Antagonism of Time

Time’s antagonism is universal, infecting us with all sorts of anxieties about the past, present and future. What an asshole, Time. No wonder so many of us hate it. No wonder so many want it banished. No wonder so many of us are that dumb.

Time antagonizes us because we perceive most of the good things as belonging to the past – our childhoods and innocence, our beauty, our better bygone eras, our best sex, our vigor and lust for life, our favorite musicians live and in their primes. Time malevolently strips away most of the good things, then coddles us a bit with the payback of nostalgia, which is, itself, necessarily predicated on the concept of Time: then versus now. Time’s cheap nostalgia of a past when morality and mechanics were both more pure. Cheap nostalgia like a gold watch for 50 years of dedicated service. But see, even that’s cheap nostalgia and sentimentality cause nobody really gives out gold watches anymore. Nowadays you’re probably lucky to get a fifty dollar Applebee’s gift card. It’s easy to feel cheated by Time’s deal of temporal glories exchanged for a sack full of sappy nostalgia along with the burden of present uncertainties and all the responsibilities of today and all the seemingly endless tomorrows and wicked Time bumming us out over the short change of gold watches versus Applebee’s gift cards.

And while Time offers some solace or reconciliation or justification with the past through nostalgia, that asshole, at the same time, offers it along with a full plate of regrets. Sneaky, shitty Time and its chocolaty laxative of nostalgia and regrets. Nostalgia the sweet and cocoa to the purgative of regret. Regrets, missed opportunities, potential fortunes lost. Never knowing what might have been. See what an utter cunt Time can be?

Goddamned Time – malicious Time – perverse Time immediately begins stripping the pleasure of any experience away, to leave us with nothing but a distant goddamned memory that’s not much better than a description or the recipe of a pancake compared to a real steaming stack sitting in front of you – airy and buttered and ready for that silver kettle of warm syrup. But the further we get away from those pancakes – even for a minute – the more and more fuzzy they become. Tomorrow we may remember the design on the plate. Or not. What about next week? Will we recall if the dab of butter rested in the middle to melt like candle wax or did we slide it all around – with a fork? or the knife? – to give that top cake a nice, even coat? And what did the waitress look like? What was she wearing? What the fuck were those moments, anyway? In a year, the memory’s almost gone no matter how hard we try to hold on but how much of it even matters? At best we might remember that those hotcakes were simply very good and maybe that’s enough.

But that’s how Time deprives us. That’s how Time antagonizes us – stealing away all the good shit, stealing away youth and beauty and our best of times and experiences.

And that’s what makes Time so brutal, breeding discord between us and our pasts, presents and futures. What a motherfucker, sewing the seeds of discontent by allowing us to compare present to past while forcing us to deal with Time in the here and now. Too much or too little Time in the present – too little leading to anxiety – too much leading to boredom. Too much time forcing us to find ways of pacifying it with religion or booze or crossword puzzles or chasing pussy or whatever. Mollifying its demands with empty words or speeches or platitudes instead of deeds. If we’re lucky maybe we create something but that doesn’t provide an easy solution either cause there’s plenty of doubts inherent in creating and the motivation to do so.

And then that motherfucker Time even has the audacity to fuck with us about the future. What’s gonna happen tomorrow or next year? In 20 years? Where should I be? What should I be doing? What should my values and goals be to become what I should be in the next stage of life? And what about when there are no more tomorrows? Heaven or hell or reincarnation or nothing? It’s enough to drive anybody crazy. It’s enough to make people hate that bastard Time and the hard questions posed by that motherfucker who laughs his ass off while we sit in traffic waiting to get somewhere. Or lie in the nursing home, waiting and waiting for nothing and no one to come.

There’s those that might say when you detach from the world – including Time – you don’t worry about these things, so that’s the way to go. But how do you keep on going – keep on detaching – once you’ve detached from everything, including food and water? How does one detach from the air we breath – for very long, anyway? I simply don’t get it. Okay, I won’t be coy. Let’s grant that there’s limits to detachment. Then who sets the limits and why? Why do you trust them? Why do you trust those encouraging detachment from the fundamentals of our perceptions of reality? Of our fundamental ways of navigating through existence? Why this distrust – this antagonism toward existence? And who’s to blame for their discontent? Time and space or them? And if time and space are just lemons, well there’s more to make out of them than just lemonade. Why trust those who try to outwit you with claims about the illusory nature of reality while existing and making claims from within the reality they criticize? Why do you follow? Why do you believe? Generously, let’s say it’s naiveté. Less generously we’ll call it silliness or foolishness. And on the extreme end, can we label it idiocy or madness?

Of course, some will say the heart of the problem may not be with Time but with desire. Okay, but let’s harken back to Diogenes ditching his mates over a philosophical discourse on the nature and reality of motion by simply walking away. For, as the rabbi said, “Life’s not to be detached from, it’s to be attached to properly.” So why aren’t desires simply the same? Desires aren’t to be avoided, they’re to be selected and pursued carefully and properly. And maybe those who reject desire are simply too dumb or lazy to pursue the right ones in the right ways.

I dunno but I wonder if Western metaphysics is mostly about explaining and accepting Time as a necessary condition of experience and existence. Maybe I’ve been too hard on the Frenchman and the fat Scotsman and the German virgin, especially the latter for being too hard on me. Cause maybe, at the end of the day, they’re allies of Time. Eastern philosophy, on the other hand, seems less generous toward the robustness of existence and experience as we know it, presenting us with a far more primitive version of existence which, ultimately, seems dismissive if not hostile toward time and space. I’ve sometimes viewed Western metaphysics as exercises in philosophical masturbation (e.g. Diogenes’ pals debating the existence or essence of motion) but I’m coming to understand that maybe their attempts are meant to broaden our pallet of existence to expose as many of the shades of grey between black and white as possible, giving us a drawing of experience and existence employing the full grey scale rather than the cartoonishness depiction utilizing just blacks and whites.

Is this what’s happening? I dunno. I passively listen to and think about a lot of things. Like Alan Watts condemning Time, saying how it fucks us all up. Makes us all anxious and shit. But how’s Alan get the butter for his English muffin without a farmer knowing when it’s time to milk the cows? Or are the butter and the cow and the farmer all illusions? Just products of our naive and whimsical attachments? In which case, so is Alan Watts so who gives two fucks about what he has to say anyway? Or maybe Watts doesn’t care for English muffins or tea or butter. Maybe he’s nourished on nothing but pure detachment, which is probably good for the cholesterol and waistline. Maybe I’ll watch some more videos about this kind of shit sometime between the fights and football and hairy pussy videos. If I wasn’t so lazy, I might even read up on the Meditations but I won’t so I’ll blame it on Time – too little Time for reading but so much of Time to be plugged with so many hairy pussy vids and the pondering of meaning and existence.

Yeah, Time can be a bitch but it’s okay because Time separates. It separates me from her. And I’m glad we’re not the same, cause jacking off eventually gets old and just sitting here with these stupid thoughts gets old too. Time’s a bitch but it separates us from warm women and warm stacks of pancakes and cold beers and the fighters who fight. And without those, what do we have? Nothing. Nothing without Time. But there IS something – I’m pretty sure and not just because that Frenchman gave us cogito, ergo sum.

I got this guy I work with who recently called me on my bullshit. I didn’t like it, of course, but he wasn’t too harsh and I have to admit he wasn’t in the wrong. The other day he called me out and I forced myself to look at him straight, without turning away as he calmly explained why I was wrong. I stared and swallowed my pride as he exposed my arrogance. There was literally something I felt I had to swallow. But, as he laid it out, I didn’t look away and neither did he. Like Time, he presented me with some harsh shit, but I don’t hate him, just as I don’t hate Time. In that instance, I allowed myself to be humbled. And tomorrow, I won’t avoid him. Instead, I’ll try to let him be a reminder to consider being more humble. What’s the point? Time can be a bitch but maybe it’s a stark reality to stand up to – to swallow some of your goddamned pride when you butt up against it rather cower from it or avoid it and the harsh realities it presents.

Again, I dunno. I do know there’s sun dials and mechanical clocks and even modern day digital clocks so I’m gonna make an assumption that this concept or idea of Time is really something. I mean, the lowest peasant assumes time so maybe it’s the one’s too smart to understand what fools they are that try dismissing it. It’s sundials and star charts that have stretched us around the globe (if you accept that the earth is more than mere illusion), which can be argued as either a good thing or a bad thing but it seems better to me to be sitting here with my coffee and far more potential for my afternoon than just sitting around in a mosque, synagogue, healing retreat or a monastery with my thumb up my ass waiting for my end to come while not knowing if that end’s really coming or not since I’ve determined that all of existence – including my attachment to “life” – is just an illusion. Well, the life of a few beers and fights on TV at the bar tonight may not be as noble as the life devoted to detaching from all my base and crass bullshit but I wouldn’t trade it for any of that other nonsense. No way I’m trading in the tough love of beer and the pursuit of pussy. I’ll deal with hangovers heartache over a yoga retreat or transcendental meditation any day.

Maybe what we need’s a new religion. A religion of Time. But I’m certainly not the man for it, for sure. I’ll just put it out there for somebody else to deal with since there’s beer and fights tonight and plenty of hairy pussy vids still in my queue.

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