Humans, over time, have evolved
to grasp the concept of viewing time as three dimensional. We have the ability
to look at time as past, present and future, something that other species are
not able to do. Research has shown that while other species have the ability to
remember they do not have the ability to interpret time. For instance, while
certain species of birds can hide their food and remember where they hid it is
not the same as having the awareness of time and knowing that the food was hidden
in the past for the future. It is simply remembering where the food was hidden.
However the human mind functions differently. Humans have the ability to
understand the idea of a past and future existing and beyond that humans also
have the ability to add to their past and future moments that might have never
happened or will never happen, what we would call imagination.
It isn’t an ability we always possessed.
Our ancestors did not have the aesthetic skills to view life is fragments of
past, present and future but over time as evolution took place we learnt to expand
our creative minds and were able to look at experiences as what had happened, what
was happening and what could possibly happen. This ability arises with a sense
of self-awareness, knowing that you have existed before, are present right now
and could possibly exist in the future.
What struck me about this idea
was that this ability to interpret time brings with it two dimensions, it can
either be used as an advantage or a disadvantage. Take for example how in our day to day lives the
thoughts about the future, where we’re going, what’s going to happen often come
with the drawback of worrying about what can go wrong. On the other hand this
same ability to understand the existence of a future brings with it the space
to create something that does not yet exist. Similarly, having the perception
of a past can make us regret all the times we think we messed up or the same
ability could be used to learn from what had happened in the past in order for
us to prevent the same outcome from happening in the future.
Our perception of the existence
of time is a profound example of how the freedom we have because of our minds
can both serve as a blessing and a curse for ourselves. Having an awareness of
the power you hold can help you use that power in better ways. The same energy
that we put into using our abilities against us can be used to facilitate our
existence. Thus it is in our hands to use our minds for us and not against us.