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.
â€œIsn’t there more to being human than performing some act, or behaving in some proscribed fashion, just to be â€˜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: â€œYet 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 â€œdeepen[s] our knowledge into specific and specialized areas” at the expense of â€œbroadening 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–â€œtiny pinholes of light,” he says–that, while occasionally scattered, are easily digestible.
Challenging, humanist ruminations on time.