For some time now, I have had this fear that I am running out of time; that life is passing me by and I am squandering my existence. And what do you do when such fears plague you? You discuss it on a group WhatsApp where your friends rally behind you and tell you all the amazing goals you have achieved. They aren’t wrong; by no means are they wrong yet I would find myself chasing that elusive ‘success story’ that would validate my existence.

While I was reading ‘The Time Keeper’ by Mitch Albom, I came across this line, “Man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.”

It was like someone had put into words exactly what I was feeling. I didn’t want to feel like I didn’t have enough time. I didn’t want to feel that no matter what I achieved it was all useless because it wasn’t big enough. I wanted desperately to believe that “it is never too late or too soon. It is when it is supposed to be.”

None of it made sense to me until I read about:

  • hora (seasonality, being on time, the perfect time),
  • Hera (the goddess of seasonality) and
  • kleos (glory by way of song)

while taking this HarvardX online course on edX on the ‘Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours.’

The professor explained that one of the main characteristics of the hero is being ‘not on time’ while he is alive. Hera ensures that the hero is ‘not on time’ right from his birth and the hero spends a lifetime trying to ‘right’ that ‘wrong’ of being not ‘on time.’

The professor further goes on to explain that it is a hero’s not ‘being on time’ that allows him to perform his labours. His labours (participating in wars, athletic events, etc.) let him win accolades that ultimately lead to his glory song (kleos) that is unwilting (aphthiton).

Not until the final moment of a hero’s death is he ‘on time.’

This alternative understanding of time and what it means to be running out of time and achieving everything within a time frame has led me to believe that factoring in ‘time’ for your achievements is a waste of time. How can you trust time: it runs when you are excited but stops when you are scared? It hurries when you want it to stop but stops when you want it to hurry?

Even Achilles doesn’t achieve his ‘success story’ or in more appropriate terms ‘glory song’ until the final moment of his death! Certainly then I have enough ‘time’ to achieve my success story?

It is quite a liberating thought, if you ask me, to come to the understanding that you make your own time.


{Achilles} My mother Thetis, goddess with silver steps, tells me that I carry the burden of two different fated ways leading to the final moment [telos] of death. If I stay here and fight at the walls of the city of the Trojans, then my safe homecoming [nostos] will be destroyed for me, but I will have a glory [kleos] that is unwilting [aphthiton]. Whereas if I go back home, returning to the dear land of my forefathers, then it is my glory [kleos], genuine as it is, that will be destroyed for me, but my life force will then last me a long time, and the final moment [telos] of death will not be swift in catching up with me.

[Iliad 9, lines 410-416]

 

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5 thoughts on “Hora

  1. I like your blog Suchita. It is very calm and antique in its own way. Time has its own importance in our life. I also used to think that time is elapsing before my blog got its due share in blogosphere.

    Like

  2. Time doesn’t stop for any one and when you want to go by faster it seems its not even moving!Butt here’s nothing that time can’t heal.

    Like

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