What is Fiction?
Copyright 2019, John Manimas
This is a true story. I was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, between 1940 and 1950, using the Gregorian Calendar. Note that for the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar ten days were dropped in 1582 (Julian) and new rules were enacted for the computation used to identify the date of Easter Sunday (Roman Catholic Church) in order to comply with the original method for setting that date. God's pleasure was anticipated, or at least hoped for. If you conduct research to count the number of calendars that have been created and recommended, or advocated, you will find nearly one hundred different types.
Each type of calendar was created by a religious or political entity, or by a scientist in some cases, and offered to the world as the best or most useful means to measure time. Time is actually an intangible and highly controversial concept, because no discussion of time is possible without reference to a clock or device invented, or discovered, to measure time. To understand this reality, one must consider how time is different from other qualities that we measure. Length is concrete. One can hold up a length of stick or wire or rope, but we cannot hold up a length of time. One can feel the weight of a stone or a metal ball in one's hand, but no one can feel a weight of time. Every clock one can imagine, or describe or employ, is produced in essentially the same process. A unit of time is identified as a specific natural interval that repeats itself in a cycle and that cycle is useful for measuring time according to how regular or equal in duration or "length" that cycle or cyclical event is. One example is the "escapement" in the metal wheels of a mechanical clock. Another example is a molecule or atom that farts a particle at regular intervals. Then, that observed natural interval, or cyclical event, is counted. That is what time is. It is something that we count. I believe that it is impossible to separate the time from the clock. This is why we have relativity theory and a lot of crazy thoughts that are given pretentious names, such as "theoretical physics" or "relativity" or "quantum mechanics." If you should be able to investigate these types of human creations, you will find, I suspect, junk. Perhaps elegant junk, self-fulfilling thoughts.
We humans find time extremely useful. It makes us feel better about our position in the world, about what is happening, what has happened and what will happen, or might happen, in the future, such as rainfall or a birth or death or the quality of the cabbage or pigs. Mainly, time in our minds enables us to comprehend cause and effect, and to use such knowledge to control our environment. We can make things happen, or interfere with what can happen, because we perceive cause and effect. If you think about this issue carefully, you will notice that we would have no technology at all and we would not be able to make things or do things if we did not have the ability to count time. Therefore, that fact is the most excellent explanation as to why we do count time, because if we did not count time, we would just roam around eating nuts and berries and we would not make tools or art or anything. Although we find time most useful for our purposes, there is no coherent description or explanation that can be offered by anyone, no matter how many doctoral degrees they may have, as to why Nature has any use for time. And, if Nature does not count time, and if Nature does not have any use for counting time, then that fact is hard evidence that time does not exist in any part of nature outside of the human mind. Thank you. Let's get on with our story.
Around age six I conceived of the thought that I was in some way different from other people. I felt that I saw the world differently or understood things differently from others. I thought that someday I would show what I understood to others. It has been a long haul, with little satisfaction for me. I have always felt that no matter what words I use, others do not really understand the importance of what I am saying, certainly not people in positions of power. It may be that persons in positions of power have their power for reasons other than what they understand. Maybe people in power are in power simply because they desire power and take the time to learn how one negotiates the social rules to get power. If that is true, then that would mean people in power have power only because they know how to get power, but not because they know how to use it. Bad news for us all.
When I was in seventh grade a new boy came to school and he was nerdy. Let's say his name was Tommy. He had the face of an infant and a demeanor of innocence. He was physically smaller than most of the other kids, thin, almost sickly. Children in that stage of early puberty are capable of cruelty, and often have difficulty separating cruelty from humor. We sort of tortured Tommy, and he gradually lost his innocence. He started out being taunted and the butt of jokes, a source of snickers and laughter but not redeemed by any genuine classmate friendships. He was isolated and he entered into a destructive path. He lost his innocence. He began to be a source of trouble. It was a kind of self-destructive revenge. He was made to sit alone and got into conflict with teachers. He was bullied and no one saved him from his position of victim. We stopped active bullying, but the damage had been done. A vulnerable individual had been rejected and banished by the group. I never knew if or how he found his way to affiliation, health and happiness. If he did not, I share in the responsibility for his loss.
A little later, when I was thirteen years old, I spent nights in bed thinking and conducting a vast examination of the world and basic questions about the meaning of life. Why did I do that? Did it make me a better person, this contemplation? So what.
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