About time.









About time.

We asked the philosopher
Jonna Bornemark
to share her thoughts on time.
What is time,

and how do we live with it?

Told to

and interpreted by

Malin Letser.

About Jonna.

It was a Saturday, says Jonna.
She was about 15
and on a trip with her dad.
They often got lost
in long discussions.
About religion,




And they just kept going deeper.
Questions got more complex.

It was mind-boggling.
She still remembers the feeling.
How it placed the world at her feet.

Eventually they ended up with
one question.
Which one she doesn’t remember,
but her dad’s reaction
has been with her since that day.
He laughed and said;

I honestly have no clue.

Jonna about time.

They were at the edge of knowledge,
where a whole new world

opened up.

And so did her interest for philosophy.

Jonna Bornemark is today associate professor
in philosophy at Södertörn Högskola.
Common sense and existence?
Those are questions she’s looking into.

This year her book
“Det omätbaras renässans:
En uppgörelse med pedanternas världsherravälde”
was published.

She has previously published
”Kroppslighetens mystik”
and is a frequent guest on
Filosofiska Rummet
on Swedish radio P1.
In August 2017,
she was one of the summer hosts
on the same radio channel.


Clock time.

Time Today.


Starting up.

A year.

Time is based on the fact
that life is motion.
Materia is motion.
One can even be more abstract
and say that: time is BEING:
That something exists.
Or the being,

all that exists,

always exist in time,

which is motion.

But what comes first,




Think about it.

First there is something,
then it moves.

Or is it the other way around?

Something moves,

and only then it exists.

This question is fundamental
in the western civilisations
philosophical discourse.

But the fact that time is motion,
is something both traditions
have settled on.

Two years.

With the perception
of materia as motion
we start measuring time.

since materia is in motion
and therefore timely,
we try to handle its movement.
We measure it down to




We base it on things that come around,
the cyclic.
Motion of the planets.

Clock time is an attempt
to find orientation in motion, which is continual.
We find recurring things
to hold on to,
relate to.

It’s an attempt to



In an attempt
to create a world
that we know is a cosmos,

not just a chaos

that is constantly changing.

Three years.

We need it.
Not Clock time specifically
but some sort of organisation.
By the cosmos.
But maybe it’s gone too far.
In our culture today that is.
Being so bound to it.

Clock time.

Our attempts to organise.
The idea of control.

It doesn’t make us feel any better.
Because we keep failing,




LIFE won’t be controlled.
But we can’t accept that.

We say we have,

but we haven’t.

Four years.

Not as individuals
and not as organisations.

We think our job is to




Modern life revolves around it.
To protect,

to structure.

Time is a tool for those things.

If we didn’t have it,
things would get weird.

Foucault wrote about it,

In convents,

where nuns slot their days.

In school,

with it’s tight schedules.

And military order,

of time and space.

Five years.

We nurture the same thoughts
in our industries
and all types of professional trade.

We believe it’s for the better.
But is it?


and intellectual work
can’t be controlled
like this.

There are so many other things
that need to be in place.

That’s why
it’s misleading,
the thought
of being productive
in relation to clock time.

We think that it should work,

but it doesn’t.

Six years.


time and space.


That feeling that seeps in
when we’re in the middle of motion.
In time.

The opposite,
when we’re focused on time,
measuring it,
it’s turned into an object.
Sitting there.
Right in front of us.

In Flow
we’ve found motion

within ourselves,

that resonates with our surroundings.

In motion

time stops being an object.

We follow timeliness and motion.
Like writing.
When you write
you are deep in every word.
And the timeliness
of the text.

Seven years.

Text is more timely
than you might think.

Writing too.

And reading.

Time is the very reading
of the text.

Flow can exist


Think about riding a horse.
You’re resonating with the activity
and all it’s parts.
The horse,

the I,

the ground.

Time can roll by
and you are a part of it.
In harmony,
with timeliness of the horse.

That’s flow

But as soon as you throw in time,
as an object,
and start measuring,

you’re thrown out of flow.

Eight years.

The opposite of time
which is circular.
It lost its objectivity
in being something new.

So when starting up
we get to bathe
in the feeling of being TRUE against timeliness,
which is changing,

which is motion.

Being in a long period
of just rolling around,
in habit.

What then?
We try and create a time plan.
For all that new,

the starting up,

means that there’s so much

we don’t know.

We try and shape that cosmos.

Nine years.

But that’s the whole point of starting up.
That we don’t know.
Because what happens is
we’re trying to turn everything

we don’t know

into knowing.

More chaos requires more cosmos.

Time becomes just a tool
for putting things in their places.
Throwing ourselves
in front of ourselves.

That’s a great human talent. The throwing of ourselves in front of ourselves.

In front of what is not yet there.

That we have that ability.
To see what hasn’t been yet.

To see the future time.
To imagine
what hasn’t yet passed
and place that ahead.

We need clock time to organise the new.
It’s a necessity but can also be a destroyer.

Jonna says that she and her husband,
who’s also a philosopher,
have a saying:

You make a plan,
and then it’s

Ten years.

She says it to all her students:

make a plan,

but it’s made

to be revised.

Otherwise you’re in trouble.
You haven’t understood the meaning

of O P P O R T U N I T Y.

If we look
at the new too soon,
it won’t nearly be as good

and developed

as if we gave the new

a chance.

When we start new projects
there’s always

two personalities.

One wants to nail everything



Eleven years.

The other moves around vaguely.
Wide open.

Find the balance.
What is vague
develops no shape.

What is pressed too soon
develops no shape either,
or gets a shape that already exists.

Find the sensitivity in the new.
It’s not just a form

of creation,

it’s just as much a listening.
We tend to emphasise the active part.

But the new has its own part.



what takes shape.

Text: Malin Letser

Layout: Christoffer Granström

Created with Sketch.

Get more momentum

View all