Chapter 7: The Eternal Now
When man is not there on the earth, clocks may go on chiming time, but it will not be time at all. Nobody will bother, nobody will look at them. Clock time will stop immediately if man is not there; so it is man-created, a social by-product.
The higher a society moves - and when I say “higher” I mean the more complex it becomes - the more and more it becomes obsessed with chronological time. A primitive man has no use for a watch. If you present him a watch, he will be simply puzzled, for what? What is he going to do with it? A civilized man cannot live without a watch. It is almost impossible to live in a civilized society without a watch because the whole society runs according to the clock, even sometimes to ridiculous states.
I will tell you one anecdote.
There came a loud knock at the door just as the doctor had settled down for sleep. He got up and asked the man at the door, “What is it!”
“I have been bitten by a dog,” said the man.
“Well, don’t you know that my hours of consultation are between twelve and three?”
“Yes,” groaned the patient, “but the dog did not know and he bit me at twenty to four. So what am I supposed to do?”
Dogs don’t believe in clocks, and things can go to ridiculous ends.
Once you think in terms of the clock, you forget that this is just utilitarian. It is not real time.
At another doctor’s:
The sign behind the desk at the reception portion of the hospital said: Emergency Casualty Registrations. A man staggered in, bruised and muddy. He was plastered with blood, bandages, limping on both legs, clutching his arm to stem the flow of blood. He crawled to the desk and groaned, “Doctor, doctor.”
The receptionist asked, “Have you an appointment, sir?”
Thus can happen here in this place too; it can happen at Sheela’s desk.
Once the chronological time is taken too seriously, then one forgets everything else. The whole West is obsessed with time too much. Everything has to be done “at the time.”