Time/ Hope and despair

We are all temporal creatures. This is obvious.  Time is the medium of our existence which is simply another way of saying everything in our lives is constantly changing. The not quite so obvious significance of “time” is that it is the basis of both despair and hope. Despair if we look at what we wish we hadn’t done and know there is no way to change that. Hope if we look ahead to the future and know that the future is the domain of all our possibilities.

What is possible is a function of what is yet to come. We look ahead and our mind can conjure multiple courses of action, multiple choices, states of affairs that haven’t happened yet, but that we can see as possibilities provided we take the appropriate actions.  It can be as simple as we’re hungry, and we make ourselves some breakfast, an omelette or some oatmeal. It can be as complex as Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics.  Whatever the reality aspired to, we have to take some action to get there, and the action has to be specific to the desired outcome.

Our ability to create a future from our present vantage point is sourced by our incredibly powerful ability to imagine what is not so.  The world is made up of what already is in place, but also  what isn’t.  We can see through our imagination and creativity what is not yet here whether it’s Jonas Salk creating a polio vaccine, Magellan proving the world is round by circumnavigating the globe or you seeing your garden blooming and weed free when you are looking at it on  a cold,  snow covered day in the dead of winter.

In each instance, we see with our mind’s eye what cannot yet be seen in fact, and we act on what our mind sees to create what our eyes can see.  Plants can adapt somewhat to their environment within limits, turning towards the sun, bending with the wind.  Animals can modify their world to a degree. Birds build nests, beavers build dams, and herds migrate to sustain their food source, but adaptation and modification are their limits. Human beings can both adapt and modify, but we can also transform our world. Look around your present environment. Unless you are deep in the Amazon jungle, you will most likely be seeing a world created by humans. Roads, houses, skyscrapers, jet airliners, electric coffee pots, computers, cell phones, automobiles, sailboats, refrigerators, submarines, the list is virtually endless. Our world is no longer a world of nature; for better or worse, it is now a human world.    The possibilities of our mind that we transform into the actualities of the world are what will decide whether the world thrives or perishes. Hope or despair, what’s your choice?

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About The Practical Philosopher

I am a retired Philosophy professor. I taught philosophy for 43 years, and I would like to share some of what I have found pursuing the fascinating journey of philosophy.
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