May 7, 2009

Counting time: Joining the magic of number & life's events

Back on Santa's Birthday I talked about the magic of number. How our ability to count beyond one, two, a few and many has allowed us amazing advances. Today, in honor of my beloved's birthday I want to expand on number to the counting of time. I think this might bring us to the origin of SANTA, that bearded gift giver who came at the winter solstice to predict the return of the sun from the south after it seemed to fall almost to the horizon in some northern reaches. Those first Santas brought seeds, and that prediction. They were able to predict the return on f the sun because they had learned to count time.

Counting time seems a simple, unimportant task now but this shared skill allowed some groups of people to thrive while their contemporaries who could not count time floundered. As with all deeply rooted memes, this gift pushes evolution without directly affecting the genome, or the phenotype. It means a slowing of change in physical characteristics and advance for those skilled at manipulating abstract concepts. My goodness! What a gift. Counting time!

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