The other day I had the feeling that there is a threshold that can be sensed, in terms of shifting the understanding of time. I might be wrong…
But to get into the groove…
In the complex of time-concepts evolved by Australian Aboriginies, only one (and the least important) is the linear concept that we use to govern our life and time. Of far greater everyday use was the phenomenological (or phenological) time; the time as given not by clocks, but by the life phenomena of flowers, birds, and weather. An example of real life is that of an old Pitjatjantjara woman who pointed out a small desert flower coming into bloom. She told me that the dingoes, in the ranges of hills far to the north, were now rearing pups, and that it was time for their group to leave fort the hills to collect these pups. Thousands of such relationships are known to tribal peoples. Some such signals may not occur in 100 or 500 years (like the flowering of a bamboo), but when it does occur, special actions and ceremonies are indicated, and linked phenomena are known.
Finally, in tribal society, one is not wise by years, but by degree of revelation. Those who understand and embody advanced knowledge are the most intuitive, and therefore most entitled to special veneration. Such knowledge is almost invariably based on pattern understanding, and is independent of sex or even age, so that one is ‚aged’ by degree of revelation, not time spent in living.
(Excerpt from ‘Permaculture, A Designer’s Manual’ by Bill Mollison, Tagari Publications, 1988)
And yes, there are the cycles in Hinduism and Buddhism, and many indigenous cosmologies and so on.
And surely, to perceive in such a way has a different effect on relating and acting.
However, somehow just to be clear or ‘exact’. I thought that if we write of one era or another, or change in general, it ought to be clear that to outline things in such a way, implies a separation between a perceiver and that which is being perceived.
What I mean by this is, that, properly inquired, there obviously is no separation between this moment and that moment, be it on a cyclical time scale, or a linear one.
For a moment to ‘happen’ there has to be someone to set the markers, those little lines on the clock, even if they are bend. And consequently it is quite likely, that once that happens, this someone will compare this and that moment, this and that era.
Someone has to step out of the whole thing, and I guess it should be examined if this is possible, alas ‘true’. However, thus is the nature of conventions.
It is from the standpoint of the actual existence of time, that this era and the other era come into being. No time, no era, obviously.
But to sum it up, and to not use too many words (and time…?), it maybe said for ‘now’, that there is time, and there is no time. There is someone stepping out of the whole thing, and there is noone stepping out of the whole thing.
Then again, who would leave it at that?…
Only some fools, I guess.