The philosophical basis for the poem can be explained since the discourse on time is connected to the ideas within St. Augustine’s Confessions. As such, there is an emphasis on the present moment as being the only time period that really matters, because the past cannot be changed and the future is unknown. The poem emphasizes that memory must be abandoned to understand the current world, and humans must realize that the universe is based on order. The poem also describes that although consciousness cannot be bound within time, humans cannot actually escape from time on their own. The scene beneath London is filled with the time-bound people who are similar to the spiritually empty populace of The Hollow Men; they are empty because they do not understand the Logos or the order of the universe. The conclusion of the poem emphasizes that God is the only one that is truly able to exist out of time and have knowledge of all times and places, but humankind is still capable of redemption through belief in Him and His ability to save them from the bounds of the material universe.
Imaginative space also serves an important function within the poem. Part one contains a rose garden that allegorically represents potential within human existence. Although the garden does not exist, it is described in realistic manner and is portrayed as an imagined reality. Also, the narrator’s statement that words exist in the mind allows this imagined reality to be shared between the narrator and the reader. This is then destroyed by the narrator claiming that such a place has no purpose. The garden image has other uses within the poem beyond creating a shared imaginative space; it serves to invoke memories within the poem, and it functions in a similar manner in other works by Eliot, including The Family Reunion.