Time and Distance

The distance between two places measures separation. The distance between two points of view implies the same. But, with contemplation and conversation, points of view can change and even merge. But places, whether in close proximity or remote from one another, cannot occupy the same spot. Yet points of view too often behave as if they were remote places on a map; isolated by vast distance and absolutely immovable.

Physical space separates places. Either intellectual space or emotional space—or both—keep points of view apart. Physical space has no stake in its location; it is what it is. Self-esteem, though, often anchors points of view to an immovable perspective. Wisdom arises from the exercise of one’s ability to cut the chain to an anchor. Without that anchor, a point of view is free to drift. It may settle far, far away or it may return to its original resting place. But in the interim, a point of view is free to absorb shreds of perspective that would have been invisible and untouchable had the anchor’s chain not been cut.


The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.

~ Socrates ~


Today is an opportunity to repair the mistakes that led to yesterday, which turned into today. Tomorrow will provide a chance to mend the fabric of experience I will shred today. The day after tomorrow, if it comes, will exist to stitch together the patches left over from my efforts to mend those pieces of torn fabric.


Time seems to accelerate early in the morning. And, perhaps, overnight while we are sleeping. We wish for a long, leisurely, satisfying sleep; our head touches the pillow and, suddenly, it’s time to get up. And, when we get up, the clock races ahead; 5:30 becomes 7:30 in less than the blink of an eye. I look back at 5:45 and 6:10 and 7:05 and cry for them to return. “Don’t go so soon,” I call plaintively, hoping they will heard me and heed my pleas. But they do not. They ignore me, as if I have no role to play in the passage of time. No part in transforming yesterday into today. I am being carried along in rapids of a river of moments that refuse to pause for even a second to let me get my bearings.  A stopwatch does not stop time; it only stops us from measuring how fast it is getting away from us.

Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.

~ Khalil Gibran ~


When is humbleness a flaw? When is pride a gleaming strength? The answers to those questions exist only in our imagination. In our perspectives. In our points of view. Context always controls us; either what we do or how we see what we do. And, of course, how others see us and themselves.


I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect.

~ Edward Gibbon ~


Wishing for cool weather will not make it happen. Only by finding a cool place and taking aggressive action to get there will take me into that pleasant place. The question, of course, is whether I have the courage to be aggressive. Time, as it flies by at a hundred times the speed of thought, will tell.

About John Swinburn

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