A Guide To Some Fascinating Ways We Experience Time. Part 1. By Dr Linda Berman.

imageTime To Think. Keith Wilson. 2007. Wikioo.

“Schedule time to think.”

Shane Parrish

The notion of time, of past, present and future, is one that inevitably makes us all think- from time to time. Allowing ourselves thinking time is crucial; if we develop the ability to think things through, rather than act impulsively, we can move towards making better decisions.

imageAlexej von Jawlensky. Die Sinnende. (The Thinker) Wikimedia Commons.

“Take time to think. It is the source of all power.”

Martin Greyford.

The word time is used so often in our daily routines, from the start to the end of the day (breakfast-time, daytime, night-time,etc.) We cannot escape time.
  • Is Time An Illusion?


(Japanese: The design used in the Limit album. The flow of time, with the whirlpools of the clock. Letsgomusicstyle. Wikimedia Commons.)

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”

Eckhart Tolle

imageIn the Land Where Time Moves Slowly. Elijah Albert Cox. Wikioo.

“The distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

 Albert Einstein.

What does Einstein mean in the above quote?  He was referring to the fact that  time is relative, dependent on each individual’s perception. He regarded the concepts of past, present and future as an illusion, perceived according to our personal frame of reference.

imageWomen Workers in the Canteen at Williams Williams, Chester. Ethel Leontine Gabain.(1883-1950) Wikioo.

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.”

Douglas Adams.

Bearing in mind this fact, that we all experience time in our own way, Einstein also recommended that we…

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”

Albert Einstein

Dividing our existence into past, present and future is a common and universal way of conceptualising time. This is however, entirely subjective, and often the three time periods merge confusingly in our minds.


The Persistence Of Memory. Salvador Dali. Wikimedia Commons

“It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.”

George Harrison

  • Can Time Stop?

Sometimes, we might feel as if time has actually stopped. Perhaps the Coronavirus lockdown might have felt like this, with every day feeling the same….

5588766354_25a33717c6_oJohn Tewell . Insect in Baltic Amber,

50 million years old. Flickr.

“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.”

Kurt Vonnegut

Of course, this sense of being trapped in time is an illusion, but, especially during and after experiences of loss and shock, we may feel stunned, paralysed and frozen to the spot, as if time is no longer moving on for us.

The world around us seems to be going on turning, but we can feel immobile and set apart from the rest of the universe.

img_2309Time Transfixed. René Magritte. Wikioo.

‘Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone’

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead, Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves, Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one; Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun; Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; For nothing now can ever come to any good.

W H Auden.

Art and photography also capture time; passing seconds in people’s lives are thus frozen for posterity.


The Wedding. Ronald Brooks Kitaj. Wikioo.

“Art is a way of freezing time, or extending time. … It’s another way to bridge the gaps between us.”

Sarah Ruhl


“All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”

Susan Sontag

“For photography preserves the fleeting moment forever. Looking back through time to a frozen instant, we are inevitably confronted with the passing years, the transience of our lives.”

From:  Beyond The Smile:The Therapeutic Use Of The Photograph. Routledge. By Linda Berman

The combination of past and present in the photograph almost feels magical, as if we have taken one moment of past time and kept it close, in all its detail, so that we can peruse it and reflect on it forever.

“Photographers are victims of paradox, tracking the impermanent to make it permanent. ”

Ray Metzker

  • Some Thought-Provoking Quotations About Time Past, Present And Future.


The Memory Of The Future. Oscar Dominguez. Wikioo.

“Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.”

Albert Camus


Today, tomorrow and yesterday – (Jorge José Castillo Casalderrey)

“Maturity consists in not losing the past while fully living in the present with a prudent awareness of the possibilities of the future.”

Thomas Traherne

“All of the future exists in the past.”

Truman Capote

“If you are depressed you are living in the past, if you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”

Lao Tzu

imageA 19th-Century Vision of the Year 2000. Wikimedia Commons.

“Past and Present I know well; each is a friend and sometimes an enemy to me. But it is the quiet, beckoning Future, an absolute stranger, with whom I have fallen madly in love.”

Richelle E. Goodrich

We may fantasise about the future, but, as the image above shows, we cannot foretell how it will be. Inspired guesses, about our own future and that of the world, can preoccupy us, but they are, in truth, only guesses. There are no crystal balls to allow us a vision of time in the future. The best laid plans may have to be shelved, as this pandemic has demonstrated.

50876340243_cd7eb982ed_oJulia Fullerton-Batten – Grace Lee, Christmas, Lockdown 2, Tier 4 [2020]

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”  
Joseph Campbell
Read Part 2 of this post next week on waysofthinking.co.uk Do follow my blog for regular weekly updates of the next post straight to your email inbox. Thank you! © Linda Berman.

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