Life the Universe and Everything – Time is No Illusion

In this series of posts I’m going to look at the human perspective and ask questions like ‘What does it mean to be human?’ or ‘How can I be a better Human?’ with a little sprinkling of ‘How can I be more comfortable as a human?’

In this mad world we’ve been enduring especially over the last few years people have become more stressed, more anxious about the future with lost livelihoods, jobs or sadly family members life has been tough and a step back to look at life is perhaps something that many will find some kind of sense among the chaos that we’re all having to endure.

Being the sci-fi nut I am I’m going to use a bit of a Sci-Fi slant on this. Think of it as looking down on ourselves using a Total Perspective Vortex or as an Alien looking down from above and offering a few tips that might give a few helpful tips on how to get through life’s little ups and downs.

Time is No Illusion

As discussed in the previous post ‘Don’t Panic’ human life is finite. The older we get the faster time seems to move, hurling us faster and faster towards a demise that we are ill prepared for and this is something that can literally make the average Man Ape sick with worry.

It doesn’t have to be like this though.

If there is time to spare why not read this blog post and see if a change in perspective can help bring a newer, fresher perspective to a problem that let’s face it everyone has to face and maybe bring a bit of humour to proceedings. After all – no one is getting out alive.

The One Certainty

In a universe of almost infinite uncertainty the certainty of demise is a small comfort. Let’s look at this another way though, let’s say someone had the key to infinite life and offered it to anyone that wanted it. Who would take it?

It’s sounds ok in theory but while you carry on existing friends and family pass away and yet you carry on. Ok new friends can be made but I’m not sure this sounds like much fun. Take into account the fact as well that anyone who lives this infinite life will have to be able to live in society which means working, earning money, being taxed and having to tolerate increasingly idiotic governments.

On the surface it sounds ok but mix all that in and it’s starting to be less and less fun.

From a philosophical point of view as well let’s consider a story, film or book – all these things needs to have a beginning and an end in order to define them, to give them meaning. it’s really not going to be much fun if after the the emperor is thrown down the reactor shaft in return of the Jedi to find that he came back 30 odd years later and somehow did die!

Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars – No ownership claimed on Image


Oh that’s right this did happen and it was pretty shit – so you can see my point. Like it or not a story has to end.

A game has to end whether football, or tennis or snooker… there has to be an end to give meaning to the event. Unfortunately this also means us.

The realisation of Time

The passage of time while as it’s measure stays the same there’s always that unshakable feeling that it speeds up and the years increase. Birthdays and Christmas and the annual showing of Star Wars on Christmas TV seem to come and go at an ever increasing rate.

Delorean from Back to the Future – No ownership claimed on Image

This isn’t a case of hurtling through time at 88 miles per hour in a Delorean, it’s the way in which our minds somehow process time and it doesn’t feel very linear. It in fact feels more like a runaway cart that we have no control over getting faster and faster – naturally this can cause anxiety. I mean why wouldn’t it, but just like in all the other posts in this series, it’s possible the re-frame what’s going on and find a better way to think about it.

Re-Framing the Passage of Time

I suggest at this point you stop what you’re doing – no really stop it. Yes that’s it put down.

Now think about how you feel about the time after you’re gone – How does that make you feel?

Now go the other way and think about how you feel about the time before you existed?

I’m guessing that when you think about the time after your passing, your thoughts are more with those you left behind rather than yourself. Children, loved ones etc but in the period of time before you were born was fine, no issue with that.

Mark Twain famously said “I do not fear death – I have been dead for billions of years and have not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it”

A big part of how we feel about time and the finite nature of our lives is as much to do with how we frame it as it about the impending nature of time. The reality is, if we think about how we perceive time we’re travelling forwards though time, but always facing backwards. Using our experiences to guide us and our path through the sometimes rocky events that lie on our path. it’s no wonder we trip up sometimes.

Are these the Good Old Days

How often do we look back at the past and think – wow – they were the good old day?

I’m guessing that nostalgia like that creeps into our thinking a lot. So it’s perhaps worth thinking that we are living in the good old days. As time moves on so do the circumstances around us, sometimes faster than we would like.

So it can be comforting to think that even if things are painful, or life doesn’t seem right at the moment to realise that there’s like going to be a time in our lives where we think back and realise that these were in face the ‘Good old days’

Have a try and see where this thinking leads you…

Dealing with the Reality of Mortality

As this I hope not too morbid a post draws to a close, It’s important to condense all this into some kind of meaning. The meaning of life is that it ends and it has to otherwise there’s to drive, no urgency to get up and get things done. Without this limit on our existence life would just be perpetual soup of nothingness split into an ever increasing blizzard of days.

It also reminds us that to exercise gratitude to those things around us that are also finite, pets, parents and others are often gone before we know it. Even simply the time we have is precious and must be treasured in such a way. If we can stop and think about it for a moment then we can exercise some gratitude those we love rather than take them for granted.

If we try really hard then we can also apply that feeling to ourselves and our own fleeting time and learn to value it more than perhaps we do now.

I hope you enjoyed this or found it thought provoking… let me know what you think.








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Inspiration for this came from Derren Brown’s Bootcamp for the Brain Podcast. I hold no copyright to any material from this.

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28 thoughts on “Life the Universe and Everything – Time is No Illusion

  1. Death, ugh. At least once you’re dead, you don’t know you’re dead, so you don’t worry about it anymore. But it makes me want to stuff my time full of things so that at least I can say I lived. But then I get so stressed…such a vicious cycle!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes you can get yourself into a know about this, it’s a difficult one but the best thing to do is chill, sip from life life a fresh coffee and enjoy what it is ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A very thought provoking post Simon; congratulations on covering the salient features of Life, Immortality, and what we are doing with ‘Our Time’.
    On getting to and passing by the big 7-0 it is unavoidable to wonder if what’s left will be in single figures or if not, what sort of quality. Then cometh the question….’What to do with the rest of this shrinking resource?’:
    1. Should I rush around doing ‘stuff’ before it’s time to check in?
    2. Or maybe just mellow down and drift constructively to the finale?
    3. There again, maybe just keep on keeping on and take it as it comes….
    And being Human try and do all three (at once, of course).

    Having a theistic side I have this belief that once this body gives up, there is something beyond. Now what that is I couldn’t tell you (Though it would be kind of cool to be able to travel the cosmos in some ethereal form. Hey, maybe that’s what Dark Matters is…….all these trillion upon trillions of spirits moving, interacting in some way…..just saying… that’s all)

    Anyway, very well thought out, reasoned and constructed post, I’m going to have to go back and look at the earlier ones (been missing out of WP of late….’stuff’ gets in the way)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Roger, I always love your take on posts, it’s reassuring to know that there was value in this and in all out lives we have these big choices about what do do with the time we have.
      I like many need to grapple with the gratitude that I need to feel for what I have and hope that can bring me to a better mindset of what to do with what remains and enjoy it as much as possible, or to give as much value.

      It’s a toughie.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Simon.
        Life is indeed a toughie. Nothing is easy and if anyone says it’s all fun, there is something radically missing in their perceptions.
        I guess we keep on keeping; doing the best we can, as we can, when we can and hope we don’t mess up other folk’s lives.
        Yep. It’s a toughie.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. This is why too many folk run to Conspiracy junk; they can’t cope with the suddenness, complexities, conflicts and uncertainties which are Reality.
        Also the basic fact that we, Humanity, are not the boss of this planet and all that is there within, much less The Cosmos.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. One of the most naรฏve things I heard was a young BBC reporter commentating on a storm surge that was threatening a coastal town. Carried away in the moment he said ‘Nature had been tamed tonight’…Instead of the more accurate ‘We got lucky tonight,’

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading Michele, I appreciate your thoughts and I think many more cultures need to discuss death as we so often charge through life not appreciate the time we have. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A very thought-provoking post, Simon. I definitely have no interest in infinite life and completely agree that a large part of what gives life meaning is that it has an ending. I LOVED the Mark Twain quote and don’t think I’ve heard that before- I myself do not have a great fear of death and love this take on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Laura, it’s lovely to hear your thoughts on it. I think in this modern life so much meaning is stripped out of our lives to make way for safety or certainty and that’s not where the riches are.

      That’s a great quote… I hope you live a long and meaningful life whatever happens ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  4. The only way I’d want to live forever is if I could regenerate like Doctor Who. If I had the ability to start over as a new person every now and then, the endlessly passing eons might be tolerable.

    Liked by 2 people

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