On why we’ve been counting in the wrong direction, and how to open our perspective of time as something that accumulates rather than diminishes.
Time’s a dance, not a march
What if we were to ground our perspective of time in abundance, not scarcity, and consider its movement as one that doesn’t diminish downwards to zero but, rather, accumulates up from it?
A new theory under a familiar context of change turning future to past; unsaddling our own judgements and dematerializing our unfitting imposition on time.
Needed because we’ve tried to humanize time, molding it to our liking, necessitating it as this linear thing (like we are), a resource (like we consume), and an obstacle (like we antagonize).
Time is, by all means, expanding, as we are; workable for us as much as against us, and laden with potential that we’ve happened to obscure—time is its own animal, one we’ve tricked ourselves into thinking we’ve tamed through understanding.
In reality, we’ve been counting the wrong way as we’ve maintained an existentially abusive relationship with time, turning it into something it’s not, seemingly for our own benefit but really to our own detriment.
Green means slow
The more that we deconstruct our temporal perspective, the more liberated we become under the infinitude of potentiality that becomes immediately apparent.
Our lives have been standardized in accordance with a constricting perspective on time, regarding it as something that depletes, something measurable along a linear progression model, a resource like everything else.
Whether emanating from our inherent biological processes of decay or from cultural necessity, time is described primarily as fleeting and irretrievable.
But what if we could reformulate the very definition of time, or reconfigure its function correlative to our subjective experience?
Red lights suddenly turn a bit more green and things tend to slow down as potential, potent as ever, creeps in.
The only real deadline should be a flat line on an electrocardiogram, and for most of us, that event’s completely unpredictable.
Obviously, deadlines are good, needed to obtain order and effectuate commitment, to ensure efficiency and success, critical in the context of goal-setting/getting.
But in the grand scheme of existential maneuverability, in our day to day navigation from one moment to another as we skip along memories and milestones, time need not work against us so, rushing us through the best parts of it all.
Time isn’t a glass half empty and draining — it’s a glass half-full and filling, if not with liquid then with empty potential all the more.
The scenic route left undriven is always the better option.
Retrospective and prospective valuation
We can infuse time — even ‘wasted’ time — with value via retrospection.
Say we’re stuck somewhere, on the side of the road with a flat tire, in the midst of a terribly busy week; in the moment, that time may be considered wasted, but in retrospect it can prove much more useful or memorable than time spent completing what we had otherwise intended to complete.
Uneventful mistakes of yesterday can be eventful lessons for tomorrow.
We can likewise do this with prospect and future considerations — anticipations of tomorrow can be motivators for today.
In other words, how we use our time isn’t only measurable by the present — a distorted perception we’ve grown accustomed to applying. Value can be attributed via past and future considerations.
This fact expands on our capabilities in navigating through time, affording us much more versatility (as we can proactively move forward and back rather than passively standing still) and makes the whole process of change [from past to future] tremendously more maneuverable.
Time isn’t a river — it’s the entire water cycle.
Consider the way we pursue goals alongside time versus against time.
Against time, we want things sooner; we push harder, we burn out quicker or we achieve a goal at the expense of a healthy balancing act (we may ignore our kids during their prime years of development or spend so much time in a gym that we grow sick of it one day).
Alongside time, we acknowledge there’s no need to rush and we don’t intensively labour through our obligations or goal-acquisitions so much as to make them unpleasable; we chip away, in ways that afford us greater maneuverability, or in ways that are more forgiving if we have trouble keeping up.
I’m reminded of colleagues I had in school who flunked out because they couldn’t keep up with a full course load every semester; instead of spreading out their efforts over 5–7 years, they aimed for 3-4 and missed the mark completely, or ended up repeating a years’ (or two) worth of classes anyway, amidst a lot of unnecessary struggle.
Tortoise beats the hare, especially when the placement of the finish line is a subjective one.
Potential is amplified amidst an open frame correlative to our movement though time; it’s restricted in the face of diminution.
Not unlike the roots of plants inside of a garden bed — more space promotes larger growth; less space provokes constraint.
We already have biology working against us to a degree given our natural progression towards death; why also weaponize time against us along the way?
Limited time means limited options, and if we willingly operate under an assumption of limitation in one facet of existence, it axiomatically permeates into other areas.
Time can be coded to a degree, and that coding is something we apply to everything around us.
Again, subjectivity triumphs.
Circles, not lines
From seasons to civilizations to celestial processions, things cycle in nature — that’s just how it is.
Our linear progression model, good for objective stabilization, is stunting to subjective navigation.
It’s against nature to move from point A to point Z, as everything in the natural world moves from Point A to Point A, ad infinitum.
Think not of what you’ve yet to achieve before the sun had set or before the ground had frozen — before the time was up — but what you happened to have achieved in the span of time that you had been afforded, and what potential still exists to achieve more when the cycle resets.
Maybe more critically, what you can do different/better in subsequent rounds.
Only an empty glass can be [re]filled.