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To Reinhabit Deep Time

Both the progressive destruction of our world and our capacity to slow down and stop that destruction can be understood as a function of our experience of time.

We members of post-industrial societies in the closing years of the twentieth century have an idiosyncratic and probably unprecedented experience of time. It can be likened to an ever-shrinking box, in which we race on a treadmill at increasingly frenetic speeds. Cutting us off from other rhythms of life, this box cuts us off from the past and future as well. It blocks our perceptual field of time while allowing only the briefest experience of time.

Until we break out of this temporal trap, we will not be able to fully perceive or adequately address the crisis we have created for ourselves and the generations to come. Yet reflections on our relationship to time and some promising new approaches for changing it suggest that we may be able to inhabit time in a healthier, saner fashion. By opening up our experience of time in organic, ecological, and even geological terms and in revitalizing relationship with other species, other eras--we can allow life to continue on Earth.

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