Categories
Life & Philosophy

My now is your now 

Humans are entropic; we die the minute we’re born. Our lives are limited by time.

But life goes on. It keeps ticking away.

NASA discovered seven Earth-like planets that no one reading this will ever see.

Machines are starting to take over jobs. The AI revolution will do everything from making music to curating it.

We build a world from the bricks of present

We discover and tee up the future even if we don’t breathe in it.

Our presence comes and goes in the blink of the eye. Time passing is time past.

What we call life is always about more than us, setting up a buffet of options that will bleed inexorably into the next.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

More time is better than more money 💸

Time is money

Time is the most valuable asset we have, yet we often fritter away the minutes using money.

Instead of walking up the mountain, we pay to take the lift. Instead of using the local train, we hop in a more expensive cab ride. Such convenience circumvents the lived experience.

The most memorable experiences are the ones that stem the pace and allow us to notice the minutiae: the smells, the way people move, communicate, and dress. Ceasing the fight with time, life generates novelty.

Travel, while requiring the funds to do so, is nonetheless a priceless activity. Writes Kevin Kelly in his piece More time is better than more money, living in the present opens a secret vault.

“Here is what I learned from 40 years of traveling: Of the two modes, it is far better to have more time than money.

When you have abundant time you can get closer to core of a place. You can hang around and see what really happens. You can meet a wider variety of people. You can slow down until the hour that the secret vault is opened. You have enough time to learn some new words, to understand what the real prices are, to wait out the weather, to get to that place that takes a week in a jeep.”

Kevin Kelly

No one is doubting that money makes one’s life easier. But we can either like and enviable Instagram photo or try to live it.

Money cheats time by replacing experiences with immediate gratification. The challenges along the way are the richest experiences in disguise. “So if you have a choice,” Kelley writes, “travel with more time than money. You’ll be richer.”

Categories
Life & Philosophy

The clock is always boss

Gif by @palerlotus

When we’re young, one second can last forever. Patience runs thin.

The opposite is true as we age — life seems to speed up along with all the responsibilities. And time refuses to slow down.

As adults, we wish we could do nothing on purpose, let alone feel our brain processing the freedom of summer.

Tainted by jadedness despite all the rigorous introspection, grown-ups experience the psychic costs of trying to adapt the environment to their needs.

The high strung child goes with the flow, unconstrained by the suck of mental software.

The rules break us, over time, on top of the tick-tock of the moment. The clock is always boss.

Categories
Books Life & Philosophy

The growing block theory of time

Time is simply blocks or slices of reality, added on top of one another. Writes C. D. Broad’s in his theory of time in 1923: 

[…] such a theory as this accepts the reality of the present and the past, but holds that the future is simply nothing at all. Nothing has happened to the present by becoming past except that fresh slices of existence have been added to the total history of the world […] The sum total of existence is always increasing, and it is this which gives the time-series a sense [direction] as well as an order.

C. D. Broad, Scientific Thought: A Philosophical Analysis of some of its fundamental concepts
Categories
Creativity Productivity & Work

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.

Categories
Books

The elasticity of time

Benedict Cumberbatch reads an extract from Carlo Rovelli’s book The Order of Time:

I stop and do nothing. Nothing happens. I am thinking about nothing. I listen to the passing of time. This is time, familiar and intimate. We are taken by it. The rush of seconds, hours, years that hurls us towards life then drags us towards nothingness … We inhabit time as fish live in water. Our being is being in time. Its solemn music nurtures us, opens the world to us, troubles us, frightens and lulls us. The universe unfolds into the future, dragged by time, and exists according to the order of time. What could be more universal and obvious than this flowing?

In a physics laboratory, a clock on a table and another on the ground run at different speeds. Which tells the time? The question is meaningless. We might just as well ask what is most real – the value of sterling in dollars or the value of dollars in sterling. There are two times that change relative to each other. Neither is truer than the other. But there are not just two times. Times are legion: a different one for every point in space. The single quantity “time” melts into a spiderweb of times. We do not describe how the world evolves in time: we describe how things evolve in local time, and how local times evolve relative to each other.

Time is always moving at different speeds, a subjective interpretation.

It only takes a few micrograms of LSD to expand our experience of time to an epic and magical scale. “How long is forever?” asks Alice. “Sometimes, just one second,” replies the White Rabbit. There are dreams lasting an instant in which everything seems frozen for an eternity. Time is elastic in our personal experience of it. Hours fly by like minutes, and minutes are oppressively slow, as if they were centuries.

Before Einstein told us that it wasn’t true, how the devil did we get it into our heads that time passes everywhere at the same speed? It was certainly not our direct experience of the passage of time that gave us the idea that time elapses at the same rate, always and everywhere.

Categories
News Tech

U.K. schools dismiss the traditional clock face

The U.K. is eliminating analog clocks from student classrooms because kids can’t read them.

Says one professor from the Times Educational Supplement newspaper:

“It is amazing the number of students I am coming across in year 10, 11 and in sixth form who do not know how to tell the time. We live in a world where everything is digital. We are moving towards a digital age and they do not necessarily have analogue watches anymore and they have mobile phones with the time on.”

Of course, kids in the UK can’t be the only ones who need digital clocks to tell time.

Generation thumbs in the USA can’t seem to either, as Jimmy Kimmel highlights in the video below.

Just as Google replaced the 3 x 5 index card, the iPhone silenced the tick-tock. At least adults and children can agree on one thing about time: it never stops.