Time Can Be Tricky, As Seen in a Humorous Commercial

timeThe video below plays humorously with the notion of time. In some ways time is something very specific (e.g., “It’s 2:09 P.M.”) while in other ways it is rather vague (e.g., “That sermon went on for hours!” or “Time flies!”)

The ancient Greeks had several words concerning time, including chronos, kairos, and aeon. Chronos refers to what we think of as “clock time,” time considered as a rather precise thing. Kairos refers to the “elasticity” of time that we sometimes experience (in which ten minutes might seem like an hour, or vice versa). Kairos also refers to the “fittingness” of a certain thing to time (e.g., the proper time to say or do something). Aeon refers to eternity, the fullness of time.

In the world of science, it would seem that chronos (precise clock time) would have pride of place. And so it does, except that even clock time has been discovered to be less precise than first thought. Time is actually somewhat elastic; it is affected by speed and gravity. As one moves at a speed closer and closer to the speed of the light, time slows to a crawl relative to its normal pace. Gravity also affects time; we would age a little more slowly in the heavy gravity of Jupiter as compared here on Earth. Tests have confirmed these insights. While we don’t currently have the ability to travel at anything approaching the speed of light speed, we do have very accurate atomic clocks. An experiment was conducted in which two planes flew around the earth, one at twice the speed of sound (Mach 2) and the other at a mere 500 miles per hour. Sure enough, the clock on the faster plane ran more slowly than the clock on the slower plane.

So time, a seemingly simple concept, is actually quite complex and mysterious. Think about all that as you watch this commercial: