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Reply To: Rocking New Year’s Eve,” with Professor Mark C.E. Peterson”


Hello Mark and Stephen; what a great topic to contemplate, this thing we call time. I want to add a quick clip of Joseph’s from Bill Moyer’s: “The Power of Myth”; where they discuss the “circle”. And within this discussion a number of aspects are addressed; not only that of what the circle in its many forms symbolizes; but in many of them how time is addressed in relation to the way human’s experience it. The cycle of the seasons, the way humans use the clock or watch to tell time, the way we look at our life in its various aspects of life’s journey from birth to death, and our relationship to the far larger aspects of being inframed within a universe with its solar systems and galaxies all traveling through what we think of as time.

I remember an experience as a little boy that transfixes me still into a state of wonder whenever I see a flock of geese flying in formation in its timeless migration of the seasons; and you realize for a moment you are participating in something timeless or eternal that’s been going on since man was first here. The animals that migrate from one place to the next and then back again in this endless dance through time, and you are there in that moment with them as if in some primordial interplay that gives you a sense of being connected to something much larger than you can comprehend. Yet here you are participating in that experience that informs you of a universe in which you are enclosed within a moment of time itself. You are born and then through the various stages of life you mature into old age; and then you die, and yet so many of the symbols you encounter throughout your life take on different meanings as you pass through them, each with its message that informs you who you are.

There was a TV character in an early morning children’s show called Captain Kangaroo in the 1950’s called “grandfather clock”; and he was always falling asleep during a conversation because he was old. In the halls of many homes back in earlier historical time periods there were grandfather clocks that people once set their timepieces to, and always held a symbolic reference to age and time and how people’s lives would often interact within this symbolic framework of birth, death, a moment of crisis, or a stage of life. A train must run on time and watches were set by that timetable. We often think within this framework of what time it is; or are we so interwoven with the idea of time does it indeed sometimes rule our lives? Yet from birth to death our perspective changes about the questions we ask ourselves; in the early stages these questions often have to do with achievement; or we ask ourselves who we are? Yet as our life crosses its daytime meridian horizon from noon and starts it’s decent toward the night these questions begin to change from achievement of life’s goals, and we ask ourselves: “What is the meaning of my life?” as we make our way toward the dark gate.

Joseph mentions that man is the only creature that knows it’s going to die; yet within that framework there is an assimilation framework that attempts to connect the dots, so to speak, to make sense of our life’s journey and to realize; at least in some sense if we are lucky the overwhelming experience of a life we have been privileged to live and something that is left behind as a legacy. We don’t understand this mystery which we are enclosed in; but at least we have been given a glimpse of where we are going if we are lucky. Joseph called this the Marga Path; the path an animal follows back to its den. Perhaps the secret of time lies there waiting for our return to the womb from which we came.

I hope this thing made some sense, and in some way complimented, as Stephen suggested in a playful way what you are suggesting. So nice to have you back Mark; and thank you Stephen for helping to set such a great topic which you always do so well.


As an addendum I have added a short video of the world famous medieval 600-year-old clock in Prague that might be enjoyable to watch as an illustration of clocks, time, and other related symbols to village and mythic life.