Monday, January 01, 2007

Time Out of Time

"Time is an illusion - lunchtime doubly so."
- Ford Prefect, in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Time is a problem for me. Having spent most of the afternoon asleep, I now find myself just getting around to this journal entry at 5:40ish AM. See, other that some time spent with John around midnight, I've been up all night researching the history of A Wrinkle in Time, the Time Quartet and the Time Quintet, and the history of calling Charlie Brown a loser. In the process I piled up a bunch of books (some of which I've since put away), worked on five Wikipedia articles, and had a heck of a good time. But dawn will be here soon, and the New Year is here. If I am going to get me day and night, sleep and organization issues under control, now is the time to start.

Coincidentally, one of the concepts I've been researching is L'Engle's idea about the differences between "kairos" and "chronos", two Greek words for time. L'Engle defines chronos as "ordinary, wrist-watch, alarm-clock time," and kairos as "real time, pure numbers with no measurement." In her book A Circle of Quiet, she writes:

"Kairos is not measurable. Kairos is ontological. In kairos we are, we are fully in isness, not negatively, as Sartre saw the isness of the oak tree, but fully, wholly, positively. Kairos can sometimes enter, penetrate, break through chronos: the child at play, the painter at his easel...the saint at prayer, friends around the dinner table, the mother reaching out her arms for her newborn baby, are in kairos."
- A Circle of Quiet, page 245

Yeah, I like kairos. I've been in kairos all night, fully involved in my research and my writing. The problem is the chronos has been slipping by in the background, unnoticed except for the occasional "booga-booga."

2007 is the year I must come to terms with chronos.

Happy New Year.


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