Welcome to Quest for a Meaningful Life in the park, down here by the Toronto waterfront, and today I’m thinking about what it means to think about time as if it’s space.
If we think about the home that we live in, you can imagine a mental picture of what your house or apartment or whatever looks like.
Maybe your town, your city.
You live in a certain environment of space.
But imagine thinking about time the same way.
We live in some kind of structure or arrangement or environment of time.
When we look at how our languages even talk about time, it’s almost always through a metaphor of space.
In English, we have before and after: that’s just like in front and behind, front and back.
And ahead and behind: well, that’s like top and bottom or front and back.
So it’s like time is such an abstract thing that sometimes we wonder if it even really exists.
What is it?
It’s so abstract that we can’t easily talk about it in any direct way, and so we talk about it by using…
by treating it as if it’s a space.
Some kind of strange one-dimensional space, I guess, like a string or a line.
Assuming you believe time is one-dimensional.
As far as I know, it seems to be.
But I really don’t know.
I mean, ideas of what time would look like in two or three dimensions, I really have no idea.
But in the common conception of time, we have this length of time.
We have this line, you could say, where we can place objects along it, we can place items along it.
So we can look at it as if we’re in some kind of a room, or an open space, and then there are things there.
So what does your space look like?
What does your time look like, as if you were describing it like a space?
I could imagine for somebody who’s maybe working a very, very busy, full-time job, it might be that their work is like this grand hall, because they go there every day.
You’re there all day through most of your day.
And it’s like this grand opulent palace of a hall where you step into your work day.
And of course, it’s filled with all the work things.
It may not be a grand open hall.
It may be very cluttered with work stuff.
But it’s this grand space.
But then maybe that leaves only a little bit of space left over for your personal life.
Maybe in a life that’s really dominated by full-time work, there would be a leftover time, would be like this little closet, this tiny little space where the rest of your personal life could be.
Whereas you could imagine maybe somebody who has nothing going on, just completely unemployed and without a clear occupation or direction in life, then life might appear like an open desert, just sort of just like a vacant lot, like one of those overgrown vacant lots surrounded by a fence that is just covered in weeds and accumulates garbage.
You could say the weeds could be things that just pop up to fill your time that really don’t benefit you, that they’re there because they want to be there, not because you want them to be there.
And the garbage could be, well, that could be other people can leave garbage on your time.
Other people can dump their garbage on your time.
They can decide that, hey, here’s something that I want you to do.
And I don’t want to do it, so I’m giving it to you.
So here I’m putting this in your time.
And you could even see that as being garbage deposited on your time.
What would it look like if we structured and constructed our time as if it was a building?
And maybe it is like a garden, like where we can cull the weeds and choose what to plant within our time.
We choose the boundaries around our time, where we have walls around our time, so that we can create, we can control the spaces that we have.
And by being more intentional about this, we can choose how we want to fill our time.
We could create a garden.
We could create a hallway.
We could create rooms for the things that we want in life.
And whatever we consider to be important, it seems like it needs a space, because it needs time.
Anything that’s important, it seems like it must need time.
If we’re not going to give it time, then how can we say it’s important?
So the structure of this time, the way we imagine structuring our time, can really say a lot about what we consider is important.
So if there’s something that you consider important, but you find it has no…
you have no time to do it, then maybe there’s too much else in the way.
And if we continue the metaphor of spaces, what would it look like to declutter your time, just like by cleaning up garbage off the floor?
What would that look like in time?
And maybe it’s more than just decluttering, but an entire demolition.
Maybe an entire building has to be brought down. […]
So, as I usually say at the end of these videos, I’m curious to hear what you think.
I’m especially curious to hear for this: what would your time look like?
What kind of space do you have in your time?
How do you picture your time?
What does it look like to you?
#timeasspace #buildingtime #spacioustime