Linear Time Structure of the Western World

1448 Words6 Pages
Thanks to the linear time structure of the western world, time is no longer infinite. People of our culture constantly have to stress over rushing to arrive at an appointment on time, turning in an assignment by a particular day, or having a prepared meal on the table at 5 o’clock on the dot. As days are filled with schedules dictated by time, the time itself just seems to slip away. This passing of linear time creates the worry that life is too short and this generates the concern about death, especially about what happens when one dies. In the western world, we as a people are highly conscious of milestones measuring passing time as these marks signal the approach of the enigmatic death and remind us that our time is limited. Before…show more content…
Aging is a potent sign that time is indeed continuing and the western culture, in our obsession to halt time, places great importance on the attempt to reverse this curse. One has to merely walk down a beauty aisle in Wal Mart or flip through a magazine to understand the money, time, and dedication the western culture puts into products to make one appear younger. J. Alfred Prufrock in T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” would be a perfect target for these products -- he is weary of his aging, worrying that the women will notice “his hair is growing thin” (Eliot 41) and he mournfully repeats that “he grow[s] old” (Eliot 120). Signs of aging give one no choice but to admit to the fact that time is passing. This causes us to become self-conscious of these signs as they are red flags of the dwindling time we have left. Clarissa Dalloway displays this self-consciousness in Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs. Dalloway. When she sees her ex for the first time in many years, one particular question dominates her thoughts: “What would he think, she wondered... that she had grown older?” (Woolf 36). In the western culture, it appears to be human nature to feel weary of growing old as this is a sign that no one can stop time. We are concerned that as time roars ahead, people get left in the dust to age and eventually die. As time passes and people age, death approaches. Being so mysterious, this coming stimulates questions about what
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