The Value of What Lasts: Exploring the Paradox of Time

Lucas Charbonnier

Lucas Charbonnier

Aug 28, 20233 min read

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The Value of What Lasts: Exploring the Paradox of Time

"Seul ce qui dure a-t-il de la valeur ?" This question has puzzled philosophers and thinkers throughout history, as they grappled with the concept of time and its impact on the value we assign to things and experiences. Whether it is the existence of objects and beings, the effects of our actions, or the lessons we learn from our experiences, nothing seems to escape the passage of time. Should we then solely focus on what lasts longer? While the enduring may hold inherent value, it is essential to acknowledge that the ephemeral can also possess its own unique worth.

One aspect that lends value to the ephemeral is the quest for intensity in existence. When something or someone is destined to disappear, its fleeting nature adds a sense of urgency and poignancy. The appreciation for the ephemeral is rooted in the uniqueness of that which is transient. We recognize that its temporality heightens its significance, making it all the more precious and cherished.

Additionally, embracing the ephemeral can bring about the benefits of change and forgetting. Friedrich Nietzsche argues that clinging to what endures, especially due to our attachment to its memory, can imprison us within the confines of time. This attachment to the past hinders our ability to live happily, as we become incapable of fully embracing the present. By standing "at the threshold of the moment," we liberate ourselves from the shackles of the enduring and open ourselves up to new creative possibilities.

However, it is crucial to appreciate the value of what endures as well. Søren Kierkegaard posits that the experience of love tests the endurance of value. Conjugal love, in particular, faces an even greater internal threat – the daily routine that can be "worse than death." The conjugal love that has transcended the realm of impossibility and settled into the stability of reality may lose some of its allure. Yet, the effort lies in recognizing that the love for one another is a constant and ever-renewing good. This effort, according to Kierkegaard, holds the meaning of a moral duty. We must find contentment in commitment, not because we lack alternatives, but because we continuously attribute value to what lasts.

Reflecting on the exploration of the value of both the ephemeral and the enduring, here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Embrace the present moment: Instead of dwelling on the past or fixating on what endures, focus on fully experiencing and appreciating the present. By doing so, you free yourself from the limitations of time and open yourself up to new opportunities and perspectives.
  • 2. Treasure the uniqueness of the transient: Recognize that the ephemeral carries its own distinct value. Whether it is an evanescent experience or a fleeting encounter, embrace its temporality and cherish the intensity it brings to your life.
  • 3. Cultivate enduring relationships: While the allure of novelty may be tempting, invest in relationships and commitments that withstand the test of time. Recognize the significance of love, friendship, and loyalty that endure, and actively work towards nurturing and sustaining them.

In conclusion, the value we assign to what lasts and what is ephemeral is a complex paradox. While the enduring may provide stability and a sense of continuity, the ephemeral holds its own unique worth in its temporality and intensity. By appreciating both aspects, embracing the present, treasuring the transient, and cultivating enduring relationships, we can navigate the intricate tapestry of time and find meaning in what lasts.

Resource:

  1. "Seul ce qui dure a-t-il de la valeur ?", https://www.annabac.com/revision-bac/seul-ce-qui-dure-t-il-de-la-valeur (Glasp)
  2. "🟢 Different Writing Styles | Learn Prompting: Your Guide to Communicating with AI", https://learnprompting.org/docs/basic_applications/writing_in_diff_voices (Glasp)

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