The Greeks made a very clear distinction about time. I want to share with you the distinction because I think it is very useful and insightful.
In English – time means various things – but there is no clear difference between how this word is used.
The first and most common use of the word “time” in Greek was Chronos, which we still use in words like chronological and anachronism. It refers to clock time – time that can be measured – seconds, minutes, hours, years. Time that goes and cannot be retrieved – once it has gone, it has gone.
Chronos is quantitative.
Kairos is qualitative. It measures moments, not seconds. Further, it refers to the right moment, the opportune moment. The perfect moment. The world takes a breath, and in the pause before it exhales, fates can be changed.
The Greeks liked to personify just about everything, and you’re probably familiar with the personification of Chronos: just think of “old Father Time”. A weary, bent-backed old man with a long grey beard, carrying a scythe and an hourglass. His resemblance to the Grim Reaper is not accidental. Chronos, or Saturn to the Romans, is the stuff that kills you. It takes away everything you have and then it eats you too. Take a look at Francisco de Goya’s ‘Saturn Devouring His Son’, to the right. That’s Chronos in all his gruesome depravity.
Kairos, on the other hand, was a young man, lithe and handsome. Statues of him could be found all across the Greek peninsula, but the most famous stood in now-ruined Sikyon. It had the following epigram carved into it:
Who and whence was the sculptor? From Sikyon.
And his name? Lysippos.
And who are you? Time who subdues all things.
Why do you stand on tip-toe? I am ever running.
And why do you have a pair of wings on your feet? I fly with the wind.
And why do you hold a razor in your right hand? As a sign to men that I am sharper than any sharp edge.
And why does your hair hang over your face? For him who meets me to take me by the forelock.
And why, in Heaven’s name, is the back of your head bald? Because none whom I have once raced by on my winged feet will now, though he wishes it sore, take hold of me from behind.
Why did the artist fashion you? For your sake, stranger, and he set me up in the porch as a lesson.
From the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament: Chapter 3: Verses 1-15, which is frequently used at funeral services, it speaks to the Kairos of the situation – the spirituality side of life. This is why it is used in the situation. It will be familiar…
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot,
A time to kill and a time to heal,
A time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
A time to search and a time to give up,
A time to keep and a time to throw away,
A time to tear and a time to mend,
A time to be silent and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate,
A time for war and a time for peace.
and so on.”
In the first Greek translations of the Bible (originally from the Sanskrit), each use of the word ‘time’ in the above passage is rendered as kairos, not chronos. This means – “you are ready, the timing is now perfect to take action.”
As you have already be drawn to this website, this page post or this whole conversation, I would suggest that Kairos is saying to your conscious (or sub-conscious) that it is TIME to take action!
It is not a coincidence that you are here reading this website!
You are here because on some level or another you are ready.
Ready to take control of your own life. Ready to clear the clutter. Ready to have the conversations that you have been putting off. Ready to stop procrastinating and “thinking about” things and turning it into action. Ready to transform your life into what you want, not put up with what you have but that no longer serves you.
In another way – it is (time) Kairos to take it on, time to get the help and support that you need to get this job done and not get stopped but take on what you know is the right thing to do
The (time) Chronos to get stopped by the excuses which are time (tick tock) or the practical challenges and aspects of how you can’t do this. This is our most common, everyday thinking. We can also see that clock running out and are never be able to get things completed and accomplished!
Chronos leads to “death” or restriction, stultifying excuses, inaction, laziness, depression and “I can’t”.
Do you want more of this Chronos?!
I am guessing the answer was a “No” to the question?!
OK – so getting your life and affairs organised is going to take something – and its NOT just time (Chronos).
Getting organised in your life is going to take:
Kairos + action + support (and some time)
= Result which you desire in an area of life that is important to you.
Can you see though that it is the Kairos which makes the difference ? It gives you the drive and ambition and consistent actions to get the task completed?
This is why Great Guidelines was created… It is the right TIME for you!
Time to start what you know needs to be addressed complete before evil Chronos takes the opportunity away!
To Find out more about these unique courses and structures to help you and your family get life organised before its too late – follow this link and choose whatever course you are drawn to. Let your spiritual / instinctive side guide you!
If you found this blog post was useful please make a comment below and what new actions you will take as a result.
Also – if you think your friends or family would like to understand this concept of TIME plays out – please SHARE generously – either by email or by the social media buttons. Thank you. Gayle
© Great Guidelines for Later Life 2017. All Rights Reserved.
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
Gayle Palmer, the creator of Great Guidelines for Later Life - The world’s most thorough, comprehensive and supportive, one-stop resource for all seniors and their families who are ready to get their lives in order before they die AND help them to live out their days having a life they love, clear in the knowledge that they have done everything they need to. She has developed various courses, programmes and workshops for seniors and their families to work through, leaving no stone un-turned.
Gayle’s experience of over 25 years as an Osteopath, treating thousands of people and helping them through similar worries and concerns only strengthens her knowledge and commitment to you too. Her expertise is not only in the physical realm but emotional, mental and spiritual too. All Rights are Reserved.