I am powerless against the march of life towards death... well, nearly.

There are things I can do for myself and the living to help slow that march by focussing on the present and celebrating lives past and life being lived.  I do this for myself to cope with my own fear of the unknown and I do this for my clients by creating objects of beauty to memorialize their loved ones.  By asking you to question the very notion of how humans count time, I hope to do this for you.

The ability to mark, measure, and record afforded us the luxury of perceiving time but in a way that is entirely exclusive to our home planet.  All of human history has been defined by this vantage point.  We are still very much defined by it.  What happens to a human’s perception of time, culture, and life/death if that vantage point shifts?

Take the very real possibility of a human colony on Mars.  A “day” would be familiar enough at 24.6229 Earth hours.  A year though?  That is 669-ish sunrises.  The 12 month calendar doesn’t exactly work out so well in that context.

Image of colliding galaxies sourced from : https://www.space-pictures.com/view/pictures-of-space/pictures-of-galaxies/colliding-galaxies/antennae-galaxies.phpFirst generation colonizers may keep their Earth watches and mark their birthdays in the Julian calendar.  Would successive generation birthdays be celebrated on a day and a month and a year belonging to a planet they would likely never see in person?

Further consider human colonization of a planet in a binary star systems.  Which sun would mark sunset and sunrise?  What about habitable moons?  Would the year be marked by rotations around the planet or the parent star?  Starts to mess with ones head a bit even now here on Earth, in this Earth minute, this Earth hour, this Earth day, this Earth year.

 

How would each human culture in those colonies eventually be altered?  Does one's travel through time stay constant regardless of how it is divided up and perceived?

Humanity still operates without having interstellar designation for our home planet, sun, and moon.  We know them simply as "The Solar System", "The Sun", and "The Moon".  If we survive our time on Earth long enough to move beyond it, when someone mentions “The Sun” will another person respond with, “Which one?”.

If our culture catches up with our growing understanding of the unfolding universe, there is no telling how our travel in life to death will be measured, regardless of whether some of us permanently leave our home planet.

So celebrate your quaint Earth birthday - this is the life each of us has, after all.  Mark time in Earth minutes because it is practical.  Just know that the universe has each of us in her hands and there is likely so much more in store for our species and our understanding.

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