For a while I wasn’t sure how to feel about time - the inevitable passage of each moment from any start to any end. If watching it tick away was terrifying or wondrous. And asking, does it affect our character?
Time Takes and Brings All
So why might one think time is either terrifying and wondrous?
The terrifying part is time takes everything from a person. Absolutely everything. Enjoyable moments with good company? Our plans have to end. The great taste of a wine or well-cooked meal? The taste fades. Friends and family we’ve always relied on? They’re not immortal. Our own gifts, whether they be making music or a sharp wit? Our body and mind are doomed to fade.
Time permanently passes and drags the totality of everything away with it.
The wondrous part is that time also gives a person everything. Absolutely everything. Enjoyable moments with good company? We watch out plans reach the present. The great taste of a wine or well-cooked meal? Flavors build as we cook them. Friends and family we’ve always relied on? We watch them mature and live along with us. Our own gifts, whether they be making music or a sharp wit? We improve our skills and feel them affect others.
Time permanently passes and pushes the totality of everything forward with it.
So how does one feel about time? Fear it, love it, or just let it do what it wants?
Time is a Blank Canvas
The more I thought about time, the more I realized how context-dependent it is.
Imagine two people at a party - both feel differently about time passing. Person A, who likes everyone there, may hate time since it’ll eventually end the party. Person B, who dislikes everyone there, may love time for the same reason.
But their feelings could switch - Person A would love time since it’ll bring everyone together for another party. Person B would hate time for the same reason.
Or both could realize there’s less time for more parties in their futures, so Person A would hate time and Person B would love it.
Perhaps how people feel about time comes down to perspective. Time is so massive and all-encompassing, yet also so blank and neutral, that it’s an infinite white wall. A giant canvas that allows for infinite expression of our thoughts onto it. Time is ultimately what we make of it. It can be the giver of everything or the taker of everything.
Time affects all our Perspectives
Because time is so universal to our lives, yet can be viewed in infinite ways by infinite people, I imagine it’d affect our other life perspectives.
No matter what we do, what passions we pursue, what people we connect with, what ideals we chase, time will push and pull each element. Time is present in all we do, so our perspective on time affects our perspectives on everything else.
Are people angry and hateful due to a frustration not not controlling time? Are people caring and loving since they accept time’s passage and enjoy it while it’s there? Are people productive and driven due to an acute awareness of time’s limits? Are people relaxed and cavalier since they’re more in tune with how enjoyable every second is?
One’s perspective on time may not affect all of them, but it will affect some of them. It’s worthwhile for anyone to honestly look at their feelings about time and how it’s affected them. Then, most importantly, try the same from the points of view of others.
Time creates and ends everything. So we should use it to create compassion and understanding before it ends our chances to.
Cheers, Max A