EVENTS: the specimens of cosmic change

An event is an observed change of significant status within the immeasurably vast chaos of energy reconfigurations. Events are happenings which have been perceived, noted and tagged with whatever significance is appropriate. A drop of water falling into a container or a single leaf sinking below the surface need not be thought of as events at all unless the fall of that specific drop of water, or the sinking of that specific leaf, has been identified as being a happening of noteworthy importance. Until some awareness determines to allocate a time-bite to an activity and attribute it with some sort of observational significance, then no event of any sort need to be deemed as having occurred. Whilst it is certainly possible to adopt the attitude that any change whatever... 'observed' or not... could be sensibly considered to be an 'event', the question then has to be asked as to what the point of such a perspective might be. Events would then have to be partitioned into 'observed' events and 'unobserved' events which seems to be heading in the direction of obfuscation rather than practicality. The pragmatic course of action would seem to be to accept the fact that incomprehensibly uncountable multitudes of happenings characterize the cosmos, and that a manageable simplification would be to only designate as 'events' those happenings that come to be noted and recorded somehow.

It is observationally impossible to detect an instantaneous event. A light does not come on instantly... even in the brain. Plants do not grow instantly... although certain weeds appear to do so. Miracles always require an intense period of whining invocation. Even rumours are constrained to spread at the speed of light.

Since an event has a duration it must have a beginning and an end which are themselves events having beginnings and ends. Consider the event of a drop of water impacting a fluid surface. Such an event is of sufficiently small duration, compared to the everyday passage of time for a human, that it would usually be treated as if it were instantaneous. By comparison the sinking of a leaf might take some hours or even days. As a consequence the allocation of a beginning event and an end event to the sinking process is more easily carried out. We are generally quite comfortable in assuming that the beginning and end events of a process are instantaneous, but on a smaller time-scale this is clearly not the case. The beginning of the drop impacting the fluid surface might be designated to be when the first deflections of the fluid surfaces had been detected, but it might just as easily be chosen to be when the surface tension of one or the other had been disrupted. The end of the event might be selected to be when the rebound droplet had collapsed back into the body of the fluid, but it would be just as reasonable to require all the ripple perturbations to have attenuated away into the background chaos. Which soever of these events were to be chosen as the 'actual' start event, technology would need to be developed to measure time on a much briefer scale. Shifting attention from the macro event of a raindrop being the beginning of a thunderstorm, to the micro events which were the beginning and end of the raindrop event, merely increases the level of technological expertise required to determine the beginning and end of a much briefer event.

When a happening is tagged by numerous awarenesses as being an 'event', there is almost never a universal agreement as to its 'beginning' and its 'end'. This reinforces the pragmatic procedure to only treat actual observed and recorded happenings as 'events', since the element of choice of an awareness is present and intrinsic. In the records of historical events like revolutions, wars, civilisations and the reigns of ruling individuals, there is usually a wide variation as to the supposed beginnings and ends, which reflects the perspective and self-interest of the historian. When was the beginning of a joke, or a meal, or a sexual encounter? We may often agree that there was definitely an event of note, but disagree as to when things got started. An event is a noted happening that has a duration, and is marked by the choice of a beginning event and an end event.