In Time was a good one. It’s always a good sign of a great sci-fi thriller if you refer back to it a long time after you’ve seen it. Released in 2011, a whopping six years ago now and while it’s not perfection, the idea behind it is. I think the fact that Timberlake starred in it got people into the cinema but left with something else; a different reality that can change your whole outlook. If something can get you to think philosophically for even five minutes, it’s probably worth buying (or downloading it illegally online).

In Time: the movie

The whole movie revolves around the metaphor that time is money, or arguably, that the roles are reversed or replaced. The strange thing is that it might as well be true. It might as well be how our future might look or it perhaps already exists to a certain extent. This isn’t an article about a corrupted elite class and the working class that in turn suffer; I am not interested in preaching Marxism. Sure, you can walk out of there with a political perspective as a full-fledged communist but something more useful would be to take away the importance time plays in our existing philosophy.

Assumptions

We go about life, assuming that tomorrow is a given. Sure, from time to time we throw phrases around like ‘tomorrow may never be’ and ‘live for today’ but we rarely use it in its best context. We will use the phrase for staying out an hour later or deciding to have a cheeky Nandos during lunch rather than the salad in your backpack.

Live forever as long as we don’t do anything foolish? Doesn’t that scare you? That maybe you’ll never do anything foolish? Or courageous or anything worth a damn’-Sylvia Weiss, the female protagonist.

Hourglass

In Time in real life

When do you use time at its grandest definition when making major life decisions? When do you consider the fact that tomorrow isn’t a guarantee? Perhaps when asking someone out or travel around the globe? When do you actually decide to do something because you are frightened of regrets? Or that you might never get the time to rectify past mistakes?

Why do today what you can do in a century’-Sylvia.

It’s an exaggeration but it is our reality.

Application

Most of us don’t live like every day is our last merely because we’d spend all our money on the dumbest things like the most expensive caviar only to find it super gross. I also don’t recommend that you take it as if you’re literally going to die, but the lesson to take with you is to say the things you’ve always wanted to say to the people you want to say it to. Do the things that you always wanted to do but didn’t because of life’s restrictions and responsibilities. Don’t build a list of regrets because you believe there is always time to do it tomorrow.

Ultimately we find that the system of time equating to currency negatively impacts everyone and it is ever so beautifully summarised by Sylvia:

‘The poor die and the rich don’t live’.

We are in the most fortunate position of not being bogged down by either. We don’t get overly comfortable and life is not a guarantee whatsoever. But neither are we running out of time the way the characters do. You don’t know how much time you have (whether that’s a lot or little) and that’s a good thing.