Time is the Substance I Am Made of: Quote Explanation

Time is a fundamental aspect of our lives. It is the one thing that is constantly moving forward, never stopping, and we can never get it back. Time affects everything we do, from the way we work to the way we play. It shapes our past, present, and future. Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges was fascinated with the concept of time, and he expressed this fascination through his writing. In his famous quote, “Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire,” Borges presents time as both a force that controls us and something we can control ourselves. In this blog post, we will explore the meaning behind Borges’ quote and how it can help us better understand and appreciate the concept of time.

time is the substance i am made of

Time as a Substance and a River

Borges’ quote begins with the assertion that time is the substance he is made of. This suggests that time is not just an abstract concept, but rather something tangible and material that makes up our being. He then describes time as a river that sweeps him along, but also identifies himself as the river. This implies that while time may seem to control us, we also have the ability to control it. We are both the subject and the object of time.

This interpretation of time challenges the traditional view of time as a linear concept, moving only in one direction. Instead, Borges sees time as a constantly flowing river that we can navigate and shape. We may be carried along by the current, but we can also steer ourselves in different directions. By embracing this view of time, we can begin to see ourselves as active participants in our own lives, rather than passive victims of circumstance.

Time as a Tiger and a Fire

In the second part of his quote, Borges describes time as a tiger that destroys him, but also identifies himself as the tiger. This suggests that while time can be destructive, we are also the ones who have the power to cause that destruction. It is not just something that happens to us, but something we can create ourselves.

Borges also describes time as a fire that consumes him, but once again, he identifies himself as the fire. This highlights the idea that time can be both destructive and creative. While it can consume us, it can also ignite our passions and inspire us to create. We have the power to harness the energy of time and use it to fuel our endeavors.

Embracing the Power of Time

Borges’ quote encourages us to embrace the power of time and see it as something that we can control and shape. It reminds us that we are not simply victims of circumstance, but active participants in our own lives. By accepting the ebb and flow of time and using it to our advantage, we can achieve great things.

One way to do this is by setting goals for ourselves and using time as a tool to achieve them. We can use our understanding of time to plan our lives more effectively, and to prioritize the things that are most important to us. We can also learn to be more present in the moment, and to appreciate the time that we have, rather than constantly looking ahead or dwelling on the past.


Time is a complex and multifaceted concept, and Borges’ quote reminds us of its power and significance. By viewing time as both a force that controls us and something we can control ourselves, we can begin to see ourselves as active participants in our own lives. By embracing the ebb and flow

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