Sunday, September 2, 2007

What Time Is It?

Time is such an elusively significant aspect of our lives. Times subtlety always amazes me in those moments of clarity when the machinery of time presents itself in the foreground of consciousness. Initially, you may think of time as the hours, minutes, and seconds of any particular day. From that point of view it can almost seem independent of your actual experience, as if it is only making objective markers for you to manage yourself within and nothing else. Then it may begin to occur to you that time also represents the difference between day and night, one day and another, or today as opposed to last week. So it's influence widens to not only include the measuring of distance, how long it takes to get from here to there, but also the measuring of difference, how long it takes to change from being a jerk to being a nice guy. We then refer to time as the past, present, and future, as well as the time necessary for that which I've been in the past to become that which I want to be in the future. Time is then seen to be more than just a marker, for it part of our experience and, therefore, influencing us in some way.

Adding to times depth, we see how it is fluid by nature, it can be contracted or expanded, from the few seconds before you are to be at work, to the several months before your wife is to deliver. One's experience of time can now seem like an actual object you are forced to relate to. It can become a friend or enemy, asset or obstacle. Time can morph depending on the circumstances one experiences it within. For instance, when in a rush, or under pressure, time may seem to fly by, where as when you are bored, or expecting something in the future, time can nearly come to a stand still. You can now see quite clearly how it directly effects your thoughts and emotions which directly dictate your perception and experience of life. Time, a very peculiar movement indeed.

But wait, there's more. Time also represents huge periods of change, evolution, and possibility. The period in time represented by the number 1430 is experienced quite different from the period in time represented by the number 2007. If you were born in 1974, like I was, each yearly marker of time represented all that was possible for you to become, engage in, evolve through, and incorporate into your perspective on life. My 32 year evolution from 1974 to 2007 is quite different than if it were taking place between 1774 to 1807. And yet, as we can see by the nature of numbers, this growth through time is rather rigid, controlled, almost predictable. And so time somehow holds experience in a more or less uniform continuity. It has an ability to absorb attention into a narrow believe of what is possible, what is happening, what is important, what is real, and what is true. For without time you would lose your sense of absolute continuity, the belief that things must follow other things in a strictly uniform, concise, and conditional manner. In other words, the realm of possibility would open up instead of narrow down. One would be capable of seeing more than just the next inevitable step in the line of previously inevitable steps that were governed by one's experience of time itself.

Time presently encapsulates all that it means to be human. It encapsulates the 'why, how, where, what, and who' of all that is happening through our human experience. One's experience of time is the sole obstacle to infinite possibility. So, what time is it?