General Semantics Advanced Thinking
A System-Discipline Concerned with the Sanity of the Race & the Individual
‘Time’ and Time-binders

by Milton Dawes

About ‘Time’ and Ourselves

 

In an increasingly busy world, ‘time’ plays a bigger part in our lives than we have taken the ‘time’ to ‘think’ about. A great deal of stress, annoyance, disagreements, confusions, disappointments, impatience, conflicts, and violence, in our relationship with each other, at personal, social, national, and international levels, can be attributed to our lack of awareness that we live not only in different geographical time-zones, but also in different psycho-biological ‘time’ zones. ‘Time’ differences also apply to ourselves as organisms. When our nervous systems do not properly ‘time’-coordinate its operations, distress, confusion, delusion, and insanity are probable consequences of such a disordered nervous system. In its healthy functioning, our nervous systems organize and order our experiences. Labels such as ” now, then, before, after, past, present, future “, are names for this ordering. Without ordering our experiences in terms of which ones came before, we would be unable to make sense of things or give meanings. A memory of something that happened is not experienced as that thing happening now. Hopes, plans, expectations, etc., are experienced as a present state of consciousness and not a representation of the present state of the outside world. In other areas: We could feel’ an urge to do something now – but this feeling’ might not be in synchrony with the energy or skills required to meet that demand at this ‘time’. If we are unaware of, or unwilling to accept this internal ‘time’ differences, we could sometimes push ourselves too hard and experience a great deal of easily avoidable stress.

Updating Our Behavioral Paradigms

Our mind-brains-nervous systems-bodies developed over hundreds of thousands of years ago following particular survival and behavioral paradigms. The human world of today is vastly different from that of two hundred thousand years ago. A great many societal and global conflicts have to do with persistent tribal’ (my group, my party, my religion, my people, my country, us/them) thinking’ and behavior, much of which is no longer necessary for our survival and create more problems than they resolve. In seeking to resolve our conflicts and differences, we have not to any globally significant extent recognized the harm we do to ourselves by hanging on to earlier times’ tribal thinking’. We have become very technologically skilled; and we have learned a great deal about the physical world and its interrelationships – enough to allow us to travel to the moon, walk around, and return to earth. But during those times ‘ of learning about the outside world, we have paid comparatively little attention to learning about our inner world, and about ourselves as a species intimately involved with ‘time’. And not knowing or understanding enough about ourselves, we have not developed new critical-creative thinking’ necessary to meet the present challenges of our speeded up human relationships at national and international levels.

‘Time’, Self-esteem and Disappointments

Have you ever considered a relationship between your disappointments and ‘time’? How often have you been disappointed with yourself or with someone else for not learning, understanding, doing something fast enough? Recall the last ‘time’ you ‘felt’ disappointed: Did you consider at that ‘time’ that part of your disappointment might have something to do with the fact that what you expected to happen, or the way you expected something to happen, did not happen in the ‘time’ or at the ‘time’ you expected ? Now consider this: Suppose the next ‘time’ you find yourself expecting something, you say to yourself “Other humans are not in this world to operate according to my measure of ‘time’. Others have their own priorities”. Suppose as a general orientation, you extend indefinitely the ‘time’ period in which you expect things to happen – Would this make a difference in the way you thought-felt about things and others, and the way you lived your life? Could this approach help you become a calm, gentle, patient, less stressed person? Or take “self-esteem”: Suppose someone with low self-esteem entertained this thought’: “The way I feel-think about myself at this ‘time’, is not necessarily how I might feel-think about myself at all other ‘times’ “: Could this recognition make a difference?

We Live in Different Psycho-biological Time Zones

We live, move around, travel through different spaces’: we see, hear, experience different things, meet different individuals – it follows that our world lines and world views are not only unique and different, they must be. The fact that we go to work, make appointments, meet deadlines, catch planes and so on, based on our mutual acceptance of clock ‘times’ (chronological ‘time’) contributes a great deal to our unawareness of how we are different in terms of psycho-biological ‘time’. We each have our own sense of ‘time’. When a friend says “I’ll give you a call”, how soon do you expect her-him to call? Will this expectation ‘time’ be the same for all your friends? When the mechanic, the delivery person, the politician make promises, do you remind yourself that “Their ‘time’ is not my ‘time’ “? A few years ago after I was finished playing the drums at a wedding in Baker Nevada, a little boy maybe about 10 years old came up to me and asked me to play again. I told him that people might get tired of listening but I would play for him later – the later I had in mind’ was about an hour or more. About 10 minutes later he came to me and said quite firmly, “It’s later now”: By his ‘time’ he was right. We each recover from physical’ and emotional’ injuries in our own ‘times’. With different sense of ‘time’ we do things at our own pace and rhythm. We don’t like to be rushed. Our opinions, hypotheses, explanations, beliefs, hopes, fears, anxieties, the meanings we give to situations, the decisions we make, the way we approach a problem, and so on, all depend on the information we had at that ‘time’ – and no two times’ are the same. It takes each of us a different ‘time’ to analyze, interpret, or understand something; a different ‘time’ to learn or unlearn something; a different ‘time’ to forgive and forget. Particular individuals and groups of individuals have certain ‘time’-based expectations, and particular approaches to solving problems. So do other individuals, other groups, other organizations, other cultures, other societies. At personal, social, national, international levels of communication, ignoring or failing to appreciate other parties’ sense of ‘time’ can be expected to result in many disagreements, misunderstandings and conflicts.

Structuring ‘Time’

What is ‘time’ anyway? Or more accurately: To what do we refer when we talk about ‘time’? I don’t know what ‘time’ is, but I can specify what I intend, or to what I refer when I use the term. (In this article, I focus on the ‘time’ differential of the space-time continuum). So here is an operational definition- specification of ‘time’ that I like and one you can check out for yourself by exploring what ‘time’ means for you and matching that against this specification. The word ‘time’ is a label for an awareness or experience, of an interval, between instances of awareness. (Think’ of “interval” in terms of between-ness). The experience of intervals between our awareness of things, happenings or activities, is what I refer to as ‘time’ or to be more accurate “psycho-logical-time” (An awareness of the interval (positional difference) between objects or different parts of an object, gives us the experience we call space’). As psycho-logical-time is unique for each one of us, and is our own personal ‘time’, we depend on clock-‘time’ to avoid inevitable conflicts – just as we accept scales and rulers to help us avoid conflicts that would develop from personal estimates of weights and distances. Chronological-times’ (clock-‘time’) developed from comparing intervals based on accepted standards. An “earth year” is the name given to the interval between the sun in one position with respect to the stars, as observed from earth, and its return to that position’. (Note a relationship between space’ and ‘time’). A “millennium” a thousand such years. A “day” (earth day) is approximately 1/365 of a year; and so on.

‘Time’ as a Function of Awareness

In the above definition, I propose that ‘time’ as defined, is inseparably connected with human awareness. ‘time’ labels our mind-brain ordering of impacts with the outside world and also its own internal operations. For an individual, no awareness equals no ‘time’ (at that ‘time’) for that individual. This is one way to understand how our psycho-logical ‘times’ seems to fly (matched against chronological ‘times’) when we are having a good time; and . seem to drag when we are ‘feeling’ bored, not interested, waiting for someone or something to happen. Do you remember “Are we there yet” ? Or how long at a certain ‘time’ in our lives it seemed for Christmas or a birthday to come around? To elaborate: In terms of the proposed definition, when we are having a good time, the number of instances of awareness of intervals between happenings is less than when we ‘feel’ bored, or wait for that important phone call. And when we are waiting for someone or an important call, the number of instances of awareness that the person isn’t here yet, or the phone hasn’t rung yet is greater compared to when we are having fun. On a long trip, the more often we are aware that we have not yet arrived , the longer the trip will seem to be. We can counteract this, and better enjoy the trip, or the wait’ by not focusing on the ‘time’ of arriving, but by thinking’ about some other things, or in some cases by just doing something else besides waiting. By the way: Did you find yourself ‘thinking’ I should have defined ‘time’ much earlier on?

Words and ‘Times’

“The word is not the thing”, and “The map is not the territory it is a map of” are two basic general semantics principles. Words and maps are relatively static structures in comparison with the changing territories they represent. When we remember this we avoid many difficulties in communication and relationships. We might benefit also from remembering that since territories change, maps in general are always out of date.

We usually don’t realize that many words represent a wide range of ‘times’. So in our communications and dealings with each other, we naturally interpret what we hear or read in terms of our individual ‘time’. (Remember the example of “later”?) Think’ of the word “vacation” and recall your last vacation – the variety of things you did, places you visited, individuals you met, etc., from the moment you left home to the moment you returned home. Think’ of the many ‘times’ this one word “vacation” covers. From this you can see that words do not describe, and are not the processes, changes, times’ they represent. Also, the ‘same’ word as it covers different ‘times’ for each individual, will mean different things to different individuals, at different ‘times’ – and also different things to an individual at different times’. When we use words such as “good”, “right”, “success” and so on, we tend to ‘infinitize’. We rarely ask ourselves “Good, or right, or success for whom – and for how long?” This suggests “good”, “right”, and “success”, for everyone, and for all ‘times’, and makes it difficult for us to correct ourselves later on.

‘Time’ and Mathematics

We can think’ of mathematical equations as ” Statements representing a time- invariant relationship between variables”. A mathematical discipline that deals with ‘time’ is the calculus. Here is a definition I like: “The study of a continuous function, by following its development through indefinitely small steps”. The calculus in one sense is about how things change in tiny intervals of ‘time’. Without a close awareness of what and how we are thinking’, feeling’, doing, etc., we have little chance of recognizing our many sane and unsane behaviors, and working at improving ourselves. If we study the above definition in small steps, we might notice some relationships between the terms “study, continuous, function, following, development” and ‘time’ as defined above. Now suppose the continuous function that we study in small steps involves what we are thinking’, feelings’, seeing, hearing, doing – and how we are thinking’ , feeling’ doing, for what reasons, and so on ? In doing this we find links between our notions of ‘time’, self-consciousness, sensitive awareness, and the calculus – and a link between calculus and saneness. “Saneness” is defined in Webster’s New Collegiate as “Able to anticipate and appraise the effects of one’s actions”. If we don’t know what or that we are doing, we can neither anticipate or appraise this action.. (For more on the calculus see my article “An Approach to Everyday Living: A Note Regarding the Calculus” in ETC:A Review of General Semantics, Volume 53, Winter 1996-97)

‘Time’, Creativity, and Problem-solving

We live in an increasingly complex world of cellular phones; the Internet, satellite communications and surveillance that make national borders irrelevant; micro- cameras and recorders, space explorations, international trade, genetic engineering, cloning, expanding populations, increasing emigration; ruthless dictators, totalitarian regimes tribal’ uprisings, global conflicts, nuclear energy and nuclear waste, and so on. In this world, it is becoming easier and easier for both adults and children to get guns, and information on how to build bombs. We cannot depend solely on traditional ways of addressing our personal, social, national and international problems. In our highly interactive world, problems involve large numbers of individuals, groups, organizations, and so on. Yet our general approach to resolving our organizational, societal and other human problems involves leaving proposed solutions to a few experts, who usually ignore inputs from the people much closer to the problem. More individuals mobilized to work on a problem involve more times- experiences, and create a more powerful approach to problem-solving. (Examples of this is seen in times’ of war, science activities, and in space exploration). Many trade unions still operate in times’ past, believing in the utility of strikes while ignoring present day factors – mergers, downsizings, manufacturers moving to cheaper sources of labor, and so on. In our social and international interactions, we most times’ set out to solve our various problems from bureaucratic, legal, economic, political, sociological, technological, moral, and other standpoints. I predict that if we do not approach our human problems primarily as human problems, they will continue to grow in numbers and complexity. And our efforts will be increasingly ineffective as the policies and approaches of different societal tribal groups clash.

To be more effective, we have to develop more creative, more imaginative, more up-to- date problem-solving approaches. ‘time’ and creative approaches to problem-solving and decision making are very closely related. A key factor or link mentioned in the previous paragraph, is “awareness”. Without an awareness of what – and more importantly “that”- we are thinking-feeling, saying, doing, planning, deciding, giving value and meanings, etc., at a particular ‘time’, we will fail to take into account or recognize, other ways of thinking’ doing, etc. Also we usually forget that in a changing world, it would be to our advantage to check to see if our old ways still work. To deliberately change, modify, improve, stop whatever we are thinking-feeling, doing, and so on, we have to be first aware that we are so engaged at the ‘time’.

‘Time’, Power, Wisdom .

Power is defined as “Work done divided by ‘time’ taken to do the work” – less ‘time’ more power. Our use of technological products and tools, in allowing us to do more in less ‘time’, visit more places in less ‘time’, accumulate more information in less ‘time’ than it took say 100 years ago, makes us more powerful – in certain areas. But we often ignore the fact that we cannot do anything without unavoidably doing many other things in the same ‘time’. Consequently, our increased technological activities result not only in an increase in the number of problems, but also in the complexity of our problems.. (Consider nuclear waste and the long term human-social- environmental-political-economic and other complexities related to its storage. And what kind of problem will we be facing when we start cloning human beings?) Our highly technological societies create problems at a faster rate, and in increasingly lesser ‘time’ periods than it is humanly possible to develop the wisdom and skills to anticipate, recognize, and manage these problems. Problems if not resolved create other problems — a stitch in ‘time’ saves nine. We cannot keep up: but more alarmingly, we add to our problems by applying technological solutions to resolve the problems we created in the first place by our technological solutions. Our solutions at ‘time’ (1) become our problems at ‘time’ (2). And many problems if not addressed within a certain ‘time’ become unresolvable later on. Will we slow ourselves down in ‘time’ – or will we continue our headlong rush to unmanageable chaos?

‘Time’ and Violence

We seem to be living in an increasingly violent world. An understanding of relations between ‘time’ and violence, between ‘time’ and explosions, might be help us anticipate or avoid many conflicts. Here is one connection. When energy is released in a certain minimum ‘time’ we have an explosion. In general if the psycho-physical-creative energies of an individual or group is kept contained according to the dynamics of that particular person or group, it will accumulate until something sooner or later initiates it’s release. The longer the period of containment; the longer a group or individual ‘feels’ oppressed and suppressed the more violent the release of energy. We see evidence of these explosions in various parts of the world – and unfortunately not taking the ‘time’ to ‘think’ about these things in terms of ‘time’, and human behavior, we can expect increasing numbers of explosions.. Our human world is becoming more interactive. One can predict that this global mix of diverse ideas, values, rhythms, and so on, will result in more tribal clashes. The formation of the United Nations is a start to the easing of international tensions and for promoting better international relationships. But this organization addresses situations from economic, political, agricultural, and other standpoints. It has not yet evolved to address the psycho-logical health of the species by offering some species organizing principle such as Korzybski’s general semantics, for international consideration and acceptance..

‘Time’, Laws, Rules and Regulations

One evening in the summer of 1967 at a nightclub in Winnipeg, Canada, I left my table to go to another with a glass of beer in my hand. A waiter stopped me, took my drink and carried it over to the table – it was against the law to walk to another table with a drink. Laws, rules, regulations, policies, etc., reflect a certain ‘time’ period in social, or organizational evolution. They were established to cope with problems existing at those times’: we could think’ of them as the active behind-the-scenes unconscious of organizations and societies. But as mentioned previously, we cannot rely on the unconscious to generate behaviors appropriate for all times-places. To more effectively address the problems of dynamic systems whether individual, organizational, or social, we need to complement this unconscious’ behavior with more conscious critically informed up-to-date approaches.

We live in an increasingly complex and fast changing world, and yet unfortunately, many old laws and regulations are still on the books. If ‘times’ change and our laws, regulations, policies, etc. don’t, we can expect our attempts at managing situations to become more and more ineffective and problematic. This is like making rules for a five year old and expecting them to be appropriate for an eighteen year old. Who knows how many problems these laws of long ago are now creating? Here is a suggestion for a timelier approach to law making – All laws would include an expiry or review date. At the end of it’s ‘time’, a law or regulation, etc. would be studied in terms of its effectiveness, problems it created, ways to improve or abandon it, and so on. (By the way, if you are wondering, I don’t presently know if that law in Winnipeg is still on the books).

If we hope to improve our human conditions at personal social and international levels, we could do well to study ourselves in our relationship with ‘time’.

‘Time’ and Time-binders

Some eighty years ago, Alfred Korzybski formulated a theory of values, a general theory of sanity and psycho-therapy, a foundation for a theory of human ethics and universal agreement; a system of critical thinking’ about our thinking'”. Korzybski’s general semantics is based on applying the methods of science and mathematics to our everyday human affairs. General Semantics developed from the horrible and unspeakable things Korzybski saw humans doing to other humans in the first world war. This led him to this question: “How is it that we humans had advanced so far technologically, and yet behaved in such primitive ways with each other?” Trained as an engineer he quickly realized that technological advances were mainly the results of applications of findings from science and mathematics. He went on to explore the factors that made science and mathematics such successful human enterprises. In his first book Manhood of Humanity page li, he wrote: : “The progress of modern science …. has been due uniquely to the freedom of scientists to revise their fundamental assumptions, terminologies, undefined terms, which involve hidden assumptions, etc., underlying our reflections, a freedom prohibited in primitive sciences’ and also in dictatorships, past and present”.

Humans: The Time-binding Class of Life

One of the revisions Korzybski made involved a rejection of the zoological classification of humans as animals. Definitions operate as guidelines directing the way we treat the person, thing or situation defined. Korzybski was aware that the way we define ourselves, affects the ways we think’ and feel’ about ourselves, and affects our attitudes and behaviors. The way we live our lives; the way we treat others and the way others treat us; the kinds of institutions and societies we create, and so on, follow from our definitions. Korzybski formulated a functional more accurate and up-to- date definition of humans. He considered humans the time-binding class of life and he defined humans as “time-binders”. In his second book and his major work Science and Sanity, page 394, Korzybski wrote: “Among ‘humans’ the abstractions of high orders produced by others, as well as those produced by oneself are stimuli to abstracting in still higher orders”. Thus, in principle, we start where former generations left off”. Animals from this specification are not time-binders; they learn from each other – but don’t keep improving on what earlier animals did. Beavers do not build better and still better dams. Birds do not build better and still better nests.

We Build on the Experiences of Others and Ourselves

No discovery or invention is the product of any one human being. Time-binding constitutes an explicit recognition and appreciation of the fact that through languages, rituals, books, etc., we start where ourselves and others have left off – and build on ideas, knowledge, inventions, etc. In science and mathematics we see not only examples of time-binding at its best – but realize that time-binding is an integral part of these disciplines – although this is not explicitly recognized by the practitioners. Physical science through time-binding involved thousands of individuals over thousands of years. Physical science evolved from fear, amazement and curiosity, myths, religion, philosophies, Newtonian mechanics, Einsteinian relativity to quantum theories to who knows? In science we see a time-binding progression from absolutes to uncertainties and probabilities; from objectivity to the acknowledgment of the role of the observer. Religious systems that claim to have answers for all times’ do little time-binding. Education systems in general have not as yet evolved beyond the first stage of time-binding. Teachers in general focus on passing on the ideas and knowledge of others – they do not as policy follow a paradigm which emphasizes the part about “building on” and improving. Societies do not educate children about time- binding and the debt they owe to others.

A Foundation for a Theory of Human Ethics

Time-binding, like satellite communications, transcends national borders. We depend on each other regardless of our ethnic, social, religious, or professional labels which usually act as obstacles to our recognition and appreciation of ourselves as time-binders. In that sense, time-binding establishes a foundation for human ethics – one based on interdependence, co-operation, and co-evolution. From a time-binding perspective “Good”- for humans – involves behaviors which respect and promote human time-binding abilities. Wars, in destroying people, books, institutions, buildings, etc. qualify as “bad” for humans . Totalitarian regimes, dictators, and others, in killing, torturing suppressing individuals’ natural abilities to be creative, critical, inventive, and so on, qualify as “bad”- and sooner or later will crumble. (The reader is invited to formulate her-his own “goods” and “bads” based on the time-binding principle).

As time-binders, each one of us can learn from ourselves. We can modify and improve on our behaviors in the light of our own experiences, mistakes and accomplishments. And we can learn from the mistakes, and improve on the achievements of others from generations past and present. With time-binding we can also improve the efficiency of nuclear devices. We can make more effective land mines; we can become more sophisticated in rationalizing our prejudices and inhumane behaviors; and we can increase the unsane thinking’ of others as well as ourselves. This kind of time-binding is more likely to take place when we do not see ourselves as time-binders, as creative, critical thinkers’ and recognize how dependent we are on each other. And this kind of time-binding happens when we tribalistically identify ourselves with this or that linguistic, ethnic, cultural, religious, professional, national and other groups of humans.

Partners in Building a More Humane World

It is very likely that if educators worked at developing an awareness and appreciation of ourselves as time-binders, this could lead us as individuals, to become more strongly aware of our links with each other; with others long gone; and with others yet to come. Awareness of ourselves as time-binders, helps us to appreciate ourselves as co-workers – partners in exploring and seeking to make sense of things and improve our world. Seeing ourselves in co-operation, and as co-operators, could diminish a great deal of our disrespect, abuse and mistreatment of each other at all levels. Those we call enemies’ are still human regardless of what other names we give. At personal levels, when we label something we said or did, simply as “mistake”, or swear, ‘feel’ bad, call ourselves names like “stupid”; when we are more concerned at saving face, and so on, and we leave it at that, we miss time-binding opportunities. When we fail to evaluate beyond a first evaluation; or judge or judgments; think’ about our opinions, and so on, we miss time-binding – learning from ourselves – opportunities. We shortchange ourselves as human beings when we (individuals, parents, professionals, administrators, experts, politicians, etc.,) fail to recognize these time-binding moments. And we miss many daily opportunities to learn both from our mistakes and from our accomplishments.

Time-binding and Democratic Principles of Government

Regardless of our social, professional, religious, and other titles, our economic status, etc., we depend on each other. Since no one knows all about anything, there are things to learn from each other. We cannot avoid communicating. Any thing that facilitates communication will increase time-binding potentials. Time-binding as an equalizing, unifying principle go hand in hand with democratic principles of government. The increasing popularity (I didn’t say “quality”) of the Internet could be attributed mainly to two factors: (1) The time-binding factor: The Internet facilitates fast communication between individuals, and the sharing of information world-wide. (2) The Internet has the potential for increasing our individual participation in the governing of our lives. As such we can predict this: Those who support dictatorial and totalitarian regimes, those who rule through manipulation, misinformation and force will recognize the Internet as a potential threat to their privileged position. They will seek to neutralize the expansion of the Internet, and will suppress the dissemination of the time-binding principle – both futile in the long run since to be human is to time-bind.

We are fast approaching a new millennium. We are still doing lots of dreadful things to each other. I propose that one of the best things that a U.N. Secretary General could do for future humans is this: “Encourage all members of the U.N. to appreciate themselves as representatives of time-binders. And adopt and promote the time-binding principle as a U.N. guideline for developing better human relationships – globally”. It could be that until we see ourselves as interdependent beings – depending not only on each other no matter how far apart – and also depending on our environments, we will continue abusing, warring, killing, and destroying each other and our environments on a grand scale. Adopting a species behavioral paradigm grounded in co-operativeness, interdependency and co-evolution could accelerate us towards higher levels of human relationship.

Giving Thanks

Here is a very simple experiment to help you experience yourself as a time-binder. Every now and again, look around you – at home at work, traveling to work, at play, and so on. Note the many accomplishments of our species – motor vehicles, bridges, computers, radios, television sets, buildings, planes, roads, and so on. Remind yourself of the many improvements over the years that have brought them to their present state. Then take a few moments to say “THANKS” to parents, teachers, friends, acquaintances, strangers, whom might have said , hinted at, done something you learned from or that has made a difference in your life. Give “THANKS” to the many individuals present and those who have passed on – no matter from where or when – and whom have left their inputs in books, plays, films, stories, theories; philosophies; in social, political, economic, religious, and other systems and institutions; parks, buildings, bridges, technologies, and so on, for us to learn from, improve on, and carry on where they left off. Then take a few moments to ask yourself, “What am I leaving for future humans to build on? Is this something I can be proud of ?

The Next Generation of Time-binders

Children learn from adults, and from each other. They attend the schools, and institutions, and other time-binding structures adults have created. They learn a great deal from what they see and hear going on in a society, from the books they read, from watching television and advertisements. They are affected by what we say, and how we say what we say – even when we ‘think’ they are not listening or paying any attention to us. And they notice what we do, and how we do what we do. They learn from the ways we behave with each other, and so on. We could take a few moments every now and again to ask ourselves this: “Can we take pride in the kind of foundations we are leaving for the coming generations to build on?” And we could ask ourselves “Do we appreciate our interdependence?”

How am I Spending My ‘Times’?

Einstein is supposed to have said, “The world we have created is a product of our thinking”. How we define ourselves will affect our thinking’ – and our thinking’ will to a great extent, determine the kind of world we are creating for our children, and their children to build on. Revolutionaries frustrated with the old order and overthrowing dictators and totalitarian regimes; or a new administration with new ideas, in ignoring the time-binding principle, do not create any significant improvements in human relationships. As time-binders, we need to take a good hard look at what we have been accepting, ‘thinking’, learning, doing over the past millennium – and how much of this we can feel’ proud to pass on, for our children, and for others, to build on. We are getting busier and busier – but it takes only a few seconds to ask ourselves “How am I spending my times’? Without an awareness of how we are spending our times’, we can’t do much to critically evaluate our behavior and help create a better human world.

Our tribal instincts so important for survival long ago, so important for holding a group together, could now be working against our survival. It could be that our societies have become so large, so complex, so diversified in expressions, resulting in so many cross purposes, we might never be able get along with each other as well as we can imagine – only ‘time’ will tell. There is no guarantee that adopting and promoting the time- binding principle, and humans as time-binders, will resolve all the problems we have relating with each other. But as we approach a new millennium, wouldn’t promoting the time-binding principle be a grand vision, providing us with new guidelines for an experiment in better human relationships whether personal, societal, or international?

If, at this ‘time’, you find it easy to dismiss this as “all fantasy” – remember …going to the moon was once a fantasy.

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