Setting the clocks ahead today got me thinking – again – about time. How controlled we are by it! Funny thing is, time doesn’t really exist. It is a totally human invention, yet we treat it as if it were a real entity. It is always now. There is no “past” or “future” except in our minds and memories. Time is not linear. Time travel is not possible because there is nowhere – or rather no when – to physically go “back” to. It’s all right here and now. (I just realized the word “nowhere” can be broken down into “now here” – how ironic!) They say dogs can’t tell if you’re gone for an hour or ten. Sure, they may get hungry or need to go out, but they don’t mark the passing of minutes and hours like we do. They just experience life in the here and now without thinking about yesterday’s argument or tomorrow’s bills. So is it thinking that creates the illusion of time passing? Is it all in our minds, a way of organizing all the many “now” moments in our brains?
Imagine what life would be like with no clocks or calendars. Would we be better able to live in the present moment? Try living without your clock for a day (make sure it’s a day when you don’t have any pesky, time-based appointments!) We’ve all experienced days or parts of days where we were so engrossed in what we were doing that we had no awareness of the passing of “time.” It just “flew by.” We paid no mind to it. If you’ve ever been in a casino where there are no clocks and you can’t tell if it’s day or night, you know what it’s like to live “off the grid” as far as time is concerned. Just enjoying the moment with no deadlines or schedules.
It’s sad that we need clocks to tell us when to be at work or the doctor’s office or soccer practice, because I think life would be so much more enjoyable if we just lived in the moment and did things as the mood struck us. We are way too pressured by having to be at a certain place at a certain time doing a certain thing. So much healthier to just go with the flow and be. “Be as a page that aches for a word which speaks on a theme that is timeless” as Neil Diamond sings in his song Be from the movie Jonathan Livingston Seagull. We tend to do more than be. There was a great book that summed this up a few years back called “Don’t just do something, stand there!”
If you don’t think you’re controlled by time, notice how messed up you feel the next couple of days or maybe all week because of that little one hour adjustment that happened today. What bliss it would be to not know what time it is, or if today were “Sunday” or “Wednesday,” since days of the week don’t really exist, either. Nor years. How nice it would be to not know how “old” you were! I believe we would live longer, since we have preconceived notions about what’s supposed to happen at certain “ages.”
In the case of time, ignorance truly is bliss.