How do we think of time?
It is personal to our life. The time of this life is all we have. The world will continue once your time is over, but that is no longer you. You will be gone.
In the chart above we graph your existence asLife over time, L over t, or L/t.
Time, t, takes the horizontal axis. Your life moves forward from birth to death here.
You live each day with as much fulfillment as you are able to achieve. This is represented by the vertical axis of “L” in the chart above.
If we are charting “fulfillment” why do I call the axis “L” for life? Why not call it “F” for fulfillment? I have the opinion that the purpose of life is to be fulfilled. That feeling fulfilled is the best feeling. Why not happiness or some other feeling, or why not some other measure? Indeed, why? I will explore this in future articles. For now I will merely say that success, helping others, happiness or any other common measures do not seem to me to be as powerful as fulfillment. Such that these are good measures, they merely measure fulfillment to some degree, but incompletely.
So, I present fulfillment as the purpose in life.
Fulfillment is not infinite. You will be no more alive than the imaginary moment in which you are giving birth as you jump out of a plane skydiving, having just heard you won a prize recognizing you as the best human of the century for your work in rescuing the entire planet. Certainly no more fulfilled than that. So the L axis has a ceiling in this chart describing the maximum you can be fulfilled at any moment.
Hopefully you have a long time left to live. Hopefully that life will be spent high on the L axis – you will live in a way that give you fulfillment day to day. If we were to graph your life, its experience would be represented by the area under the curve, L over t. Your opportunity now is figuring out how to sustain L’>0, or for the enlightened, L”>0. You can live. To the degree you sustain a lower L over time, you are dying – having missed area under that curve. Length of life is a factor, but total area is the truth.
You are living through moments that never come again. These moments are written durably as if into the blockchain of the universe. Even now you are spending time here, it may not be your greatest opportunity. But you have spent it, and that choice is permanent.
Maybe stop now if only for a minute, and go hold someone you love once more. Or begin that effort you have been thinking about. Or clean your house to make room for greater joy or clarity. Or anything you want permanently written into your life.
Upon the moral weight of the permanence of your choices about time, we find the purpose of life. Your morality is determined by your choice to not waste this gift of time, to fulfill your life. Your sin is to deny that.
To steal away the opportunity for others to use their time to fulfill their lives is certainly sin. To ensure fulfillment for others is clearly noble.
But what I want you to know the most, is that because of all this, the time you spent reading this here with me was sacred. You gave those moments you spent to us. We now share those moments together. I wrote, you read. This is done, forever. Your choice to permanently burn the time it took to read this, is a sacrament that you honor me with.
Thank you for your time.