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“I don’t have time for the future”

During a recent informal meeting with a business expert, in the context of a conversation about new community projects, this person told me "I don't have time for the future". And, with a kind smile and body expression, he ended the conversation.

The expression “I don't have time for the future” took me by surprise, because (without assuming for a moment I know what that means) it gave me the impression that the person who said it did not understand what he was really saying.

For example, is it really possible to "have" time in the same way that you “have” a car, or a house, or money in the bank? Certainly not, since time is not a “thing” we "control" or accumulate (unfortunately for us) as we do with strictly material elements designed for consumption or to facilitate consumption.

In addition, "not having time" generally means a life so busy (though not necessarily successful or happy) that it no longer leaves room for anything else, even for the future. But the paradox is that the future is where we will spend the rest of our life, regardless of the duration of that life.

Was this person saying he didn't have time for his own future life? He might not admit it, but that is what I thought was hiding behind his expression.

But if you don't have time for the future, why do you have time for? The only options are the past or the present. But the past already happened and, for that reason, it no longer exists, or it only exists as a memory. So, the only way to devote time to the past is to remember it or, in the worst case, trying to revive it or recreate it in the present.

Is the present then what fills our time so much that it leaves us no time for the future? But the present is a fleeting moment that immediately becomes the past. So how can we give time to something that as soon as we look at it ceases to be what it is?

Obviously, I do not think that the person with whom I spoke thought about having a philosophical debate about the essence of time or about the impact of temporality on humans (if one can really talk about "impact").

I think, however, that person was looking to express something more pragmatic: his future has no place for something other than the future that this person already had in mind. And that "future," which could best be described as a "perpetual continuity of the past," was then closed to any other alternative.

In short, "not having time for the future" seems to mean something like "being so caught up in everyday life that we see everything as 'things' and that we no longer see anything transcendental." If so, what we are saying is that we forget that humans, precisely because we are human, are possibility, project.

To be human is to be future.

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