Monday, April 03, 2006

Time is ...

The statement: "Time's just no thing." does not equal the statement: "Time does not exist."

Particularly is this true when the former statement was made in the context of Martin Buber's I and Thou. Buber was a philosopher of Hassidim, one of Judaism's more mystical points of view. Relational psychologists, particularly Carl Rogers, applauded Buber's ideas.
wiki: Chassidism
Carl Rogers, bio
Carl Rogers and informal education
Carl Rogers
Relational Psychology Test

Now that you're back...

Buber observed that people found in the world either things or others. Every one -- Every I -- chooses to relate to every other as either thing or other. Consequences flow from the decision, Treating others as things has limited, but real, usefulness. It is a closed system with predictable results. Speaking is more important than listening because expressing what I want, that the object addressed must provide, is the point. I is superior to the object. Although useful in very mundane ways, it is not satisfying.

For satisfaction my I must engage with your I that is: thou from my point of view. When I engages Thou much energy is required. Listening is of equal importance with speaking. I and Thou are equals. Both have significance to give to the other.

Such concentration has an odd effect on time. It elongates. Seconds fill with incredible detail. Details little noticed in our scurry to accomplish our object.

So, when I said Time's no thing, I meant that Time is not an object. Time is not a particular thing that can be held in anyone's hand as a stone might be.

Time, I said, is an idea. That idea is to use a rhythm to measure duration for useful (or not) purposes.

Time is perception. That, perforce, makes it idiosyncratic. For example: we both watch a film, you are bored out of your little pea brain. Only rigid training in social etiquette prevents you from rearing on your feet to cry out: "Boring! Stupid! and Dumb!" It takes for ever to reach the final fade to the credits. I, on the other paw, am utterly fascinated by the story, the performers, the implications, the technique -- in short it is a perfect film to me and so I am oblivious to time as the film unreels. No sooner begun than ended. The quartz crystals in a wrist watch will beat out the same duration for both experiences.

Update 4/6/6 to add hasidim link (yes it can be spelled all three ways) and sign it.

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