How To Get Your Ex Back A Step By Step Guide To Getting Your Ex Back Fast

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Donald NorfolkNowadays we can measure time in microseconds, but this advance does little to enhance our well-being and health. Our ancestors could only measure the passa

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ge of time by the movement of the sun, which is why they believed that time came into existence on the fourth day of Creation, when the sun was formed and its passage could be measured by the movement of the shadows cast by trees, ziggurat towers and Neolithic standing stones. In the Middle Ages sun dials were made by placing rods on the side of churches, cathedrals and mosques. This enabled the passage of time to be measured by the swing of the shadow falling on lines scratched on the wall beneath.

Sundials like these have been in use for thousands of years. As early as the eighth century BC, the prophet Isaiah recounts the miracle which occurred when God, to convince the Israelites of his power, reversed the passage of the sun through the heavens so that the shadow on the sundial of Ahaz was set back by ten degrees. For centuries afterwards sundials were the only practical way of measuring the passage of time; now they’re cherished for their own sake, as delightful garden ornaments. By 1800 most middle class men owned some form of pocket watch, but these instruments were so inaccurate that they had to be regularly adjusted by reference to a sun dial. The same applied to public clocks, which meant that a solar-adjusted clock in Bristol would always be ten minutes later than one in London because the time of sunrise grows later the further west one travels. This became a problem when railways were built, since it was impossible to set time schedules on which everyone could agree. This difficulty was finally settled in 1852 when it was agreed to abide by the time at Greenwich Observatory, which would be transmitted across the nation by the newly developed electric telegraph system. For a while some districts persisted in recognising two time scales, the local time set by the sun and ‘railway time’, which soon became known as GMT.

Even when more accurate timing devices were developed, the sun dial remained popular as a garden ornament. Charles Lamb in his ‘Essays’, published in 1823, argued that while modern clocks and watches may have made the sundial obsolete, they still merited a place in the garden because of their beauty and moral value. The majority carried cautionary mottoes which reminded passers-by that life was short and death imminent. Two of the most popular axioms were ‘Tempus fugit’ (Time flies) and ‘Sic vita transit’ (So passes life.) But my personal preference is for inscriptions which carry a more inspirational message and encourage us to make hay while the sun shines. One of my favourites is recorded on a sundial in Venice, which bears the uplifting maxim: ‘Horus non numero nisi serenas’ , meaning ‘I only count only the sunny hours.’

Quite apart from the words they bear, sundials offer a permanent message of consolation and hope. With the exception of the wind up watch, all the time measuring devices ever invented have paid tribute to the permanence of the natural world. The sun dial, measures the unvarying movement of the solar system. The sand timer registers the inexorable pull of gravity, and the accuracy of the modern quartz watch is entirely dependant on the regular vibrations of a crystal. Whatever else in our lives may change the pull of gravity and the daily journey of the sun remains constant. However dark the night, we always know that the sun will rise the following morning.

When man invented the mechanical time piece he created the weapon of his own destruction, for he came to perceive time as a rapidly flowing stream rather than the rhythmical ebb and flow of night and day, and the gradual transition of the seasons. This radical conceptual change, from cyclical time to lineal time, is the root cause of the ‘hurry sickness’ we suffer today. From that point onwards time became ‘the enemy’.

Workaholics are at risk largely because they’re obsessed with time. Everyday they battle to squeeze a litre of work into a pint of time. Our lives would be infinitely calmer if we could learn the lesson of the sundial, and work to the rhythm of the universe rather than the artificial pace of man-made clocks. If you want to relax while you’re off duty, or taking a well-earned holiday, make a point of discarding your watch and refusing to look at clocks which mark the relentless march of time. Instead allow yourself to be guided by the sun and your inner body clock. Eat when you feel hungry and rest when you’re tired. This was the life style adopted by Thoreau, who said: ‘You can’t kill time without injuring eternity.’

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