We are not masters of time, which escapes us and we cannot control, which never passes when we are bored, which we cannot stop for even for a moment when we are doing something important. “The time it is possible to have; the time that may be short, the time of haste and boredom ”. Time evokes the present, today, the moment, the moment … but also sadness, mistrust, the lack of answers from the past. And the hope, the commitment, the possible of the future: “Next to the concrete world of the so-called social reality, there is an invisible world and therefore only imaginable, but nevertheless very important, for the understanding of the previous one: the world of the possible” . Your own self, linked to the past and the future, the infinitely backward and the inscrutable forward, in space, finished in the place, infinite in the outlines, in the horizons, the places and times of history, the facts, the actions, the destructions , the passions. “The horizon is not a border, it is not possible to cross it. Sooner or later we have to go back, in the direction indicated by the opposite horizon … ‘going back’ means, after all, approaching a horizon, but as a departure “.
It is clear that two horizons always and necessarily concur to the material constitution of meaning. “Time also stretches between particular temporal horizons… the past and the future. Time horizons shift as time progresses. That time interval between past and future in which the irreversibility of changes is realized, is experienced as the present. The present lasts as long as irreversibility lasts “.
General concepts, time and space, which form in the minds of philosophers and poets categories, theories, visions, fantasies of the world and of life: “In an infinite present that continually collapses under the feet into the past, which rests on wet clay , slimy, sticky and soft, leaning into a future of shapeless mud: past of crumbled earth, present made of nothing, of surprises tyrant future shapeless “. More than one essay has stopped to observe and reflect on time. Whole generations of thinkers have talked about its ephemeral aspect, its concreteness or its illusion. And then again nothingness, uncertainty, disappointment, shadows, fears: “Time that flies, time that does not exist, that does not flow, time that has no time”.
The adventure begins in the mists of time, at the birth of the first forms of social organization, from the great spatial-temporal revolution, during the Neolithic. The permanent, waiting, cultivation and harvesting places are beginning to be defined. The rhythms of day and night are scanned, sowing times, seasons, life and death are sensed. Hunters in continuous nomadism, on a space that is getting smaller and smaller; collectors in a perennial situation of scarcity, among resources increasingly to be shared with others. Every moment of these thousands of years has been experienced as the now, and has been framed in an irreversible process, increasingly rationalized, caged, disenchanted. Today, on the verge of a new millennium, we are going to reflect on this long journey … a look at our past, but above all on what afterwards.
The premises for a decent and dignified space-time dimension for humanity still persist. The problem is in the conception of time, on our way of understanding time. As long as we consider time a measure, a process linked to production, consumption, economic exchange, we will only be the unsuspecting followers of Benjamin Franklin, who coined the famous saying: “Time is money”. Only if we think of time as “life”, as a daily relationship with others, freeing it from the concept of value and interest, will we overturn the saying with that of “Time … is not money”.
There is a substantial difference between time with others and the time of history. The latter is an artificial, empty time that is in the head of a group of scholars, historians, in fact. “A fake tool but necessary for every thought that wants to build universal history”, observes Angel Enrique Carretero Pasin in the wake of Halbwachs’ thought. This historical conception of time has no relationship with “real” time, which is that experienced “with others”, that which is concentrated in the present, the starting point of memory, as thought tries to re-memorize the fact lived with each other. Hence the image, the imagination, the symbolic, excluded for centuries from the scientific investigation of social disciplines because they are considered irrational elements (over 50% of human thought!), Emerge in the conceptual radicalization of the man-alter, man- space, man-world “making the synergy that exists between human imagination and space appear in the face of the anguish caused by the disappearance of time and its actualization, death”.