Humanity’s Time Sickness

Editor’s Note: This post was written by guest author Carol Wimmer.

Peace on earth.

Is it attainable?

I believe it is! But first, humanity must deal with its unwavering allegiance to the human clock—a crafty invention that encourages the repetition of time-honored behavior. Time is both a gift and a curse. The 24-hour clock is not the problem. The measurement of time is not evil. Yet, our desire to keep track of time has placed the human spirit in a state of bondage that most of us don’t realize. Therefore, our awareness of time’s power to control the decision-making process is a key factor in changing undesirable behaviors that are repeated from generation to generation.

If we are to diagnose and overcome our time sickness, we must learn to master the clock rather than allowing the clock to master us. This change in thinking would involve dethroning an invisible spiritual dictator that exists behind the face of every clock. That’s right! An unseen spiritual force communicates with the human mind and pressures the human spirit throughout our waking hours. Thus, our change in thinking would involve silencing this insidious government that requires continual obedience, delights in the continuance of injustice, rewards first place positions of power in the world’s hierarchical systems, and demands that violence be returned with violence.

Is the clock really that powerful within the human mind?

I believe it is!

The 24-hour clock positions the human spirit in a tug of war that mimics the powerful pull of the oceanic waters. The slow tug or pull toward darkness is the craftiness of the clock’s deceptive nature. When poisoning occurs in small doses, its negative affect on the human soul is almost never realized. In spite of our seasick feelings of pulling and tugging, we somehow can’t identify that it is our love-hate relationship with the 24-hour clock that is controlling us. Thus, many people know that humanity is sick, but we haven’t been able to accurately diagnose the root cause of our dis-ease.

I believe we are being duped by an unseen enemy of our own making! Fooled into remembering past wrongs and deceived into thinking one more wrong will surely make things right! The longer that the battle rages in the spiritual realm, the more control this luring, deceitful, crafty government has within whole populations, religious movements, political agendas, and warring nations—all involving innocent people who feel like helpless hostages in a battle that is controlled by someone, or something, other than themselves.

To be more specific about the clock’s illusory power to rule over the moments of an ordinary day, I offer the following true story:

A young mother walks hand in hand with her son on the way to his kindergarten class. The small boy is a typical five-year-old who has little understanding of time beyond morning, mealtime, and bedtime. He realizes that school days are different than weekends and holidays. However, the clock is an object on the wall that has not yet claimed ownership of his young mind.

As mother and son approach the kindergarten classroom, the school bell rings. It is 8:15 a.m. She and her son make eye contact with her son’s teacher who is standing at the door. They both smile. Yet, as soon as the bell sounds, the teacher closes the door! After all . . . it is 8:15 a.m.

The teacher has a close relationship with the clock that rules her world. Anyone who is not in the classroom when the bell rings, is not allowed to enter the room without a tardy slip from the school office. It doesn’t matter if she can see her student approaching the door when the bell rings. If her student is not physically in the classroom, the door will be closed.

Based on the teacher’s rules, the young mother quickly proceeds to the school office to obtain a tardy slip. By the time her son’s body is on the correct side of the door, it is 8:17 a.m. The mother hands the tardy slip to the teacher, kisses her son good-bye, and wishes him a good day at school.

Sadly, the teacher’s strict relationship with the clock in her head caused her to miss the best opportunity she had to set the stage for a good day at school for one of her students. As the school bell rang, she had the choice to say, “Good morning little one. Come on in. Good to see you today!” But, in closing the door on an approaching student, the teacher clearly chose to honor her relationship with the 24-hour clock over her desire to have a welcoming, warm-hearted relationship with a child who has not yet learned the ultimate lesson in life—“the clock must be obeyed.”

This one insignificant example is magnified billions of times, in trillions of different ways—at the grocery store, on the highways during rush hour traffic, or in line at a fast-food restaurant, etc. The lesser government of temporal time constantly pressures us into obedience while lying to us in the midst of the pressure. “Study harder, think smarter, drive faster, go further, build higher, dig deeper!”

Time-Honored Knowledge

Although the human clock plays a major role in the everyday spiritual battles that affect the health and well-being of the human spirit, the ancient story of Cain in Genesis 4 suggests that we have the ability to master over this particular power. Time confused Cain—ultimately leading to his decision to kill his brother. Time exists as a silent presence in every story, but rarely do we ‘see’ the role that time plays in the ancient biblical narrative. Nevertheless, the spiritual battle between the gift of time and the curse of time is apparently winnable if we can accurately diagnose our time sickness and find an appropriate cure.

The sad part about the conversations in Genesis between Adam, Eve, the crafty serpent, and the spirit of God, is that they echo the same conversations today—thousands and thousands of years later. Therefore, we must not dismiss these ancient myths without delving into the depths of their spiritual purpose. Do the stories point directly to the genesis of generational dysfunction beginning with the measurement of time in the early garden? I believe they do.

The earliest desire to measure time, more than 6,000 years ago, would have unlocked the mystery of seedtime, harvest time, the female menstrual cycle, and the length of gestation. The timekeeping efforts would have planted the first seeds of personal power in the garden of life which, in turn, would have fostered ideas of selfcontrol and tribal control.

By the time that the earliest lunar calendars were developed, the desire to engage in self-promotion, as a means of self-preservation, replaced the desire to live communally, as a means of survival. Thus, the earliest timekeeping knowledge would have marked humanity’s introduction into life-altering give and take relationships between personal power in the garden, collective power to overtake the garden, and communal power for the well-being of the garden.

Present-Day Knowledge

Today, the puzzle of seed-time, harvest, and procreation is in our distant past. However, concerns over personal, collective, and communal power is ever-present. Humanity now has the ability to start human life in a petri dish and clone the human creation. Genetic research could engineer the physical attributes of our children. The same research may hold the clues to cure every physical disease that destroys the human body. With no disease, humans could multiply and live forever. Simultaneously, we could annihilate whole populations with nuclear energy. We could combine chemicals to contaminate water supplies or cause deadly air pollution—both of which would cause catastrophic loss of life on earth.

Lest each generation thoughtlessly fall into the trap of conforming to and modeling the behaviors of previous generations, we have some tough questions to ask.

  • Are we ready to confront the timekeeping factor in generational dysfunction?
  • Is it possible that a spiritual government has conned the human spirit for the past 6,000 years while hiding behind the face of the human clock?
  • Who is in charge of the rules that the passage of time has established?
  • Can the rules be changed or broken?
  • Is God in charge of the gift of time? If so, whose God is in charge?
  • How will the gift of time be used as time marches onward?

If the human spirit has been conned for the past 6,000 years, are we content to continue acquiescing to a lesser government that hides behind our own human invention? Are we doomed to repeat the failures of past generations simply because we can’t diagnose our time sickness? Or, is it time to say, “Enough is enough!” The gift of time is ours to enjoy and ours to control! Let’s rip the mask off of the spiritual deceiver’s face and cut the strings of our temporal puppeteer!

Our spiritual school bell is ringing.

How shall we respond?

Only time will tell.

 

This article was first published as a blog on May 30, 2015, http://www.carolwimmer.com

 

Carol WimmerEditor’s Note: Would you like to submit an article for consideration to The Raven Foundation? Find out how in the guidelines of our new section, “Your Voice.”

Carol Wimmer is the author of the poem, When I say I am a Christian, along with three books for the church of tomorrow: The Clock, The Key, and The Net. She encourages radical change in humanity’s perception of time, use of language, and organizational endeavors.

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3 replies
  1. Lindsey Paris-Lopez
    Lindsey Paris-Lopez says:

    Hi Carol! Thank you for your article. I think you make a very interesting point about our relationship with time and the potential for negative mimesis to influence it. We are pressured by one another, immersed in an interconnected web we cannot see of interconnected schedules — to make each minute productive by very materialistic standards, continually keeping busy to produce more, to get more “done.” We live so much of our lives focused on getting from one activity to another on time, that we can lose sight of our true purpose, to serve one-another, and thus magnify God’s love. Your story about the little boy and his teacher is poignant. Adherence to schedules got in her way of being compassionate to him. I am reminded of the story of the Good Samaritan, when the priest and the Levite could not be bothered to stop to help someone in need because they were caught up in the rhythms of their days and lives. (There is much more to the story than that… including purity rules, as they were going up to Jerusalem and couldn’t, so they thought, take the risk of being defiled by blood… but I did not consider the role time played in that story. How often do we speed past someone in need because we simply “don’t have the time?”)

    I am also reminded of how, as they made their way through the wilderness, the Israelites were instructed to take only a day’s worth of manna, to not store up rations for later. They were to trust in God to provide for them. We have seen how accumulating wealth to make us feel more secure, while an intuitive thing to do, can actually backfire, as we begin to shape our lives around the delusion of needing more and more. I think a similar thing occurs with time. We make all of these time-saving devices, and yet, the result is that we feel the need to fill the time we “saved” with ever more “productive activity.” Reflecting on your article, I can see that the evils of speed go hand-in-hand with the evils of greed.

    I’m reminded of Luke 12, when Jesus says consider the ravens (which I like, given my job) and the lilies, and how they are cared for. Jesus is trying to teach us to slow down and trust in God to provide for us. I think the major lesson is not to stop caring for ourselves (as if God will hand us everything) but to focus more on caring for each other, creating a community in which we care for one-another because we are not anxious of being taken care of. I’ve thought about what this means in terms of sharing resources, but what could this mean in terms of our relationship to time. Don’t rush to be “first,” don’t feel the need to fill every second with preparations for the future… (Jesus even says in Matthew that tomorrow will worry about itself; today’s worries are enough for today.) I think Jesus is trying to tell us to slow down, focus on the present, keep our focus on what is in front of us and be with the people we are in the present with, rather than worrying so much about how we are filling our time for our own futures.

    Of course, I still see a benefit to schedules, and generally being on time, in order to keep the important things going as they should. Sometimes urgency and punctuality are crucial. But most of the daily rush keeps us from seeing what is truly important.

    I didn’t really understand your point about time management in Genesis 4. I always understood the “sin” that we are to keep from mastering us, not as time, but as anger. Or more generally, negative mimesis – following the negative examples of others – jealousy, greed, anything that leads to selfishness over and against others. Maybe you could explain more about this point?

    Thank you again, Carol.

    Reply
    • Carol Wimmer
      Carol Wimmer says:

      Lindsey, I so appreciate your comments. When you mentioned the rules that needed to be obeyed by the priest and the Levite who did not stop to help the man by the roadside, you touched on another aspect of temporal time’s deception in our lives and the mimesis that forces us to obey them. The rules you mentioned were established over time. They were engrained in the minds of the priests and Levites because, over time, they had been taught – generation after generation. Thus, we blame the rules for keeping them from being compassionate. But, in reality, it was the Israelite’s generational obedience to time-honored traditions that created the climate of strict adherence! It’s a mimeses controlled by temporal time! What rules are we following today simply because we’ve been taught to repeat them? Are they helpful or hurtful?

      Your question about Cain is another of time’s deceptive workings. The passage of time causes us to store up resentment, or accumulate jealousy. Instead of living in the present, we allow the things of the past to build up in our minds. So, time is not “sin” as you said. But, the measurement of time produces a spiritual government (a voice) that speaks to the human mind in deceptive ways. “That’s the fifth time someone has hurt you.” “Your brother is loved more than you are loved.” “God didn’t want your offering.” “There must be something wrong with you.” “The only way to solve this problem is to kill him.” “Just get rid of him, and things will be better.”

      It is imperative that we understand the power of this voice to deceive us. It is the voice of temporal time – a spiritual government that operates against us. So, we must separate the entity of time itself (which is a gift) from the voice of temporal time (which is our deceiver’s voice). In order to fully appreciate our deceiver’s voice, we must imagine life on earth without our clocks and calendars. Imagine life in the present – in the moment – without a past and without a sense of future. This is how children live. This is the life of most animals. Hence, children and animals only have an eternal perspective of life.

      Then, we teach our children how to tell time and we take that eternal perspective away from them in order to conform to what we learned! Humankind is the only creature that developed a time-keeping device, and with its development, came our deceiver’s voice. This is my understanding of the voice of the serpent in Genesis 3 – a voice that lured us into gaining timekeeping wisdom! Thus, Genesis 4 and the story of Cain deals with the temporal voice that Cain was listening to inside his mind. It is a voice that separates us from the love of God.

      If we look at the temptation of Jesus and substitute “Satan” with the words, “The Voice of Temporal Time” we will understand quite clearly how our deceiver’s voice works within us. Jesus resisted this voice even though it would have been tempting to gain earthly power. Also, when Jesus was pressured to turn the water into wine at the wedding of Cana (because traditional weddings lasted for many days) his first response was “My time has not yet come.” Jesus was the master of his time! He was not about to be mastered by the pressure other people were feeling. Jesus didn’t feel that same pressure until he turned his life over to it to be crucified by it … and then overcome it.

      The same is true of his journey back to Martha and Mary’s house after hearing that Lazarus was sick. He didn’t hurry or rush. Lazarus died. The sisters became annoyed with him. “Jesus, if only you had been here!” In other words, “Why didn’t you hurry?” Then, we learn that Jesus wept and we assume that Jesus wept because he loved Lazarus. Is this an accurate assumption? I truly believe we miss the point of Jesus’ weeping. Imagine, from his eternal perspective, how awful he must of felt to pull Lazarus back into temporal time – away from eternity – for the sake of revealing the power of God to those who couldn’t see or comprehend! Jesus knew full well that Lazarus was in a better place, but for the sake of other’s need to believe, he pulled Lazarus back into the flesh of his body only to have Lazarus deal with the clock again and eventually escape to the eternal.

      So, when we think about the gift of time, we must consider its curse – which is a silent power to deceive us in many different ways as well as a very loud vocal power that talks to us of all things temporal and pulls us away from all things eternal. This is the true nature of our sin and brokenness. Sin is not wrong doing, but wrong being. It is our temporal condition of bondage to our clock. And our wrong being causes wrong doing. Thus, we must factor the voice of temporal time into our negative mimeses in order to get to the root of our spiritual problem.

      Reply
  2. Annie Abraham
    Annie Abraham says:

    Wow! I am not much of an intellectual like you both are, but both your comments helped me to understand how subtly we can come under the tyranny of time.
    The Word says, set your eyes on things above and not on the things of the earth, which includes time. We cannot ignore time, as that will make us lazy and tardy. But we also cannot be dictated by time. Its a fine line, and we need God’s wisdom to know the difference. Thank you ladies!

    Reply

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