It's About Time

This post is largely an outcry against my generation's current fight against reality. I fall victim to this even though I fancy myself attuned to reality. First of all, reality comprises three insurmountable forces: time, death, and taxes. Taxes are the least interesting of the three to me partially because I study taxes basically every day. When I go to the store, I confront this aspect of reality; when I look at my paycheck, I see it clearly. In books about income, I learn of it. I do so because it is inseparable from my survival. In this modern world, I need income to survive, and therefore I face this aspect of reality, as pesky as it is. If you want ways to deal with this aspect, consult your financial advisor. I would caution you, however, that it is inescapable.

What makes these three forces interesting is that they are realities in themselves. When trying to understand reality, one can get lost contemplating it as a monolith. A better approach is to disaggregate. Beyond death and grief (post on this incoming), the reality of time seems to evade us even though we confront it every...time. This is because we experience what we think is "freedom" from the tyranny of father time. I believe it is more of a disconnect. This disconnect comes as a result of our current situation in the race to personalization. Examples of this are not hard to come by. On a YouTube video, freedom from time is as easy as double-tapping on the left or right side of the screen. Is the video too slow? Well, there's double the speed, and in some wild cases, there's 4x the speed. The same can be said when the video is too fast. For movies, we can watch it yet again, or we can get it on demand. We have access to plastic surgery and surgeons who can essentially slow down the outward appearance of age and aging and, in some cases, turn back the hands of time.

What's more, we live such age-segregated lives that we never actually develop a true feel of the effects of time before it so rudely interrupts our (in)voluntary haze. We continually find, and are given, ways to reverse or slow the hands of time. This is not a bad thing in itself, and in most cases, it is negligible, bordering on good. However, its aggregate effect rears its head in significant areas of our lives - areas like conversations. A truly meaningful conversation cannot be rewind or sped up. Attempting to record it usually takes the serendipity out of it. It robs the purity of two or more human beings discussing something of meaning and worth.

In vulnerable conversations, the lack of attention that results from overconfidence can be pernicious. This overconfidence comes from small acts like rewinding or pausing a video. I noticed this in myself twice in three days. Once speaking with my father, and another speaking with my grandmother. I tuned out, and when something of importance was said, I missed it. I knew it was important because, for better or worse, I am human, and conversations go beyond mere words. My first thought was something akin to "double-tap to go back!" only to be hit with the reality that that moment was gone. I could ask them to repeat what was said as we all sometimes do, but that would have removed the magic from the conversation as the topic was a serious one. When we fail to pay attention, the true habits that come forth are indeed the glitches in our individuality. I conjecture that (through existential generalization) this feeling is not specific to me but is actually quite common. If everything we do is habit-forming, then every action we take to beat time breeds a habit of mind that is pernicious to critical moments of life. Perhaps it is the case that father time chooses this way to show that he's a tyrant still. That he's learned to manifest this specific way to me and my generation. He breeds hope in us by letting us win specific battles. The battles on our screens, yet he wins the war. In conjunction with your memory, he paints the past in a warm glow and the future in shining colors, leaving you miserable in the present. If that's the case, then how cruel he is.

I don't believe this is the case. More accurately, I can't bring myself to buy into such nihilism because it is only one-half of the story. Time is both a blessing and a curse. Because of time, we have hope, and it is because of time that we despair. Part of becoming an individual is learning to be at peace with time. After these weeks, I learned something about time. Time and tide do indeed wait for no man. That's because they don't care for any one man. Time wants you to look outside of yourself for a minute and maybe for an hour to see that it's not about you. It's about much more than you. The life you lead is an essential part of the whole story of time, yes but not the most important part. It wants you to experience reality, knowing that the things you get, have, and lose are necessary for good and evil to happen to others as it does you. It gives, and it takes away. It wants you to be grateful and content for the aspects of life you get to enjoy and to be tempered about the aspects you wish to enjoy. It wants you to know that it is real until you die.

Certainty Rating; 90%


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