Change is a Greek triangle (mathematically speaking). It’s no coincidence that the Greeks also invented time. So it’s not hard to imagine that Socrates was the first person to ever say the words, “Time for change.” But he probably said it in Greek, so it sounded more like “Time for a tiny triangle.”
Greece is geographically north of Egypt and many historians believe that the ancient Greeks borrowed heavily from Egyptian culture. That’s why change equals delta equals the Nile River delta. A river delta (as you’ll recall from airplanes) is shaped kind of like a triangle, which is why the Greeks named their triangle delta. And, as the saying goes, “If you dip your toes in a river twice, you’ll have to change your socks.”
Many people believe that change is the only constant. I don’t know who these people are. Egghead scientists, probably. Or maybe ballet dancers, I don’t know. In both science and dancing, a constant is a big letter that represents something. For example, G represents gravity. And P probably represents something too. It doesn’t matter. What’s important to remember is this: a constant is a big letter and egghead scientists like ballet.
As Albert Einstein (the ballet dancer) noted in his general theory of the alphabet, E=MC². Here, C represents the speed of light, which is a constant, which is why it is the letter C. And the little 2 next to it means that there are two lights: the sun and the moon. And of course, as any time expert can tell you, the sun was the world’s first clock.
Billions of years ago, our ancestors noticed that the sun had two little arms on its surface that pointed to the hour and the minute of the day. The arms are mostly burned off now1, but back then they were clear as day. An industrious caveman (named K’lok, obviously) stole the idea from the sun and built the first mechanical clock out of sticks and stones and genuine Japanese quartz.
All his caveman buddies thought the invention was pretty great, and they asked K’lok to build k’loks for them. K’lok became the richest caveman in all of Mesothelioma. Unfortunately, his fame and fortune were short-lived. K’lok had forgotten to patent his invention and soon “clock” knockoffs — made with inferior rocks and twigs and non-genuine Japanese quartz — were flooding the bazaars. K’lok, like all inventors, died penniless and alone.
Every cave-person who was any cave-person had one of these knockoff clocks on the mantle in their cave. Cave-people running for public office used the clock as a campaign tool: “A chicken in every pot, a clock in every cave, etc., etc.” The only problem was, time hadn’t been invented yet. (As I already told you: time was invented by the Greeks, not the cave-people.) So all these clocks were just decorations until the ancient Egyptians invented science.
Science changed everything. What was once up was now down. What was once sideways was still sideways, but sideways in the opposite direction. What was once “where the river vomits into the sea” was now “the delta”. In other words, things were definitely changing, and they were changing hard.
That’s when the Greeks showed up and invented time because they needed a way to keep track of how often everything was changing. They looked to the heavens and realized the sun was revolving around the earth at a constant speed (the speed of light), and they could measure that speed and they called it “time”. Then they realized that the moon was also revolving around the earth at a constant time (the light of cheese), and they could measure that time and they called it “speed”. This, incidentally, was how the moon became the world’s first speedometer.
Several months later, Einstein came along with his theories and finally made sense of all the Greek and Egyptian gobbledygook. Once he put everything into his E=MC² formula, the sun and the moon and the stars aligned to paint a glorious picture of time and the universe and things like that.
And that’s the story of a tiny triangle that nobody believed in… until the tiny triangle started to believe in itself. And also until it was invented by the Greeks.
In conclusion, the river of time flows with the constancy of light and the speed of change. Whether you are a cave dweller or a ballet dancer, a Greek or a moon-person, change is inescapable. Which is why you must always, always, always carry an extra pair of socks. Because — trust me — they will get wet.
- If you stare directly at the sun for a few hours, you can still barely see them, but that might just be because you are frying your retinas and going blind. [↩]