Thursday, March 17, 2011


Message on sign:
March 14 and 17, 2011
This week was final exam week, so traffic on the Quad was very light. Many of those who spoke with me were Christians (members of the group Navigators) from other universities spreading the gospel and doing good works during their spring break. Therefore many discussions touched on the theological implications of the sign.

Answers to the question, "What does the sign mean?":

- there isn't much time left because final exams are soon

- time is merely a figment of our imagination

- given the increasing incidence of phenomena such as birds falling from the skies dead in droves, earthquakes, financial crises, revolutions, etc., we seem to be entering a time of rapid and dramatic change

- it is a reference to something spiritual, specifically the idea that the end--the Apocalypse--is near, hence the phrase "tomorrow is already [here]". But what then would "yesterday is still here" refer to? 

- it is a reference to something spiritual, specifically the idea that there is a God who is an extra-temporal entity. Thus in the Bible we read "I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and last, the beginning and the end." From God's point of view, all of time exists simultaneously ("already").

- it's important to be completely in the moment, to free oneself from the constraints of memory of the past and planning for the future in order to step outside of the confines of time itself

- there is unfinished business we have left over from the past; and the seeds of future events are being sown now, in the present

- "yesterday is still here" means that the memory we have of what has happened preserves the past, and thus it is still with us in that form

- it means "seize the day"; tomorrow could bring us death, and the past should not keep us from experiencing the present moment fully

- one guy was reminded of the George Carlin quote: "There's no present. There's only the immediate future and the recent past."

Theological and theoretical discussions:

- How do we reconcile the idea that God granted us free will with the notion that God is omniscient? If He--from His position outside of time--knows everything that will happen, is not then everything in our lives predestined? There is a solution to this paradox which would find support from some physicists and in the esoteric literature. If it is true that each time we weigh several alternative courses of action, a portion of ourselves creates an alternate, parallel universe (not unimaginable if one accepts the notion of the infinite nature of God and His creation), everything that could possibly happen already has happened. Where our free will comes in is in our ability and opportunity to choose, from among the infinite possibilities that have occurred, that one which we desire to experience.

- Time is not what we have traditionally thought it to be. There is evidence that it is not an absolute, objective, external phenomenon, but its apparent duration can be altered by our subjective perception if we free ourselves from the societally inculcated habit of retroactively bringing our memory of lived events into conformity with clock time. For example, the passage of time seems interminably slow when a man is waiting for his girlfriend to arrive, and then regrettably seems to pass all too rapidly when he is with her.

- There exists the theory that all moments of time--past, present and future--exist "simultaneously" in some way we cannot yet fathom.

Other signs on the Quad: on March 14 a single-engined plane flew above the campus for about ten minutes in the afternoon trailing a banner that read: "SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC"

For a complete transcript of discussions with people about this sign (or at least as complete as memory would allow), see here, March 14-17.

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