Problems with Linear Time

Yet the great weakness of linear time is that it obliterates time’s recurrence and thus cuts people off from the eternal – whether in nature, in each other, or in ourselves. When we deem our social destiny entirely self-directed and out personal lives self-made, we lose any sense of participating in a collective myth larger than ourselves. We cannot ritually join with those who come before and after us. Situating us at some intermediate moment eons away from both the beginning and the end of history, linear time leaves us alone, restless, afraid to stand still lest we discover something horrible about ourselves. Most Americans would agree with Mary McCarthy that “The happy ending is our national belief” – but few of us have any idea what we would do if we ever got there.

“The Fourth Turning – An American Prophesy” – William Strauss and Neil Howe

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