Seizing the Moment


Take a pause and consider the meaning of the word “moment.”

Some people think of a “moment” as something fixed or stationary in time or space, something that you take a snapshot of, or capture in a freeze frame.

Yet the roots of this word derive from exactly the opposite sense — a moment is all about motion and the decisive point and which something can be changed, tipped over or otherwise transformed.

moment – n. – mid-14c., “very brief portion of time, instant,” in moment of time, from O.Fr. moment, from L. momentum “movement, moving power,” also “instant, importance,” contraction of *movimentum, from movere “to move” (see move). Some (but not OED) explain the sense evolution of the L. word by notion of a particle so small it would just “move” the pointer of a scale, which led to the transferred sense of “minute time division.” Sense of “importance, ‘weight’ ” is attested in English from 1520s. Phrase never a dull moment first recorded 1889 in Jerome K. Jerome’s “Three Men in a Boat.” Phrase moment of truth first recorded 1932 in Hemingway’s “Death in the Afternoon,” from Sp. el momento de la verdad, the final sword-thrust in a bull-fight.

from the Online Etymology Dictionary

Seize the Carp!

The Greeks had word which conveyed a similar meaning —  Kairos (καιρός) —  the single opportune moment in time to take action…  and the enduring quality of such moments.

Kairos is often contrasted with another Greek word —  Chronos (Χρόνος) — which is the word for measured time.

Chronos describes the undifferentiated quantity of hours, minutes and seconds that tick by and are over just as soon as they begin.

Kairos describes the quality of that one passing instant in which you can “thread the needle” and make a lasting impression.

If Chronos is the flow of time, then Kairos is the state of flow.

Where within your Chronos are you finding your Kairos?  

In other words, how well are you seizing those moments that transcend and extend beyond the span of your available days?

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About danspira

My blog is at: http://danspira.com. My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on April 4, 2011, in Learning, Life, Productivity and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away” – attributed to George Carlin

    cf. http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Life

  1. Pingback: Hey, Sol Sistere « Meme Menagerie

  2. Pingback: Making the most of your MTA (Money, Time & Attention) | Dan Spira

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