Over at some-other-blog, Kristine asks the interesting question, “what is the purpose of time?” Kristine writes:
It seems to me that our pre-mortal and post-mortal existence are unlikely to be marked by the constant pressure of time that we feel in this life. As mortals, we experience this pressure both as the daily lack of enough time to do all the things we should or want to do, and as we contemplate the span of our lives, knowing that we will not live long enough to finish the !()#$##! Ph.D., become a world-class cellist, go to medical school, and learn to play timpani and French horn passably well.
She uses this as a springboard to focus on why time is relevant in this life. But it’s an equally good springboard to ask — well, if we’re not going to be getting Ph.D.s and paying rent, what are we going to be doing in the next life? In other words, what will we do in heaven? (Note: Steve Evans and Aaron Brown should focus on the alternate question of how best to dress when the forecast is 10,000 degrees.)
Now, any answer to this question is going to be highly speculative, of course. But assuming that we don’t get reincarnated into a new probation — stop all that silly speculation, Geoff J.! — we’re going to at some point end up in a place where time is no longer an issue. And what then? Here goes:
We spend much of this life just fueling our bodies — food and sleep and exercise — and that will be cut out. We spend much of the rest of our energy accumulating money, credentials, and relationships with others. Only one of those will survive. We won’t worry about money or credentials. And so the bulk of our time is likely to be spent developing and strengthening and learning from our relationships with other people. Friends. Family. People all around us. And most importantly, we’ll be able to do this outside of the constraints of time and space that so greatly limit our ability to form relationships with other people in this life.
Many of our existing relationships — with friends, lovers, neighbors, spouses, ward members, even family members — are based mostly on accidents of time and space. I become good friends with someone because she is in my ward, or because she is my next door neighbor, or because we go to school together. If she misses any of these windows — if she lives in a different place, goes to school elsewhere or a few years earlier or later — then I’ll never get to know her.
Once these barriers are removed, we’re likely to discover new friends. Perhaps someone born in 1915 in Germany has a personality ideal for being my best friend, and we discover this in the next life, and we develop a close personal friendship. It is all but certain that we’ll have far greater access to make personal friendships and connections with people who have similar interests, likes and dislikes, personalities. We’ll make friends based on personal compatilibility and interest, not ones limited by the necessities of time and space. We’ll have an entire universe to draw from, not the limited environment of ward or school or workplace.
The funny thing is, that environment is likely to result in a less diverse group of friends. And that observation provides, perhaps, another answer for Kristine’s question. In the mad chaos of this life, we don’t have time to wait for perfectly aligned personalities. We’re forced to become friends with people unlike ourselves; people who might not like each other much. It’s a little like the Breakfast Club, and it forces us into more diverse conversations and dialogues.
Perhaps that’s another reason for the existence of time in this life.