Some thoughts on time

Posted on June 25, 2008
Filed Under Experiments, liminal space, Magic, time magic | 4 Comments

After reading Evola’s article on precognition and time in Introduction to Magic, and in particular two passages, I’ve been musing further about the illusory nature of time and how much a sense of time is derived moreso from routines than we might think. The passages in question is:

“The overwhelming majority of people are so enslaved to habits, craving, instincts, and fixed reactions, they are such slaves to things and to their selves, that it would truly be surprising not to be able to forecast their future. Knowing the so-called ‘character’ of a person, we can already know in an approximate way what he or she will do in certain circumstances” (Evola and the Ur Group 2001, p. 310).

and

“Wherever the basic condition of ‘desire’ is overcome, and thereby the object is purified from an object of desire into an object of contemplation, the overcoming of the temporal condition ensues naturally. I am referring here to the liberation of the self and of the object and thus to the possibility of capturing in a synthetic way what ordinary consciousness would regard as events analytically arranged along a temporal series, as a mere sequence of ‘facts’ or events more or less endured” (Evola and the UR Group 2001, p. 313).

A lot of what Evola writes about in terms of habits, cravings, etc is is quite true. Contemporary studies in neuroscience show the people act more so on emotions and cravings and desires and then after that initial impulse end up rationalizing their choices. Given that the amount of neural connections that go from the emotional systems to the rational sections of the brain is substantially more than the connections going from the rational systems to the emotional systems, it’s fair to say that the emotions have a significant impact on our choices (no matter how we might like to conceive of ourselves as rational thinkers). Add in the fact, that in sales it’s recognized that you sell the feeling in order to hook a potential buyer, and you have people who do in fact plan on the future likelihood that a person will react in an expected manner.

A conversation with my neighbor tonight yielded another insight, which is that if a person feels really good about the lifestyle s/he has, s/he may be perfectly content with the predictability of hir routines. This then brings into question what the motivation for change needs to be to shake up that routine…point is though that time becomes more of a reality through the predictable routines we use to navigate life. In fact time can be conceived as a measurement of those routines. this is most noticeable in the eight hour workday, where time is used to measure how long a person has to stay at work. But it can also be seen in other activities…Calculating the commute for instance.

An astute reader will note that I mentioned time’s nature is illusory, but might wonder if that’s really the case, given what I just wrote above. But what I wrote above amply demonstrates the illusory nature of time in the sense that time is used as a predictor and measurement of activities…when they should occur, when they could occur, etc….We use time as a measurement to determine and predict when something happens, and create routines out of that prediction.

The second passage of Evola’s is intriguing to me, mainly because I’ve experienced it…i.e. the alignment of events and occurrences that cause a situation to manifest favorably for me. And I think he hits on a key point, that the overcoming of desire greatly enhances the potential of the events aligning in a person’s favor. The reason is because you’re no longer engaged in specific routines that you believe will get you what you want. We use routines to provide us comfort as well as to fulfill desires, but those same routines are predictive of the actions we’ll take, and can limit the possibilities/opportunities a person could manifest.

The choice to overcome the basic condition of desire is really the choice of being able to perceive the desired outcome in a dispassionate manner…to no longer want it, and thus to no longer need your fixed routines that you’d normally use to get it. Unsurprisingly the result of this is that a person is much more open to possibilities or opportunities that are unconventional, yet still lead to the same outcome. A personal example I’d use is my deliberate choice to not concern myself about the out come of my most recent job hunt. Instead of worrying about when I’d get a job, I focused instead on other matters that I cared about. I did of course still do some job hunting, but ultimately the job I ended up with came through a different venue than what I’d normally have found. Everything came together at at exactly the right time.

It occurs to me that linear time is really another means of measuring desire, measuring how much effort you will put into getting something…whereas non-linear timeĀ  is an acceptance that the desire isn’t essential, and consequently this opens up new vectors which can bring that desire into fruition…the act of not wanting it causes it to occur. Sounds contradictory, but the more desire we emotionally feel, the more invested we are in attempting to obtain something, and as Evola notes and I have noted myself, both from personal experience and from reading a variety of texts on the subject, the feeling of desire can trap us into particular routines, while blinding us to different perspectives that may not be as based in desire (or linear time), but are based on being open to the random opportunities that cause reality to align and manifest what the person was seeking. It’s exactly when you give up desire on an emotional level, that you open up to non-linear time and allow what you wanted to come to you through unconventional methods.

Paradox…

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