Massachusetts Institute of Technology

525,600 Minutes: Time, Eternity and Finding Value in Our (Very Short) Lives

March 5, 2019 at 7:00pm / 10-250


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

525,600 Minutes: Time, Eternity and Finding Value in Our (Very Short) Lives

Meghan Sullivan and Alan Lightman

March 5, 2019 at 7:00pm

10-250 (Building 10, Room 250), 222 Memorial Dr, Cambridge, MA

In The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf shares with Frodo a timeless suggestion: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” In a distracted modern age of ever-advancing economic opportunity, technological progression, and perceived urgency, the decision of how we should best use our time is becoming an increasingly complex one. Many in today’s busy Western cultures feel as though the decision itself is constantly being made for us by the technologies and schedules which rule our lives. While “wise” use of time may seem an apparently universal human virtue, questions concerning what valuable time usage actually looks like are rooted in a broad set of cultural, moral, and economic factors which heavily bias our decision making in numerous ways. And while many members of modern societies answer these questions increasingly outside the context of a religious framework, temporal decisions have historically been heavily influenced not only by the moral commandments of a higher power, but also by whether or not members of society have embraced the notion of existence beyond a single Earthly life (i.e. an afterlife).

In the context of these timely considerations, the Veritas Forum at MIT presents its 2019 forum: “525,600 Minutes: Time, Eternity, and Finding Value in Our (Very Short) Lives”. The forum will further address the various factors which all converge at the nexus of time usage decision making, such as technology, faith, environment, and creativity. The two speakers at this forum include MIT Professor of the Practice of Humanities Alan Lightman (author of Einstein’s Dreams and In Praise of Wasting Time) and Notre Dame Professor of Philosophy Meghan Sullivan (author of Time Biases). The forum, which will conclude with an audience Q&A, will be moderated by Biological Engineering Professor (and department head) Doug Lauffenburger. Refreshments will be served immediately following the event.

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Presenters

Meghan Sullivan

Professor of Philosophy and the Rev. John A. O’Brien Collegiate Chair

Notre Dame University

Alan Lightman

Professor of the Practice of the Humanities

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology