Pythagoras, when he was asked what time was, answered that it was the soul of this world.

Plutarch, in Platonic Questions

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Plutarch is writing this in 66 A.D.  Plato, in 380 B.C., writing in Dialogues called time “The moving image of eternity.”

One shutters to recognize that we have lost touch with the gifts of those of the past, and that we pay dearly for this. Sadly, ignorance seems to reside in those who would lead.  On a broader scale, we seem to proceed daily at a breakneck pace of ignorance and collusion.

The least among us spin in small circles of infidelity, drug induced stupor, addiction and psychological states of one sort of another, engaged in aimless, time-wasting nonsense housed in subsistence dependence – often producing a self-destruction and injury that consigns others to inter-generational impotence.

Does anyone know what time is?

Recently my good friend Jeff wisely challenged me when I used the phrase: “time is of the essence.”  He reminded me, rightly, that God – not time – is of the essence and in that he meant correctly that truth and eternity are of the essence. How right he is!

His comment prompted me to take Plato’s line to explain my comment about “time” and “essence.”  My point was, of course, that in temporal time we play out eternal time.  That is, in temporal time we must live the measure and dimension of eternal time.

An illustration is in order.

If one is confronted with the demands of a Nazi culture at its infancy and one recognizes the forthcoming hostility and evil that it is preparing – time is of the essence because the decisions we make in the face of the evil of the temporal world has eternal consequences.  Indeed, it is in thinking like Plato as to time that we can legitimately wonder and be alarmed when today seemingly good men and institutions remain mute and inert when evil gathers and boldly shows its face.

Yes, at the moment – time may be of the essence, for in temporal time the soul of the world and those in it is on display.

Shalom.

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