How To Have All The Time In The World ?

Aren’t our times hectic, ruled by the digital mobile clock, the gmail calendar, the deadlines, the meetings, the productive mind-frame inside of us that shouts at our ear that we have to act, produce ? If you come from the entrepreneurial or business world, the sensation of lack of time, might be even more overwhelming, as we aim so much to do things and be “busy” producing stuff, making it happen, monetizing, diving into the flow of the river while being the spin of the river, the swirl that produces the stream. But where do we find all the time we need to do all the things we would like to do?

We have all the time in the world sang Louis Armstrong in 1969. And he continued to sing the following words of the music in his gravelly warm voice:  “time enough for life, to unfold, all the precious things, love has in store”. John Barry, the composer of the music tracks to James Bond´s films, had gone previously to New York, with the mission of convincing the trumpet player to pursue once more a musical adventure. The humble gentleman agreed very pleased, and embarked one morning in the plane that would take him to London in October 1969. The catchy tune, that would last for generations was the secondary musical theme of James Bond 1969 film ”On Her Majesty´s Secret”.

videostill from film : “On her Majesty´s Service (1969)

Its first lyric line, corresponded to the last words said by James Bond, puzzlingly, just after his wife’s murder. While we listen to Armstrong’s voice, that playfully sounds like various instrumental timbres we pause the pace of our days, enchanted by the message of it. We remind ourselves of one of the most precious facts that all of us would probably really like to have more: all the time in the world, to do more of what we are engaged with.

To have all the time in the world would mean to live eternity, which is endless time, or rather circular time. “What is eternal is circular and what is circular is eternal” said wisely the greek philosopher Aristotle a long time ago. Eternity was the heavenly home for their immortal gods and Chronos was their god of time, the father of Zeus. He had wings and an harp, and had three heads—those of a man, a bull, and a lion.

Chronos and Venus, by Costantino Cedini. Image source: Wikimedia

To the common mortal it might seem impossible to contradict the intuition that all the time in the world is something unachievable, as we are no gods, or mythic characters that live eternally. We are mortals, embedded in the space-time of planet Earth, leading businesses, facing deadlines, rushing through schedules, doing things, trying to accomplish all the calendars and to-do lists, answering emails and notifications, hastening to fulfill our goals. All this frenetic activity, might be because of a deep rooted sensation that we “yolo”, as my son and his generation creatively say: we only live once.

But do we really just live once?  Well, the immanent, irrefutable, evident truth of the materiality of our perishable bodies certainly seems to indicates so.  We “Yolo”. But “Yoloing” through life is actually nothing new. It means basically the same as carpe diem or memento mori, and what its surreptitious message is that one should enjoy life. Our wise greeks knew about “yolo“, so, they invented hedonism, the pursuit of pleasure. Metaphors of old ideas, arise every day, as new generations re-invent and recombine what is there already to do so, by applying old ideas to the new available technologies. The renowned American mythologist Joseph Campbell used to say that myths, that can be said to be storytelling metaphors, are reinvented all the time. They relate to the challenges of the present, our fears and hopes. But time accelerates, and what we face today, what we fear, is a permanent lack of time.

Could we relate to time in a different way? Could we live permanently, eternally? Campbell spoke about time in an interesting way saying that: “The experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life.” 

What seems difficult though, is to put this into practice. How to access that experience of eternity right now, having all the time you want to do all that you want, even though knowing about the perishable quality of our bodies? Could it be possible to live the eternal in a timely way? To be both entangled in life and access an experience of eternity that would let us have all the time in the world? And could technology, that we all so much blame for the cause of our hectic lifestyle, help us with that?

Image Source: Intelligenthq

Many have tried to invent strategies to help people cope with the everlasting sensation of lack of time. Time management courses invade the web everyday, teaching us how to manage our daily schedules.  Who hasn´t surfed the web looking for a few management tips, some kind of eight skills time management program?  Why is it then, that after so many wise strategies to deal with time, we still face the perpetual sensation that:  “I can’t get everything done that I need to do?”

The answer might be simple, if you try to define what time is, which is what speculative physicists try to do. They proposed that time is an illusion, supporting their theory by modelling toy models of the universe made of two particles of light. Their experiment tells them that what we perceive as the passage of time might emerge from the strange property of quantum entanglement : when quantum objects are entangled, measuring the properties of one changes those of the other. Mathematically, they showed that a clock entangled with the rest of the universe would appear to tick when viewed by an observer within that universe. But if a hypothetical observer existed outside the universe, when they looked in, everything would appear stationary, everlasting, eternal.

Taking a gigantic leap from the world of physics to the one of relationships, we could use quantum entanglement to look at the intertwined relationships we establish with the things we want to accomplish. Certainly time is “the point or period at which things occur.” Or more straightforwardly: time is when stuff happens. And as stuff happens, we will be in flow, in a permanent state of looking and finding more things to do, i.e. more entanglement with new goals, ideas, projects.

Eternal time can be said to be like clock time, which is different from real, entangled time. In clock time, all time passes equally, eternally, circularly, one second after another. In real time, all time is relative, interconnected, in sum : real, which means in relation to things. Time flies or drags depending on what you’re doing and what you are relating to.

The question remains: How relate to time with the sensation of eternity ? Well, maybe one could  “look at the clock tickling”  detachedly from all the relations we usually establish with it.  After all, the feeling of the timelessness is not that difficcult to acchieve: its the real time, of when you are about to fall asleep, or about to wake up, or the one when you´re listening to music, or making art, or write a book. Tha time in flow, is a snippet of eternal time.

Joseph Campbell  said in his book The Power of Myth that: “People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”

Image Source: Intelligenthq

The rapture, blissful experience of being alive, might reside in that split of a second when one awkwardly feels that we do have all the time in the world. It is in that eternal moment that meaningful, blissful things happen. If we are able to navigate in the interstice of real time and clock time, the entangled time and the timelessness, the observer and the observed, we will get to some kind of timeless place.