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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5490/the-scarcity-of-time/

The Scarcity of Time

August 19, 2006 by

In the comments to this post on time preference, I pointed to a confusion in Ayn Rand’s use of the example of “an immortal, indestructible robot” to show that only “life” makes the concept of “value” possible. Her basic idea was that an immortal, indestructible robot “would not be able to have any values; it would have nothing to gain or to lose; It could not regard anything as for or against it, as serving or threatening its welfare, as fulfilling or frustrating its interests. It could have no interests and no goals.”

The problem here, as I see it, is the assumption that if you are immortal, then you would necessarily know this to be the case. The argument seems to rely not so much on being immortal, but in believing you are immortal. Suppose A has secretly been granted immortality, but he does not know it. Wouldn’t he have values still, in Rand’s paradigm? And what about mortal A who delusionally believes he is immortal? According to Rand, he would have no values (but this seems to be belied by experience–both insane, and sane, people, who believe in a version of immortality nevertheless seem to have values, even in Rand’s loose sense; and they certainly demonstrate that they value things, when they act).

Re-reading Hoppe’s A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism today, as is my wont, I notice Hoppe argues (p. 9) that one reason acting necessarily imposes costs is that we only have one body so can only do one thing a time with it. Regarding time, he notes:

And I would be restrained by scarcity in another respect as well: as long as this scarce resource “body” is not indestructible
and is not equipped with eternal health and energy, but rather is an organism with only a limited life span, time is scarce, too. The time used up in pursuing goal A reduces the time left to pursue other goals.

Notice the similarity to the indestructible robot idea above. In this case, I think Hoppe is correct that our lives are finite and “The time used up in pursuing goal A reduces the time left to pursue other goals”, which means that time is, indeed, scarce. This is one factor that enters into our decisions as real, live acting humans in the real world of time scarcity.

It seems to me that this is not only because our bodies are “not indestructible,” but also because someone could never, even in principle, know that his body was indestructible. For even if one somehow were magically given immortality and lived from day to day unchanging for thousands of years, how could one be sure that this would last forever? So it seem to me that even if a person was truly immortal and indestructible, time would be scarce for him, since he would not know he was immortal.

Conversely, this would imply that religious people who claim to believe they will live forever in the afterlife either do not view time as scarce, or that they do not really believe what they claim to.

In this connection, see also Mises’s comments on how the concept of action would apply to God:

Scholastic philosophers and theologians … conceived an absolute and perfect being, unchangeable, omnipotent, and omniscient, and yet planning and acting, aiming at ends and employing means for the attainment of these ends. But action can only be imputed to a discontented being, and repeated action only to a being who lacks the power to remove his uneasiness once and for all at one stroke. An acting being is discontented and therefore not almighty. If he were contented, he would not act, and if he were almighty, he would have long since radically removed his discontent. For an all-powerful being there is no pressure to choose between various states of uneasiness; he is not under the necessity of acquiescing in the lesser evil. Omnipotence would mean the power to achieve everything and to enjoy full satisfaction without being restrained by any limitations. But this is incompatible with the very concept of action. … The paradoxes are insoluble. Has the almighty being the power to achieve something which is immune to his later interference? If he has this power, then there are limits to his might and he is no longer almighty; if he lacks this power, he is by virtue of this fact alone not almighty. [emphasis added]

(See also the discussion of the theological implications of Mises’s views here and here.)

{ 26 comments }

gmlk August 20, 2006 at 1:42 am

I think that even for someone immortal time will have value, every day is limited and time today is scarce however you spend it. That someone is given immortality does not imply that they are also given patience.

Imagine a world full of healthy people who live forever. In time they will all become rich, some more then others but no-one will be poor anymore. Experience will over time eliminatie bad choices. They will still have to live life one day at a time.

Mater can only be owned, not shared. There is no meaningful way to share stuff made from atoms. Time can be shared, but is ‘consumed’ in the process; You can not live the same seconds twice.

Information can be shared without out loosing it and used without consuming it. Therefore I don’t think immortal beings would give much value to ‘intellectual property’.

Manuel Lora August 20, 2006 at 6:40 am

I’m wondering what would follow if we had, as Stephan points out, a person who is immortal and was pretty sure he was immortal. Still, here, would there not be some sort of time scarcity in every action that he would perform? Surely whatever actions he first does could be interpreted as being more important than those he would leave for later?

gmlk August 20, 2006 at 7:21 am

Being almighty could just mean that there is nothing outside your power. However this would not automatically mean that you could reach every goal. Some things you just can’t do for yourself. An almighty being will most likely value those experiences which are outside his direct power.

Consider experiences like being loved by others out of their own free will? Having friends that care about how you feel and who will defend you when people speak ill of you? Having friends is very valuable, especially for someone who, literally, already has everything else.

Manuel August 20, 2006 at 7:48 am

I did not mean almighty, just someone who does not die, as mentioned above so it’s not about power but what to do first, since you literally have as much time as you want to do things. It seems that you would still have to prioritize and would want things sooner than later.

ddmoit August 20, 2006 at 9:16 am

I’m sure that Rothbard would point out that present time and time in the future are two entirely different economic goods. Even for an immortal, present time is scarce. Choosing to spend it one way preclude you from spending it in another.

Stephan Kinsella August 20, 2006 at 9:33 am

Lora: “would there not be some sort of time scarcity in every action that he would perform? Surely whatever actions he first does could be interpreted as being more important than those he would leave for later?”

ddmoit: “I’m sure that Rothbard would point out that present time and time in the future are two entirely different economic goods. Even for an immortal, present time is scarce. Choosing to spend it one way preclude you from spending it in another.”

Sure, and Hoppe makes this point too. But I think there are two different points about time. First, that you can only do some things now, as opposed to in the future. This is the case even if you were somehow immortal. But the other point was that your total stock of time is limited, so that if you choose to, say, go hot-air ballooning, you use up 1/xth of your life and now may not be able to go climbing Mt. Everest (before you die), etc.

In fact he says:

As a matter of fact, as long as a person acts,3 i.e., as long as a person intentionally tries to change a state of affairs that is subjectively perceived and evaluated as less satisfactory into a state that appears more rewarding, this action necessarily involves a choice regarding the use of this person’s body. And choosing, preferring one thing or state over another, evidently implies that not everything, not all possible pleasures or satisfactions, can be had at one and the same time, but rather that something considered less valuable must be given up in order to attain something else considered to be more valuable.4 Thus choosing always implies the incurrence of costs: foregoing possible enjoyments because the means needed to attain them are scarce and are bound up in some alternative use which promises returns valued more highly than the opportunities
forfeited.5 Even in the Garden of Eden I could not simultaneously eat an apple, smoke a cigarette, have a drink, climb up a tree, read a book, build a house, play with my cat, drive a car, etc. I would have to make choices and could do things only sequentially. And this would be so because there is only one body that I can
use to do these things and enjoy the satisfaction derived from doing them. I do not have a superabundance of
bodies which would allow me to enjoy all possible satisfactions simultaneously, in one single bliss.

So here he talking about time-scarcity regarding doing things now as opposed to later–this applies even to immortals. But he goes on:

And I would be restrained by scarcity in another respect as well: as long as this scarce resource “body” is not indestructible and is not equipped with eternal health and energy, but rather is an organism with only a limited life span, time is scarce, too. The time used up in pursuing goal A reduces the time left to pursue other goals. And the longer it takes to reach a desired result, the higher the costs involved in waiting will be, and the higher the expected satisfaction must be in order to justify these costs.

So if one has a finite lifespan (and knows this?) then this is also a type of scarcity, but one having to do with the sum total of time one has available to “do things” in one’s life; this seems to me to be subtly different from the insight that because we only have one finite body, we can only do some things now as opposed to later.

Neal August 20, 2006 at 10:02 am

One of the many reasons I defected from Christianity was the problem of a promised eternal, after-life. By believing in this promise, not only was I taking a leap of faith, but I was, more importantly, severely devaluing the time I knew I had: the non-immortal life, if you will. The reason is obvious; as a non-believer, my time is almost infinitely more scarce, and therefore, more valuable than as a believer. I first had this revaluation when a Christian friend said to me, “I just can’t believe this [life] is all there is.” It’s exceedingly difficult to enjoy your known life if you believe such a thing as an eternal after-life.

So we have the self-contradictory Christian who believes in eternal life yet lives out a day-to-day existence as a non-immortal human being. If he truly believed immortality as a given upon death, given the choice, would he continue living a non-immortal life when he could relatively costlessly trade it for an eternal life?

Though this is only one of many reasons to pass on Christianity, the problem of eternity is serious, and often overlooked.

Excellent post.

David C August 20, 2006 at 11:10 am

Philosophically, an indestuctable being would have a certain nature. For example, if a little girl fell in the river – would he not care and ignore it, or would he jump in and get her. The being itself has nothing to loose or gain either way so it would really all boil down to that beings nature. Ann assumed a non caring nature, and that what motivates us is our desires, but the truth is that an assumption either way is equally justified. Her observation also doesn’t match up with reality – like when people run into a burning building building to save anothers live with no concern to their own. When ever the news reports a natural disaster, you see thousands of incidents like this all the time.

At that point, a bliever in God might ask. When a little girl falls in the river – why doesn’t God jump in and pull her out. To which one might answer, if the girl drowns in the river it’s not a loss to God, and also God may have other natures (like a rational universe) that He will not change (harm from breaking it would be far greater). When defining God’s nature it must be judged from a persepctive of what’s right and wrong to God nature and not from a perspective of what’s right and wrong in terms of peoples experiances because otherwise it would amount to God pampering and babying people which would almost certainly end up being untrue to His nature.

IMHO, God’s nature boils down to three things. 1) Existence is rational (implies scientific method), 2) Existence is non deterministic (implies free will) 3) Existence is biased toward peoples best interests (meaning people are baised toward good behavior)

Bob August 20, 2006 at 11:33 am

The Argentine writer Borges posits somewhere that man’s fetish with speed is based on his mortality. If men were immortal, he says, it would make no difference how long it took to get to New York City.

Whether it took 3 hours or 300 years, nothing, in terms of time, is lost; to an immortal, there would still be an infinite amount of time left. In either case, the amount of time remaining after the trip would be the same — infinite.

If so, then the question of knowing or not knowing if one is immortal can be looked at backwards, from the cost perspective. If one acts as if time is a cost, one is not immortal; however, if one acts as if there is no cost in time then one is immortal, or, at least, acts as if one were immortal.
o

quasibill August 20, 2006 at 12:39 pm

Seems to me that all this is only true if every other resource in the universe were immortal and indestructable also. Otherwise, the present time I spend with my mortal cat is scarce, even if I know I’m immortal. Ditto the ripe tomato on the vine in my garden – it won’t be edible forever (even assuming one only eats for the pleasure of the taste sensation).

As long as there are unique resources that are limited in time, time will be scarce.

Curt Howland August 20, 2006 at 1:14 pm

Quasi, in the extreme, that also applies to the lifespan of the universe (or at lest what of it is experienced by us). The universe will end, therefore time is not infinite even for an absolutely immortal being.

kentuckyliz August 20, 2006 at 3:22 pm

Existence as an immortal robot sounds really boring and devoid of meaning. I never liked Ayn Rand’s stories; perhaps it’s because her characters were immortal robots and therefore did not share our nature. They didn’t ever seem human to me. I could never get very far in any of her writings.

Perhaps the length and ease of modern life is why so many modern people feel deeply bored, depressed, and existentially empty?

Who said immortal robots would necessarily be happy?

Paul Edwards August 20, 2006 at 9:27 pm

Stephan,

Great observation:

“how could one be sure that this would last forever? So it seem to me that even if a person was truly immortal and indestructible, time would be scarce for him, since he would not know he was immortal.”

But what does anyone really know? It is not what we know, but what we think we know that is all that is important in determining how we act. We think we know tomorrow will come, and indeed it seems the more days that pass by, the more we are convinced it is true and will continue to be true. We see people get old and die, so the older we get, the more convinced we are that we ourselves will get old and die. Our actions are contingent only on what we think we know and an immortal would most likely think he knows he is immortal. Or on what basis would he think otherwise?

On the other hand, I agree that time is nevertheless scarce even for the immortal in the sense that he would still prefer a good sooner than later and there is always a preference that must be expressed of what he prefers to act on now to achieve the end sooner over what end he is willing to forgo until later.

This also answers why a true spiritual believer in the after life is not inconsistent in acting as if time is scarce. He, being human, like the immortal, still prefers a good sooner than later and will express this preference in his actions.

But i think it is a great observation that there is time preference and scarcity even for an immortal, and this perception of time scarcity is compounded when, being mortal, you know that time spent on pursuit X means literally less available to spend on pursuit Y.

ktibuk August 21, 2006 at 6:08 am

Actually time is at the root of every scarcity. Or every kind of scarcity boils down to the scarcity of time.

As we know energy and matter can not be destroyed. Everything can be changed to everything else, since every matter is composed of same basic elements.

You can change a car into something you eat. ie.

The only thing that stands in the way of changing something into something else, or changing some thing less valuable to something more valuable, is time.

Knowledge and technology is alsı implied in time since you need time to learn the technology.

Also saving and using savings as capital, thus improving productivity meaning using less time to produce, is a way of saving “time itself”.

Imagine you had the choice of actuallu saving 4 hours everyday. And using it in the future.

Economic savings, and turning the savings into capital just does that.

I am kind of surprised why praxeology and economics doesnt dwell into this “time” thing more.

Vince Daliessio August 21, 2006 at 12:04 pm

Neal said;

“It’s exceedingly difficult to enjoy your known life if you believe such a thing as an eternal after-life.”

Why is that necessarily so? I for one don’t have any problem enjoying my present life, while still hoping for some kind of elevated existence after. As long as I abstain from harming others, I can have my cake and eat it too, unless harming others is a requirement for my present happiness.

Hoppe’s formulation in fact seems to leave open the possibility of a crator having at once created exactly the universe he desired. Whether one believes in a creator or not, this still works.

Neal August 21, 2006 at 2:07 pm

Vince,

Hoping for an after-life and believing one actually exists are not one in the same. If you believe an eternal after-life exists like you believe you must drink water to survive (the extent of belief), the present life as a fraction is effectively a 1/infinity. Without scarcity, the time you have is diminished to nothing-ness. Thus, I can only conclude that there are very few who fully believe in an after-life because if they did (fully believe), they would simply transition to immortality now, rather than later.

Paul Edwards August 21, 2006 at 3:11 pm

Neal,

“Hoping for an after-life and believing one actually exists are not one in the same.”

Check.

“If you believe an eternal after-life exists like you believe you must drink water to survive (the extent of belief), the present life as a fraction is effectively a 1/infinity.”

Check. Similarly, in our youth, we often have an unrealistically elevated impression of both our immortality and invincibility. Yet at the same time, we often display a higher time-preference in those stages of life than later in life even though as we age, our awareness of our finite time on this planet becomes more acute. So it seems it is often the case that time preference is not lessened just because we think we have a lot of time to expend on anything and everything.

“Without scarcity [of time], the time you have is diminished to nothing-ness.”

Hardly. As in our youth, when our future seems to us limitless yet our every moment of existence can be filled with great anticipation of the thrills and entertainment we might experience. Human nature is not consistent with your characterization of it.

“Thus, I can only conclude that there are very few who fully believe in an after-life because if they did (fully believe), they would simply transition to immortality now, rather than later.”

Your conclusion may well be correct, but the logic you apply to arrive at it doesn’t make any sense. You are suggesting that people who believe in an after-life believe also that they have a choice to transition to immortality now or whenever they wish. That is a very odd and unusual suggestion. I doubt it is a very commonly held view, given the very common frowning upon suicide that most religions seem to do. Perhaps this is part of your qualm with Christianity: your failure to grasp some of the more fundamental features of it.

Michael August 21, 2006 at 5:48 pm

When we are young
Wandering the face of the Earth
Wondering what our dreams might be worth
Learning that we’re only immortal
For a limited time

We travel on the road to adventure
On a desert highway straight to the heart of the sun
Like lovers and hereos, and the restless part of everyone
We’re only at home when we’re on the run
On the run…

Jeff K August 22, 2006 at 11:23 am

I could be all wet on this, and I’m not necessarily espousing this view, but …

I think the question of one knowing about one’s own mortality or lack thereof has different implications for an objective view of values, as Rand put forth, as opposed to the subjective view put forth by the Austrian School. Thus, the value to one’s life would be based on the actual facts of reality, rather than on the possibily flawed knowledge of those facts by the valuer. In her view, I suspect, arriving at the “right values” (i.e., those which uphold man’s life) is an intellectual pursuit, and that one can err and arrive at the “wrong values.” As I recall, she seemed to regard the wreckless pursuit of short term or flawed values as “whim worshipping.”

Like I say, my understanding might be off the mark, but to me that seems to follow from what I’ve read about the Objectivism.

gene berman August 24, 2006 at 8:10 am

For humans (acting beings), the category “time” does not arise from mortality, though perception of mortality may influence behavior (acting).

Time is simply that quality of existence which requires choice: the two are simply differing views of the same thing (and I believe Manuel Lora, in his above comment, makes a similar recognition). In choosing, we distinguish only between realizing a value “NOW” or “LATER, maybe NEVER.” And, since quantification enters into our valuational process, we have devised “time” in order to enable quantification of various periods of “LATER, maybe NEVER.”

I am not proposing that time is not a physical reality independent of our perception–only that our awareness of time–whatever it “is”– arises from, and is the same as, an existence involving choice. In this respect, it is inextricably bound with the concept of “free will,” which must be “real” for us, whether it is or is not in some accord with ultimate physical reality.

Neal August 29, 2006 at 12:12 pm

Paul,

“Hardly. As in our youth, when our future seems to us limitless yet our every moment of existence can be filled with great anticipation of the thrills and entertainment we might experience. Human nature is not consistent with your characterization of it.”

Actually, I think my characterization of human nature is extremely accurate. Look at the man who just found out he has six months to live – how does his life change? Aging, itself, clarifies our perception and understanding of time scarcity. Though youth are clearly the least knowledgeable about time scarcity, you’ll find few kids who don’t relish in summer vacations or procrastinate on homework assignments. Anticipation of future events does not imply a lack of time scarcity. In fact, I’d say that anxiety over future events is indicative of the scarcity of time.

“You are suggesting that people who believe in an after-life believe also that they have a choice to transition to immortality now or whenever they wish. That is a very odd and unusual suggestion. I doubt it is a very commonly held view, given the very common frowning upon suicide that most religions seem to do. Perhaps this is part of your qualm with Christianity: your failure to grasp some of the more fundamental features of it.”

Christians absolutely have a choice. The apostle Paul said in his letter to the Philippians (1:21), “To live is Christ but to die is gain.” This statement shows Paul’s preference for the after-life over the mortal life. He goes on to say, “But if I live on in the flesh, this will bring fruit from my work; yet I don’t make known what I will choose. But I am in a dilemma between the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” Paul even makes it known that he has a choice. I’m not sure how I’ve mischaracterized Christianity, commonly held Christian doctrine (i.e. to live is Christ …) or displayed that my ignorance about Christianity is related to my qualms with Christianity (I grew up a Christian under the tutelage of my dad, a Pastor and scholar who has a PhD in New Testament theology).

The argument is simple: Christians tout eternal life with God as the “prize” that awaits them on their death. Yet they live out lives (often failing to live anything close to a Christ-like example) with a blatant paradigm of time scarcity. The two positions are incompatible.

Paul Edwards August 29, 2006 at 1:49 pm

Neal,

“Christians absolutely have a choice. The apostle Paul said in his letter to the Philippians (1:21), “To live is Christ but to die is gain.” This statement shows Paul’s preference for the after-life over the mortal life.”

I don’t get why you think Paul’s statement shows he preferred the after life at that moment to remain in his mortal life. Wasn’t it your contention that those who did, would immediately exercise their option and enter into this after-life sooner rather than later? The fact that Paul was alive to make any statement at all showed Paul’s preference for being alive even if just to follow God’s will and to make such statements to his congregation.

“He goes on to say, “But if I live on in the flesh, this will bring fruit from my work; yet I don’t make known what I will choose. But I am in a dilemma between the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.”"

Well, his being alive and making statements reveals a little something about his choice up till then at least.

“Paul even makes it known that he has a choice.”

I am aware that people on their last leg can make a conscious choice they aren’t going to live anymore. My own grandfather who wasn’t enjoying life due to old age chose not to eat anymore and died soon after. I don’t think Paul is telling his entire congregation they have the option to just stop eating and lay down and die if they prefer to. Is that your contention?

“I’m not sure how I’ve mischaracterized Christianity, commonly held Christian doctrine (i.e. to live is Christ …) or displayed that my ignorance about Christianity is related to my qualms with Christianity (I grew up a Christian under the tutelage of my dad, a Pastor and scholar who has a PhD in New Testament theology).”

I probably just do not understand you correctly. It just sounded to me as if you were saying that Christians who are knowledgeable of the truth know it is preferable to die early and that they have been given the ok by God to lay down and die any time they feel the inclination. Is that what you believe? Is that what your father also believes? His congregation? If they do, then i understand the difficulty you would have with Christianity, but it makes me wonder about the mortality rate of your father’s congregation as well.

Neal August 29, 2006 at 3:42 pm

Perhaps we are going about this discussion the wrong way. If nothing else, the point regarding the importance of time scarcity and the problem of belief in an after-life could be better argued.

Paul makes clear that his choice to continue living was made due to his contention that he should continue on “in the flesh” to propagate the word of God (I assume that’s what he means by “bring fruit from my work”). He does this despite making it clear that he would rather be with Christ (via dying and afterlife). Paul is clearly struggling with the problem we are dealing with right here: what’s the purpose of living on Earth if you have a greater life with Christ waiting for you on your death?

Paul’s answer to this was to stay alive to serve God. I don’t see many Christians struggling with Paul’s dilemma, a dilemma that is a natural extension of the existence of an after-life.

I don’t think the Bible ever says, “Kill yourself if you really believe because then you can be with God and live forever.” However, the Bible doesn’t make clear why you shouldn’t do just that given the promised prize of a better life in heaven.

Bringing back a point I made earlier, it is the scarcity of time that makes life valuable. The sound knowledge of an assured eternal life in what the Bible says is a fundamentally better place diminishes the value of earthly life. This conclusion, as I’ve noted before, seems unavoidable: even Paul picked up on it, in some shape or form. The problem of a diminished earthly life leads to an important problem for Christian believers. Here are two ways to frame it:

  1. Why would God grant a human being a finite life only to later tell him that this finite life will be replaced with an eternal, much more joyful life despite knowing that making man aware of this eternal after-life would result in dissatisfaction with his fleshly, finite existence? It seems kinda mean-spirited to me.
  2. If God created man within time, which is to say, with time scarcity, whereby the very existence of time scarcity makes man’s earthly life valuable and important, why make any promise of the removal of time scarcity upon death? The scarcity of time is the common denominator of human beings: if you’re wealthy or poor, your time on earth is limited. Why diminish the value of this time by assuring future eternal life? It’s tantamount to God saying, “Listen. The life I gave you here on earth is mediocre to what you’ll get when you die, which is an eternal life with me in heaven. However, the only way you’ll know that what I’m telling you is true is by ending your life here on earth, which you shouldn’t do on purpose, by the way. Just try and enjoy your earthly life, don’t sin, tell others about my love, and rest assured you’ll be rewarded on your death with another, better life.” Again, it just seems mean-spirited (and arbitrary).

To use another analogy, imagine an audition. In preparing for the audition, the performer studies incredibly hard and is really anxious about the outcome. The night before the audition, the person finds out that the audition is a moot point: he’s assured success. Will the auditioner do the job he would have done had the audition mattered? Even if the player performs slightly less well than if it had been “the real thing”, it’s clear that this knowledge has diminished the quality and value of his audition.

Telling human beings about an eternal after-life does exactly the same thing. It is nonsensical. So why would God do such a thing?

Paul Edwards August 29, 2006 at 6:04 pm

Neal,

Your post indicates to me you’ve given this some pretty serious thought after all. More than i have, so i can’t argue with you.

I used to be more critical of how God did things than i am now, until i read the book of Job. And that ended that. Anyways, there seems to be substance to what you are saying, i’ll give you that.

B3owulf August 27, 2009 at 11:37 pm

Neal,
I would like to make it known that this is not an argument against you since i believe you have some very interesting theories. However, i would like some clarification on a few points that continue to nag at the back of my consciousness.

First is that since any notion of heaven or an eternal life is merely speculation (all that is said is that we will be in the eternal presence of God) humans cannot know whether their eternal life will be anything close to the finite life we are all experiencing. Due to this, couldn’t it be readily assumed that many of the wonders that we enjoy during this life will not be present during the eternal life? For example: the love of another human being. If in the eternal life, the reward, we are fully captivated by God and can simply praise him for an eternity, would we ever feel attraction towards another? Paul makes it clear that as a devout follower of the lord he is ready and willing to spend eternity praising his God, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he came to this readiness the moment he realized the full extent of his reward. I believe that God gave humans this finite existence to appreciate his creations and have rule over them (maybe as a precursor for what’s to come?) and at the end of that experience be ready to glorify God without end.

I believe that it is this unknown that helps followers to fear God. Humans have an everlasting fear of the unknown (fear of the dark, foreign lands, even foreign foods). So now not only do they have a time scarcity caused by their finite life, but also the knowledge that when they leave this life, they have no idea what to expect. In conclusion this realization of an eternal life after this finite one causes an immediate appreciation for the known, fairly predictable finite life. This along with the now empowered fear of God greatly increasing the value of this life.

Or so i believe, I’m very interested in any feedback you might have to offer.

Gunnar Rundgren March 24, 2011 at 5:31 am

Philosophers, politicians and economists have all given voice to the idea that once we have been freed from destitution and poverty, through the blessings of industrialisation, we would get time to spend for art, spiritual development, games and exploring the deeper meaning of the concept of freedom. But this didn’t materialise. Already 1969, economist, and later trade minister of Sweden, Staffan Burenstam Linder (1970) described in The Harried Leisure Class how consumers in high income countries have become more stressed and restless in their efforts to increase productivity of their leisure time. The productivity of work has increased tremendously through mechanisation and use of external energy. This creates a corresponding pressure on our time off to also be more “productive”, influencing both household work and pure leisure. That we have more money to dispose of doesn’t alleviate the situation, rather the contrary, as all that money needs to find its use. read more on http://gardenearth.blogspot.com/2011/03/economic-growth-leads-to-scarcity-of.html

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