Sunday, October 25, 2009

Experiencing Time

This class has made me look at many things in a new light. One of those things is time. I don't pretend to know anything about the relativity of time so I am not going to bring that up, and to my knowledge it is irrelevent to this particular discussion. My point is that it is interesting how time is objectified and at the same time (yay puns) subjectively experienced. The same objective duration of time can simultaneously "fly" for one and "crawl" for another. In this same regard, although a week has past, I don't feel a week older. I attribute to the fact that I only live in the present and therefore only experience time in the present. Further, because we only experience time in the present, to some extent I would venture to say that the difference between being five and forty is not the actual perception of thirty five years of time, but the what was experienced in those years and is backed up by memory.

It seems to me that we do not directly experience time; that is, we cannot purely perceive it. We experience it objectively with clocks, but this is external to our individual experience of it. It is extremely hard for me to judge the duration of time without some sort of reference. For example, it is impossible to describe how long an hour is. It seems to me our subjective perception of time cannot be based on time, but rather is solely based on what we are doing and its relation to time.

Time is a complex subject, but hopefully this makes some kind of sense.


  1. One person can argue that the only reason why we objectively feel time is because the gears in the clock are moving. That is still subjective, someone can make the gears in the clock move faster and mess things up. Time is something that I think is different for everyone. Our current perception of time is merely based on how fast the earth spins. It is something humans made up. We merely came to a consensus on a system to help describe it.

  2. Bradley, this is really interesting- I have always been intrigued by the sujective nature of the experience of time, but have never really thoguth much on it, simply because its such a difficult subject to tackle. However, I think you've hit some really good point here and I agree- time is subjective, simply becuase it is so deeply rooted in experience. I've experienced this notion alot while hiking- I do no own a watch, so when I'm out in the woods just a'wandering time passes only at the rate at which I myself quantify it- just as the same day can be miserably long for me yet go by quickly for someone else. In short, just when we rid ourselves of clocks, time still passes at a certain rate for everyone, but that rate can certainly change from person to person, unlike 1+1=2, which is constant for every person on the planet, regardless of situation or close proximity to a math book.

  3. I am also extremely perplexed by the idea of time--idea because it is intangible and an extremely difficult concept to grasp. The earliest specific example of me trying to make some sort of sense of time is simple--watching an episode on Nickelodeon (or 2 episodes of Rugrats) was thirty minutes. At this time, I was able to use that as a time reference. This was me trying to almost objectify time in a way, like we do with clocks, for example.


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