The Right Time: When the times are a-changing, introspection becomes important.
The old year is in its final hours. I’m making myself comfortable in my lounge chair, and the mental gears begin to grind almost automatically. Maybe it’s the force of habit: grandparents and parents also used the waning hours of the year to recline and think. It’s a different kind of thinking than at other times of the year. The times are a-changing. The old year ends, and a new one begins.
What is so special about contemplating and comparing the passing of one thing with the rise of another? To feel the totality of transition and to be able to put it into words, we need an understanding of the concept of time. A concept that transcends the mechanistic counting of passing hours. Measuring the passage of time doesn’t by itself imply much: it does not lead to conclusions about myself or about the person for whom time passes.
Philosophically speaking, time became a topic of interest only fairly recently. Reflective thinkers contemplated the philosophy of history long after they had started to think about ontological questions, about the things that are. Today, we cannot imagine a discussion of what is without a discussion of time. The title of Martin Heidegger’s book “Being and Time” stands as a reminder of a key aspect of contemporary philosophy: Being and time are inextricably linked in our understanding of reality.