The Evolution from Cyclical to Linear

Time is something that just keeps going. Today we think of time as a line, if a series of events is to be put in order it is organized onto a time line. The idea of a time line did not become the popular form of conceptualizing time until the Christian era. The Christians with their belief of the savoir coming once could no loner believe that time was circular because that was an event that would never happen again. Though even with this realization it was still hard for them to re conceptualize time.

The scientists and the scholars of the medieval period followed the concept of time be cyclic because of the influences of the astronomy and astrology. The Mercantile class of this period were the popular believers in linear progression of time by the influence of money. Many people at that time were still working on farms it was hard for them to see the time as continuously repeating.

In the 17th century AD the sundial was still the most accurate form of telling time, people set their mechanical clocks by the town’s sundial everyday.

In the mid 1600’s that Christian Huygens developed the first pendulum clock. It was with the invention of the first successful, dependable mechanical clock that the linear idea of time became dominant and the cyclic faded. This mechanized device that never stopped, it continuously worked people did not have to divided up what had occurred by the light or the moon and therefore could think of time as continuously building on the past.


The mechanical clock
“dissociated time from human events and helped to create the belief in an independent world of mathematically measurable sequences: the special world of science”

-Lewis Mumford




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