Got Time?

There may soon come a day when humanity makes the unimaginable technological advancement that will enable us to produce time. Today, we exert the vast majority of our energy to get the mundane things – work, finances, chores – out of the way, in order to makeroom for important things – family, friends, study, meaning, self-discovery –– whose time may never come. But tomorrow we will have the freedom to pursue the beauty of life without the imposing deadlines of modern living looming over us. We will focus our energies on pursuingmeaningful life, and utilize synthetic time, manufactured by quark physicists in nuclear laboratories, for the mundane. Perhaps.

The truth is that we already possess the potential for such technology.

In general, life is experienced as an overwhelming array of fragmentation, flowing from one event to the next, one day to the next,without any sense of continuity, control or causation. We intuitively sense that life is precious, that it offers an opportunity to contribute something unique to the world, but worldly exposure serves to desensitize us to our personal mission; we are too busy treadingwater and staying afloat to realize that we could learn to swim or fly instead. On the one hand, we yearn to transform this existential paradox and transcend it. On the other hand, we feel the need to keep moving madly in all directions, either because we are afraid to admit our ineptitude or too foolish to recognize the truth. Time after time, we find ourselves reacting to sudden circumstances, somehow surprisedby the fate that we ourselves have generated. This is true of us as individuals, in the way we view our private lives, as well as thecourse of humanity in general, in the way we view our collective history and sense our common future.

Creating mastery over time, and thereby over life, is to see the inherent value of each and every moment as a newly created, living opportunity, implying that even seemingly mundane activities can be infused with meaning and inspiration. The ability to live this ideal depends on the strength of our determination to confront life using our faculties of memory and imagination. Memory deconstructs past experiences to determine what was right or wrong, while imagination makes adjustments to confidently plot a new course for the future. But these forays into the periscope of time, whether backwards or forwards, need to be controlled to be effective. When time is set aside for constructive reflection or pondering the future, then it is effective, and is itself an example of living in the moment – because it is what that particular moment demands. But when thoughts of past reflection and future pondering creep up on us, bringing with them regret, doubt and uncertainty, then it can be distracting and even destructive.

The passage of time is a relative phenomenon; is it really time that is passing or flying by, or is it we who are passing by time, missingopportunities to do the necessary good that will revolutionize our lives and the collective life of the entire world? The gift of time isnot subject to the limitations that our perception of it suggests. Deconstruct the yesterday, rebuild the tomorrow and live today. Inour memory of days past and bygone eras, and in our imagination of days to come – and even more so in the present that is created at everysingle moment – we have the potential to transcend the constraints of time, and boldly go where no one has gone before. If only we could find the time…

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