The way as we experience time now has been radically changed over the past century. On the one hand there seems to be an acceleration of time. Everything seems to move quicker and change sooner and on the other hand there is a growing sense of lack of time. Development of technologies has led us into an abnormal paradox: the more time saving machines we have developed, the busier we become, and the less time we seem to have. No wonder that we desire for finding the answer what produces this lack of time. Our ideas and our experience of time have changed again and again. And we seem poised to see them change once more in our lifetimes.
Time in the digital universe and time in our universe are governed by entirely different clocks. In our universe, time is a continuum. In a digital universe, time is a countable number of discrete, sequential steps. G.George Dyson
Mechanical clocks didn’t appear until the 14th century, and they had no minute hands — an invention that would take approximately another 300 years to appear. The introduction of mechanical clocks shifted the organization of the day. By building culture timed to their clock cycles, we’ve compressed our own time and experience in ways both thrilling and exhausting. In our working and personal lives we’re expected to do more because these machines make it possible. And so we’ve entered a new time whose contours are as closely felt and intimately lived as the tick-tock world of our great-grandparents or the sun-parsed days of our distant ancestors.
The ancient Greeks had two words for time, Chronos and Kairos. The first we still use in words like chronological and anachronism. It refers to clock time – time that can be measured – seconds, minutes, hours, years. It’s objective, universal and external time. We need it for the organization and structure in our life. Where Chronos is quantitative, Kairos is qualitative and objective. It measures moments, not seconds. It’s the inner experiential time. From economic point of view, not productive time. Kairos no longer follows the linear direction consists from past, present and future.
When the clock time started to be use as a measure for salary, the idea of lacking time has begun to appear. “Time is money” principle has only increased this pressure on time and we have been chasing with this idea and the time seems to run after us. As humans, we are aware of our death, literally, it’s our personal deadline. The cognition that there is the end keep us moving and pushing forward. All it is creating a stressful situation under pressure that alienates us from ourselves and force us to feel that we are constantly running after time. Therefore, right now we are standing on the strange ground because kairotic time almost disappeared from our life. Kairos time, always changing, becoming time in the bubble that rolls itself up. In fact, inner time is only time when you can have a real being and therefore you need inner time to get to your real asset. Otherwise you become solipsistic.
There is a dualistic structure between Chronos and Kairos, comparable to relationship of linear and vertical time. Where linear is Chronos and vertical Kairos. Seeming time is “horizontal,” it has a past that is remembered and a future that is imagined (or more accurately expected or hoped for). Horizontal time is linear and collective in that narratives about it are shared and agreed (or disagreed) upon. Vertical time is “outside” of linear time in the way the sky is “outside” of clouds or birds; it contains them, but is more than them. Horizontal time is by nature conditional and becomes increasingly habitual as we leave childhood and become adults. Vertical time intersects and disrupts our experience of linear time; it resets or refreshes us. Vertical time comes to us in small doses. Moments of awareness; moments when we feel more, see more, feel awake or experience epiphany. These moments are very small, yet absolute. As vertical time is embraced, horizontal time becomes just the part of the day when we get the practical things done. And the clock is not a timeline, but a circle for the simple reason that time does not begin or stop, it continues without beginning or end. Circular time concept is more known in eastern philosophy. In the same fashion days and years are also circular. With this view of time our perspective on the beginning and end of the earth and man change. No longer is the beginning the beginning and the end the end, but a continual cycle of beginnings and endings. While this view of time is contrary to our western way of thinking, the people of the orient have always understood time, the past, present and future, as circular. Maybe you have noticed that another meaning of the word present describing time happening now, is used as well for a gift. I like to imagine it as the gift from time for us.
Let nothing happen
Let us infinitely hesitate
Let us make time itself
Let us remain
Let us dwell
Let us take too long
Let us waste our precious time
Alan Page Arriaga
I do not think it is just coincidence that the same word describe the notion of time and something that is given to us because in its essence all time we have is just right now. Time is one of the few things we can perceive, and yet that perception offers us almost no information about it. Although we cannot grasp it with our senses, we still have a relationship to it. Each moment is not just “time”, as we understand the flow of time measured by clocks. Not only is each moment of time filled with all moments of time simultaneously; for those committed to a revolutionary outlook, each moment of time presents us with its unique opportunity to decide how that moment will be lived. What if we start to be aware that time only happens once. We have to treat a time as a special phenomena because time is precious, it cannot be reproduced. Time is irrevocable. And no memories can make its revitalization. What would happen if you tried to escape from the clutches of time? Or if you let yourself be led by structure that allows you to lose yourself in time?