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According to Payne (2013), “If you can change the past, then it is going to take an act on a far larger scale than just existing or stepping on an insect to make any difference,” this how the word continuum is treated in most of popular culture wherein it acts as the concept of time under the name “space-time continuum”. This means that the continuum, in this case, refers to timelines and how their realities can be altered. It becomes a major plot device in the television series, “The Flash” where the drastic timeline changes brought about by meddling with the continuum is known as the “Flashpoint Paradox” (McCabe, 2016) or in cult classic films such as “Back to the Future” where the space-time continuum is a constant topic between the main characters, Doc Brown and Marty. He characterizes the space-time continuum as a natural phenomenon that has the power to alter past and present realities when tampered with (Russon, 2015). In actuality, the idea that the space-time continuum concerns time travel and its consequences is false.
Conversely, the true definition of the space-time continuum is linked to Einstein’s theory of general relativity as the curvature or platform in which all things in space and time occur (Russon, 2015). If such misconceptions already exist for its scientific definition alone, what other definitions could have been overlooked? There are other more uncommon definitions of the word continuum from three other academic disciplines namely its lexical, mathematical and psychological definitions. “Something that changes in “quality” gradually or in very slight stages without any clear dividing points,” (Cambridge Dictionary, n.d.). In simpler terms, a continuum is something that constantly changes starting from a certain point. Continuums can be observed in all aspects of life such as in the continuum of Philippine history, specifically courtship. Filipinos are known around the world as the “chameleons” (Chua, 2018) due to settling of different nationalities on Philippine soil and influencing the lifestyles of the Filipinos, diluting the cultures of their past but also combining it with their already existing culture and way of living (Ethnic Groups Philippines, 2016).
These changes were not abrupt but were instead a gradual transformation that started with what the majority of the natives’ decide to slowly incorporate and blend with their own practices. In earlier times, courtship in the Philippines was considered to be a taboo topic wherein lovers would not be allowed to be seen out together unless they were married (Mahusay & Romero, 2015) and were looked down upon if any public displays of affection were demonstrated. According to Kevin (n.d.), this is due to the Filipino culture believing that they are other ways that affection can be expressed, privately, between the only two people who are supposed to be involved. The traditional Filipina would be secretive about any feelings toward a suitor and show utmost restraint, no matter how strong her feelings were (Villanueva-Lykes, 2013). It was a customary tradition for gentlemen to seek the approval of a woman’s parents before any further advancements were to happen.
As time passed, public displays of affection were slowly accepted into the Filipino culture, due to interracial relationships that came with globalization. Based on an analysis by Mahusay and Romero (2015), courtship started to revolve more on the liberalism of Filipino youth, giving them the freedom to express their feelings in the way they deem appropriate. It became common to see couples out on dates and holding hands. The approval to pursue a lady came from the woman herself and expression of feelings started to be encouraged. These changes in culture did not occur overnight but was instead a gradual development that happened slowly, but surely, over time. Recent years presented new types of courting with the advancement of technology, such as online dating (Holman, 2013). Homosexual relationships that started out under radars are now widely accepted and recognized. There is no clear division in these transitions, but these small adjustments, when added together, creates a vast difference from when only men were to court ladies acting bashfully to dating someone from halfway across the world. It will continue on to deliberately change and advance without anyone knowing where the extreme end may be, thus, a continuum. The word continuum has a more specific definition in the field of mathematics. It is “a continuous system or range of adjacent elements that do not vary from each other in any marked degree, although the endpoints of the system may vary differently,” (Rouse, 2016).
A continuum may be compared to a sequence to simplify the concept. According to a website named Mathigon (n.d.), a sequence is a string of objects that follow a set pattern, much like natural or counting numbers whose values differ by one. In a continuum, those objects may also be referred to as the elements of the sequence. In actuality, the continuum represents a foundational concept in mathematics though many are not aware of it. According to Feferman (n.d.), “On the contrary, by a kind of miracle of synergy, [real number system] R has proved to serve together with the [counting numbers] natural numbers [represented by] N as one of the two core structures of mathematics; together they are the sine qua non of our subject, both pure and applied”. This is because the set of real numbers can be considered as a continuum. The set of all real numbers in a number line may be considered as a continuum, as each value differs minimally and only increase in set increments and each value corresponds one-to-one with a point on the number line. This means that a set of real numbers starts with one (1) then continues on to two (2), then three (3), and so on.
Another characteristic of a continuum is that its extremes, or the elements opposite each other in the sequence such as positive and negative infinity, have a significant difference. In a set of real numbers with a starting value of one (1), the very first number has a sizable difference when compared to positive infinity since a set of real numbers will keep on increasing constantly at it goes on. One of the most uncommon uses of the word continuum is when it is associated with the evolution of human characteristics and parental influences. Jean Leidloff, the creator of the word, used continuum to not just describe a person’s characteristics, but that of their family, clan, community, and species. Human beings have a certain behavior at specific stages of life.
According to “Understanding The Continuum Concept” by Jean Leidloff herself, the human continuum starts even in the early stages of infancy as it pertains to how the natural physical needs of a baby is met. This involves the physical contact with its mother or having someone who immediately responds to his/her signals without showing any indicator of judgement or displeasure when attending to him/her. Continuum refines a person on his/her true nature as it is associated with personal development as he/she acquires new knowledge from their own life experiences over time. Continuum forms connections from one individual to his social groups. “The continuum of an individual is whole, yet forms part of the continuum of his family, which in turn is part of his clan’s, community’s, and species’ continua, just as the continuum of the human species forms part of that of all life.” (Jean Leidloff, n.d.). The continuums contained in every individual present in the world is interconnected to each other as a person’s continuum is a small part of a greater body, always within a continuum larger than it. These connections are formed through the interactions that happen between people everyday. These relationships, however brief, adds yet another experience that contributes to the emotional, psychological, or physical progress of those involved. Being naturally social animals (Waytz, 2014), human beings will always desire interpersonal relationships, thus continue to live in a continuum. In summary, “Continuum” provides us with an understanding of evolution, sequences, and human development as it is something that has a specific starting point but not a definite end. It is something that keeps changing gradually, without any specific turning points in the changes.
From our early ages to our deaths, everyone experiences continuum. We are all currently living in a continuum, collecting experiences that change us subtly every day. The continuum we live in may be of one’s own, their family’s, their school’s, their country’s or the continuum of the whole world, everyone eventully connects into one continuum. This is due to every person encountering different events and individuals in every second of their lives. Past ideas and beliefs would greatly influence their present reactions, further changing future actions. Following how continuum has been described, each person differs in certain ways, with no two people ever being the same. Each person is special in the way that no one else will ever be because of the human continuum differing within every person. This would result in an ever growing and developing society, growing together through each other.
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