"The tension between “screen time” and “real-world” time that these features help structure echoes historian Mircea Eliade’s framework of “the sacred and the profane.” Eliade argues that historically, members of religion-dominated premodern societies split their experience of life and of time into those two discrete categories. According to Eliade, sacred time is nonlinear. It is repeatable and cyclical; it doesn’t end or change or become exhausted. It is mythological, religious, sacred, shamanistic, transcendent. It is a time before time, an “original time,” where one is situated with the divine and eternal, participating in and understanding the mysteries of the universe, of creation, of existence, of time. By contrast, profane time is innately chronological, human, and finite. It ends. And it is always structured with ends in mind.
For Eliade, the idea is not that you get one or the other — both sacred and profane time exist simultaneously, and they are directly linked. Sacred time makes profane time possible and is the paradigmatic model for profane time. The experience of linear, real-world time is only possible in opposition to sacred, nonlinear time, and diving back into the experience of sacred, nonlinear time is necessary for the continuation of linear time.
To move between these two states requires ritual markers like ceremonies, festivals, meaningful interactions with objects, or other behaviors that signal the entry into sacred time. Through this conscious action, one’s experience of time is transformed from profane to sacred.
The immersiveness of sacred time could be likened to the immersiveness of screen time. When we fall into wikiholes, aren’t we operating outside time, searching for knowledge, for a better understanding of the universe and its mysteries?"