The four conceptions of time given below in sequence will hopefully ease understanding.
1. Man’s conception of time as he views it from within his inner self—as he does now and which leads him to believe that “the past,” “the present,” and “the future” do exist for human beings and the rest of the contents of the universe.
2. Man’s conception of time as he views it from within his inner self, which has led him to believe that what human beings and the rest of the universe have is only “the present.” (Man’ growth since his birth until his death is constantly at “the present time.”)
3. Man’s conception of time as he views it from within both his inner and outer self, which eventually leads him to believe that human beings and the rest of the contents of the universe do not move from “time to time,” and that all they are subjected to is but “a change of condition.” It is only because he has memory that man feels that “the past condition,” “the present condition,” and “the future condition” do exist.
4. Man’s conception of time as he views it from his outer self, which eventually leads him to see the whole content of the universe, including his physique and brain, as being made up of the same elementary particles, i.e. sub-atomic particles that are “always present” in eternity without “time.” To him, any change that occurs to this universe is but a change in a particular configuration of the sub-atomic particles. As he sees it, man, although made up of elementary particles, also feels that he is “always present,” yet personally feels “the three conditions,” only because he has memory.
Apparently, being creatures destined to have memory, we inevitably have to adopt the third conception in order to foster a progressive mind. This will lead us to look at things more in terms of their “condition,” thus enabling us to have a clearer view of our selves and the universe as they really are.
As concerns the fourth concept of time, the universe, as we have repeatedly mentioned above, never knows such things as “the past condition,” “the future condition,” and even “the present condition.” Similarly, the universe never knows such a thing as a “change of condition,” because only man, being equipped with memory, can say that a particular condition is no longer as it was earlier. Please, therefore, note that the sole purpose of making so much mention above of the universe being permanently in “the present condition” is to ease the readers in their attempt to digest the whole idea of this book. As already explained earlier, there is simply no way by which we can define the phrase “the present condition,” and as thus all we could say here is that the basic matter of the universe is something that is “always present” in eternity.
If explanations about the word “time”—i.e. as derived from “condition”—requires that we go back to the source wherefrom man started to adopt the term, why then do we have to exaggerate things and make them so complicated? Now that we have known that “time” is derived from “condition,” do we or do we not have the ability to relate time—whenever any mention of time is made in our talks— to “condition”? Obviously we don’t! We have become so accustomed to “time” as it has been used for thousands of years that it wouldn’t be that easy for us to get ourselves to translate it into “condition,” unless we are given a strong and sound impetus to move in that direction. It is only by our awareness of the anomalies concerning time and understanding of the condition that we are actually experiencing shall we have the encouragement to look into “condition” whenever the issue of “time” is brought into question.
The exposition of this misconception of time here is by no means an attempt to change the meaning of “time” as is commonly used in our daily life and which has been explained in great detail in numerous scientific literatures and Holy Books. Rather it is meant to only add new meanings to the currently held concept, by which it is hoped that we shall be further encouraged to look back into condition, wherefrom the concept of time originated. Man being a creature destined to have memory, the only thing we can do about the concept of time here is to furnish it with “supplementary meanings,” for the purpose of further advancing human thoughts, civilization, and communications between people. This is understandable, because all what is expected of us by the exposition of this misconception of time is to take a retrospective look at the source wherefrom all those ideas about time have come.
Thus, despite our claim that there is no such thing as “the past condition,” we will, as human beings with memory, continue to use the third concept of time which, as already described above, has a leaning towards the point of view that the various conditions that affect our memory are present. All we will do is to look more into “condition” whenever the issue of “time” comes into question.