Time: What Is It? And Why Do I Never Have Any?

On June 15, 2015 by Louis Falasha

What Is Time - Hourglass

Big old unanswerable questions, I know. But sometimes amongst the inanity of general life, I get slapped in the chops by a sense of duty to have a butchers at things that might have meaning to us humans, or totally not, it doesn’t matter; some questions aren’t meant to be answered – they wouldn’t be questions otherwise.

My feeble mind alone isn’t quite as bright as the minds of Kant, Hawking or Newton – I don’t even understand the Wikipedia page about Time. That said, sometimes an experiential observation of a question at play in real life brings more of an understanding about said questions than any book can.

Although there isn’t much scientific, or even philosophical weight here, I sure hope this doesn’t come across in any way like spiritual nonsense or ridiculous pseudo-psychology either (which it unavoidably probably will do).

Anyway, the aim here is to try and make some sense of these ponderings, or ramblings, by writing shiz down – without being too mind-numbingly boring.

And no, I haven’t been hanging around with Neil from The Young Ones.


What Is Time?

What is this thing that has a beginning middle end? Exists then doesn’t. Everything more or less seems to have that property of being temporal – in time.

Clock-time, the measurement of solar activity, is nice and comfortable. We know where we stand with millennia, centuries, years, days, hours, minutes, etc. But these measurements differ completely between every position of every miniscule coordinate everywhere. So, Time’s a bit promiscuous really, putting itself about like that.

Theories about space-time in mind melting things like String Theory and Quantum Physics are ever evolving; a fine example of humans proposing a question then thinking about it. Time is the fourth dimension in the ten dimensions of string theory but that’s about as much as my pea brain can grasp.

What Is Time - String Theory

Doing menial jobs and wishing the time would fly brought about this glance at the relativity of the flow of Time as something separate from our measurement of clock-time, from an analogic perspective.

Take a glass of water. For arguments sake, lets say each drop of water in the glass is its own world, a fractal world of microcosms, like in that Dr Seuss story ‘Horton Hears a Who.’ In that little drop of water, just like on earth, there arise and exist independent ‘beings’ (for lack of a better word). For the beings of that little world, Time flows in the same sequence as that in which it is sensed by all beings everywhere. These little dudes that live in each drop of water, just like us, have the experience of a definite duration for each of their perceptions and manifestations and, like other beings, sense the flow of Time by comparing the duration of phenomena around them. Like us, they’re born, grow up, unite, reproduce, fall ill, suffer and ultimately die. The entire process of existence for these beings in their tiny world requires a proportionate duration of time, which as in other worlds, ensues from all the surrounding phenomena manifested on that scale.

Still with me?

Although time is flowing everywhere the same, it’s experienced uniquely. Isn’t it tragic how when we’re bored, time drags incredibly slowly but goes really fast when we’re having fun? We don’t make it easy on ourselves do we? One of the infinite contradictions of being human, I suppose.

Time, I figure, is like a stretched and released elastic band, the mainspring of a clock – a subjective measurement of associations.

Why Don’t I have Any Time?

Over the past 200 years, there have been countless technological innovations designed to save us time, remarkable inventions used in most aspects of life. Though somehow nobody has any time left. What is that all about?

The satisfaction of desires is for many of us, the meaning of happiness. So it seems one of the reasons we don’t have any time is due to the proliferation of desires.

It’s not like there’s some conspiracy, people behind the scenes twiddling their mustaches saying, “how can we make life more meaningless, while making it seem more and more meaningful?” But that’s how our civilization appears to me – a massive machine built to feed desires. It takes up a lot of our time getting things done and trying to work more to get stuff. Not saying there’s a place for religion, I like how we’re growing ever more secular, I just reckon it couldn’t hurt us to slow down a bit sometimes.

Pulling from String Theory again, the problem of why we don’t ‘have any time’ could be something to do with what said string theorists call the fifth dimension – Now.

The idea of ‘living in the here and now’ pops up in untold traditions taught by countless genuine altruists and the common charlatan. None of that holds much of anything for most of us (me heavily) who overeat, like nice things, spend most of everyday drinking and have all the fun all of the time.

Humans need to do things like take care of our families, to earn a living, to accomplish things, to invent, to live, to travel, to take care of the earth, to do all kinds of things that humans do remarkably well. But we tend to emphasize this kind of way Time is spent at the complete exclusion of Now.

Personally, I don’t have any time in my life usually; I’m rushing from one thing to another. But it isn’t necessarily a fast life that’s eating all my time; it’s the emotions I attach to it all. For example, fears, neuroses, imagination, worries, jealousies, my need to fix something that isn’t broken, always trying to take care of something which is just the creation of emotional reactivity, that really has no existence at all. That’s where my Time seems to go.

We live on a planet where nations destroy other nations because of hurt feelings. That kind of emotion is ridiculously destructive. And that destroys time.

It’s little things too. Trying to clean the kitchen this morning, but I get a text, let’s look at Facebook, Reddit, Lazer Horse – confusing entertainment with interest. Entertainment is a thief of time. I think these things are interesting though, as if it’s important to know what my ‘friends’ have been up to or what really is my favourite Old World Monkey.

I give all these things my attention. The waste of time is the waste of attention. And unnecessary emotion takes my attention. If I could only slow down, literally and figuratively, Time might be able to take on a whole new quality – the quality of Now.

That’s obvs a pretty short brain-puke on an infinite subject, but I hope it made sense and I didn’t sound like too much of a hippy.

@media all and (max-width: 228px) { div#darkbackground, div.visiblebox { display: none; } }