The End of Time or the End of the World?

Are we getting close to the “end of time” or just the end of the year? Have you ever really thought about when time would end? The Mayan Calendar says it will end next year on December 21, 2012. I guess many can be glad that they will be able to celebrate 12-12-12 before the end of the world. Will time end when the world and the universe end? Or maybe time will just quit, like a watch that stops running.

Some religions believe that time ends on judgment day. Do you think that there are any clocks in heaven? What about hell? Does the devil track time for us? What about Purgatory? “Purgatory (Lat., “purgare”, to make clean, to purify) in accordance with Catholic teaching is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.” (New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, ). The Catholic Church teaches that we need to spend time in Purgatory for certain offenses. Since the punishment is temporal and not eternal, do you suppose they have clocks in Purgatory? Who do you suppose winds them up? Can you imagine spending 500 years in Purgatory and watching the clock until you are released?

Perhaps, time will wear out when people get tired of keeping time. We have explored hundreds of ways to think about time in my blogs this past year. People have been thinking about time since the first human beings walked the earth. Time seems to be part of the human psyche. If humans did not have time, they would certainly have created it. It is hard to imagine anyplace where we would not mark time. I notice I can always find new ideas about time to keep adding to my blogs. I have a whole list of subjects that I am working on for future blogs, of course, that assumes I make it past 12-21-2012. But if I go to heaven, can I keep my blog going up there?

Heaven qualifies as one place though where there would seem to be no reason to mark time. Why keep track of time when everything is eternal and unchanging? Heaven must be a place where there are no goals, no accomplishments, no meetings, no places to get to, no tasks to complete, no projects due, no emails to answer and no shortage of time. If any of these things existed in heaven, then we would need to track time. So what do we do in heaven? We all seem to want to get there, but what do we do with our “time” when we are there? I guess we just play all day since play does not require us to track time. Play is by definition “timeless.”

Can you think of anything else that does not require us to mark time? Perhaps if we could just play all day, then time would end. Would little children invent time? Children do not seem to worry about time as much as adults. What if we played more and worked less? Could we cut time down some? Do we “end time” when it is just play time? As adults we become more and more fixed on the idea of time and the limitations that time places on our lives. Our goal orientation makes time a reality for us.

Maybe we should create a “holiday” each year where time stops. A day when you do not have to keep track of time or when time does not matter. It is difficult to think of living a single day when we are not keeping track of time. I guess you will just have to wait until you get to heaven for time to stop. Do you suppose anyone wears watches in heaven? When was the last time, you were able to forget about time? How long did it last? What does it take for you to forget about time?

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bgalbreath
    Dec 28, 2011 @ 17:28:36

    We speak of “timeless” moments when we are so focused on what is happening that time seems to “stand still” in a good way (a great sports play, a first kiss). On the other hand, there are other, horrible or boring experiences that seem as if they will never end. Here we do not have any feeling of being outside of time, but instead are trapped in a temporal experience that goes on and on it its unpleasantness.

    One way we might get outside of time is through the oblivion of sleep. However, I can somehow keep track of time even then. I almost always know what time it is when I wake up during the night, and I also can set an internal alarm clock. That is, if I have to get up at 3 AM to go to the airport, I will wake up at that time. I set the alarm clock to make sure, but always wake up before it goes off.

    I wonder if I could keep track of time during surgical anesthesia, or through “suspended animation” if that ever becomes available.



  2. John Persico
    Dec 29, 2011 @ 13:57:52

    Funny, I am the same way when I sleep. I seldom need an alarm clock to wake up. I am perhaps a very big time keeper in that I am constantly aware of the flow of time in my life. I probably need to turn it off more. Did you have a good Holiday Bruce?



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