Research What Are You Reading...On Time

What Are You Reading…On Time

Regular readers of this series will know I missed last week’s deadline. While I have a good reason (I presented at the Central and then flew back to China), I still get frustrated when I don’t fulfill an obligation. It is interesting that this is not everyone’s view (for all I know, I may be in the minority), given how important contracts are in our society. Douglas Adams is well known for his alternative perspective, saying “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

Deadlines are just one way we organize time to make it productive. Despite the many terms we use to arrange time in a manner we think appropriate, we still confront the question “Is this the right—or the best—way to understand time?” At the heart of this question is the deeper question “What is time?” the answer to which is far from settled. I for one am fascinated by the idea that space and time are interconnected (i.e. physics’ notion of space-time), given how much it challenges our day to day experience. Other studies of time, whether they focus on its relation to psychology, history, language, society, or living things, have yielded similarly intriguing discoveries. In recognition of this universal element that conditions our lives—and the idealistic hope that perhaps, one day, I can travel back to complete the deadline I missed—I present several papers on the proper way to conceive of time.

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