Like here, for example, from J.J. van der Leeuw:
“With the dawn of intellect the mystery of primitive man is lost and naught but facts in their vulgarity remain; in the sublime ignorance of a self-satisfaction, which doubts neither itself nor the world, man moves among mysteries which, could he but realize them, would strike terror into his heart.”
One such mystery is readily accessible to our immediate awareness: that of time.
What is time? Everybody thinks they know what time is, but when you think deeply about it, it becomes less and less clear what time is. If you have the time and wish to knock yourself out considering the various ideas that have been kicked around over time, about what time is, Wikipedia has a whole category page about time.
However, my intent here is less intellectual and more experientially-oriented. I want to share this funny little observation van der Leeuw made about time. It makes the mystery immediately accessible. His observation is this:
“The present in itself has neither duration nor reality; not even the fraction of a second can be called the present.”
This is really a rather bizarre observation, when you think about it. We only experience the present. But as VDL says, the present has no duration. The past and future, really, are only ideas in our mind in the present. We remember the past (at least to some extent) and we anticipate the future. But we never directly experience either the past or the future, only the present. But the present has no duration. Just reflect on these facts for a few seconds and you’ll get what I am saying.
And once you do get it, you have to wonder: What does this say about the status of our existence?
Of course there are ideas about this on the Wiki-link above, but the point is not to rationalize this fact of our existence, but instead to just experience it. Contemplating on this, I believe, gives us immediate access to one of the mysteries to which VDL refers above.
Such contemplation has led me to conclude that time is a game called “guess what I am”.