There is a term used these days that rankles me like fingernails on a chalkboard–real time. And I may be going on a little rant here–sorry. The vernacular “real time” has become a synonym for the “present”. And I suppose it’s because there is so much information available to us via the Internet that a qualification is needed between what is an original interaction and what is disseminated through the layers of media stratification. But it’s the subsequent illusion of knowledge–because of all this information accessibility–that makes the term “real time” so annoying for me. Because time is not a quantitative entity–something that can be packaged up into a neat glib term–it’s a profound mystery, and to my mind, we need more profound mysteries to dwell upon and less information minutiae.
Here are some interesting ideas about time:
Einstein discovered that time slows down the closer a moving entity comes to the speed of light.
Mircea Eliade wrote about sacred time—a circular time incepted in ritual, where the very act of performing a ritual connects that time to all the previous times the ritual was enacted.
Zen Buddhists say time does not exist, as in; there is no three o’clock in the afternoon as something separate from ourselves–time is one moment after another.
In the space/time continuum theory, space occupies three dimensions and time is a fourth dimension.
Closer to home, time can be both the grandfather clock with its precise tangible mechanisms, so carefully handcrafted, and the electric impulse of the digital clock.
And time can be an internalized boundary—an asset or a stressor–“plenty of time” or “not enough time;” “out of time.”
And finally, the Buddhist belief again: there is no future, just an endlessly changing present.
Which would–happily–mean that all we ever have is real time.