Why watch the clock
if you want to know
the reality?

Dutch zen-koan



In June 1991 I wrote a report titled 'Mental Health and the Timesystem: The Analytic Conclusion'. I wrote it for a professor, professor P. Vroon [r.i.p.] from the University in Utrecht in the Netherlands, with whom I had spoken on this subject. The report not only ended up with him, but also reached the Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken [State Department], with the official at the department responsible for the legal settlement of time. The report remains there filed for those who seek inspiration on the subject of time. Also members of my family and friends got a copy of this report.

I started this plea because I thought this subject too important to keep in the dark. The report, hardly 30 pages long, was not complete enough in its formulation to clarify all arguments sufficiently, alas. Moreover it wasn't meant for the lay. So as to reach a wider audience and elicit a fundamental discussion, have I taken upon me the task to explain it to each and everyone. I do dedicate this story therefore to my parents.

N.B. Concerning the use of capital letters I deviated from the normal course. I do speak of Germany and France, but to maintain this for german sheepdogs and french rolls seemed me a bit too far feched. To be modest I therefore also speak of the french revolution and enlightenment. Also has no list of literature been included since the text was conceived by reference to my personal experience.



In March 1990 I laid my hand upon a book called "Het Verborgen Raderwerk" ('Hidden Cogwheels'), written by the dutch psychologist Douwe Draaisma, a collaborator of professor Vroon. In that book was in clear terms the history of the clock laid out. It dealt with the relation between man and machines and stranded in an exposition on the socalled 'ghost in the machine'. That idea deals with the question whether machines can be really intelligent, can have a ghost. In that the writer failed to establish a clear description of the problem of time and abided by his reference to what others had said. Salient to me was the failure to encompass the human soul with the argument.

From my own teachers I had already learnt that without a rock-solid faith one has an intelligence straying away on many pathways. Not keeping ones eye fixed on this aim, the realization of ones authenticity, one is doomed to fail. Nevertheless I felt personally addressed by the the book of Draaisma and felt sorry that he had missed the point. Way before I already had experimented with timescales, to which I was greatly impressed of the psychological effect that one derives. I myself was trained to be a clinical psychologist and had occupied myself constantly with the search for solutions for the bewilderment of the modern state of mind. Nothing, except for a christian conviction completed with eastern approaches, could satisfy me and, seriously, to be a psychologist is for that reason in a crisis as far as I am concerned. And I am not the only one thinking like that to this.....

Triggered by some annoyance had the experimenting with clokwork pulled me away already in the summer of 1987. I even became zealous. I had divided the day in 50 hours and constructed a scale of 25. I got up at about 1 hours and withdrew to rest at 24 hours. Hours taking a little shorter than half an hour gave me a special thrill. I was almost twelve real hours actively engaged after wich I withdrew for 25 new 'hours' to meditate and to sleep. I had calculated it such a way that I synchronized the clock at 25 hours in summer with the setting sun. I started the day at about 10 hours normal time during the summer. In winter I had to synchronize my clock with sunrise so that the sun neatly set at about 16.30 hours on the new scale. That really stimulated me, but I didn't succeed in arriving at a stable spirit with it. After half a year I dropped out of it and gave up the experiment. Preliminary conclusion was that the clock carries a great capacity to influence a person, but that that way opposing with the normal settlements of time did not provide a sustainable alternative. It left me with a good idea though as for regular living and paying attention to the sun.

When I thereafter in the spring of 1990 read in the book of Douwe Draaisma that in the old days in Paris one fired a cannon at twelve o'clock on a sundial, so that everybody could synchronize his watch, something dawned to me. In my experiment I had ignored the time of noon so that I never knew when the sun was at its summit or culminated as one says. I realized that a stable notion of time was connected to aligning a clock with a stable objective phenomenon in nature. I had drawn my order from the rising and setting sun. Something which, as I later found out, was a muslim habit. In Arabia is at sunset a clock set to twelve. I had lived with their way of timing to the sun, but had with that at this latitude not developed a balanced idea of time. Time arranged to the setting sun turned out to be a practical error. In fact I had misapprehended the importance of the length of the solar day relative tot the average length of a natural day. The latter I had systematically ignored. I supposed that a day begins with the rising or setting of the sun and not at midnight as usual. The actual length of the day was of no importance to me.

I had spent some thought on noontime and even took a look at my balcony how late it would be at my scale when the sun fell directly in line with the east/west situated window of my study, but had not made the connection with the eventual equilibrium of my consciousness of time. I do remember I was puzzled about the oblique position of the axis of the earth and the meaning thereof relative to the noon shadow. I requested tables from the metereological institute and conducted even a measurement to make sure whether the entirety of my house wouldn't bend over to the axis of the earth bending over. I thought that the influence of gravity and the position of the oblique earth axis relative to the sun were somehow related. Thinking about the sun can be very confounding and lead to peculiar assumptions; later on I found out that I wasn't the only one to be confounded about the sun and the time. On the sundial a whole pile of books has been written and, so I discovered later on, there was something wrong with the information.

From my first experiences in 1987 I realized that spring of 1990 my own fallibility and thus was apprehensive on how others thought about this subject. I doubted systematically the scientific discourse about time and in fact had give up any hope to get anywhere in this. The story of Douwe Draaisma inspired me to a new attempt. What if I set the clock to the true of time to the example of that french business with the cannon, and thus would realize a stable notion of time..... Thus it happened that I embarked on a search for the true of noontime and at first was put off by a complicated graphical presentation thereof. It was a composite curve since not only the oblique of the earth's axis plays a part, but also the non-circualr orbit of the earth around the sun. I copied a graph that to that curve could be found in a german encyclopedia and following set my clock to the true of time. Only month's later I noticed that the plus - and minusvalues had been exchanged. In the Encyclopedia Brittanica they were presented to the contrary. In a book about sundials I found an explanation of the signs of which I thought that I had understood them. Again I had fallen for a fallacy, again I found myself on a 'trip' with wrong assumptions and thus had the thesis affirmed that 'science is trial and error'. But this time it wasn't my fault. When I as late as in the professional literatures of sundialmakers could retrace what the meaning was of the plus and minus-signs, was as such the lot apparently not quite aware of the paralogical mysticism of the language one was using. In other words, I was not the only one pretending as if he understood. factually I had found the proof that the gentlemen of the scientific communityt hemselves were confounded on the true of noontime. For years I had tried to catch them on a mistakez and finally I had them. I was depressed and elated at the same time so to speak. I had found it, eureka. before that the clock appealed to me as if it was a barometer, but now I was certain. I had unraveled the gordian knot of science, the philosophy of time. I even had possibly discovered the end of the endless ruminations of psychology that had flooded the world since Freud. All those phantasies, all that searching for certainty and all that sytematic doubting. I had mastered the madness!

In the beginning presented my euphoria and enthusiasm a picture to rosy of course. The factor of time, though certainly for the scientific community a fundamental term, doesn't explain everything. But as a paradigm it can take you far. The entire modern suffering of mankind can be seen as a struggle with the machine of machines, the clock itself. The fact that time already was in a black book in the religiosus notions, I for a moment ignored. Also in the report for the professor had I ignored the extent of that given fact and had I limited myself to a reference to the divinity of the time and the light of the sun, as described in the classical scriptures, and the objective truth of the veritable nature. The word soul I defined as selfremembrance and the eternal was not mentioned. I focussed upon mankind with a clock. Man without a clock, however real, also in this century, was for the greater part left out.

In this book I want to to take a closer look at all the points mentioned in the report, but this time better in perspective and substantiated in the light of the eternal reality of the human being that by nature is more inclined to more or less recreationally shaking off the idea of time. It is so that we like to forget the time. It is for the sake of the harmony of the organized society that I'va set up this discourse on phenomena of time and alternatives. And not only that. Eventually is it my concern to protect the individual person in his identity, integrity and spiritual sanity and to retreive the truth in general.

To conclude this introduction the following: this discourse was set up for the sake of an alternative. The idea of change in an already fast changing, more or less unstable society full of criminality and psychological drama possibly calls for more resistence and incomprehension. I ask you, dear reader, for a critical confidence, for patience [also with my possibly foreign type of English] and for a sincere good will to build for yourself and therewith possibly for the whole world a better life and not escape the pain to accept the imperative of the natural reality. We live [when I wrote this in Ducth] in the nineties of the 2oth century, a time in which the ecological theme to clear our conscience with the natural order is pressing and threatens to determine the political and social reality. I write for those who see the latter as a thing positive. People who beforehand postulate not to have any control over their own time and therewith reject any alternative thought on this subject I consider as incincere. Each human being is capable of claiming time for himself, and even has to. The first thing a child learns is to say no. Let's be honest and be constuctive therewith. The scientific demand of refutability (Karl Popper), a paradigm is only right when it can be refuted, is accepted and included in having an ear for the natural propensity of the human being to resist time in general.



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Production: The Order of Time     
  © Aadhar 1992 Enschede     
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ISBN 90-70986-96-5