You live most of your lives like you will live forever. You will spend today knowing that you are not going to die tomorrow, or this week, or this year, or before 2020. There are, of course, exceptions to this but I’m reasonably confident that they aren’t reading this blog post. Most of you are not in denial about death, but you’d still prefer to think about it as an event in the distant future that you do not need to concern yourself with now, or anytime soon.
When was the last time you felt truly proud of yourself? When was the last time you experienced exaltation or absolute contentment? When was the last time that you felt happiness in such abundance that you couldn’t contain it? How long did it last? When was the last time you felt an overbearing need to act on something? Did you? When was the last time you were struck to your very core by the anxiety of losing something you loved? When was the last time disappointment sank all the way down to your gut?
I sit here in front of you with my folded electricity bill covering the top right corner of my laptop screen. Why? Because I was reading a book and I wanted to keep myself from knowing what time it is so that I don’t feel sleepy and I could read it for longer. The experiment seems to have worked well because although I don’t know exactly what time it is now I know that it’s somewhere in the vicinity of 4am and that’s longer that I would have read if I’d been reminded of the time all throughout. Not to mention that I would also not be writing this blog post.
If you didn’t know what what time it was or what time you had to wake up in the morning then would you still sleep rather than continuing whatever you’re enjoying doing so much? If you didn’t know what the name of the next day of the week was or how many days it was till your birthday then would you still put yourself through the gruelling routine of today? Maybe if we didn’t use these measurements of time to reason things out we’d do things differently. And yes, not being able to quantify time would lead us to more irrational decisions, but our decisions can only be as rational as the assumptions of our objectives and morality that they’re based on.
I want to try for an unknown interval of time, to not count time and see how that works out. And I want to ask you, are we living or are we dying?