Musings on Photography

Time flies like an arrow

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul Butzi on March 4, 2008


The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, translated by Edward FitzGerald

Recent events have conspired, in the way events often do, to remind me that I’m often very bad at doing things while I still have the chance. Anita Jesse’s recent blog post is a good, if stark, reminder (and it has a wonderful photo to boot).

One of my favorite ideas is a regular event instigated by Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, who write the wine columns for the Wall Street Journal. Dorothy and John came up with “Open That Bottle Night” – a night to open that special bottle of wine that you’ve been saving for just that super-special occasion. Don’t let that bottle of great wine sit and slowly turn to vinegar, they say, but open it now and enjoy it.

Take that photo you’ve been dreaming about. Take it today. Write that letter, today. Make that phone call, firm up the plans for that dream trip. Smell the flowers, cook that favorite dinner. Tell your loved ones that you love them. Drink your morning tea from your favorite mug, today.

Because entropy is a harsh mistress. Time flies like an arrow, and it only goes one way.

8 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. stephen connor said, on March 4, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Yeah, but fruit flies like a banana.

    Sorry – old, ooollllllddddd joke.

  2. Ed Richards said, on March 5, 2008 at 8:45 am

    Hurricane Katrina brought that home to me – places I had been meaning to photograph were reduced to ruins. I have pictures of the ruins. Wish I had before pictures.

    I have been trying to stick to my resolution to get pictures of the rest of Southern Louisiana and New Orleans that can disappear with the next storm.

  3. My Camera World said, on March 5, 2008 at 8:55 am

    I have for a time now (my own pun) come to a conclusion that Time is only a human invention and as such, does not really exist, except in or minds.

    We seem to spend so of our resources (I could sue the word time) measuring, quantifying quality, planning for more of it. When in fact what we call time is endless.

    Only after death does it appear that we finite amount, because up until that point, it also may seem endless as we have now knowledge of our beaker size.

    To me life is all about our minds and the physical stimuli that impact it for good or bad. Emotional is self-induced thought.

    So in summary do not fret so much over time whether it has the appearance of being lost, (how can you loose something that never exited?) or is in short supply in the future.

    Understand what make you happy, not just purely pleasurable stimuli (and why not?) but those things that make your mind grow and sing (creativity).

    As an example do we not embellish with great gusto those hardships we overcame? My wilderness experiences, while difficult hard at many moments, are now very fond memories. Do we not take great joy when we create a beautiful (not classical beauty) photographic image?

    For those of us who are not hermits, take the opportunity, both frequently and repeatedly to embrace the joys of life and the fine friendships we have.

    I do find it hard to relate this thoughts in writing as I really think this is a perfect time (oops not that word again) to have a rambunctious discussion at a favourite watering hole with each other.

    I also hope it did not sound to ‘Motherhood like’

    Niels Henriksen

  4. Paul Butzi said, on March 5, 2008 at 10:00 am

    I have for a time now (my own pun) come to a conclusion that Time is only a human invention and as such, does not really exist, except in or minds.

    Sorry. Given a choice between believing the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and believing that time is only a human invention, I’m afraid I come down on the side of the Second Law with a resounding thump.

    Irreversability is real. You can’t unring a bell. Live with it, ignore it, it doesn’t much matter. Objective reality just *is*.

    Time may well be infinite. My lifetime (and yours) however, are distressingly finite.

  5. My Camera World said, on March 5, 2008 at 11:19 am

    I do not mean to debate the second law, but to only comment in order to provide for an interesting dialogue.

    The second law does mention time, but is really about the state of equilibrium and how if there are 2 states of entropy within a closed system they will gravitate towards equilibrium, if I remember correctly from my engineering days.

    I agree that to make our world work we need to partition what we call the continuum of endlessness into time intervals.

    My comments were meant to only address, how we as humans seem to have the need for everything we do, to measure it within a time intervals.

    Most life on earth is not aware of time, but only the effects of our solar or planetary interactions. But in truth I am not sure I could even function without the use of time, It is so pervasive in everything we do, even when it is not needed.

    As an example, maybe silly, but why do many of us feel the need when we start a creative project feel the need to time limit the event? I know I have and probably still will since time is so ingrained and embedded with my psyche. It’s my own doing but not always the best for me.

    I am sure my comments would stand scientific scrutiny, but I do enjoy thinking differently about things, even when I am completely of the mark.

    Thanks for responding.
    I enjoy your writing style and also enjoy the interesting thoughts you have.

    Niels Henriksen

  6. My Camera World said, on March 5, 2008 at 11:45 am

    The second last para should say.
    I am sure my comments would NOT stand …


  7. Alex Brikoff said, on March 5, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    There have been countless philosophic discussions and arguments regarding the relationship of time and human lives. All of these discussions are terrific intellectual exercises but I think it comes down to something very simple. None of us, not one single person, really knows what the next day or even the next minute will bring. I totally agree with Paul’s original train of thought. Don’t procrastinate, do today, even right now, what you want to do. Don’t put off sipping that fine wine, taking that image that you’ve been planning for the last month or anything else that you’ve been putting off for whatever reason. Because you never know what the next minute will bring. After all, we are never guaranteed tomorrow.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: