Time and its Prerequisite to Exist

“What time is it? It is 7:15 P.M. Hhm…then I’ve still got time to write another article. But after that; what am I going to do then? How am I going “to kill” that time? Well, I would probably watch another episode of Californication and grab a bite or something. But let’s not think about that for now; let’s stay in the present. Let’s put time on a hold, shall we?

Too bad that isn’t possible. There’s no switch around, allowing us to turn of “the production process called time”. But what exactly is time? It is intangible but omnipresent; it is always moving forward and it is limited. It is unity and difference at the same time. It is the most valuable good we have. Everything we do depends on it. Time is the creator of value and the destructor of lives. Time can cure aids or let it continue unsolved. Time is us, we are time.

But, besides the philosophical picture of time, how do we “use” time in our daily lives? As a planning device, right? We use it to create order in this mess we’re living in. Imagine that we wouldn’t have our notion of time; our notion of standing up at 7:10 A.M., taking a shower, start working at 8:45 and wander around until – let’s say – 10:30 P.M when it’s time to go to bed and start the whole cycle of time all over again. Without time we wouldn’t know when to take our children to the crèche; cook dinner or attend at a birthday party. Without time we would be trees or clocks. Although the latter seems to have a pretty good sense of time, or doesn’t it?

But who’s in control? Are we in control of time, or does time control us? We think we know what time is which makes us base our entire lives upon it. “Our” time is a human construct; it’s created by us to make sure everyone gets on the train “on time”. But this is merely a superficial reflection of Time with a capital “t”; Time as the flow of life and death; as the creative power of this earth. Without this notion of Time there wouldn’t be anything. The only things that could “be” are snapshots; frames in time. But there would be no-one to experience these frames, because experiencing takes time. There wouldn’t even be things; because for something “to be” it needs to exist in time. Without time there would be nothing; and not even that. We could chop up time in pieces and glue them together, but that wouldn’t make something exist. “You can’t step in the same river twice”, Heraclitus said, because time is always present, making the river change continuously. However, without time, there wouldn’t even be something to be called a river; not by us – because we cannot exist outside of time – but neither by the world itself, because without time there wouldn’t be “things” to divide the world into; without time there wouldn’t be a difference between a river and its water. Both are one without time. It is only within time that these “things” become what they are. It is only in time that nature shows its true colors.

Time makes us who we are but continuously changes this “us” at the same time. The “I” that exists now thinks differently than the “I” that started this sentence. The “I” that reflects upon the previous sentence thinks that this article might be getting a little too philosophical. But luckily for you, I see it’s time to go.

What do you think?

Written by Rob Graumans

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