Creative Thinking: A mystery — Time

Updated 07 November 2012
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Creative Thinking: A mystery — Time

I find the topic of “Time” highly fascinating. Let us start by asking “what” time actually is. A scientific definition says that it is a “continuum” which has no space, where events occur in apparently irreversible succession, from the past through the present to the future. It is also an interval separating two points in this continuum. But what is a continuum? It is said to be a series of “things” that blend into each other seamlessly so that it is impossible to tell where one ends and the next begins. If you think of a circle, for instance, you can have a clearer idea because here you cannot discern where the beginning and where the end of the circumference is. Is my pondering useless? It may be considered so, if we accept the fact that everybody seems to “know” what time is. Yes, we (you, I and everybody else) have the concept of time because we experience it through the acts we perform every day and through the changes that take place in our bodies. We are aware of starting an action, carrying it out and completing it. We see our hair grow and our skin become less perfect so we realize that our bodies are in continuous transformation.
But if you wish, as I do, to actually perceive the “essence” of time, you are lost because you have no way to “feel” it practically. You cannot distinguish one instant from the other as — according to what the definition states — they all blend into each other. You see the sequence of the seconds on your watch over and over and realize that nothing stays still, ever, and you have no means to stop this “slipping away” of instants that have been flowing since the Universe began and that will continue flowing till ….yes, till the “end of time.” You detect the seconds passing — one by one — on a stopwatch but you cannot perceive the minute hand moving forward on a common clock. The movement is too slow, and yet — all of a sudden — you realize that several minutes have elapsed.
The same happens with your body. You look at it in the mirror every single day but you are unable to “see” the changes that are taking place, slowly and inexorably. Then, suddenly, you realize that you have changed. Time has left its marks on your skin, in your bones, on your metabolism as a whole. You feel the same, yet you are different. Your spirit seems untouched, it is still young but your body has aged. Another consideration I often make is about the future, i.e. a time when we will not be here any more. It is intriguing, and a bit depressing, to think about how the world will still go on without us. Right now we are so involved in life (political and social events, family, work, parties, shopping, planning etc.) and… although one day we won’t be here, yet nothing will change in the economy of creation. Fights will still continue, human beings will keep on being good and bad, new cities will be built, civilizations will fall and rise…and we won’t be here to see it.
What to do with all this? Nothing, I’m afraid. That is how everything works and we can only be the powerless witnesses of such reality, “our reality.” On the other hand, becoming aware of the “necessity” of such situation, i.e. birth, decay, death — a process common to every single component of creation — can provide a sort of consolation toward the inevitable. How? We just need to bring ourselves to believe that there “must” be a reason (actually, a good reason) behind this “necessity.” Our mind, in fact, tells us that no-thing ever happens meaninglessly. If it did, everything – and I mean “everything” – would be a senseless, unconceivable happening that no rational mind (and sensitive soul) could ever accept. Therefore, let us use our “creative thinking” to pave a serene, accepting, peaceful path leading toward our inevitable future.

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Blog: recreateyourlifetoday.blogspot.com


Review: A political artist talks humanity, refugees and mass migration

Updated 22 April 2018
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Review: A political artist talks humanity, refugees and mass migration

BEIRUT: This precious blue book is a compilation of famed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s thoughts on the global refugee crisis, edited by prominent American collector and publisher Larry Warsh. “Humanity” is full of important messages that can be delivered at any time, hence the handy, bag-friendly size.
The quotations, selected from interviews, magazine features and podcasts from around the world, show Ai Weiwei’s thoughts on humanity, mass migration and refugees.
According to his interview excerpts, the artist believes we have lost the capacity for compassion.
“The refugee crisis is not about refugees, rather, it is about us. Our prioritization of financial gain over people’s struggle for the necessities of life is the primary cause of much of this crisis. The West has all but abandoned its belief in humanity and support for the precious ideals contained in declarations on universal human rights, it has sacrificed these ideals for short-sighted cowardice and greed,” he once said.
Ai Weiwei understands how it feels to be completely destitute in a foreign land, with nothing but one’s humanity. In 1959, during the Cultural Revolution, he accompanied his father to a labor camp in the Gobi Desert. When he returned to Beijing with his parents in 1975, he was 19 and determined to fight against injustice. Not afraid to criticize the Chinese authorities, he became an outspoken artist-cum-activist. He is now considered one of the most iconic artists of our times. He was detained in 2011 at Beijing airport, remained in custody for 81 days and was subsequently placed under house arrest. His passport was taken away and returned in 2015. That same year, Amnesty International awarded Ai Weiwei the Ambassador of Conscience Award for his work in defense of human rights and he relocated to Berlin.
Each quote in this book pricks our conscience, makes us feel uncomfortable, and reminds us that our indifference and and lack of action toward other human beings is inhuman.
For example, in the book, the artist is quoted as saying: “Allowing borders to determine your thinking is incompatible with the modern era.”
A powerful statement that is one of many to be found in this thought-provoking read.