Story type: Essay
Time has no real existence. Yet time is man’s most precious possession.
Time is defined as a “succession of events.” What we call an hour means certain movements in the machinery of a watch. What we call a day means one revolution of the earth upon its axis, the turning of its surface toward the light of the sun. Time is the most mysterious factor in our lives and thoughts. It never had a beginning, it cannot possibly have an end.
Time only exists for us in the actual moment in which we live. Yet our thoughts are in the time of past and future, and hardly ever on the actual reality of the moment.
With the ceasing of our own consciousness, time ceases, so far as we are concerned. If you go to sleep and sleep soundly, you cannot tell when you awake whether you have slept a minute or an hour. Time stops when YOU cease to observe the succession of events. In dying, we duplicate on a big and prolonged scale our little daily sleeps in life.
If a man were told that after death his soul would not regain consciousness for a thousand millions of years, he would worry, and complain of the “long time.” But it would make no difference to him whether the time were a thousand millions of years or forty seconds–time would not exist for him; he would not know the difference.
There is little doubt that to the ephemeridae, creatures that live but for a day, that day must seem as long as our century, for in their life of incessant activity and agitation every second is a long space. And there is no doubt that to the giant turtles of the Galapagos Islands, heavy monsters that live ten centuries or longer, a week is a fraction of time far less important than an hour to us. —-
A mysterious thing is time and its divisions. Man manufactures a watch capable of registering a fraction of a second. And in the force called light we have a power that can go seven times around the world in one second.
We estimate our time by years. It takes one year for our little earth to spin round the sun. And during that year it turns three hundred and sixty-five times on its own axis. While the entire body of our earth flies through space, accompanying the sun on its journey, the northern extremity of our planet has a separate circular motion of its own. This circular motion takes twenty-seven thousand years to complete one circle, and as it moves in this inconceivably slow journey our pole selects for us and points out the various suns which in turn we call the North Star.
We have written thus much to fix the attention of readers on the question of time. Now, how does it affect you? Time represents your only chance, your only wealth, your only possibility for achieving anything.
The man who lasts fifty years lives about four hundred and thirty-eight thousand hours. Sleep takes at least one-third, or one hundred and forty-six thousand hours. The processes of eating, washing, dressing, getting up and going to bed take up at least three hours per day, or fifty-four thousand seven hundred and fifty hours.
In addition to all this TIME cut out of our lives there is the time devoted to amusement, the time devoted to idle dreaming–and yet millions of people are wondering how they can “PASS THE TIME.”
In every great city and in every small town there should be a monument to time. Young children should be taken to see it, clergymen should preach at the foot of it on the sacred importance of the few hours of activity given to us here. As the sand runs through an hour glass, so you run your short race on this earth. That passing sand means the passing of your chances for making your life worth while. Instead of thinking how you WILL pass the time, cross-examine yourself and ask yourself how you HAVE passed the time thus far.
What did you do last year–what use did you make of the time as it went by? What did you do yesterday? What are you going to do to-day? You possess a mind organized for practically unlimited thinking and studying. How many of your hours do you live as a thinking, studying man? How many do you live on a par with an ox chewing his cud in the field?
The ox does not waste HIS time. It is his business to grow fat and produce beef. He uses every hour. It is your business to use your time in the development of your mind, in dealing with the duties and problems that are put before you.
Every young man can make a success if he will really look upon each hour as an OPPORTUNITY, and cease to look upon the hours as useless things, to be thrown away.
One hour will give you a knowledge of some good book, or wisely spent, with a purpose of improving your health, it will make your brain more efficient and add to the value of all future hours.
If you have a horse, a bicycle, a gun, you feel that because you HAVE it you ought to USE it.
How much more should you feel that you ought to use your TIME, in using which you use your own brain! Surely, your brain is more important and more worthy of conscientious use than a bicycle or a gun.
Talk to children on this question of time. Teach them that respect for time means respect for their own lives and success in life.