What Is Time?

Michael Laitman
3 min readFeb 2, 2023

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We can observe time when we look at our watches, and we can sense time when we reflect on our lives and realize how quickly time passes. We feel it when we contemplate the events in our lives and consider their consequences and our emotions.

If there were no differences in our sensations between feeling better or worse, we would be unaware of the passage of time. If our sensations remained the same, time, as we know it, would stop. That is, time is a result of fluctuations in our sensations. If there is no change, there is no time.

Our desire to receive, the fundamental matter from which we are composed, perceives the past, present and future. It recognizes time as changes that take place in our desire for pleasure. In other words, time is dependent upon the sensations that arise from our desire to receive. Without these sensations, we would have no concept of time.

If there were no differences in our sensations between feeling better or worse, we would be unaware of the passage of time. If our sensations remained the same, time, as we know it, would stop. That is, time is a result of fluctuations in our sensations. If there is no change, there is no time. How does one minute differ from the next? The variations are due to the processes that take place in our desire to receive, and that is what we call “time.”

Time is the measure of the difference between the amount of pleasure we experience in our current state compared to our next state. Our sensations continually change, which explains why occurrences in our past, present and future are so important from our egoistic point of view. We explore the states that our desire to receive pleasure experiences, and the changes between these states are recorded within us as time.

The desire for pleasure is the matter of creation. It is a sensor that feels fullness or emptiness. It assesses the state that it undergoes based on a comparison of the sensation of fulfillment in its previous state and forms a concept of time by evaluating the amount of pleasure in both states.

Time is a tool for measuring fulfillment in the desire to receive. We strive for contentment, so we look to the future and reflect on the past in order to learn how to best organize ourselves for achieving a desired outcome. Since we organize our fulfillment, we thus split time into various phases.

Everything in reality is really inside us. Our reality is a product of our perception. If our perception changes, then the concepts of time, motion, space, the universe, and its entire picture that we live in will also change.

Both our past and future are based on our desire for pleasure. The desire to receive develops and goes through the following phases: inanimate, vegetative, animate and human. Humans are the only ones who sense time, i.e. they recognize the past, present and future. These phases are different for humans from the viewpoint of their sensation of fulfillment.

We experience different types of time internally. There is time that we keep track of with a clock, but we also have an inner sense of time. We can measure time as expansive as billions of years or as minuscule as fleeting moments. We gauge time according to its significance to us and our involvement in it.

Our perception of time and its essence are two distinct concepts. Our own experience of time is based on our personal experiences, while astronomical time measures the orbital movement of planets, though this too is relative for the time being.

The entire universe is a desire to receive within which we observe processes that take place at inanimate, vegetative, animate and human levels. Therefore, everything in reality is really inside us. Our reality is a product of our perception. If our perception changes, then the concepts of time, motion, space, the universe, and its entire picture that we live in will also change. This leads us to ask questions about our reality and whether we have the power to alter it.

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Michael Laitman

PhD in Philosophy and Kabbalah. MSc in Medical Bio-Cybernetics. Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute.