Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Time - Can you manage it?

Suresh Ben Noah, the fun loving guy who writes, posted a simple but profound observation on the illusion of movement in his writing titled "Moving in a stationary train". Suresh has this interesting way of identifying paradoxes and dealing with it with such simplicity that he apparently has people, the intense ones, taking on the sticky thread with interesting discussions.

Let me reproduce some responses he had got

Gita Nair wrote
"Ben Hindu philosophy talks of this Maya that is always around you and how you need to be standing outside it and looking at the happenings objectively"
and Suresh responded "Thanks Gita. Actually I wouldn't like to label it as Hindu or Buddist or whatever. It is only the outcome of my experiences that has made me understand and believe that this world with all its varied hues is illusory. The concept of Time as propounded by Western science is far from the truth and this post was only an attempt to explain this. It taken me years of hardship and self inflicted torture to come out of myself and observe things in a disembodied state before I could understand this.

There you are its getting mystical isn't it? He goes on to say "We are constant while it is Time that is flowing all around us. We just sit and watch the various illusions.

The passers by or those whom we come across in our lives really look different and are connected to us on a different level. The motion of time makes them appear as what we think is their actual appearance while they are not really what we think or perceive them to be.. Moreover, the motion of time makes us assume that they too are moving and passing through various stages just as we are but in reality they too are as stationary as we are. All life is stationary but appears to move or pass through different stages.

Difficult concept to explain and more difficult to comprehend..

I'm sure quite a few of my facebook friends are going to run away from me assuming that I have flipped or gone cuckoo, but they cannot run or move away. They only feel that they are moving away. Their very act of running is only an illusion."

Now last week, I had this opportunity of presenting to a group of young professionals "Time Management" Well I dont believe in these two do lists and managing the immediate : urgent bit. I find it quite irrelevant and fuzzy and boring. So I redefined my talk "Time in relation to Energy, Space and Work"
I started out with Howard Gardners Multiple Intelligence Theory went through the 7 intelligences and with some inputs from the article Happy 25th Birthday Multiple Intelligences by Robert Sylwester I managed to club them under 3 groups Energy, Space and Time. And went on to explain how we need to weave all these functions into our life in order to gain momentum. And I went on to say that there is an inherent ability in every human to move, we either move forward or move back we are never stationary.

So its important to deal with the skills that have relation to understanding or internalizing time within us in order to be better handlers of time.

Peter Zimbardo (age76) was the memeber of the Stanford Prison experiment, an eyewitness to Abu Garib and has written a book "Lucifer Effect" on the nature of evil. He has the following to say. Pretty interesting.

1. Life is a Temptation (Yes, No, Now,Later, Yeilding, Reflective, Present Focussed and Future Focussed

2. It is observed that 60% of teenaged girls who pledged sexual abstinance till marriage yeilded to sensual temptation in 1 year. PROMISED VIRTUES FALL PREY TO THE PASSION OF THE MOMENT.

3. If you give one marshmallo to a few children and tell them that you will come back after some time and those who do not eat it will get another marshmallow, you will observe that most of them would have eaten it. And if you observe those who resisted eating it went on to score high on SAT they were determined and confident and had less trouble in life. THEY WERE FUTURE FOCUSED AND NOT PRESENT FOCUSED

4. TIME PERSPECTIVE is the study of how individuals divide the flow of human experience into different time frame or time zones - AUTOMATICALLy AND NON CONSCIOUSLY. These frames very between cultures, social classes, nations and people.They become biased by the learned overuse of some frames and under use of others.

5. There are three things that determines your decision to take an action
a. Immediate Situation/Stimulation (present oriented - what is now?)
b. Past Orientation - Memories
c. Anticipated Consequences - (future oriented - What will be?)


a. Past Time perspective - Positive
b. Past Time perspective - Negative
c. Present Time perspective - focus on Hedonism
d. Present Time perspective - focus on Fatalism
e. Future Time perspective - Life cycle oriented
f. Present Time perspective - Transcendental Life after Death


Developing the mental flexibility to shift time perspectives fluidly depending
on the demands of the situation, allowing one time zone to take precedence
while others recede temporarily


Past Positive - High
Future - Moderately High
Present Hedonism - Moderate
Past Negativism - Low
Future Fatalism - Low

9. Past positive gives us roots to connect to our identity(intrapersonal) and
family in order to be grounded
Future gives us ways to soar new destination and challenges
Present Hedonism - gives the energy to explore people, places, self and

10. What are the future sacrifices for success?
The family time, friends time, Fun time, Personal indulgences, Hobbies & Sleep
(Living for work achievement and control)


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