The story of Digital Hourglass

Ancient timekeeping meets digital

Does time tick-tock or spin, or does it really drain away?

Virgil wrote fugit irreparabile tempus (in translation from Latin, "time escapes irretrievably"). Time flies, and it cannot be recovered.

Our ancestors couldn't help but view time as finite and flowing. An original digital timepiece, Digital Hourglass, follows the original viewpoint: that of time-as-quantity.



Beginning with the Babylonian water clock, and subsequently the Egyptian water clock, followed by the Greek and Roman clepsydra, all were based on the concept of time as a strictly limited and therefore infinitely precious resource. Time, like an essential well of life, would "run dry."

Observing water or sand disappearing from a container gives back to timekeeping its substance and its soul. Time in the hourglass does not rotate mindlessly and endlessly; certainly time is metaphysical, but then let us see its true physical correlative. Time never ticked or cycled but all along, right under our noses, was instead escaping from us, never to return.

Pouring in a new batch of time liquid is like starting anew. This time we resolve to use it properly and remember the successful solution.

Panta rhei, the first half of a famous quote attributed to Heraclitus, means "everything is in flux" or "everything flows". Is there any better way of showing the truth of this statement than a water-clock? There is firm evidence that ancients did make use of the timer.*

Digital Hourglass is more than a countdown tool. Anyone can see the digital hourglass filling up to the indicated level.

Once the timer begins, the level drops proportionately and mathematically, faster for seconds, slower for hours, luxuriously slowly for days. Speed is not the crucial matter, what really matters is the inevitability of time's escape.

With the emergence of current circular dials and flipping numerals, Modernity became obsessed with finding out "precisely when?" The pride-in-precision led to neglecting the other essential question: "how far gone?"

The mechanical or digital clock has made the passage of time too abstract. Rotating hands or digit-changing may lull us into the sense that we have more time than we think. That our time will go on, like our watches, forever.

How many times have you asked yourself: "Where did the week go?". Or become irritated, feeling that your birthday has come too early? An important reason is the way we have become accustomed to viewing time. Midnight and Noon occur on a repeat basis, what happens between markers is what really counts.

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