Some argue that it has no inherent value, while some believe that it has limited but valuable worth. Some theorists argue that because time can be measured and quantified, its value as an object can be ascertained. Others maintain that despite our ability to measure and quantify time, we do not understand or appreciate its true meaning or purpose in life.

A lot of people commonly ascribe value to time. They say that time is valuable because it is the one thing that we cannot have too much of. They argue that we should use time wisely because it is limited. Some people also believe that time is a source of happiness and pleasure.


  • 3
    can u describe the meaning of value? Does your value means as form of asset or are does it mean the meaning?
    – Ha'Penny
    Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 4:02
  • 3
    As someone once said, time is like air: not too interesting if you have it, but terribly important if you don't. Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 6:44
  • In the sense of having a correspondence between time/duration and numbers, it is possible (ie measuring time). In the sense of valuing time axiologically, it is very borad and is similar to how to value life itself.
    – Nikos M.
    Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 7:58
  • They do say "time is money", so yes, literally. "He that can earn ten shillings a day by his labour, and goes abroad, or sits idle one half of that day... hath really spent or thrown away five shillings", Franklin.
    – Conifold
    Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 11:04
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    This question could be greatly improved with specific references. Which "theorists" versus which "others", etc.?
    – Brian Z
    Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 11:08

3 Answers 3


Consider that time can be converted in whatever you want: money, sex, peace, wisdom, etc. When you born, you have time. You are time-rich. When you are old, you are time-poor.

Most, if not all human achievements, are the result of time being well-invested. See the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10,000_hour_rule. Such is an example of how time can be converted in some kind of expertise. To do that, an individual needs focus, and not wasting time in just surviving.

In such sense, time can be the most valuable resource a human been has.

  • Just to draw a distinction: In this sense you are talking about personal, subjective temporality, in which one makes future plans on the basis of past experience. This is authentic temporality in Heidegger-speak, in contrast to ordinary clock-time. Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 10:17

Time is a resource. You can use it to do things. People that value time, value what they are doing during that time.

Like with money, the value is in what you can do with the resource, not necessarily the resource itself. In the case of time, literally everything you do is an investment of time.


This question reminds me of a phrase in Derrida's Heidegger: The Question of Being & History, (pages 180-181) where time is referred to as nothing, but also that which is produced by the motion of the mind.

To clarify what he calls Kant’s “obscure assertion” that “time affects a concept, in particular, the concept of the representations of objects” (Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, 133), Heidegger shows what time as pure intuition must signify: originarily, it can in no way signify affection of something by something, affection of a being by another being, affection of an existing subject by something outside it: because time is nothing, as such it cannot affect anything. It is affection of self by self. Auto-affection, a concept that is as incomprehensible as is, in truth, the movement of temporalization. This auto-affection as temporality is not a characteristic affecting transcendental subjectivity, one of its attributes; it is, on the contrary, that starting from which the self, the Selbst, the I think constitutes itself and announces itself to itself. Heidegger writes, [French] p. 244:

As pure self-affection, time is not an acting affection that strikes a self which is at hand (vorhandenes Selbst). Instead, as pure it forms the essence (Wesen) of something like self-activating (Sich-selbst-angehen as self-relating, to relate to self, angegangen werden zu können). However, if it belongs to the essence of the finite subject to be able to be activated as a self, then time as pure self-affection forms the essential structure of subjectivity. Only on the grounds of this self-hood can the finite creature be what it must be: dependent upon taking things in stride (angewiesen auf Hinnahme). (Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, 132)

This form of time would be primordial, authentic time, not ordinary time. Some elucidation here: Heidegger's Being and Time, part 8: Temporality, by Simon Critchley in The Guardian (2009).

Re. "we do not understand or appreciate its true meaning or purpose in life."


I can make a decision to take over the fact of who I am in an action. This is what Heidegger calls "resoluteness".

... the present is something that I can seize hold of and resolutely make my own [in] "the moment of vision."

This is the value of time: to becomes self-activated, rather than a passenger in life. Also, activity in the moment of vision yields the value of time, but it is part & parcel with the self. The value of a determination of experience in the synthesis of future and past cannot be separated from the being who enacts it.

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