The river of Time
Time is existence, existence time – that’s all
CONCEPT BY NADIA SHAH
Religion, philosophy or science - all approach time. But it eludes even the greatest of all thinkers. Since times immemorial, there have been attempts at defining and conceptualizing the notion of Time. Some see it as a neutral agency while others have visualized it as a cruel demon always ready to inhibit human efforts at progress and improvement, yet some others find in it a benefactor of man. Time can be anything for anybody depending upon how he has encountered it and what kind of relationship he is sharing with it.
Time is not tangible, yet it is conceived as an agency responsible for each and every event that takes place on the earth and on the so called ‘timeless’ space. Although I have been told that ‘timelessness’ is a feature of space only yet its existence — formation and explosion of stars, rotations and revolutions—are measured in terms of Time. Most of the artists see Time as the destroyer of physical beauty so they find refuge in art, that is, they defeat Time by creating eternal and ‘time-proof’ lines. It can be seen as the human effort to bridle and deconstruct the otherwise mysterious and stubborn concept of Time. Many philosophers from ancient times tend to compare Time with a moving river carrying away with it whatever comes in its way. This view compliments the notion of time as a destroyer.
Time’s winged chariot hurrying near, a line from Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress” aptly describes this view. William Shakespeare too adheres to this school of thought. For him, Time passes and brings about changes in human life and in the sphere of natural objects and phenomenon. All things are in a state of flux and nothing can withstand the destructive effects of Time. He too sees love and art as the only rescue from the cruel onslaught of Time. Those who subscribe to optimism cherish a brighter view. They use the most common epithet, “healer”, considering it as the panacea for all the agony, pain and suffering—physical or otherwise. They sometimes refer to Time as a great teacher and guide, time and again enhancing our knowledge and experience about the world so that our stay is rendered easier and comfortable. There is also one more class of people, usually less sensitive but more practical, who generally do not bother to think about the concept of Time and for whom Time is nothing more than ‘time.’ They discern it merely by the continuous movement of the arms of the clock. The flow of sand in an hourglass is also used to keep track of elapsed time. It also concretely represents the present as being between the past and the future.
Time then comes across as a powerful agency working covertly towards the functioning of the universe, both destructive and constructive. Time is an abstract entity. Since it can’t be neatly conceptualized, all attempts at its definition so far have remained either incomplete or incomprehensible and most importantly controversial. Its power and
influence then can be discerned in how it does not lend itself to definition and explanation. Be it so, but one can’t resist the temptation to think about it. Human nature is so formed that it wants to conquer and dominate all the spheres of knowledge. Time appears to be stubborn, resisting control and dominion though human nature too has not given up, granting it unhindered freedom to exist by itself. It is a very ordinary tendency to see Time as moving forward leaving behind past which is conceived in spatial as well as temporal terms.
Time moves on without a pause but where does the Time that has passed by go? Looking at it specially as well as temporally, it should leave behind the mark of its existence. Where is that to be found? Apparently it is all abstract but a little thought over it can reveal how Time is successfully able to convince us about its existence. In its forward march, it leaves behind solid finished products which may or may not match or liking. A little thought can make it quite clear that Time in some ways is an antithesis of human beings. Both start their journey of life at a single instant and move towards each other, each entering the other leading to a unity.
Time makes existence possible and vice- versa. Time wears itself away in its opponent and the latter grows on up to a point when Time exhausts itself and both are set free in the ultimate and eternal state of Timelessness. The nature of the relationship between the two is not one of simplicity; it can’t be defined in the neat scientific categories of parasitism or symbiosis; it is much wider and more complex than these. Same is true of the other entities of the universe. All things whether living or non-living, organic or inorganic, good or bad, artificial or real in the course of their ‘life’ exhibit change though the degree varies from one to other. So existence can be explained in terms of change or flux. Time then is a synonym for flux and change; it concretizes itself in change. Speaking of Time in these terms justifies the notion of flux on earth as well as in the vast space surrounding it. Time therefore comes across as something we all try to cheat, desperately fighting each grain of sand that tumbles down the hourglass. People will come and go theorizing about Time but it remains unmoved. Retaining impersonality, it gives no consideration to the opponent that is trying to decode and over power it.
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Lastupdate on : Fri, 19 Feb 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 19 Feb 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 20 Feb 2010 00:00:00 IST
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