October 21, 2016 / by Ruby Childs / In Thoughts

Time Thoughts

Time is an odd quantity, many of us wishing we had more of it, or wanting it to hurry up for some pivotal event in our lives. We know time, in terms of past, present and future. Being able to recall dates of significant events, what we are doing at this very moment as well as planning future milestones, holidays or celebrations.

We lead ourselves into a sense time is linear and global. But we forget time has independence for each and everyone of us. We measure our own lives in regards to our own significant events. You will often find yourselves reflecting on your life in your own time span, thinking of what age you may have been and how the world was at that moment. Before your life, you see the world as history, never fully engaging what this period was like. Our imagination goes into full swing hearing of the past, yet we struggle to see the future beyond our life span.

Throughout our lives, we never feel we have enough time; it fades and passes through our fingers, as we grasp and clutch at it. In recent years, that has lead scientists and philosophers to question if time truly exists. As Barbour says ‘People are sure it’s there, but they can’t get hold of it. My feeling is that they can’t get hold of it because it isn’t there at all.’ Maybe time doesn’t truly exist, but the concept of a Now does. We live each day and each moment as a Now.

Time in its essence, acts as a commodity, that everyone wants, but no one truly has. Everyone is busy and it is a scarce resource. We often try to relate time in monetary value, relating wage to hours worked. Yet the time-money scales never feels balanced. It has been shown by Jungmin Lee, that those with bigger pay checks, feel more anxiety about their time, to the point that they feel time-poor. So alas being rich may not give you the time you so desperately desire.

But how can we feel like we have time. Do we simply optimize all the time we do have, to ensure its value, becoming multi-tasking wizards? Do we simply consume more goods? Do we make more intelligent thought-out decisions which increase the opportunity cost for our Leisure time? With all these decisions and the desperation for time, how do we reduce the stress and anxiety that it creates.

As a society and as individuals we need to Slow Down. In many ways this seems counterintuitive, but time becomes more meaningful. It’s great to take time out and just allow for thinking. You begin to acknowledge the world in a newer way. But slowing is hard, society now doesn’t give us this time.


“As we live, we seem to move through a succession of Nows,” says Barbour, “and the question is, what are they?” For Barbour each Now is an arrangement of everything in the universe. “We have the strong impression that things have definite positions relative to each other. I aim to abstract away everything we cannot see (directly or indirectly) and simply keep this idea of many different things coexisting at once. There are simply the Nows, nothing more, nothing less.”

Relevant Articles

  1. ‘No such thing called Time’ http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-09/book-excerpt-there-no-such-thing-time

  2. ‘Time Poverty Problem’ http://www.economist.com/news/christmas-specials/21636612-time-poverty-problem-partly-perception-and-partly-distribution-why

  3. ‘Aztec Calendar Wheel and Philosophy Time’ http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends/aztec-calendar-wheel-and-philosophy-time-001345

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