Lucky to Be Getting Big Banged by Father Time

graphic suggesting we are still getting big banged in the age of star light

The suggestion is that we are getting big banged. Thank goodness. The big bang was important and is understood as the beginning, and it goes on. This is not to say it wasn’t (isn’t) the hand of God.  It is to say there is a lot to think about, and to point out the original bang looks to be ongoing. And time affects us each uniquely, some more than others.

icon depiction of how big banged goes on, expanding and growing at an increasing rate, Icon illustrations by Daryl Collins © AMNH

That big bang of 13+ billion years ago was a start that has not yet completed, and will not as long as the stars shine. The big banging keeps on keeping on; It is one ongoing force in the form of time continuation and universe expansion. So, the universe is bang-bang-banged, as it expands at an ever-accelerating rate, held together under the manifest control of time. Time is the focus of this write-up, with a note of concern and implications for the prisoner. Illustration by Daryl Collins © AMNH

Time is Relentless, and Then Some

Cosmos, the old Greek word for the universe, implies viewing the universe as a complex and orderly system or entity. Time is a stalwart key ingredient of existence; time is not independent of space.  Over time, man has personified the phenomena as father time, usually suggesting unavoidable change and the dark harvest.

Father time depicted as a contributor to the ongoing big banging

The sun rises, sets, and rises again, unfailingly measuring Earth’s 24-hour day on the basis of motion. Each planet has its own spin rate, so the lengths of a day are different (but steady) on each respective planet. For example, Earth’s neighbor Venus has a day that is longer than its year.

We don’t really make up time, but times does make us up in every regard, from the beats of our hearts to our changing personalities and our physiques, to our every action and inaction. It’s all a function of the continuous flow of time.

Father time keeps banging away. And this is good. Time will go on as long as the stars keep twinkling. But whether humans will be able to keep up with old man time is among the biggest of wonder worries. All life ultimately comes from stardust. However, the particular blend of dust needed for human life is plundered under man’s control, and key resource availability is on a decidedly bad trend. Man’s two million years on Earth makes him a newcomer in the overall scheme of time. Without significant course correction, we might be a proverbial flash in the universal pan.

Like the Stars, Each Person Forms, Ages, and Dies

Like all earthly life-forms, we human types are in our 24-hour daily rhythm, driven by the mystery and uniqueness of time. We cannot see it or hear it. We can’t control it or influence it, but time governs our lives. People seek to maximize the utility of time, to get the most they can out of it. Time dictates our routines.

Most learn time cannot be cheated, while all intuitively know it won’t go backwards. Consider the single most formidable and absolute characteristic of time – it is unidirectionally forward. Herein lies the rub and frustration for people, for high order thinking caring people – even (or especially) for prisoners.

Being locked up cuts to the psyche. Even prisoners who acknowledge guilt or who find some relief in being locked away (such as those who seek or accept rehabilitation) are not ready for the time consequences of prison. Incarceration can be a scar on the person no less prominent and lasting than the big banged collision craters on the moon.

give me freedom or give me death

The loss of one’s freedom has been called man’s greatest fear. That’s the punishment dimension. But certainly, some people need to be locked up. Most all prisoners end up coming back to our communities. So, it is in society’s interest to be better attuned and more responsive to prison time implications. This assumes a humanitarian orientation, where we are not giving up on people. No veneer theory here.

The pure time effects of being locked away constitutes (or at least exacerbates) trauma. There is a direct relation between length of prison time served and time related trauma. It has been observed that anyone locked down more than three years is subjected to compounded time-related affliction. Likewise, the person returning to the streets is emerging from the closest thing we have to a time warp; she/he will need help.

We’re getting big banged as long as the stars twinkle; let’s work to carry it forward, be truly conservative, and live more fairly and altruistically along the way.