Saturday, February 12, 2011

Time: Linear vs. Cyclical

For one of my classes we were talking about The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram, and we got onto the topic of time. Abram talks about linear time vs. cyclical time, and our professor felt it necessary to explain to the class about cyclical time.

He explained that even though "we" think of time as linear, there are people who view it as cyclical. For those who view it as cyclical there is no definite beginning or ending. So whereas "we" think of time as there being a definite time when the universe was created and a (perhaps) definite time when it will end, "those" people think of creation as a process that keeps on happening. That to "them", there is no absolute beginning or end, and that everything that has happened will happen again...even creation.

I started to feel very lonely as he explained this. You see, I think of time as cyclical. I always have. I can easily "translate" into linear time (if that makes sense) but my understanding of time is first and foremost cyclical. It took me years to even realize that this wasn't the norm.

I don't blame my professor. It was something that needed to be understood by everyone if they were going to understand the text properly. But it did make me feel a little lonely.


Magaly Guerrero said...

Don't feel to lonely, hun? I do think of time as cyclical too. If life is a circle (and I believe it is) then time needs to work in a similar way. I don't believe that things have always been the same, but we and everything around us has existed (since always) even if in a different form.

Sarita Rucker said...


I know that others think of time as cyclical. But we're in the minority, which is why I was feeling so lonely in class.

I haven't been feeling so lonely since then, but obviously (since I decided to write about it) it has been on my mind.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

It's hard when you are characterized as "the other" -- the one outside the norm, outside the majority, outside the usual. It highlights your minority status.

Madam Lost said...

If I understand your comment correctly, you can take heart that at least he didn't portray your world view as wrong. Did he comment that at least that with a cyclical view of time aren't freaked out by 2012?

Sarita Rucker said...

Debra -- It would definitely be easier to be mainstream. Maybe in another life.

Mom -- No, he definitely did not portray my worldview as wrong. Just different. And he didn't say anything about 2012.