Scientists at CERN are racking their brains about what they have actually discovered.  About what the possible implications these billionths of a second could be, if their findings appear to be true. Meanwhile, people around the world already let their imagination go wild. Will we be able to travel into the future? Or even better, to the past?

Traditional perspective on time.

Time is a hardly graspable concept, yet our worldview is completely entrenched in it.  Some say a world without time is incomprehensible for human, just like a dog is incapable of performing mathematical calculations. Our traditional Western view on humanity considers time to be more important than space, and the mind than the body.

Our consciousness of time forces us into a framework of linearity. Historicists are confronted with it daily.  Read through a random history book and you’ll interpret history as a string of neatly organised events, causally related to each other. The reality however is far more complex. In this reality, chaos and order joyfully dance, play and intermingle in each other’s density.

Eastern philosophers never have been very much concerned with time. According to them, the fundamental human mode of existence is to exist in space. It takes the standpoint of spatiality rather than temporality.  It allows the self to immediately experience its spatial mode of being.  Our bodies, the primordial mode of being, simply occupies space with other living beings and objects.

The end of time

We have the ability for mental time travel. The capacity to envision a different time and space. Not limited to recent past and future. It can expand to a time before and after our own existence. This allows us to forecast how our current behaviour may influence future generations.

But as a result, when we are working, our mind wanders off to the next holiday destination. And when we are trying to sleep, our minds review the to-do list for tomorrow. Ultimately, most people at most moments in most places aren’t aligning thought and action with space. And that’s where the trouble starts.

To put it bluntly, time doesn’t exist outside of our minds. Our notion of time is a fictitious mind-construct, in order to get a grasp on motion in space.

The end of now?

Easily understood for the past & future, but the radical implication of accepting that time doesn’t exist is; that the now doesn’t exist either. Using the measure we’ve agreed upon to evaluate time, we discover that time can be divided in infinitely small intervals. Pulling the Now into an infinite vacuum of the small. So at most, the now consists of consecutive movement of objects.

What’s left? The here, and continuous change of objects in space. Submerging ourselves in-, and acting upon this change of the here, we become one with it.

So here we are. Released from the burdens of the past, the future and the now. At a point where we can profoundly enjoy the beauty of our surroundings; of forms, objects and people.  Here is where happiness resides.

 

Since before time and space were,
the Tao is.
It is beyond is and is not.
How do I know this is true?
I look inside myself and see.


(Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu, 400 B.C.)

 

SOURCES

  • YUASA Yasuo, The Body. Toward an Eastern Mind-Body theory. State University of New York Press: 1987
  • Lao Tzu, TAO TE CHING, St. John’s University Press. New York, 1961
  • Tali Sharot. The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain. Pantheon Books, 2011.