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Your Clock Is Religious


BrotherJosh
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So a few other threads on religion and culture along with our concept of time has gotten me thinking on time itself, rather how we view time in the most basic sense. We all see time as things such as days, weeks, months, years decades...centuries. Our sense of "time" itself is based on a religious view. We say this is the year 2010 when really it's not technically the "year" 2010. Religions colonize time, meaning we are all faced with different views of time, so we have the basic seven day work week with a sabbath day inserted in. Friday for Muslims, Saturday for Jews and Sunday for Christians. We all have holidays and traditions based on our calendars, the obvious being Christmas and Easter. But just think about how these basic holidays effect our secular lives such as store hours, work weeks, and vacation time. Even when our days start is determined by religion, sundown the previous day for some, midnight or sunrise for others. Even the macro-structure of time is determined by many people's religion some view it as linear having a beginning and end and some view it as cyclic.

 

Anyways, I am just curious to see what everyone's thoughts are on how we base our lives around this concept of time and possibly how religion or Western or even Eastern thought may influence our perceptions on how we interact with our world. It just seems like an interesting topic, specifically the fact that even atheists, agnostics or non-religious people are still basing their lives around religious concepts without really realizing these concepts are influencing their day to day lives...

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When I think of the calendar (days, months, years) I simply think of a really ancient people, before religion even started. Perhaps at the base of myth. That's where the primitive man started to notice patterns in the stars and the moon. Religion was then based on this. Based on the original myths, that is. No doubt, the original myths centered around deities and other supernatural beings, but the ideas were not worshipped as in modern religion. Religion uses these already formulated ideas. Just my take. And I know I may be nit-picking, but I'd argue that our concept of time is based not on religion, but on myth. Did I understand you correctly? Did I make sense?

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Ok I'm wasted so I'm currently in a time warp, but I always feel like time is beyond ancient...unfathomable. :twitch:

 

Bahahah, let's just keep passing that blunt... GONZ9729CustomImage1539775.gifkiss.gif

 

 

 

When I think of the calendar (days, months, years) I simply think of a really ancient people, before religion even started. Perhaps at the base of myth. That's where the primitive man started to notice patterns in the stars and the moon. Religion was then based on this. Based on the original myths, that is. No doubt, the original myths centered around deities and other supernatural beings, but the ideas were not worshipped as in modern religion. Religion uses these already formulated ideas. Just my take. And I know I may be nit-picking, but I'd argue that our concept of time is based not on religion, but on myth. Did I understand you correctly? Did I make sense?

 

 

You actually hit on something I have been thinking about but didn't really enunciate in my post, really the derivation of our time based concepts not necessarily on religion but on myth, the cycles of the sun, the moon the stars the seasons etc...Are the religious concepts of time still based off these myths or are they concepts in and of themselves? What I was getting at was that even the way we say "2010" isn't really 2010 or even how we define tomorrow as Thursday, what is "Thursday"? I may be completely going over my own head at this point...

 

 

The overarching point however, remains how we view time, specifically that we base our lives essentially on a cultural or religiously based concept of time and space.

 

Like a pair of glasses, humans see with culture, but they do not usually see culture. Computers do not know they are running a program, they simply follow the instructions. Seeing your glasses, recognizing the program is rare thing, achieved by few individuals in even fewer societies. It demands a certain amount of 'freedom" a certain amount of distance from oneself. It is also probably not an entirely desirable or beneficial ability: taken for grantedness is adaptive in the strong sense...Skip a few lines..." Some atheists and other critics of religion like to use analogy of a crutch for religion - that is something that the weak use to get them through otherwise difficult situations. The implication is that if they were stronger (like us) they could dispense of the crutch and walk independent and free. But you cannot pull a crutch from a crippled person. Rather, they will fall and probably blame you for the accident. The real point is more profound but perhaps more discouraging: religion for the religious person is like culture for the cultural person - it is glasses, not crutches. And these glasses are not prophylactic - they do not help the "better". They make seeing at all possible. Maybe an ultimate analogy for culture and religion in particular is note glasses but the very eyes themselves." - David Eller

 

That is what I wonder, our concepts of time itself is based on religion, how do we separate these two concepts and strike forth independently on our own? On top of our very basic concepts of time, religion seems to have permeated our very basic of thought processes, do we ever break free of these concepts?

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Our current concepts of time our very much based on the Babylonians and their astrology (basing it on circles and divisions of the same is how we wind up with hours, minutes, etc. that all work into 60, 3600 and so on). The next largest influence was Julius Caesar (and Augustus with minor corrections that should have been done from the start) with his calendar reforms. This was just one of the perks he got when he became Ponitfex Maximus. Our calendar is nearly identical to his only the Romans had an 8 day week based on market days.

 

There was another 7 day week that was based on astrology that ran roughly simultaneously then replaced it over the course of a few centuries (~2nd BCE-2nd CE). The day names would have been the name of the god that was ruler of the day. The gods were the planets (the visible planets which included the sun and moon). There was a set ruler for each hour for every day and whoever ruled at "dawn" (really a preset time) ruled that day. All Roman days were exactly 12 hours of daytime and hours hours of nighttime year round. A new day would start at midnight just like ours do but the daytime count started at dawn (ie. dawn to dusk was always 12 hours of "day" with noon being hour 6). Like today the people had "common" terms to refer to all these things and they were a lot like how we use them but not entirely identical. This is what initially set our days of the week but only "Sun"day and "Moon"day still exist and the rest have changed to Anglo-Saxon/Norse names (ie. Jupiter->Thor's day or Mercury->Woden's day). Different gods could rule the night based on the same idea but at dusk. And then finally the Gregorian calendar that just made the final adjustments to the Julian calendar.

 

While all this was going on there was many other calendars in use all over the world. The Egyptians had a 10 day week. The Jews had a 7 day week based on the Babylonian and Josephus appears to use the Syro-Pheonecian calendar among others (only one day of the Jewish calendar had a "name" which was the sabbath). The Greeks had a number of calendars at any given time.

 

mwc

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I think that when we get it to its most basic level, we base our understanding of time on astronomical events onto which our ancestors grafted certain religious meanings. At our core, as with almost, if not all, creatures on our planet, we are governed by both the earth's rotation on its axis (rising and falling of the sun) and on its revolution around the sun (the seasons). All elements of what we call time ultimately have reference to those two astronomical events. A day is the time it takes our earth to rotate once on its axis. A year is the time it takes our earth to revolve once around the sun. Every unit of time is either a fraction of one or both of those events or a multiple of one or both of those events either projected backwards (the past) or forward (the future).

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I think that when we get it to its most basic level, we base our understanding of time on astronomical events onto which our ancestors grafted certain religious meanings. At our core, as with almost, if not all, creatures on our planet, we are governed by both the earth's rotation on its axis (rising and falling of the sun) and on its revolution around the sun (the seasons). All elements of what we call time ultimately have reference to those two astronomical events. A day is the time it takes our earth to rotate once on its axis. A year is the time it takes our earth to revolve once around the sun. Every unit of time is either a fraction of one or both of those events or a multiple of one or both of those events either projected backwards (the past) or forward (the future).

Sounds easy when put that way, doesn't it? But it's not. Here's just a handful I'm lifting from Wikipedia (so I don't have to type them myself...and I couldn't remember them all if I wanted to):

Sidereal, tropical, and anomalistic years

 

The relations among these are considered more fully in Precession (astronomy).

 

Each of these three years can be loosely called an 'astronomical year'.

 

The sidereal year is the time taken for the Earth to complete one revolution of its orbit, as measured against a fixed frame of reference (such as the fixed stars, Latin sidera, singular sidus). Its duration in SI days of 86,400 SI seconds each is on average:

 

365.256 363 004 days (365 d 6 h 9 min 9.7676 s) (at the epoch J2000.0 = 2000 January 1 12:00:00 TT).

 

The tropical year is "the period of time for the ecliptic longitude of the Sun to increase by 360 degrees. Since the Sun's ecliptic longitude is measured with respect to the equinox, the tropical year comprises a complete cycle of the seasons...The mean tropical year is approximated by 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 45 seconds."[3] (= 365.24219 days) The tropical year is shorter than the sidereal year because of the precession of the equinoxes.

 

The anomalistic year is the time taken for the Earth to complete one revolution with respect to its apsides. The orbit of the Earth is elliptical; the extreme points, called apsides, are the perihelion, where the Earth is closest to the Sun (January 3 in 2011), and the aphelion, where the Earth is farthest from the Sun (July 4 in 2011). The anomalistic year is usually defined as the time between two successive perihelion passages. Its average duration is:

 

365.259 636 days (365 d 6 h 13 min 52.6 s) (at the epoch J2011.0).[4]

 

The anomalistic year is slightly longer than the sidereal year because of the precession of the apsides (also known as anomalistic precession, orbital precession, and, perihelion precession.)

[edit] Draconic year

 

The draconic year, draconitic year, eclipse year, or ecliptic year is the time taken for the Sun (as seen from the Earth) to complete one revolution with respect to the same lunar node (a point where the Moon's orbit intersects the ecliptic). This period is associated with eclipses: these occur only when both the Sun and the Moon are near these nodes; so eclipses occur within about a month of every half eclipse year. Hence there are two eclipse seasons every eclipse year. The average duration of the eclipse year is:

 

346.620 075 883 days (346 d 14 h 52 min 54 s) (at the epoch J2000.0).

 

This term is sometimes erroneously used to designate the draconic or nodal period of lunar precession, that is the time it takes for a complete revolution of the Moon's ascending node around the ecliptic: 18.612 815 932 Julian years (6798.331 019 days; at the epoch J2000.0).

[edit] Full moon cycle

 

The full moon cycle is the time for the Sun (as seen from the Earth) to complete one revolution with respect to the perigee of the Moon's orbit. This period is associated with the apparent size of the full moon, and also with the varying duration of the synodic month. The duration of one full moon cycle is:

 

411.784 430 29 days (411 d 18 h 49 min 34 s) (at the epoch J2000.0).

 

[edit] Lunar year

 

The lunar year comprises twelve full cycles of the phases of the Moon, as seen from Earth. It has a duration of approximately 354.37 days.

[edit] Vague year

 

The vague year, from annus vagus or wandering year, is an integral approximation to the year equaling 365 days, which wanders in relation to more exact years. Typically the vague year is divided into 12 schematic months of 30 days each plus 5 epagomenal days. The vague year was used in the calendars of Ancient Egypt, Iran, Armenia and in Mesoamerica among the Aztecs and Maya.[5]

[edit] Heliacal year

 

A heliacal year is the interval between the heliacal risings of a star. It differs from the sidereal year for stars away from the ecliptic due mainly to the precession of the equinoxes. (To visualise: the constellation Crux, which rose and set as seen from the Mediterranean in ancient Greek times, is never above the horizon in current times.)

[edit] Sothic year

 

The Sothic year is the interval between heliacal risings of the star Sirius. It is equal to the sidereal year and its duration is very close to the mean Julian year of 365.25 days.

The important ones here you be the top two (used now), the Lunar year and the Sothic year. These were all used (among many others). So how long is a year? It varied to shorter than our current year, to about the same, to longer. It just depended.

 

The seasons seem a good way to go but depending on where you live you may not have four distinct seasons. In SoCal there's really only three and sometimes barely that. We don't really have a good "autumn" here. Nothing at all like up north where there seems to be four seasons. If you're using crop timing then it can vary a bit depending on the weather conditions. It doesn't make for an accurate calendar and that's one reason Julius Caesar had to adjust their's by some months to get things aligned again (that and the calendar could be altered for political reasons).

 

The day also varies over the course of the year so the Roman way (they weren't the only ones) of having 12 hour day/nights would mean hours would get shorter/longer during different times of the year. That's not too reliable. A 4 hour distance in the winter could be a longer, and hotter, distance in the summer and you may not have enough water to make it or anywhere to get water since it's farther than you thought (luckily Romans started measuring things other ways but this didn't always work out when hiking in unknown/unmarked territory). It might only mean falling short a mile or two but if you're stuck in the middle of nowhere and don't know this then you may be out of luck.

 

I agree with you that it started out with the basic type of observations and understandings that you mention. But as people realized the nuance that was in trying to really understand the "science" of astrology and time keeping that this is one area where religion came in and took control. Or should I say a "mystery" formed and the power of keeping that secret, and only passing it through initiates, allowed these clans to rise up and stay there. They "unlocked" the "signs" that others couldn't. They gave order to what would be a type of chaos. By passing the information down over long periods of time they could have working models that other people couldn't gain over their relatively short lifetimes who didn't have the luxury of sitting around staring at the sky and documenting it. A king would keep these people around because he could plan campaigns around this information and he could let his subjects know when they should plant a given crop. It made him look like he had a direct line to the gods. And anyone who had the best calendars would be beneficial and supported by the state.

 

mwc

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I think that when we get it to its most basic level, we base our understanding of time on astronomical events onto which our ancestors grafted certain religious meanings. At our core, as with almost, if not all, creatures on our planet, we are governed by both the earth's rotation on its axis (rising and falling of the sun) and on its revolution around the sun (the seasons). All elements of what we call time ultimately have reference to those two astronomical events. A day is the time it takes our earth to rotate once on its axis. A year is the time it takes our earth to revolve once around the sun. Every unit of time is either a fraction of one or both of those events or a multiple of one or both of those events either projected backwards (the past) or forward (the future).

Sounds easy when put that way, doesn't it? But it's not. Here's just a handful I'm lifting from Wikipedia (so I don't have to type them myself...and I couldn't remember them all if I wanted to):

Sidereal, tropical, and anomalistic years

 

The relations among these are considered more fully in Precession (astronomy).

 

Each of these three years can be loosely called an 'astronomical year'.

 

The sidereal year is the time taken for the Earth to complete one revolution of its orbit, as measured against a fixed frame of reference (such as the fixed stars, Latin sidera, singular sidus). Its duration in SI days of 86,400 SI seconds each is on average:

 

365.256 363 004 days (365 d 6 h 9 min 9.7676 s) (at the epoch J2000.0 = 2000 January 1 12:00:00 TT).

 

The tropical year is "the period of time for the ecliptic longitude of the Sun to increase by 360 degrees. Since the Sun's ecliptic longitude is measured with respect to the equinox, the tropical year comprises a complete cycle of the seasons...The mean tropical year is approximated by 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 45 seconds."[3] (= 365.24219 days) The tropical year is shorter than the sidereal year because of the precession of the equinoxes.

 

The anomalistic year is the time taken for the Earth to complete one revolution with respect to its apsides. The orbit of the Earth is elliptical; the extreme points, called apsides, are the perihelion, where the Earth is closest to the Sun (January 3 in 2011), and the aphelion, where the Earth is farthest from the Sun (July 4 in 2011). The anomalistic year is usually defined as the time between two successive perihelion passages. Its average duration is:

 

365.259 636 days (365 d 6 h 13 min 52.6 s) (at the epoch J2011.0).[4]

 

The anomalistic year is slightly longer than the sidereal year because of the precession of the apsides (also known as anomalistic precession, orbital precession, and, perihelion precession.)

[edit] Draconic year

 

The draconic year, draconitic year, eclipse year, or ecliptic year is the time taken for the Sun (as seen from the Earth) to complete one revolution with respect to the same lunar node (a point where the Moon's orbit intersects the ecliptic). This period is associated with eclipses: these occur only when both the Sun and the Moon are near these nodes; so eclipses occur within about a month of every half eclipse year. Hence there are two eclipse seasons every eclipse year. The average duration of the eclipse year is:

 

346.620 075 883 days (346 d 14 h 52 min 54 s) (at the epoch J2000.0).

 

This term is sometimes erroneously used to designate the draconic or nodal period of lunar precession, that is the time it takes for a complete revolution of the Moon's ascending node around the ecliptic: 18.612 815 932 Julian years (6798.331 019 days; at the epoch J2000.0).

[edit] Full moon cycle

 

The full moon cycle is the time for the Sun (as seen from the Earth) to complete one revolution with respect to the perigee of the Moon's orbit. This period is associated with the apparent size of the full moon, and also with the varying duration of the synodic month. The duration of one full moon cycle is:

 

411.784 430 29 days (411 d 18 h 49 min 34 s) (at the epoch J2000.0).

 

[edit] Lunar year

 

The lunar year comprises twelve full cycles of the phases of the Moon, as seen from Earth. It has a duration of approximately 354.37 days.

[edit] Vague year

 

The vague year, from annus vagus or wandering year, is an integral approximation to the year equaling 365 days, which wanders in relation to more exact years. Typically the vague year is divided into 12 schematic months of 30 days each plus 5 epagomenal days. The vague year was used in the calendars of Ancient Egypt, Iran, Armenia and in Mesoamerica among the Aztecs and Maya.[5]

[edit] Heliacal year

 

A heliacal year is the interval between the heliacal risings of a star. It differs from the sidereal year for stars away from the ecliptic due mainly to the precession of the equinoxes. (To visualise: the constellation Crux, which rose and set as seen from the Mediterranean in ancient Greek times, is never above the horizon in current times.)

[edit] Sothic year

 

The Sothic year is the interval between heliacal risings of the star Sirius. It is equal to the sidereal year and its duration is very close to the mean Julian year of 365.25 days.

The important ones here you be the top two (used now), the Lunar year and the Sothic year. These were all used (among many others). So how long is a year? It varied to shorter than our current year, to about the same, to longer. It just depended.

 

The seasons seem a good way to go but depending on where you live you may not have four distinct seasons. In SoCal there's really only three and sometimes barely that. We don't really have a good "autumn" here. Nothing at all like up north where there seems to be four seasons. If you're using crop timing then it can vary a bit depending on the weather conditions. It doesn't make for an accurate calendar and that's one reason Julius Caesar had to adjust their's by some months to get things aligned again (that and the calendar could be altered for political reasons).

 

The day also varies over the course of the year so the Roman way (they weren't the only ones) of having 12 hour day/nights would mean hours would get shorter/longer during different times of the year. That's not too reliable. A 4 hour distance in the winter could be a longer, and hotter, distance in the summer and you may not have enough water to make it or anywhere to get water since it's farther than you thought (luckily Romans started measuring things other ways but this didn't always work out when hiking in unknown/unmarked territory). It might only mean falling short a mile or two but if you're stuck in the middle of nowhere and don't know this then you may be out of luck.

 

I agree with you that it started out with the basic type of observations and understandings that you mention. But as people realized the nuance that was in trying to really understand the "science" of astrology and time keeping that this is one area where religion came in and took control. Or should I say a "mystery" formed and the power of keeping that secret, and only passing it through initiates, allowed these clans to rise up and stay there. They "unlocked" the "signs" that others couldn't. They gave order to what would be a type of chaos. By passing the information down over long periods of time they could have working models that other people couldn't gain over their relatively short lifetimes who didn't have the luxury of sitting around staring at the sky and documenting it. A king would keep these people around because he could plan campaigns around this information and he could let his subjects know when they should plant a given crop. It made him look like he had a direct line to the gods. And anyone who had the best calendars would be beneficial and supported by the state.

 

mwc

 

Oh, my! Life used to seem so simple. And now a year's not the time it takes the earth to travel around the sun. Damn!!! :lmao:

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Oh, my! Life used to seem so simple. And now a year's not the time it takes the earth to travel around the sun. Damn!!! :lmao:

Ha ha! You got me. :)

 

I made the mistake of thinking that the ancients didn't have the knowledge that the earth went around the sun over a fairly predictable elliptical orbit as we do today which would mean their model, and definition, for "year" would have to rely on something else entirely and evolve over time.

 

mwc

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Time is a way of explaining things around us (primarily based astrologically) and useful for living an organized life.

 

As for deeper concepts of time, the simple fact that time as we understand it is affected by physical forces (such as gravity), add in ideas like paradoxes and multiple dimensions, and time suddenly becomes one of those things that I find a fascinating idea to explore, but haven't dedicated much time to thinking about (pun intended).

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