What if time is neither linear nor absolute?

This is not a quantum physics discussion. I neither understand quantum physics fully nor do I want to sound more deeper than I am by (mis)using esoteric concepts out of context.

If you are interested in a beautiful discussion on physics and philosophy of time, I highly recommend you read this book called The order of time by Carlo Rovelli. Carlo is aptly called a poet of physics.

Image result for order of time

In the book, Carlo shatters our intuition of time. That science can prove time is not moving at the same speed everywhere. A second is not a second everywhere. Now is not that ephemeral instant thin slice between past&future, but a bubble that can be a few MN years too. Time is not continuous. There is a scale (Planck time, 10 power -33) below which there is no time. Most bizarre of them all – past, present and future have no physical foundation / reality to back them up. They are just an illusion we feel like the rising sun or the sky being above us in effect of the second law of Thermodynamics – that entropy never decreases. (Entropy, yet another concept that is most misunderstood and abused by pseudo intellectuals)

For those who hate reading a book to learn, this video lecture by Carlo talks about the various concepts in the book.

I digress. Bear with me while I use high school math to make my point.

Say there are two machines A and B. The first machine produces work WA and the second produces WB. Both take the same inputs, IA=IB. If WA>>WB, then m/c A is way better than m/c B. The only way m/c B can get better is by increasing WB or significantly reducing IB compared to IA, for the producing WA or more.

Anything wrong with that logic? Nothing.

Now let’s talk about people instead of machines and think of time as the input. A gets more work done that B. So B pushes herself by working more hours. Time is limited for everyone. So at one point B can’t do anything more. Or B severely jeopardizes her personal time and energy. We all the know the feeling of not having enough hours in a day and feeling defeated with the never ending expectations of life.

May be there is another way to think about this problem. Output to input comparison works for machines as inputs that are linear. What if time as an input to humans is not linear? What if you can stretch your time and get more impact in lesser time shared by / available to everyone? What if your time moves much slower than for others?

When you take that perspective, you shift your energy from time management to timeless management of your life. You can focus on how to listen and perceive a lot more in a conversation, so you an respond faster and more precisely to test reactions to your response. Instead of spending a lot of time with your teams in many low touch interactions, you will pack in tremendous intensity in a few interactions with the firm belief that the net effect is much more in the latter approach. You will then need to develop the mental ability to switch on and operate with tremendous intensity, and explode for higher impact in those key moments of time. Instead of being torn about how little time you get to spend with your family or with yourself, you decide to pack in everything you’ve got into those moments.

May the answer to overwhelming and multiplying expectations is ironically not to multi-task, but further single-task. (See my earlier post on ills of multi-tasking Curse of Eternal Shallowness) May be everyday events and interactions can be training to experience the fungible nature of time, the illusion of time. That such an awareness of non-linear and non-absolute nature of time may exponentially enhance your capability to extract more out of life situations, as well as protect you from burn out due to lack of adequate time.

May be that’s why all the eastern philosophers, saints and mystics talk of timelessness and infinite possibilities of the present moment.

Published by SridharTuraga

A dad. A partner. A son. A problem solver. A learner. A teacher.

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