Defining Our Limits

Time is a faculty of the mind for ordering and measuring our spatio-temporal experience in terms of sequence. When our scientists, our appointed cataloguers of the mind’s measuring systems, decree (for the moment) that the universe is 13.8 billion years old — give or take a few hundred million, of course — they are defining the limits of the mind’s own measuring tool, but expressing this limit in the form of a boast. “I can count to 13.8 billion!” 

How quaint. But when will you remember how to count beyond number? When will you stop imagining the world began when you were born, which is to say at the point marked “0” on the longest ruler you have found so far? As though the limits of your methods of ordering your spatio-temporal experience had any bearing on the condition or extent of “the universe.”

Just another creation myth, no better in the end, perhaps, than any other — and certainly less educationally ennobling than most.

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