We are time

Many of us are looking for stability but too many are looking outside of themselves without realising that stability comes from within. Many of the easy problems of mankind have been solved using the logical processes of business but not all problems can be solved with logic alone and now we find ourselves with a crisis of leadership as the old system makes way for the new.

Times of transition are times of opportunity yet charlatans surround us, mixing with the phantoms that pass us by all claiming to know what the future holds and appealing to our sense of greed which all too often blinds us to truth.

But you can’t con an honest man. We don’t spot lies by using our wit, we know them when we refuse to be lied to and that requires having respect for the truth ourselves. We are all leaders now, the old monarchies and one to many broadcast systems have made way for a new form of communication one often described as ‘many to many’ communication and with this has arrived a new found responsibility one which not all of us are ready to take.

Here is a wonderful quote I found in the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield which I think is just right:

A victim act is a form of passive aggression. It seeks to achieve gratification not by honest work or a contribution made out of one’s experience or insight or love, but by the manipulation of others through silent (and not-so-silent) threat. The victim compels others to come to his rescue or to behave as he wishes by holding them hostage to the prospect of his own further illness/meltdown/mental dissolution, or simply by threatening to make their lives so miserable that they do what he wants.

I meet too many people who just want to make a fast buck. They aren’t interested in building a future; on the contrary they want to borrow from it to maintain the status quo. In order to build the future we have to look back and accept that the past isn’t over. Just as the Renaissance ‘forged new philosophies’ out of Plato[1] we too need to look to our past, break it down unpack those ideas and feel them in a way appropriate to the age.

Ultimately I think it all boils down to this: It’s not money we are short of it is time, for once it is gone it never comes back. The truth is bearing down on all of us and while some are embracing it with an open ended curiosity others are waiting to be taken to the brink because they think that what they need to compel them in to action must come from outside of themselves, they don’t believe they have what it takes from within.

Finally then we need to stop thinking of ourselves as victims of time and realise that we are time; we bring our past experiences to our future projects and weave them together to produce a present moment[2]. We need to stop finding time and instead start making it to do the things we care about.


Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Renaissance Neo-Platonism By Richard Hooker
  2. Heidegger’s Being and Time, part 8: Temporality – The Guardian 27 July 2009
  • http://www.simplybastow.com/ Janna Bastow

    Hey Chris, thanks for your comment over on my own post about time:  http://www.simplybastow.com/2011/11/time-ever-forward/#comment-1757. You managed to ground my zany thoughtstream, taking on a much more philosophical tone. 
    While I’m not sure I agree with your theory here that you can’t con an honest man (a person who is able to speak as though they believe themselves can easily take many others for a fool… and get away with it), I do massively agree with your sentiment that we’re responsible, solely, for making the most of whatever time we have. Those who just look to make that fast buck aren’t capturing the essence of experiencing life. The money, borrowed from the future, as you say, will bring a sliver of joy temporarily, but usually doesn’t make up for the time spend trying to procure it.

    It’s why ‘experience’ holidays and packages, styled around making the most of whatever time we have, are so popular, and also why we’re at our happiest when we’re not spending whatever money we have on ourselves: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsihkFWDt3Y (Great talk from Michael Norton on ‘How to buy happiness’)

    • http://mrchrisellis.com/ Chris Ellis

      Hey Janna,

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply and sorry this is so late. I had to take some time out from time as it were.

      You ever played TED Fighting? It’s like pillow fighting but with TED videos. 

      “A lie has no power whatsoever by its mere utterance; its power emerges when someone else agrees to believe the lie.”

      I actually really enjoyed that video you sent over and I was pleasantly surprised after reading its title too. Now I must go and watch Black Mirror after Matt’s excellent suggestion over on your blog.

      Have you had any new insights on time & temporality since our interlude?