Sunday, November 7, 2010


It's odd, what catches my attention. I mean, there I am, going about my day, walking with my son to catch his schoolbus, and an idea pops out of the woods and say "Write about me! Write about me!"

A few days ago, as we were walking, and the sun was beginning to think about getting up, Shoghi said that he wished he could sleep in just a little bit later. Well, I can certainly relate to that.

I said to him, "Shoghi, do you know what we do tomorrow?"

He looked up at me, hope gleaming in his eyes, "Sleep in?"

"Even better." I could just hear him thinking what could be better than that. "We set the clocks back to where they belong."

Now how odd of a phrase is that? And what does all this have to do with the Baha'i Faith? Patience, dear Reader, patience. I'm in a fairly stream-of-thought mood today.

So there I was, walking with a five-year old boy, trying to explain daylight savings time (when we turn the clocks back, does that mean it's daylight wastings time?) and why we have it. And before I begin, yes, I m aware of the various reasons touted for having it. I just don't buy it. That's all.

You see, we, humanity, have a habit of thinking that we can control every aspect of our world around us, changing it as we will to suit our desires. As I explained to Shoghi, we forget that we live in a world of nature.

Noon, in  case it has slipped anyone's mind, is when the sun is supposed to be at its zenith, the highest point in the sky. But rather than accept this, and adjust our lives around the movement of the planet, we try and change the numbers on the clock, instead.

To my eye, it is yet another sign that we are just not living in touch with nature around us.

I asked my son if he had noticed that the sun is getting up later and later every day. "Of  course, Papa."

I asked him if he had noticed that the moon is getting lower and lower every morning when we walk to the bus. "Yes, Papa."

Then I asked him what letter the moon looked like that morning. After thinking about it for a moment, because it was hidden behind a cloud, he said, "C, Papa."

"That's right. And is the C getting fatter or thinner?"

"Thinner." He practically jumped with joy, because he knew that one.

"Did you know, Shoghi, that many people today do not know that? They don't know that the moon moves further east every day, if you check at the same time day after day. And they don't know that the C-moon gets thinner. If you ask them which order the moon goes in, whether it is C-O-D or D-O-C, they don't know. I would guess that the majority of the people around us are not aware as many things in nature as you are right now."

Then he asked me the simple question about why we change the clocks. What could I say? Many people have argued that it is good for the environment, cutting down on the amount of energy used with lighting and air conditioning and stuff, but this has never been proved. In fact, there are many contradictory studies about it. Some say that it helps retail sales, sports and other things that are done after work hours that use sunlight, but it adversely affects just as many other things, including sleep patterns and record keeping (at least during that questionable hour), not to mention the effect on farming and farmers.

No. I see this as a silly attempt to try and exert control over time, instead of adjusting ourselves to the realities of the world. If we really were concerned about retail sales, why not just adjust our store hours? If we were concerned about advertising revenue on prime time television, why not shift the schedule a bit, instead of trying to move the whole clock? For one who tries to be flexible in the way he lives his life, this whole concept of daylight savings time just seems absurd to me.

But this is not an isolated incident. To my untrained eye, it follows on the heels of a number of other attempts at similar things. Back in the 18th and 19th century, there was the attempt of seperating church and state, which, while not a bad idea in the way that it was originally stated, has gone to a ridiculous length in that people are being chastised for using their moral beliefs in trying to make political decisions. Then there was Marx's attempt at removing the spiritual from the political world altogether, with Marxism and Communism, not to mention the various strides in this direction made in the psychological and scientific realms.

(I may be stepping out on a limb here, but I see this as mankind's final attempt to "go at it" without God. It is of interesting coincidence to me that Marx lived during the formative years of the Babi and Baha'i Revelations. Now, so much later, we are really beginning to see that we cannot "go at it" without God.)

It seems to me that we have so much freedom here on this planet, but there are some things we cannot control, and we balk when we find things we cannot do. We need to include God and spirituality in all our daily works, while being careful not to overstep the bounds of courtesy and love.

And we cannot stop the movement of the planets, even though we can bring light to our previously darkened nights.

No, this whole idea of Daylight Savings Time really seems absurd to me and every year, twice a year, I wonder why we bother.

There is something beautiful about being able to go outside, look at the sun, and say, "Yeah, it seems to be about noon."


  1. Caught out again! And this time on a simple grammatical thingy.

    You are right. It is daylight SAVING time. Not "savings". To all those who pointed it out, thanks.

    And uhm... you passed the test. :)

  2. Do you like Theocracy? Give me one example of a theocracy that worked. Theocracies are dangerous and will continue to be dangerous.

    Moral beliefs can and always will be separate from religious beliefs. It gets on people's nerves when people take courses of action based on fictional books like the Bible, such as the Israelis taking back land which supposedly belonged to them in a 2000+ year book. I'd love to see deeds that last that long.

    People can live without God in the Judeo-Christian-Whatever sense. Look at the Nordic countries of Europe. They had the largest concentrations of godless folk around and one of them, Norway, has been rated by the UN as the best country to live in again. Should there be a correlation? No. Because they are just being good people, no matter what.

    It shouldn't matter if people are with or without god. People are people and will ruin any system or make any system great -- it's all about the circumstances.

    Also, I too think Daylight Saving Time is dumb, but it had its uses for people who work, business, etc. And since when was time "natural"? Yes, time is a dimension (Fourth), but ultimately time is a human construct and is obeyed as one. It works and suits our needs.

    Guess you don't like dams, vaccines, or any other attempt to control and change nature either? What about C-Sections? Guess all of those babies have to die too to support your views of science in relation to human progress. Humans have to change the world around us to SURVIVE, or else our big-headed babies wouldn't live because our females' pelvises haven't evolved to match it yet.

    Technology enables faster human progression and this has been stronger than any religion. Even Christianity owes itself to the power of Roman roads.

  3. To say that moral beliefs will always be seperate from religious beliefs denies the fact that many people derive their moral inspiration from their faith path. To then further deny these people any opportunity to act upon their morals because they are inspired from a source that you, personally, do not accept is no worse than if they were to try and deny you the opportunity to act upon your beliefs because you don't come from the same background. People can and do find their inspiration from different sources, and we need to learn to rise to accept this. Anything less is what leads to the true dangers of which you speak.

    As for the idea that time might be a fourth dimension, this goes against the basic concept of higher order geometries which recognize that a fourth dimension is to our obvious three as the third is to a second. Time is not, as you propose, a seperate dimension, but something outside our concept of spacial dimensions. This is also distinct from our notation of time, in which we call the sun at its zenith "noon" or "12:00". What I refer to here, when I speak of our attempt at controlling time, is not the same as that to which you are referring. It is a recognition of an attempt at randomly changing the basic definitions by which we have based our clock system.

    Finally, to move from this to a broad sweeping condemnation of anything scientific is nothing short of silly. It is an argument that is not worthy of you, surely. The Baha'i teachings are fully in support of the harmony of science and religion, recognizing that both try and describe the world in which we live. When we use our moral principles to guide our scientific development, it is then "light upon light", as the saying goes. When we move forward with our scientific advances without the wisdom of ethical guidance, then it darker than the deepest abyss.

    While it is true that science and technology are a cause of the progress of humanity, it cannot be denied by any unbiased observer that religion has also been a cause of many great advancements, too.