"[The poet] Keats, I think, sensed man's need for the timeless. His Grecian urn is a 'foster-child of Silence and slow Time,' and it 'tease[s] us out of thought/As doth eternity.' It is surely the eternal that Keats aches for.

If, indeed, we all have a kind of appetite for eternity, we have allowed ourselves to be caught up in a society that frustrates our longing at every turn. Half our inventions are advertised to save time-- the washing machine, the fast car, the jet flight-- but for what? Never were people more harried by time: by watches, by time clocks, by precise schedules... There is, in fact, some truth in 'the good old days': no other civilization of the past was ever so harried by time.

And yet, why not? Time is our natural environment. We live in time as we live in the air we breathe. And we love the air-- who has not taken deep breathes of pure, fresh country air, just for the pleasure of it? How strange that we cannot love time. It spoils our loveliest moments. Nothing quite comes up to expectations because of it. We alone: animals, so far as we can see, are unaware of time, untroubled. Time is their natural environment. Why do we sense that it is not ours?

...It suggests that we were created for eternity. Not only are we harried by time, we seem unable, despite a thousand generations, even to get used to it. We are always amazed at it-- how fast it goes, how slowly it goes, how much of it is gone. Where, we cry has time gone? We aren't adapted to it, not at home in it. If that is so, it may appear as a proof, or at least a powerful suggestion, that eternity exists and is our home."

[Sheldon Vanauken, A Severe Mercy]

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