Chronos & Domus

What we carry with us is what sees us through

It occurs to me only now that perhaps that curious business of our time-reckoning system, as well as many other apparently irrational things we did, were done in part to save our faculties of adaptation for necessities. I still don't know whether it was inherent weakness or instinctive wisdom. It doesn't matter, really, and I see I'm digressing again. I am getting older. But I can still remember being very scornful of the same sentimental clinging to a calendar, when I was a child on Pluto — and here they'd had more excuse. Pluto doesn't rotate at all; it has no natural day. And its year is hundreds of Earth-years long. So for a system of time-reckoning that applied to human values, the old one was as good as any other there, except in terms of arithmetical efficiency.

Here it was another matter altogether: we forced an old system to fit new circumstance; why? Because we were human, and each of us had grown up somewhere. Because we had been children back there, and some part of each of us was still a child there, and needed a safe familiar handle of some sort to cling to. In space, we were completely set apart from 'home'. Time was our handle.
Judith Merril
Daughters of Earth

And so for day 1640