Getting to zero time

Getting to zero time

Time is constant. And it keeps on moving with more and more rapidity, driven by technology.

Said painter Fredericka Foster in her interview with composer Philip Glass:

Time is speeding up in a real way. Younger people’s sense of time is completely different than mine; they have been working on screen time since they were tiny. Perhaps the reason why summer went by so fast for your son is that he has never experienced the slowdown in time, or boredom.

We have food, we enjoy our electronic screens, yet boredom seems to harder to find. It is scarce.

We’ve learned to pursue distraction as a replacement for letting our minds wander. Entertainment fills the void: it introduces new and shiny objects in the form of YouTube videos and shiny Instagrams.

But we can still freeze time, at least in our heads when we look at something like a painting. Says Phillip Glass:

When I look at a painting, time always seems to be in the present. In music, things happen in measured time. When a painter looks at a canvas, time is irrelevant. I was visiting Jasper Johns once, looking at one of his number paintings from 10 years before. He said, “I am still working on that painting.” When I look at your paintings, for you a day of work may go by fast or slow, but the painting is the painting, and looking, I can jump in and get to zero time easily.

When in the midst of creativity, time also seems to slow down. We dance, play an instrument, write, or paint to the rhythm of each tick-tock.

Once I get the composition down, I can begin to pay attention to the rhythm of the painting. I put on music (for example, your Satyagraha) and enter into a dance with the painting, changing the composition to exaggerate the rhythm. Time disappears. I become a verb, seeing, painting. That time cannot be measured. With this kind of focused attention, time has no boundaries. That’s the kind of time you find in love, in creativity, in the life of the spirit, the kind of time I live for.

Time is elapsing now, yet there are still ways to grasp it.

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