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EMEM ELEMENT | The Illusion of Time

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So, if time is really money, this hangs on the notion that time must indeed be real. Which then, arguably, hangs on the notion that money is inherently real as well. If money is indeed real, then money has the ability to function as an authentic, tangible, and pragmatic function to our overall well being.

4:08 am and I am contemplating these socially constructed elements that are seemingly the epoch of human existence. Time. Money. Time is money. Don’t waste your time. Time is precious. Time waits for no one. Seemingly, time runs everything. It’s the first thing we see on our phones, our computers, our schedules, our meetings, our classes, our jobs, our lives. The basis of our lives runs on time. Kinda scary, I mean considering that time is a figment of our imagination. Ha! I digress.

And if time is so important, then money is equally integral. But wait… isn’t MONEY THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL?! Are time and money only “real because of the value we as human beings place on them? Do these concepts surpass the characterization of a mere social construct only because we as humans have declared it so? Because they are now ingrained in the normalcy of daily life? Hm.

Though the reality of money and time relies on our collective human capacity to believe and place value on these elements, they do have real world implications. A college student invests money in the institution because he or she believes it will enhance their overall well being. We pull all nighters, we go to class, we spend hours fixing and revising assignments, we go to office hours, we study for exams, and we rely on caffeine at times because the investment in academia is so pertinent that sleep can sometimes function as a luxury. In the fast paced society that we live in, we rarely take the time to understand the beauty of the present—The only portion of time that isn’t an illusion.

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Monday through Friday comprises 120 hours, with Saturday and Sunday being 48 hours.

Typically, when I ask my fellow Cornellians how they’re doing, responses of “surviving,” or “one day till Friday!” or “I didn’t sleep till 6am”, are common. I think it’s important to note the discrepancy between the the immense time of the week and the slight hours that constitute our weekend. This “waiting for the weekend” mantra is frustrating. Essentially, that means we intrinsically go through the motions of the week, merely existing, and plan to live fully during the weekend. To take this even further, we struggle through college so that we can live fully and happily in the near future. But the future is a farce. It’s never real. And the only moment we can ever really have is the present moment. Hopes of securing a stable future are important, don’t get me wrong. However, we as human beings are never satisfied. That is, we are never satisfied with our present disposition. During prelim week, we can’t wait for it to be over. When we lounge around during Christmas or winter break, we think about what work/internships/jobs we should be applying for. We live in thinking, we live in futuristic motives, we live in a consistent state of disjointed thoughts coexisting mostly in the future and very rarely in the present moment. We fail to ever be fully alive in the present because our minds are constantly living in the future of the unknown.

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Living fully in the present does not mean that you have no goals, aspirations, or dreams for the future. It means that though these future aspirations are a part of your identity, they are the not the sole benefactor of your happiness, your sense of completeness, your sense of stability. Surrendering yourself to the beauty of the present, alleviates worry, uncertainty, and stress about the future. Our human disposition clearly can’t be immersed in the present moment every second of every day. This is because we are relative.

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Slow down. Time isn’t going anywhere. Cause it is nowhere. Or maybe it’s somewhere. Or maybe only in our heads. I don’t have all the answers. Maybe time does.

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