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Playing with Time

Of all the powers we have as humans, there is nothing we are more powerless against...than time.  -  Don Campbell

Many of the great science fiction authors of our time have dealt with the wonders of time travel. From H. G. Wells to Isaac Asimov, they have depicted a world where the human race has finally mastered this elusive ability, and made time its master, although often to some unforeseen and tragic conclusion. Even classic films such as "Back to the Future", "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure", and "Hot Tub Time Machine" have taken a crack at it. Okay, maybe not the 'classic' films you were thinking of, but you get my point. Controlling time has always been a human fantasy.

Well, maybe we already control more than you think...

Some of our most successful technological advancements are really time modifiers. Look at this blog for example. I write a post, and sometime in the future, when you're looking for inspiration and a fascinating read, you dive in. It doesn't matter what time these thoughts run from my brain to my fingertips, you can enjoy them whenever you wish. It's really the same concept with email, which is why I prefer it to instant messaging, and voicemail, which is why I seldom answer my phone.

Entertainment is much the same. I almost NEVER watch a live television event. My digital video recorder captures all the shows that are interesting to me, and saves them on its disk for me to watch whenever I wish. I'll even record a live broadcast so I can watch a pre-recorded show rather than be at the mercy of time. The power of pressing PAUSE, going to the kitchen for a snack, and returning exactly where you left off, is a heady power trip!

One of my favourite hobbies is photography. Essentially, that's the art (and science) of forever capturing a moment in time. That moment will never happen again. Think how important old images are to you. Pictures of your youth. Your wedding day. Your child's birth. Freezing time in an instant, so you can recall it later. Often, the element of time, rather than their artistic nature, is the very thing that makes these images priceless.

The list of impactful time-altering technologies goes on and on. You could put up a good argument that the microwave alters time too, "I don't want to eat in 30 minutes. I want to eat in 30 seconds!" How powerful is that!

So the next time you're reading "The Time Machine" or watching an episode of "Dr. Who", remember that time altering technology is not as elusive as you think. Now if only I could use some of this power to restore my constantly receding hairline.


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