Killing time is no less a crime than murder; and its punishment equally severe, yet just as pointless.


We speak of time, using terms like hours and weeks and years and centuries and eons; as if time existed in pieces to be strung together like beads. That concept is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of time—a belief that time is a tool created by humankind to give schedules a reason to exist. Schedules need no reason; no more than time needs a purpose. Time simply is. The same is true of space. Space, too, simply is. We use space—like we use time—as a placeholder, a place where emptiness is treated as if it were reserved for something important. When we finally learn that nothing is important—that space and time neither have intrinsic value nor do they impart value—meaning collapses into no more than an obstacle. Meaning becomes eternal distance; nothing more. And we are left wondering whether life or death have any value. Or whether they, like everything else, are simply nondirectional clues leading nowhere. Spherical logic leading everywhere and no place at all.


When, as usual, I woke at 1:30 this morning, it occurred to me that I could go back to sleep and never wake up. Immediately, I thought that would be a tragedy because of the way it would impact people around me. But, then, I realized I was looking at death as if my consciousness of the world around me would continue. It would not. Tragedy would no longer be something I could sense; nor could I sense or feel anything else. Death relieves us of all those troubling emotions. And the joyous ones, too, of course. The point of my revelation was that all aspects of life…every single one…would cease to be. I would no longer care. I would no longer have awareness of anything. Not life, not death, nothing at all. I’ve read—many times recently—that humans cannot conceive of their own demise. We cannot imagine utter emptiness; not a shred of consciousness forevermore. I think that must be true—that the very idea that we no longer exist simply has no foothold in our brains. Because, of course, our brains are always “on.” Once they go “off,” every memory, every experience, every emotion…everything…ceases to be. As if we never existed. The void. Endless nothingness; without awareness of the nothingness (or anything else).


And another day begins, as if calling this cycle of life by a name gives it any more credence than ignoring it entirely. This headache refuses to release me. More espresso might do it.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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