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The Tyranny of Time

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time. - Longfellow

The foundation for all experience is laid with information that comes through our five senses. Dying is a process which among other things involves us losing our senses. Living is a process which among other things involves us using our senses. To speak of the end of time−outside of personal death−is utter nonsense or mysticism, in that such a thing would entail the cessation of all events and experience and would reduce reality to senseless, meaningless nothing. What is meant is really the end of the tyranny of aging and dying in that the pressure induced by a limited lifetime is no longer a factor.

What is meant is really the end of a fundamental dilemma, the hazardous passage between time's rock of Scylla and its whirlpool of Charybdis. Those is, on the one hand, our facing long or seemingly long periods of empty time, where our "allotted" duration on earth is ticking away and whatever events we are experiencing are not significantly enhancing our lives, where we are bored to the point of taking undue risks on some level. As it was said long ago, "Even the Gods must fight boredom."

On the other hand, we face having to spend, sell or trade our talents and life experiences in order to survive or support ourselves or to 'buy some time for ourselves'. However well we make this passage without losing our soul, we then face a third hazard, the quandary of constant decisions over wanting to do 'too many things' or wanting to have too many experiences and only having the time to make a commitment to some or a few, always to the exclusion of the others.

When we are having a "really good time", we are not speaking of a large quantity of time but are addressing the life enhancing quality of the events or experiences of that sequence. When we are ecstatic*. or euphoric** or elated', we don't really lose track of the sequence of time but we do lose our concern over or worry about the tyranny, the now ever present lack of time.

Here is what Steve Taylor says about the subject:

ANOTHER EFFECT OF the Ego Explosion was a change in the way we perceive time. It's possible to say that the Ego Explosion actually created time.
     Our normal perception of time is linear. The past is behind us, the future in front of us, and the present is a brief moment at the intersection of the two. It flashes for a tiny instant and then disappears. The past is a gigantic "trash box" of old present moments, none of which can ever be relived, and the future is an endless sequence of new moments waiting to happen, which are unknowable until they arrive.
     The sense that time is always flowing in this way puts a constant pressure on us. We feel that it's continually slipping away, and struggle to keep up with it. We're always behind time, there never seems to be enough of it, and every time we let a few precious moments pass by without making use of them we feel like we've wasted it.
     This flow of time can be a depressing phenomenon too. It means that nothing is permanent, that all the circumstances which give us happiness fade away after a short while. As the German philosopher Schopenhauer wrote, "In a world like this, where there is no kind of stability, no possibility of anything lasting, but where everything is thrown into a restless whirlpool of change...it is impossible to imagine happiness."1 Time takes everything away from us. It eats away at our youth, beauty, health, optimism, and even our lives themselves. Every hour we live through takes us closer to death "The hours are killing you, one by one," as the French saying goes.
     This linear view of time seems self-evidently true to us, but in a sense it's just as much a product of the fallen psyche as male domination, theistic religion or body-hostility.
Steve Taylor, The Fall, O Books is an imprint of The Bothy, John Hunt Publishing Ltd.,Deershot Lodge, Park Lane, Ropley, Hants, S024 OBE, UK, 2005, p. 228

1 Schopenhauer, 1930, p.56.

* The word 'ecstasy' means the opposite of boredom and its Greek roots mean out of stasis.

** This word describes a feeling of fully enhanced well-being or being filled with elation.

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