Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Collapse of Egocentric Time

Although the egocentric ‘self’ demands the measuring and charting of "time," it is only an experience. “You," or that conceptual abstraction you identify as "I," are consistently seeking to evolve, improve, develop and self-actualize within the parameters of time, in the belief that such evolution (mind/spirit) must take “time. This is a chronological, horizontally, linear perspective that demands “time” be involved in everything you do to self-actualize as an existing egocentric individual.

However, since time is only an experience, is there a way to collapse time?
“Education” is egocentrically contingent on time. But is there a way to collapse time and thus evolve rapidly through spurts of timelessness? Is time really needed for an evolving mind or does the mind rapidly accelerate evolution through experiences outside or absent time? Experiences that relieve the mind of experiencing time altogether?

You can certainly recollect experiences in which time seemed to drag on interminably. While you can also recall experiences when time seemed to speed up and hours felt like mere minutes. Hence, it does seem that experientially there is the potential to play with time since, although we measure time objectively for egocentric actualizing and development, subjectively it is pure experience and nothing more.

Is there a perspective the ego-self could adopt that tends to collapse the experience of time? Or does the ego-self need to markedly recede from the mind in order for time to be experienced as collapsed or absent?

Is the learning that comes from 'timelessness' more valuable to the mind then that which is learned IN time, through the victimization to time?

There does seem to be some evidence of the possibility that two egos might have the capacity to collapse the experience of time, make time recede, cause time to essentially…disappear.

Consider your past “love” experiences and the egocentric dissolution in moments of self-abandonment which occurred initially.  The full engagement of each ‘self’ as merged with, and deeply into another. Those brief moments when self-awareness seemed to recede as other-awareness impeded the self-protective and self-preserving capacities of egocentric individualism and “personal” self-actualization.

This is much too prevalent an experience to pass off as merely a type of infatuation psychosis completely contingent on bodily drives, desires and lusts (although the actions of two “lovers” clearly indicates such to outside observers). Although, for centuries, songs and books have been written paying homage to this brief episode of “romantic” self-dissolution, the same loss of self from non-obligatory relationships is apparent in many obligatory parent/child relationships (especially when the child has not yet fully developed an egocentric perspective to oppose and compete with other egos). Time-collapse experiences are evident in mother-child attachments in which one ego collapses time by merging with the undeveloped self of the child.

The ego-self learns nothing from such experiences, because the experience is purely timeless and the ego-self is an inherently time-bound abstraction, requiring time for which to self-actualize or “exist.” However, there is always a recollection of the experience of collapsed time, but that memory does not fit egocentric paradigms and is later interpreted as fantasy or delusional. Nevertheless, the desire to join and unify is a superconscious (beyond conscious thought) directive that even the machinations of the ego cannot resist, causing us ALL to long for it once again.

Because the ego-self is entirely victim to time, it would have little conscious inclination or desire to collapse what it requires in order to know it 'exists' and is indeed, a ‘self IN time. Hence, after an experience of collapsed time, the return to egocentricity is often quite aggressive, as the ego-self rises back up to honor its time-bound commitment to reality control, which includes the subconscious directive of controlling others. The ego-self must return to judge conditions optimal for its continued press into its world, since this has always been its prime directive.

Nevertheless, we forever long for this experience of egocentric regression and freedom from time. We pine for the “love” we once experienced in the egoless embrace in which time was experienced as absent. An experience in which the conditions egocentrically imposed, as means of controlling your personal reality, seem to miraculously disappear, if only for a brief time.

You may rigidly adhere to your spiritual practices for a lifetime and never experience the absence of egocentric time that such a collapse perpetuates.This is because it relies on engagement with another and that engagement must be left completely uncontrolled by egocentric needs. Millions leave long-term relationships in the belief that they have once again found “The One” for which to lose themselves and experience the collapse of egocentric time.

Alas, this is clearly antithetical to the ego-self’s primary commitment to reality control and many move serially from relationship to relationship in the hope of one day experiencing the collapse of time and the end of victimization to the experience of time.

Can we blame them that they are driven by a force beyond their egocentric comprehension and control?
Yet, the problem is always how to maintain the collapse when it is spontaneously experienced with, and through, another. How to resist the ego’s press for return and the eventual imposition of conditions as time is again re-experienced.  How to perpetuate the unconditional within the timeless.

Can two or more apply a method for harnessing collapsed time?

Possibly for another essay to be posted…

…in “time.”

Artwork by Jacek Yerka - "Nauka Chodzenia"


  1. I really like what you have written here Mike.
    I have experienced that sense of timelessness with others. Love Bubbles that exclude the outside world. It seems to me that it arises when you focus intently on one person/idea/thing. They same happens in meditation or work when you become lost in it. So maybe it is something to do with dissolving the ego. Thinking about dissolving the ego, maybe more in a way that you dissolve sugar in water. So you end up with sweet water, for a while but sooner or later the sugar granulates at the bottom of the glass and needs to be stirred up again to dissolve into the water.

  2. Gil,

    Like the analogy of sugar water that eventually dissolves.


  3. what is actually time? and what does it feel like? what do ppl mean when they say space and time?

  4. I couldn't tell you cause I never felt it before...