The Lifeline Paradox

“They say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol.

I am at my desk, as the clock fast approaches midnight, thinking about change.  Change is everywhere and it is somehow everything.  Ironically, change is a constant.  That is a fact that does not change.  No matter what is happening in life, no matter how solid our foundations, we are assured of one certainty; that everything changes.

I used the quote at the top of this page, by Andy Warhol, because he expresses an important point.  People say that time will change things, which may be of comfort during times of suffering, but surely that is a reactive position to be in?  It suggests that change is inevitable with the passage of time, but it does not suggest anything about how we might be empowered to engineer change.  Change may not always be for the better, after all, so would it be right to leave change to the mercy of chance?

Would it not be better to, at least sometimes, influence positive change, proactively?  I believe that Andy Warhol had it right, by reminding us that we can be empowered to be the engineers of the changes that we want, or need.

Then there is the subject of time; this being part of the quote by Andy Warhol.  Through the theories of Einstein, we have learnt that time is relative.  Few of us truly understand the latest scientific revelations about how time is not linear, how space-time can fold and frankly few of us would know where to begin to make sense of what that means in how we live our linear lives.

Our linear lives.  Now there is a term that I must draw attention to.  Our lives are linear in that we regard life as having a start, a progression forward and then an ending.  Life, all neatly tied up and understood as a line from A-Z.  From start to end.  That is how we see our lives and that is, therefore, how we perceive time.

I saw a meme on Facebook recently, that said:

“When you heal yourself, you heal your ancestors, too.”  -Anon.

I love this.  Yet, it speaks of something that is not at all linear.  How can what we do today, heal those who have gone before us?  Surely, if life is linear, then by healing oneself today, there is no possibility of healing our ancestors?  We would perceive our ancestors, through our understanding of a linear life, as being gone.  They were there, on the time-line, but earlier.

Time changes things.  This suggests that time is, itself, the cause of change.  I would argue that time may, perhaps, be the trigger of a process of change but not that time would literally change anything just by being time.  That said, I have absolutely no scientific acumen on this subject and so I fully accept that I am likely to be wrong!

I believe that everything changes.  Time exists, or we have been taught to believe that it exists, but we live our lives with an awareness of linear time.  Change happens.  If I cannot explain or understand the true science of time, then all I can do is hold on to my linear perception of time.  Life has a start, a middle and an end as, perhaps, all things do.

Yet, I can somehow see that by making positive change today; through achieving things, by making the most of things, by prioritising the right things, by striving for the best, by making progress or by doing anything and everything with optimism and joy, that this can in some way be healing both now, but also to something of the historic self.

Perhaps, if we consider the scientific idea of genetic memories being held in our DNA, or if we consider religious or spiritual belief in the ongoing existence of our ancestors, then we might look at the possibility that what we do well today may indeed heal our ancestors?

This brings me to another quote:

“Each new generation, is reared by its predecessor; the latter must therefore improve, in order to improve its successor.  The movement is circular.” – Emile Durkheim.

Coming back to the quote by Andy Warhol, I would simply say that time is a concept that we, as a society, believe in.  We live by the clock in so many ways but, above all, we live time in a linear way.  Our culture is to see time as a start, a middle and an end.

Or is it?  The above quote, by Emile Durkheim, suggests a circular perception of time.  Time moving in a circular way.

In society today we are aware that, as linear time progresses, change happens constantly.  If we are to go on seeing time as linear, which we are likely to until someone perhaps shows us how to live time in another way, then why do so many people not value time as something precious?  Why do so many not value life more, for it will reach an end point?  Why do so many waste time, waste life or value so little?

I would urge people to give this thought.  I would also encourage people to think more about self-care and healing.  If, as scientists suggest, time is not actually linear, then healing now, may well offer healing to our ancestors and it may well offer healing to those who will be here when we are gone.

To make the most of our linear time and to make the most of life, do not wait for chance to bring about change that may, or indeed may not, be positive.  Make positive changes now.  Make a proactive step to make aspects of your life better, today.  It is such an uplifting thing to do.

In our linear perception of time, if we live today in the best way that we can, then perhaps tomorrow will be an even better day?  I think that would offer everyone considerable healing. Oh, and reach out a hand to help others proactively change, if they are in some way unable to do so.  We are a society; a community.  Why not all heal together?

Final thought.  What if we were to perceive time not as linear but in another way?  What if we understood time as being circular, for example?  What would that mean for how we live our lives? How would we perceive existence and our world?  Would this help us to resolve long-term conflict? Perhaps living a better day today means that, right now, tomorrow is better as well; right now?  Can tomorrow actually be better, right now?  Perhaps.

I find this subject fascinating.  As a psychotherapist, we focus on living in the present; the past is gone and the future has not happened yet.  What if we were to see all of these times as concurrent to each other?  Would we, in fact, do better at looking after them?  Would we instead make a better effort to recover from the past, as we live today well and consequently make tomorrow better, all at the same time?  Is that a paradox or is it possible?

The clock on my computer now shows that it is 1am.  Time, or should I say linear time, has changed; it has moved forward along the line.

Or has it?  What would scientific theory say?

Goodnight.  Or, just goodbye?  One thing is for sure; my body-clock is definitely not linear!

(C) Dean Parsons. 2019.

I dedicate this blog post to a dear friend who apologised for being late, one day, due to her being an isosceles triangle!  She said that the long part of her triangular sides pushed her arrival time away!  You know who you are, dear friend. 🙂  xx

 

 

 

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  8 comments for “The Lifeline Paradox

  1. Jackie Unitt
    March 15, 2019 at 2:46 am

    Just tell me one thing Dean. It’s 2:41 am. Why am I still awake and not snoozing? I’ve had a very busy day and should be knackered!
    As for time, it’s relative. A good day goes very quickly, a boring miserable one creeps along. Actually, boring is probably longer than a miserable one!

    Like

    • Dean Parsons
      March 15, 2019 at 2:50 am

      Hi Jackie, Perhaps we need to let go of linear thinking and see time in a different way? That may then liberate us from feeling we should be asleep at/by a certain time. Thanks for reading and commenting. Sleep soon…or take up writing 😉 Dean.

      Like

      • Jackie Unitt
        March 15, 2019 at 3:08 am

        Hi Dean, I am trying! Actually today we went to look at cars. I am a person who knows what I am looking for and makes up my mind very quickly. Paul is just the opposite. He hums and hars, thinks of every possible, or impossible, result, and puts things off! He is supposed to decide by tomorrow and go and order it. What odds will you give me it’s the one I like?

        Jackie

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dean Parsons
        March 16, 2019 at 3:42 am

        So, Paul is cautious or an over-thinker? Good luck buying the car. I hope it works out well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Dean.

        Like

  2. Jackie Unitt
    March 15, 2019 at 3:15 am

    PS. Actually life is improving immeasurably. My consultant has prescribed patches. They are brilliant. I just need to remember to change it every 24 hours on the dot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dean Parsons
      March 16, 2019 at 3:40 am

      I’m delighted that things are improving for you, Jackie.

      Like

  3. Casey Huisman
    March 15, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    Hi Dean: that’s a pretty deep topic for us humans. For some reason I have been thinking of this time thing as well. For one thing, the way we organize time most efficiently depends on where in the universe we are. I am no scientist either but I’m pretty sure the structure of time would change if we were somewhere else in the universe. Time on earth depends on the Sun and the Moon. Of course this is only the structure, perhaps not time itself. In addition, some theorists see the universe stretching to a maximum point just to go and become smaller again. Of course this takes billions of years, otherwise we’d be riding an elastic band. What does this do to time? I am just beginning a “great courses” lecture series (as a student) about the Old Testament. Yesterday I was introduced to the idea that the “Origen” stories in the Old Testament change the emphasis from place to time, thereby making humans more flexible. Sorry for droning on your article just caught my attention. Not the first time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dean Parsons
      March 16, 2019 at 3:38 am

      Hi Casey, Thanks so much for taking the time to read my article and to comment on it. Your thoughts are intriguing, as is the whole subject of time. We both declare our lack of scientific knowledge, which is honest. I’m fascinated by your course and it makes perfect sense that we could revisit the ancient books from the viewpoint of time, rather than place. I have an interest in ancient history here in the UK. The neolithic pagans built great monoliths, I’m thinking Stonehenge and many standing stones sites, all with some connection to time. Indeed, Aboriginal Australians base their belief system on what they call ‘Dream Time’. Thank you for inspiring me to consider a new perspective for looking at our human story and faith. I wanted to say ancient history…but that now feels too linear! It’d be interesting to look at how language might change if we cease describing time in a linear way. I wonder what effect that would have on culture? I could go on… I’ll stop here. Thanks for sharing. I hope you will return to my blog and share your thoughts again, some ‘time’. I feel my lack of scientific knowledge on the subject of time, hampers my ability to explore the subject, in spite of my avid interest and curiosity. Do let me know whether you write a blog. I’d be interested to follow. If you do not, I think you certainly should. Best wishes for your course. Kind regards, Dean.

      Like

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