The concept of Time

Time. Such a fascinating topic to talk about, isn’t it? There are so many varieties of time to talk about. Who invented the idea of time? Why do we have different times over the world? How does religion has its effect on the conception of time? I think these are all valid and interesting questions to ask ourselves, to be fair. But I’m particularly interested in how time affects our mood.

Shakespeare & time
I was thinking of time when I was reading Shakespeare for my dissertation. Henry V, Part I: Act 1, Scene two gave all the reason to think about time again:

Falstaff: Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad?
Hal: Thou art so fat-witted, with drinking of old sack, and unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping upon benches after noon, that thou hast forgotten to demand that truly which thou wouldst truly know. What a devil hast thou to do with the time of the day? Unless hours were cups of sack, and minutes capons, and clocks the tongues of bawds, and dials the signs of leaping-houses, and the blessed sun himself a fair hot wench in flame-colored taffeta, I see no reason why thou shouldst be so superfluous to demand the time of the day.

Now this is a passage talking about the drunk Falstaff who has a hangover, but it does talk about why it’s important to know the time. It does give the notion that the time of day, expects things of humans. We ought to drink alcohol in
the evening and night, rather than in the morning because that’s the proper time to do it.

Mood orchestrated by time
Shakespeare isn’t not the first thing, one might think of when talking about the concept of time, but it really did make me think of how mood is connected with time. Mood is orchestrated by time, because we think in time. Think of deadlines, those definitely affect your mood and in extent, your happiness. Next to that we have established the idea that one most work 36 to 40 hours a week in order to be successful or to feel some sort of accomplishment. And as a last example, we are nearing the end of another year and for some reason we need to achieve stuff in a years time. Utter bollocks if you ask me.

We as humans have made time arbitrary, which is quite weird if you think of it. We as collective, have decided which periods are relevant and which aren’t. We have made the decision that one has to work or study a certain amount of time, before we can rest. This all makes me wonder, why do we have it?

Time is structure
It’s not as simple as I just put it though. Time does consume us all, yes, but it’s also vital to our way of life for over several centuries. The idea of time is to give structure to our daily lives, by giving a frame wherein there’s enough time to be productive, and enough time to recover and rest. We are creatures of habit and the concept of time, does really play into that. We need the time to give structure and meaning to our lives, but at the same time it does restrict us in a way. This restriction affects our mood, but without it we would ascend into anarchy, I suppose.

This may sound a bit philosophical and vague, I know it does to me. Fully grasping the concept of time, well it takes time, doesn’t it? I would love to explore this a bit more in the future with the following question: Is the concept of time beneficial for our mood or does it merely offer structure?

Fascinating stuff.

Photo by Dalindcy


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