Stone Pigs

undeniable underlying truths

Time: The Movie

Posted By Alan Partis on May 20, 2001

Imagine, if you will, a movie that documented the history of our planet, all 6 billion years, plus or minus a couple hundred million. Would such a movie be at all interesting? I suspect that it would start pretty slow like many documentaries, but speed up near the end. How long would it be? That’s hard to say, but at 24 frames per second (the standard film rate) with each frame representing one year in the history, it would take almost 8 years! Such a film, were each frame to be ΒΌ inch long, would be nearly long enough to be wrap our fair blue marble in a nice little ribbon.

The first few years of the film would be filled with violence and change on a planetary scale. Whole lifeless oceans would come and go before the first intermission. Global temperatures would rise and fall like bouncing rubber balls with various gasses filling the atmosphere making our home completely inhospitable to all life.

Eventually life would begin and the story line would be painstakingly slow as the eons of evolution slowly build and continually adapt to a sea of constant change. Then, with only 96 days to go the Jurassic period of the great dinosaurs would begin and last for 64 glorious days. Modern man, homo sapiens, wouldn’t appear in the scene until the last 7 minutes of the show (although our Neanderthal predecessors would show up about a day ahead of us)! Think about that. This movie has been playing nonstop for nearly 8 years and modern man only makes a painfully brief appearance in the last few moments! Our entire history, the great pyramids, Greek culture, the Roman Coliseum, the printing press, hardly even warrant a credit at the end. Each of our lives, barely 3 seconds as they flash by.

So what’s all this perspective good for? Not a lot I suppose, but it does help calm the hysteria that seems to abound from time to time. Statements like, “The is the worst storm in history” or “This could destroy the planet” get put in their proper place and the speakers made to look foolish.

I don’t have all of life’s answers and I know that no one else does either. What I DO know is that I’m hungry, will someone get me some popcorn?


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