Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kairos and Chronos Defined

I came across on Yahoo Answers a worthwhile response to the following question: "What is Chronos and Kairos (sp?) time? Can you please explain them both to me, and what the differences are?"

I like the answer provided as the writer shares a personal experience that helps to bring clarity to the concept of kairos. Here's the response.

"The ancient Greeks had two words for time, chronos and kairos. Chronos refers to chronological or sequential time. Chronos time is measured by the clock and calendar. It is orderly, rhythmic, and predictable. It is what we moderns typically think of as time. Kairos time, on the other hand, has a more nebulous meaning. It does not have an equivalent word in English. The least descriptive translation would be 'in between time'—a moment of undetermined period of time in which 'something' special happens.

Now chronos time is fairly self explanitory...

Kairos on the other [hand] is obviously a lil harder. One of the best examples I can give is martial arts related. If you have ever seen martial arts movies or even The Matrix saga where they stop the movement of everything but the fighters, that is a representation of Kairos.

On a personal note, once I was involved in breaking up a rather large brawl in dennys between two groups of angry drunk people and experienced it (was not my only experience, but is a great example). As I was slinging people to my other friends who were also breaking up this brawl, I caught a guy bout to throw his coffee cup, saucer and spoon at someone in the apposing group. I growled, waggled a finger at him and he threw it at me instead. I managed to catch all three even though the cup and spoon bounced when I first caught the saucer, and set them down before the guy could react...that pretty much took the fight out of that one and he rather meekly left the resturant after that.

If you ever had a moment that time seemed to slow down or stop for others while you are still reacting, that is Kairos time...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

PERFECT "timely" examples. Been there. Thank You.

Alexis said...

Has got to be one of the best and most honest attempts at communicating this truth. I believe Chronos which is the name of the "god of time" for the greeks...is the great deceiver. Love your comments will return to look at your musings! blessing!

Alexis said...

Has got to be one of the best and most honest attempts at communicating this truth. I believe Chronos which is the name of the "god of time" for the greeks...is the great deceiver. Love your comments will return to look at your musings! blessing!