Timeless Change

Updated: Jun 11, 2020

1.


We are told that as yidden, as chassidim, we are tasked with bringing Hashem into this very physical, and superficial world. Every world, every level, every ounce of this complicated system called creation, was all to set the stage for this beautiful goal.


But If creating the world was such a good idea, then what took Hashem so long to actually decide to do it? Creation was only 5780 years ago? If this mattered so much, this should've happened billions of years ago?


The answer, while simple at first glance, takes a little time to really understand, and has incredible implications on how we live our life.

The answer is that time is a creation, it is intrinsic to the way the world operates but did not exist before. There was no better "time" to create the world because time didn't exist.


If you're genuinely trying to understand this, you're probably having a hard time imagining a world with no time. You're not to blame, while our imagination can go virtually anywhere it cannot escape the inherent ways its been taught to operate. So a world without time is not on the menu for our minds.


2.


It will probably help to understand the role time actually does play in our world. Then we can get clarity on why time is exclusive to our experience.


The world never stops, its constantly changing. Chassidus* explains that this is because the G-dly energy invested in the world isn't stagnant. It's constantly resisting being injected into the world, then giving in, causing friction that results in a world where change is baked into its existence.

In the words of chassidus, its called Ratzoi and Shuv. The G-dly energy doesn't want to leave Him, then it realizes that the ultimate connection, comes with fulfilling the mission, even if it demands distance. Being that the physical world is a product of the spiritual evolution that comes before, this Resistance, and eventual acceptance results in a world that is constantly moving.


Practically speaking, if you place any item down and don't touch it for a set amount of time it will look different then you left it. For some things you can see this in minutes, some in decades. Whatever the situation the principal is the same. The world left untouched, will not remain the same, change is inevitable, even if we don't see it. If it takes 15 years for an item's change to be evident, it means that the entire time this change was happening, but it was so minute that it took a decade and a half for our eyes to register it.


So the world is constantly changing, and to measure that change we have time. Time is no more than a way to put into words the ever-changing movements of our world. A minute in most circumstances, resembles a small amount of change, while a year is a measurement of extreme change, etc. So to say that time is inherent to the way our world works, may be true, but it's missing the point. The real point is that change is what is truly inevitable, and time is just tagging along for the ride.


We constantly say that time passes, but it's not true. Change passes, and time follows.


3.


There is a well-known distinction between the two types of human personality. The thermometer and the thermostat. There are those that can set the temperature in a room. They carry themselves in such a way that their aura is contagious, tilting the area around them towards whatever they are projecting.


Then there's the thermometer. A victim of environment, letting the waves take them wherever it so chooses.

In the human experience, this is obviously a spectrum, but these are the two extremes, and in this context, everyone, and everything in the world falls somewhere in between.

Time is the thermometer, its not really in control, it is just a reflection of a process already in place.


The knowledge of this reality can create a remarkable paradigm shift in our approach to life if we only let it. We constantly let time be the thermostat, we decide that minutes, and hours have an objective value, and that cannot change. They are worth what they are worth, and changing that is not in our control


That is simply not true. Yes the world moves, and we are forced to move with it, but the change that happens within that movement which we call time is very much in our control. If time is the measurement of change then the value of those minutes and hours is defined by the change accomplished within it.


We are not victims of time. We are potential creators of change, and therefore the dictators of what time will eventually reflect. Our world can be on cruise control, with time in the driver's seat. But time wasn't built for that, and neither were we.



*Maamar V"yuchlu 5666

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