Saturday, 10 December 2016

Time: stop and move forward

I have often considered that we rush too quickly through our lives, desperate for the next thing, not enjoying the current moment but impatiently searching for something new to entertain our eyes, ears and minds. Particularly in the Christmas season people seem desperate to get to the holidays, receive gifts, spend money, welcome the new year and then get on with their lives, while I would rather take it slower, or stop time altogether before even reaching the 25th of December, in order to enjoy the present (if you take my meaning).

Two thoughts have presented themselves to me in the past few days, however, that have suggested other views on 'time'.
     Firstly, we live in a 'self-transcending reality', which means that our universe keeps moving forward, growing in complexity, depth and unity, and while we may wish sometimes, or even oftentimes, to go back to what we imagine was some perfect moment, when our lives, or indeed our world, was a better place, we cannot go back. In fact such thoughts will inevitably leave us feeling worse; partly because we look back with rose-tinted spectacles, and the world was almost certainly not better, it was simply different, but also because we are straining against the pattern of the universe in which time only works in one direction and that is forward.
     I love to study history and there is much we can learn from our past and what went on back then, but we must not start to live in the past because otherwise time will continue on without us and we will get lost.
     Secondly, I have begun reading a book titled 'No picnic on Mount Kenya'. It is the true story of how three prisoners of war escaped from their camp at the foot of Mount Kenya in order to embrace adventure and to bring some meaning back to their existence.
     You see time is valuable, and we can often take it for granted. In a prison, and especially during a war, when there is no definite end in sight to incarceration, the smallest argument can provide discussion for hours. A verbal fight over who will read a book first is, says the author, "a pleasant struggle; as long as it lasts, time has value again."
     Stopping time may seem pleasurable to me, with my freedom to choose when I do things, but to someone with endless days to fill just finding something with a conclusion to reach or a goal to achieve brings life.

So, while we should not live in the future and we should take time to enjoy our present moment, we must also keep moving forward and reaching for the next task, to prevent us from becoming stale or forgotten, even to ourselves.

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