There is a paradox inherent in how we think about time. We perceive ourselves as living in time, yet we often imagine that the better aspects of our world and ourselves transcend it. What makes something really true, we believe, is not that it is true now but that it always was and always will be true. What makes a principle of morality absolute is that it holds in every time and every circumstance. We seem to have an ingrained idea that if something is valuable, it exists outside time. We yearn for “eternal love”. We speak of “truth” and “justice” as timeless. Whatever we most admire and look up to – God, the truths of mathematics, the laws of nature – is endowed with an existence that transcends time. We act inside time but judge our actions by timeless standards.

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