Perception of “Consumption of Time”


There have been several theories in philosophy (be it ontology, epistemology, etc.) & science (Newtonian, Einstein time dilation, etc.) that attempted to describe the fundamental properties of time as relative or absolute. In Metaphysics (B-theory of time), it was argued that the flow of time is only a subjective illusion of human consciousness, that the past, present, and future are equally real, and that time is tenseless: temporal becoming is not an objective feature of reality.

Notion of Time – “Lost time is never found again”

We often feel that time once gone cannot be gotten back. From the Rubaiyat:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit.
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

~Omar Khayyám

This phrase’ expresses the notion that whatever one does in one’s life is one’s own responsibility and cannot be changed. The feeling that the ‘past cannot be changed’ attributes to our notion of time.

Consumption of Time

Beyond the chronological property of time, we as humans try to give a psychological dimension to the consumption of our time, from our need to experience tangibility to all that we do. Therefore, our need to create value through time consumption gets us into a loop of time management in further giving a binary view of our activities as ‘Useful’ or ‘Useless’.

Activity gets you busy. But productivity gets you free.

Before we get the essence of this phrase, how do we define productivity in the context of time? We call something productive based on outcomes, rather our perceived meaning of outcomes. And the perceived meaning is derived based on the Tangibility.

So where does the tangibility come from?

Philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti explains this through Cause and Effect. It is considered that the interval between cause and effect is perceived as time. But is there an interval? Before we get there, our psychological interpretation is that there is an interval that lets us feel a sense of time. Our anticipation of an effect enables us to experience time. We judge our own activities as one of the binary opposites based on the experiences that we have from the effect. This fundamentally challenges our own judgement of causing it in the first place, posing a threat to our own integrity.

Is the experience of time an illusion? Before we know this, few questions to reflect upon and ponder:

  • Do we offer our Authentic, Integral & Noble self to our ecosystem wherever we are?
  • Do our actions, choices, decisions arise from our own complete awareness?
  • Is there essence in the method, process, or the journey?
  • Do we have fluidity in terms of allowing the universe to flow into our lives beyond what we intend?
  • Have we developed endurance enough to withstand and move forward quickly despite adversity?

If the answer (to all the above) is Yes, then one is beyond time and can experience timelessness.

A Perspective from Neuroscience:

This (Timelessness) is further supported by a Neuroscience concept called FLOW, the mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, FLOW is characterized by the complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting transformation in one’s sense of time. This FLOW state is further characterized by STER (Selflessness, Timelessness, Effortlessness, and Richness) that leads to one’s Peak or Optimal experience.

Final thoughts to Ponder:

  • Productivity is where the essence is and essence cannot have tangibility, the essence is in the method, in the process; rather the journey itself
  • There is no interval between cause and effect, they’re intertwined; our sense of time created it, it’s purely psychological
  • In intense & complete awareness, time does not exist; the eternal now itself is an existential experience, the timeless.
  • Once we offer our Authentic, Integral & Noble self to the universe (irrespective of the physical existence), one resonates with the quantum field that allows oneself to experience the oneness universe had to offer
  • Tangibility leads to rigidity, key is fluidity. In fluidity, there’re no blockers.

Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless, like water.
You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put it into a teapot, it becomes the teapot.
Now water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

~Bruce Lee

Conclusion through Quote:

The essence of this entire write up has been encapsulated in an awesome phrase below:

Follow your desire as long as you live, and do not perform more than is ordered, do not lessen the time of the following desire, for the wasting of time is an abomination to the spirit…

~Ptahhotep (ancient Egyptian thinker – c. 2650–2600 BC)


Visweswaran Balasubramanian
Visweswaran Balasubramanian
I am Visweswaran, working as a Vice President with Rite Software in Hyderabad, India. A learner-for-life, A Seeker, An evolving human, an aspiring coach, an Agile coach, a blogger, a thinker, a humanist, a pragmatist, an Engineer, an XLRI Alumni (PGCHRM), also an IT professional with over two decades of experience diversified in Technology, Project Management, Talent & Competency Management, Human Resources Management, Program Management, Practice Management, Leadership (current role). I have been exploring the fields of Philosophy, Psychology, and their relatability from the perspective of Science for more than a decade. It’s my inquisitiveness, passion, and quest for knowledge in learning & exploring, my inherent need to give a form or shape to my existence in synthesizing those learnings with my life experiences; that gives me the fulfilment in realizing my essence & purpose. I view the world around me as a reflection of my altered states of consciousness that enables me to see patterns in everything and to experience the feeling of oneness with the universe.

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