This is in response to Alan Lightman’s scholarly lecture about his book “Einstein’s Dreams,” which took place Nov. 20 at West High School.
The ancient Greek view of time involved the concepts of Chronos and Kairos. Chronos is outward, physical, quantitative time. It measures reality in terms of duration and sequence of experience. Kairos, in contrast, is inward, spiritual, qualitative time. It measures reality in terms of intensity and depth of experience. The manifestations of Chronos – duration, past, present, future – have no meaning in Kairos. Kairos is only the eternal present.
Just as our outward state determines our perception of Chronos (Einstein’s Theory of Relativity), so our inward state determines our perception of Kairos. It is Kairos that people state they encounter in near-death experiences. Higher dimensions incorporate all that is within lower dimensions, so that which occurs sequentially in a lower dimension occurs simultaneously in a higher one. Kairos transcends Chronos.
Drawing upon the works of the Russian Orthodox mystic Nicholas Beryaev, Chronos is reality shattered into pieces of past, present and future. Time is broken eternity. Kairos, in contrast, is the unification of Chronos, the restoration of time into eternity. Eternity is not endless time. The end of time, Chronos, rather than occurring in the future, occurs on another plane, that of Kairos.
Thomas H. Morse, Alaska Pacific University physics faculty