Nobody knows when the first measurements
of time were introduced, who introduced them,
and to whom they were introduced. What was clear
is that soon after time was measured the idea of eternity
for the virtuous few was made to seem normal.
But the idea of eternity is as new in human history
as human history is within the history of the world.
Eternity is an idea that all too easily
detaches from what it is part of,
and where it came from,
as any great disbeliever
of what other people believe
will give you chapter and verse on.
I have yet to hear
from the moral materialist,
or the clear eyed atheist
who believes that the world
is only the sum of the material
it is made from, and even more
about the differing rates
of natural, and unnatural, return
of materials to their original state of matter.
A human body takes 80-100 years
to be reduced to dry bleached bones,
maximum. It will take less time
if life on earth hastens the process.
Only since the industrial revolution,
a nanosecond ago in historical terms,
have humanly developed materials
been made that take longer to decay
than humans will reduce to, also.
Rubber can take 50 years to decay
Plastic food containers can take 80 years,
plastic shopping bags 200-1000 years,
plastic water bottles 450 years,
aluminium cans 200-500 years
commercial strength fishing nets 600 years
and dirty 'disposable' nappies 550 years
and I have not even thought about the bombs
and iron ships from our many wars
that drift on the sea bed of the oceans.
Perhaps the truest measure of eternity
is the measure of the incontinence
of human want and then wastage
that changes the landscapes it litters
which is beyond all human measure.