Monday, May 20, 2013

As I remember from books I’ve read, the Algonquin language does not contain a word for time. People invent words for things that have meaning for them and apparently time meant little in the Algonquin culture. For our culture, time is of the greatest importance. Whether that’s good or bad I’m not sure. In some ways we are controlled by it. We go to bed, get up and eat by it. We measure our daily activities by it. We use it to decide our ability to perform tasks, accomplish our work, enjoy our day.

Just what is time? It’s not a constant; it varies. That’s been established by science. Some say it doesn’t exist at all, that there is only the “eternal now.”  There may be deep meaning in that but don’t try telling that to your boss when you’re late for work. Others say time is money. They use the measure of time to measure the size of their wealth—or loss of it. When people find themselves faced with more than they can accomplish, they blame the lack of time. They say there’s not enough time in the day.

But just what is it? Actually, it’s an invention of ours, created by us to bring some order to our lives and to coordinate our activities with others. It is a convenient way to measure progress and to plan the future. If we use it wisely it can serve us well. The danger in time is when we allow it to have power over us and control us. That’s up to us, for whatever meaning or control or power it has, we give to it. There is neither too much time nor too little time; it is neither a master nor a slave and it is not money. Time itself is meaningless and is worth nothing. It is only how you use it and for what you use it that gives it any value. That, in turn depends on another measure, one that you yourself construct. It depends on what you consider to be of value.

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