The Beginnings Of The Concept Of Time

By Antonia ńĆirjak on June 16 2020 in Did You Know

The concept of time is essential in our daily life.
The concept of time is essential in our daily life.
  • According to the theory of relativity, time began with the Big Bang since that is the furthest we can go in the past.
  • Around 1500 B.C., Ancient Egyptians invented sundials and started measuring time.
  • It was not until the 13th century that people started developing mechanical time machines, and perpetuated the idea of separating time into equal pieces that were counted.

The concept of time is essential in our daily life, time is passing, and we measure it with machines, but we cannot touch it, and we cannot inspect it in a laboratory. It is even hard to definite it, and that is why philosophy, psychology, and mathematics, for example, present different answers to the question of "what is time?".

According to the theory of relativity, time began with the Big Bang since that is the furthest we can go in the past. Human beings noticed patterns of movement in nature and started to compare singular events of their everyday lives, and over many years and many inventions, this resulted in the concept of time as we know it today.

Who Was The First One That Started Measuring Time?

Somewhere around 1500 B.C., Ancient Egyptians invented sundials and started measuring time. The time they measured was not identical to the time that we measure today because their basic unit was the length of daylight, which was split into twelve parts, similar to the current concept of the hour. Naturally, this approach made the length of the hour change due to the change of seasons, and different location.

Somewhere around 1500 B.C., Ancient Egyptians invented sundials and started measuring time.
Somewhere around 1500 B.C., Ancient Egyptians invented sundials and started measuring time.

This form of measurement of time was not applicable in the night, as it was dependent on the sun. Because of this, many devices like water clocks and sandglasses were invented, and they shared the same concept of time as something that flows. These devices enabled people to measure time without being reliant on the length of the day, but they were not completely accurate, and they could not work indefinitely. For these reasons, the most common application of such devices was to use them to measure the length of an activity.

It was not until the 13th century that people started developing mechanical time machines, and perpetuated the idea of separating time into equal pieces that were counted. Today, it is hard to imagine life without looking at the clock, because a particular time frame governs almost all of our daily activities, and all of us have some form of a reliable machine to keep track (either a hand watch or a smartphone).

The Origin Of The Concept Of Time

The concept of time has interested many philosophers such as Plato, Immanuel Kant, and scientists such as Isaac Newton due to its objective, as well as abstract characteristics. According to German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz, it was because of human cognitive and perceptual abilities that we were able to understand the chronological aspect of the experience, and of time as an order of successive events.

This is where most scholars agree, that time is a continuous series of od events, with an intrinsic order. The ability to differentiate the contents of our memory depending on the time of happening (for example, if something happened earlier or later) is the necessary condition to understand and experience anything temporal. Without this comparative ability, there would be no concept of "passing" and time.

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