Monday, November 16, 2009

Lomo and Time

[The title, obviously being based on the philosophical work Being and Time, for all you non-Heideggernicks out there]

For various reasons I've recently come to reexamine my relationship with temporal movement and the effect or lack of effect that it has on my existence. I'm sorry to say that my relationship with punctuality hasn't always been the closest, which has actually, strangely enough, made me more punctual at times. For example someone I knew once asked me why I was so 'unusually' punctual. The answer, obviously, was that because I naturally wasn't, I had more of an agenda to prove I was...

In order to discuss this subject though, we should understand that "time" is such a relative word. The passage of time on a stone, for example, has little effect on it's lifestyle. Yet for human beings time is our being, the passage of time over us is more of our life having gone by; the flowing of our blood, the pumping of our hearts. When you "take" someones time therefore, it's not only their time you're taking, but their very life. For what does a life consist of if not years, and what do years consist of if not days, and days consist of hours. So creating a situation in which someone is forced to be idle for one of those hours is undoubtedly snatching away part of their life.

In the slaughterhouse in Wisconsin which had the good fortune of finding me employed therein, we worked on shifts, and since there was little management, ones only hope of being relieved of his shift was the goodwill of his fellow worker to come on time. During my time there I noticed the ways of an old Uzbeki man who was actually our oldest member: despite his age he was always five to fifteen minutes early to his shift, thus affording great relief to the worker of the previous shift, and gaining nothing in return. Personally, at the time his practice didn't sit well with me, seeing as if he would fill my shift early I would be obliged to do the same for him. Yet the truth is that temporal form of giving is in fact the highest form.

Even if you are tardy to a class or meeting or group of any kind where your presence is expected, if you are absent, that loss is felt by the group (hopefully!) and it mars their experience to a small extent, but even the slightest extent should be of concern. It's written that rabbi "Nachman of Bratslav" (founder of the Breslov Chasidut) was very off-put if there were missing faces from his sacred gatherings.

Thus if one does wish to engage in a more scrupulous form of time management one thing he will have to acquire is a foresight of every possible prevention from arriving at his destination at the proper moment.

Do not think, by the way, that these ideas are alien to our religion. Although punctuality was greatly stressed by the proponents of the "Mussar Movement", even authors who preceded that era wrote much about time management (especially in relation to prayer and study), and we see it written in more modern works such as the "עלי שור" (Wolbe) and "אור לציון" (Aba Shaul).

I'm not verbalizing these dictums for didactic reasons, but as a hope that the repeating of these principles will assist myself and others in their fulfillment.

עבד, ס"ט


N said...

I'm very makpid to be on time when it involves someone else. But I am absolutely awful on my own, I am the biggest procrastinator!

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Well 'someone else' is obviously where it really counts man. So you're looking good in that respect..

chabad one said...

the world is being recreated at every moment by G-d's will for its existence

so what is age?

(btw is the first part of the post contingent on the second? or can i ignore and comment only on the first?)

same as above said...

source (not necessarily earliest) tanya (maybe from besht?)

and also
you gotta BE in every moment where you are

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

"the world is being recreated at every moment by G-d's will for its existence, so what is age?"- Well that's obviously sort of an esoteric way to look at it, since it's quite evident that the passage of time has a great effect on most life forms (us included). The theological fact that the creator wills the existence of the universe doesn't change that.

"(btw is the first part of the post contingent on the second? or can i ignore and comment only on the first?)"- Rhetorical.

"and also you gotta BE in every moment where you are"- Yes, but first we must worry about "being" there in a punctual sense..

Anonymous said...

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Hm. How 'bout that.. Thanks for the link G.