It’s a beautiful sunny Sunday morning. We had flurries overnight and the roads are all covered with relatively untrammeled snow. I wonder how long it will be before the plow comes.
That brief paragraph has at least four references to time. I mention a day of the week (Ever wonder how come we have 7 days in a week? Was it always that way? What is always?) I tell you that it’s morning (Who decided when morning becomes afternoon and afternoon becomes evening? Obviously with daylight saving time and time zones we aren’t just saying it’s when the sun is highest in the sky anymore.) I talk about the snow overnight and wonder how long before the plows come (How do we measure how long and who decided that? And does everyone agree? How long is long? Is that just my interpretation of time passing? What do I mean by time passing? How does it move and where is it going?)
Have I blown your mind yet? Well a Sunday morning seems as good a time (arrrgh!) as any to ponder the imponderables. It’s almost as if you can hardly form a thought without time being woven into it somehow. It appears that time is almost an integral part of our awareness of being human and being alive.
Jeff Goldsmith, a well-known spiritual teacher, calls life “A Parenthesis in Eternity”. This imagery is similar to that of a quote by Philip Novak, “One plunges into time’s terrible surf, only to emerge riding its wake, awakened.” They both suggest that time is only a function of being here, being alive, and that before and after our human experience we are part of the eternal and timeless. Hold on a sec. Who says there is anything that is eternal and timeless? Science is still arguing that. Did time begin with the big bang? If it did, what came before?
Let me assign you new administrator privileges. Just for today, you get to pretend that you can create, or invent, or discover (whichever fits) TIME. Wow what a concept! Now you have to decide:
What is time? Is it a thing? A feeling? Is it a wave? Or just an illusion of the collective unconscious? Perhaps it’s a mass hallucination. Or maybe it’s a huge agreement that we buy into when agreeing to become human for this short (arrgh – define short) visit to earth.
How does time travel? Does time travel? Is time travel possible? And if it is, can we go back and change history? Can we jump forward or just travel through a wormhole to the past?
Does time flow from past to future or from future to past and off into history? What is history? Is history gone or is it still out there somewhere in a parallel universe? Or perhaps time doesn’t move at all and we are the ones passing by as though we are riding a moving sidewalk at the airport. Or maybe time is just a series of ‘nows’, like an old fashioned movie.
Are you going to make time dependent on the movement of the earth, sun, stars? Or are you going to make it independent of the rest of the universe? Will you adjust the length of the pieces of time? The hours, weeks, months, years? Are you going to make it a little more organized so that we don’t have to throw in leap years to get things a little more on track every four years? Are you going to announce that all months are now 30 days, or 31 or 25 so that we don’t have to remember that silly little rhyme – thirty days hath September….?
Is the past etched in stone? Is the future just a mirage? Or is the future pre-determined? And is the past a just a poorly remembered work of fiction? Do we ‘remember’ the future or imagine it?
Go get a coffee, sit down, relax and consider the nature of time. But perhaps you should set an alarm because when you start to rethink time, you’ll be heading off down a rabbit hole and you may forget to come out. Is forgetting a function of time passing? And is time different when you’re in another dimension?
By the way, what time is it?