Let’s compare chronologies

A time to start and a time to end. A time to count and a time to let the sequence run by itself. A time to keep time and a time to let time run its course, without interpellation.

Identities form in time. Times precedes essence, I’m a chronoexistentialist.

Sub speciae aeternitatis. Under the aspect of eternity. It makes no sense if all we have is time running to its end. It makes all sense if there’s a flip on the other side.

As creatures of contingency, we should’ve been barred from gaining access to timelessness. But for some strange reason, this is at once the easiest as well as the hardest thing to grasp. Easiest because more than two thirds of the planet subscribe to a species of timelessness or another, investing their being in it. Hardest because no philosopher has been able to give a convincing description of it – convincing to other philosophers, of course.

European culture mastered time during its medieval centuries. The historian Bernard Guenée couldn’t stop talking about the European conquest of time. Contingent time, secular time, the time we keep, the time our Apple Watches display.

But. And it’s a big but. Europeans conquered time, that’s fine. But first, they conquered eternity. A strange thing to say, but the pieces had to be ordered in order for our culture to become a function of time. Time is money, silly but true. When everything happens in time, and we become aware of it, too aware of it, it all becomes a question of life and death, of time running out and time unrecoverable.

Time emerges out of timelessness. The earliest intuitions were not about minutes and seconds, but about timelessness. The target has shifted from aiming for time without time to making up for it.

In saecula saeculorum. Time without end. To master one is to know the other. But do we really know it?

One thought on “Let’s compare chronologies

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  1. Your post reminded me of a song called “Hazy Shade of Winter”, written by Paul Simon and recorded by Simon and Garfunkel. “time, time, time see what’s become of me, while I looked around for my possibilities….”


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