vs. Incremental Time

My colleague Paul Rack offers an astute and reflective Meditation on an Hourglass. It reminds me of the difference between analog measurement of time (the moving hour and minute hands type of clock and watch) and digital measurement of time (watches and clocks that display digits) and how the two methods affect our understanding of time.

In an analog world time is approximate and always flowing. In a digital world time is exact and measured in increments. Analog time seems to be more in keeping with the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal, which states that the position of an electron and its speed cannot be measured simultaneously. One or the other, its speed or position, can be determined, but not at the same “time”. Digital time seems to offer the illusion that we can indeed do both.

Practically, I prefer digital time. Theologically and philosophically, I prefer analog time.

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