ON TIME by Jeffery Raymond


Seduction of the Human Spirit
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Psychologist Raymond presents a stimulating look into the many expressions of time, offering a critique of its unbridled power over our lives in the United States.

“Isn’t there more to being human than performing some act, or behaving in some proscribed fashion, just to be ‘on’ time?” asks Raymond. He suggests that Americans march to a sense of cultural time–our system of social regulation; a commodity to be spent, borrowed, saved, given, lent; a measure of progress–that is not serving us well. And cultural time is our intolerant obsession: “Yet we will all pay the price for the limitations of human experience which are socially-agreed upon by the very definition of cultural time,” which may find expression in squelching individual spirituality, or the folly of punishing children who don’t perform to our arbitrary expectations of achievement by a specific age. As the global reach of America reaches unprecedented heights, conflicts with other notions of cultural time will become increasingly nettlesome and likely violent, the author avers. Further, other concepts of time–be they objective, internal, natural, social, biological or digital–bring different rhythms and values to the table of life. Raymond explores each of these modes of time, through space and over time, as it were, detailing their roles as makers of order; as such, time is the special play-thing of science. Western science, he writes, mirrors time in that it “deepen[s] our knowledge into specific and specialized areas” at the expense of “broadening our experience as human beings.” Science, says the author, with its reliance on one method, constricts our inquiry into knowledge, our ways of knowing. Raymond’s ideas come at the reader in short, energetic paragraphs–“tiny pinholes of light,” he says–that, while occasionally scattered, are easily digestible.

Challenging, humanist ruminations on time.

Pub Date: Nov. 29th, 2006
ISBN: 978-0-595-41191-7
Program: Kirkus Indie
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