A Sense of Time

Time past, time present, time future. Our society is obsessively present-minded. There is slight interest in the past, in the causes of  present crises. There can be no lessons of history because history is not on the agenda. As for the future, we’ll deal with that when we get there. If things go wrong, there will be a technological solution to eliminate or mitigate the matter. Time is reduced to measurement, controlling it by carving it up, obliterating it.

As there is the temporal, there is the spacial. Today space is called globalisation, which is a wrap around environment permitting of no alternative. It boastfully takes over the planet, but will the planet survive? It exists, timeless, outside of time. Space too has been obliterated and individuals lose their bearings, become unmoored, adrift as consumers in a sea of disposable goods.

Our concern for our grandchildren speaks to this. Consider the following case in point. There was a proposal in the 1970s to build a big-inch pipeline to move gas from the Mackenzie Valley to the south through the land of the Dene, the indigenous people. The proponents of the pipelines were a powerful consortium of oil and gas companies, the ultimate globalisers. When an official commission went into the Dene communities, the elders repeatedly spoke against the pipeline because it would damage the land of their children and their children and so on. The Dene had a time bound tradition to which they could appeal. With the support of the southern churches, likewise having traditions to which they could appeal, the pipeline was stopped and still hasn’t been built and probably never will be. This is a history of defiance with a lesson of hope. An example for all grandparents.

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