Summer Time

I was talking to someone earlier today about when “Summer Time” begins. Today is May 1st, and I am in Ireland, and according to The Irish Calendar summer consists of the months of

May, June, July

However, the Irish meteorological society, Met Éireann, say

June, July and August.

And the plot thickens. Ireland is in Europe, and Europe recognises Summer Time as

from 01:00 UTC on the last Sunday in March until 01:00 UTC on the last Sunday in October each year.

So:

Europe is currently observing Summer Time.

So, Summer Time began in March, began today, and is due to begin in June.

This brings up a few things I have talked about before here, all relating to symbols and our relationship with them. Of course “Summer Time” is not a real thing. As I write this I am staring out at a dark, gloomy, grey sky which has been dropping water on us almost unrelentingly for 2 days now. Not what I would call “Summer”. “Summer Time” is an idea. It is also a socially constructed and shared convention, but it is entirely arbitrary and subjective. I wrote before about Alan Watts and his comments on time, specifically day-light savings time. It also brings to mind Robert Anton Wilson talking about his address, and how he could live in many different ‘places’ at once. Why? Because the address system is also a symbol – just like time.

Wilson also brings up Eastern Philosophy and its relationship to such systems of symbols. One aspect of Buddhism is how it stresses that our world of concepts and ideas is not the real world. This is something people like Watts and Wilson expressed time and time again. Symbols, words, ideas are important, they help us navigate the world, but the trick is to never be fooled by them. They are not reality, they are labels for reality. They help us understand reality, but they are not the real thing. “The Map is not the Territory”.

So, is it summer? The rain pounding my window says otherwise.