Why We Feel This Year Is Shorter Then Last

May 29, 2012 — Leave a comment

Because unlike God we lack proportion in our experience.

The Objectivity of the Clock

The consistent tic of the clock teaches us to think of the future as something added to the past. We view time like a pile of beads added to a infinite string – every moment added to a series of equal moments.

The Failure of the Analogy

But the present is not a simple bridge between our future and past. It is and forever will be an end.

I’ve heard it said, “today is the first day of the rest of your life.” But in relation to time, it’s more true to say, “today is the last day of the life that we have lived.”

Our experience is unrelated to what is yet to come. It’s defined only in what has been.

Only by knowing eternity could we ever experience the consistency of the clock. For only then could we come to a true sense of proportion.

But because our experience of time grows with time we are continually remembering the past as longer than it is.

Only God in his eternal nature know’s the objectivity of the clock. And it is thus thinking of our lives in terms of the clock that we once again claim to be Him.

Reflecting on God’s eternality and the transitoryness of our lives, the Psalmist asks of God,

teach us to number our days, that we may present to you a heart of wisdom (Psalms 90:12).

Here’s a way we can do that.

A Better Analogy

Instead of thinking of experience of time like beads added to an infinite string, we should think of our it as a pie ever-dividing.

The analogy of the string suggests we can look outside ourselves and see our future experience as equal to how it is now. But a circle’s wholeness recognizes that we never actually add time to our lives.

In the analogy of the circle we see that each added moment makes shorter the one before. The pieces grow shorter and shorter. This more accurately reflects our experience.

The feeling of year, for us, is indeed growing shorter.

What do you think? What does the analogy say about our future experience of time?

Matthew Scott Miller

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