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If you want a long monologue concluding with an unsatisfactory answer, just ask a linguist for their definition of language.

You'd think that in the centuries this discipline existed, we'd have come up with one for something so fundamental. And yet, to be frank, we still aren't sure.

But before you revel too much in Schadenfreude about a lack of definition for something so essential to our lives, are you any better?

There are entire books written about how the things we take for granted actually work, from toilets (a more complex mechanism than you'd think) to painkillers.

And then there's the question: What is time?

The numbers people might just answer with something that references seconds, minutes and hours, stuff that you can measure.

Aristotle's followers would say "a measure of change."

And I?

Still trying to figure it out.

Some might say I should spend my time on more productive endeavors like automating airdrop farming or learning how to train an LLM to do my work for me - or whatever.

But I feel this is a big and important topic.

Because assuming I'd figure out the LLM to earn money for me, this would free up a lot of time.

If AI is really taking all our jobs, especially then, shouldn't we spend more time pondering time and meaning?

I know the typical crypto bro doesn't want to discuss philosophy. There are way too many telegram messages to react to, hot takes to tweet, and incentives to chase.

"Of all the ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy - to be a man who is brisk about his food and his work" - Søren Kierkegaard

If that's your life, it's no wonder you feel like time is racing without a dam to slow down the tide. The more tabs are open in your brain, the more you deplete the one thing we humans have to sense the passing of time: your attention.

"Reality is never and nowhere more accesible than in the immediate moment of one's own life." - Franz Kafka

We're living in a world chasing productivity and trying to optimize our time as much as possible without a thought wasted on what time even is. And why it might be that it's seemingly just accelerating at astonishing speed despite us chasing experiences and new places as never before.

We collect events and connections and tick boxes on our to-do lists, filling the time while often still sensing something to be missing.

When we are free and have a day without any other commitments, we can't help but feel we should be doing something more "productive" with it. To ease that itch, we might open our phones, turn on the TV, and doom scroll a little - answer messages, and eventually, still feel like we accomplished nothing.

"People never seemed to notice that, by saving time, they were losing something else. No one cared to admit that life was becoming ever poorer, bleaker and more monotonous. " - Michael Ende, Momo

How we spend our time is how we live our lives. One could say that time is our life.

But we don't feel like we ever have enough of it.

Especially millionaires and otherwise disgustingly rich people seem to think so, trying to extend their lives without tackling the underlying question at hand: how does living longer make any difference if you haven't figured out how to make it meaningful?

The more I think about time, the more I believe that our sense that we're losing control of it is closely tied to the lack of meaning we experience.

We're made to believe that our output is our worth. That our time should be filled with things that benefit... who exactly?

“Everyone wants the same; everyone is the same; he who has other sentiments goes voluntarily into the madhouse.” - Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus spoke Zarathustra

If time is our being, you can't save it.

You shouldn't.

If time is life, it should be lived.

Like a symphony, the duration says little about the journey.

Like a symphony, speeding it up hampers the experience rather than benefitting you.

Like a symphony, when you aren't paying attention, you're not getting the most out of it.

Like music, time is experienced forward but understood backward.

I'm not much closer to a definition of time.

But maybe that's not necessary.

Maybe for now, it's good enough to contemplate it.

"The unexamined life is not worth living" - Aristotle

Thank you for reading 💚

Without doing so on purpose (maybe my unconscious was guiding me), I realized I had read many books and articles that directly or indirectly touched upon the concept of time and modernity.

  • Momo by Michael Ende

  • Soul and Time by Jacob Needleman

  • The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli

  • Thus spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche

  • Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse

  • On Little Joys by Herman Hesse

Always open to further recommendations. 🤗

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