Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Religion and Time

Religion and time. Image Source: Symposia.

Is time the silver bullet that explains a lot of Millennial tensions and nameless dread?  From collapsing time to the end of times, from life cycles to prophecies, from religious seasons to the afterlife, a journal coming out of University of Toronto, Symposia, is investigating the pressured quality of time in the new Millennium and its relationship with religion. So far, it has more questions than answers.  The editors are:
investigating the link between religion and time. Ours has been described as a society suffering from space-time compression, a state in which ‘time passes us by’ and we are forever ‘running out of time’ as global capitalism speeds up the pace of life. Closely related to this, some might argue, time plays a key role in many of our anxieties – in the ‘panicked nature’ of reactions to perceived emergencies, in which action is constantly required now, lest delay bring disaster, or in the nervous approach of December 2012 and the end of the Mayan calendar. As a cultural element, religion is not immune to these influences, as we observe with the eschatological guessing-game of some Christian groups. But how are religion and time related in a given context ...?
The path of the editors' logic is clear, if not unpacked: the information boom has led to time compression, arising from the fact that we are trying to live and work like mechanical beings, mirroring our computers which never sleep. At the same time, physicists and philosophers are transforming how we think about and define time.  Because we can't keep up to any of these new standards, be they machine-driven or mind-bending, we feel we are running out of time.  And this leads to the conviction that time will end, a belief bolstered by religious prophecies.

How are religion and time related?  Even more than good and evil, religions deal ultimately with explaining the mystery of death.  That is the core reason why we conceive of time (and for that matter, Mathematics - notice that societies with a non-existent or thin grasp of time are not the ones that are building space probes to the outer reaches of the solar system), and that might be a place to start.  My next posts are about what death means in the new Millennium.

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  1. Cool post. I love the Greenwich Mean Time clock, too! 8)

  2. TY Paul, we'll see if they get anywhere with all these questions. I'll see if I can get a little deeper in the next post on this topic.