If you watch television near a window you note that life doesn't move all that much outside unless you're near a highway or crowded city street. You keep making subliminal primate adjustments to all that fast action on television and end up with a scrambled mind that takes a while to regather itself. Your accomplishment is that you've quite literally killed time.
- Jim Harrison, The Road Home
As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.
- Henry David Thoreau, "Economy," Walden, 1854
I've been thinking lately about some of this new reality we're living in; mediums like Facebook and Twitter and such. I'm "on" Facebook and was feeling a little confident when great horneytoads they changed the look and now I'm a little queasy. And twitter? Well, that little bird makes me think of The Partridge Family and all of a sudden I'm seeing Susan Dey as Laurie Partridge on piano in a short skirt and well, cmongethappy.
Now I realize I'm about two d's from a Luddite. I also realize I'm living in this new reality and no, it ain't going away. But there's something I believe we need to be careful of as we twitter in each other's faces. And that's what we're doing with time; namely, blowing it to smithereens.
I mean, what, after all, is "real time"? There's the real time messaging we do throughout the day and the real time scenarios played out on television and the web and then there's the real time you notice sitting by a window, which most of us don't do because it's, well, slow. It's that time in which seasons change and animals burrow and folks write novels and success finally comes and your beard thickens and you realize what for better or worse really means. Yeah, that time.
Here are two examples. First, I remember a time, driving back into Santa Fe with a friend after having visited Christ in the Desert Monastery. I don't think we said much of anything on that drive. We just drove. And friendship thickened like soup on the stove overnight. Real time. In this "other time" we'd of been required to keep telling each other what we were thinking or updating our status or something and chances are, by the time we got back to Santa Fe, we'd been about ready to kill each other. Or at least "unfriend" one another.
And second, there's the way we all too often read the Bible. We don't read entire books or letters at a time; no, we read verses or a couple of chapters or a devotional thought. Not a one of these approaches values "real time." A couple of chapters in Acts under our belt and we believe our lives oughta be an unbroken string of signs and wonders, displays of power. That's a lot more exciting than two week's worth of listening to disgruntled widows not getting their due or the several hundred year gap between testaments when God was fairly quiet. And then there's Jesus not coming until the fullness of time, which to my mind, indicates it took time for time to get full.
And that raises another aspect of all this; namely, that we believe talking or typing or texting is thinking. RU4Real?
I haven't got it all figured out yet, but something's going on with this "time" thing. Give me a little, well, time and maybe I'll have more clarity on it. Maybe I'm just getting old and don't really care for busy cities and enjoy just sitting by windows, not talking or typing or texting, just thinking...