Matthew T Grant


Tall Guy. Glasses.

Space is Money

Everyone says, “Time is money.” But isn’t it more true that space is money?

I can’t increase the amount of time I have. In fact, I can’t possess time in any real sense because, in a very real sense, time doesn’t exist.

Time is not; it’s more like the is-ing or is-ness of everything. (I think a Nazi philosopher once wrote about this.)

By contrast, I can increase the amount of space (actual, physical space) that I own and control. In fact, through rents and the extraction of natural resources, this space can be fairly easily converted into money.

The notion that “time is money” is the expression of a wish: the wish for immortality. If time were something that we could accumulate and hoard, then we could, through force of will, stave off death, the end of our specific time.

But time doesn’t work that way.

Nor does money.

Three Worlds

We live in three worlds.

The first world is the world of our direct experience. I consider this the “really real” world; it’s literally where we live. That being said, I consider our dreams an integral part of this world.

The second world is the world of our knowledge. This is both a mediated world—we know it through the stories we hear or the things we watch and read, the media we consume—and a world of conjecture: based on what we’ve learned, we make educated guesses or informed assumptions about how the world works or the existence of those parts we may or may not ever experience.

Finally, there is the world that we will never know through direct experience (imagine a point just adjacent to the center of the earth or the specific thoughts of a stranger we will never meet) or learn about from any mediated source or even imagine to be real.

Freud described the psychoanalytic journey in these terms, “Wo Es war, soll Ich werden.” (“Where Id was, Ego will become.”) Life can be similarly described as a journey by way of which we slowly expand the first two worlds and thus claim more and more of the third.

All imperialistic connotations of this formulation aside, it should humble us. Not only is much of this third world unknowable in principle, perpetually falling beyond our grasp, but we inevitably and inescapably belong to it (in a way that it will never belong to us).