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Time & Money


I always thought that calling time the fourth dimension was a cheat. It shouldn't be in the same league with the first three dimensions, but had been lumped in with them because, I figured, physicists didn't know where else to put it.

I am not aware that my opinion troubled a single physicist.

But now that I have less of it left, the whole time-concept seems obvious to me: we move around in the first three dimensions; how we move in them is constrained by time.

Shopping makes this clear. I need a dress--I can only look at one store at a time. How much time do I have to go to other stores? I make the best choice I can at the time, but the store might have had a much better selection two weeks ago. The dress I wear to the party is a function of my time.

Why did he marry her, we wonder? It's a function of when: when they met, when was a recent heartbreak, when a new job put him in her city, etc., etc.

Meetings take place in time, as much as they do in space. One of my favorite murder mysteries centers around time travel, and the foul deed is accomplished by the killer simply making certain that the parents of his intended victim never meet! His act is a function of time.

I like furniture with a lot of time under its belt, which can be a money-saving, but time-intensive, preference. I remember how much I paid for something, and pro-rate the price by the number of years I've owned it. Economists explain that most people's wages are paid by the hour, so an hour and, say, a twenty dollar bill, have an exchange rate. If I paid four dollars for the oak table in the picture (and I did), the price is equivalent to twelve minutes of my time at that wage. It took my husband much, much, much longer than that to repair the table this week, and it's holding my art supplies right now because he took the time.

I moved this month. Got rid of a boatload of stuff, and the operative deciding principle was time. I reluctantly factored into every pitch/save decision the fact that I no longer have sixty or seventy years in front of me, but more like twenty or thirty or forty. Given that time limitation, I will probably never read Will & Ariel Durant's The Story of Civilization. I won't spend that much time on it.

So I concede: time is a dimension. I move around in it, and I can't go everywhere I'd like to go because of its limitations. There's Acts 17:26ff: "...[He] hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord...For in him we live, and move, and have our being..."

There are dimensions beyond time and its limitations. Physicists have posited eleven dimensions, which number seems to be a moving target. In the meantime (intentional pun), "I know Who holds tomorrow, and I know Who holds my hand."


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