Now : Time

02019-06-12 | Ottmar, Philosophy | 1 comment

The following is a post from September 2009, slightly edited:

Time has changed, or should I say our perception of time and especially our use of time has evolved. A long time ago we used to say “I’ll see you in Spring,” then we might have said “I’ll see you at the beginning of the third moon,” which became “I’ll wait for you during the second week of the seventh month,” until we arrived here: “I’ll meet you at 6:15, and don’t be late – I’ll only wait 10 minutes.”

The grid has narrowed, from a year to a nanosecond, and the hatch-marks are so close now that we can barely distinguish them. if your watch slows just a little bit you miss your appointment – unless you are a doctor: they are ALWAYS late for your appointment.

Is time an eternal and infinite and mysterious NOW or is it this finely hatched grid we have superimposed?

Of course it is both. The present moment versus measured time is also poetry versus data, which is also beauty versus information, or being versus having…

The moment, that now is poetry. The grid we superimpose is data. And isn’t that we seem to do to everything? Aren’t we choking all beauty with our grids, our data? Music and books have lost their magical beauty and have been reduced to data files and streams. Is it a teeter-totter that swings back and forth? Now towards poetry, now towards data? After these decades of reduction, will decades of expansion follow?

And that thought brings me to this: what do we need to change, what can we change?

Perhaps we can sometimes choose walking and biking over driving, like choosing to vacation in an area we can discover on foot or bicycle, as opposed to doing ten cities in two weeks. Perhaps we can discover ways to counteract the tightening noose of time that we are ourselves superimposing on our world. If we can insert a little space into our time, little balloons of NOW, those spaces will act like airbags in cars that save us from a collision… they will create little bubbles within the tightening net of measured time.

1 Comment

  1. Jane Katz

    I remind myself to put space between things. After one small action, I take a brief beat or two to consciously inhale, exhale, notice what my hands and feet are touching, and observe a quality in my surroundings. A phenomenon: I seem to accomplish things more quickly than I do when I forget to take the spaces.

    Spaces in a line of music, called “rests,” are crucial to the design of the music, and I notice that spaces inserted in spoken lines increase the impact and clarity of the speaker’s communication.

    Spaces are fun!


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