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Time and how we perceive it

"Once you have glimpsed the world as it might be, it is impossible to live anymore complacent in the world as it is."
- Unknown/Anonymous

"The present never ages. Each moment is like a snowflake, unique, unspoiled, unrepeatable, and can be appreciated in its surprisingness."
- Gail Sheehy

"Events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order the continuous thread of revelation."
- Eudora Welty

8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
- Revelation 1 (King James Version)


Below is the content of an e-mail I received and my response on the subject of time and how we perceive it.

If the universe is infinite in dimension and it always was and will always be, then time has no meaning. It is a figment of human imagination and a tool devised for physical calculations.

Consider the physical universe without the concept of time to inhibit your thoughts.
- Tom S., Nov. 8, 2006

    Thank you Tom for taking a moment to share with me your view of time. ;) It tells me with high probability that your perspective is oriented with Intuition as your dominant perceiving function.

    From my perspective however, there's more to the subject than you've included in your message. The lack of specific detail is also a sign of dominant Intuition with less developed Sensing.

    In the Enlightenment portion of my website, and the Functions page more specifically, you'll see in Markku Jantunen's brief description of the eight cortical function/attitude descriptions, references to four cognitive aspects of time. I've thought of explaining them further but had never bothered before you motivated me.

    The two perceiving functions are (S)ensing and i(N)tuition. With them each having an (I)ntroverted and (E)xtroverted direction you could write them as; Se, Si, Ne and Ni. Here I'll write a brief description of how they appear to process a different aspect of what we call time.

    Se – is Sensing directed outward. It views time as the here and now, in this moment. Its shape is a point. It is not the past or future it is the present. People with a dominant orientation toward Se are much more stimulated and motivated by their environment. Many are adventurers, doers and thrill seekers.

    Si – is Sensing directed inward. It views time from an historical perspective. It is the past, where we came from and how we arrived. The shape is linear. Clear paths can be perceived in which one event clearly followed another, forming a continuum, is appears seamless and often obvious. People with dominant Si are often historians, teachers, and those who maintain continuity and help us avoid disorder.

    Ne – is Intuition directed outward. It views time in a forward “future” direction. The shape of time sweeps up and outward in all directions and has no forward boundaries. People with dominant Ne tend to be more optimistic and idealistic, preferring to consider what could be, rather than what is, or what was.

    Ni – is Intuition directed inward. It views time in a “timeless” manner. You are very likely, based on your message, Ni dominant. As such you could probably write a better description of the perception than I can. But I believe Ni has no shape. Time is formless and infinite. Ni dominant people can more often perceive truths that are not contained by the circumstances which surround them.

So in summation and by shape and direction;

- Se is a point and now
- Si is a line and the past
- Ne is the future and spreads in all directions forward
- Ni is without shape and timeless

    You my fellow traveler are more than Ni unless you are physically damaged. To more fully appreciate the universe's ability to comprehend itself you'll need to utilize all four aspects of time.

    I do truly appreciate the reminder to exercise my Ni, as in my daily life I seldom get the opportunity to use it as I do the others. Perhaps I'll set aside some time regularly to practice various meditative techniques.

Take care,

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