Now that Christmas Day is gone and New Year is fast approaching, it might be good to talk about time. What is time, really? What makes and unmakes it? Why does time come and go just like that? Does time ever stay still at any time? Does time even come back at all? What is the meaning behind the saying “Time flies.”, that “Time is gold.” and similar maxims?
It might be good to say in simple and clear words that time is movement. There is time when there is physical motion. When there is no physical movement, there is neither time. No need to say that every living man, woman, child and even unborn experience movements. These happen not only because they move their bodies and limbs, but even their hearts palpitates that are in effect physical movements. That is why when they die, they move no more. But the truth is that even non-living elements move whereas they move with the movement of the earth they are in. In fact, the whole universe moves. Hence, all these living and non-living realities move and are wherefore conscious or subject to time respectively.
The only being not subject time is God who is thus eternal. Eternity is timelessness. Everybody and everything else are temporal. Even the human person is temporal in the sense that it has a beginning in time. As every worker—especially sculptors, carpenters and the like—somehow leave their personal imprint in their respective works, so too the Divine Person that modeled the human person, places His imprint therein. This imprint comes in the form of the eternity of the person hereafter and beyond—after spending its rightful time on earth, time is real only as long as it is there. It appears to be one continuous reality only because of the fast, immediate and unnoticed succession of one time after another. Time stops for no one, for no reason, at no given occasion. On and on time comes and goes—until there is none.
That is why time does not come back. Once it is passed, past it remains until another fleeting time comes to take over. Although stars, moons and planets that move in apparently endless time in the universe mark time precisely because they move. And far are they from being eternal.
That is why anniversaries of many kinds commemorating many occasions for many reasons are but the products of human creativity. Whereas no second nor hour, no day nor week, no time nor year ever come back, the observance of calendars and events according to them are but events of human ingenuity. Once something happens, it does not happen once more, it does not repeat itself, it is a past that never again becomes a present.
That is why no matter what humans do, not a single one of them is exactly the same the day before, the more so the year before. No one is completely the same at any given time, in any given occasion. With time, carbon becomes diamond. In time, the diamonds left alone in the deep recesses of the earth also change in solidity, form and size with the passage of time.
This is why no Christmas is really the same, just as no year is truly new. In time someone is born. In time, someone does well or bad. In time the someone dies to continue being in the eternity of blessedness or in the timelessness of the greatest curse, the biggest damnation.
28 December 2007