On holiday some years ago in Turkey, we were sitting at the (open air) bar socialising, chatting, idling the day away in great company. Someone must have had tea or coffee, because I remember a sugar bowl. It had attracted a bunch of ants. And to my English sense of hygiene this was not good. Where had the ants’ feet been before tramping across our sugar?
In England, I probably would have flicked the ants and sugar and removed any chance of catching some deadly disease, along with reducing the ant population by five or ten. But the thing I remember is this
The Turkish chap simply moved the sugar bowl so that the sun shone directly onto it. As he did, he commented that ants do not like direct sunshine. And kept gently moving the bowl so that the sun shone directly onto the ants. Within a short time the ants had vacated our desirable real estate sugar bowl. There was no ant carnage, no sugar grains sprayed everywhere. Nothing dramatic or traumatic – for either us nor the ants.
I used to watch a programme called “30 Seconds To Disaster” – the analysis and objective sequencing of millimetres of time – sometimes stretching back months. Cataloguing all the decisions and indecisions, actions and inactions, leading up to the thirty seconds before a disaster.
It fascinates how – usually – it is a series of very small things that build and build. Tiny details forgotten or overlooked. Something not quite done as it should be. Having a cumulative effect on something that triggers something that triggers something else.
Always it seemed to begin with something innocuous, so irrelevant, so meaningless. At the beginning it was impossible to even imagine a catastrophe as the conclusion to that one little detail – nor the next, or even the one after that, or after that one. Individually not one of the actions or inactions was meaningful. It was the sequence of “stuff” that brought disaster to bear.
And then the final thirty seconds when all hope is lost and there is no turning back – disaster and the conclusion of the entire sequence over time.
How many times do I see adverts promising to hold back time. How often do I read of others’ dreams of being young again. Turning back the clock. Beating time itself. Regaining my youth. My freshness. My vim and vigour (obviously with the benefit of hindsight and financial stability and the benefits of growing older).
It is always the physical side of things. More va-va-voom, more staying power, more energy, less wrinkles, more six-pack less face-pack!
A whole industry has grown around creams and potions, regimes and routines, nips and tucks, dreams and bloody hard work!! Just to retain the perception of youth. Of health. Of beating the clock of time itself.
The second hand on every clock must be obeyed. Every second a physical thing that comes. And goes. Never to return. Ever. We are on a production line. Ever moving forwards one second at a time. That relentless progression.
Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock …
A relentless progression for each of us. And then we die.
But we have no control of that clock. And it never stops. Even when we each die. It never does. Time never stops. Not for anyone of anything.
Not for anyone.
“LOL!! ROFL!! Smiley face. Cute icons. Xxx
Another of my loved ones struggling with the clock! How I so enjoy this “second of time” my creations hold and examine with such finite confusion! Always – always – each one reaches a stage where that tick tick tick becomes a “what if …” What if “I was God” – what if I wasn’t ruled by the clock – what if there was no clock – what if eternity was a second and a second a millennium – a millennium being a fraction of a moment – and a fraction of a moment being all of time – all of time a thought – and a thought merely the beginning and the end … I do so love this conundrum. This finity. And cracking it will never happen. Ever. Because that is not my purpose. Not my gift.
My gift is time itself.
Not a present they all want to receive. For so many a cage. A cage with only one exit door. Yet each search. Each looks for the alternative door. Never realising there is no cage. There is no door. There are no walls. Other than of their own creation. Their own gift to themselves.
My gift is time. Such a beautiful way to find truth. Such a loving thing to watch. As each works through what is important. What is meaningful. As each finds for themselves the essence of living as they must. As each finds the essence of Love. How else would they. How else could they. If there was not time how could each know love. How else would each find their own way back.”
And I sit and wonder …
If I am that ant. Would I feel my desire to move back into the shade was “pre ordained” and I had no control? Or me simply responding to changing conditions. Me still in control.
And if I am any one of the people involved in the thirty seconds from disaster. If I knew the outcome. Would I really choose to do the same? And if not – would I really feel I had no control or free will?
So if I broke free from time would I choose to “never age”? If I had that ability, would I want to look “forever young” – because wouldn’t that concept be as meaningless as time itself?
And I ponder quietly here.
If I was not ruled by each second. If time was meaningless.
How then would I define Free Will?