#129: Adding things without taking things away, and three ways to see time

One thought from me: On adding things without taking things away

It’s easy to add things.

New purchases, new opportunities, new projects, new commitments.

New friendships and new relationships are more difficult to add, or take longer, but still most of us are continually in the process of adding and building new relationships, whether that’s professional, personal or intimate.

There’s a phrase in software development: “scope creep”. It relates to how so much software development can go off course by the desire to add new things, so much that the original idea or vision is lost.

As humans, we are in one long series of cycles of birth and rebirth, growth and development, and decay or pruning.

But we can’t keep adding things without taking something away.

I’ve realised that if I keep adding and choose not to take something away, something will in the end be taken away from me anyway.

I’ve also realised that it’s better to make a tricky but voluntary choice about what to remove now, rather than go through a difficult but involuntary experience when something is forcibly removed later.

One thought from someone else: How the Ancient Greeks saw time

This one came to me for the first time during my most recent podcast interview, with Professor Carlos Moreno, who has devised the concept of the 15-minute city.

Prof Moreno explained his four motivations for the work that he does, and one of those is how life in cities (and, there’s an argument, for much of the rest of humanity too) has lost two of the three ways of seeing time as

He said:

In the ancient times, in particular for the Greeks, time was thought of in three ways.

● Chronos, of course, the linear time. One hour, two hours, 24 hours
● Kairos, the time of creativity, the time of new ideas, the time of inventivity
Aion, the time for my own spirituality, my intuition, myself and the cosmos, and my inner way

And I consider that in fact the modern way for building cities, we have lost the time. We have lost the creativity for time, the kairos, we have lost all the time for spirituality, the aion, because the only time that exists is the chronological time, one hour, two hours, 24 hours.

You can listen to the full podcast interview with Prof Carlos Moreno here (or on any of the regular podcast playing services: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or just by adding a new feed to your podcast app and searching for the Life Well Lived Podcast).

[My podcast dropped this week at almost the same time, and very coincidentally, as the latest podcast by the Irish economist David McWilliams, which is also about the 15-minute city and the future of cities. These two podcasts might go well as a pair. You can listen to the David McWilliams podcast on Apple Podcasts here.]

One question for you

Where in your life have you made commitments that it might be liberating to remove?


Quick update about Magnificent Irrelevance…

This is a new project. A shot in the dark with the aim of delivering something meaningful for a small but committed niche of people around the world.

Magnificent Irrelevance got a new homepage headline this week — Soul-searching sportswriting — and I really like where this is going. It feels right.

The project is called Magnificent Irrelevance, and you can find all about it here. or sign up for separate Friday updates on the development of that here.

Magnificent Irrelevance - Soul-searching sportswriting