Let's start with what we all know from our culture, and especially any graduation speech you've ever heard: Where's the future? <Audience: Ahead of us.> Where's the past? <Behind us.> All we have to do is project this onto a flowing waterway and -- voila! -- we have our cultural "River of Time," with where we came from behind us and our destination lying ahead, out of sight, perhaps even unattainable. How could Time possibly flow or be otherwise?PS --
But even in the cradle of our own kind of civilization, the Ancient Greeks saw the whole thing completely oppositely to our 'commonsense' view. Their PAST was AHEAD of them and their FUTURE BEHIND them. Sounds weird, doesn't it, but in 30 seconds I can make it make MORE sense than the way you're so used to. Watch closely -- it depends on changing the frame of reference.
Instead of being "in a boat on a river," an apt metaphor for global explorers, the Greeks saw themselves as rooted in the Earth, with Time circling the Earth and coming around and bringing the future from behind them -- because we don't have eyes in back of our heads to see what the future is bringing us! -- then flowing through them, and then ahead of them, showing for their eyes the effects of actions in the past, such as mountains, buildings, statues, etc.
But we don't have to go back to the ancients to find a different notion of time -- we can look around us on Earth today. The Tuba language, among others, today treats the future as being behind and the present ahead. There is, it seems, no agreement among human beings, as encoded in their languages, as to the characteristics of our familiar 3-way contrast of time, the way there is with our 3-way contrast of space.
Worse yet, there is not even global agreement that Time is linear or has three parts. Physics and the mathematics it operates by do not mean our Time when they use "time" in their equations; their "time" is defined as simply another dimension like the other three, except it is anti-symmetric to the others. Much of Native America (including the language/cultures of all Algonkians, Hopi, etc.) have no such 3-part notion of linear time at all built into their communication, but have instead the cyclical Timing process of daying/nighting, a rhythm of unfolding and enfolding, like breathing, which shows up as something like manifested and unmanifested, or manifested and manifesting. In this conception, what we call the past and much of the present is manifested all around us for us to see and hear and feel and otherwise experience, while what we call the future is still inside us, still in process of manifesting.
The Hopi philosophy is that our goal in life is to prepare our futures carefully while they are inside us so that, using good timing, we can bring those futures out into manifestation in the most beautiful and harmonious way possible. In this way, reality unfolds at its most effective pace -- in that particular place, I might add, since sacred ceremonial space in Native America can perhaps best be described as Einsteinian integrated spacetiming in action.
That the apprehension of our cultural notion of the elusive 4th-Dimension is not universal is certainly of interest to those of us interested in human nature, language, worldview, and such -- but it has wider applicability as well -- to our very health. Since "Time Sickness" (all of the medical conditions flowing from lifestyles of clock-dominated stress) has been cited by Larry Dossey M.D. as our civilization's greatest killer (Space, Time, and Medicine), the above alternative worldview of TIMING is being shared in the hopes of empowering people who are being bulldozed by a linguistic/cultural hallucination into dis-easing. We no longer have to submit to the Tyrrany of Time, our society's most effective form of control yet devised. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, but let your soul choose between Time and Timing as a mental health response to our human society and where it is leading us all. We now have alternatives to Time that were just not available to our ancestors.
And in this Season of Millennial Madness, inaccurately (by 3-4 yrs) honoring what might more accurately be known as The Second Coming of the Greek J*S*S (born of the union of the Sky God Zeus with the Earthly virgin Elektra, he was a healer and spiritual teacher who was executed in his prime and raised three days later -- i.e., the earlier Jesus story without the confusing context of Old Testament overlay), let us also remember the rallying cry of our brave European brothers and sisters in those perilous times surrounding the changeover of calendars from Juian and Gregorian, when the corrections took days away from people's lives, rioting in the street and shouting, "GIVE US BACK OUR TIME!!!"
Does "Psychology in the Arts" include as Arts the sacred texts? It's of linguistic interest, at least, that Zeus wound up in Latin as Zeus-Father or Ju-piter (still sporting the Greek word for father, Latin being 'pater'), while the vocative form for Him in prayer was Jove, pronounced [yo-we], not significantly unlike the form Yahweh [yah-weh] in Hebrew. Remember (1) that the Jews never expected the Messiah to be born of a virgin, to be a healer, or to be executed and raised from the dead 3 days later, and (2) that it was the Greeks to whom the writing of the Jesus story in the Gospels was given. Why would that be, except that the ancients knew better than we that the Greeks "owned" the J*S*S story? (Look under JASOS in any good Greek Mythology reference book--and see J/Y-S-S: Jasos, the earlier Jesus.)