Consequences are our form of time travel; everywhere we arrive is a story about where we have been and what has brought us there, which is why the past always seems falsely innocent and better than it was.
These characters want the same thing I want when I stop scrolling to stare at a golden hour post, or when I walk slower in the long late light in my neighborhood at the end of June, convinced there is some greater meaning to this than beauty, convinced that the good light lasting past 8 p.m. means that no one I love is ever going to die. Maybe this time it really will just last forever, all the cruelties and losses of time grinding to a halt in the sun at the last bright low angle of the day.
But of course it doesn’t. Time doesn’t stop, even on the days when its passage is beautiful; essentially this is these three movies’s very obvious and very self-impressed thesis. Even when it feels like we are standing still, we are always moving too fast, sprinting away from the last thing that happened to us, from the things that mattered and that we meant to hold, as they recede already out of view.
Aside from the crazy making frustration that this temporal scarcity mindset incites, much like economic scarcity, temporal scarcity causes us to mortgage our future to cope with our present. We prioritize the certainty of the here and now in response to the real fear, stress, and anxiety we feel, leaving dreams of a possible future unrealized. With our world suffering from varying degrees of temporal scarcity, we risk losing the ability to imagine worlds and visions beyond our trying present.
Western canon describes time with linear frameworks. Time always marches forward with measured paces along a line. In temporality, many shapes and sequences of time emerge like circular or recursive.
“Online students think that I am part of the computer sometimes. They type in a question, and they expect the machine to type back an answer right away. But maybe I’m in the midst of my commute, or teaching my three-hour class. When they don’t get a reply for a few hours, they sometimes begin to panic, and send me repeat messages: ‘Professor, I haven’t gotten a reply yet!’"