We must hate time, the way we kill it.
At first blush, though, we don’t do this too often. Normally we only own up to our chronocide when we’re waiting for someone or something, say a bus that’s late, or a tardy dinner date. Something or someone you just can’t wait for to happen, arrive, appear. Only there are these many minutes, hours, days until then, all of which time has to be killed, and the sooner and more thoroughly the better.
Yes, we admit, then we’re definitely killing time.
But when we look closer, we soon see — if our eyes are open — that time must be one of our worst enemies, the way we slaughter it whenever we get a chance.
For really: listening to music is killing time. Reading a novel — especially if it’s adventure, crime, lurid, what-have-you — is nothing but killing time. And what’s more time-killing than television? It’s the killingest of time there is.
Now, we’ve given our chronocide many names. We call it relaxing, winding down, kicking back, whatever, but through the eye of reaching happiness, true happiness and with the view that we’re here on this little planet for a reason, we’re just killing time.
Sometimes, though, when listing to the right kind of music (classical, or jazz, or something truly outstanding or spiritual) you get the feeling that you’re not killing time so much as sailing time; still, at the core of things, you’re still involved in chronocide.
Take another look at this, for this thought is crucial: there are those things that we do that we feel nears us to something holy, something worthwhile, and this feels, whether or not it brings us closer or not, this at least feels like we are doing something better with our time than killing it. We feel like we’re not actually sinning when listening to classical or beautiful folk music, when time passes as wind in our faces to then disappear behind us. Surely, this time is not wasted, not killed. Still, it is nothing but a tender way of strangling the beast.
And for the most part, we’re just consuming years, looking forward to retirement — during which we’ll find even more time to kill.
My mom, in the bedridden years before her death, would swim in the past. Would re-live her childhood, tending to the cows, getting candy from the German soldiers on the trains.
And on her long runway to death, she clung to that her last two pleasures: reminiscing and food, especially sweets. She would hoard any sweets she got, hiding them from the nurses so they would not find them and eat them—her biggest (although imaginary) fear — and then, one by one she would consume her treasure.
All the while helplessly washing downstream that big river toward the end, the estuary of death.
Time, we feel at different times, is either our greatest friend or our darkest enemy. The older we get the darker time, it seems.
But, truly, this is so much ado about nothing, for he is nothing but lie; at heart, there is no such thing as time — though he’s making a valiant show of it.
Meditating, I am glimpsing the true cause of time, and I know that once I find it, really find it, I will have killed time stone dead.
And that’s not a sad thing — nor is it a crime.
If you would like to read more columns by Ulf Wolf, please visit his blog at http://www.ulfwolf.com.