WHAT IS TIME?
Updated: Jan 25, 2022
…Warren Buffett has so eloquently summed up this essence of time with his simple philosophy, ‘You cannot give birth to a child in one month by making nine women pregnant.’ That’s simply not possible because time has its own course to flow.
Rightly or wrongly, people have often attributed that time is money. Taking this notion a bit further, the 2011 Justin Timberlake starrer movie, In Time, portrayed time as the currency (while we use money as a currency), which was used as the medium to buy goods and services; and for those, when their time is finished, he/she dies. Of course that movie is based in the year 2169, but it showed the very essence of what time is. Well, what quantum physics says about time would be a bit overwhelming for us lay people to comprehend. However, if we try to understand time, we have to go beyond the stereotyped meaning attributed by the hands of a clock. That is not time, but a lay perspective of quantifying time. So, the question still remains. What is time?
Time is the benchmark against which we quantify the continuous occurrence of events at different corners of the cosmos. For example, on 11th May, 1998, India conducted its second ever nuclear test at Pokhran (Operation Shakti). Well, Pokhran existed much before this date, as has been in existence since then; but the nuclear test is not happening every day at Pokhran. It had happened on that particular day at a particular time as per the Indian Standard Time, which was 3:45 pm. So, if time didn’t exist, then who knows, the events that occur might go on in a loop and keep on repeating again and again and yet, we wouldn’t realize nor be able to quantify why an event (or events) is repeating.
However, I don’t want to entangle you with such theoretical concepts about time, but the role time plays in our daily lives. We trade time for money, which we call salary (for employed class), fee (for self employed class) and dividend (for business class), as per the different classes of people. Essentially, what we do is not much different from what the movie, In Time, has portrayed. We are simply paying for goods and services with time, in the disguised form of paper/digital money.
This realization should bring in a more serious question. If we are all paying for our expenses in time, than how come, some could afford more luxurious lifestyle while majority of mankind languish in a dire state of existence. The answer, although, is not linear, but could be explained in the context of the quality of time.
Quality of time is the concept of spending our time for the best and most important aspects of our respective lives. We all have different aspirations; that’s what makes the world so vibrant. However, the moment we start giving time to least important aspects of our lives, we take away from us the opportunity to devote our time for the most important aspects. This results in the deterioration of the quality of our respective time, and leads to the reduction in the quality of time. For instance, if we devote to work for others than naturally the other person would be better off; because we are doing his/her work. However, if we could make others work for us, then we would be better off.
This is the exact reason why business people, more often than not, end up becoming rich, while those who keep on working in a job don’t. Agreed that an employee can have a better life than most of his peers, but he/she can’t compete when it comes to the luxuries of a rich man/woman.
So, what role does time play in getting rich? Well, everything. Passage of time is an important criteria for the growth, be it the growth of a fruit bearing tree or of someone’s wealth. There are simply no short cuts. As Warren Buffett has so eloquently summed up this essence of time with his simple philosophy, ‘You cannot give birth to a child in one month by making nine women pregnant.’ That’s simply not possible because time has its own course to flow.
For those among us who daydream about a shortcut to great wealth; those who believe in casinos and lottery tickets, it is disappointing to mention that, all those so-called ‘lucky winners’ of casinos and lotteries soon end up on the street. (Don’t take my words, search for numerous such stories of rag-to-rich-and-back-to-rag).
Time is the eternal truth of our existence. Our existence is not determined by the space we occupy on a planet. Our existence is determined by time, for we are a function of time. The space (the planet and the universe) remains in its location even after our death, but the time lapses. It never comes back. So, we must respect time and look at it with a whole new mind. Time is for everyone. But quality of time is not for everyone; it depends upon our actions and the strength of our aspirations.
‘Time and tide waits for none; except Rahul Dravid’, MTV India once stated. But, even he is getting older, although without a doubt that the time he has given for India was of the highest quality.
So, what is time?