Clocks, Time and Moment

Jale Karakaya
4 minutes

I had been stuck in the moment for a long time, turning the subject over and over in my mind. An exhibition about clocks gave me the opportunity to put it on paper. So, if there is space, there is time. When it comes to time, the rush of human beings to get somewhere or something led to the invention of the clock.

In the exhibition I mentioned, I had the opportunity to see the interesting clock designs of Al-Jazari, who built and operated the first robot and took the first steps in cybernetics, and is also thought to have inspired Leonardo da Vinci. Since the timing of prayers was so important, Muslim scientists came up with some brilliant ideas and works. When I saw an elephant clock, a glass clock, a boat clock that Al-Jazari skillfully designed, I saw how he combined art, calculation and mastery. Afterwards, sundials, rub’u clocks, hourglasses, sand clocks, gear clocks, towards the end I saw an embroidered clock with the words “Allah is the owner of time”. It must have been written as a reminder so that one does not get lost in the concept of time.

After this interest in clocks, the concept of “Time”, which had always puzzled me, knocked on the door once again. It was important for the flow of work and order, but “How could time, which was so present, be so absent at the same time?” Well, there are some moments that are worth the world, you want it to go on and on and never end; and there are other moments that you wait for it to end, but it never does…

“Waiting is worse than fire”, as they say about these moments. Waiting for a patient to get better, waiting for a job, waiting for a loved one to arrive can be hotter than fire. N. Fazıl’s poem “The Expected” comes to mind:

What a patient waits for the morning,
What a grave for the fresh dead.
Nor the devil a sin,
As much as I've been waiting for you.

Waiting can make us pessimistic, but we should not give up hope. Wasn’t everything between fear and hope? It is precisely here that the Prophet Mawlana came up and said:

Everything waits for its time. The rose does not bloom before its time, nor does the sun rise before its time. Wait; what is yours will come to you.

Isn’t life a bit like the art of waiting?

There are those moments we don’t want it to end. Moments that fill and overflow the heart and make the heart soar. Sometimes it is hidden in a look, sometimes in a sound, a touch, sometimes in a divine manifestation. It’s as if it’s not just a moment, but moments where time itself consists of that ‘moment’ and destroys the concept of time…

İskender Pala says, “The times of happiness in human life are not measured in days, they are measured in breaths. It is not said, ‘I was very happy on such and such a day; it is said, ‘at such and such a time’. It is the amount of a teşehhut, a very small amount of time, it is worth living a whole lifetime,” he says and quotes Sheikh Gâlip’s “Suddenly find love, this tuhfe is for the finder” With this line, he reminds us that Love is found in a breath and is worth spending a lifetime for.

In a recent study I came across, it was calculated that the emotions we feel in the face of an event last for six seconds; in other words, the event only affects us physically for six seconds, after which we carry on.

But does this time really exist? If there is one, where are we in it? Shall I conclude with Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar’s poem?

What I am in time,
Nor completely out of it,
A single, expansive moment,
In its unbreakable flow.

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