Time - what is it? St. Augustine wrote, "What, then, is time? If no one asks me, I know. But if I want to explain it to someone, I do not know." Perhaps we should ask: Did time have a beginning? A very old question, indeed. But how can we imagine a world before time began? If we count backwards beyond the clock, beyond the calendar, three and a half billion years, we arrive at our own beginning - the dawn of life on earth. Science has a word for it: biogenesis. The birth of life. With life, nature created a new kind of time; more advanced, more evolved from the time of the physical world.
Memory and expectation provided us with a competitive advantage. Memory and expectation gave birth to the concept of a past and a future. Now flash forward three and a half billion years. Humanity rules the earth. Humanity is wrapped tight in ticking time. But time ticks on towards the unknown. In physics, space is represented as three dimensions. Time is represented as the fourth dimension. To describe time, we are often asked to think of objects in motion. For instance, time has been compared to the cable that drives the quaint cable cars of San Francisco. The cable car attaches itself to something that's hidden, something that's to an extent, mysterious. It is moved by a mechanism you don't know and cannot see. It just moves you along - takes you on a ride. At birth, we are clamped to a buried cable, time. And at death, cast loose from its passage. Or are we? The answer lies somewhere in time, yet an understanding of time remains as elusive and mysterious as life itself.