How Long Will This Last? Episode 131

The weeks of physical distancing we’re in might, if we’ll take it, give us an opportunity to develop a new relationship with time. What if time isn’t a commodity to be consumed? And what would happen if we allow ourselves to encounter time as depth, or as play, or as presence, or as possibility? A conversation about giving up our frantic, fearful relationship with the finiteness of our time, with Lizzie Winn and Justin Wise of Thirdspace.

This is Turning Towards Life, a weekly live 30 minute conversation hosted by Thirdspace in which Justin Wise and Lizzie Winn dive deep into big questions of human living. Find us on FaceBook to watch live and join in the lively conversation on this episode. We’re also on YouTube, and as a podcast on Apple, Google and Spotify. You can find videos of every episode, and more about the project on the Turning Towards Life website.

Here’s our source for this week, written by Robert Poynton:

How Long Will This Last?
by Robert Poynton

I wonder how long this is going to last.

I imagine we all do.

Which is understandable, but absurd.

Not only do we have no idea, but being home for a few weeks (or months?) is the least of it. In some ways what is happening now will never leave us. It would be remarkable, disappointing even, if this experience didn’t change us, one way or another.

The question reveals how we habitually think and talk about time in a limited way.

As if it had no other dimension, depth or quality beyond a number of minutes, hours or days.

As if all it had were length, which is actually just a metaphor, borrowed from the world of physical space.

As if all units of time were equivalent, standardised, uniform.

They aren’t.

Time has the capacity to open up, deepen, expand or extend, even as the clock continues its regimented march.

For example, on a Reading Weekend at La Serna, tech philosopher Tom Chatfield wrote:

“Time is different here. It has been waiting for us. I remember time like this from when I was young: baggy, generous, ambling; then dashing at the pace of light and landscape”.

Pauses do that.

As we hunker down, constrained in space, perhaps we can create a different kind of freedom for ourselves by shifting our relationship with time?

Instead of behaving like dutiful consumers, with no idea beyond counting and spending the days or weeks until this is over, can we play with it, explore it, savour it, sense it, feel it, or get lost in it?

Perhaps if we pay less attention and attach less importance to duration, we might find this time has more to give us than we realised.

You can find out more about Robert and ‘The Pause Project’ here.

Photo by KiPhoto by Robert Anasch on Unsplash