From the Big Bang to Where I Am: An Introduction to the Past, and History
Most of the research addressing the issue of time gives a comparison of the archaic temporal awareness and the modern temporal awareness. Quite a good number of the studies then attempt to explain how and when these historical shifts checked in. The most common theories use cyclical and linear awareness of time with an open or a closed future (Hawking, 1998). Nonetheless, currently there exists no agreement on the question of whether the theories regarding time are an essential condition in the construction of a generalized sociological theory, it is quite safe to state that the issue of time is one that is highly transversal and it is a social problem that is present in almost all theories on sociology and every work of research. It is important to know the meaning, usage and the essence of the various kinds of time, linear time or cyclical (circular time) and the relate the above to the society in terms of modernization throughout the periods of past, history and the present.
In physics and other branches of science, time is considered one of the few fundamental quantities (Gribbin, 2000). The aspect of time is used to define other quantities such as speed and velocity as well as acceleration. A number of researches into time and longevity focus on the physical phenomena of the human activities, particularly the cellular and the molecular functioning and activities. In physics terms, Linear Time can be defined as a time base that makes the electron beam of a cathode-ray tube move at a constant speed along the horizontal time scale. In computer science, it is the time complexity of an algorithm quantifies the time taken by an algorithm to run as a function. Linear time is a concept seen as a series or sequential events that leads towards something expected or a particular event. It clearly shows a beginning and an end. In the famous Newtonian theory it is an absolute object or something in reality, regardless of human perception. In other points of view, cyclical time is seen to be time that is moving in cycles. It is circular (virtually) and seems to have no clearly defined beginning or a defined end. This kind of time does not necessarily lead towards anything but rather repeats itself in a cycle of undefined events. Time is relative according to Einstein and other scholars. It is hard to define clearly but he believed that one could move through time and at the speed of light time remains still since it is relative to speed. All these concepts (time, light, speed and energy) are perceptions and one has different points of view. Modernization goes along with the process of interference of physical space as well as matter. It is the process which privileges interchangeable and mobile signs over the original objects and relations. In order to get a better picture of modernization in relation to time and other factors, this paper will be placed within a fairly wider cultural, economic and social context involving the Western culture particularly the American society.
This article will present an important review of concepts and ideas concerning time in the modern societies and particularly the social science. In the modern society, people perceive and register time as a series of context, whether it involves inquiries of thought, society, nature or the physical body. Most of the research addressing the issue of time gives a comparison of the archaic temporal awareness and the modern temporal awareness. Most of the studies then attempt to explain how and when these historical shifts checked in. the most common theories use cyclical and linear awareness of time with an open or a closed future. Different studies describe different forms of time. However, in more agrarian societies, time is often seen and experienced as more cyclical (or spiral) as it is seen to have a repetitive pattern and it is also slowly moving. Religion is seen to be stagnant and also believes in a continuous cycle of life even in the afterlife through reincarnations. The traditional agrarian setting has aspects of continuity seen in the endless cycle of birth, rebirth (as seen in Hinduism and Buddhism) and death. As opposed to the cyclical time series, the modernized western world’s concept of time as linear is the main basis of religious and intellectual thought for a number of centuries. Some view it to be originating from the Christianity or Judaism world view. Western time was born as being advancing, directional, and non-repetitive in nature. Every aspect of human life was seen to be a uninterrupted permanent linear redemptive process while the history of the world was seen to be a godly drama endorsed on a single stage without repeat performances or rehearsals. The above linear sense of time is noticeable in the 18th century philosophers’ ideas on human progress and modernization and the 19th century ideas and concepts of social evolution as well as in the contemporary concepts of developed and developing countries of the world.
In the current society or even in the previous existence of nature, no social class, society or any given structured group (whether, professional, regional or family) can be in existence without the attempt to control the many kinds of social time. They may never succeed in that attempt but that does not stop them from trying. Every social class, unit, group, relationship, micro-social element or any given activity seems to occur in a form of time that is specifically to it alone. On the contrary, each society attempts to unify the plurality of time. The intangible effort to put forward a relationship of togetherness and cooperation amongst different kinds of social times results in the creation of a particular gradation of the mentioned times where the individual structures in the society are dropped and attempts to dominate. It is well known that everything is located in the continuous movement of destructurizing, restructurizing and structurizing where events and time series collide with one another and may sometimes explode to a mix up of concepts.
Even if currently there exists no agreement on the question of whether the theories regarding time are an essential condition in the construction of a generalized sociological theory, it is quite safe to state that the issue of time is one that is highly transversal and it is a social problem that is present in almost all theories on sociology and every work of research (Davies, 1995). This conclusion holds even when the above mentioned exists in the form of a concealed assumption. This also describes why currently points of views are expanding to the opinion that better time understanding may contribute to not only revealing some of the deficiencies and issues in the social sciences but also to the overall conclusive development of theories and study researches. The issue of time and sociological studies will remain unsolved until everyone involved gets a better understanding of the importance and the functioning of time. Regarding traditional dualism in the social and natural time, it becomes more necessary to come up with the necessary attention to the ever increasing conviction that this is not only an issue of specialized branch but an issue that goes beyond any special branch and is therefore inter-disciplinary (Toomey, 2007).