Nature accomplishes all things according to seasons, rhythms and tides. Cycles that cause the Goldfinch to molt his drab olive feathers for the bright yellow plumage of Spring, the butterfly to emerge from her chrysalis and the buds of the hickory to burst open. Nature accomplishes all things without the anxiety of a schedule based on day, minute or second. Only man defines time so precisely.
“Time is a Human Construct”* is a steam-punk sculpture by photographer/artist Jessica Lambiase. The working timepiece surrounded by sculpted tentacles illustrates man’s obsession with time and Nature’s blissful ignorance of it.
When I asked her the motivation behind the design she told me “I like pieces that remind us that for all of our “advancements” we will never be as powerful or as perfect as nature.”
Did you know that there is a tribe deep in the Amazon jungle that does not live by the clock and does not even have the language to describe time or dates.
As reported by Australian Geographic (May 23, 2011): Professor Chris Sinha, of the University of Portsmouth, led the research which found that the Amondawa people of north-western Brazil do not even have words for ‘time’, ‘week’, ‘month’ or ‘year’.
In his study, published in the journal Language and Cognition, he argues that it is the first time scientists have been able to prove time is not a deeply entrenched universal human concept, as previously thought.
“For the Amondawa, time does not exist in the same way as it does for us,” he says. “We can now say without doubt that there is at least one language and culture which does not have a concept of time as something that can be measured, counted or talked about in the abstract. This doesn’t mean that the Amondawa are ‘people outside time’, but they live in a world of events, rather than seeing events as being embedded in time.”
Some might pity the Amondawa, so woefully primitive and “behind the times”, but perhaps they should rather be envied because they enjoy a oneness with Nature that most men will never know.
At least we can take our minds “off the clock” briefly: watch the birds, sit by a stream, paint a tranquil scene and appreciate what it must be like in a world without time. Enjoy!
*Jessica’s sculpture was donated to the Tennyson Center for Children in Denver, Colorado for their May 4, 2014 fundraising auction.