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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Timely Awareness

What is a minute?  An hour?  A mile?  A kilometer?  They are all nothing.  Images in a mind manufactured from the imagination of a simple human being.  When I am running, my body doesn't know the 'time' I have been running for, and it does not know how 'far' I have gone, it simply knows that it is working.  It knows that the heart is being asked to do more, that the muscles are being asked to exert more, and the adrenal gland simply knows it must exert itself.  When you get to a point of fatigue where the muscles have gone past that present day's threshold, they simple start working differently and the chemical needs and compositions of them change.  We feel fatigued, our muscles tighten up,  we struggle for more oxygen, etc.  Our body does not know that we have just run for 30 minutes, there was no switch that flipped and said 'time's up'.  The reason for this is that A; our body doesn't care about time but only about its own physical capability.  And more importantly, B; that that 30 minutes could very easily be 15 minutes if we simply defined what a 'minute' is differently.  If a minute was 120 seconds rather than 60, our lives would change (even though they really wouldn't).  A day would be 12 hours long, 6 o'clock would be midday and there wouldn't be any debate over 12 versus 24 hour clocks.  The earth rotates on its access in a certain time period, why must it be '24' hours when this period could just as easily have been broken up into different definitional segments.  Our bodies don't care, the earth doesn't care, we only care socially.

The point is that the measurements we have created are arbitrary.  An inch? A foot?  A millimeter?  A kilogram?  A liter or a ton?  We have made them all up, and they could just as easily be changed.  Yet the problem with these measurements is that our lives are completely governed and dictated by them.  Think about it.  Your entire day is ruled by time.  What time did you get up this morning?  What time did you have to be at work?  What time are you meeting your friends after work?  What time does your daughter leave school?  Obviously, as mentioned the name given to these times is completely arbitrary and could just as easily have a different label which would not change our lives much.  Therefore it is the concept of time itself that we need to address.  Why is it that we must live our lives to such a strict accord?  Think about how much time you mentally spend thinking about, or putting pressure upon yourself in the name of time?  The alarm clock, getting ready to go to work, meeting friends, a deadline for a project, getting to a meeting, the list goes on and on.  We live our lives as slaves to our own contrived definition of time.  We have made our own master and yet have absolutely no control over it.  If you really want to open your mind to it, what really is the problem when/if a person is late for something?  Realistically, the only reason to worry, or only thing affected by it, is that the rest of your (and perhaps another's) time and schedule may be thrown off.  So you rush to keep yourself rushing, to keep yourself under the pressure of time.

Now I understand that time provides us with organization and a measurable mechanism to more easily interact in life and with others.  But why must we become slaves to it?  Imagine a world with no clocks?  You woke up as you wished, you went to work as you wished, did what needed to be done, left as per the sun's position, darkness, whatever.  I am not specifically saying this is ideal, but think of the freedom you would feel if you never 'had' to be somewhere at a certain time, or 'had' to do something by a certain time?  Some people may enjoy the rigidity and discipline of the clock.  But the point worth making is not that we should have one or the other – measured time or unmeasured time – but that we should understand that time is quite possibly the largest and most consistent pressure and causer of stress in our lives.  As slaves to its will we are constantly rushing to be somewhere or get something done.  This hurts us personally.  Puts a weight on our shoulders (and immune system) that is entirely man made and controllable.

So please, see time for what it is: a man made and contrived entity that – in actuality – is truly flexible and forgiving despite its fictitious appearance of rigidity.  Remember, your body does not know what a minute or a mile is, it does not know what time is bedtime or how long it takes to get to work.  And honestly, it does not care (at least not until you weigh it and its immune system down with the stress that time pressures put upon it by our hectic lives).  Your body lives and feels absently of the world's arbitrary social measures.  So don't spend so much time dictating to your body how it should live its life.  It knows.  Its tired or its not, its bored or its not, it has energy or it doesn't.  Learn to live more by feel than by forceful social dictate.

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