Do You Feel A Lack of Time?
I think most of us in the western world feel time shortage pressures. A lack of time seems to go hand in hand with how we live.
It's strange though, we all get this feeling of a lack of time yet we can never really see it or feel it. Time is intangible yet we think we experience it.
Time pulls and drags us all over the place. We try to cram in as much as possible, to be as productive as we can, to deliver, to succeed.
Our society says this is how the system works and if you want to be a part of it, to succeed, then this is what you need to do.
We believe it.
We chase the dream, pursue the future and usually sacrifice lots on the way.
Losing our temper easily is normal. We talk negatively to ourselves when we don't meet our own or other's expectations, and we damage relationships with those we love.
We lament the scarcity of time. There simply seems to just not be enough. If only we had more time, or could be more efficient with the time we have…
So what's going on there?
Well, it's tricky, but let's see if I can break it out a bit here…
The Social Structure of Time
I think we're all mad, really insane.
I say insane because this idea we hold prevents us from seeing the obvious truth of our experience, leading to inevitably to irrational behavior.
I'll take myself as an example…
Right now as I write this I'm ratty, irritable.
I should have had this article out this morning at 09:00 latest, but it's now almost 10pm and it's not done.
My kids are in their bedroom next to where I'm writing and they are bouncing around like a pair of baby elephants on a trampoline.
They should be asleep and I'm freaking out inside!
This article needs to get done so I can get tomorrow's article started. I want to get finished and get to bed myself – I'm on the clock.
One hand I see that my mood is irrational and unhelpful to myself or my kids. On the other hand I'm bound by the clock to get finished.
I don't know whether being conscious of this duality makes me more or less crazy than everyone else to be honest.
Maybe I just need to do a little more thinking on the matter…or is it less thinking?
It's The Same Time Everywhere
Right now in this very moment it is what we call day time somewhere on this planet, and at the same moment it is what we call night time somewhere else.
The clocks will tell a different “time” but it is the exact same moment.
The idea that there is something we call time is merely due to the fact that we agree on the synchronicity of mechanical and digital devices we call clocks.
Now, you might say that this is baloney, time is one of the fundamental elements in physics offered to us in the original concepts of Isaac Newton.
And in part I would tend to agree. However, the idea behind some of the most fundamental notions in physics might well be flawed.
The British physicist Julian Barbour in his book The End of Time, suggests that only solution for science and humanity is to remove the idea of time altogether.
I like that idea.
Suck On This For A Finish
Time is an illusion of the mind – a construct we have built to attempt to put shape on our existence.
Rulers, weighing scales, dictionaries and signposts are the same thing.
The map on your phone or in your glove box is a representation of what we call reality. These things merely stand as reference points for our experiences.
Money is a concept just like time, and it appears that most of us have attached a large degree of negativity to that one too.
But it doesn't really have to be this way.
We could in fact use all these concepts to our benefit rather than to our detriment.
Think about this for a second…
You don't say to your husband; “darling, I have so many places to get to today, and I don't think I have enough inches to fit them all in”.
That just sounds ridiculous.
And of course it is ridiculous. But most of us don't see our reference to a lack of time as equally ridiculous.
In fact there's nothing we love more that to share our apparent lack of time with our friends.
All of these things are arbitrary, but we've invested ourselves in their reality.
Time is a convenient tool, a means by which we can arrange to meet and get things done.
When we finish with it we should put it back in the toolbox.