There was a time when I had become convinced that time did not exist; that this concept of “time” that the whole universe allegedly runs on was all made up. After all, didn’t we base our clock according to the rotation of the planet Earth? And didn’t we create the calendar to correspond with the revolution of the Earth around the sun? I wondered if time, after all, was all in our heads; a thing society came up with so we’d be able to manage our lives more easily.

Think about it. When we lie down and do nothing, we don’t feel as if anything is changing–except when we go hungry and figure out it’s dinner time. We look in the mirror and think that  time has made us older. But really, it hasn’t. We’ve gotten older because our cells grow, regenerate, and degenerate. We feel that 5-minute walk to work because we see a change of scenery per step, not to mention our hearts beat just a bit faster as we increase our pace. We sense the difference between 12:00 and 12:30 because we see it on the clock–each second, minute, and hour seemingly made real by the movement of the hands towards the corresponding numbers.

But all of these conceptions of time are based on our experiences and perceptions about the things happening around us and within ourselves. We don’t really sense ‘time itself’. What I’m saying is, I don’t see a good reason why we should look at time as an actual entity that exists in the universe.

What if there really isn’t any continuum in the cosmos? What if the universe, despite all its movements and changes and evolution, is actually confined to a temporal halt? Sure, all of us get born and grow and die, but we do these on our own. There is no reason to believe that a linear and continuous “time” directs all our processes. Yes, we need it pragmatically to have a sense of order in our everyday lives. But outside of practicality, this thing we measure with a tickling clock becomes artificial–almost silly.

If what I’m saying is right, then the implications are enormous. For example, this would immediately debunk the possibility of time travel. If there is no continuum, then there is no “past” or “future” to travel to. Instead of time being a long, endless line that can either go forward or backward, we get a stationary dot where all of us in the physical world currently reside. That means only the “present” exists, has existed, and will ever exist.

Deadlines wouldn’t matter. Your daily agenda, on the other hand, would be a different story.
I don’t know a better way to end this entry other than to quote Ramil Digal Gulle, one of my favorite Filipino poets. “Forgive the past. Forget the future,” he once wrote in one of his poems. And if I may add one more thing, “…just in case neither of them are real in the first place.”
-June 2011
Photo via operations

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