22 April 2021
We don’t speak a lot about time. Time that passes, the phase that we’re living in. Time is an implicit concept that underpins everything. It risks becoming invisible. But there are three reasons why it’s still important to talk about time, a reflection that helps us see things in a new way, considering it more.
First, for the first time since the dawn of civilization, the whole world is going through the same time period. The world wars didn’t even touch the whole world in this way, they didn’t stretch to every nation. From Italy to the UK, Brasil to the US: everywhere is sharing in the pandemic experience. There have been other pandemics, but we couldn’t communicate with everyone back then. It wasn’t a shared experience. The third decade of the third millennium has put us all in the same boat. Well, we were already on the same boat, but we thought that we had a right to own our own point in time. It’s created a moment in time where we’re all together.
The second reason is that, currently, we don’t have access to the places that we would meet each other usually. What’s a Zoom meeting if it’s not in a temporary room, where space has a defined duration? We’re not together in a place, but at a time: from this minute to that one. We’re all in different spaces.
Digital calendars are our new maps: we’re in the same place and we move to the next event. We only move in terms of time. When we set a time, we put a mark on the map. Everyone agrees to see you “there”. Not in a space, at a calendar appointment. In time, we don’t arrive in the physical sense, but with the mind. Isn’t it funny how it’s the only movement that’s allowed at the moment when we’re protecting our physical health? Over the last year, we’ve established that our physical health is more important, or more fragile, than mental health. It comes first, alone. And in this way, our minds sustain our still bodies.
We can be in the same room with someone but be far away in terms of time and not understand each other. The moment we’re living in can influence our ability to listen and understand, what we’re ready to be. Giving ourselves an hour to meet isn’t enough: we also need to make sure that we’re there, present in the same moment. At least enough time to make our own map a little bigger. It’s not about asking where you are but “when you are?”. What moment of life are you living through, irrespective of where you find yourself?
Lots of questions have changed over the past year. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to ask people what plans they have, even more useless to ask where they are. But the question “in which moment are you in?” could open new horizons. Because we’re all going through a collective transition, translated into a personal transition for all of us, where time and things meet each day. It’s life.
This article was originally written by Riccarda Zezza and published on the Il Sole 24 Ore blog, Alley Oop. To read the original article (in Italian), please click here.