“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” Albert Einstein
What would you do if you lost a 24 hour day? Zapped off the calender. Gone! At 11:59:59 p.m, the island nation of Samoa (not to be confused with American Samoa) will lose a full 24 hour day. Yes, you read it right! This tiny South Pacific island will move from one side of the International Dateline to the other. They will skip Friday and jump right into Saturday. No debates, discussions or acrimony over lost birthdays, anniversaries or vacation time. No deaths or births will be recorded for December 30th either… It won’t exist this year but will play catch up next year. Immediately, my antenna went up when I first heard this. Time is an invented construct. We create it to fit our scheduled needs in every nation and everyone follows along; marching to the drum of a trumped up calender that could be changed in one fell swoop. What Samoa is doing, brings to the fore the conversation around real time; what is real time? Is there even such a thing? Is it just another dimension of reality that shifts as we cross nations and zones? We fall back and fall forward an hour every year… Does the actual day change? Sure, it gets darker earlier but in the real sense of time, did it shift?
“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.” Douglas Adams
“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t
own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep
it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it
you can never get it back.” Harvey MacKay
When were you last caught in a timezone shift? The people of Samoa have all agreed to give up Friday for the sake of creating a closer time schedule in sync with Australia, New Zealand, China and Tonga. The new arrangement will make it easy to do business too. As it was explained by a Samoan guest on NPR.org this afternoon, for years, being on a different timezone with the countries listed above meant that business was not being conducted effectively. When Australian businesses were ready on Monday to get orders in and transactions completed, Samoans were in Church… because it was Sunday. Now all will be on board and they can work together in the same time zone. Of course, this got me thinking about the illusion we call time. The time zones we live in are created by man and don’t necessarily accurately reflect how/when we use our time. As of now, Samoa is five hours behind the East Coast. However, when it crosses over to the spanking new dateline of its choosing, it will be 19 hours ahead us here in NY and the rest of the East Coast. Is that cool or crazy? What do you think? More below.