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Time//And the Passage of it

Cremisi's picture

 "Query: How contrive not to waste one's time? Answer: by being fully aware of it all the while. Ways in which this can be done: By spending one's days on an uneasy chair in a dentist's waiting lining up at the box office theaters and then not buying a seat and so forth.." The Plague

The concept of time is something that, though it is all around us constantly, still continues to make me wonder. As to add to Tarrou's statement, I think, how does one not waste time? When I think about this for me, personally, I often consider myself not at all wasting time when I use it efficiently--that is, to say, i get a lot of work done. In addition, i'm not wasting time if I become fully absorbed in doing something that is beneficial to either myself or someone else. However, this also happens to be when I lose track of time the very most. As to follow that old expression, "time flies when you're having fun" we value time so much, but when we become fully engrossed in something is when we are using it wisely. It's only when we start to ignore time, the entitiy that is so precious to us, that we then finally start reaping its benefits. But I suppose that brings another question: does time actually give any benefits, or is it neutral? 

Time is such an odd concept--it's irreversible (well, to my lay-understanding at this point of it) and when I typed that T to begin my sentence was a completely different world, and time never to be repeated again. It's strange to just sit and exist. Try it--blink, it's now the past. Then end of the sentence is now the past, everything you have become aware of is now the past. It moves so fast that it is a little overwhelming to think about. like that famous line in the classical documentary Grey Gardens, "it's very difficult to keep the line between the past and the present". It is, in a way, a tad bit unnerving. Time is moving so very fast, yet nothing is happening to me right now. However, who is to say that that is a bad thing?


I was wondering if anyone had a better understanding into the actual science of time--with wormholes, and space, and all those bits. I'd like to understand it more. 


"We are so little reconciled to time that we are even astonished at it. “How he’s grown!” we exclaim, “How time flies!” as though the universal form of our experience were again and again a novelty. It is as strange as if a fish were repeatedly surprised at the wetness of water. And that would be strange indeed; unless of course the fish were destined to become, one day, a land animal."

 --CS Lewis in Reflections on the Psalms



alexandrakg's picture

Re: Time....

 I, too, have often pondered over how to define time.  I also often experience some frustration when I realize that the second that just passed will be one that I can never live through again.  That time is gone, and the change that happened through out it cannot ever be undone.  We often treat time like it is almost a solid entity, perhaps even permeable.  The idea of time-travel is harder and harder for me to imagine every time I think about it.  If one were to travel in time, who knows what could change, in other words, how realistic is the Butterfly Effect?  If I were to go back in time and redo my life, say, go to a different college or choose a different major, would something so seemingly insignificant have an impact beyond myself?  I think perhaps time is simply the continual change the universe goes through.  Time is also infinite.  Take a minute, for example.  It can be divided into seconds, which can then be divided into milliseconds and so on.  In a way, we have already lived an infinite number of moments.

Lethologica's picture


 I've always found the concept of time quite fascinating, as well. It's always baffled, intrigued, and amazed me that we, the human species as a whole, have managed to impress upon the abstract idea of time an orderly system that allows us to express it with ease. There are times when I attempt to look past this system, and consider the abstract of 'Time' without all of its trappings, but I've found that it doesn't result in anything but a headache. But it should be possible, shouldn't it? Consider that different cultures have had (and still have) different ways of expressing time; this should be impossible if there is no true underlying force. Don't ideas need something to spring off of, after all? It also puzzles me that 'Time,' even after we organize it, has a strange tendency of moving in leaps and bounds.  How is it that time can seem to stand still one moment, and then rush past us, leaving us in the dust? I've lived my life in such a way that one moment might last for ages, the very dust-motes frozen in the sunlight, while several others might happen all at once. I can't seem to rationalize this, and when I try my brain doesn't thank me. 

Beyond this particular problem, I also have to wonder if it is even possible to waste time as it is suggested in The Plague. I'm sure that it sometimes seems like time has certainly been wasted sometimes, especially when we do not do with it what we had originally planned, but I'm not sure that that quite fits the bill. We are, after all, still using 'Time' for its intended purpose, no matter what else it is we're doing. I can't imagine time doing anything other than ticking along, despite any of our efforts. So, perhaps one can waste an opportunity, but I don't see how one can waste Time. And even if one could waste time, I don't believe that one should preoccupy oneself over it. As Mason Cooley said, "regret for wasted time is more wasted time." So perhaps it doesn't really matter either way.  

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