Past, present, and future are one and the same.
NBC?s hit sitcom, The Good Place, introduced a new concept of time and space in its third season: Jeremy Bearimy.
?Things in the afterlife don?t happen while things are happening here, because while time on Earth moves in a straight line ? one thing happens, then the next, then the next ? time in the afterlife moves in a ?Jeremy Bearimy?.? ? Ted Danson, The Good Place.
Time in the afterlife the main characters inhabit doesn?t move in a linear sense but, rather, it doubles back and loops around enough to spell out a funny name in cursive. So, you get Jeremy Bearimy and the dot above the ?i? where Tuesdays, July?s, sometimes never?s, the moment when nothing?s, and never happen?s essentially happen.
Thankfully, we don?t live within the fictional universe of The Good Place nor does time really seem to happen in a ?Jeremy Bearimy? on Earth, both within the show and in reality.
However, this concept of explaining time and space as something other than a straightforward sequence of events isn?t anything groundbreaking either.
While it isn?t known if there really is a place where Tuesdays and sometimes never?s can coexist, time definitely isn?t so easily defined by past, present, and future.
It feels like it?s always moving forward. With every ticking of the clock and embarrassing remark that will permeate your thoughts for years to come, it feels like time can?t stop moving, chugging along like a well-oiled locomotive without any regard to any schedule besides its own. There definitely isn?t a way to take back the time you said ?thanks, you too? when a retail worker said ?hope you enjoy your purchase? and there really isn?t any way of looking ahead to see yourself do the same thing a week later.
However, as unalterable or unforeseeable as some events might seem, time doesn?t move from past to present to future so easily.
Instead, it might be more accurate to say it moves in a cycle in a state of eternal return.
Eternal return is a concept coined by philosopher Friedrich Nietzche that states that every action we have done or ever will do has been done before and will be done over and over again for all of eternity. Essentially, it states that our lives and the lives of everyone are just huge loops. If everything can happen at once, then everything is happening infinitely. There is no sense of past, present, and future with eternal return because there is no sequence of events, but rather an endless repetition that follows the same sequence every time. Time doesn?t move forward; it orbits infinitely.
Missing Jeremy Bearimy yet?
According to eternal return, existence occurs at every given moment. That means that all three indicators of time happen simultaneously. In being in the present, you are also in the past and the future. This kind of explanation also extends to who you are in past, present, and future.
There?s a fixation with finding yourself that teenagers face. It feels like there?s always a deadline or cutoff age to get it all together by. Most of us have no clue how to get from Point A to Point B, whether it?s going from September to June or an English blog assignment to the Forbes 400. Ask any of us who we think we really are and where we think we?re going in this life and watch the brain slow to a complete standstill. It?s hard to define yourself at this age and around this much change.
Eternal return dictates that you, in the present tense, are simultaneously all your past and future selves as well.
??Siddhartha?s previous lives were also not in the past, and his death and his return to Brahma are not in the future. Nothing was, nothing will be, everything has reality and presence?? (87). ? Herman Hesse, Siddhartha.
The person you were ten, five, or one year ago is the same as you reading this just as the person you will be in one, five, or ten years is. Everything is current and relevant to the sands of time and to you.
So, what do you do when you are all the past versions of yourself and the future version of yourself but still have no idea where to go?
Nietzche can?t help you; he died in 1900.
I can?t help you; moral philosophy gives me a headache.
The main takeaway from the concept of eternal return is to find solace in the past, present, and future.
You cannot change your past selves or the mistakes of the past since they are as much a part of yourself as your present person. What has happened has already happened and, according to eternal return, was determined to occur this way. The only thing to do is to try to move forward in this infinite loop. Furthermore, you are becoming your future self with every action you take which, admittedly, is simultaneously anxiety-inducing and exciting. However, this also means that you are working toward the future by just existing and, while eternal return can?t make the foggy question mark you envision when you think about the future disappear, according to the principle, you will find your way to your fated destination with time.
Relax and enjoy the gift of the present. Whether it?s hanging out in the dot of ?i? or sleeping in on a Friday, time and space, most assuredly, can wait for you to figure it all out.